Monday

The Wrestle

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.” – Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

The word “wrestle” is a word used to describe “hand-to-hand combat.” It speaks of the ancient struggles that took place in the Roman arenas. When the combatants met on that field of battle, they were not wrestling to win a prize like modern athletes. They were fighting for their lives because ancient contests were a fight to the death. Thus, it was “no holds barred” wrestling. The combatants used deception and trickery to defeat their opponents. They cheated and did what they had to do to win.

On Sunday, Pastor Jim reminded us that our “wrestle” is not against “flesh and blood.” Our “wrestle” is against spiritual forces. Pastor Adrian Rogers said, “We are at spiritual war! Therefore, the church is not a cruise ship with the pastor as the master of ceremonies. Indeed, it is not a showboat, but a battleship. We’re called to see Satan’s strongholds crumble under the power of heaven’s artillery. We do not have the luxury of neutrality. We must engage in the fight. A truce will never be called. God’s will for His saints is not that we merely survive, but that we thrive in total victory.”

General Douglas MacArthur was correct when he said, “In war, there is no substitute for victory. We must be aware of our enemy to achieve this victory. We need to learn of our infernal foe.”

Reflection

One of the devil’s greatest tricks is to focus our attention on other people and what they do to us. We mistakenly think people are our enemies: our boss, our husband, our wife, our children, coworkers, whoever. John Phillips wrote, “Our enemies are not people. We must see beyond people. Satan may use people to persecute us, lie to us, cheat us, hurt us, or even kill us. But our real enemy lurks in the shadows of the unseen world, moving people as pawns on the chessboard of time.”

When have you mistaken a spiritual battle for a physical battle against flesh and blood?

Praise

Thank God for helping you identify your true enemy. Thank God that He is greater than any enemy you will face.

Tuesday

Rulers of Darkness

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.” – Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

A new employee at a Wal-Mart had only been at work three days and was the low man in the store’s pecking order. He was standing with a broom in hand near the entrance when an irate customer walked into the store. The customer had made a purchase that had not turned out satisfactorily and was returning to complain. “Young man,” the customer growled, “I want to speak to someone with a little authority around here.” The new clerk looked around and, leaning on his broom, said, “Well, sir, you might as well talk to me. I guess I got just about as little authority as anybody in this whole place.”

Ephesians 6 is answering the authority question in spiritual warfare. The term “rulers” in Ephesians 6:12 is plural because it is not only Satan. It includes all the demonic hosts of heaven. His demons are the masterminds of evil in this world. “Rulers” means the leader of something. You have heard the expression, “The buck stops here.” Well, that would be a good illustration for “rulers.” It is where it starts. It is where it ends. Where do they rule and reign? Only in the realm of darkness. They do not rule over light. They do not rule over you and me. They rule in the sphere of darkness.

Reflection

We must be aware there is strategy and structure to Satan’s attacks in our life. How should the awareness of Satan’s organized demonic attacks in our life affect our approach to spiritual warfare?

Praise

Thank God that Satan’s attacks in our life are limited. Praise God that His light is greater than Satan’s darkness.

Wednesday

Power of Darkness

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.” – Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

During WWII, General George Patton’s troops and tanks were engaged in a successful counterattack of German forces under General Erwin Rommel. Patton is reported to have shouted in the thick of the battle, “I read your book, Rommel! I read your book!” And that he did. In Rommel’s book Infantry Attacks, the famed “Desert Fox” carefully detailed his military strategy. And Patton, having read it and knowing what to expect, planned his moves accordingly.

God wants us to understand the strategy of Satan and his demons. The word “authorities” is plural, just like “rulers” was plural. It is the same word used in Colossians 1:13 when it says, “we have been delivered out of the authority, the right and the might of darkness and placed into the kingdom of His dear Son.” In other words, in the realm of darkness, Satan and his demons have not only the creativeness of propagating evil and originating evil, but they also have the right and the might to carry it out. Until the end of this age, these demonic forces already defeated by Christ on the cross, are allowed to exercise a certain limited power in temporarily opposing the purposes of God.

Reflection

What new information did you learn in Sunday’s sermon that can help you win the battle against evil? We set ourselves up for failure when we don’t recognize that Satan and demons have power. It’s a limited power, but it is power. Our best defense is to rely daily on the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Praise

Thank God for the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. Ask God to help you recognize the enemies’ attacks and give you the tools necessary to fight.

Thursday

Worldwide War

“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 all the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

“During the War Between the States,” writes Gary Redding, “a Union soldier from Ohio was shot in the arm during the battle of Shiloh. His captain saw he was wounded and barked an order: ‘Gimme your gun, private, and get to the rear!’ The private handed over his rifle and ran toward the north, seeking safety. But after covering two or three hundred yards, he came upon another skirmish. Then he ran to the east and into another part of the battle. Then he ran west but encountered more fighting there. Finally, he ran back to the front lines, shouting: ‘Gimme back my gun, cap’n. There ain’t no rear to this battle!'”

When it comes to spiritual warfare, “there ain’t no rear!” There is nowhere to run! The battle rages all around us. The Apostle Paul taught that there are “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Spiritual forces includes not only the people of the world but the system of the world. A system that is actively opposed to everything for which God stands. The plural is used in this verse to speak of Satan and his demonic forces composed of fallen angels who control the present evil world system.

Reflection

How do you see spiritual forces at work in our world’s systems today? How do you think God can use you as light in the world today?

Praise

God’s church and kingdom continue to thrive around the world. Praise God that the gates of hell will not prevail against His kingdom.

Friday

Spiritual Weapons

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.” – Ephesians 6:13 (ESV)

Leroy Eims tells the following story about when he was serving in the Marines in the South Pacific during World War II: “Shortly after we hit the beach, our armored amphibious tank took two artillery shells broadside. We immediately evacuated our disabled vehicle and darted from hole to hole toward the enemy airstrip, which we were to take. The sergeant began to check on us to make sure that we were OK. He crawled over to me and asked, “You all right, Eims?’ I answered, “Yeah, I’m OK, Sarge.” He looked at me and asked, “Eims, where is your helmet?” “I felt the top of my head and answered, “Must be in the tank, Sarge.” “Where’s your duty belt?” “Must be in the tank, Sarge.” “As a matter of fact, Eims, where’s your rifle?” He looked at me with disgust and pity.

This story reveals the truth about the modern church. Most Christians have forgotten that the Christian life is not a playground but a battlefield. As a result, very few of the Lord’s people are armed, equipped, and ready to wage spiritual battle. Whether we believe it or not, we are engaged in spiritual warfare. If we are to be successful in our work for the Lord Jesus, we must be prepared for that battle and be ready to go to war.

The image of armor would have been familiar to every person in the Ephesian church. Paul is describing the armor of the average Roman soldier. Note: This was not the super-soldier’s armor but the ordinary run of the mill, everyday soldier. For these soldiers to be effective in battle, they need to be protected on the battlefield. Paul uses their armor’s image to teach us about how we need to dress up for the day of battle.

Reflection

Study the spiritual armor listed in Ephesians 6:13-20. The purpose of the armor is so we can “stand.” The opposite of “stand” is “fall.” When we neglect our armor, we set ourselves up to fall.

Praise 

Thank God for the specific pieces of armor He has provided for us to stand.

© 2017 Second Baptist Church
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