The Fight of our Lives
By Matthew Black, Pastor
Text: Ephesians 6:10-13
Date: Sunday, July 19, 2009, 11am
Tabernacle Baptist Church
7020 Barrington Road
Hanover Park, Illinois 60133
Introduction: Open your Bible to the book of Ephesians 6:10-13.
Ephesians 6:10-12, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”.
All life is war. From the cradle to the grave, we fight. Before the new birth, we were held captive by the devil. Now we must “stand against the wiles of the devil”. Though Christ has delivered the death blow to the powers of darkness, they are not yet fully destroyed. At the end of Paul’s life he said “I have fought a good fight”.
Spurgeon said, “As soon as you are washed in Christ’s blood and clothed in His righteousness, you must begin to hew your way through a lane of enemies, right up to the eternal throne. Every foot of the way will be disputed; not an inch will Satan yield to you”. WCo48
We must fight right up to the Day of Redemption. We must overcome, or we will be overcome. We will persevere. We will be preserved unto the Day of the Lord. But we must fight.
We must not take our enemy too lightly. Before his fall, he beheld the face of the Father. He has a depth of understanding about God which we do not, and yet, he has rebelled against the almighty after seeing him face to face. His evil is beyond our comprehension. If he sought to take on God Himself, do not think he will think twice in destroying you.
Paul is giving his final words of encouragement to the brothers and sisters at Ephesus. The first thing Paul does is give us words of encouragement. “Be strong!” Have courage! How? In your own power? No!
I. The Waging of the Battle is of the LORD. Paul says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (verse 10). Our strength is inadequate for the war we face. You cannot resist the temptation to sin on your own. You cannot resist the temptation to compromise without the Lord. Your enemy is too great for your own puny strength.
A. The Christian’s strength is found in the Lord, and not in ourselves. That’s why Paul says: “be strong in the Lord” (verse 10). God can overcome all of our enemies without our strength. He does not need your hands. He does not need your intellect. He does not need any of your gifts and abilities. God armed Joshua with trumpets, and the walls of Jericho came down. God armed Gideon with lanterns, and the Midianites were defeated. Without the power of the Lord, we cannot stand “against the wiles of the devil” (verse 11).
1. It is our very nature as created beings to Depend on God. This is why we read in the Scriptures…
· Christ’s words, when He said, “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).
· Paul says we are to “have no confidence in the flesh”.(Philippians 3:3).
· We are told, “lean not to your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
The hymn writer said - "The arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own."
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God”.
We learn that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Christ is the “Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). “He who began a good work in your will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
God gave us a new heart and put the life and the new desires in us. It is His strength, His supernatural work in us that we must rely on. Our victory is “Not by might [numbers] nor by power [strength], but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 1:6).
2. It is Christ’s Desire and Delight to give His people sufficient grace and power. Jesus prays in John 17:11, “…Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” Be strong in the One who is keeping you in the Father’s Name! Be strong in the One who is guarding and guiding you.
Without the power of Christ, we cannot stand for a moment. This is why Christ “ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25).If Christ were to cease interceding for us for one second, we would all lose our faith completely and become atheists. It is His strength and His power that we must rest in! It is our very nature of weakness to depend upon our Creator, Christ.
B. What does it mean to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (verse 10)? To “be strong in the Lord” means a personal reliance on Christ. To be strong in the Lord, is to be strongly relying on His presence. We are not simply relying on a force, but on Christ Himself who abides in us. Remember Christ said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).
To be strong in the Lord is another way of saying “Trust in the Lord who is powerful”. Do you have a settled faith in the sovereignty and omnipotence of Christ? Do you have faith that the Christ who is all powerful also loves you and works on your behalf? If you are in Christ, then the Almighty Power of God that raised Jesus from the dead is yours! Hebrews 13:6, “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me”.
Application: There are some people that we cannot trust. You might know of a person who is not reliable or not able to do what you need done. Christ is someone you can trust! Every one of His promises is UNBROKEN! Perhaps you’ve been in a trial for SO LONG, and it seems you are ready to give in. Remember, Isaiah 40:31, “they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Application: Perhaps your struggle is not with a trial, but with a temptation to sin. Do you Christian struggle against many mighty sins? Do they seem like they are going to kill you and dominate and overcome you? Well, one of the puritans said, “One Almighty [GOD] is greater than many mighties [SINS]” (William Gurnall, 35). Christ being almighty was put to death for all your sins, and He was raised for your justification. Rely on the Almighty Christ within you to put to death all your sins.
I. The Waging of the Battle is of the LORD.
II. Now let’s see that the Weapons of the Battle are provided by the LORD. Verse 11, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”. How can we be strong in the Lord? Through the Lord’s protection, His armor.
A. Only true Christians have the armour of God. You cannot be a soldier of the US Army unless you are loyal to the United States. To be in God’s army, you must be born into it. Those without Christ have no armour. They are captives of the devil. 2 Corinthians 4:4, “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…”
B. The Christian’s armour is of divine origin. These weapons come at regeneration. It is the “armour of God”. It is the armor which God has provided, and which only God gives.
It is not physical armor. Natural talent or natural education alone will not help us. It can be a blessing, but it is not at all necessary. God’s men were for the most part “unlearned men”. Mere education for will tickle your intellect. “Knowledge puffeth up”. We do not seek doctrine as a goal, we seek Christ, and in seeking to understand Christ rightly, we learn doctrine, but not for doctrine’s sake. Doctrine didn’t die for us. Doctrine didn’t rise again. Beware of seeking knowledge. Knowledge, if it does not lead you to Christ, is a carnal weapon.
2 Corinthians 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds”.
Jeremiah 17:5, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.”
David tells us: “vain is the help of man” (Psalm 60:11).
God commands us to “lean not to your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
Application: Do you try to find fleshly and carnal ways out of tests, trials, and hard situations? Will you even now “cast all your care upon Him Who cares for you”?
C. We must put on the whole armor of God. There is both defensive armor like a shield, and offensive armor, like the sword.
D. We must not use carnal devices to fight the Lord’s battles. Hodge, “Instead of relying on the arms which God has provided, men have always been disposed to trust to those which they provide for themselves or which have been prescribed by others. Seclusion from the world (i. e. flight rather than conflict), ascetic and ritual observances, invocation of saints and angels, and especially, celibacy, voluntary poverty, and monastic obedience, constitute the panoply which false religion has substituted for the armour of God.”
III. The Winning of the Battle is by the LORD. Understand the enemy.
Verse 12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.
A. We have an unseen enemy. As Christians, we often think our struggle is against flesh and blood. There’s a pill, a program, a plan for everything. But the eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good. We do not wrestle against human beings “flesh and blood”. Our war is not against the people the want to cause us harm. Our battle is not with the people we think it is with. We chafe at that. I mean Paul was stoned by men of flesh and blood. Wasn’t his war against flesh and blood? Paul understood that ultimately, the devil controls wicked men. The devil tempts even saints to discourage other saints. It is supernatural evil beings that we wrestle against.
B. We have a powerful enemy. Verse 12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. Satan possesses great power and intelligence, and he has access to the minds of men. He exerts his power for their destruction. You cannot take him on! Consider the words of Jude 1:9, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
C. We have a wicked enemy. The devil is the greatest sinner, and, in some sense, the father of all sin.
· Jesus said in John 8:44 says that Satan is the father of lies. In fact, those who commit sin are said to be of the devil in 1 John 3:8, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning."
· He is spoken of throughout Scripture as the essence of wickedness—even called “The Wicked One.” So Matthew 13:19, "Then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart." 1 John 2:13, "I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one."
D. A scheming enemy. We are to beware of the devil’s “wiles” or his tricks and schemes. The devil is a master trap setter. Remember the temptation of Christ in Matthew 4. The devil knows how to quote Scripture. He is a master rationalizer.
1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”.
E. A defeated enemy!
I believe at the cross Jesus Christ gave a death blow to Satan as recorded in Hebrews 2:14, He destroyed him that had the power of death.
Jesus said in John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out”.
The strong men must first be bound, and then Christ comes and spoils his goods.
Conclusion: We are told in verse 13 to STAND. Verse 13, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”.
God does not ask us to fight. He does not ask us to devise a plan. He has all that taken care of. We have only one responsibility. Stand! Stand in the strength of the LORD!!