Summary: In the battle against spiritual enemies, we have to make sure that we are prepared for battle.
Nov. 5, 2000 Ephesians 6:10-13
“Spiritual warfare – stand your ground!”
1. Remember where your strength comes from. (vs. 10)
In the unchanging, unending power of the Lord - “be strong in the Lord”
One of the teachers at my wife’s school died on Friday. Her husband, Mr. Packard spoke at the funeral and talked about the source of his strength. His strength was not found in his wife. (Psalm 46) I spent a lot of time in the hospital this week. They took all the life-support off of Jim Morris on Wed. Then on Thursday, a new life came into the world – Nicholas Scott Elliott. Life changes. Anything and everything about your life could change at a moment’s notice. The only way that you can be safe is to base your source of strength on something that will never change.
What is the source of strength and stability in your life? If it is anything but the Lord, then you are walking on unsteady ground. The Lord is the only person in your life that never changes.
“dynamo” like the Energizer battery “It keeps going and going and going . . .”
(Isa 40:27-31 NIV) Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
In the hand that will not let me go – “in the power of his might”
This phrase could be very loosely translated, “In the grip of his hand.” We don’t have a hold on God. He has a hold on us.
(John 10:29 NIV) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
2. Remember why you are fighting. (vs. 11)
Because you will fall if you don’t fight – “so that . . . stand”
Because the enemy is tricky – “against the wiles of the devil”
3. Remember who your enemy is. (vs. 12)
Paul describes the battle as a “struggle”. The word which he uses here actually refers to wrestling. Now, he’s not talking about the WWF kind of wrestling where you bash the other guy’s head in with a chair or where you jump down off the ropes onto the guy’s chest. He’s talking about the kind that you see in a high school or college gymnasium. The kind where two guys are entwined with one another and are trying every kind of move that they can think of to pin the other guy to the ground. It’s the kind of battle where you have extremely close contact with one another.
Not people – “not flesh and blood”
Paul had just finished talking about husbands and wives, children and their parents, employers and their employees. It’s easy for each of these categories of people to fight with one another.
You are not my enemy. We may be mad with one another about something, but that does not mean that we are enemies. We are brothers and sisters. We are family. We need each other. [refer to church covenant portion of constitution] It is because we need each other that God gave the command for us to not forsake the gathering of ourselves with one another. You are only my enemy to the extent that you do not fight alongside with me or to the extent that you become a traitor and fight for the enemy.
Enemies deal with conflict either by avoiding one another or by attempting to destroy one another. True brothers who love one another deal with conflict by finding some way of resolving the situation – by seeking forgiveness, by remembering all that they have in common, by loving each other with the same kind of love that Jesus loves us. That’s the kind of love that puts the needs of the other person above my own needs. (Mat 5:23-24 NIV) "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
If I am not wrestling against you, then I must be wrestling with you. You know how you get first impressions of people when you first meet them. Two years ago, when I first met Mike Bullough, one of the first things that came into my mind was that he looks like one of those wrestlers that you might find on WWF. And then, when Mike Nicewarner became a part of this church, I thought, “Here, we have the perfect tag team.” If Mike Nicewarner was to shave off the sides of his beard, then they would be the perfect pair. If I preached on something controversial, I could have them stand beside me on either side of the pulpit, with their arms folded to protect me.