Summary: Instruction on battling Satan and his schemes.
The Battle of the Church
Text: Ephesians 6:10-20
Introduction: True story....A Christian leader was traveling recently by plane. He noticed that the man sitting two seats over was thumbing through some little cards and moving his lips. The man looked to be in his fifties and somewhat professorial with his goatee and graying brown hair.
Guessing that he was a fellow-believer, the Christian leader leaned over to engage him in conversation. "Looks to me like you’re memorizing something," he said. "No, actually I was praying," replied the other man. "I believe in prayer too," the Christian leader responded. "Well, I have a specific assignment," said the man with the goatee. "What’s that?" "I’m praying for the downfall of Christian pastors."
Surprised, the Christian leader said, "I would certainly fit into that category. Is my name on the list?" "Not on my list," the man replied.
Stories like this can make us uneasy, but they also remind us that we are firmly entrenched in the midst of a spiritual conflict.
While the outcome has already been determined by Christ’s victory over sin and death (See 1 Corinthians 15:56-57) 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
the battle rages on. The enemy, the Devil, seeks to rob God of glory by leading men and women on a pathway of rebellion (See Ephesians 2:1-21 1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
So it becomes important for Christians to take time every now and then to review our understanding of this ongoing spiritual war lest we become casualties in this great battle.
Background: Though the church at Ephesus was undergoing only minimum persecution from without at the time this letter was written (See Acts 19:23-29), they were experiencing some conflict from within.
Some influential, yet ignorant men (See 1 Timothy 1:6-7) 6from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. were teaching false doctrine, propagating fables and genealogies (See 1 Timothy 1:3-4) 3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith and putting forth ideas such as the forbidding of marriage and abstaining from certain foods (See 1 Timothy 4:3). 1Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Paul understood that they constituted a very real danger to the believers in that city and so he warned Timothy to guard what had been entrusted to his care (See 1 Timothy 6:20). 20O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—21by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
Yet he never considered that the battle was to be fought against flesh and blood (i.e. other people). The real conflict was of a spiritual nature.
I. Our adversary in warfare
(See Ephesians 6:10-13). 10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of £the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Make no mistake, our enemy is the Devil. He is constantly scheming to ruin mankind.
A. Here are some of Satan’s schemes for unbelievers.
1. He blinds the minds of unbelievers (See 2 Corinthians 4:4). 4whose minds the god of this
age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is
the image of God, should shine on them.
2. He snatches away the Word of God (See Matthew 13:19). 19When anyone hears the word
of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away