Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sermon Notes- Ephesians 6:10-18

Ephesians 6:10-18
Audio can be found Here
Be Strong
January 18, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

         If we are required by God to wear armor, then we must be in a fight. We are in a battle whether you want to be or not. The protection for battle is on the front. We have a shield, a breastplate, a helmet, good protective shoes. Retreat is not an option. Our enemy is a defeated foe. Thus, he is a bully. The only way to deal with a bully is to take him on full force.
The first blow often wins the battle.
         Our offensive weapon is the Word of God. To be strong in the Lord is to be strong in His Word. Do you know the story of God? Do you know His promises? Do you know who you are in Jesus? If so, then do not shrink from the fight. We must put the enemy to flight.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 
Be strong is a command. So, also be strong in the power of His might. We might find this odd. We have a great deal of empathy with weak Christians because we, ourselves, have been weak and we were glad for empathy and understanding. I hope that when we were weak, we received not only empathy and understanding from the strong but also strength.
That is what the Apostle is arguing for here.
When I am weak, then I am strong. Why? Because I am in the strength of the Lord and the power of His might. But when I am in it, I really am in it.
No Christian should remain perpetually weak. We are to get on with Jesus. We are to believe that Jesus has defeated the devil and then we are to walk in that victory. God has provided the means for us to live in victory. It is our own fault if we do not utilize His provision.


11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
Again, an imperative, a command, put on. He is not encouraging us to be strong, to be in His might, to put on the armor of God. Rather, he is telling us to do it. If you don’t, you won’t be able to stand and he wants us to stand.
You are in a fight but if you don’t put on your fighting clothes, you won’t last long. You will be vanquished.
But thanks be to God, we have better armor than King Saul. We are like King David, who fought in the power and might of the living God.

The Reason to Be Strongly Arrayed for Battle
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 
We have a greater foe than Goliath. Our foes are those principalities and powers that have usurped the authority of God. The powers, rulers, spiritually wicked people in high places.
If David had gone out in Saul’s armor, he would have been defeated. But David had armor that Saul did not know about. David was girt in this spiritual armor. Dressed in such array, no enemy can withstand.

Stand, Stand, Stand
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Wherefore- Spiritual foes require spiritual armor.
Evil day- the day of trouble, the day of trial, the day of weakness, the day of temptation, the day of battle.
What is the outcome of the evil day? If you are in the armor of God, then we withstand the devil and at the end of the battle, we stand. Stand up then and be ready to fight!
Gird up your loins with truth.
Breastplate covers heart and lungs.

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 
One needs a firm foundation in order to stand.
Where is your foothold? If you are not on solid footing, you are in great danger. Stand therefore. Stand. Stand. Stand. To stand you need to be firmly planted. A good swing, a well struck blow, all require firm footing. The gospel of peace is that footing.
Or, being prepared, with your feet shod with the gospel of peace.
Your foundation is the gospel. What is that gospel? There is peace between God and men and men and men.
Grace and peace. He began with this and ends with this. Grace, because we sinners need it to cover our sins. Peace because God has forgiven us. With that foundation, we are nimble, we can move in Christ, we cannot be pushed back from our stand.
Like Luther, “Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me.”

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 
This shield was 4’ x 2.5’. With a shield that size, one can protect his entire body. With a church full of such shields, one can present a formidable wall.
A shield can be both a defensive weapon and an offensive weapon. A shield can repel the darts and thrusts of the enemy. But it can also be used to advance against the enemy in safety.
What is this faith? Quite simply, belief that God is and that He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. We do not have faith in the abstract, faith in faith, we are not ‘people of faith’. We are people who put their faith in Jesus Christ, who believe all the promises of God, who live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, who believe the Bible in the face of every other voice of authority that is thrust at us.
We do not put our faith where we shouldn’t. We do not trust ourselves to stand in our name and strength. We do not put our trust in our government, or military, or earthly leaders, or finances, or even our own talents and wisdom. If we our ultimate faith is in any of these things, then we are bound to be sorely disappointed. But if we trust in God as revealed in His Word, then we will always find this shield trustworthy. The devil will not assail us. We will survive his vial attack and we will press forward in the power of His might, the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

17 And take the helmet of salvation,
Salvation is that peace with God that has been made. God has saved us from the wrath to come. He has also saved us from the dominion of the powers. This very passage is exhorting us to walk in this salvation. Walk as if you were saved ones. Wear that helmet of your salvation.
Couldn’t we wear the helmet of righteousness or have our feet shod with salvation? Sure, we could. But we should trust that the Spirit has given us just the right armor in just the right places.
To cover our head, salvation. Some people have a hard time believing that they do indeed have peace with God. Some people cannot do the math of the victory that we already possess in Jesus Christ. Some people have a hard time thinking that God’s people are saved and that God’s enemies are doomed. But that is the good news of our salvation and God wants us to go out in battle with our thoughts protected with this great truth. God has saved us. God delivers from the enemy. Jesus has won the victory over the principalities and powers and we are present and eternal participants in that glorious victory.
         The helmet is also defensive. We need the helmet to keep us from blows that wold damage our head, our brain, our thinking. Salvation does that. Keep it on. Be aware you are wearing such a helmet. Attack the enemy with the peace that your head is protected. Don’t go out without headgear.

and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Salvation and Spirit. This is grace and peace. What is the offensive weapon for the Christian, the sword of the Spirit? The Word of God. The devil cannot stand up to the word of God. In Jesus’s earthly ministry, when He spoke, the powers cowered. Demons shuddered. Humans bowed. Even the wind obeyed His Word.
Saint, God has empowered you with the offensive weapons to assail the citadels of unbelief. He has given you the tools to engage the besieged cities. He has given you the key to unlock the fortresses of rebellion. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit and stronger than any earthly two-edged sword. God’s Word is stronger than political correctness. It is stronger than socialism, communism, pluralism or any other lofty thought raised up against Christ.

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Pray all the time about everything. Pray in the Spirit.
The point here is not the distinction between prayer and supplication but that we pray in the Spirit.
Brother Lawrence, in his little book, the Practice of the Presence of God, points out and practices, this possibility, always praying in the Spirit. It is possible to have an ongoing conversation with God. One must cultivate the sense of God’s presence. One can do this whether working, exercising, watching a movie, or listening to music. God is ever present with you. If you will cultivate this reality, then you can transition to doing all things before Him. You have prayers, proper, but your life becomes a prayer.
Not only do we take up our armor, we also fight on behalf of our fellow saints. We are to prayer with and for perseverance for all saints.

          We are commanded to be strong. Some of you feel very weak. At times, you are so weak that you think that you cannot fight. But look at the weapons of our warfare. They are not carnal. If you are weak, He is strong. If your spirit is fading, His Spirit is waiting.
         It is no shame to be weak. Paul was weak at times. He was given a thorn in the flesh. But this thorn in the flesh that revealed Paul’s weakness was to God’s glory.
He says, 2 Cor. 12:7-10 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
         What is the point here? Look at verse 9, Jesus says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Then Paul adds his willingness to glory in infirmities so that he can have the power of Christ.
         Do you see what is going on? By the flesh, he is weak. But this only reveals the need for him to be in Christ, to rely upon the power that is Christ. And when he does so, Jesus shows Himself mighty and powerful in Paul.
         Do not despise your weakness. Turn to Jesus and be encouraged and exhorted. When you turn to Jesus in your weakness, the weaker you are, or were, the more glory redounds to God. But you do not stay in this weakness.
In the strength and power of the might of God, you stand. Stand fast, therefore, having been victorious in the armor of God. And having done all in the Spirit of His might, stand. Stand, therefore, in Jesus Christ, strong in the Lord. Amen.

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