Ephesians 6:10-20, How Strong are You?
by Matt Slick
"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. (NIV)
Maybe you are emotionally strong. Maybe you can handle a lot of pressure, work for long hours, day after day after day. Maybe you are the one who is the emotional anchor in your family and everyone leans on you for support.
There are many kinds of strength. But the most important one is the strength you need in the Lord. True Christian strength is not of the body. True Christian strength is of the spirit, measured in faithfulness, trust, and perseverance. By Grace we live by Faith.
Our (true) struggle is against powers and principalities and the Lord wants you to be strong.
There are many things to fight in this world. For instance you can fight sickness, fatigue, death of loved ones, failure of your plans and hopes, questions without answers, and pain without reason. Yes we fight in this world. But we also fight in the spiritual world.
It is Satan who opposes you. It is he who seeks to sift you and destroy your bodies and souls in the eternal blackness that will be his unending grave of torment.
Yet the blood of Christ has guaranteed your deliverance from that awful end. Jesus bought you with His blood and ensured that none of those so bought would be lost. Praise the name of the Lord.
But letï's look at the word of God and see what He has to say about spiritual battle and strength.
- God wants you to be strong in Him because you are in a spiritual battle against the powerful forces of darkness.
- What is this spiritual battle? It is the war against spiritual forces.
- verse 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"
- These battles take many forms.
- sexual temptation, serious illness, the loss of a loved one, hatred of others, even God, coveting, addictions: alcohol, drug, pornography, even simple pride...
- This is not to say that the devil makes you sick, or causes you to steal and that every bad thing is his fault. But there are spiritual forces ready to weaken you, to cause you to fall, and then to trample you under their feet. They make seek to make worse the sin that is already in you.
- Being strong in the Lord is the only way to be able to resist the devil.
- You are not merely fighting frail men with all their physical and mental deficiencies. You are fighting the innumerable host of fallen angels. It is they who are in control of the world of ignorance, sin, and sadness. Therefore, you must be strong in the Lord and fight the battle with spiritual weapons.
- I want to speak briefly of three men: Solomon, Samson, and David.
- Solomon was the wisest of all men. He had great wealth and great power.
- Samson was the strongest of all men. He killed 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass and he toppled a temple with his own hands.
- David was gifted with devotion. He loved the Lord and sought to honor and glorify God. Just look at the Psalms and their beautiful poetry of adoration.
- Yet, all three fell. As strong as these men were they were no match for the schemes of the Devil.
- Satan, in his evil cunning led Solomon to marry many foreign women and through them he fell to the temptation to serve false gods.
- Samson, as strong as he was, was unable to resist the persistence of a woman. Delilah hounded him into telling the secret of his strength, and through her betrayal of Delilah, he ultimately fell.
- David fell into the temptation of lust, then adultery, then murder.
- Are you any stronger then they?
- What is this spiritual battle? It is the war against spiritual forces.
- God wants you to be strong in Him because the spiritual battle can only be won, first of all, by putting on His armor.
- Relying on God, not yourself.
- A description of His armor
- having girded your waist with truth, v. 14
- truth is that revelation of God, found in Christ, and known in the scriptures.
- having put on the breastplate of righteousness, v. 14
- righteousness is given by God, through His Son Jesus. You each, who are born of God, are righteous.
- having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; v. 15
- the gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. It is the good news of the kingdom of God. It is the message of the death, burial, and resurrection Jesus.
- above all, taking the shield of faith, v. 16
- faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen. It is that bond between man and God that pleases God, "For without faith it is impossible to please God," (Heb. 11:6).
- with faith you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
- Take the helmet of salvation, v. 17
- The cross of Christ is central.
- Some walk around with only the helmet on. I've heard them called spiritual streakers.
- is the greatest of all gifts (Rom. 6:23). It is your deliverance from the pit of hell whose grip of sin upon you has been broken. You are freed from sin. You are free to believe the gospel, to glorify God in truth, to live in righteousness and faith.
- through Jesus, the only way.
- and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; v. 17.
- The Word is that which teaches you, guides you, and admonishes. It is worthy of study so that you might learn what is right and acceptable to God.
- Why do you take the armor?
- So you wonï't be naked and rely on your own strength.
- So you may remain strong. v. 10. That is why these 6 things were given to you. So that you might remain strong in faith, rooted in the gospel, living in truth, and victorious by faith. It is the armor of God that you wear, that keeps you safe and strong. It has already been field tested and proven itself worthy of trust. To trust the armor of God is to trust God.
- You can trust Godï's provision for battle, not your own. Godï's faithfulness to you has already been manifested in the cross.
- You have already tested the armor of God. You have already trusted in Him and His provision.
- having girded your waist with truth, v. 14
- In regard to testing the armor, I would like to return to David for a moment. When David was about to fight Goliath, Saul wanted to give David his own armor. "So Saul clothed David with his armor and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, "I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them." So David took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.
- Now let me ask you: What kind of protection is a sling against a giant 9-foot tall giant who could crush you between his hands. It is very little protection indeed. But David did not go out onto the battlefield alone. He went with the company of the Lord God. Earlier in his life, David had killed a bear and a lion with nothing more than a sling: Moreover David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!" (1 Sam. 17:37).
- He went with the full armor of God: faith, righteousness, the Word, and truth. He went out to the place of battle, to that place where the Devil had brought an army to oppose God's people. David met Goliath. But it was not the sword that brought the giant down. It was not the arrow, but a stone, that crushed the opposer's head, the way God promised in the garden that the head of the serpent would be crushed. Goliath was a manifestation of that serpent.
- Incidentally, have you ever wondered why David picked up five stones to do a job that took only one. Were the extra four back-ups just in case that first didn't work? Not at all. David had full confidence in the Lord and picked up five stones, not to insure the death of Goliath, but to take care of Goliath's relatives. There was Ishbi-benob, Saph, Goliath, and one with 6 fingers on each hand and 6 toes on each foot. As 2 Samuel 21:22 says, "These four were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants."
- The Armor of God has already been tested. Faith in God is never misplaced.
- God wants you to be strong in Him because the spiritual battle is won, second, through prayer. Notice the "Allï's"
- pray at all times in the Spirit. This does not mean every second. But it does mean in all things.
- with all perseverance. This means that you are to continue in prayer even though you do not seem to get an answer or the answer you get does not seem to be what you had hoped for.
- for all the saints. Are you praying for your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you praying for those who run this church? Are you praying for your pastor?
- And Paul even asks for prayer so that He might be able to speak the gospel. Though Paul is long dead and we cannot pray for him, you can pray for those who further the gospel.
In order for you to be strong, in order for you to fight the good fight of the faith, you must put on faith, righteousness, and salvation. You must use the gospel with is the Word of God and last, but not least, you must pray.
Will you? Will you pray, will you be faithful, will you trust in the Lord and rest in His provision for victory in Christ? You must decide. You must act.
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