Ephesians 6:10-20; Strength is from God and always available.

Thursday February 24, 2022


Our current passage is the final part of the body of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Since chapter 4 Paul has described the wonder and privilege of life in Christ and has implored us to live in a manner worthy of it. From 4:17 he has been urging us to no longer live in a pagan lifestyle and to live in the light in our thoughts, speech, conduct, and relationships in the church and the home. Then Paul introduces the reality of direct opposition from the devil himself who has many schemes designed to knock over our spiritual lives. We can say for sure that right living does not just happen, we must be daily diligent, and daily filled with the Spirit rather than filled with things that are not of our salvation. And, opposition is certain, for we have an unreasonable enemy who will relentlessly use our sins as open channels for his schemes.


Paul is arousing us to action in his final thought.


The terms Paul uses come from the letter itself. Paul is taking everything in the letter and putting it on the battlefield of good and evil. Hopefully that good is in us.


1) The use of God’s strength:


Eph 6:10

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.


“be strong” is passive. We receive the strength from God.

God’s power flows, from the Holy Spirit within, when we do His will.


We all know that some human relationships convey strength through encouragement, support, commitment, and help. Being empowered by the Lord is that much and more. Throughout Ephesians the idea of being in Christ has dominated Paul’s thinking, and this continues to this final section. “Be strong in the Lord.” Christians live in the Lord and are so close to Him that they draw from the resources He possesses as risen Lord.


Eph 3:16

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;


We’ll come back to the mention of this power in chapter 1. Hold and go:


Phi 2:12-13

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.


This not a quick fix or booster shot just before battle, but a life spent drawing strength from Christ. We must act on what we know to be true.


Ephesians has a lot of material to meditate on, but the only appropriate response to this great book is energetic obedience. The command “to be strong in the Lord” presumes that God is willing and eager to provide strength and any lack of strength results from our own neglect. It assumes also that power is not automatic, but comes when our relationship with Christ is close enough that we know faith and obedience are the only way and we strive for that way. The command also assumes that we need strength. Christianity was not designed to make life easy and comfortable. A passive Christian is an oxymoron. We do not live in Eden, nor on neutral ground, but are on a battlefield. We are called to peace, but peace in the midst of struggle. Think of why the Exodus generation failed in the wilderness.


We also need a sense of urgency, an awareness of the conflict, and a sense of our own danger. Satan is trying to knock over our spiritual lives. An unspiritual believer creates misery in himself and others. Like driving in Oregon, sin is hazardous, and we must drive and live defensively; on the alert with perseverance (Eph 6:18).


As a society we have spent trillions on defense – military, police, locks on our doors. We want the security to protect our way of life. We forgot to be on guard for our moral lives. No one tracked the devil’s avenues of attack into so many places. He waltzed in. Our way of life, as a result, has been destroyed. Satan attacked our schools and universities, our music and movies, our law courts, our government, and even our churches. We have been so unprepared that many do not even know that they have been taken prisoner.


Paul reveals a method of the prophets, which is an “already” and “not yet”, in which there is an element of “already” by what Christ accomplished and His sovereign position seated at the right hand of God, and also an element of “not yet” since He has not returned to decisively and finally defeat the evil powers which are sentenced but not yet taken away. This existence in our age of two worlds creates a tension and conflict not seen before the age of the church, and which will not exist again after Christ’s second coming. Believers in this tension can find magnificent strength from God as well as rapturous fellowship with God in life and especially in prayer (vs. 18).


In one paragraph we are told twice by Paul to take up or put on the full armor of God, and three times to stand firm. We are reminded that we possess by the grace of God all of the resources necessary to stand firm against the schemes of the devil, which are inroads into our lives and relationships by hostile powers.


All our resources must concentrate on standing firm against the schemes of these powers. Flesh and blood are not our struggle, says Paul.


In Eph 1, Paul prays that we would see God’s mighty power and in Eph 6 we are to use that power to be strong. “strength of His might” (6:10) is same phrase in 1:19.


Eph 1:18-21

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named,


Let’s not forget what kind of power we are talking about. The Trinity is not a pagan god with some really impressive skills and strength. He’s not Thor. He is the infinite Almighty God and He has released His power toward us, but it is not the power to be Superman. It is the power to be spiritual in the manner of Christ Jesus our Lord. The power flows through us when we are faithful and obedient.


Looking at the articles of God’s armor and what they are (truth, righteousness, the gospel, peace, faith, salvation, the Holy Spirit, and the word of God), we should conclude that strength comes from taking upon ourselves the characteristics of God. The idea is close to Eph 5:1 “Be imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love.”


God brought about this power, in other words, He gave it to man, when Christ rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. Christ’s seating at the right hand of God, prophesied in Psa 110, is the most repeated phrase in all the Bible. Something that gets that much ink deserves our attention.


The Lord’s session is the culmination of His victory over sin, death, and the devil, upon which His power was given to us.


Eph 6:10

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.


You can’t see it in English, but all the imperatives in this section are plural. We are each to be strong, put on the armor, and stand firm, but we are to do it together.


So how is it that we can be so weak at times? We leave the people to God and we stand against the schemes of the devil, and by faith we hope in the greater use of God’s power. None of us have finished growing. None of us have remotely reached our peak and we find the endurance to keep at the things that make for growth because God promised that if we seek Him, we will find Him.


His surpassing power is toward us who believe, not those who execute perfectly all the time. Can we find this faith in spite of our lackluster performance?


Strength is needed to restrain our desire to struggle with flesh and blood and focus our energy on what the real fight, the real race, the real course are. You are not even fighting yourself, but the flesh. It remains active in you but it has been overcome by the new self. We put on the new self just as we put on Christ and His armor. God waits for us to embrace this life and lay aside everything that isn’t a part of it.


In Eph 1 Paul wants us to see God’s released power to mankind after His Son accomplished the victory, and in Eph 6 he wants us to use it to stand firm against the schemes of the devil even though we remain in these mortal bodies.


This is our fight song, our rallying cry as we lock shields and fight the good fight of faith together. We give the devil and opportunity when we’re apart, not physically, but spiritually. The devil (his demon organization) is always lurking, waiting for us to judge one another, lie to one another, waiting for our festering anger, our lack of forgiveness, our toying with the thought that we should compete for dominance. When we do, we give them an opportunity to implement their schemes, all of which are designed to divide and conquer. Those things that I mentioned; lying, anger, failing to forgive, competing for dominance, judging one another are all specifically listed in the NT as opportunities that Satan is looking for, and especially when they are found in pastors.



2) Divine strength in new creatures that still sin and possess weakness:


The fact that all of struggle in our own ways to live the holy life we’re called to, there is plenty of fertilizer for these sinful issues to grow. What renders all of them ineffective is the love of God, which God’s armor is composed of.


These terrible sins that people do to one another arise from our own failures. When we fail, we lash out.


When we feel our own failure we lie and harbor anger, etc. We have to remember that despite our own performance, we have the victory in this war because of our Lord alone, and we therefore allow God to forgive us and then stop judging and being angry at others.


Christ came into the world, being just like us, a Man, to render the devil ineffective, and He accomplished it.


Heb 2:14-18

Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.


Christ satisfied (propitiation) the Father concerning our sins and in our temptation He has the power to support us.

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