By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
May 11, 2014
In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul exhorts Christians to fight spiritual warfare by putting on “the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Why fight unprotected when armor is available?
Introduction to preparation for spiritual warfare
I. The armor is both something we receive from God, and something we do. Our part is our life style of speaking truth, doing what is right, being at peace, having faith, etc.
II. The armor of God is diverse because Satan’s attacks are diverse (“devil’s schemes” are plural). Satan will use anything that takes us out of battle, and especially rejoices when he sidetracks us from the fray.
Are we aware of when we face spiritual battle in our lives? Do we recognize Satan’s work in our self-accusations, temptations, doubt, fear with specific issues, relational conflicts, despair, etc.? Jesus has already died for us and freed us so that instead of self accusation we can have worth as His children; instead of temptation we can have His righteousness; instead of doubt/fear, we can have faith; instead of relational conflict, we can have the gospel of peace; instead of despair, we can have the hope of salvation.
III. Prayer is a way to be intentional about armor.
In putting on our armor and to support other Christians, we are commanded to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Eph. 6: 18) and to “keep on praying for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:19)
The first piece of armor, the belt of truth (Eph. 6:14), was foundational because other pieces of armor were attached to it. Prayer is one way we work on truth.
Focusing on Our Doing:
This belt of truth protects us from spiritual damage. Where does this damage show up? In such times as when we are unreliable, full of excuses; when we carry big secrets which can paralyze us; when church life and personal life do not match up.
Focusing on God’s Doing:
Receiving God’s truth is the basis for speaking the truth. First, we must be able to hear truth from God, that we are sinners and need a Savior. Any righteousness comes from Him, not us. This realization protects us from the attacks of self-accusation and the secrets that control us. Once we accept the truth about who we are, it frees us up to speak courageously the truth to ourselves and to each other.
This spiritual battle is tough, but we do not need to go it alone. We have spiritual armor provided by God.