Summary: To establish that the Christian must prepare to be fit-to-fight. Paul gives the saints at Ephesus their operations order to engage the forces of evil successfully. It outlines the enemy situation, rules of engagement, and equipment safeties (protections).
1. The Enemy Situation
1. This is lesson one in this sermon-series: “Fit-to-Fight,” “The Enemy Situation,” in “Ephesus’ Operations Order.” This lesson will deal with the saint’s need to understand the enemy situation in this fight: for the saint’s battle in their spiritual warfare, against the wiles of the devil and his allies. We will review Paul’s Operations Order (OPORD) written to Ephesus’ that would enable them: to be fit-to-fight! He wrote: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” Ephesians 6:10-11. This begins his final directives to the church. It constitutes an assured victory for them over the “wiles of the devil” in their warfare; and, to all the saints in every age, affording them the same triumph. This sermon uses elements of the Army’s 5 Paragraph Operations Order, Reference, 7, at the end of this lesson.
2. In lesson one, we will review the saint’s “situational awareness” regarding their enemy during this spiritual warfare. Paul mentions this twice in the text of emphasis. First, he wrote: “Put on the whole armor of God: that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” Ephesians 6:11. Second, he penned: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand,” Ephesians 6:13. The saints at Ephesus were given an OPORD to make them aware of the enemy’s situation during this spiritual warfare. Paul also instructs them to don the whole armor of God: that they may be able to stand against the wiles, i.e., the evil devices and works of the devil.
3. With this brief introduction behind us, let’s consider the first point, “the enemy situation.”
BODY OF LESSON
I THE ENEMY SITUATION
A. First, he wrote: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might,” Ephesians 6:10. Paul’s Letter to Ephesus was full of mysteries and instructions to these saints (Chapters 1-5). He now concludes his Letter to them. He states to them his last “finally.” This was a foundation for the purpose yet to come in this Letter. It had a dual purpose for the brethren (all saints). Observe--
1. Paul begins: "Finally, my brethren; that we must yet apply ourselves to our work and duty as Christ’s soldiers. Therefore, as good soldiers, it is burdened on us to be both strong-in-hearted and well-equipped for the battles that lay before us. Purpose one is that they “be strong in the Lord.”
2. Strong in the Lord. This was a theme throughout all Paul’s Letters to the saints: that they are to be strong in the Lord. Our strength for this warfare begins, continues, and will end by being strong in the Lord. This is a bold appeal for the soldiers of the Lord; to be of good courage and unafraid during their engagement with the forces of evil and the evil one himself.
NOTE: Illustrate “Jehovah’s encouragement and assurances to Joshua,” Joshua 1:1; Joshua 1:5-9. He said: “As I was with Moses: so shall I be with you. Be strong and very courageous; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest,” Joshua 5:13-15. He promised to be with Joshua in all of his battles. You can read about Jehovah’s strategies to take the city of Jericho, Joshua 6:1-27. It will encourage your hearts!
a. This is a lifetime of warfare; it is unending until we are called from labor to reward. It is such; because we struggle with the typical trials and temptations of our lives while living in the flesh. This is spiritual warfare. We have put down a life living after the flesh; to be engaged in the war against the forces of the flesh: sin, wickedness, and evil lusts and enticements, James 1:13-15.
b. It is so also; because we struggle against the powers of darkness and with evil forces that threaten our spiritual life and favor with the Lord, our heavenly Father, and our hope of eternal life in glory.
c. We have enemies that we fight against, a Captain that we fight with, a banner we fight under, and rules of engagement that regulate our conduct during these conflicts. Purpose two that they (are) to be strong in the power of His might. Observe--
3. The power of His might. Ephesus’ OPORD directed that they were to be strong in the Lord and the power of His strength. We must take a closer look at these powerful words outlining their actions in their original language.
a. First, be strong. The word “strong” in Gr., is endynamoo or en-dü-nä-mo'-o, which means to empower:—enable, (increase in) strength (-en), be (make) strong; to receive power, or to be strengthened, 1 Timothy 1:12; Philippians 4:13.