Summary: Sermon for the 13th Sunday After Penetecost
Ephesians 6: 10 – 20 / Standing Against The Devil
Intro: In his book, “Fuzzy Memories,” Jack Handey writes about a bully who would demand his lunch money every day. Jack was smaller and an easy target, so he just gave the bully the money. One day jack decided to fight back and started taking karate lessons which cost $5 each which was a lot of money to Jack. He decided it was easier and cheaper to pay the bully, so he gave up karate.
I. Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, there is an active power of evil in this world; but, we find it easier to give in and pay the price rather than stand our ground and fight.
A. VS. 11 – Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Actually, 2 words stuck out at me when I read this passage: 1) devil and 2) schemes.
B. The word translated here as schemes is the Greek word methodeia (μεθοδία) It is translated in varying ways: trickery, scheming, craftiness or methods.
C. Someday someone is going to ask you to lie for them to cover for a mistake. Someone is going to offer you something you know you should reject; but you’ll take it because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Someday you will be offered something you’ve wanted for a long time; but, in order to get it, you will have to compromise your commitment to God. This is the way Satan works: through craftiness, deception and trickery.
II. Biblically speaking, evil does exist in the world. There is an evil presence that needs to be renounced and fought against.
A. The Greek word for devil (δίάβολος) is a combination of two words: dia (δία - through) and the verb ballo (βάλλό - to cast) Putting the 2 words together implies that the devil is one who works through casting doubt or falsely accuses and therefore divides people without any reason.
B. Throughout the Bible, the Devil / Satan is portrayed as and accuser or slanderer. He is called this because he accused or slandered God in paradise in Genesis 3: 5 – “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
C. Many believe Satan is the opposite of God, the evil mirror image of God. That’s not true. Satan is more like the opposite, evil equal of an angel. Evil is a very present force in our lives. There is evil in the world and it is a powerful force. All you have to do is read any newspaper headline.
III. Most of us don’t renounce evil. We don’t even like to admit that it exists.
A. There is an old Arab folktale that goes like this. A man was in his tent at night. He lit a candle and reached over and got a fig. He opened the fig and saw it was full or worms. He threw it away and reached for another which was also full of worms. He reached for yet another only to find it and several others were full of worms. Finally, he blew out the candle, reached for a fig and unable to see if it was full of worms or not, ate it in the darkness. Some of us are like that man. Thinking that what we don’t know won’t hurt us.
B. VSS. 13 – 17 tell us how to stand up to evil. However, it is very difficult to stand up against something you don’t recognize as evil. Where do we draw the line? Where do we take our stand?
C. For some, there is no Satan. All the evil that happens is due to society’s influence, genetic forces, birth order or anything else. Still others believe there is a Satan / Devil, a supernatural evil force that we can blame because we all know “it’s NOT MY FAULT!”
Conclu: VSS. 18 – 20 lays out the battle plan for us. We are to be united in Christ Jesus and “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” The devil fears prayer because he knows what a powerful, vital force it is when set against him.
We cannot be like the man eating worm-infested figs in the dark. We are at war whether we want to admit it or not. Many times it appears as though Satan is winning.
My grandfather was fond of saying, “Some people will stand for nothing and fall for anything.”
That is exactly how the devil wins!