Ephesians 6:10-20; Be strong, ready, and excited for battle, part 2.

Class Outline:

Wednesday March 2, 2022

The idea of being excited for battle with take up two classes.


We left off last time with the weapons of our warfare.


2CO 10:3-5

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,


Divinely powerful weapons are God’s weapons. The enemy’s weapons are speculations and arrogant boasts of true knowledge.


The enemy’s attack is made up of speculations and lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God. What are the proper weapons against these? They are in the armor, and more are given, but since the armor is our subject, they are truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, salvation, and the word of God sharpened by the Holy Spirit.


The task of believers is not to win the battle but to stand. Christ alone is the victor.


We are not aroused to any particular human opposition but toward spiritual forces that are the source of all opposition.


Though people are being used in the schemes, they are not the force and thinking behind them. Our enemy are spiritual forces.


Therefore, it is spiritual thinking and living that are going to stand against them.


It is imperative (literally in the verb) that we stand against these schemes. We have to be wise enough to recognize them. Chapter four of Ephesians showed us that the schemes are full of trickery and deceit.


EPH 4:14

by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.


This means that we must be very careful.


Evil rarely looks evil until it accomplishes its goal; it gains entrance by appearing attractive, needed, desirable, and legitimate.


Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, in his recent email about beauty as it is loved and studied at Hillsdale College, wrote: “Today, in our zeal to conquer everything including nature and God, we lose our powers of observation. We see a child grow and learn, and we think we are making it grow and learn. We paint a picture and think we are providing the beauty to the scene. We compose music that rants and threatens and think it graceful because we — or rather I —did it. This is a failure of education that also destroys the chance of it.”


He mentions how the word beauty comes from the word beatitude, which is the Latin translation of the Greek word makarios, meaning happiness or blessedness. Jesus used the word nine times in the opening of His Sermon on the Mount, known as the beatitudes. The blessed one or the happy one is the one who sees the beauty of God. Jesus as God had the authority to say what was beautiful or blessed. Mankind wants to be God and so conquer Him, and so he fails to see beauty. We cannot create beauty. Mozart can write beautiful symphonies, and Shakespeare can write beautiful things, and Michelangelo can paint beautiful things, but they are not creating anything. They have seen God’s beauty in music, art, and thought, and they used it to do something original on earth, but certainly nothing compared to their counterparts in heaven.


The most beautiful thing the world has ever seen is Jesus Christ, not in physical form, but in Person and work and essence. Evil disguises itself as light and beauty, and confidently asserts that it is. We must be careful and keep set upon us the belt of truth.


Pressure and suffering are implemented by the devil’s army in order to get us to react in sin and give the devil and opportunity.


We may fail, but we must not go to sleep. We have to be alert by renewing the new self with the truth and living in the way of that truth - the new self, which in God, “has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (EPH 4:24). Knowing who God has made us to be in the new self, the victory of Christ through His sacrifice, and the importance of the warfare, we should be strong, ready, and excited. Are we excited every day we awaken? Do we awaken to the thought, “Perhaps more schemes today, and/or pressures and difficulties, and I will stand firm and glorify my Lord.”


Our own victory, standing against, depends upon our exercise of the entire letter. The various themes in this section are those found in the entire letter - the believer’s identity in Christ, the resources of power in Christ, the need of deliverance from sin and to live a sanctified life on earth, and the cosmic opposition to God’s purposes for human well being, but this time in light of the invisible war that has been raging on this planet for millennia and in which we find ourselves aware of it and in the thick of it.


We must also remember that God is going to allow us to suffer. We think of Job and then wonder if all will go through something so horrible. I know that we are all called to suffer for Christ’s name’s sake. I don’t think every mature believer are destined to experience it to Job’s magnitude. But then again, when we think of the apostles, and even some of the early church martyrs, they suffered greatly at times. Let’s take Paul for instance since we know the most about him.


Whatever sufferings or difficulties that are brought on by the devil’s schemes only end up glorifying God when we stand firm.


So, we must not fear the pressure that comes upon us, nor the hatred, or persecution that are designed to make us angry or bitter, to get us to lie, to judge or fail to forgive, or to ambitiously ascend above others, all of which are opportunities for the devil.


Paul suffered on his missionary journeys, and many of these, both physical and mental, had to have been a part of the schemes of the devil, but those things strengthened him and the revelation of the gospel to the world.


2CO 11:20-31

For you bear with anyone if he enslaves you, if he devours you, if he takes advantage of you, if he exalts himself, if he hits you in the face. 21 To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever respect anyone else is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am just as bold myself. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? 30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.


Added to these things was Paul’s personal thorn in the flesh, which a demon was more than happy to administer, but which only glorified God.


2CO 12:7-10

And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me —  to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


Certainly the thorn was a scheme of the devil. This is one of very few times that the curtain is drawn back and we can see the devil in action, and yet we also see that it was really God who was in action, and who being silent towards Paul’s petition, patiently waiting for Paul to endure long enough to find strength in a new place, a way in which he would have never dreamed before. If we don’t stand firm against the schemes that come against us, we will never experience the strength of Christ resting upon us like a tent.


“may dwell in me” - episkenose ep eme = spread a tent over upon me (literal).