EPHESIANS 6:10-13: “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 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. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” NLT
OBSERVATION: Do I know who my real enemy is? Am I fighting a battle on the wrong battleground? Are our enemies those who disagree with us and try to steal our faith? Or is something more sinister at work behind the scenes?
Ephesians is a wonderful letter from Paul to a beloved group of believers in Ephesus. When Paul traveled from Corinth to Ephesus he met a group of disciples who believed in Jesus. They had a very limited understanding of their faith. They had not even heard of the Holy Spirit. They had only been baptized in John’s baptism. Paul then baptized them in the name of Jesus and laid their hands upon them to receive the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s letter to these believers falls into two sections. Chapters 1-3 deal with their spiritual identity of what it means to be “In Christ.” Paul then pivots from this in the last three chapters to discuss how this new identity is to be lived out in practical application. When we reach Chapter 6, Paul wants to share with them –
“A final word…”.
Paul’s “final word” is a reminder to them of the identity of their true enemy and the real battlefield of life. Let’s review the two.
- The Enemy: “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”
- The Battlefield: “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.”
Our enemy is the devil. Our battlefield is the unseen world. Now, here is where one can take the wrong turn real fast. In every battle, there are clear assignments for each segment and division of the troops. Each is given a defined assignment and field of execution. If each division does not execute its responsibilities correctly the battle is impacted.
We are part of God’s army. The ultimate battlefield is in the heavenlies, in the unseen world. Yet, although Paul identifies the battlefield, he stops right there. There is no further instruction in Scripture to the church to try and catalog, identify, or even engage the evil rulers of the unseen world, the evil spirits in heavenly places.
Yet, this has not stopped some from doing so!
What is the result? It is a division of God’s army trying to engage in a part of the battle that is not theirs to engage in. We have been given two offensive weapons in this battle. They are the “sword of the Spirit,” the Word of God, and “Praying in the Spirit,” Spirit-led and empowered prayer (including praying in tongues)! The helmet, body armor, belt that holds our sword, and shield, are all defensive weapons.
Yet, there is one piece of armor we have left out. Our shoes! Have you ever gone into a sporting goods store today and looked at the shoe section? When I was young we had a few styles of tennis shoes to choose from. Now, there is a shoe for every sport and segment of that sport to boot! If you are going to golf you don’t want to wear high-top basketball shoes. The shoe defines the activity!
And, so our shoes define our activity.
- “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” Ephesians 6:15 NLT
We are not called to wear jet-propelled shoes to fly into the heavenlies and take on the spiritual hosts of darkness in high places. GOD HAS A DIVISION FOR THAT! We are called to go into the world and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to a dying world. While God’s angelic army is not called to preach the Gospel, so we are not called to fly in the heavenlies and battle with the spiritual hosts of wickedness.
We join in the heavenly battle when we engage in our earthly responsibility – preaching the Good News! How can we be sure this is what Paul intended the Ephesians to understand? All we have to do is read the closing remarks of this section.
- “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.” Ephesians 6:18-20 NLT
Oh, how the church is missing her true calling! Oh, how the enemy rejoices when he can convince us to break rank and engage in a part of the battle that is not ours. We are called to preach the Gospel. God’s angelic army is called to assist us on earth by battling the unseen enemies in the heavenly realm. We see that defined in the book of Daniel and confirmed in the opening chapter of Hebrews.
The Church needs to stay on task with its true calling!
We know where the real battle is, but we faithfully fulfill the call of our division. We are not dissuaded or discouraged. Our minds are protected by the assurance of salvation. Our confidence is assured as we are clothed in His righteousness. And, our mission is accomplished as we walk in faith quenching all the enemy’s attempts to redirect and confuse our calling!
All the enemy has to do to push back the cause of Christ is to keep the church misdirected in her true calling.
The Church is called to preach the Gospel! Angels will not do it. God will not broadcast it from the heavens. Until the church is raptured there is only one division of God’s Army that is called to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to a dying world and make disciples of all nations!
That Division is the Church!
- “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
Lord, sound the alarm, raise up the next generation, and help us to fulfill our division’s calling in this day! Help Your Church to preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations!
In Jesus Name!