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The Strategies of Satan and the Armor of God
The Believer's Warfare
Ephesians 6:10-13
 
Turn in your Bible, if you will, to chapter 6 in Ephesians, a very familiar portion of Scripture is the main focus of this chapter. It actually begins in verse 10 and it runs all the way down through verse 20. It is about the Christian’s war, or, if you will, the armor of the believer.
 
This is really the end of the epistle and needs to be seen a little bit in its context. In the opening three chapters of this book, Paul talks primarily about our position in Christ.
 
For example, back in chapter 1 he reminds his hearers that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. And then Paul unpacks all of that, starting in verse 4, in one long sentence running down to verse 14,
 
He says, “We have been chosen before the foundation of the world to be made holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us, so that we have been adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for the purpose that we might be to the praise of His glory.”
 
We have redemption, verse 7, through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of His grace and that grace He lavished on us.
 
Furthermore, He has given us revelation in that all wisdom and insight has been made known to us.
And that involves the mystery of His will, that which was formerly hidden and is now revealed. We are able through the revelation of Scripture to understand not only the past and the present but the fullness of the times, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in heaven, and things upon the earth. We have obtained an eternal inheritance to which we have been predestined.
 
We have been sealed through that eternal redemption with the Holy Spirit of promise in verse 13, who is given as a guarantee and engagement ring, a down payment, sealing our final inheritance and our final redemption as God’s own possession to the praise of His glory.
 
So Paul starts out with this long staggering list of benefits and blessings that belong to us because we belong to Christ. And Paul prays that we would understand all of this. 
 
We find that in 1:18
 
Then he says that this Christ who is our Christ, having been raised from the dead, is seated at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power, and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the age to come. And everything has been put in subjection under His feet because He’s the head of everything.
 
Chapter 2 further describes this wonderful gift of salvation by reminding us that we were dead in trespasses and sins, but we have been made alive, verse 5.
We have been made alive together with Christ by grace, raised up with Him, seated with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, with a view that in the ages to come He’s going to show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
 
And this is how these first three chapters go. All of the blessings are defined. We are His workmanship, verse 10. We have been created in Christ Jesus for good works, the result of our regeneration is that we do those works that please God which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. We used to be excluded from the purposes and plans of God, now we are included, along with Jew and Gentile. And that’s how chapter 2 ends.
 
Even when you come in to chapter 3, Paul talks about the wonderful privilege that has been his to be a steward and to be a minister. Even though he’s the least of all saints, as he says in verse 8, in order that he might bring to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things.
That is he has been able to be the vehicle by which God reveals the glorious truths of the New Testament which define the infinite and eternal blessings that are ours in Christ.
 
And so, these chapters are all about what belongs to us because we belong to Christ. We have been granted from the riches of His glory everything we need.
 
And the third chapter then closes with this great doxology, this outburst of praise in response to all that is ours in Christ.
 
And then in a very typical fashion, there is a “therefore” in chapter 4.
 
There we transition from the doctrinal section to the practical section. Since all of this is true, since God has given you all of this, this is your position in Christ, this is all that belongs to you because you belong to Christ, here is what is then required of you. “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” That sums it up.
 
And then he begins to unpack all of that. “We are to walk in a way that is consistent with our calling, that means humility, gentleness, patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, diligently preserving the unity of the Spirit,” which is then further defined in the subsequent verses. “We have been grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
 
We are to make sure that we use that grace. We are to submit ourselves to those who are pastors in the church who are there for our edification to build us into mature people, a body fitly brought together...verse 16...held together by that which every joint supplies according to the proper working of each individual part.”
 
So here we come in to the body now and we have a function, and a responsibility, and a ministry for which we’re gifted and given the grace which is required for that function.
 
We are to walk differently than we used to walk, no longer walking like the Gentiles walk in the futility of their minds, no longer being callous, sensual, practicing impurity with greediness. We didn’t learn Jesus Christ, verse 20 says, in this way.
 
In reference to your former manner of life, verse 22, lay aside that old self. We are called to a new kind of life. In order to live that life, verse 23 says we have to have our minds renewed.
 
And that’s where the Word of God comes into the picture and thereby we put on the new self, created in righteousness and holiness. We set aside falsehood, we speak truth, each one of us with his neighbor. We’re angry but we don’t sin. In other words, only a righteous anger. Don’t let the sun go down on our anger.
 
And then this, “And don’t give the devil an opportunity.” Don’t give the devil an opportunity.
 
The assumption here is that any of these kinds of behaviors give the devil opportunity, including the ones that come after this. Don’t steal anymore, but work, performing with your own hands what is good not only that you might provide what you need, but you might have something to share with others.
 
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, that only such a word is as good for edification according to the need of the moment that it may give grace to those who hear. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit. That is, don’t do anything that would bring grief to the Holy Spirit, any unholy act would do that.
Get rid of all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander. Let it be put away from you, including all evil...that’s the word malice, evil.
On the positive side, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.
 
You come in to chapter 5 and he says, “Be imitators of God, walk in love as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us.” Don’t let immorality, or impurity, or greed be named among you. Let there be no filthiness or silly talk, coarse jesting, obscenity. It just keeps going like this.
 
This is how you live because of what God has done for you. You were formerly darkness, verse 8, now you’re light. Walk as children of light. Verse 15, be careful how you walk, not as unwise but as wise. Make the most of your time. Don’t be foolish. Understand what the will of the Lord is. Don’t get drunk. That’s dissipation. Be filled with the Spirit, speak to one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing, making melody in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks for all things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Be subject to one another in the fear of God.
 
And he tells wives how they’re to act, and husbands how they’re to act. And he tells parents how they’re to act, and children how they’re to act, and slaves how they’re to act. And slave owners how they’re to act.
 
Coming down to chapter 6 verse 9, then you have all of this accumulation of the details of living out our Christian life.
Standards for unity, standards for life in the church, for ministry, principles for purity, for fellowship, for witness.  What the Spirit-filled life looks like, a life controlled by the Spirit of God, if you will, under the dominating impulse of the Word of God. The great theme here is to walk the worthy walk.
 
Finally, he says, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. The assumption here is it will not be easy. It’s going to take strength. It’s going to take strength that you don’t have. That’s why it says be strong in the Lord and repeats it in the strength of His might. This is not an easy walk, it is a walk in the sense that it is repetitive, that it is constant, that it is not highs and lows, fast and slow, it is a pace. You’re to live a godly, holy pace. But it is not easy.
 
You have a lot of things working against you. First of all, the flesh. Your fallenness is a problem, as is mine. We all face the same reality that we’re living in an unredeemed body.
 
There are in this body impulses that go along with being human that are not yet redeemed. There’s a battle going on in every believer between the Spirit which is that new creation, and the flesh which is what’s left of that old man. And there is a war going on inside of us.
 
And to complicate what is going on inside of us, there’s also what’s going on outside of us.  When you add the presence of the devil, the battle becomes all the more fierce.
 
So we have an enemy that is in us, and we have an enemy that is outside of us. We have to be aware of this.
So when the Apostle Paul comes to the end of this epistle in which he calls us to walk in a certain way, and to live a certain kind of Christian life, he reminds us that we have a very, very aggressive and formidable enemy, namely Satan.
 
And he says, in particular in chapter 6, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, 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.”
 
And so, you come to Christ and Satan still is committed to your destruction. Once he had you, now he doesn’t have you. Once you were part of his system, now you’re not.
 
You have become the enemy of Satan, an enemy indeed you are as he is an enemy to you, so you are an enemy to his cause now that you have come to Christ.  And he has schemes.  Wiles, the old KJV calls them.  Strategies is the word I want to use in this series. 
 
So what do we do about it?  Tonight I want to take the broad view and look at those strategies in a general way.  Then, over the next weeks, we're going to come back and look at some of the individual schemes or strategies he uses. 
 
For instance, we are told to gird our waist with truth.  I take that to mean one of the strategies we are armed to guard against is untruth.  Satan, we are told, is the father of lies. 
We are told to put on the breastplate of righteousness.  Satan's strategy must be to use unrighteousness to defeat us. 
 
On and on the list goes. The gospel of peace, the shiled of faith the sword of the Spirit.  For all this weaponry, Satan uses specific strategies to do battle with the children of God.  And we'll look at those as we make our way forward.
 
For tonight, let's begin at verse 10 of Ephesians 6
 
Here we find,  
 
1. The Preparation
 
Obviously, this is not a time for weak-kneed, pantywaist Christians. Doesn’t it strike you as interesting that at a time when the power of the world is at its greatest that its ever been, the weakness of the church is at its greatest as well?
 
At a time when the world system is more formidable than it's ever been, the church is weaker than it's ever been. And we are called to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might, recognizing we don’t have in ourselves the strength, we have to rest in Him. And remember, the power is already yours.
 
Philippians 4:13
1 Corinthians 10:13
 
Listen: the Lord has gained the victory at the cross. The Lord has taken up residence in our heart in the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ and all the power that is there is the very same power that has raised Jesus from the dead.”
Remember, that was Paul’s prayer way back in chapter 1, verse 18
 
It is the very same power that raised Christ from the dead. It is the same power that exalted Him to the right hand of God. It is the same power He exercises over all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named. And this power has caused Him to put all things in subjection under His feet, made Him over the church which is His body and the church as His body, I love this, is the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
 
We are the fullness of Christ. We have the fullness of Christ, therefore we have the fullness of His resurrection power.  So in order for verse 10 to become a reality in our life, we must realize the strength is there. All that we need is there in the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
So we begin with the preparation and the preparation is to understand that we have to rest in the strength of Christ.
 
The second thing I want you to see in this text is
 
2.  The Equipment
 
Paul says “put on the full armor of God.”
 
So how do you tap into the power? Here’s the key. You put on the full armor of God. I’m not going to say much about that because for the next several weeks that’s what we’re going to study in detail. 
 
 
But I will say this:  Beginning in verse 13 down through 17 we are given a description of the armor of God and when we look at the armor itself, we will see, not just the strategy or point of attack Satan is using, but also the equipment that allows us to tap the strength and have victory. 
 
The strength is available for that specific stratevy, but it is inseparably linked to the armor and the armor is defined for us in verses 13 to 17, and we’ll look at it in detail.
 
So we have the preparation and the equipment.  Then we see
 
3.  The Enemy
 
We need to understand our enemy
 
verse 11
 
We don’t need to spend a lot of time here.  Most of us are aware of the devil and his schemes.  But let me just mention a couple of things:
 
Scripture describes the devil carefully and repeatedly. Jesus believed in him, referred to him, spoke to him, pronounced judgment on him. The Apostles believed in him, obviously as Paul does here when he writes about him. He is active through all human history. He rebelled against God in heaven, he was thrown out of heaven.
 
When he came to earth, he tempted Eve.  He tempted Christ.  He perverts God’s Word.  He opposes God’s work.  He hinders God’s servants. 
He works to restrict the proclamation of the gospel by blinding the minds of people so the gospel cannot come to them. 
 
All his evil is basically worked through lost people who make up his kingdom and that is the world system, and that is the source of temptation driven at our human flesh by this very sophisticated system.
 
He is a person. He is called the anointed cherub. He is called the prince of this world. He is called the prince of the power of the air. He is called the god of this age. He is called the prince of demons.
 
He has personal names. Fifty-two times he’s called Satan which means adversary. Thirty-five times he’s called devil which means slanderer. He is called that old serpent, that great dragon. He is described in 1 Peter 5:8 as a roaring lion who goes about seeking whom he may devour.
 
In John 17:15 he is called the evil one.  He is called Abaddon and Apollyon in Revelation 9, that is a destroyer. He is called the tempter in Matthew 4, the accuser in Revelation 12 and the spirit working in the sons of disobedience in Ephesians 2.   
 
He is described as a murderer and a liar. He works openly through the raunchy open wickedness of the world. He works covertly in the false religious systems of the world. He will be religious when he needs to be religious, sanctimonious when he needs to be sanctimonious and blatantly wretched, and wicked, and vile as it suits him. He is some enemy.
 
He is the one who once was Lucifer, the son of the morning, the anointed cherub fallen from heaven, the ruler of the demon world and plies his wretched assault on God’s Kingdom through the humans that are his subjects.
 
And Paul warns us of being ignorant of his schemes.
“Schemes” comes from a verb meaning to stalk. It suggests the image of a lion stalking his prey.  He uses special tactics, guile, deceit, craft, subtly. We need to be aware that he is a very old enemy, been around since before the world was created.
 
In all these things he is at work. And so, this means, as we think about these things, that we are engaged in battle. We have to prepare for that. We have to be equipped for that. We have to know our enemy and we have to understand that we’re in a battle.
 
In fact, verse 12 describes it as a struggle. It is a struggle not against flesh and blood. People are not really our enemy.
 
I know sometimes we think that immoral people and people who advocate immoral things and are really our enemy. No, our real enemy is far, far more powerful.
 
These are just dupes. These are just pawns. These are just people that he uses.  We’re not struggling against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the spiritual forces of this wickedness against the spiritual forces of wickedness that resides in the heavenlies.
 
So let me close with
 
4.  The Victory
 
Verse 13
 
Here is our instruction as we engage in the battle.
That tells us there can be victory.
 
What is the evil day? The evil day is any day that evil comes. In fact, the evil day would be a way to describe this era in the world. That is a description of where we live.  For us every day is an evil day. So as we live in the evil day, if we are putting on the armor, then we can resist.
 
We can resist. Victory is promised. And when the battle is over and the smoke is cleared and the dust is settled, we can be standing firm.  That’s the promise of victory.
 
So, he says your preparation is in the strength of the Lord. Your equipment is in the armor of God. Your enemy is formidable, the devil.
 
You need to understand his schemes. You’re engaged in a real struggle and your struggle is not just with humans, but its with a supernatural force, a complex structure, a hierarchy of demons that operate in the heavenlies.
 
This may seem more than you’d ever be able to bear but the truth of the matter is, if you put on the full armor of God, you will be able to resist in this evil day, this era of evil that dominates the fallen world. And when it’s all over, you can stand firm.
 
 
Now I know that’s what you want in your life. And so, starting next time, we’re going to look at verse 14 where it says, “Stand firm therefore,” and it tells you how. This is how to tap the strength, this is how to stand firm no matter what Satan brings.
 
Let’s pray.


Comments

06-23-2018
Rev.Mackie Prince
These are some great Bible TeachingsPlease keep up the great work for our Lord
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