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Ephesians - Wk 5 - This is War

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  47:14
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This is WAR.

Good morning saints.. It is good to be here with you this morning. We are going to be concluding our series in the book of Ephesians this morning. As we finish our studying here, it is important to remember that we haven’t covered everything that there is to cover in this book - it is critical that we find time to study the word on our own. We believe that the Bible is the word of God, and we should seek to know it and understand it. I have titled my sermon today “This is war” as we take a look at the Apostle Paul’s instruction to the church on spiritual warfare.
Please turn with me to Ephesians Chapter 6.
Let’s pray
Ephesians 6:10 CSB
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength.
Ephesians 6:11 CSB
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.
Ephesians 6:12 CSB
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.
So Paul is concluding his letter, he has given ecouragement, he has given instruction. He told the church how they aught to be living their lives. He talked about almost every relationship we maintain, how we aught to go about them.. and he is ready to come to a close.
He says - Finally…
With everything that I have said so far, considering all of that, finally… be strengthened by the Lord and his vast Strength.
To be able to do the things that you need to do, all of the things that have been described in the chapters before.. all of his other writing to this church.. you need the strength of God. And not only the strength, but the armor. Because there is a war going on.
Spiritual warfare is a part of the daily life on this earth as a Christian. Take that as fact. It is part of our life here.
Now, not everything that you experience that is difficult in life is a supernatural attack. I like to say that everything may happen for a reason, but sometimes the reason is that you are stupid and make bad choices.
All of those other things that Paul told us to do, well again, he has to tell us to do those things because they don’t just come naturally and its not just automatic. But we can decide, just as easily or easier - not to do those things.. at which point, there will be consequences. Sometimes, the reason we are experiencing things, is because we have made bad decisions, and not necessarily an implication of spiritual warfare.
Do we get that? Not everything is spiritual warfare.. we should not have to speak with the authority of Christ to a bag of Cheetos in an attempt to correct our bad decisions.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have to understand that there really is, in fact, absolutely, spiritual warfare taking place. See on one hand, you might thing that every single thing that goes wrong is a result of the devil, on the other hand you might just assume that there is nothing going on spiritually at all.
Both are dangerous positions to take.
The world around us fails to consider the spiritual. They assume first that we have it all figured out.. and then when there is something wrong with someone, they assume every other possible option - except spiritual.
We are so advanced, with our medicine, our air conditioning, our humidifiers and dehumidifiers.. making everything perfect for us.
And yet even our little town we see murder. Even in our little town we see starvation. Even in Iowa there are homeless and broken people.
They medicate and medicate and council and give therapy.. There must be some answer, that conforms to science, to solve all of their problems. And when we suggest that there might in fact be a spiritual aspect to it - we are condemned as uninformed at best, and fanatical at worst. Beneath the surface, there is a spiritual war raging on.
The word of God says there will be spiritual warfare in this life that we live here on earth. P​aul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

3 For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

So the first thing to know, from this passage, is that there will be warfare.. the second thing to know is that Jesus already has the victory.
Tony Merida described it as a mop up operation. I think of it as waiting for extraction. Hey, we are stuck here - the enemy is defeated, but still doesn’t like that we are here. He is coming at us.
So we have to know that there is a battle. We have to know that the war is won.
It is also important to know who our enemy is.
1 Peter 5:8–9 CSB
Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.
Our enemy has many names. He is called the devil, he is called satan, Beelzelbul…
Some of his names are mosre descriptive of his nature. He is referred to as the god of this age, the evil one, the ruler of this world. Peter refers to him as a lion, the book of revelation references him as the dragon.
He is evil. He opposes God.
That is why we have to be aware of him. Because he opposes us too. Paul is telling us about the armor of God, and telling us about this war, because the enemy IS coming after you.
Ephesians 6:11 CSB
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.
Tells us that he is strategic. He’s a schemer. A plotter. A planner.
He is Looking. For. You. He is seeking opportunity. Hes waiting for that time that you are tired.. that is when I am vulnerable.
He is looking for that time that you are rushed. He is looking for that opportunity to strike.. and he knows you pretty well. He knows what kind of weapons to use. Maybe its smut on your TV or cell phone. Maybe it is an irritating boss.
It is going to be whatever you are going to be weak to. Because that is who he is. He is strategic. He is looking at who you are.
And… he wrestles.
Wrestling is different from almost every other sport, because it is just your strength and speed against that of your opponent. It is up close and personal. Like white on rice on a paper plate in a snow storm. It is in your face.
Thats where the enemy resides. Right. There. On your back. Pushing you to the ground. It is a close, intense battle. Where you will be manipulated.
The enemy is evil, he is strategic, and he wrestles.
We cannot forget though, that he has also been defeated.

The enemy is beaten.

Ephesians 1:19–22 CSB
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength. He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens— far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church,
Ephesians 4:8 CSB
For it says: When he ascended on high, he took the captives captive; he gave gifts to people.
Ephesians 6:13 CSB
For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
So, for all of that, because the enemy is evil, because he is strategic, because he is looking for those days and times that we are weak, because he wrestles.... Take up the full armor of God.
And then Paul describes what that means.
In the old testament, God is a warrior. You find that in Isaiah. And he is armored. Our messiah, our savior, is decked out to the teeth.
In the army we called that full battle rattle. You got everything you need. So that you can resist the enemy.
Isaiah 59:17 CSB
He put on righteousness as body armor, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and he wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
But you should see something here. Nothing about what Paul describes for us to put on in this chapter is new to this book. This armor that he refers to, even in its description, is really a summary of all of the other things he has prescribed for you.
The first thing described in this armor is the Belt of truth.
Ephesians 6:14 CSB
Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,
Ephesians 4:24–25 CSB
and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.
As he tells us to put on this piece of armor, he is reminding us of what he as already said in chapter 4 and 5.
But without that, we leave an opening for the enemy to come in. By lying - we destroy trust. By withholding truth, we erode confidence.
We can’t let it be that easy for that slimy devil. Speak the truth. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes it is ugly.. but speak it any way.
Ephesians 4:21 CSB
assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus,
The truth, is Jesus. We put that on as a belt.
The second piece mentioned is that breastplate of righteousness.
Paul is borrowing this language right from Isaiah. This is what the Lord does.
Now, this isn’t talking about your ability to stand before the Father, but really the way that you live your life. It is practical righteousness.
We have to live in such a way - righteously… that is referred to in Ephesians 4 and 5. Living in such a way, that the enemy has no ground on which to stand. We put on this breastplate, because it protects the important things. Our organs. Our lungs, our heart, the things that let us live..
A breastplate protects the things that matter. So we put it on, we put on righteousness, so that in the areas of lust, greed, injustice, impurity… the devil cant take cheap shots. So that when he strikes with those things, he meets hardened steel.
Gospel Shoes.
Ephesians 6:15 CSB
and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.
As important as it is for a soldier to have armor on, it is important to have the right shoes. And our shoes aren’t like those of the world.
We are to be sandaled with readiness… to share the Gospel of peace.
So many times in scripture we are told to be ready to share. Jesus sends us out with the great commission. Paul is reminding us that this is an important part of our armor, this is a characteristic of Christ that we don’t want to miss.
Shield of Faith
Ephesians 6:16 CSB
In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
So remember, that we are putting on this armor, for a reason… the reason is that the enemy is still on attack.
But we have our faith. And our faith - is like a shield. And not a little one. A big one. A heavy one. A full body shield. And we have that shield when we put on Christ. Believe the promises that he mad. Believe what God says about us, and what He says about himself.
Helmet of salvation
Ephesians 6:17 CSB
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God.
The helmet of salvation is to be a reminder that we are in the Lord. That we have salvation.
Because as quickly as there are arrows coming, there are swords and spears… and sometimes, they get past that shield. And head wounds are fatal.
But we have the Lord.
When the enemy is on the attack… Our helmet of salvation, can take whatever the enemy has.
So when the enemy comes at you - you can say - I am alive with Christ. Redeemed, forgiven, reconciled, raised from the dead, and seated with Him. I am a chosen, adopted, son of God.
Sword of the spirit
Ephesians 6:17 CSB
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God.
And dont forget your sword. The word of God. The greek here indicates that it is the spoken word of God.
We have the whole of scripture, to throw back at the enemy. To not only deflect, but to attack.
To stand our ground. To resist the devil. To give him a workout.
The word of God is the perfect response to the attacks of the enemy. It was what Jesus used when the enemy tempted him in the wilderness. It is what Adam and Eve should have used in the garden. The word of God is our offensive weapon. And it is perfectly suited to the task at hand.
James 4:7 CSB
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
So the apostle Paul writes this letter to the church in Ephesus. And he tells them all about themselves, and about God. He tells them about how they should be living their lives to Glorify God.
And Pray.
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