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Ephesians 6: Spiritual Warfare Exposition

04 Feb

Occasion: Tuesday Bible Studies 28th January, 4th February 2014

Typical focus of those facing spiritual opposition:

  • Identify the source, assuming it is spiritual.
  • Remove the problem by some spiritual means.
  • Plead with God to remove the struggle.
  • Declare the blood of Jesus over the problem.
  • Claim victory in the name of Jesus.
  • Binding demons.
  • Fast and pray over your struggle.
  • Deliverance services and techniques
  • Letting go and letting God
  • Laying all on the alter
  • Walking an isle to receive a pastoral prayer

Biblical response to spiritual opposition:

  • All circumstances are under the sovereign control of God.
    • Some evils come from bad decisions.
    • Some evils come from discipline.
    • Some evils are outside our control.
    • Nothing that happens to a believer that is outside of God’s sovereign control.
    • Not always God’s will to protect us from certain evils
    • God always uses evil in believer to accomplish good.
  • You will rarely get the answer to why.
  • You are not entitled to the answer why.
  • Looking back is always clearer than looking around and forward.
  • Put on the whole armor of God: This is the means by which, the believer is able to stand against the wiles of the devil!

 Belt of Truth:

What is it? Kept the soldier’s robe from causing him to trip in battle, and falling down in battle is a sure way to get killed by the enemy.

  • Understand the truth
  • Apply the truth
  • Live truthfully.         

How does Satan attack us in this area?

  • He tempts us to dwell on what we cannot know.
  • He tempts us to be controlled by lies.
  • He tempts us to try superstitious methods.

How does this piece of armor meet the need?

  • The truth is reality and reveals and confronts lies.

 Breastplate of righteousness:

What is it? The breastplate protects our vital organs.  Without the breastplate, we are susceptible to death blows from the enemy.

  • Not imputed righteousness
  • Practical righteousness produced by the Spirit in the process of sanctification.

How does Satan attack us in this area?

  • He tempts us in areas where we are weak.
  • He tempts us to make excuses for areas where we let down our guard.
  • Satan exploits us when we fail by revealing it to others.
  • Satan exploits us when we fail by planting doubts, thoughts of failure, and hopelessness.

How does this piece of armor meet the need?

  • When we walk uprightly, we do not give place to the devil.

Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace:

What is it? When a soldier went into battle, he needed sure footing when they enemy attacked.  This is similar to a sound stance by a boxer or wrestler.

  • This is not talking about evangelism
  • This is our firm conviction that we are at peace with God.

How does Satan attack us in this area?

  • Satan plants thoughts in our heart that we are under God’s displeasure and anger.

How does this piece of armor meet the need?

  • The gospel reminds us that Christ is our peace with God, our righteousness, obedience, and our propitiation.  His death and shed blood provided a full atonement for our sins.  His fulfillment of the Law has provided a righteous legal verdict before God.  Saving work has given me full access to God and placed me in a position of His favor, by grace alone.

Above all take the shield of faith:

What is it? Shooting flaming darts was a common practice in ancient warfare.  To combat this problem, soldiers would dip their shields in water to quench these fiery darts.  Ironically, extinguishing flames would not only protect the soldier who was immediately in danger, but it would also protect their brothers in the battle.

  • We enter the new life by faith alone.
  • We walk in the new life by faith alone.
  • This faith in graciously given to us by God through the word of God.
  • This faith in strengthened and matured through the word of God.
  • This faith must be resting fully on the word of God.

How does Satan attack us in this area?

  • Satan works to keep us out of the word.
  • Satan works to plant doubts regarding the things we read and hear preached from the Scriptures.

How does this piece of armor meet the need?

  • Faith is the opposite of doubt, and faith removes doubt.

Take the helmet of salvation:

What is it? Obviously, the helmet protects the head.  The head is the house of the mind, and without a sound mind, we are susceptible to death blows from the enemy.  The mind can destroy a person whose body is otherwise very healthy.

  • The helmet protects the mind, and in this situation, it is focused on the thinking of the Christian.
  • The aspect of our salvation that he is emphasizing is the believer’s blessed hope, our future deliverance from this fallen world and entrance into God’s eternal Kingdom.

How does Satan attack us in this area?

  • He tempts us to feel we cannot stand.
  • He tempts us to think the battle will never end.
  • He tempts us to see what is happening today, rather than the glory that is yet to come.

How does this piece of armor meet the need?

  • It instructs our mind that the battle is not forever, we can stand by the enablement of our all-mighty God, and there is glory yet to come in the future.

Sword of the Spirit, the word of God:

What is it? Obviously, when you go into battle you need more than defensive pieces of armor.  You need something to go on the defensive, and the sword was the weapon of choice in the ancient world.

  • The Word of God is the only offensive weapon mentioned.
    • Scriptures
    • Preached word

How does Satan attack us in this area?

  • Satan works to keep us out of the word.
  • Satan works to plant doubts regarding the things we read and hear preached from the Scriptures.

How does this piece of armor meet the need?

  • The scriptures go on the offensive to combat lies, whether in the person, the home, or the church.

The Believer’s Overall Attitude:

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit: (Notice fasting is not mentioned in this passage, which might be a surprise to some.)

  • Prayer: This indicates an attitude of humble dependence upon God for victory in the battle.
    • Supplication: This indicates an interest in the battles that others are facing, not just your own battle.  This also indicates the corporate nature of spiritual warfare.  We were not designed to live the Christian life walking alone. We are to be a part of a spiritual body.
    • In the Spirit: This is not a reference to praying in tongues as some Charismatic would like to interpret it.  When we walk in the Spirit we are not walking in tongues.  It refers to prayer that is influenced by the Spirit in the following ways.
      • Motivated by the Spirit
      • Guided/influenced by the Spirit
      • Enabled by the Spirit.

Being watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints:

  • Be circumspect: Go about your day not fearfully, but rather with eyes open to the attacks that could await us.
  • Be persistent: Do not quit.  The battle is a tool God uses to strengthen us in our Christian experience and to mature us in His service.

Final thoughts:

  • The Christian must be circumspect.
  • The Christian must be prepared to persevere.
  • The Christian cannot accept fallible human traditions, superstitions, and ideas as substitutes or supplements to God’s equipping.
  •  The Christian must to be a scripture focused person:
    • Belt of truth: The scriptures are truth
    • Breastplate of righteousness: Right living is founded on God’s instruction in the Scriptures
    • Gospel of peace: The gospel is revealed in the scriptures
    • Shield of faith: Scripture is the object of our faith and the tool God uses to give us faith, strengthen us in the faith, and mature us in the faith.
    • Sword of the Spirit/word of God: The Word of God is the Scriptures.
  • The Christian must guard his mind with the following foundational truths
    • I am at peace with God.
    • The end of this conflict is eternal glory and God’s eternal Kingdom
  • The Christian must constantly express his inability apart from the gracious work of God, through prayer.
  • The Christian must be concerned about his brothers and sisters in their spiritual struggles.

 

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