Summary: A fresh look at Ephesians where we look at 1) The heavenly battle 2) The methods of attack 3) The prayer of the warrior
This week there has been much in the news about Britain’s involvement in Iraq, and North Koreas nuclear missile attempts. The “war against terror” looks set to continue for some time to come yet, and as one looks around the world battles, skirmishes and wars continue to rage. And here in the UK we are apparently fortunate as it has been 260 years since a battle has been fought on our land was the Battle of Culloden fought between the supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie and George II.And the defeat of the Scots by the English so accurately so well captured in Braveheart. And yet the passage we are going to look at today is a reminder that 260 years may have passed since the last physical battle on our – but that we are actually in a daily battle whether we know it or not.
Last week we looked at the reality of the kingdom of God – and the good news that the kingdom is a reality, that we have God’s RULE right now, God’s POWER right now, God’s FUTURE here now, ND God’s GOOD NEWS here now. And that is good news and in the book of Ephesians before we reach our passage – Paul has been talking about the importance of unity in the body of Christ that Christ has reconciled us to himself to create one people and that we are now to live as children of light in renewed relationships with each other. But here in this passage there is a storm cloud looming on the horizon – all is not sunshine and long summer days – with lemonade as we laze in our deck chairs. The bad news is that there is a conflict to be involved in, a battle to be fought, a war to be won, and that whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, whether we feel it or not we are involved in this.
This morning we will be looking at this passage from Ephesians. There are 3 areas that I want us to consider as we go through this passage.
1) The heavenly battle
2) The methods of attack
3) The prayer of the warrior
The heavenly battle
Read vs. 12 Friends it is for good reason that Paul says in v12 that our battle is not against flesh and blood – often we can feel that others are against us, work can be hard, people can be unloving, our boss could be less than desired – the phone company could be a pain in the neck. But Paul is wanting to divert our attention away from what is seen to the unseen that behind all the forces of evil. On one side is you, and on the other side are the devils schemes rulers, authorities, powers and the spiritual forces of evil. That whether you know it or not you are in a battle. If God intends harmony the devil intends discord, if God intends transformation the devil will instill lethargy, If God intends creating a united new society the devil intends to destroy it. But lest we see a devil under every stone – the one caveat I want to say is that the Bible has relatively little to say about the devil and his schemes and the spiritual forces of evil. Scripture seems to merely glance at the subject and then look away, So it is important that we beware having a big devil and a small God. The reality of a dark side is all we need to know.
But as every good strategist knows to win a battle and win a victory you need to study the enemy. CHURCHILL WORLD WAR 2. Play out many strategies on a grand battle board – spies were sent to infiltrate to understand their movements their actions, and codes were cracked so that he could understand their every move. And so today I want us to spend some time understanding the enemy we face
The methods of attack –
Recently watched the Last Samurai with Tom Cruise – and there is a poignant scene where he gets prepared for his final battle – getting dressed in all his armour, and then as he leaves his house one of the other Samurai – pulls on his breastplate to ensure it is on firm enough. And in the someway when we come to this passage in Scripture Paul is wanting to check whether our armour is on firmly. Yet often when we come to this passage we look at what each piece of armour is there to do. But as Paul starts the passage he tells us to put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand. That phrase “the day of evil” is an interesting phrase – it suggests that not all days are the same and that some days may give more opportunities for evil than others. But what matters most is that we are prepared. STORY OF AFFAIR – HITTING A KID, LOSING TEMPER AT A CHURCH MEETING. You see the armour of God is given to defend ourselves against attack – so as we look at the 6 pieces of armour – I want us to consider what they are there to oppose – because as Churchill knew by understanding how we are attacked we are better able to defend ourselves.