Imagine that you are in prison, there because of your faithful service to Jesus.
You are still responsible for many people in many places.
One of those places is Ephesus.
You started a church there some years back, and now, led by the Spirit of God, you need to tell remind them of who they are in In Christ.
You need to strengthen them by reminding them of all God has given them in Christ.
And then you want to encourage them to keep fighting the fight, and keep laboring for Christ no matter what.
As you are writing, there would be the constant, nearby presence of Romans soldiers who guarded you as their prisoner.
No doubt, as Paul thought about the need for Christians to stay in the real fight, against the devil and his imps, the priority of this unseen spiritual battle crossed paths in Paul’s mind with the armored guard always close by, perhaps even chained to him.
So, as Paul closes his letter to the Ephesians, he gives them four commands.
This verb is present tense, passive, imperative (just like “be filled with the Spirit” earlier)
present- ongoing need.
Not a one time thing, where you set it and forget it.
Passive- you allow this to happen to you.
God is the one who is strengthening you with a vast supply.
Imperative- We are commanded to allow God to strengthen us and the reason should be obvious.
If we try to fight the devil on our own, he will gobble us up.
(roaring lion seeking whom he may devour)
Put on the Armor of God
While this verb is still a command, it is not in the present tense.
In this case, there is a sense of permanence.
Paul is not saying, put it on, take it off, put it on again.
This is permanence.
John MacArthur says this armor is our lifelong companion.
It is God’s Armor, not our own.
This armor allows us to fight a spiritual fight against the devil and all his forces.
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
Take Up the Armor of God
After Paul has explained that we are involved in a major battle with a formidable enemy, he restates the importance of the armor.
Earlier we were told to put it on, now take it up.
While put on and take up may be synonyms, it should be noticed that these verbs are plural.
WE ALL ARE SUPPOSED TO BE TAKING IT UP.
We are all in a battle whether we acknowledge it or not, and our enemy will beat us down, if we aren’t taking up God’s armor.
Stand With the Armor On
Stand means stand.
Belt of truth.
In an evil age where we are told there is no absolute truth, Paul mentions truth as the first armor, probably because Satan is the father of lies.
How to put on the armor?
Know the truth.
Speak the truth.
Hide God’s Word in your heart.
Wrap yourself up with truth.
Righteousness- Not your own self-righteousness, but the righteousness that comes from having God’s nature imputed to you when you are saved.
Satan is the originator of all unrighteousness.
I think this refers to practical righteousness in our everyday lives.
How do I put on righteousness… simple by living humble, “righteous” lives.
Shoes that makes us ready to take the Gospel of peace with us.
Jesus takes the enemies of God and makes them friends with God… this is Gospel.
We are to have on “spiritual” shoes that enable us to go share this good news.
Just as a soldier is going, we are to go.
This is offensive not just defensive.
How? Fight against the enemy by sharing the good news.
shield of faith- Our faith is our shield.
The Bible says faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
More on the word in a moment.
But when Satan tempted Jesus, He used the Word of God to shield the arrows the Devil hurling his way.
It’s not even the amount of faith as much as it is, the object of our faith.
Some people seem to have faith in faith.
We must learn to place our faith in God… It’s his armor.
How? Remind yourself of the truth (looking back to the belt) you know.
Stand in that truth.
Allow it to build your faith as you fight the stuff the Devil puts in your path.
Helmet of salvation.
You’ve got to protect your head.
What greater protection from the Lord than to know “no matter what comes my way, God has saved me, is saving me, and will save me.”
There is a huge battle for the mind when it comes to fighting Satan.
Can you imagine trying to fight the Devil if you didn’t know the Lord?
Verse 17, “take”, is also imperative, repeated from before.
We took our helmet when we were saved.
Sometimes we needed to be reminded that we have already done this.
LIVE OUT WHAT’S LIVING IN.
When you gave your life to Jesus.
The Word of God- Our weapon.
How? Know the Word inside and out.
Speak the Word.
Pray the word.
Live the Word.