This week we looked at who is our primary enemy according to Ephesians 6:10-20. Many times we are tempted to look at people as our primary enemy, but Paul tells us we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.
Ephesians 6-10-20 (Mp3 for download)
Open your Bibles please to Ephesians 6:10, we are going to read through verse 20.
Before we read, I want you to write something down on your bulletin if you have a pen. Write down the first thing that comes to mind when I ask you this question. Don’t think about it, just write the first thing that comes to mind. Whatever pops into your head, write it down. You ready for the question?
Who is the greatest enemy to Christianity in our day? You got it? now, lets read.
Now if you have any background in church at all, I would think that you have heard these verses before. This is a very popular text of scripture, and rightfully so, it is a very clear scripture, and it is one that you really don’t need to understand much to get. So, if that is you, and you are not likely to get more out of this message than you already know, you have a neat opportunity to take time during this message and evaluate how you are doing at this. You know it, great, but how are you doing at this? So, four things I want to draw out of this text today. Four things that you need to know that Paul tells us in this text.
Know that you are at war. 2. Know Your Enemy. 3. Know your weapons. 4. Know your battle plan.
Know you are at war:
a. Paul just gave us some pretty intense instructions to follow, he knows that it will be a struggle to fulfill them, and there will be opposition. This is the closing section of his letter. He knows that as people sek to walk this out there will be difficulty. They are people after all. They are going to blow it. He said hard things to wives, and husbands, and to parents and children, and slaves and masters. He knows that there will be conflicts in the midst of walking that out, and he wants to acknowledge that fact, but he wants them to understand what the primary source of the opposition is.
Know your Enemy: So, look at your answer to the question I posed earlier. there is one correct answer to that question. Paul tells us in verses 11 and 12. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, we wrestle against the devil. Against his forces, and his allies. our fight as Christians is not against people. It isn’t against the media pundits, politicians, immoral pop stars, or oppressive governments, though they can be used by Satan. They are merely tools, they are not the enemy. Our enemy has remained the same one it has been since before Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus. Our enemy is Satan.
So, let me stop right there and ask you to do something. If you wrote down anything other than Satan on your bulletin, you need to repent. Or, even if you are really good at giving the correct answer, but you know in your heart you really think our enemy is a person, or an organization, you need to repent. Now, I pray that no one in here got that answer wrong, but I have to admit, even in my own mind, there are times I get this wrong. And you may wonder why I think this is important, so I will tell you why. The fact of the matter is that if you feel that our greatest enemy is a person, you don’t believe the Gospel. If you think that our greatest enemy as Christians, or your greatest enemy is a person, then by you thinking that, you have written off their souls to be damned. I don’t care who it is, they could be the most vile, miserable, wretched hateful person on earth, but they are not beyond the saving power of Jesus Christ, and to be honest, if they are outside of his reach, what make you think that you aren’t? Even if they are killing Christians, they are not our real enemy. Because all it takes is for God to reveal himself to them, and in a moment, they are your brother. Like the Apostle Paul, who is writing this letter. So we must realize that our battle is not against people. Our battle is with satan, and we must fight, so how?
Know your Weapons: Because our war is a spiritual one, so are our weapons.
a. Belt of Truth: truth holds things together, and supports what we do.
b. Breastplate of Righteousness: As Christians, we wear the Righteousness of Christ that protects our hearts from attack.
c. Shoes: readiness of the Gospel of Peace
d. Shield of Faith: Faith is what puts out the flaming arrows of Satan, his most devious schemes.
e. Helmet of Salvation:
f. Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God, only offensive weapon)
Know Your Battle Plan: So, here is the question that you should be asking yourself as you read this text. “How do I fight with this stuff?” Well, it is a good thing you asked because Paul tells us. The battle plan is prayer. We are to pray at all times, for all the saints. He tells us here that the key to a spiritual battle is prayer. We put on this spiritual armor and we wield it through prayer. Now it doesn’t stop there, what is the request of his prayer? He prays for boldness to preach the mystery of the Gospel. And in asking, he reminds them again that he is in chains as an ambassador of this gospel. You notice something about this letter, how many times does he speak out agains the government? Has he ever once spoken about the men who had him imprisoned, either the Jewish leaders, or the roman authorities? To my knowledge, never. It could be argued that they were the chief enemies of Christianity in that day. yet, he never mentions than as such. in fact, he preaches to them, and they become Christians.
So, when you look around you at the culture in decline, and the society crumbling, and Christianity being attacked in all manner of ways, don’t put the people in your cross hairs, put Satan in your cross hairs. Don’t go on verbal attack against people, go on a verbal attack to God. Because the fact of the matter is you cant win a spiritual battle by fighting in the flesh. There is a time for speaking the gospel boldly, but that is after the spiritual armor has been put on.