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).
2. The Engagement Strategies
1. This is lesson two in this sermon-series: “Fit-to-Fight,” “The Engagement Strategies” in “Ephesus’ Operations Order.” This lesson will deal with the saint’s need to understand the battle environment and rules of engagement: for their battle in the 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 two, we will consider the saint’s engagement strategies in sustained warfare: during their temptations, trials, and spiritual conflicts. Paul mentions: “For we (you and I) wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” Ephesians 6:12. These are the devil's principalities, powers, rulers of this world's darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places (above the earthly realm). Paul was currently engaged in a battle for the gospel's message; he waged within the household of Caesar and the Roman government: while a prisoner of Rome.
3. With this brief introduction behind us, let’s consider lesson two, in this sermon-series: “the engagement strategies.”
BODY OF LESSON
II THE ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES
A. Paul mentions: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood.” There is warfare, a “battle of life,” that all must assume while looking at the world's current condition. There can be no question whether we wrestle or war against flesh and blood, or even against evil powers in the world. We see conflicts and hear of wars and rumors of war. Jesus promised: “There shall be wars and rumors of wars,” Matthew 24:6; Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9. But these are not the wars Paul writes about unto the saints at Ephesus. He wrote--
1. First, to the Hebrews: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He (Jesus) also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to (fear and) bondage,” Hebrews 2:14-15. David wrote: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints,” Psalms 116:15. The Lord--
b. But, His conflict was not with or among enemies of “flesh and blood.”
c. It was against the “principalities and powers of the devil.”
2. Further, to Corinth: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds); Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled,” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. Our warfare—
a. Not after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds).
b. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.
c. Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
d. And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
e. Conclusion: Paul reminds the saints that though they were in the body, they walked not after the flesh. Similarly, though we do war, our weaponry is not carnal; but, mighty through God; who hath given us the victory over the law of sin and death, through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is Christ that enables me to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God: whether it be philosophies, human wisdom, principalities, powers, or the rulers of the darkness of this world: bringing into captivity every thought, word or deed to the obedience of Christ. I am set with the message of Christ: to preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted; to bring deliverance to the captives; to recovering the sight of the blind; and to set at liberty them that are bruised: to preach a sufficient time for the Lord, till your obedience is fulfilled.