Summary: Resisting and Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare means being clothed properly and being armed properly.
RESIST and STAND FIRM
Scripture Text: Ephesians 6:10-17
Introduction: Do you see your daily struggles as spiritual struggles? When is an argument with your best friend…just an argument? Is it just an argument…. Or is it a test of your character? Is it a spiritual test?
Prepare you for when you are attacked, because it is not a matter of ‘if;’ but a matter of ‘when.’ Maybe you do not realize that you are under attack? In fact, the passage speaks to the “schemes of the devil.” It is first a reference to deceitfulness when the word “scheme” is used; and secondly, a reference to slander when the word “devil” is used. In fact, if you were to say…. “You don’t believe in the devil?” Then I dare say that you have fallen for his schemes already…you are deceived!
Propositional Statement: Resisting and Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare means being clothed properly and being armed properly.
I. The Full Armor of God (v. 13) It’s a complete set! The armor is meant to symbolize putting on the virtues of Christian character. Not only that, but sufficed to say; the items of armor are meant to protect and provide for you in warfare. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
A. What is the armor of God?
1. The NASB says, “having girded your loins with truth;” which simply means tightening up your loose clothes or encircling a belt around yourself. The belt simply represents being girded, strengthened, or encircled in truth. Ephesians 4:14-15 says that we are no longer “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine” …. “in deceitful scheming” …. “but by speaking the truth in love….”
2. Next we have put on the “breastplate of righteousness” which simply means doing the ‘right thing.’ 2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “" Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
This breastplate speaks to the protective values of righteousness and virtue. 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, ….”
3. Finally, we also tie up our shoes. The passage reads, “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” which primarily means preparation. The shoes that Paul had in mind were like cleats…they had spikes on the bottom so that the wearer could be firm in stance….prepared to stand. Of what battle does Paul have in mind when he speaks of ‘shodding our feet with the gospel?’ Your faith can protect you from evil. 1 Peter 1:3-5 says this: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Doubt sees the obstacles—Faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night—Faith sees the day.
Doubt dreads to take a step—Faith soars on high.
Doubt questions, “Who believes?”—Faith answers, “I.” —Unknown
Armies in ancient times were always clothed with belts, breastplates, and shoes. But they also had to take up arms when danger was imminent. Therefore, we are told to resist and stand firm by putting on, and taking up. But, what do we take up?
1. Ephesians first mentions the shield of faith; which more precisely is our trust in Jesus. The shield of trust does not reflect the power of the church; but your (the individual’s) ability to trust God completely. One commentator (Gibbon) relates how the “relaxation of discipline and the disuse of exercise rendered the soldiers less willing and less able to support the fatigues of the service. They complained of the weight of their armor, and successively obtained permission to lay aside their cuirasses and helmets (Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2002), 3:i-407; ch. 27).
How spiritually dangerous is it to set aside your shield of trust in Christ when you are in the middle of a struggle? The fiery darts are the temptations of the evil one. In ancient times, they would wet down their shields to help extinquish the flames. Marvin Richardson Vincent says, “Temptation is thus represented as impelled from a distance. Satan attacks by indirection — through good things from which no evil is suspected. There is a hint of its propagating power: one sin draws another in its track: the flame of the fire-tipped dart spreads. Temptation acts on susceptible material. Self-confidence is combustible (Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2002), 3:i-410).