Summary: Ephesians 6b
“Are You Ready to Rumble?”
Turn with me this morning to Ephesians 6, as we finish up our study of the book of Ephesians. I hope that our time going through this book together has been a help to you. Just to review what we have see, Paul is writing to Christians in Turkey, saved out of idol worship, and given a new relationship to God. Jews and these Turkish believers both have become one body, the church, and have been given a special relationship to God. Paul reminds us that as Christians, our lives are to be very different from the unsaved. In chapter 4 we saw we are to think rightly and we will act rightly. We look at things the way God does, and our lives will be different. We saw in chapter 5, that our home relationships, our marriages and our parent/child relationships, are to be different. We get in line the way God has designed the home to function. We saw last week in chapter 6 that our work relationships are to be different. God wants us to be the best workers we can be: not for the money, or the praise of the boss, or the good of the company, but for the glory of God. Our godly work habits are to bring glory to God.
Now, having said all that, when we start putting all this into practice, what’s the first thing that happens? Well, the first thing is that those who know you are surprised at the change they see, but the second thing that happens is something goes wrong to test you, to try your faith, to see if you will really choose to live according to this new lifestyle that God has called us to live.
Mark it down, if you are going to live for God, you can count on some opposition, some criticism, some people you thought were your friends who turn against you. You can count on your car breaking down, your spouse getting angry over the least little thing, your kids being frustrated and feeling like they can’t communicate with you. Have you been there before? Can you relate to this?
The sad thing about all this is that often we run from the opposition. We want peace and harmony, and often we want to keep peace at any costs. But that is never a success. France tried it in World War II and the Nazis took over the country. We have to take a stand. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
The final words of Paul to the church at Ephesus, his last written words to them, called them to take a stand. Let’s listen to those words. Don’t try to follow along in your own bibles this morning, but simply listen as I read the words from a paraphrased edition called “The Message.”
READ TEXT from the Message -- Pray
Paul calls us, having learned all we need to do, to prepare for a battle. The principle we saw over and over again in this book applies once again: Right thinking brings Right Action. What we need to believe is seen in verse 12:
1. We Are in a Battle - we sometimes like to allow ourselves to think that once we choose to follow Christ all of our problems will work themselves out. We’ll spend a couple of hours every day praying and reading the Bible, our neighbors will treat us with kindness and respect and ask us all kinds of questions about the bible, our boss will call us in the office to tell us what a good job we are doing and give us a raise, and Ed McMahon will show up to tell us we’ve won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. That’s the delusion and dream that we sometimes allow ourselves to think will be our lot in life. Let’s come back to reality.
Satan hates God. Satan hates us. Satan is out to destroy us and defeat us because we are choosing to follow God. This is not a nice lover’s spat. This is a knock-down, drag-out, no-holds-barred fight club style of fight where only one person remains standing. That’s why several times in these verses Paul tells us to STAND.
Why do we need to think rightly? Because the world tells us lies. I was talking with Bob Zimmer, our regional superintendent this week, and he said he had visited a Presbyterian church near his house. The pastor was preaching on Ephesians 6 that week. He said, “I really don’t like this part of the Bible, but it’s what is in the liturgy for this week, so I guess we need to talk about it. But nobody really believes this stuff about a real devil anymore.” And he went on to just talk about how we should be kind to one another.