1. Finally, my brethren - With these words Paul begins to draw his epistle to a close, an epistle in which he has beautifully described:
a. The Christian's possessions in Christ ("every spiritual blessing") - chapter 1
b. The Christian's position in Christ ("fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God") - chapters 2-3
c. The Christian's purpose in Christ ("to have a walk worthy of the calling") - chapters 4-6
2. To effectively carry out our "purpose", Paul's final concern is that the Christian be "strong" - Ephesians 6:10-20
A. THIS STRENGTH COMES FROM THE LORD, NOT OURSELVES
1. Note that Paul says...
a. "be strong IN THE LORD"
b. "in the power OF HIS MIGHT"
2. Thus Paul states that there is "strength" and "power" available for the Christian beyond their own
B. THIS STRENGTH COMES FROM THE ARMOR OF GOD
1. It is "armor" that GOD supplies
2. It is "armor" that we must "put on", i.e., it is not something we have in of ourselves
A. TO STAND AGAINST THE WILES OF THE DEVIL
1. Satan has various "wiles" (lit., cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery), but Christians need not be ignorant of his "devices" - cf. 2 Corinthians 2:11
2. For example, some of Satan's "schemes" are:
b. Enticing people to indulge in illicit desires of the flesh and mind - Ephesians 2:1-3
c. Bringing persecution upon those who try to do right - 1 Peter 5:8-9
B. TO WRESTLE AGAINST SPIRITUAL HOSTS OF WICKEDNESS
1. Not only Satan, but we battle against:
a. Principalities and powers
b. Rulers of the darkness of this age
c. Spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places
2. I.e., there are demonic forces at play
a. While I do not believe demonic possession exists today as it did in the days of Christ
b. There are certainly demonic "influences", such as doctrines of demons - 1 Timothy 4:1-3
A. IT IS THE "WHOLE" ARMOR OF GOD
2. To be able to...
a. "stand against the wiles of the devil"
b. "withstand in the evil day"
c. we need, not part, but the WHOLE armor God provides the Christian!
3. I.e., EVERY element Paul now describes is essential to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might
B. THE "WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD" INVOLVES
1. TRUTH, which serves like a belt
a. It will hold our life together with a sense of direction and purpose
2. RIGHTEOUSNESS, which guards like a breastplate
a. Doing that which is good and right will guard our hearts (emotions)
b. Otherwise, ungodly living brings on emotional guilt as well as judicial guilt
c. Paul may also have reference to the "righteousness of Christ", that "justification" found only in Him that protects us from the accusations of Satan - cf. Philippians 3:9
3. THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, which is crucial to our ability to "stand"
a. The gospel is God's power unto salvation - Romans 1:16-17
b. Armed with the gospel, we can have "beautiful feet" that enables us to take the glad tidings to others - Romans 10:15
4. FAITH, which is like a shield
a. A strong conviction in God can protect us from every "fiery dart" that Satan can throw at us (false doctrine, lusts of the flesh, persecution)
b. This faith comes only from the Word of God - Romans 10:17
5. SALVATION, which is like a helmet
a. Paul speaks of the "hope of salvation" as our helmet - 1 Thessalonians 5:8
b. Thus it is the "hope" that salvation provides that can protect our minds against things like despair and fear
6. THE WORD OF GOD, which is the "sword of the Spirit"
a. Here is the "offensive" weapon that Christians must use in their battles, and it is a powerful one - Hebrews 4:12
7. PRAYER, the means by which we remain "watchful"
a. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus taught that we must "watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation" - Matthew 26:41
b. The sort of "watchful prayer" that is effective, is one that is with
1) "all perseverance" - as Jesus taught in His parable of the persistent widow - Luke 18:1-8
2) "supplication for the saints" - especially those with special needs, even as Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for him - Ephesians 6:19-20
1. When we arm ourselves with such qualities as:
c. The gospel
e. The hope of salvation
f. The word of God
g. Prayer - ...then we are "strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" - Ephesians 6:10
2. With such strength, we are able to resist and stand firm against anything Satan might throw against us
a. But the choice to "put on the whole armor of God" is up to us...
b. ...are we taking care to adorn ourselves with this wonderful armor???
3. In verses 21-24, Paul concludes this wonderful epistle...
a. With a comment concerning Tychicus, who will bring the brethren up to date about Paul's circumstances - Ephesians 6:21-22
b. With a closing benediction, one that I will use to close this series of lessons as well: "Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in all sincerity. Amen" - Ephesians 6:23-24
-- Don Treadway, October 2008 --