Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Winning Our Spiritual Battles
You're invited to join us as we build growing communities of worshippers,
who are becoming like Christ, empowered to do His work.
Join us as Pastor Ron shares God's plan for us to fight and win our spiritual battles together.
If you would like to partner with us in this season, you can find out more about Christ's work in our community at Gracevcf.org
You can follow along below with the Handout from Sunday:
Ephesians 6:10-18 (New International Version and New Living Translation)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
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. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
We need to know that we are in a spiritual battle (verses 11-12)
“If there is a single key area of faith and practice that divides Northern [hemisphere] and Southern [hemisphere] Christians, it is this matter of spiritual forces and their effects on the every-day human world. This issue goes to the heart of cultural definition and worldviews.”
–Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom
“What I am suggesting is that we engage in a critical re-evaluation of our Western worldview on one important issue – the actual existence of good and evil spirits…We must…strive toward making this as important a part of our worldview as it was for Paul. The powers of darkness are real, we need to be conscious of their influence, and we need to respond to them appropriately.”
– Clinton Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities and Powers in Paul’s Letters
We fight spiritual battles together
§ Every “you” in Ephesians is written to the church as a community, not to individuals. It’s “you together”, not “each of you individually”.
§ Ephesians 4:1-6 could best be understood to say
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you [together] to live a life worthy of the calling you [together] have received. 2 [You together] Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 [You together] make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you [together] were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
§ Ephesians 6:10-11, 13 could best be understood to say:
10 Finally, you together be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 You together put on the full armor of God so that you together can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…
13 Therefore you together put on the full armor of God [help each other get dressed for battle] so that when the day of evil comes, you together may be able to stand your ground…
We fight our battles with the Lord’s strength and power, not our own
Our power is “resurrection power”
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
We prepare for our battles with spiritual armor
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The Belt of Truth - The Protection of Personal Integrity
Satan is the Father of lies and dishonesty opens us up to his attacks
John 8:44, 10:10
... When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies…The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
If I compromise my conscience and settle for less complete honesty, I allow the tempter entrance into my life; destruction begins its corrosive work at the point of compromise.
The path of self-deception -> denial -> lying will put us in bondage, and the way out of bondage begins with a return to personal honesty.
20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light…
The Breastplate of Righteousness—The Protection of Living Out What Christ Has Made Us to Be
The Breastplate of Righteousness is God’s righteousness, not my righteousness. It comes through faith, not our righteous deeds
… no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; …
21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known…22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
The Gospel of Peace—The Protection of Relationship
Peace = the prosperity of soul when everything is right in relationship with God and everything is right in relationship with others.
The Gospel of Peace means we can be at Peace with God and Peace with each other
Romans 5:1, 10
…since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.….when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son…
The Shield of Faith—The Protection of Trust that Perseveres
Faith is confidence base on the trustworthiness of the one we put our faith in. Our faith in Jesus is strong because He is completely dependable and infinitely powerful. The more we know Him, the stronger our faith becomes.
The Shield of Faith:
¨ Trusts God daily for His help and provision
¨ Perseveres, especially when overcome with difficulty
¨ Doggedly believes that God’s Word is true in the face of every problem, negative thought, or demon
¨ Determines “to rise above the injustices and pains of life, without allowing the flaming arrows of pain and resentment to penetrate your soul. Life hurts. Faith looks to God and refuses to give those hurts a foothold in your heart.”
-Gary Kinnaman, Winning Your Spiritual Battles
The Helmet of Salvation—The Protection of a Mind Transformed by Truth
Our thinking needs salvation, what we do flows out of what we think
19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man 'unclean'
Romans 12:2 New Living Translation
2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The mind is the battlefield of the spiritual war
2 Corinthians 10:3-6
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with ...have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Don’t believe everything you think
² The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God— The Protection of God’s Empowered Word
When God speaks something, nothing can stop it from happening
God’s Word is infinitely powerful and absolutely reliable
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
The Word of God becomes a sword as the Spirit inspires and empowers His Words in my mouth
63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
Did you find this message helpful?
You can read all of Paul's letter to this church yourself here. You can find the same letter in your Bible at home, called 'Ephesians'.
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