What Protection Do We Have?
Psalms Now # 42.
Ephesians 6: 10 – 18.
Do we celebrate joyfully what God has done for us? Scripture tells us to rejoice and be glad, and I preached on being Joyful and Rejoicing in the Lord a couple of weeks ago. But some of us are not obviously rejoicing and not particularly glad. There are many reasons for this – sickness, family problems, money problems, depression and doubt. Many of these things are natural to our human life, and the Lord can bear us up through them, but others are caused by spiritual influences that we let into our lives.
Satan is active in this world – even if we don’t believe in him, he believes in us, and is after us to cause us to fall. 2 Cor. 11: 3 – 4. 1 Peter 5: 8 – 9. Even Jesus after His baptism went into the desert and was tempted by the Devil. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews says “He was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” It is natural that we – living in the world – the realm of Satan – should fall under his temptation, but we as Christians do have defences given us by our Lord.
Satan is a fallen angel some call Lucifer, fallen because of vaulting ambition and revolt against God. He is an evil intelligence who delights in deceiving us and leading us astray, he is a deceiver, a liar, the accuser and tempter. Stories – 1. Satan retires, gives away all his weapons except one – discouragement. That is all he needs. 2. Young devils having their final exam before going to roam the earth. There is no God. There is no Devil or evil. There is no hurry, plenty of time.
He is the master of all lies, and liars are instruments of the Devil. (Satan’s lies and God’s truth) 2 Cor. 11: 14 – 15. It is all too easy for us to fall for the plausible lie. To believe that what others say is true when it seems to be attractive and easy. Read God’s truth daily in His holy Word and forget about trying to find something easier. That is the lazy man’s way, and God hasn’t called us to be lazy and lie back in comfort, He has called workers to His Vineyard and His fields which are ripe unto harvest. Beware of Satan’s lies when you are attracted to new teachings, or are depressed about your progress, or are discouraged about your lack of understanding. Turn to the Lord and Satan will be defeated.
How can the lord and powers of this earth be defeated by we mere mortals. Actually they can’t be, not by us alone, but Jesus has already defeated them, and as we live in Him and He lives in us, they can again be defeated in our lives.
How can this work? Like the warriors of old, especially like the Knights in shining armour, God provides us with protections that we can use. The armour of the Spirit is to be used by us all, and will protect us from temptations and from Spiritual harm. We are in a battle, we are at war with the powers of Hell, and the Commander in Chief has equipped us for our defence. But the armour is only as good as our wise use of it. It is designed to be used as a complete covering, not just one piece at a time as we think we need it. Paul says in Rom. 13: 12 – 14, that we are at war and we must equip ourselves. He also tells his pupil Timothy in 1 Tim. 1: 18 to fight the good fight. At the end of that letter in 1 Tim. 6: 12 he again says to fight the good fight. Our reading from Ephesians 6 tells of this armour. And tells us to take up and put on the FULL ARMOUR of God.
We are to have the Belt of TRUTH around our waist. Satan can never stand against the truth. Lies always are shown up in the light of ultimate truth. Our feet are to be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. Firmly grounded in the Gospel we do
not limp along but are able to march against the enemy, with no stubbed toes or feet damaged against Satan’s sharp stones of discouragement. Our body and heart is protected by the Breastplate of Righteousness. Being Righteous – right with God – is the best protection against the doubts sorrows and depressions that come flying at us from Satan’s darts. Further protection against the flaming arrows of the evil one is the Shield of Faith. Live in Faith, believe and practice your faith, live your faith every minute of the day and in Christ’s strength we will be protected as with a mighty shield such as the Roman infantry carried, which in conjunction with other like minded people of faith around us can be locked together into an impregnable phalanx. Still further protection comes from the Helmet of Salvation, The protection for our minds and thoughts is in the firm assurance that all committed Christians should have that Jesus died for us, and for our Salvation. Our Salvation from sin is assured for all who accept Jesus and His sacrifice into their hearts and minds. What about active attack? Paul lists also the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Remember when Jesus was tempted how Satan flew from the challenge of accurately quoted scriptures. He himself could quote from scripture, but like so many he put his own interpretation on his chosen verses. Jesus corrected him with accurate quotes from the law. So can we today. Know the scriptures, and use the scriptures to bolster ourselves during temptation, and cut the ground from under the Devil and his tempters.
Finally Paul lists yet another protection – perhaps he had run out of military metaphors at the time. V. 18 says “With all Prayer and Petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. That’s you and me – the Saints, those set aside because God declares them righteous because of Jesus sacrifice, and their faith. Prayer at all times, on all occasions, for all your fellow Christians. Your prayers for them, and their prayers for you keep us all covered at all times by a protective cloak of prayer.
Can all this really be true, can it work. Be assured Christ has won the battle with the Devil, and supports us in our day to day battle with all the forces of evil. Spiritual Warfare is a real battle for Christians, and we have been given the weapons and the armour to enable us to win through. Satan will lose no matter how long he struggles. In Rev. 12: 7 – 12a we read of the ultimate victory, but today, day by day, we also as Christians can defeat the whiles of the Devil by our constant and strong use of the Armour of God and the Sword of the Spirit. Don’t forget also that you do not fight this Spiritual Warfare alone, but strengthened constantly by Jesus within us, and by the Holy Spirit our teacher and comforter. Don’t forget also to keep the cloak of protective prayer over your fellow Christians as they fight, and they should keep that cloak over you also.
Let’s pray -- Father we are grateful that we do not have to face the temptations and the whiles of old Satan on our own, but we have the assurances of scripture that you have provided for us strong defences and weapons. Strengthen us of Lord to make good, wise and constant use of the armour of the spirit that you have provided for us, and hear us oh Lord as we seek to support our fellows as they struggle with their own temptations. We praise You our Father that your plan was put into action and Jesus came and taught us, and died for us, defeated the Devil and rose again from the dead as proof of His victory, and ascended to be with You Father and waits for us to join Him in everlasting life in Heaven above. Praise You Father, Amen.