Sermon Manuscript

Introduction -
Ephesians 6:10-24

The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.12 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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand, therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Final Greetings
21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brothers,4 and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Let’s pray.
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Any veterans? All familiar with war? Movies?
Commemorated D-Day invasion at Normandy. Biggest invasion in history.
Ending the Nazi regime.

The war that Paul writes about in Ephesians is a spiritual war and a battle that is not primarily physical.

I want you to consider America (Where we live) as the Iraq and Afghanistan of the spiritual realm.
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Paul starts this war briefing by saying ...“finally”. Imagine yourself in the briefing room with the chief commander and you are about to be deployed and he says, “….finally….here this…” The man has been to war, he knows what it’s like, so when he says something is important, you better believe it’s important.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Paul says, that this battle has nothing to do with your own ability to overcome the powers of sin and darkness. It’s God’s power inside of us. So how strong you are is irrelevant - in fact, your strength can become a liability in spiritual warfare.

If dependence is the objective, weakness becomes an advantage.

Beware of your strengths, not your weaknesses, because your strengths are those places you are most likely to forget God.

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

We live in a culture where for some of us talking about spiritual things aren’t normal. It’s out of the ordinary for us to talk about things that are unseen. But, for the church in Ephesus it was actually very common.
The Ephesian people were very spiritual people (Acts 19), actually to a fault. They were dealing with magicians and people who had true evil powers.
For a lot of us, it’s scary. We don’t like to feel scared so we try to ignore the reality of spiritual warfare.
The fact is: Scripture does speak about spiritual warfare. So, we don’t neglect speaking about it, but we also don’t need to become obsessed with it.

12 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.

If at this point you’re a bit uncomfortable...good...if not, you’re not catching what's going on.

If you’re in denial - Consider being in surgery and doc comes in with some dirty knives.

Wrestle - Pale (Pal-ay). It means, “wrestling (a contest between two in which each endeavours to throw the other, and which is decided when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck)”

There is a closeness about wrestling in this way.

Even before unpacking the resources Paul encourages us with I want to encourage you with this:

John 16:33 - “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

So, we remind ourselves of this. And remember that we can step into the ring with confidence that we’ve already won the battle. However, we still are in the ring with the enemy. And 1 Peter 5:8 says; “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Imagine yourself back in the briefing room with the commander and he says. “Make sure to take all the pieces of protection...”
I think we can all agree that we’ll respond with “Yes sir.” I’ll take everything you recommend…

14 Stand, therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Stand - or “to stand your ground” against opposing forces.

Yes, we’re to stand against Satan (Eph. 6:11, 13, 14), but standing is not simply waiting and deflecting the arrows of the enemy. Even Paul, who called the Ephesians to stand, sought their prayer so he would keep proclaiming the gospel boldly even when he was imprisoned (Eph. 6:18–20). His own “standing” meant that he would faithfully evangelize even if the war cost him his life. We put on the full armor of God not so we can defend ourselves, but so we can march into the enemy’s kingdom to do the work of the Great Commission.

The belt of truth:
John 8:44 says “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Deception is the first weapon the devil uses, going back to the Garden of Eden, questioning the commands of God. It’s critical that we surround ourselves with truth ie: The Word of God. This belt was also the piece that would hold the whole suit together, so needless to say it was an essential piece of armor.

The breastplate of righteousness:
A breastplate shielded a warrior’s vital organs from blows that would otherwise be fatal. This righteousness is not works of righteousness done by men. Rather, this is the righteousness of Christ, imputed by God and received by faith, which guards our hearts against the accusations and charges of Satan and secures our innermost being from his attacks.

Think of it this way, whatever isn’t covered by Christ’s righteousness in your life will be on full attack from the devil.

15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

We are reminded that God wants to reconcile humanity to himself. That is the story of the Bible. That from Genesis 3 when the fall happens, God plans to redeem His people back into perfect harmony with himself.

That the message of the gospel is one of peace between God and mankind. We are the ambassadors of reconciliation.

2 Cor 5:20 - “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

So, in the midst of this war, in the midst of this battle scene, we’re standing our ground against the devil’s attacks, we’re also ready to dart off at any time and share the message of reconciliation with someone who needs it...remembering that there will be traps set as we go and tell the world about Christ’s reconciling grace.

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one

Our faith—of which Christ is “the author and perfecter” (Hebrews 12:2)— is like a golden shield, precious, solid, and substantial.

Flaming arrows were actually used in ancient warfare, often causing panic, even when a shield deflected them. The devil thrives on panic. The name “Satan” actually means Accuser.

Those flaming arrows are often doubts about our Identity. The shield of faith answers such questions with the Lord’s strength, not our own. As we read in the Psalms: “The Lord is my strength and my shield” (Psalm 28:7)

So, in every circumstance, take up this shield so that you will be able to extinguish the darts of the devil.

17 and take the helmet of salvation,

When a soldier suited up for battle, the helmet was the last piece of armor to go on.
The helmet was the most visible part of a soldier’s armor.

It was the final act of readiness in preparation for combat. A helmet was vital for survival, protecting the brain, the command station for the rest of the body. If the head was badly damaged, the rest of the armor would be of little use.

So, our salvation is secured by the Holy Spirit, which gives us the confidence to enter the battlefield knowing (Knowledge) that we’ve already won the battle.

and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

God’s Word is powerful. Hebrews 4:12 calls it “Sharper than any double-edged sword.”, going on to say that “It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Remember that when Jesus was tempted in the desert. Going one-on-one against the devil, He responded to each attack in the same way - quoting God’s word.

Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus sustains all things “by His powerful word.”

This is the sword that turns back the attacks of the devil, the sword that protects us, the sword that helps us stand our ground.

18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

If we go to battle with the wrong weapons we’ll lose.

John Stout said that “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
This is the Christians most powerful resource. So, let’s fight this battle the right way. By becoming a people of prayer. A people that go into our war rooms ie: your closet, room, office...wherever...and pray. Pray for those around you, pray for your fellow believers etc.

19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Final Greetings
21 iSo that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Conclusion:

Ten thoughts on spiritual warfare →

1. The Bible is a book about God, not the devil.
2. Satan and his forces are real.
3. Satan, however, is not our biggest problem. (We are)
4. God reigns, even over the enemy.
5. The enemy we face is a defeated foe.
6. Warfare is the devil’s attempt to deceive and divide believers.
7. But we are not on the defensive in this battle.
8. Satan battles against us because we are God’s witnesses to the world.
9. The offensive nature of this battle demands evangelism & discipleship.
10. One of Satan’s subtle strategies is to entice us to operate in our own ability.

God does not send us into battle against Satan without divine assistance. In fact, he dresses us in his own armor.

We do not win any battle against evil in our own strength, but only with the spiritual resources provided by our Savior, the One who is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” (1:21).

● We war against the Devil’s lies and accusations with the truth of the gospel,
● fighting the fight of faith to believe that the cross brings us peace,
● our salvation is secure,
● and the Lord is our righteousness.

In the words of a hymn by Martin Luther, “The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. His rage we can endure, for lo his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him.”

Pray

O LORD,

I bless you that the issue of the battle
between yourself and Satan
has never been uncertain,
and will end in victory.
Calvary broke the dragon’s head,
and I contend with a vanquished foe,
who with all his subtlety and strength
has already been overcome.
When I feel the serpent at my heel
may I remember him whose heel was bruised,
but who, when bruised, broke the devil’s head.

My soul with inward joy extols
the mighty conqueror.

Heal me of any wounds received
in the great conflict;
if I have gathered defilement,
if my faith has suffered damage,
if my hope is less than bright,
if my love is not fervent,
if some creature-comfort occupies my heart,
if my soul sinks under pressure of the fight.
O you whose every promise is balm,
every touch life,
draw near to this weary warrior,
refresh me, that I may rise again
to wage the strife,
and never tire until my enemy is trodden down.
Give me such fellowship with you
that I may defy Satan,
unbelief, the flesh, the world,
with delight that comes not from a creature,
and which a creature cannot mar.
Give me a draught of the eternal fountain
that lieth in your immutable, everlasting love
and decree.
Then shall my hand never weaken,
my feet never stumble,
my sword never rest,
my shield never rust,
my helmet never shatter,
my breastplate never fall,
as my strength rests in the power
of your might.

Amen