Summary: PENTECOST 15(B) - Put on the full armor of God realizing enemies will attack but believers will stand.
Paul writes: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood." He wanted to remind the believers of that fact. These believers felt that the government put Paul in prison and their greatest concern was op-posing the government that opposed Christianity. Paul said there were greater enemies than that. He said: "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." He wanted to remind these believers that Satan was alive and well. Satan would continually tempt them. Sa-tan would try to destroy the church of God and always will to the very end of time. Paul’s advice was: Put on the full armor of God that you may stand.
Satan is alive and well today. Our struggles are the same struggles that these early Christians faced, the very same struggle that Adam and Eve faced. Today our struggle might even be harder, isn’t it? Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world with no sorrow, no sadness, no pain, no suffering, and no heart-ache. It was perfect. Yet, in that perfection Satan was so deceptive that he caused them to disobey. To-day, thousands of years later, you and I can well imagine as we live in an imperfect world how the devil deceives us. Peter says: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roar-ing lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). If we saw a lion outside, we would stay inside. We would say there is danger there: danger, danger, danger because of this roaring lion. Satan wants to devour our souls. But Satan does not always attack us like a roaring lion, does he?
Satan also comes to us very craftily like the slippery serpent that caused that first sin in a perfect world. Satan can make things seem in this world as if they are the most important things in our lives. He creeps into the church. Some of today’s churches for many have simply become a gathering place to meet friends, a gathering place for business connections. The word of God is misplaced, overlooked, and for-gotten. A very astounding poll came out this week concerning evangelical Christians. "Evangelical" is in our church name, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Evangelical means preaching the gospel. This latest poll said 68%, more than half; of evangelical Chris-tians do not believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven. They do not believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There are other ways to get to heaven.
There are a lot of lessons to learn from that. You and I are evangelical Christians, so we are lumped into that 68% category. I don’t believe that. I believe what John tells us when Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." I believe what Luke writes in Acts, and I know you do too. There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Satan creeps in, and he gives the whole church, especially the Christian church, a big, black eye saying, "See, they don’t believe in Jesus for everything." The devil is deceptive. The devil is our great enemy. Paul wrote in Corinthians: "The god of this age (in other words Satan and his deception and false teachings) has blinded the minds of un-believers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Today we also add believers are blinded because almost 70% of the church do not trust in Christ for salvation. He has blinded the minds of believers and unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel (evangelical) of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. The enemies of the church will continue to attack. Satan will constantly continue to attack. The Lord says to us, "Put on the full armor of God."