Ephesians 6:10-12 Spiritual Warfare
My dad was in the Army and he was stationed in Germany. To be honest, my dad never spoke much about his time in the army. When he did it was with great gratitude because the training he received there enabled him to do what he enjoyed doing for the rest of his life.
There was one story that he told me that I would like to share with you. He told me about a time when he and a friend got off duty and they were walking on base with their shirts un-tucked and they both had cigarettes hanging from their mouths.
They were so busy talking as they walked down the street that they did not realize that the general’s limo had passed by them. Whenever this happens the soldiers were to stand and salute the limo even if the general was not in the vehicle. Because they did not see it pass by them they did not stand at attention and salute.
It was only when they heard the screeching of tires behind them as the limo came to abrupt stop that they realized what had happened. They stood there at attention as the door was opened for the general and he got out. The general walked strait to them and began to scold them for the way that they were dressed and for not being aware of what was going on around them. After a thorough scolding the general said, “The next place you should go is to get a JAG lawyer for your court marshal.
Now, we may not think that their actions deserved a court marshal; but that is exactly what happened to my dad. He had to get a JAG lawyer and he eventually was found guilty and sentenced to serving extra duties.
As we come to our text today, the apostle Paul is acting as the general who is responsible for the training of the soldiers. He comes to us this morning and gives us all a strong command that we are to be always dressed for battle and that we are always to be looking to our Lord so that we can receive grace and strength so that we can stand in the evil day.
Our text this morning is found in Ephesians 6:10-12. It says,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Some questions came to mind as I began to look at this text. I asked,
“Why is Paul addressing Spiritual Warfare? Would I have ended the book of Ephesians in this way?”
“Is the news of this warfare and of our powerful enemy going to overshadow everything that has been spoken of previously?”
“Does this section of scripture correlate with everything else that Paul has said in this letter or does it stand alone?”
The opening word of our text, ‘Finally’, lets us know that Paul is now beginning to wrap up this letter but he wants to make one more point. Paul wants to end by discussing the spiritual warfare that every Christian is engaged in. The last impression that he wants to leave upon our us concerns the spiritual warfare that we are engaged in continually.
Some have said that Paul has been concentrating upon the ‘walk’ of the Christian and not the ‘warfare’ that a Christian is to engage in up until this point. However, we have already seen that our ‘walk’ either helps us in this battle against Satan or it intensifies our vulnerability to attacks from the evil one – Satan.
For example, we saw this in Ephesians 4:25-27 which says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
There is no doubt that Paul’s words in this text can be quite alarming. He speaks of a spiritual enemy that is ordered, structured, who possesses authority, who is a cosmic threat and who is unseen. Paul reminds these believers that they are not in a battle against flesh and blood, but they are in a hand to hand battle against these spiritual foes in heavenly places. In our text, Paul lists all of these enemies, as if to parade them before our minds to sober us up. He mentions: Satan, rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and spiritual forces of evil.
“How are you going to respond to our text today?”
Will your heart be overcome with fear? Will your heart be paralyzed with panic?
Will you ignore Paul’s words and deny that such a battle is being raged?
Will you scoff at such things and call Paul foolish? And if so, beware because you will also not heed Paul’s warning in Ephesians 4:27 to give no opportunity to the devil.
Will you attempt to engage in this spiritual battle in the strength of the flesh and not through a genuine relationship with the Lord? (Acts 19:11-20)
Will you continue to fight against flesh and blood; rather than engaging the proper enemy?
Or will you head Paul’s words and respond appropriately with all diligence?
Let’s begin this morning by attempting to answer two questions,
“Why has Paul chosen to talk about as spiritual warfare as he concludes this letter?”
“Is this spiritual warfare connected in some way with the rest of this letter or does it stand alone?”
I am going to argue that there is a flow to all of what Paul has been teaching and that this discussion concern