Summary: The armour of God!!!
Ready To Rumble
MGM recently released the latest movie in the “Rocky” franchise with Sylvester Stallone reprising the role of the boxing legend Rocky Balboa, also the name of the latest film. Once again the “Italian Stallion” plays the role of underdog in a film series that won Stallone’s film an Oscar in 1977 for Best Picture.
Back in my Bethany days, the guy’s dorm spent each night watching the “Rocky” series. After the series had ended, the testosterone levels were through the roof, so we had our own little series of boxing matches. Since this was a Christian school, we put on hockey helmets and hockey gloves. Nobody wanted to get hurt.
People would be matched against their opponents according to their size. The funniest “fight” was between two guys who were thin as broomsticks. Their boxing technique, if you could call it that, was turning away from the other, and swatting at the other guy. The fad quickly died off, but it was fun while it lasted.
Those “battles” fail in comparison to the wars we hear about around the world. Often we hear reports of little children being snatched away from their parent’s homes, and forced to work for a militia. The images of battle are on the screen every night and many men and women have lost their life in the conflicts around the world.
Our troops in Afghanistan have received a lot of press over the past year, especially as we hear the saddening tales of our servicemen giving their life for Afghani freedom. They have been trained for years, and have been asked to put that training into use. It doesn’t matter where you stand ideologically when it comes to this conflict, but our hearts and prayers go out to these men and women. As we send over troops, and others come home, we are constantly reminded by the news coverage that a war is going on.
While we may not be part of military strike force fighting the Taliban, you and I are in a battle as well. Paul, in some of his closing remarks to the Ephesian church, reminds the people that a war is still going on. Our war may not be against people; it is a very real battle nonetheless. This battle we fight will not end until we see Jesus, be it through death or His return.
(Read Ephesians 6:10-18)
With such a spiritual battle take place, our church has a role to play in this war. Just like the pictures of Uncle Sam pointing his fingers of would-be members of the U.S. armed forces, the Lord has called you for battle. We need to be ready.
While preparing for such a fight, what should we do?
1. Be Strong in the Lord (6:10)
To do anything apart from the power of our Almighty God is to approach life in a spiritually anaemic state. Jesus Himself testifies of this when He said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (JOHN 15:5)
The phrase "be strong" in the Greek is in the passive form which "indicates that this empowering is something done to Christians, not something they do themselves; its present tense shows that the empowering is continual. This is not an instruction for a quick fix, but for [an abiding] life spent [continually] drawing strength from Christ. To be strong in the Lord means to know His strength and to draw closer to Him. It’s an exhortation to act on what is known." (Klyne Snodgrass)
What are we to be strong in? The NIV puts it, "in his mighty power", referring to the power of the Lord. When our Lord encourages us to seek His power it is the same power which raised Christ from the dead. It is the same power that spoke this universe into existence. It is the same power that turns the hearts of kings and rolls back the waters of the Red Sea.
It is no small thing to live in the power of God that He makes available to all of His children in Christ. And though this is a power that He gives to us we are still to seek after it, which means we have a part in the way God works in and through us. And so we have "divine grace and human responsibility combined in this closing section." (William Hendriksen)
By the way, this phrase "His mighty power" in verse 10 of our text is the exact same phrase found in Eph.1:19 which the NIV puts as "his incomparably great power...". Or as the NAS puts it, "the surpassing greatness of His power..."
What an awesome God we serve whom avails Himself to us as He extends grace in His power for works of service to His glory. . It is impossible to be strong in our own strength. But God has provided the armour we need to fight against the deceiving trickery of Satan.