Why Are We Wearing Armour If We're Not In A War?
Series: Why Are We Wearing Armour If We’re Not In A War
Passage: Ephesians 6:10-20
Message 1- Ephesians 6:10-13
If you were to see a picture of me with a hot dog in my hand and a drink and maybe a Green “London Knights” Hockey Jersey on, looking like I was enjoying myself, what might you assume I was doing?
If you were to be channel surfing and saw a group of large men wearing football helmets and pads and the rest of the outfit gathered on a large grass surface with thousands of fans in the stands, what might you assume is happening on that channel?
Does God expect us to be fans or players?
Usually it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between the fans and the players- the fans aren’t in the game nor are they equipped to be in the game. In most cases you need the right equipment in order to play- you have to wear protective gear or you’d be badly hurt.
What if you were to come across a group of men and women in fatigues and helmets what would you know about them from what they wore?
-that what they did for a living was not a game- they are equipped to protect and defend. Instead of hockey sticks they carry guns because the stakes are so much higher.
-peacekeeping is not a game- it is a matter of life and death
Paul, in our passage, attempts to get the attention of the Christ followers in Ephesus and remind them that they are not fans. He uses the picture of being dressed for war to make several points that are relevant for us as well.
He is going to tell the believers to “put on” the armour of God. (11.13)
-three times he urges them to stand firm or take their stand
-verse 12 says that they are in a “struggle” or as the KJV says, “we wrestle”- believers are in a conflict.
Look at what Paul says we ought to be wearing- Breastplates and Helmets and Shields and Swords are mentioned- not the gear of war we use today but it begs the question, “Why are we wearing armour if we’re not in a war?”
Do we really consider that we are in danger as believer, that this is not peacetime for Christ followers? The war that we are in is spiritual in nature.
This is the end of the letter and begins with “finally’.
What is the theme of Paul’s closing words- what is he wanting them to remember?
(It’s not that we are in a war….though we will be reminding you of this this morning)
-that we live and breathe and stand firm in God’s power and strength.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Be strong perhaps fails to bring out the force of the passive verb (‘be strengthened’), and the reb does better with ‘find your strength in the Lord’. Certainly the emphasis is on God’s great power for this fight, and hence Paul had made his readers’ understanding of this central point in his earlier prayer for them (1:19–2:10). -Carson
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
The Christian is urged in v. 11 to put on the panoplia, the full armor of God, by which is meant not merely the armor that God gives but the armor God wears. The image here is of the fully-armed foot soldier. There seem to be two primary sources of the imagery: the description of Yahweh as a warrior in Isa. 59:17 and elsewhere, which refers to armor God is not merely the maker of but also the wearer of when he is attacked by his foes, and the armor worn by Roman soldiers, all the more so since Paul is under house arrest and could likely examine such armor on a regular basis (cf. Polybius 6.23; Judith 14:3). The description is not intended to be complete, just representative and evocative. Standing firm requires effort. It does not automatically happen. Effort must be made to equip oneself with these protective attributes, qualities, or resources.
-see the purpose clause- so that-
So that, what? You can take your stand
-this is about defense- we are not told to seek out the devil and take him on- he will find us if we are living for the Lord
-we sometimes speak about Spiritual Warfare- it has many meanings today- here we see that the emphasis is on being equipped to - it is defensive
Further, we don’t need to take the offense as if to win the war against Satan and his angels- why is that? He is already defeated
-that is why he is so bent on taking away our joy and rendering us ineffective in our lives
What schemes? –cf. 2:1-3; 18b-19
He seeks to alienate humanity from God by disobedience (2:1–3; 4:18b–19) and by ignorance and corrupted thinking (4:17b–18). He tries to separate people from each other through the alienating sins of greed (4:22, 23), falsehood (4:25), anger (specifically related to the devil in 4:27) and related sins (4:25–31). -Carson
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities (cf. 1:21-22), against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Our problem, the enemy as it were, is not the guy at work who is making life challenging for us because of our faith- we have a bigger enemy- two familiar terms are used which we see in Ch. 1:21-22- then a new term comes up—kosmokrator (which Carson calls the Cosmocrats) It may have a connection to an astrological term used of the planets and stars with the belief that they were gods and had control over human destinies. It literally means “world ruler.” It has been suggested that what we have here is rhetorical amplification rather than a real delineation of four separate groups of supernatural evil beings. This is particularly clear from the last term, pneumatika, which is a general term for all such dark powers.
By referring to the powers of this dark world’, Paul points back to 5:7–14; and depicts the powers as the influence to sin that characterizes this age and this creation, in contrast to the ‘light’ of the new creation to come. It may strike us as strange that these powers are located in the heavenly realms, but that phrase signifies the whole spiritual dimension from what 2:2 calls ‘the air’ to God’s throne (and Christ’s) in the ‘highest’ heavens.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
-reiterates the need for divine armour if the Christian is to stand against these powers in the day of evil.
The niv’s when the day of evil comes might suggest the final upsurge of evil and tribulation that Jewish apocalyptic writing expected just before the day of the Lord. That thought certainly colours the language here, but for Paul the days are already evil (5:16); the fight is already on; the armour is needed now if the believer is to stand. So in the day of evil probably includes the present, but particularly those periods which seem to us most to share the terrible quality of ‘the [final] evil day’.
In this battle we are not powerful enough to stand on our own
-it is so important for us to be prepared by using the weapons given to us by God
Luther’s A Mighty Fortress- if we in our own strength abide our striving would be losing, were not the right man on our side the man of God’s own choosing…
-Be careful- are you living life unaware of God and His power?
Do you feel you are doing pretty well on your own?
Or are you daily aware of needing the help of God?
Are you strong in the Lord and in his mighty power?
reb Revised English Bible
niv New International Version