Summary: We are engaged in a spiritual battle, and we must hold our ground at all costs.
The Battle In Christ
Text: Eph. 6:10-20
1. Illustration: Video clip from the movie "Gettysburg." Scene 28. Key phrase, "We’ve got to hold it!"
2. It is fitting that this text, which may be one of the richest text in all of the New Testament, occurs at the end of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. For it is the culmination of all that Paul has said previously in the letter.
3. He has talked about:
a. How we have been blessed with "every spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms in Christ."
b. How we have been brought from death to life in Christ.
c. How God has revealed His plan to us in Christ.
d. How God has made us a part of His family in Christ.
e. How we should be imitators of God in Christ.
f. How we must come to grips with our new identity in Christ.
4. Now comes the culmination of all he has said. We are in a spiritual battle, and we must hold our ground in Christ.
5. Paul talks about:
a. The equipment for battle.
b. The orders for battle.
c. The army for battle.
6. Read Eph. 6:10-20
Proposition: We are engaged in a spiritual battle, and we must hold our ground at all costs.
Transition: First, let us consider...
I. The Equipment for the Battle (14-18)
A. God’s Armor
1. We will begin by looking at v. 14, which starts out with "Stand your ground..."
a. This is a call to arms.
b. It is a warning to anticipate battle.
c. It is not a matter of if, but when!
d. Paul’s cry is "the fight is coming, so prepare yourself for battle!"
2. However, Paul wants us to realize that we are a well equipped army. He says, "...putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness."
a. The several items of the soldier’s armor appear in the order in which they would be put on. Together they comprise the panoplia worn before taking the field. It indicates that as soldiers of Christ we are well armed and protected.
b. First of all, the belt tied tightly around the waist indicated that the soldier was prepared for action (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM:Ephesians/Exposition of Ephesians).
c. Before a soldier could put on the rest of the armor, the belt had to be tightened to bind the loose flowing garments worn in their day, so he could enjoy freedom of movenment (Rossier, CBL: Ephesians, 171).
d. We are to stand in and with the truth of the gospel.
e. Jude 1:3 (NLT)
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people.
f. We cannot budge when it comes to God’s truth. We must remain firm and immovable.
3. He talks about "the body armor of God’s righteousness."
a. The "breastplate" (thorax) covered the body from the neck to the thighs.
b. Polybius tells us that it was known as a heart-protector. Usually it was made of bronze but the more affluent officers wore a coat of chain mail (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM:Ephesians/Exposition of Ephesians).
c. We need to notice here that this piece of the armor, which protects the major part of the body as well as the major organs, is not our righteousness but God’s.
d. Our righteousness is as filthy rags, but God’s righteousness is powerful enough to protect our hearts.
4. Paul continues his description of the armor with "For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared."
a. Once the breastplate has been fitted into position, the soldier puts on his strong army boots.
b. Josephus described them as "shoes thickly studded with sharp nails" (War VI.1.8) so as to ensure a good grip.
c. "Those who must at all costs stand their ground need to have a secure footing; in the spiritual conflict, this is supplied by the gospel, appropriated and proclaimed" (Bruce, NICNT: Ephesians, 408).
d. As we preach the gospel, both in season and out of season, we are making our foot sure and enabling ourselves to stand in the face of the Devil.
5. Next, Paul says, "In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil."
a. With the shield, Paul has in mind the large shield Roman infantry used to protect their whole bodies.
b. Such shields were four feet tall and two and one-half feet wide and were constructed of leather stretched over wood, reinforced with metal at the top and bottom.