Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thoughts from Ephesians – Part 4
So far we have covered 2 of the 3 Key Words in Ephesians. We talked about our position in Christ is to be seated in Heavenly places with Him (verse 2:6). We also talked about how our life in this world is to be a reflection of the fact that we are seated in Heavenly Places with Christ. When we come to this realization we should "WALK" (verse 4:1) accordingly. Finally, we will cover the third key word which relates to our position, or attitude, towards the enemy which is to STAND (6:11).
Let's look at Our Attitude to the Enemy: "STAND". Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. This is our attitude toward our enemy, Satan. It is expressive of our place of triumph. The Christian experience begins with sitting, and leads to walking, but it does not end there. Every Christian must learn to stand. Each one of us must be prepared for the conflict. We must know how to sit with Christ in heavenly places and we must know how to walk worthy of Him down here, but we must also know how stand before the enemy. No Christian can hope to enter the warfare of the ages without learning first to rest in Christ and in what He has done and through the strength of the Holy Spirit within, to follow Him in a practical, holy life here on earth.
"STAND FIRM" - In context it conveys the idea of digging in (the Roman sandals had spikes for this purpose). It was a military term for holding one's position. Hold your ground. Don't give an inch of territory to the enemy. That is the picture. From a practical standpoint one stands firm by living the obedient, Scripture–dominated, Spirit–empowered life - the Spirit in such a state is not quenched or grieved and strengthens the obedient believer to stand firm.
Our power for standing, as for walking, lies in our having first being made to sit together with Christ. This is very important. The Christian's walk and warfare alike derive their strength from their position in Christ. If he is not sitting before God he cannot hope to stand before the enemy. This is what the Apostle James was talking about in James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." I suspect that we've all at least heard this verse before (at least the second half of it anyway). What an awesome promise that the devil will flee from us if we resist him. But the key is that word "submit". This word (G5293 hupotassō) means subordinate, put under, subdue unto, be (put) in subjection (to, under). That word has with it the thought of obedience, but as you can see it much more than obedience. We are in subjection to Him, we are under Him. This can only be derived from sitting with Him in Heavenly places and passing under His watchful eye continually. Jesus said in John 14:30, "Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." Jesus knew that the enemy was about to test him but was confident that the enemy had nothing that he could use against him. If we submit ourselves to God and allow Him to deal with the areas that are in our lives, we can have the same response, "The devil has nothing on me. My Father in Heaven has taken care of all of my impurities." When we are constantly in His presence we have tremendous strength and confidence for the battle that is ahead. I don't want to give the enemy anything to use against me or give him any reason at all to try and hang around in my life. That is why it is so important to submit ourselves to God continually. This is well worth remembering and understanding.
SPIRITUAL WARFARE DEFINED: Constant struggle between the flesh and the spirit, between good and evil, between hope and despair, between faith and unbelief, and between carnality and spirituality in a believer. Spiritual warfare is waged on three fronts: personal, corporate, and cosmic. In all three cases the war is waged against unseen enemies, principalities and powers, and evil in high places. Many people think that Christian's are supposed to be passifists, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are in a battle. Unfortunately, this truth has often been misapplied. The true strength of a Christian in battle is not our own, but His. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul says, "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 can parade, picket, and protest until we are blue in the face, but that is not where the real battle is fought. We do not fight this battle with picket signs, guns or even kung-fu. This battle is fought and WON in the Heavenlies.
However, God does not leave us empty handed. We are given armor. We are given all the equipment that we need to win this battle. We are given, "The Armor of God". The Apostle Paul describes this armor in Ephesians 6:13-18, "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; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." We are literally to clothe ourselves with the whole armor of God.
Let's just take a brief look at each of these pieces of our armor. There are much more in-depth studies out there, but this will just serve as an appetizer to a much fuller study on your own time. First, we have the Girdle of Truth which is used to cover our loins. The loins spiritually represent our inward parts. The loins are the place of strength and life. 2Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Truth and Integrity hold everything together - Isa 11:5, "And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."
We also have the Breastplate of Righteousness - The breastplate is a protection for the vital organs of the body. If the heart of a soldier is wounded, it affects every other part of his body. Spiritually, we must do everything possible to protect our hearts from the attacks of the enemy. Pro 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Mat 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Zep 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.
Gospel of Peace - The protective sandals which the Roman soldier wore were a very important part of his gear. They kept him from becoming lame by protecting his feet from being pierced by stones or thorns (spiritually speaking, the works of the flesh). Thus the peace of God prevents us from becoming spiritually lame (cf. Heb. 12:13), and also enables us to put Satan under our feet (Rom. 16:20). Our feet give us stability, poise, and balance. They also mobilize us and take us where we want to go. Therefore, we should always seek to bring peace wherever we go. Isaiah 52:7, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
Shield of Faith - In olden days, every troop carried shields, because the most common offensive weapons were arrows, spears, or darts. The primary means of defense was the shield. The darts of Satan's armies are subtle words of doubt that are hurled against the saints.
Helmet of Salvation - The battle also rages in our minds. Therefore, we need to put on the helmet of salvation whereby our mind is protected from all the tormenting thoughts that the enemy is capable of sending our way. The pressure against Christ's mind was so great that He sweated great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. I encourage you all to take a look at Philippians 4:4-8 for a further study on the battle of your mind.
Sword of the Spirit – Word of God - The sword is our only weapon of offense. We must use it. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Our weapons are not natural. Our weapon is the rightly divided truth of the WORD of God. Consider Jesus in Matthew 4. The enemy attacked Him and tried to get him to give up. Jesus, although All-Powerful, did not engage in an arm-wrestling match to defeat the enemy. He did not command an angel from Heaven to come and destroy the enemy, although He has every authority to do so. Instead, Jesus used the same weapon that He gives us….the WORD of God. "It is written."
Finally….Praying always! The power of prayer is phenomenal! Prayer changes things. Therefore, we are exhorted to pray without ceasing, meaning that our life should be a life of prayer.
The three words from Ephesians, SIT, WALK, and STAND have really impacted the way I live my life. I trust that they have been a blessing to you as well.
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