Ephesians 6:10-20; The general rouses his troops on the eve of battle.

Class Outline:

Thursday March 3, 2022


God could bless us in spite of our attitude and conscience, and in many ways He does, but the Lord tells us to love Him, fear Him, and cling to Him (Deu 10-11). Is He desperate for worship like a tinpot dictator? Or does He want us to actually see Him and understand? He has made us in His image, giving us the ability to reason, comprehend the unseen, and anyone who has truly seen God for who His will tell you that it is the best thing, and most beautiful and rewarding, to see.


All that Paul wrote in Ephesians is encapsulated in his final words that rouse us to deeds of valor in the face of impending danger. Be strong, ready, and excited for battle.


EPH 6:10-13

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.


It looks like the speech of a general to his troops before battle, urging his army to deeds of valor in the face of the impending dangers of war. So loved and familiar were these speeches of generals in Greek literature that they were called paraenesis, meaning “advisory word or speech.” The paraenesis of Hannibal and Scipio, Alexander, Caesar, Antony, Augustus and others were recorded and loved for their inspirational character.


“Life with defeat was a hope that must by no means whatever be entertained.” [Polybius 3.63; Hannibal’s address to his troops before they descended upon Rome]


Paul seems to have been well versed in Greek literature and would have known of some of these paraenesis. It is not unlikely that he would have understood their similarity to his own rallying of the army of God.


Paul dwells on the need for valor with its exhortations to be strong, prepared, alert, and to stand firm. It points out the dangers and strengths of the enemy. It braces its soldiers for a successful outcome of the battle by reminding them of their superior strength, resources, and equipment.


This passage makes clear that we have God on our side and also that He has put His own full armor at our disposal.


We think of Moses at the Red Sea and his victories over three much larger and well trained Amorite armies. We think of Joshua and the walls of Jericho as well as all the other battles won in order to clear the land for the occupation of God’s people. Joshua only lost one battle and that was because God’s command was violated. We must not think the rules change in our case. The armor of God is worn through faith and obedience. It is God’s war. God the Son has won the victory. We fight the good fight on His behalf, in order to glorify Him, and so we must not think that our own personally victory is experienced in any other way but faith and obedience, which when combined together mean faithfulness.


JOS 5:13-15

Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?" 14 And he said, "No, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" 15 And the captain of the Lord's host said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.


When Joshua began in the land, multiple times God said to him, “Be strong (EPH 6:10) and courageous…”


What was most important for Joshua to do before his first major and most famous battle? He was to know that the Lord alone is holy and worship Him.


Since we live a day at a time, every morning (or when we wake) is the eve of battle. We need each day, before the day begins, remind ourselves of God’s holiness and worship Him. Prayer is the way to do this.


To be clear, God doesn’t tell us to pray every morning, but we are told to pray without ceasing. Knowing that our greatest vulnerability is when we forget who we are in Christ and our minds drift from the presence of the truth, which is in fact drifting from beholding Christ, it seems right in my opinion that prayer should be the first thing every day.


Notice when the Lord taught us to pray:

MAT 6:9-10

'Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed [holy] be Thy name.

'Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.


The verb hagiazo (Hallowed) means to be holy or sanctified. What is so amazing here is that Jesus put the verb in the passive imperative. Taken literally, it means that we are commanding God to receive holiness, which is blasphemy. But we are commanding that His name be holy, further meaning, that His name (Person, reputation) be holy in our own hearts.


We’re not technically asking for His kingdom to come. It is coming whether we ask or not. In praying for it to come we are to express our desire for it which is a rejection of the current world system. If we want His kingdom more than anything and know we are subjects of it, and that it is coming soon enough, we are bowing before the king on the eve of battle just like we find Joshua doing.


Living a day at a time, the eve of our battle is every day’s waking moments. Pray first - hearing the General and worship Him as the only holy One.


Even if you listen to a pastor in the morning, prayer is one on one, a direct line to God the Father. Listening to a message is vital, but it is a different thing. Reading the Bible on your own is also very important, and it is also a different thing.


We have been given God’s armor. God Himself is in us and for us and will clothe us and build a home around us. To wear the armor we must be holy and blameless, therefore, when we sin, we must confess, repent, and recover immediately.


Some have thought that Paul was inspired by the Roman soldiers he had come in close contact while in prison, and while he may have been, this image is also an Old Testament one.


The Lord is shown as a warrior and His people are shown as being in need of His strength.


It is fitting that He has made us warriors. He is righteous and He made us righteous. He is holy, blameless, eternal, good, etc., etc., and He has made us these things. He is a warrior and has made us warriors.


PSA 35:1-3

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;

Fight against those who fight against me.

2 Take hold of buckler and shield,

And rise up for my help.

3 Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;

Say to my soul, "I am your salvation."


EPH 6:17

And take (accept) the helmet of salvation


Paul uses an imperative (middle) - receive for yourself (slight emphasis) the helmet of salvation. Say it to your soul.


PSA 18:1-3

For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said,


1 "I love Thee, O Lord, my strength."

2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,

My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;

My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,

And I am saved from my enemies.


PSA 18:30-32

As for God,

His way is blameless;

The word of the Lord is tried;

He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

31 For who is God, but the Lord?

And who is a rock, except our God,

32 The God who girds me with strength,

And makes my way blameless?


PSA 18:33-40

He makes my feet like hinds' feet,

And sets me upon my high places.

34 He trains my hands for battle,

So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

35 Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation,

And Thy right hand upholds me;

And Thy gentleness makes me great.

36 Thou dost enlarge my steps under me,

And my feet have not slipped.


37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them,

And I did not turn back until they were consumed.

38 I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise;

They fell under my feet.

39 For Thou hast girded me with strength for battle;

Thou hast subdued under me those who rose up against me.

40 Thou hast also made my enemies turn their backs to me,

And I destroyed those who hated me.