Live out Loud: Living your life as God created you in Christ to live
Do you believe that life is war or are we living in peacetime?
If we are in wartime and not peacetime, what has caused this?
I submit to you that if you want to live the life that God has intended that you live, you will enter into a spiritual battle. I want to look at the life that God wants us to live according to Ephesians 6:10-20.
The life that God wants us to live actually comes before our text. In fact the whole book of Ephesians is written to describe the believers union with Christ. We are in Christ.
In Eph. 1-3 Paul gives us the doctrine of our position in Christ. He gives a list of our spiritual blessings. He then gives us our duty, our responsibility of living as a Christian in 4-6.
We are to live lives worthy of the call to which you have been called, 4:1
He then uses the word: “walk” five times to show us how we ought to be walking worthy of the call to be in Christ.
If you desire to live this way you enter into a spiritual battle that Paul says is a struggle, it is a war.
A Christian who no longer has to struggle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil is a Christian who has fallen into sin or into complacency. They are like the church of Ephesus who it was said they have lost their first love.
A Christian who has no conflict is a Christian who has retreated from the front lines of service.
There is a danger in preaching on spiritual warfare.
If we focus too much on Satan we can become over the top with more concentration on him, even more that the scriptures give him. He is a defeated foe. His plans to be like God and to be worshipped have been defeated. He is a defeated foe who uses trickery to keep the world under his control. He cannot control the believer but he can trip us up and cause us to feel defeated and discouraged, which will make us in effective for the Lord’s work.
The other danger is to not be alert or aware of all the evil forces around us. If the Lord were to give us a peak into it, it would horrify us.
I can personally recall a time in my life when I became discouraged. I was serving the Lord as an evangelist in the MD area. I let my guard down. I was not living in sin. I was not taking my stand against the enemy. I was not passionate or intense toward the Lord’s Word or His work. I was just doing my duty. After a period of time, I lost my passion and joy of serving the Lord. I was defeated and lost my desire to do anything for the Lord.
As believers in Christ we are no only God’s children, and his servants but we are also His soldiers, sent forth to do battle with the enemy.
Finally: Paul is calling us to action, the trumpet is being sounded forth, we are being beckoned to do battle with the enemy. Between the two comings of Christ will be characterized by conflict. The peace that God has won through the cross is to be experienced in the midst of struggle against evil.
In order to take a stand against the enemy:
1) We need to be strengthen by the Lord verse 10, 11a
a) We need to admit our weakness: We cannot live the Christian life without God’s strength.
We need to see ourselves as nothing without the Lord. John 15:5
We cannot be self reliant, and cocky Christians trying to live on our own strength.
Illustration: Gideon story in Judges 7
b) The Lord is the one who strengthens us on a continual basis. Present passive imperative
The Lord is calling us to know God’s strength (1:15-20) and to draw closer to Him. It is an exhortation to act on what is known. So don’t just know about His great power use it, live in His strength. It is not so much how much strength that we have but who the source of our strength is.
What exactly is this power? Paul spoke earlier in Ephesians about his desire for the church to know or realize the power that was working in them. It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead.
We need not fear the Devil, because:
God is ultimately in control of the world. He created all that we see through the power of His word.
He created the spiritual world Col. 1:16.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Satan is no match for God. God is our mighty fortress; we need to take refuge in Him.
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That Word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
God has secured us the victory because of the cross
Col. 2: 14, 15
“having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
The cross has made us more than conquerors.
For He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son (Col. 1:13)
We who are believers in Christ have the strength of the Lord just because we have the Lord in our lives. But in another sense we need to appropriate His strength, which comes through his grace- prayer, knowledge of and obedience to the Word, and faith in the promises of God.
We need to avail ourselves of His power and the next verse tells us how.
In order to stand against the enemy:
2) We need God’s Armor. Verse 11
Paul says, “Put on the armor of God.” Since we know that the battle we are engaged in is a spiritual one, then the armor must be spiritual as well. There are different views as to what the armor actually is.
a) Put on God’s armor; meaning live your life worthy of the gospel by living a life of complete trust and obedience. But to be specific: Paul uses the phrase, “put on,” in 4:24, and he says to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness, and holiness. Paul is saying that as a new person in Christ you are no longer to live the way you use to. He says that your life is now in Christ, so act the way He would act. Live like Christ. The armor therefore is Lord’s armor that He gives to us, it is the armor He wore in battle.
The believer is told to put on the armor and he is never told to ever take it off. It is our life long companion. You need to cling to it, meaning you need to cling to Him as if your life depended on it. But why do we need this?
b) So that you are able to stand: You cannot stand up to the enemy in your own strength. But, He is able to do exceedingly above and beyond all that we ask of him. He is able because He has already defeated the enemy and now He takes off His armor so to speak and gives it to us. We are no match for the enemy, if we attempt to live life without God’s armor, we will fall.
Illustration: Acts 19: God was doing extraordinary miracles through the apostle Paul
It says that some were trying to cast out evil spirits by saying in the name the Jesus that Paul preaches we command you to come out of him!
The evil spirits responded by saying, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?”
And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded.
c) The schemes of the devil: The devil does not come to us with a red cape and pitchfork.
He comes as an angel of light. He is a liar, because he is the father of lies. He came to Eve in the garden as a serpent.
Is he after every believer? Yes, but he takes notice of those who are actually doing harm to his plans.
In order to stand against the enemy:
3) We need His armor because the struggle is intense, verse 12
a) It is intense because our fight is against the unseen
The struggle is supernatural it is NOT with flesh and blood, meaning it is not with people. For Paul to say this is amazing considering all that people have done to him.
The struggle is personal, you are in a battle and you must fight or you will become a statistic.
b) It is intense because our fight is against spiritual powers
What are we up against? Paul uses the word against 6 times. The spiritual forces are not for us but against us.
Paul talked about these same forces in Eph. 2:1-3, and this is the realm or dominion that the entire world lies under.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Satan is the ruler. They are the spiritual forces over the dark world. We live in a dark world. The whole world is under the sway of the evil one 1 John 5:19.
9 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
Satan keeps people in this realm by blinding the minds of those who do not believe the glorious gospel of Christ. 2 Cor. 4:4
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
We are no longer in this realm but are now as Eph. 2: 4-6 teaches seated with Christ in the heavenly places. We are spiritual
This means that the battle is in the heavenly places and not really being fought on earth. This is why we don’t fight the fight in a worldly way. This doesn’t means that evil on the earth is not real. Our culture sees the good as evil and evil as good. But we should not think that just by changing our culture the way of life would be easier.
No, people need to be changed and this is only done through the gospel. We need to engage the culture that we live in with the gospel. We do this by living out the gospel loudly. Do good to overcome evil. We need to live the life that Ephesians teaches us to live. Put on the armor of God, the whole armor of God. Verse 13
What does this look like?
See 4-6 on what kind of life we are called to live.
At work you are tempted to lie because if you don’t your co-workers will turn on you, or worse your boss will fire you. What do you do? You put on the armor
The belt of truth, verse 14: Speak the truth in love and put away falsehood. 4:15, 25. Why: because we no longer walk like we use to, see 17-18, 20 says that we are not to live that way. We have put on Christ; we have put on the new man. We are now to be imitators of God, 5:1.
You’re all alone at home; mom and Dad are at work and you’re on the Internet. You have the freedom finally to live the way you want to with nobody to watch you. What kind of person are you going to be?
You are all alone with that boy or girl and they try to kiss you and tell you that you’re the best. So you kiss them and one thing leads to another, and the fire in your heart is burning. What do you do?
Put on the breastplate of righteousness verse 14, you remember who you are in Christ, and that because of Christ you have been made righteous. So you live a holy life and you set standards before you fall into sin. When you live the way you made to live, you will always be the same person, even when you’re alone.
When you are hanging with your friends, or neighbors and the talk becomes about issues of morality. Put on the readiness of the gospel of peace verse 15, and your living a live reading to share not only the gospel but also your life.
When there is darts of discouragement because your doubting God’s promises:
Take up the shield of faith verse 16
When your dealing with insecurity issues regarding feelings of rejection, you feel as nobody cares for you. Or maybe your dealing with the struggle of doubting your salvation. What do you do? You put on the helmet of salvation. The helmet gives security, it makes you feel protected. It does this because when you know who you are in Christ and you have all the spiritual blessings. Nothing, nobody can steal you from God. The helmet keeps you humble, it reminds you of who you are before Christ saved you, but it also reminds you that you have been adopted as a son or a daughter of God.
The last two pieces of the armor are our offensive weapons
The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. You need to be prepared to stand against the enemy through your knowledge of God’s Word. Our great example is Jesus when He is attacked by Satan…He used God’s Word.
Pray: Your prayer life will become intense and more focused because you know why you need to pray.
We are in a battle against the forces of evil and they are real. They are keeping our family and friends blinded to the gospel, they are attacking our school system, they control the air- waves of media. What are we to do?
Live out loud the life that God has called you to live. Walk worthy of the calling you have been called, put on the armor of God, hold your position, keep fighting, don’t give up. Our God is a mighty fortress and He has already defeated the enemy. If you are here this morning and you have never turned from your sin and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of your soul. I invite you to come this morning to receive Jesus into your life. If you need to come and pray and ask the Lord that you want your life to count and you want to stand with Him against the enemy, you are welcomed to come and pray in front.