*Spiritual Warfare and the Armor of God*
/10 //Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
/11 //Put on the full armor of God /
/so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes./
/12 //For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, /
/but against the rulers, against the authorities, /
/against the powers of this dark world /
/and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
/13 //Therefore put on the full armor of God, /
/so that when the day of evil comes, /
/you may be able to stand your ground, /
/and after you have done everything, to stand.
/14 //Stand firm then, /
/with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, /
/with the breastplate of righteousness in place, /
/15 //and with your feet fitted /
/with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
/16 //In addition to all this, /
/take up the shield of faith, /
/with which you can extinguish /
/all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
/17 //Take the helmet of salvation /
/and the sword of the Spirit, /
/which is the word of God.
/18 //And pray in the Spirit on all occasions /
/with all kinds of prayers and requests.
/With this in mind, be alert /
/and always keep on praying for all the saints.
/19 //Pray also for me, /
/that whenever I open my mouth, /
/words may be given me /
/so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, /
/20 //for which I am an ambassador in chains.
/Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should./
Last week I was watching an interview on TV
where retired Israeli Defence Chief Yaalon Moshe
was giving his views on the situation in the Middle East.
He suggested that we are in the midst of a global conflict.
World War III is already underway, he said.
There is widespread disagreement about this,
but an increasing number of people believe
that September 11, 2001 was the event
that provoked and set in motion World War III.
Moshe commented that Terrorism is active
in all parts of the world:
in North America, Europe, the Middle East,
Sout-East Asia, and even Latin America.
This is a conflict that spans all continents,
And all countries involved form a coalition
To fight against a common enemy – namely terrorism.
In the media we hear such expressions as “war on terror”,
And those of you who have travelled recently
Have felt the impact of this global conflict.
In his “State of the Union Address” in January 2002
President George Bush identified the countries of
Irak, Iran & North Korea as the “Axis of Evil” –
To describe regimes that sponsor terrorism
And seek weapons of mass destruction.
Almost daily reports of suicide-bombers
and attempts to blow up airplanes
leave us with a sense that Satan is on the loose.
We have a clear sense that we no longer live
in a Christian world…
and that the world we live in does not hold to the values
and beliefs of the Christian faith of a generation ago.
Only ask your children and grandchildren, our young people,
who have no choice but to work on Sundays…
and who sit next to Hindu and Muslim kids in a school
where to recite the Lord’s prayer
is against the law.
In many ways, as Christians we live in Exile…
We are people of God
who live in a foreign land…
From the Word of God we know that
our homeland is not in this world…
And for us,
Homeland Security does not mean
that we carry weapons to protect ourselves
from those who want to overtake us.
For us, Homeland Security is the Promise of Eternal Life
that we have in Jesus Christ.
Our Kingdom is not of this world.
and yet we live in the world
that stands against the values of God.
One of the questions that we wrestle with as Christians today is,
*How shall we live as people of God*
*in a world that wages war against us?*
And where is God in all of this anyway?
What is the role of the Church
in an era that is no longer Church-friendly?
Will our children and grandchildren stand fast in the war
that rages for the soul?
In the book of Ephesians Paul writes
That the church might understand better
what God is up to in the world.
He explains to the church the *eternal purposes of God*
so that they will embrace the grace and hope
and see the high goals that God has for the church.
The letter starts with a sequence of God’s blessings,