Summary: We are in a life and death struggle with the forces of Satan's kingdom...and because of that it is crucial that we put on the full armor of God.
THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD
We've been examining the subject of spiritual warfare...and last week we saw that the war we're involved in is against a highly organized kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan. And it is a kingdom of demons...evil spirit-beings whose headquarters are in the heavenly realms.
Now the real battleground, as we've already discussed, is in the mind. Satan's main strategy is to build up strongholds of prejudice and unbelief in the minds of people to keep them from receiving the truth of the gospel.
So as Christians, our task is to tear down these mental strongholds...to release these people from Satan's deception...and then bring them into obedience and submission to Christ. That's what spiritual warfare is all about...that's what we've been called to do. And our ability to achieve this God-given task depends upon 2 things:
First - we must see from Scripture, and believe without any doubt, that Jesus totally defeated Satan on our behalf...and as we saw last week - it is now our responsibility to demonstrate the victory that Christ has already won. Second-it's imperative that we make proper use of the spiritual weapons God's given us so we can demonstrate that victory.
Now, the spiritual weapons we've been given fall into 2 main categories...weapons of defense and weapons of attack. Today I want to begin to examine this first category - weapons of defense...and I'll be using Ephesians 6:10-17 as my guide. (READ)
We are in a life and death struggle with the forces of Satan's kingdom...and because of that it is crucial that we put on the full armor of God. I think it's very significant that Paul mentions this fact twice - in verse 11 & 13. This is a clear warning that we must be fully equipped when we engage the enemy of our souls.
One of the major reasons for our spiritual difficulties and defeat is the simple fact that, aside from not knowing who our enemy is and how he works, we go off to fight the devil in our own strength...with "willpower"...what we believe is common sense...and usually with no thought about planning any strategy or relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.
But Paul says so clearly that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal...and if you look up the word carnal in the dictionary it'll say this..."pertaining to the flesh - as opposed to the spirit." The spiritual fight goes against everything our natural inclination would lead us to do. That's why there is so much destruction in the church...because we fail to understand the truth of just how we are to engage in this spiritual warfare.
Paul also says in verse 13 that we need the full armor to be able to stand our ground when the day of evil comes. Now what does it mean by the day of evil? Some would say this refers to a last days event when the anti-christ is revealed on earth...a time during the tribulation period. But the context shows no such thing.
This refers to something that every Christian will go through. This is the time when you will be confronted by the forces of evil...this is where your faith will be challenged...it is a time when it seems like every kind of opposition and problem you could imagine will come against you.
And according to Paul...this is a certainty for all truly born-again Christians - you will face the evil day. And if you truly serve the Lord wholeheartedly - it will happen more than once in your lifetime.
*** Do you remember the parable Jesus gave about the 2 men who built houses? The wise man built his house on rock...but the foolish man built his on sand. The first stood firm but the second collapsed.
The difference between these 2 wasn't the tests that came...because each one faced the same test. It was the same wind, rain, storm and flood that came against them. The difference was the foundation on which they were built...this was the defense against the wind and the rain that came.
Nowhere in Scripture do we find any indication at all that we'll escape the tests and trials of Satan. In fact, there are many, many Scriptures that show the exact opposite. We will not escape the day of evil when the onslaught of the enemy comes. We better be prepared for it. You better have a good foundation. And that is why Paul says to put on the FULL armor of God!
And I think this is one of Satan's greatest triumphs...because he's got so many of God's people so deceived about spiritual warfare and also the power of the Risen Lord - that at the first sign of trouble...or after a little opposition they turn and run. They just quit...and it would be bad if they just quit church but what really happens is...they quit God!