Spiritual Warfare: What It Is And What It Isn’t Eph. 6:10-18 The Whole Armor of God
Today…As We Look at America…We are Seeing Massive Change…We See Political Parties Pulling Angrily for All they are Worth in Two Opposite Directions…We See Our Culture Changing from Accepting What God Says…To I Think, I Feel And…What I Want and Say is What is Truth to Me…Let me Share some findings in the 2018 State of Theology Study sponsored by Ligonier Ministries…LifeWay Research Polled 3,000 Americans and asked them a number of questions about God, Christian Ethics and Religion in general. Here is What Americans said they Believed About God…
60% of Americans say religious Belief is a matter of Personal Opinion…58% of Americans say Worshiping Alone or with one’s family is a Valid Replacement for Regularly Attending a Church…God Says Do Not Forsake Your Assembly Together… 69% of Americans Disagree that even the smallest Sin deserves Eternal Damnation…51% of those with Evangelical beliefs also Believe God Accepts the Worship of All Religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism…78% of those with Evangelical beliefs also believe Jesus is the first and greatest being CREATED by God…They do Not Believe in a Triune God…And Many Americans who hold Evangelical beliefs about the Bible, Salvation, and Jesus Christ, also Hold Beliefs that are Not Keeping with Scripture.
Additional Findings in this Research…Show that 44% of Americans believe the Bible’s Condemnation of Homosexual Behavior Does NOT Apply Today…And 51% of American Millennials Agree…52% of millennials believe the Bible, like all writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths, but is NOT literally True…This is up from 46 percent in 2016…And 36% of Millennials Believe God is Unconcerned with Their day-to-day Decisions…up from 30% in 2016…
The Question then is What is Causing These Massive Changes? The Answer is Found in Two Words…Spiritual Warfare! There is an Unseen Presence that is causing this Spiritual Warfare and Today… I thought it would be Good for Us to Understand What is Spiritual Warfare and…What Is It NOT? You See…If We’re Not Careful We May end Up Not Knowing Who We Are to Battle.
Because of these Major Changes in What America Believes about the Bible Today… There is a Great War Raging…And Christians and Messianic Jews are in the Middle of it…We’re in the Middle of a War Between God and His Angels Versus Satan and the fallen angels…A War Between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness…It’s a War for the Souls of Human Beings…For US!
In this war, the Sons and Daughters of God are Opposed by Powerful, Intelligent, Cunning and Malevolent Enemies…Those who have a Desire to do Harm to Others…And On Our Own, We Are Not Strong Enough to Withstand Them…BUT…We have an Ally who is Far Stronger Than They Are – Adonai– the Mighty Lord of Hosts!
The Apostle Paul teaches us that God’s Mighty Power and the Protection He Provides Enables Us to Stand Against the Schemes of our Adversary and his forces…He Reminds Us to “Be Strong in the Lord and in His Mighty Power…And to do This…We Must Put on the Full Armor of God …Not Just Part of the Armor…But the Full Armor…So that We Can Take Our Stand Against the devil’s Schemes”.
You See…When Adam and Eve Joined the Rebellion of the fallen angels…Satan became the god of this World…Human beings Were Separated from God and Came Under the Control of the devil and the other fallen angels…The Human Race was now Subjects of Satan’s kingdom…And Even Though God Had a Plan and Continues His Plan to Reconcile the Human Race Back to Himself…These Evil Spirits Seek to keep Us under their Control and Want as many People as Possible to Share their Destiny in the Lake of Fire.
Gods Plan is Simple…Whoever Hears the Good News and Responds with Faith to Receive Gods Free Gift…Receives a New, Godly Nature…We Receive God’s Holy Spirit, who Transforms Us and Empowers Us to live God’s Way…We are then Transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s Light.
Before a Person is Born Again…They are Part of the kingdom of darkness and at war with God…However to Every Person that Received Gods Free Gift and is Saved is Now Part of God’s Army…Fighting the Spiritual Warfare that We Face Daily here on Earth.
You See though there are many that do Not believe that Satan and his demons are real…They Are! 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings”.
These Evil Spirits are Smart and Cunning and Strong…I’ve Learned that They Are Experts at Getting Our Eyes Off What They are doing …However, When we Relax and think we are OK to Stand Against them with our Self-Will we Get into Trouble.…To Stand Against them, We Need to be…Strong in the Lord and in His Mighty Power…This Can Only Be Accomplished…And We are Only Able to do that When We Put On the Full Armor of God – And Use All the Spiritual Protection God has Made Available to Us.
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians Outlines the Godly Armor that We need to Fight Against the Principalities of this World. Ephesians 6: Verses 10-18
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 our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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 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. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
First, in this Text…Paul Tells us that to be Successful in Our Battles…We Must Know who Our Enemies are, and Who They Are NOT…Think About It…We Don’t want to be Fighting the Wrong Opponents…Paul informs us saying For Our Struggle is NOT Against Flesh and Blood…But against the Rulers, Against the Authorities, Against the Powers of this Dark World and Against the Spiritual Forces of Evil in the Heavenly Realms.
Now…I Want to Make This Clear…People Are NOT Our Enemies. Even if they’re Attacking Us, Persecuting Us, Hurting Us…Even Killing Us…Our Battle is NOT with Them But with the evil spirits who are behind them, influencing them, controlling them. I Will Say it Again…We are Not at War with Human Beings…We Don’t Hate People…We Don’t Want to Hurt People…What We DO WANT is For Them to Turn to God…We Want Them to be Saved…We Want Them to be Redeemed…We Want them to be SET FREE from the kingdom of darkness and become our Brothers and Sisters and Join with Us in the War Against the Dark Powers of This World.
We Must Remember that ALL Human Beings are Made in the Image of God and are Precious. And, unlike fallen angels, they can be redeemed. So, if people Curse Us…We Bless Them…If they hit us on the check…We Turn the Other Cheek. If they hurt Us… We Pray For Them like Jesus did when He said…“Father forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” We bless them, we pray for them, we bring them the message of salvation; and those who Respond to the Free Gift of Salvation will Turn to the Lord – like Saul of Tarsus did and gave us this teaching.
I Will Repeat…Our Enemies are Not Flesh and Blood…Our Enemies are Spirits…Non-Physical Beings who have Access to this Physical Realm…Our Enemies are Organized and Powerful. The devil is their leader. Remember Satan is the Prince and Power of the Air…He is the god…Small “g”…of this World…Serving under him are rulers and powers and authorities and forces, evil spirits who control various parts of this dark world and they are intelligent and devious.
As the Apostle Peter said…Your enemy the devil Prowls around like a Roaring Lion looking for someone to Devour…We are to Resist him, Standing Firm in Our Faith… Listen…The devil has Schemes to Harm You…Schemes Involve Intelligence, Careful Planning and Craftiness. Satan and the demons know Us…They know our Strengths and our Weaknesses; and they try to Exploit Our Weaknesses.
We Know that God is Perfectly Good…But Our Enemies are Evil…The fallen angels are rebels Against God and Against His Goodness. They are wicked, corrupt, twisted, perverse. They Tempt Us Toward Evil…They try to Corrupt Us Morally and Spiritually…Our enemies come from heavenly realms and have access to heavenly realms…But Our War with Them Doesn’t Take Place in Heavenly Realms…You See…The War Takes Place in Our Minds and Hearts…The Devil Can Not Make You do Anything…However, He Will Tempt You and Try to Trick You…And if You Don’t Respond with Gods Word… He Wil Confuse You…This is Why Gods Word the Bible Continually Tells us to Guard Our Hearts and Minds in Christ Jesus…Being in His Word and Obeying it…
Consider Their Strategy…If a person is Not Born-Again…Satan and the demons try to keep that Person in their Damned Condition…They try to Keep each person from the Truth that will set them Free from their Control and from their Destiny…One of the Ways they Accomplish this is when a Person Hears the Message about the Kingdom and does Not Fully Understand it…The Evil One Comes and Seeks to Snatch Away what was Sown in that Person’s Heart…They Fight Us with False Teachings and False Doctrines…They Cultivate False Religions and Philosophies and Try to Keep People Trapped in those False Belief Systems that are Based on Works instead of the Grace we are Given through the Free Gift of Christs Dying on the Cross for our Sins…They Know that the Truth Will Set Us Free…So they Use Lies and Deceptions to Keep Us Enslaved…Remember… TRUTH OUT OF FOCUS IS HERESY! That is Their Plan to Have Us buy in to Heresy!
In Addition…The Evil Spirits Know Every Christians Weaknesses and Target Them…For Example…If we struggle with Pride, Greed, Lust, Anger, Selfishness, Laziness, OR the Desire to Control and Dominate Others…If We’re Tempted by Drugs or Alcohol… The Evil Spirits Know…And Listen…When You Yield to the Things that Tempt You…Your Weaknesses Become Stronger…And Your Will-Power and Self-Control are Diminished. When this Happens…You Continue to go Down that Slippery Slope getting Spiritually Weaker and Further Away from God…Finally Your Heart Will Grow Cold to the Things of God…And Satan Goes…GOTCHA!!!
Because Satan Knows Us He is able to Influence Us…But Satan and his Demons Can Be Resisted… Paul Gives Us the Secret…“Therefore put on the Full Armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, You may be Able to Stand Your Ground…Just like a Soldier is Better Able to Stand His Ground if He has All His Armor On…We Can Stand Our Ground by Putting on the Full Armor of God – All the Spiritual Protection the Lord has for Us…If We Only Put On Some of the Armor…The Enemy Will Know Where We are Vulnerable and Target that Vulnerability…We Need the Full Armor so that All Our Vulnerable Spots Can Be Protected…
So, let’s Take a Look the Full Armor of God Piece by Piece…Paul says Stand firm then, with the Belt of Truth buckled around your waist, with the Breastplate of Righteousness in place, and with your Feet Fitted with the readiness that comes from the Good News of peace…In Addition to all this, take up the Shield of Faith, with which you can Extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
First, Consider the Belt of Truth…The belt of a Roman soldier kept his clothes in place and held his Sword. Truth is like a Belt…It Supports and Protects Us…It keeps things in place for Us…So What is Truth? Yeshua The Hebrew Name for Jesus said God’s Word is Truth. So, When We’re Being Tempted…We Remind Ourselves what the Word of God Teaches and His Word Strengthens Us to Resist that Temptation.
Remember how Jesus Used God’s Word to Resist the Devil when he was tempted in the wilderness…After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Yeshua answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Yeshua answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him Only.’” In each Temptation…Jesus Applied the Word of God to that Situation and was Able to Resist that Temptation…And We Are to Do the Same.
You See…All that is in the World, the Lust of the Flesh and the Lust of the Eyes and the Boastful Pride of Life…is Not from the Father…But is from the World…Gods Word says that we are to Clothe Ourselves with the Lord Jesus…And do Not Think about How to Gratify the Desires of the Flesh…We are to Flee from Youthful lusts and Pursue Righteousness, Faith, Love and Peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart…God says We are to Walk by the Spirit, and We will Not Carry Out the Desire of the o Flesh.
For Example if You are Struggling with Anger…God’s Word says be Slow to Anger and The Person who Rules his Spirit, is Better than he who Captures a City…James says Do Not let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger…Or if You are Given to Bitterness, Resentment and Unforgiveness… God’s Word says If you Forgive other People when they Sin Against You…Your Heavenly Father will Also Forgive You…But if You do Not Forgive Others their Sins, Your Father will Not Forgive Your Sins.
Next let’s look at the Breastplate of Righteousness…The Breastplate Covers the Chest, which includes Vital Organs like the Heart and Lungs…We Need Righteousness to be Protected…Therefore We Must be in a Right Relationship with God…That happens when we Respond to the Gospel and Transfer Our Loyalties to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then We Strive to Live the Right Way…Obeying the Word of God.
Then there is Our Footwear…A Soldier needs to have Good Footwear. He needs to Walk to the place of Battle and He Can’t afford to Slip while in Combat…We Need to Have Our Feet Fitted with the Readiness that Comes From the Good News of Peace…You See…We are to Proclaim the Gospel to Others as Part of Our Lifestyle…Every day We are to be Ready to tell the Good News to those the Lord Enables Us to Encounter…Each day We Look for Opportunities to Tell Others the Gospel…This Not Only Benefits Those We Bring the Message to…It Benefits Us…Strengthens Us and Protects Us.
A Soldier Needs a Shield…And as Soldiers of the Living God…The Apostle Paul says We Need The Shield of Faith with Which We Will be Able to Extinguish All the Flaming Arrows of the Evil One…The shield protected the soldier from swords and spears and arrows…Including Arrows set on Fire. Our Enemies will Attack Us with Fiery Trials and Temptations…When that happens, We Need to Respond with Faith…Faith is Our Shield…Faith Protects Us…And…What is Faith? …Faith is Knowing Something Without Being Able to See that Something…Faith is Knowing that God is Real and His Word is True…and then Being Faithful to God and His Word…Have Faith! Trust God and His Word! Be loyal to God and His Word…Especially when you are going through Trials, Temptations, Hardships and Difficult Circumstances.
Then Paul Turns to the Helmet of Salvation…Every soldier has a helmet, which protects his head…For the Christian…We are to have the Helmet of Salvation…You Know… Today It Seems Like So many people are Confused…Fearful…Unhappy or Angry…They try to be Happy by Turning to Drugs…Alcohol…Impure Relationships and Seeking Money…Power and Worldly Success.
I Will Let You In On A Little Secret of Mine…I Would be Confused…Unhappy and Angry Also…If I Believed I was a Meaningless Product of Mindless Evolution…And That when I died I Would Cease to Exist, and that there is No Ultimate Meaning or Purpose to My Life…You See…Much of the Battle We’re In is Fought in Our Mind…We Protect Our Minds by Knowing that We Are Saved, that We Have Been Reconciled Back to God…That the Holy Spirit has been given to Us, and that We’re Going to Live Forever as the Glorious Sons and Daughters of God in the New Heavens…The New Earth and the…New Jerusalem. Knowing We Have Been Saved Protects Our Minds.
Now the Last Piece of Armor is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. When We’re Being Lied to or When We’re Being Tempted…We Remind Ourselves What the Word of God Teaches…We Apply the Word of God to Every Situation we Encounter and Every Decision We Make. This is What Protects Us and Keeps Us Safe. When We Understand the Word of God, We are Able to Go on the Offensive and Teach its Truths to Others…We’re able to Demolish the Strongholds of Erroneous Thinking, Destroy Wrong Arguments…Tear down False and Arrogant Opinions…And Turn Thoughts that Were Disobedient to Jesus into thoughts that are Obedient to Him.
Only Putting on the Full Armor of God Will Give You and Me Victory in the Midst of the Constant Spiritual Warfare…Only Putting on the Full Armor of God Will Resist the Devils Temptation and Deceptions…And By Knowing God and the Word of God We Will Be Prepared to Accomplish the Great Commission to Reach the World for Christ!
But…The Most Important Part of Your Spiritual Armor is Given in Verse 18…Verse 18 Gives Us the Real Key to Victory…It says…And PRAY in the Spirit on All Occasions with All Kinds of Prayers and Requests…With this in Mind, be Alert and Always Keep on Praying for All the Lord’s People.
Verse 18 Says we are to Pray on All Occasions…Praying Always…You Know…It would be well for the soldier who goes into battle to Pray…To Pray for Victory…Or to Pray that he may be Prepared for Death Should he Fall in Battle…But Soldiers do Not often Feel the Necessity to Pray…To the Christian Soldier, However, it is Indispensable…Prayer Crowns All Lawful Efforts with Success and Gives a Victory When Nothing Else Would.
No Matter how Complete the Armor…No Matter how Skilled We May Be in the Science of War…No Matter how Courageous We May Be…We May be Certain that Without Prayer We Shall Be Defeated…God Alone Can Give the Victory…And When the Christian Soldier Goes Forth Armed Completely for the Spiritual Conflict…If he Looks to God by Prayer, he May Be Sure of a Triumph. And as this Verse says…This Prayer Is Not To Be Intermittent…It Is To Be ALWAYS…
In Every Temptation and Spiritual Conflict We are to Pray…With All Kinds of Prayer… Prayer in the Closet…Prayer With the Family as well as In the Social Meeting and The Great Assembly…Prayer When We are Specially Tempted…and At All Times…Pray in the Form of Supplication for Ourselves…and in the Form of Intercession for Others…This is, After All, the Great Weapon of Our Spiritual Armor, and By this We May Hope to Prevail.
POINT: The Spiritual War You Face Is Never Bigger than the God Who Lives in You!