Defending the Vision: Protecting the Family of God

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Defending the Vision: Protecting the Family of God

Ephesians 6:10-20                  September 11, 2005


          God’s vision for us (chosen/predestined to be part of his kingdom – to the        praise of his glory)

          How to keep it alive (prayer)

          How to live it (grace/not works)

          United in it (family)

          Getting committed to it (mystery/love)

          Consumed by it (prisoner/mature/work/‘one’)

          Changed by it (obey)

          What it looks like (family portrait)

          *Defending it


How many of you here believe in the concept of spiritual warfare?

How many of you have personally experienced spiritual warfare?

We are in a spiritual battle for the family of God.

Our enemy is defined. He is powerful – but not all powerful.

Today we remember the terrorist attack 4 years ago on the world trade center in New York City. We took a blow but we were not overcome.

Today we remember something even more recent - the hurricane attack on New Orleans. We took a blow but we will not be overcome.

We had an idea that both of these events could happen. We were not prepared for either of them. In some sense there is no way to prepare totally. There is always some element of surprise no matter how prepared we are. Will these things really happen? Could they really happen to us?

But we could have done much more beforehand to protect ourselves. Indeed, now that these events have happened, we have and will take steps to protect ourselves in the future.

But how about spiritual warfare – spiritual disasters that can happen at any moment? What can we do to defend ourselves – to protect ourselves? As always, the Word of God gives us the answers.

And in the spiritual realm, the stakes are even higher because they deal with things eternal.

ILLUS.: Operating the boat by myself while fishing (windy).

We can’t go too fast and must keep ourselves pointed in the right direction lest we be flipped over or blown away.

Big Question:

(What should the family of God look like – and what threatens it?)

How does God enable us to defend what he has given us?

I.       Cycle One: We are empowered (in the Father) (v. 10)

Back to a question I asked earlier --- do you even believe that this spiritual life we have received by faith in Christ to be a spiritual battle, since he has already won against Satan by his acceptable sacrifice on the cross for our sins?

We must see that Yahweh God himself is a warrior surrounded and his agents in need of his strength.

“For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps 18:1-2 NIVUS)

 “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” (Ps 18:32 NIVUS)

 “You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.” (Ps 18:39 NIVUS)

 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” (Ps 28:7 NIVUS)

 “But do not kill them, O Lord our shield, or my people will forget. In your might make them wander about, and bring them down.” (Ps 59:11 NIVUS)

 “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.” (Ps 59:16-17 NIVUS)

 “You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” (Ps 68:35 NIVUS)

 “My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him.” (Ps 89:21 NIVUS)

 “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” (Ps 118:14 NIVUS)

 “Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.” (Isa 52:1 NIVUS)

We must see Paul’s military imagery of the Christian life as our necessity, since we have an enemy who prowls around ‘like a lion seeking whom he may devour’.

“But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (1Th 5:8 NIVUS)

 “in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;” (2Co 6:7 NIVUS)

 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2Co 10:3-4 NIVUS)

 “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” (Ro 6:13 NIVUS)

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro 6:23 NIVUS)

 “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Ro 13:12 NIVUS)

 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” (1Co 16:13 NIVUS)

II.      Cycle Two: We are equipped (in the Son) (vv. 11-17)

We must see Christ as God’s warrior at the head of his army. He is the rock that Daniel spoke about in his dream of the statue representing all the world kingdoms.

“but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.” (Isa 11:4-5 NIVUS)

 “He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.” (Isa 59:17 NIVUS)

 “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.” (Isa 49:2 NIVUS)

 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"” (Isa 52:7 NIVUS)

Believers therefore have not just any weapons or armor, but those of God himself.

Indeed, David used spiritual weapons against Goliath (1Sam. 17:36). So you see the similarity of Daniel’s dream and David’s experience?

Jesus is the rock that men stumble over, the cornerstone of our faith. And we are called ‘living stones’ in Scripture after Him.

“As you come to him, the living Stone— rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 2:4-5 NIVUS)

We, like him, are to follow him in destroying the works of the devil.

“He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (1Jo 3:8 NIVUS)

We are assured of victory.

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Ro 16:20 NIVUS)

But we must also remember that Goliath had a brother (2Sam. 21:15-17), and like David, we can grow weary. We think we need to fight the same fight over and over, when in fact we did defeat the enemy of the past and just have to go on to a new one. The enemies are not all yet defeated. Indeed, we are in a struggle for our very lives, for the very KOG, the family of God.

David needed to pick up more and more of those ‘living stones of faith’ from the streambed of God’s provision like he did when he met Goliath. We are the army of the Living God.

“"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."” (Mt 12:43-45 NIVUS)

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm— neither hot nor cold— I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Re 3:15-16 NIVUS)

We must become a ‘hothouse’ of holiness warfare in labor for Christ’s church – his family, even our own families. (S. 2Kings 13:17 – the Lord’s arrow of victory.)

ILLUS.: Ron Marengere; it’s a cruel fierce world down there (fishing – scarred, big on little, lure in gut, broken rod). Ron’s son, James.

III.    Cycle Three: We are emboldened (in the Spirit) (vv. 18-20)

Paul set down no manner of alarm but confidence in the power of prayer even in bitter combat. It is valor, not numbers, that prevail in God’s army.

Are you a spiritual warrior?

“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” (Mt 11:12 NIVUS)

“"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” (Mt 11:12 NAS95)

“And from the time John the Baptist began preaching and baptizing until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people attack it.” (Mt 11:12 NLT)


God’s vision is his family in victory.

“which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Eph 1:20-21 NIVUS)

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” (Eph 2:1-2 NIVUS)

 “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,” (Eph 3:10 NIVUS)

We cannot be ‘conscientious objectors’.

Christ has triumphed over the powers but they still exist at work in the disobedient.

We must live a fearless Christian life in the midst of a hostile world. We are in evil days (5:16, 6:13). What is at stake is of cosmic proportions.

This passage points out God’s purposes not yet complete and powers hostile to the well-being of believers, existence of the Church, and the advance of the gospel have not given up their ultimately futile opposition.

We are given a realistic perspective on Christian existence and any naïve notion that living out our calling in the world will be an effortless or trouble-free assignment. We are not to be passive. We have a tough opposition but an even tougher resistance.

In v. 6:13 we must put on, but in v. 6:17 we must take. The first 4 armors are activities or attitudes to be demonstrated – the last two are gifts from God.

We are to be God’s Christian militia. In Ephesians we are told first to sit (we are seated [2:4] with Christ), then we are to walk, and now we are to stand. We are reminded that we have status and position, then we are to live out our status and position, then we are to maintain and appropriate our status and position.

All this reminds us of our calling to God’s vision for us as the family of God.

(What should the family of God look like – and what threatens it?)

How does God enable us to defend what he has given us?

I.       Cycle One: We are empowered (in the Father) (v. 10)

II.      Cycle Two: We are equipped (in the Son) (vv. 11-17)

III.    Cycle Three: We are emboldened (in the Spirit) (vv. 18-20)

See the rest →
See the rest →