“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”
Ephesians 6:10 ESV
READY TO RUMBLE: STAND FIRM
Maximus Decimus Meridius is the main fictional character in the 2000 film Gladiator. At the beginning of the movie, he is giving a speech as he prepares to lead his troops into battle. His motto, which his compatriots repeat back to him before battle, is “Strength and Honor.” Throughout the movie, Maximus serves as an excellent example of someone who uses their strength to fight for what’s honorable.
As the Apostle Paul prepares the church at Ephesus for spiritual battle in Ephesians 6, he challenges them to “be strong in the Lord.” Maybe his motto would be “strength and godly.” Paul knew that Christians would need extraordinary strength to follow Christ. The bad news was they did not have enough strength of their own for the battle ahead. The good news was they could use God’s strength and His might.
When was the last time you felt spiritually weak? What is the biggest battle you are currently facing?
The Apostle Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:14-16 for the church, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being.” Let this be your prayer today.
“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.”
Ephesians 6:11-12 ESV
READY TO RUMBLE: THE ENEMY
A reporter was interviewing an old man on his 100th birthday. “What are you most proud of?” he asked him. “Well,” said the man, “I don’t have an enemy in the world.” “What a beautiful thought! How inspirational!” said the reporter. “Yep,” added the centenarian, “I’ve outlived every last one of them.”
Pastor Jim taught us last week, our biggest enemy is probably our own flesh. We learn from Ephesians 6:11-12 that our second biggest enemies are not the people who we can see every day or who have done us wrong. The Bible teaches our next biggest enemy is the devil and evil forces. The Bible teaches the devil is real and spiritual forces of evil are real. And we learn that the devil has “schemes” or a strategy to defeat us. That strategy involves a lot of deception.
Pastor and author David Jeremiah wrote concerning Satan’s schemes:
“If you could sneak into Satan’s office, wherever that might be (he’s not in hell yet), and take a peek into his files, you might be surprised to find a file folder with your name on it. I’m not exaggerating. He keeps a file on you, and inside that file are all the strategies he’s tried on you—the ones that have worked and the ones that have failed. He doesn’t waste his time with the ones that don’t work anymore. Instead, he uses variations on the strategies that have caused you to stumble in the past. As long as they keep working, he keeps using them.” (Jeremiah, D. God In You)
We learned in the sermon that our enemy has a plan to steal, kill, and destroy. We also need to have a plan to resist him. We must learn to fight him in God’s way and with God’s tools. We must wrestle and fight for our families, schools, cities and our own character in the spiritual realm. One of Satan’s biggest “schemes” is to deceive us into believing that spiritual warfare isn’t a big deal and to neglect that part of our walk with Christ.
Praise God for the ability to win spiritual battles. Confess to God that you know there is a spiritual war to be fought. Confess your willingness and desire to fight that fight with God’s help and direction.
“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
READY TO RUMBLE: ARMOR
Naval history teaches, British Admiral Lord David Beatty commanded a flotilla at the Battle of Jutland during World War I. As the battle began, British and German ships engaged each other in a long-range artillery battle. It quickly became apparent that there was a major flaw in the British ships. First, a heavy cruiser, the Lion, was hit by an artillery barrage and quickly sunk. Next, the Indefatigable was hit in the powder magazine, and was blown to pieces. Then the Queen Mary was sunk, taking a crew of 1,200 sailors straight to the bottom. Watching this destruction among the proud ships of his fleet, Admiral Beatty turned to his bridge officer and said with characteristic British restraint, “There seems to be something wrong with our ships today, Chatfield.”
Though the British ships eventually turned back the German fleet, it was later discovered that there was a fatal flaw in the design of the British ships. Though they had heavily armored hulls, their wooden decks offered almost no protection against enemy’s long-range artillery shells that dropped almost straight down out of the sky. Only after the British began to armor their ships on top as well as on the sides did they stop losing ships to German long-range artillery.
In Ephesians 6:13-17, Paul teaches the church that it’s essential we put on “the whole armor of God.” When Paul writes, “take up,” he uses language that implies a sense of urgency. If we neglect any part of the armor, we are vulnerable to the Satan’s attacks. “Standing firm” is possible for us when we are fully equipped with God’s armor. And by God’s grace, we should do everything God teaches us to help us to “stand firm.”
Reread Ephesians 6:13-17. Remember, it’s God’s armor and not our armor. Circle each of the pieces of armor listed. Like any good soldier there are defensive and offensive weapons. Which of the armor pieces in the passage we read are offensive weapons and which are defensive weapons? We will take the next couple of weeks to review that armor. Which of the weapons do you believe you have neglected the most?
Thank God for giving you a defense system for the battle. Ask God to grow you where your armor is weak.
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:13-17 ESV
READY TO RUMBLE: DEFENSIVE ARMOR
The Mighty Ducks was a movie about a pee wee hockey team. Their goalie, whose name was Goldberg, was afraid of the puck and anytime it would come at him he would run away. So the coach duct taped him to the goal and had the rest of the team shoot on him at will. Once he learned that his equipment protected him from the puck, he was no longer afraid of it.
The Apostle Paul wanted Christians to know we have spiritual equipment to protect us from spiritual attacks. In Ephesians 6, Paul lists six defensive pieces of spiritual armor that can protect us from Satan’s attacks. We learned in the sermon that we need God’s Truth, righteous living, the Gospel on-hand, faith in God, and a knowledge and assurance of salvation. Neglecting any one piece of this armor leaves a person vulnerable to the attacks of Satan.
We don’t have to be afraid of Satan’s attacks. However, we should be keenly aware that he will attack us where we are most vulnerable. What part of Pastor Jim’s sermon on Sunday gave you the most assurance in your spiritual battle?
Praise God for the piece of your armor that you are most grateful to have.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:13-17 (ESV)
READY TO RUMBLE: OFFENSIVE WEAPON
Craig Brian Larson gives the following illustration:
National Geographic ran an article about the Alaskan bull moose. The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon, are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs. Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk. There is a lesson here for us. Spiritual battles await. Satan will choose a season to attack. Will we be victorious or will we fall? Much depends on what we do now—before the wars begin. Remember the bull-moose principle: Enduring faith, strength, and wisdom for trials are best developed before they’re needed.
The sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon the Apostle Paul lists in our war against Satan. He clearly tells us that the sword is the “word of God.” The writer of Hebrews explained that “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
When was the last time you felt the blade of God’s sword pierce your heart? Have you considered memorizing Scripture as a way of being ready to fight the enemy? If not, pick one verse and take this week to memorize it.
Thank God for the power of His word. Thank Him for using the Bible to speak to your heart and to protect you from Satan’s deception.