Summary: In the mighty strength of the Lord we are equipped as wrestler-soldiers to stand in the spiritual battle. We will stand firm against all the schemes of the devil and the combined evil forces of the spiritual realm.

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Jesus Is Still Sovereign

Ephesians 6:10-13

When There Is A Spiritual Battle

In the garden of Eden there was perfection.

God created and it was very good. Adam and Eve are walking with God in the cool of the evening.

But someone is watching and scheming. The serpent who was more crafty than any of the wild animals asked a question … that created doubted … that caused disobedience … that lead to the fall.

That is when the spiritual battle came right out into the open. And the spiritual battle has been going on ever since. In the face of this ongoing spiritual battle we read these words in

Ephesians 6:10-13.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

The mighty power of the Lord is an important theme in Ephesians. In

Ephesians 1:19-21 Paul talks about

(God’s) incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

It is the resurrection power of Jesus that enables us to live by grace through faith.

It is the resurrection power of Jesus that brings about unity and maturity of believers.

Resurrection power enables us to put on the new self, deal with anger, not grieve the Spirit, avoid course language, and have God-centred relationships.

This same resurrection power … where we can be strong in the Lord and His mighty power … is available to us whenever and wherever there is a spiritual battle.

And let us not be in doubt.

At the moment we are all going through a spiritual battle.

The battle which comes because there is less community.

The battle of being self-disciplined in our devotional and prayer life.

The battle with worry and anxiety over finances, job security, and getting by each day.

The battle of strained relationships and the bigger battle of loneliness.

The battle of grief or anger over all the aspects of life which have been taken, sacrificed and lost.

That is the battle.

It is not like a modern battle where, most of the time, the enemy is distant. Weapons fired from planes, or ships or tanks. Unmanned drones controlled from 1,000’s of kilometres away using what seem to be Play-station controllers.

It is not distant. It is close. It is more like hand-to-hand combat. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” The word for struggle was commonly used to describe the sport of wrestling. The spiritual wrestling match … with spiritual weapons.

Paul here is mixing metaphors.

Paul does this because he wants us to understand that this battle very unique.

He takes images from the world of wrestling. The word “struggle” is one. But the concept of taking your stand …. standing your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand – well that is also from the world of wrestling. The winner in a wrestling match is the one who is able to keep hold their footing and keep standing. But no weapons are used in wrestling. In fact in the days of Paul all competitors in wrestling matches were naked.

The imagery of the armour comes from the world of military battle. Romans soldiers. Greek warriors. They were all well-armed with swords, helmets, breastplates, shields and good foot-wear. When they were in a battle they didn’t just stand, they advanced, they met the enemy and they went into battle.

In the battle - you are not just a spiritual wrestler … standing, struggling, against an enemy that able to come with force and take get you to use every aspect of spiritual effort you have.

In the battle you are not just a spiritual soldier … … equipped, advancing, taking ground, running securely, fending off flaming arrows taking a victory and causing the enemy to run away in defeat.

In the battle you are both … wrestler and soldier.

We need to be like this because this battle unlike any other battle.

In this battle we stand against the schemes of the devil. Scripture describes the devil as …

… the one who is able to take away the seed on the path so that people may not believe and be saved. (Luke 8:12).

… a murderer from the beginning … who has no truth in him and who is the father of lies. (John 8:44).

… the one able to get a foothold and climb into your life. (Ephesian 4:27).

The devil holds the power of death (Hebrews 2:14); masquerades as an angel of light. (1 Corinthians 11:14); prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8); and leads the whole world astray (Revelation 12:9).

This is no small enemy. Think about it.

Satan came to tempt Jesus in the desert. Satan tempted Jesus to use his own power to save Himself … and to put God to the test … and to worship Satan.

We know Satan failed. But Satan was so brazen and arrogant he tempted Jesus because he actually believed he could succeed in that temptation. If that is how Satan treated Jesus I can guarantee Satan doesn’t even give a second thought about trying to test and tempt us.

That is why you need to be a wrestler and a soldier.

But there is more. This battle is unlike any other because it is not a battle against flesh and blood:- it is not a physical struggle.

Matthew 10:28

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

You don’t have to fear murders, or car accidents, or cancer.

You don’t have to fear COVID-19 … or any other virus, or pathogen, or disease, or natural disasters.

You don’t have to fear geo-politics, or greedy corporations, or societal upheaval, or economic destabilisation, or any form of governments.

Now, of course, these aspects of life are hard, and they create all sorts of emotional responses. When geo-politics, and corruption, and social upheaval combine they can cause inequality, and injustice, and a unfair distribution of wealth. They may cause us to feel out of control, or make us feel vulnerable. We don’t minimise these sorts of outcomes.

But, ultimately … in the big picture … all of that is flesh and blood stuff.

Cancer can’t destroy both soul and body in hell.

Pathogens can’t destroy both soul and body in hell.

Geo-politics, corporate greed, economic destabilisation … make your list … can’t destroy both soul and body in hell.

That is not where the struggle takes place. The struggle is

… against rulers.

… against the authorities.

… against the powers of this dark world.

… against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Scripture never explicitly describes these forces in detail. Usually they are just named. However, when we read all the verses together, we can come to the conclusion that the schemes of the devil are put in place by an evil spiritual conglomeration who are experienced in the art of spiritual warfare. They all have one goal … to destroy both soul and body in hell.

If they can use cancer to pull you away from Jesus … they will.

If they can use COVID-19 to pull you away from Jesus … they will.

Or they will use fear, or materialism, or greed, or societal upheaval.

They will use success, and relationships, and luxury, and distraction.

That is where the real struggle is.

That is why the battle is so unique.

It can be overwhelming … but it doesn’t have to be.

Remember you have the armour. You are the wrestler-soldier.

As a wrestler with the might of Jesus you will stand … every single time you will stand.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13

12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

We stand, even when we fail to stand. The might of Jesus ensures that we don’t fall and get crushed. The might of Jesus even here holds us against the ones who are trying to destroy our soul and our body.

As wrestlers we stand … as soldiers we advance.

We advance because we are so well equipped.

Isaiah 59:15-17

15 The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. 17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

The spiritual armour which has been given to us by God is armour which has been personally tested by God in battle and proven by God to be effective. This is not some second rate, rusted out armour that you buy from a garage sale. Nor does God treat us as test cases by giving us weapons which are unsuitable and powerless for the task. God gives us the same armour that He Himself uses. Our enemy may be powerful, but our armour is more than sufficient. We are built on the rock and not even the gates of Hades will be able to stand against us (Matthew 16:18).

Christ is seated far above all rule and authority, power and dominion. In his mighty power we can be strong.

Jesus Is Still Sovereign When There Is A Spiritual Battle.

No matter what happens … after you have done everything … you will still be standing, fully armed, in His mighty power.