WE ARE IN A SPIRITUAL FIGHT
May 21, 2023
Sermon Series: Spirit-Filled Living Is Essential for Christians
Book of Ephesians
Sermon # 11: WE ARE IN A SPIRITUAL FIGHT
On December 7, 1941, the United States was attacked by a surprising blow from Japanese military forces. President Franklin Roosevelt called it a “Day of Infamy.” The world found itself at war as nations prepared to send their armies into battle. World War II finally ended years later at a great cost to life and property. The world would never again be the same.
But has man learned from history? Learned how to prevent wars? No, history books are filled with wars and rumors of wars. The fact is, war between men is unavoidable and it will be until Jesus returns.
As bad as World War II was, there was an even greater day of infamy many years ago. Satan, in all of his deceptive cunning, convinced Adam and Eve to sin, breaking their fellowship with God. Upon their choice to sin, mankind reeled in suffering.
There are many today who act like this war is over. They do not believe that the devil is real. They do not take time to put on the armor of God. They do not know how to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
This section of Scripture is a call to Spiritual Warfare. To those who rest in the comforts and security of this world, this passage is a shock, an abrupt shock.
Paul has been discussing the believer’s walk (Eph. 4:1-6:9). Now suddenly he jolts the reader and hearer; he changes course. He says there is another way to look at the believer’s life in Christ. The believer’s life is a battlefield. Immediately upon receiving Christ, you find yourself in a constant struggle. You are engaged in an unceasing fight, an unending fight. You are a combatant, a soldier in conflict. Your calling is not to be a life of enjoyment and ease but to a life of hard conflict. There are foes within and foes without. From the cradle to the grave, there is a constant struggle against corruption that leads to death.
Therefore, unless we learn what the Bible tells us about Satan’s tactics and the spiritual weapons available to us, we are doomed to defeat. To win this spiritual fight, we must do at least three movements.
I. OUR ENEMY IN THIS FIGHT v. 11-12
A. Our enemy’s name – His name is Satan; the adversary. Devil reveals his character “slander, accuser.”
B. Our enemy’s nature v. 11-12 – These two verses tell us about his nature.
1. He is a shrewd enemy – The word “wiles” in verse 11 is the same word from which we get our English word “method”. The word implies deception or trickery, such as when Satan deceived Eve in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:13).
2. He is a spiritual enemy – Too often, we are guilty of fighting the wrong foe. We have a tendency to fight fellow believers. The devil is good at sowing discord among the brethren. Our spiritual battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (6:12).
This verse reveals there are different ranks, or positions, in Satan’s evil spirit world. However, Satan is unlike God, he is not omnipresent. The devil might work through people at times to get to us and cause us to stumble, but the real battle is fought on a spiritual level. We must never attack other people! Our battle is with an unseen army of spiritual enemies lead by the devil himself.
The key to defeating the devil is understanding how he works. And the secret to that is reading about him in the Word of God, (2 Tim. 2:15).
1. Our enemy in this fight
II. OUR ENERGY IN THIS FIGHT v. 10
The full armor of God is essential if we are to stand against the wiles of the devil. The word translated stand is a military term that refers to holding a position and offering no surrender. The word refers to something that is firmly fixed. It speaks of people who do not waiver. If we are to stand in this day of battle, then we must not only know our enemy, but we must possess energy for the battle.
We are told that the source of our energy is not within ourselves. That is good to know, because there are times when my energy run low. We are told, however, that we are to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” This means that we draw our strength from the “power of His might.” The word “might” means “force, strength and ability”’, and that the word “power” refers to God’s dominion and sovereign ability to exercise His power. Then it is easy to see how the Lord can strengthen and energize those who place their trust in Him.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Eph. 3:20).
1. Our enemy in this fight
2. Our energy in this fight
III. OUR EQUIPMENT IN THIS FIGHT v. 11a; 13-18
Using an analogy of a Roman foot soldier fully equipped for battle. Paul writes: put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:11a). A foot soldier would be foolish to go into battle without his whole armor in place, protecting him from head to toe. The same is true spiritually for you and me. If we omit just one piece of armor, some area of our lives will be exposed to spiritual attack. It has been said that a soldier is no better than his equipment. Paul has told us about our enemy and about our energy. Now, he takes the time to speak concerning our equipment.
A. Equipment that is designed to defend – Paul uses the image of a soldier’s armor to teach us about how we need to dress up for the day of battle.
1. Loins girt about with truth (6:14a) – the belt of truth. The belt was used to hold the soldier’s clothing next to his body. This kept his clothing from flapping about, allowing him freedom of movement. The belt was also used to strengthen and support the body.
The word truth refers to that which is true versus what is untrue. Every word in the Bible is true, and if God’s Word says something is sin that is the truth. If we are going to stand against the schemes of the devil, the first piece of spiritual armor we need is the truth of God’s Word.
2. The breastplate of righteousness (6:14b) – It covered the body of the soldier from the neck to the thighs. It gave protection to the vital organs, such as the heart and lungs. Specifically, the heart is in mind here. The breastplate of righteousness refers to practical righteousness, which means we do the right things, as God commands in His Word.
Being good, or having practical righteousness, is a much-needed defense against the Evil One.
Are you living according to God’s Word (2 Cor. 5:17)?
3. Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (6:15) – the sandals of the gospel. The sandals were a sign of readiness---readiness to march and to do battle. The Roman sandals were made with nails that gripped the ground firmly even when it was sloping or slippery. The soldier did not have to worry about his feet slipping in the heat of battle, for he was always well-grounded.
For the believer this reminds us that we are to be well grounded in the things of God. We must be prepared to share the gospel!
4. The shield of faith in God (6:16). The Roman foot soldier’s shield was about four feet high by two feet wide and was covered with treated leather to quench the ignited arrows shot by the enemy.
The believer is reminded that when he goes into battle, he must have in his possession the shield. Our shield is not leather, but our shield is faith. it is the shield that is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. It is a shield soaked in the water of the Word (Rom. 10:17). Psalm 18:30b, “He is a buckler (shield) to all those that trust in him.”
Note its importance: We are told that we are to have this article “above all”. Without faith we cannot serve God, nor can we please Him (Heb. 11:6).
5. The helmet of salvation (6:17) – The helmet covered the head and the mind of the soldier. A head wound is very serious because the rest of the body depends on the head. The phrase helmet of salvation means the Evil One tries to attack our minds causing us to doubt our salvation or lose the joy of our salvation.
If we are to be effective in the battle for the glory of God, then we must first be saved. Salvation provides the helmet that is necessary to protect our mind from the attacks of the enemy. When we are saved, we are transformed! It is this transformation that allows us to think right thoughts and wage holy war.
B. Equipment that is designed to defeat (6:17b-18)
1. The sword of the Spirit - The Roman foot soldier carried a short, razor sharp, two-edged sword. Our sharp sword is the word of God (6:17c). This doesn’t refer to the written Word of God (LOGOS, log’-os, (Heb. 4:12). The word here translated word is RHEMA (ray-mah), which refers to the spoken Word of God. The Holy Spirit makes God’s Word a powerful when we speak it as Jesus did when He was tempted (Mt. 4:1-11).
How do we resist temptation? By quoting the Bible!
2. The meeting room of the Spirit – the praying room of the spirit - the supernatural provision: PRAYER. Another advantage we have is that we have the ability to be in direct communication with our commanding officer at all times.
a. We must pray—always pray.
b. We must pray “in the Spirit,” that is, in the Holy Spirit of the only living and true God.
c. We must pray unselfishly – The soldier is not in battle alone; many are engaged in the same warfare. The outcome of the battle is determined by the welfare of all involved. We should always pray for one another!
To win this spiritual fight, we must do at least three movements:
1. Our enemy on this fight
2. Our energy in this fight
3. Our equipment in this fight
Responsive Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20