The Full Armor of God (1) Our struggle is not against flesh and blood
1. We are beginning a new section of Ephesians tonight, so perhaps it would help us to review a little.
2. "We have had occasion several times in our study of this letter to marvel at the breadth of Paul’s horizons. He began by unfolding God’s purpose, conceived in a past eternity before the foundation of the world, to create a single new human race through the death and resurrection of Christ and ultimately to unite the whole church and the whole creation under Christ’s headship. He has emphasized that a distinctive shape has been given to this divine plan by the inclusion in God’s new society, on an entirely equal footing, of Jews and Gentiles. The old days of division and discrimination have gone. A brand new oneness has emerged, in which through union with Christ Jews and Gentiles are equal members of the same body and equal sharers in the same promise. So now the one Father has one family, the one Messiah–Savior one people, and the one Spirit one body. These sure facts of what God has done through Christ and by the Spirit form the basis on which Paul went on to issue his eloquent appeal. His readers must live a life that is ‘worthy’ of their calling and ‘fitting’ to their status as God’s new and reconciled society. They must demonstrate their unity in the Christian fellowship, while at the same time rejoicing in the diversity of their gifts and so of their ministries. They must put away all the uncleanness of their pre-conversion behaviour and live a life of ‘true righteousness and holiness.’ And they must learn to submit to one another in every kind of domestic relationship and so promote harmony in their homes. Unity, diversity, purity and harmony—these the apostle has stressed as major characteristics of the new life and the new society in Christ. It has seemed a beautiful ideal, an obviously desirable goal, and not so difficult to attain." (Stott, 260-261)
Ephesians 6:10-12 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
What are the challenges we face in living the Christian life? 1. Our own sinfulness. 2. The sinfulness of others, and its effect on us. 3. The church’s sinfulness and imperfection. 4. The opposition and/or allurements of the world. 5. Satan
"Christ, the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan’s devices, are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched. If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, nor happy hereafter. It is my work as a Christian, but much more as I am a Watchman, to do my best to discover the fullness of Christ, the emptiness of the creature, and the snares of the great deceiver." (Thomas Brooks, 15).
I. You are in a war zone (Realize that you are at war)
10 Finally, be strong . . . . 11 Put on the full armor of God, . . . . 12 For our struggle . . . .
A. Paul is reminding us that the whole of our lives between now and Christ’s coming is a war.
B. Matthew 10:34 Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
II. You need the Lord’s strength to win in this war (Your strength is inadequate)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
III. You will need God’s armor to stand against the Devil (Your need protection from this enemy)
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
A. (1) God’s new society?, Satan wants to destroy it. (2) God has broken down the dividing walls?, Satan will try to rebuild them. (3) God wants the reconciled and redeemed to live together in harmony and purity?, Satan will scatter the seeds of discord and sin.
IV. You need to understand that your opposition isn’t ultimately human (Know your enemy)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
A. Powerful, wicked and cunning