Spirit Filled Warfare
Tonight’s message is one of those messages that I really struggled with. Not so much in my study, understanding, or preparation of what I’m about to bring out here tonight but I struggled with what message to bring as I had several on my heart and on my mind.
Originally, I had thought tonight’s message would be a continuing of last month’s “Refusing To Return” message from Jeremiah 6. And I had that message pretty much all lined up from Amos 4:6-13 entitled “Prepare To Meet Thy God”.
But as I went on with the prep for that message, the Lord was just not giving me peace about it. So I went on to a possible second message, from II Timothy 4:1-8 entitled “Finish Well” but once again, the Lord just did not give me peace about that message either.
So after much prayer and thought, late Friday night last week, the Lord finally laid on my heart and gave me peace about the message that I am going preach here tonight. And I believe it will be one of help, encouragement, and challenge for each of us here tonight as we study our text.
The Book of Ephesians is of course one of what is known as the Pauline epistles as it was written by the Apostle Paul. It is commonly believed and accepted that Paul wrote this epistle during his first imprisonment at Rome, perhaps in about AD 64 and it was likely the first of his prison epistles. Ephesians has at its core the theme of doctrine, major doctrine.
The first half has particular doctrinal focus with the key concept being ‘in Christ.’ The final three chapters are more practical with the emphasis upon the Christian walk. Furthermore, this epistle contains greater truth concerning the church than any other of Paul’s epistles.
For our text and purpose here tonight, we will be dealing with the final chapter of Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 10-19. Now, chapter 6 is broken into two major sections; the first being the everyday life of us as believers in verses 1-9 and the warfare of the believer in verses 10-24.
And that is what we want to look at here tonight, the Spirit Filled Warfare of the believer. And I believe it is needful for us to look at such a thing because as Christians, we are in a battle. We are in a war.
And if we are not prepared and well prepared, we will see our light dimmed and our testimony ruined. And folks, that’s what the devil wants, a Christian whose light and testimony are of no effect in this world!
So yes, the Christian life is warfare. We know it, we teach it, we hear it, but the true question we must ask is; do we believe it? Do we believe that the Christian life is warfare? For most, I would dare say, no it is not something that is believed!
Why? Because somewhere in our Christians circles, we’ve gotten this idea in our mind that we’re already in the sweet by and by. We have preachers and teachers that are teaching once someone gets saved; that it’s all roses, that’s it all pie in the sky, that it’s all smooth sailing and a smooth path, that they’ll be no spiritual battles, and that you’ll never have another bad day for all of your Christian life! Well folks, I’m sorry to burst that bubble but that’s simply not true!
We’re not in the sweet by and by just yet; we’re still in the nasty now and now! This world and this life even after the great Salvation (and it is great!) provided by the Lord Jesus Christ is not all roses and is not all pie in the sky! There will be rough roads and bumpy paths ahead! There will be spiritual battles and you will still from time to time, have a bad day! And that is because this Christian life that we live is a war! A war with our flesh, this world, and Satan Himself!
Every day that you and I get up to face this world, we must not only get ready physically but spiritually as well! And folks, this idea, and this thought of getting ready spiritually each day is not just an option but it is a must because I can guarantee you and you can mark it down, the Devil wants to destroy you! The Devil wants to destroy your life! The Devil wants to destroy your family! Plain and simple, if you are seeking to live for God, the Devil wants to destroy you!
The Devil would love nothing more than to see you falter and fail! He would love nothing more than to see you give into the temptation of sin and have that sin in turn ruin you, your life, and your testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ! Mark it down, if you’re seeking to live for God, you’re on the Devil’s hit list; you’re the Devil’s most wanted; the Devil hates you; and will seek to do everything He can to throw you off of the course God has placed you on! And He will succeed if as a Christian, we are not properly prepared and equipped to face the daily war He engages us in!
Folks, it breaks my heart to be able to stand here and tell you that I could recount to you story after story of Christians that I know that have fallen and faltered because at sometime in their life, they forgot they were in a war. They no longer prepared and equipped themselves and gave place to the Devil. That is why I believe this message is of vital importance for all of us here tonight, myself included, so that we can see just how important it is to our spiritual well being that we properly prepare and equip ourselves for daily Spirit Filled Warfare!
First we see;
Vs. 10 – The Warrior’s Power
The very first thing that we see here is where we as believers receive our power from and I find it very telling that this is the very first thing Paul starts with. Our power does not come from ourselves but rather it comes from the Lord! It is in Him that we are to be strong, not ourselves!
See folks, if we try to rely on our own strength and on our own might when facing this world and the Devil, we’d surely fail! But if we rely on God and His infinite never ending strength and might, we will therefore be strong enough to endure whatever Satan throws our way!
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
The very first thing we must do in preparing for battle; be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might! Rely on Him! Don’t try and go it alone because going at it alone, we are bound to faint, grow weary, falter, and fall!
Secondly we see;
Vs. 11 – The Warrior’s Armour
With strength for the battle comes need for the spiritual armor which only God can provide. The phrase here “whole armour” has the literal sense of ‘all the armor.’ Clearly it is being implied that we are to put on all the armor of God, not just portions here and there, but all of it! A soldier is protected by his armor only if he has it all on. To go without a helmet, or a chest protector, or some other vital piece that provides protection, openly invites the attack of the enemy against that vulnerable area! So therefore, we must put it all on!
And our purpose in putting on the whole armour of God is so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. We must put on the whole armour of God so that we may be able to stand against His trickery, His deviousness, and His methods! Listen folks, the way this world paints the Devil as some being with horns and a pitchfork is not at all how He really is! He is clever, devious, and slick! That is why the whole armour of God, not just portions, is needed!
Thirdly we see;
Vs. 12 – The Warrior’s Foes
The battle every Christian faces is not physical but spiritual. Notice what we face and struggle with. We struggle with principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. In other words, we struggle with Satan, that’s what these descriptions are referring to, Satan and the power He has over this world!
Principalities here in verse 12 can among other things refer to spiritual creatures such as angels or demons. The latter of which is clearly being talked about. It goes back to that thought of the devil being referred to as “the prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2. Implied here is an order and command structure in Satan’s empire; He being the ruler. In similar fashion, angels are referred to as princes in Daniel 10:13. Going even further, in that same passage, a reference is made to “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” which clearly is a satanic spirit or demon. Now, I want you to follow this and keep up the best you can.
Here is the beginning evidence of an order to Satan’s empire with Him as the ruler.
Notice that it took the angel twenty-one days to reach Daniel. Why; because he was withstood or opposed by the prince of the kingdom of Persia. A most remarkable glimpse into the spiritual battle in the heavens is being revealed here. The angel described clearly was a powerful emissary from God. The ‘prince of Persia’ on the other hand most likely refers to a satanic lieutenant who blocked the angel of God from reaching Daniel. That implies that this fallen angel who opposed God’s angel had been given charge over the kingdom of Persia by the Devil himself.
Here is where we have the illustration of Ephesians 6:12 where we read of spiritual wickedness in high places; literally ‘wicked spirits in high places.’ Also, we see further evidence that Satan has a highly organized, disciplined empire which Ephesians 6:12 refers to as principalities and those principalities, agents of Satan, oppose Christians today and they are just one of many things that we face in a daily spirit filled warfare against Satan!
Not only do we fight against principalities but also against powers, those who Satan has given authority in this world to come against us! But not only principalities and powers but also the rulers of the darkness of this world! This has the sense of world rulers, those who are in leadership in this world. We see it every day, this world is turning more and more away from the things of God and we see why right here!
The final thing that we fight against here is spiritual wickedness in high places. What does Paul mean by high places? He is literally talking about heaven or heavenly places. The Bible refers to three degrees of heaven. Now which one is being talked about is not really mentioned here. It may refer to the domain of the devil and his forces in the atmospheric heavens because He is referred to as “the prince of the power of the air”. It may conceivably even refer to the apparent access the devil has to the third heaven (God’s abode) as “the accuser of our brethren” as seen in Revelation 12:10. However, it is likely believed the first thought is what is in view here.
But all in all, a very complex description of Satan’s vast spiritual empire is in view in just this one verse. It clearly is highly organized and there is little question as to the impact it has on us as Christians. Therefore, again because of what we wrestle against, it is imperative that we are highly prepared, equipped with the whole armour of God!
Fourthly we see;
Vs. 13-17 – The Warrior’s Marching Orders
Again we see Paul’s urging; put on the whole armour of God! Why? So that we may withstand, resist the attacks of the devil! Something else to notice, Paul refers to the day he is talking about as evil! Is that ever a description of the day in which you and I live? Put on the whole armour of God!
Verse 14 we start to see the overall theme of this section and that is to stand! Stand against the Devil, His wickedness, His onslaught, and stand for God! Paul than outlines how we’re to stand, what the whole armour of God is. The first is truth which is likened to the girth or belt used to snug the tunic of the solider. It kept everything else in place and folks that is what truth does. It keeps everything in its right and proper place!
The second element is righteousness which is likened to a breastplate. The breast-plate secures the vital organs and shelters the heart. In 1st Corinthians 6:7, Paul wrote of the “armour of righteousness.” Indeed, righteousness is profound protection from temptation as well as the debilitating results of sin. Even as a breastplate protects the vital organs of the body, righteousness safeguards the heart from a multitude of evils and sin.
The righteousness of Christ that was imputed to us is our breast-plate against the arrows of divine wrath. The righteousness of Christ implanted in us is our breast-plate to fortify the heart against the attacks which Satan makes against us.
The third element we see is in verse 15 and that is being prepared with the Gospel! The thought is of being prepared to take the offensive. Even as if a solider is not prepared to join the battle, a Christian unready to present the gospel is likewise unfit for the battle. Folks, if you can’t simply and plainly present the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re not ready for the battle!
The fourth element of spiritual armor is faith which is likened unto a shield in verse 16. The devil is skilled in shooting his flaming arrows of doubt, discouragement, despair, distraction, division, not to mention other temptations of all sorts. To live by faith, trusting God against every such flaming arrow becomes a shield deflecting such attack. Faith is all in all to us in an hour of temptation. The breast-plate secures the vitals; but with the shield we turn temptation away. This is the victory over the world, even our faith.
The fifth element of armor is salvation itself in verse 17. Now while this epistle is directed to believers, I believe what we have here is the assurance of salvation. Even as the head is the most important part of the body and a helmet protects the head; it is our salvation and the assurance of it that is of crucial importance in our battle with Satan. And that is because at every chance Satan gets, He will try and make you doubt your salvation!
Paul concludes with the sixth portion of the Christian armor which is the word of God. It is likened to a sword. This Book is our weapon against all that Satan can possibly throw our way and what a weapon it is! Pick it up every day, read it, study it, live it, and rejoice in its promises!
Finally we see;
Vs. 18-19– The Warrior’s Resource
Our final resource in our spirit filled warfare we see is twofold; the first is continual prayer not only for our needs but in praise, worship, and thankfulness for all that God has done for us! Yet, it goes even further as we must also be found watching, sleepless as a soldier on duty, for fellow believers in intercessory prayer. Taught here is ongoing prayer, spiritual prayer, persevering prayer, and intercessory prayer. It provides the spiritual dynamic to stand and having done all to stand.
Our second resource is of course the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul asks for prayer that he may boldly proclaim the Gospel to all! That should also be our prayer and our desire, that we also boldly proclaim the Gospel of Christ to all!
Yes, the Christian life is warfare, a struggle not only with common calamites and inner desires, but with opposing forces of the powers of darkness which seek to destroy the testimony of the believer. It is therefore of high importance that as Christian soldiers we be well armed with the spiritual weapons which God supplies! The sword of the Spirit and the access of prayer are weapons which Satan is powerless against!
So yes, Satan may be the ruler of this world but if we are prepared we have no reason to fear Him! The Lord Jesus Christ has met Satan at every point and defeated him! And that folks is why it is dangerous for us to be strong except in Him Who is the Victor! Don’t go it alone, put your trust in God, equip yourself for spirit filled warfare by putting on the whole armour of God!
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