Summary: As Christians, we are to be continually ready for battle with the enemy. Truth, righteousness and confidence in our reconciled standing before God will give us the strength to stand ready for the battle.
1. The first key to readiness is standing resolute before the enemy (6:14a)
2. The second key to readiness is standing righteous before the enemy (6:14b)
3. The third key to readiness is standing reconciled before the enemy (6:15)
I read in the news that Russia tested some new missiles this week. For several years, America has been testing a new missile defense system. It has passed enough tests that plans are being made to deploy parts of the system to Europe soon. As a matter of fact, we are planning on sending systems to Poland and the Czech Republic. As you know, those are now NATO nations, but they used to be part of the Soviet Union. Apparently all of that missile defense activity has made the Russians unhappy. On Tuesday, they had a news conference about their missile tests. Of all the claims they made about their successful missile tests, one stood out. Vladimir Putin said, “As of today, Russia has new tactical and strategic complexes that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defense systems.” Wow, that’s a blast from the past, isn’t it? If I didn’t know better, I would have thought I was reading news from 20 or 25 years ago. Missile shields and ICBMs were common newsmakers during the Cold War, but who would have expected that we would be talking about them again? I pray that those days don’t come back. Those are some “good old days” I can do without. You remember those days—the world was divided into two camps—NATO headed by America and the Warsaw Pact headed by the Soviet Union. We were in a huge arms race including a nuclear arms race. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, large portions of the public lived in fear of “the bomb.” But that fear was turned to preparation. People built bomb shelters out of fear of nuclear war. They stocked up and stored food and supplies. Nuclear bomb drills were more common in schools than fire drills. The government’s official policy was containment, but the military’s official policy was readiness. Of course, nobody wanted nuclear war to happen. The potential for destruction was unimaginable. But the key was for everyone to be ready in case it did. Drills in school were designed to make the children ready for an attack. Bomb shelters in public buildings and even homes were designed to make the public ready for an attack. Constant drills and exercises were designed to make the military ready for an attack. The key to America being able to stand against an enemy as evil and powerful as the Soviet Union was our readiness. Readiness for their attack. As Christians we have an enemy that is far more powerful than the Soviet Union ever was. He is far more powerful than any weapon man can build. As Christians, he can’t have our soul, but he can destroy us. He can devour us. He can destroy our testimony. He can destroy our purpose. He can destroy our effectiveness for the kingdom. He can even destroy our physical lives. His mission is to turn people away from God. And you, Christian, are what God has chosen to stand in his way. When you have true spiritual wisdom by being filled with the Holy Spirit. When you walk worthy of your calling and show evidence by your praise, your thankfulness and your humble submission. When you are that kind of Christian, you are Satan’s biggest enemy. And he comes against his enemies. As Christians, we are to be continually ready for battle with our enemy. After giving the command to take up the whole armor of God, Paul begins to list and describe each piece. He did that so the Ephesian Christians would be able to stand ready for anything the devil would throw at them. That’s what I want for us this morning. I want each of us to stand ready before our enemy. In order to do that we’re going to look at the first three pieces of armor Paul describes. The pieces permanently worn as a matter of preparation and readiness. Those pieces will show us three keys to standing ready before our enemy. The first key to readiness is standing resolute before the enemy. Look with me in the first part of verse 14: