Summary: In his concluding exhortations to the Ephesians, Paul calls Christians to be strong and stand firm in their battle against evil.
Focus: In his concluding exhortations to the Ephesians, Paul calls Christians to be strong and stand firm in their battle against evil.
Function: To call Christians to active service against the evil of our world by trusting in the power of God.
Just imagine the hot sun blazing down on the barren landscape of the Middle East. The commander had told his people that they would be moving out in three days to begin their mission to take the city by force. Two Special Forces Operatives were sent into the city to scope it out – to find out if the people within the city were really as afraid of the impending battle as the commander had been led to believe. They should have been. This was going to be no ordinary battle in a very unconventional war with very unconventional weapons, unlike any ever seen!
And as the army no doubt anxiously prepared for invasion, Joshua, commander of the Israelite army, heard from Central Command as recorded in Joshua chapter 1.
6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be
strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you
may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you
may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong
and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (NIV)
Like a high ranking General to his troops, as they were about to face war, God wanted to exhort Joshua and his men to ‘Be Strong & Courageous’ that He would be with them through it all! What reassuring words those must have been to men about to march into harm’s way!
Paul has the same thing in mind in the text that ___________ just read from Eph. 6.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against
the devil’s schemes. (NIV)
Remember, as we’ve moved through Ephesians over the last three months, we’ve seen Paul describe the wonder and privilege it is to be in Christ AND how he has implored his readers to live lives worthy of that call of Christ!
In 4:1, he urged them to ‘walk worthy’ of their call in several ways . . . 1) by preserving unity; 2) by being different from the world
around them; 3) and by being pure- avoiding any hint of sexual immorality! In 4:21, he began emphasizing that part of this call
involved ‘submitting to one another’; we submit to one another as a family of God, in our marriages, in our families, with our parents and in our work places. And now, as he begins to wrap it up, he sets forth both an effective summary and a great challenge! It’s a call to ACTION!
As if preparing for battle, Christians need to be prepared for what the world has in store for us! ‘Right living’ doesn’t happen by accident! It takes diligence and training! It takes a ready knowledge of the weapons of battle! And it takes a healthy respect for the enemy!
Paul is saying in this text, “Folks, don’t you know, there’s a war on!”
This is a Call to Battle!
Why are Christians called to ‘be strong’ and in vs. 14 to ‘stand firm’? Because there’s a war on and Christians are to stand up and fight; not sit idly by and watch the enemy take one victory after another! There’s a war on– but its not a war over land or
politics or power . . .it’s a war for the souls of men and women. The word for ‘struggle’ in vs. 12 is a word used nowhere else in the N.T. but is used in other writings to refer to wrestling and can be used to mean ‘fight’ or ‘battle.’
Paul doesn’t want to leave the wrong impression, living the Christian life (walking worthy of our call) CAN be a difficult struggle! The world doesn’t necessarily help us out very much! We hear the words, ‘avoid any hint of sexual immorality’ but then we’re bombarded with sexual images on our televisions and movie screens. We hear the words, ‘husbands love your wives’, but then we see our co-workers openly cheating on theirs; We hear the words, ‘children, obey your parents in the Lord’ but kids are taught to be adults long before they’re ready; and parents can be tempted to be their kids friends before being their parent. The call to the Christian life; the call to Christ; is a radical Counter-Cultural Call! And it’s a struggle!