Summary: Exposition regarding spiritual warfare from Ephesians 6 about putting on the armor of God and entering the battle
Text: Ephesians 6:10-20, Title: Warring in the Spirit, Date/Place: 5/23/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: “The unprepared believer becomes a defeated believer who seeks to serve the Lord in his own wisdom and power.” –JM, Baseball kids coming to the game without their hat vs. w/o a cup,
B. Background to passage: in Ephesians Paul has dealt with some large theological and ecclesiological themes, and he has been very practical with his talk of putting on the new man and being filled with the Spirit. So here he is preparing the church for spiritual warfare. He gives us the most direct instruction on it in this text. And on the heels of last weeks message about territorial spirits and spiritual warfare, I want to follow up with exactly what Paul does; prepare you to go to war in the Spirit. For if you are convinced of the reality of the demonic schemes in your family, your workplace, your neighborhood, your church, I want you to go to war. Passivity is a really bad option when others’ spiritual health rests upon our warfare.
C. Main thought: So as you prepare, take up, put on, strap tight the full armor of God that you might stand
D. Secondary intro: Satan’s schemes come in many shapes and sizes, read MacArthur’s brief list. But Paul commands us to “stand” or resist Satan’s deceptions. The military language means to hold a crucial position under attack. Because his goal is to get you to fall, here are some ways, Mac 9 ways. And this is not only an instruction to individuals, you have a responsibility to be strong in the Lord as an individual for the church. We are to be strong together. We are vulnerable as a body at the points of weakness. The language here is not only military and corporate, but it is close combat. There are no unmanned drones, or computer guided smart-bombs, you must fight hand-to-hand. So here’s how he says to prepare to meet thy enemy:
A. Tie up loose ends (v. 14)
1. This command deals with the clothing worn by soldiers in this day. The long tunic they wore was very loose fitting for comfort in between combat. But when fight time came they would tuck it in and tie it up with a belt, so that it would not hinder them in fierce hand to hand combat. So Paul says to tie up the loose ends of your Christian walk with truth, and be prepared to fight.
2. 2 Sam 18:9, Isa 11:5,
3. Illustration: we use the phrase all the time, “tying up loose ends” meaning that we are getting all the details ready for a smooth action, process, or procedure. “Engaging in spiritual warfare is fortifying our lives against the enemy by applying the Gospel to every part of our lives (i.e., our relationships, our dreams, our self-esteem, our suffering, our joys, our hopes). Any part of us that is not saturated with the Gospel is subject to manipulation by our enemy for our destruction.” –JD Greear,
4. The belt of truth helps guard against deception and lies of the enemy, because it leaves no snags to catch the thorns. The knowledge of God’s truth will dispel many attacks. The word also helps us in sanctification to throw off hypocrisy. Therefore to put on the belt of truth, you must be self-disciplined to read, study, memorize, and understand the applications of the truth of God’s word. You must also be committed to fight for Christ. Those that don’t gird up the loose ends are probably not going to fight.
B. Walk in Holiness (v. 14)
1. This plate went from the neck to the thighs of a man. It was also called “the heart protector.” It was to guard all the vital organs of the soldier. Paul says guard your vitals by living in godliness. Figuratively, believers fail when they begin to think wrong thoughts and feel wrong feelings.
2. Eph 4:27, Heb 12:15, Isa 59:17
3. Illustration: how many teachers, leaders, pastors, church members allowed sin to come in and get a foothold only to cause them so much pain they leave the church, and wallow in a lifestyle of sin…I could give you a list of leaders that have fallen, and more that will soon fall.
4. The heart and mind are the entry points and the site of most attacks. Holiness will guard your heart and mind from temptation, sin, and guilt that follows failure. One of the main ways to battle demons is to live in righteousness and not give them a foothold. Lack of holiness can be the death of your spiritual life. It can and will cause fruitlessness. Wanna guard against the demonic? Fight against sin, pursue holiness.
C. Train swift gospel feet (v. 15)