Summary: A description of the Armour of God
It seems that we are constantly being barraged with images of battles being fought around the world. There hardly seems to be an evening that goes by without the news telling us of an armed conflict that is being fought over real estate, religion or resources.
And we hear about it so much that we have almost become immune to the reports. After all it’s over there and not over here.
But there is a battle being fought today, not in Iraq, not in Ukraine and not in the Middle East, but right here in Hammonds Plains, and in Dartmouth and in Halifax and in Sackville. And it has nothing to do with the Taliban or ISSI or Al-Qaeda.
It is a battle that every Christian will have to fight with evil. You know we’ve become pretty sophisticated in 2015 and the concept that there is a battle between good and evil seems, well it seems quaint and old fashioned. Maybe for an old episode of the Twilight Zone of the X-files, but not in real life.
But that is what Paul was talking about in the scripture that was read earlier. If you have your Bibles with you this morning why don’t you turn to Ephesians chapter 6, that’s about ¾ the way through the New Testament.
Putting things into perspective here, the Author of the book of Ephesians is Paul and he has been arrested for preaching about Jesus and is now languishing under house arrest in Rome while he awaits his appeal to Caesar to be heard. And so it was during this imprisonment that he wrote a series of letters, this being one of them.
Through the previous chapter and for the first nine verses of chapter six Paul has been advising the Christians in the Ephesian church how to relate to one another and now he takes an abrupt turn and begins to talk about a conflict that is happening in the lives of the people he is writing to. Now if we were honest it is a conflict which we have all encountered from time to time.
And so Paul begins by telling us exactly what it is that’s happening in our lives. Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
And so the very first thing that 1) We Need to understand There is a Battle. It’s unfortunate that somewhere along the path Christianity has become seen as, a walk in the park, a stroll in a rose garden or a canoe ride down a gently frolicking river, anything but a battel. But that wasn’t the way Paul saw it, it wasn’t that way Peter saw it and it surely wasn’t the way Christ saw it. Listen to what Jesus says Matthew 5:11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Sure sounds like a battle.
Notice that Jesus didn’t say “If people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things” He seemed pretty sure that it was going to happen because he says “When.” It may not be as direct as the early Christians being thrown to the lions in Rome, or the persecution that happens to Christians in places like Indonesia and India and but trust me when I say that there is a battle going on.
It may be an issue of integrity, or it may be a sexual temptation, or it may simply be the need to identify yourself with Christ in a society where the norm is anything but Christian, but there is a battle that is raging.
Marjorie Holmes wrote “You don't always win your battles, but it's good to know you fought.” But there are some battle that are imperative to win, and so Paul starts by telling us Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies . . .
2) We Need to Know Who The Enemy Isn’t. There are two types of people who are not our enemies; the first is other believers. We can become so caught up in taking pot-shots at other churches and other Christians that the world thinks there must be some type of holy war being waged between denominations.
There’s a story told about a battle that happened during the time of the French-English wars. It seems that one of the English frigates was anchored off of Quebec City waiting to reinforce the infantry when they arrived. To keep the sailors from getting bored the captain, an Admiral by the name of Phipps decided that a little target practice would be order so the cannons were trained on one of the many Cathedrals that overlook the Saint Lawrence River. For the rest of the day the ship fired at the statues that stood on the roofline and along the walls of the church. Alas when the ship was called into battle it was discovered that, and here’s the line people, “They had used up all their ammunition shooting at the Saints.”