Summary: 3 of 11. Paul closes his direction to the Ephesian church by encouraging them to find their strength in the Lord. But where or how can God's people find the strength to stand victorious? God’s people acquire strength to stand victorious thru a distinct...
STRENGTH To STAND-III—Ephesians 6:10-20
Bigger Than Ever!
There were two old mountaineers were living in the backwoods of the Ozarks: Rufus & Clarence.
They lived on opposite sides of the river & they hated each other. Every morning, just after sunup, Rufus & Clarence would go down to their respective sides of the river & yell at each other.
“Rufus!” Clarence would shout, "You better thank your lucky stars that I can't swim, er I'd swim this river & whup you!"
“Clarence!” Rufus would holler back, “You better thank YOUR lucky stars that I can't swim, er I'd swim this river & whup YOU!"
Every morning. Every day. For 20 years. Neither one of ‘em even remembered why he was mad at the other one.
One day the Army Corps of Engineers came along & built a bridge. But the insults went on every morning. Every day. Another five years goes on.
Finally, Rufus' wife had had enough. “Rufus!” she squallered one day, “I can't take no more! Every day for 25 years you've been threatenin' to whup Clarence. Well, thar's the bridge! Have at it!”
Rufus thought for a moment. Chewed his bottom lip for another moment.
“Woman!" he declared, snapping his suspenders into place. "I'm gonna whup Clarence!"
He walked out the door, down to the river, along the riverbank, came to the bridge, stepped up onto the bridge, walked onto the roadway & stopped at the first truss over the bridge, he looked up for a second, then turned tail & ran screaming back to the house, slammed the door, bolted the windows, grabbed the shotgun, grabbed his wife, & then dove under the bed.
“Rufus!" cried the missus. "I thought you was gonna whup Clarence!”
“I was, woman, I was!" he nervously whispered.
“What in tarnation is the matter?"
“Well, it’s jist that Clarence ain't never looked that big from the other side of the river!” “I walked onto the bridge & there was an official lookin’ yeller & black sign hangin’ over the bridge entrance warnin’ ever’body comin’ onto that bridge, about Clarence!” It read 'Clearance, 13 feet, 6 inches!’
Likewise, God’s people need strength to stand in the storms of life!
Paul closes his revelation/direction to the Ephesian church by encouraging them to find their strength in the Lord by effectively arming themselves.
The church must acquire God’s strength to stand victorious.
Where is the church’s strength to stand victorious?
How can the church find strength to stand victorious?
12 distinctions of the Christian soldier’s strength for victory.
We have found that—
...God’s people acquire strength to stand victorious..or..acquire victory thru a distinct...
3—God’s people acquire strength to stand victorious thru a distinct...
:12—“For we do not wrestle against flesh & blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
“In the ultimate sense, the church’s battles with Satan are already won.”—MNTC
However, the lot of the Christian’s life here on earth, is to “wrestle” &/or struggle &/or battle. To “wrestle” is to be involved in a chosen contest of strength, ability & strategy. It involves knowledge of one’s own abilities as well as the weaknesses & strengths of one’s opponent.
How do we approach or what happens when we “wrestle against” mere “flesh & blood.”...We use fleshly means. There is no need for additional means because the “wrestling” is limited & confined to mere “fleshy” & thus natural ability.
Technically, the Greek reads ‘blood & flesh.’
The Christian’s wrestling/battle is all inclusive of both fleshly & spiritual realms, that is, every realm of existence & reality.
The spiritual realm of wickedness is organized & ordered. The devil seeks to usurp God & God’s kingdom, which is organized & ordered & arranged hierarchically. Thus Satan’s kingdom is organized & ordered & arranged hierarchically.
There are aspects of demonic wickedness which we seldom take into account. The devil himself leads/commands a limited number of demonic hosts—a full 1/3 of the angelic hosts of heaven(Rev. 12:3-5).
These are described as “spiritual hosts of wickedness.” The concept of “hosts” is actually only implied. Perhaps ‘aspects’ or ‘manifestations’ would suffice as well to describe the ‘spirituals of wickedness.’
The ‘spirituals of wickedness’ are located or originate “in” “the heavenly places” or actually “heavenlies,” being the spiritual ‘aspects’ or ‘manifestations’ of the unseen spiritual world of the heavens. This probably correspond to “the power of the air,” of which Satan/the devil is it’s prince(Eph. 2:2)(EBC).
These ‘spirituals of wickedness’ describe the ordered sinister influences(EBC) which are encountered/arranged as “principalities” or rulers(arch--plural). They are the multiple heads who maintain the initiation & maintenance or active cause of “wickedness” in the heavenlies. The “spiritual forces of wickedness” also wield various “powers”(exousia) with which the Christian/church is continuously engaged in “wrestling.” These are recognized by their particular “powers” wielded. These are recognized “powers” in that they have liberty of action, possessing a particular degree of authority in their “wickedness.”