- Sermon Notes
Victory in Spiritual Warfare – 1
July 17, 2022
We are in the very last section of Ephesians where Paul is focusing on spiritual battle and spiritual warfare. In the times we are now living, those who are living with spiritual discernment can see that spiritual battle is dramatically intensifying.
Many in the western culture miss this though. In Africa where we come from, the works of the enemy are very apparent and open. Sangomas and witch doctors are the order of the day, and there are very real demonic manifestations when it is confronted with the power of God. People in American and western society sometimes write these things and other types of spiritual battles off as superstitious African problems, with the mindset that the first world has ‘evolved’ past this in the age of reason, relegating it to science fiction.
I submit to you however, that the works of the enemy are alive and well in the first world context, hiding in plain sight. The attack, oppression, and influence of enemy on the mindsets of our country is extremely worrying.
In the previous section, we have seen that the battle is against the principalities of the air and that our strength lies in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Now, as we study the armor of God, we will see that God has given us protection against every form of attack and deceit of the enemy. Furthermore, we will see that every part of the armor focuses on and points to Christ and his finished work.
Romans13:14, But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
As we clothe ourselves with the armor of God, we are ‘putting on’ the finished work of Christ.
It is essential for every Christian to be clothed with the armor and stand in these truths continually as we see the times grow darker and the latter days drawing nearer. By this we will be able to live in Spiritual victory.
God is equipping us for victory. He wants His church to be victorious. Not only that, but to push back the powers of darkness with the light of the gospel.
I. Take up the Full Armor of God
- Paul keeps repeating that phrase, take up the full armor of God. It’s important.
- Any piece of armor that you neglect makes you vulnerable. The enemy will exploit this. He is always looking for chinks in the armor.
- We will also see that the armor is interlinked. It works in synergy with each other against the enemy.
- The battle is for your soul, but God prepares you for victory and equips you with everything you need so that you will be able to stand firm.
- Notice that this is the armor of God. It’s not your flimsy armor, this is God’s provision to stand firm.
Illus. The Armor of God is stronger and more efficient than the armor of man. When David went out to meet Goliath, He did not feel comfortable in Saul’s armor. It did not fit. No human armor or protection could help him against Goliath. This was a Spiritual battle ordained by God. He was only the instrument. He had to stand in the power of God on the Word of God to defeat this enemy. In his own power He was lost, but in God’s power he has already won.
A. Gird your loins with truth
- The belt of a Roman soldier identified him clearly as being ready for battle. It’s the first thing a soldier would put on to prepare for war. On his belt he would carry his sword. Even when not in battle a soldier would wear his belt. By wearing it he made it quite clear what he stood for.
- Paul identifies the belt with truth. It’s the foundation on which everything else is connected. There’s a reason why truth is so important, because one of the main tactics and schemes of the enemy is to lie.
John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil… He does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
- If the enemy can get you to believe a lie, he has won a great victory. If he can make you a liar, that too gives him a great victory.
- Satan does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. How much truth is in you?
- Truth is a transforming power. Truth is not something just to have, it is something to become. People can sense if you are living truth and in truth.
- It also affects those we mentor and those we lead. We need to be diligent to speak truth into one another’s lives.
- Jesus Christ IS the truth and if you have asked Him into your heart then you can stand in the truth.
- If you have received the Holy Spirit, then the Spirit of truth is strengthening your soul.
- Lies hold many people captive and keeps them bound and chained and imprisoned.
John 8:31-32, 36, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free… And he whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”
- The enemy wants you to believe lies about yourself and lies about God.
- This is why we study the word. Every time we study the word, the truth reveals the lies of the enemy and his strongholds in our lives are broken down.
B. Put on the breastplate of righteousness
- The breastplate of course protected the heart. The key to life is the heart, but it also represents the place from which we love.
- If the enemy can get you to doubt God’s love, he’s won something big. We love God because we recognize how much He has loved us when He sent his Son to die on the cross on our behalf. And if Satan can get you to doubt that love, he’s driven a wedge.
- Put on the breastplate of righteousness to protect your heart. Remember that this is the armor of God, it’s not your flimsy armor, it’s His.
- There are two parts to this. The day you ask Jesus Christ into your life you are made right with God, your sins are completely forgiven, it’s finished. Done. Jesus IS your righteousness.
- When you put that on and understand what God just gave you, then your standing before God has been settled, and settled FOREVER.
- This is important because when you falter, when you sin, (and you will) the enemy will accuse you and try to convince you that God is angry and is withholding His love.
- No, God works His righteousness out in your life. Day by day, we grow in that righteousness which He has given us. He patiently works on our heart. It is a lifelong process.
C. Shod your feet with the gospel of peace
- If you don’t have shoes, you’re not going to get very far, because there are some hard things you have to walk on in this life, there are hard places before you.
Illus. – Walking on the rocks, although pretty, it can be dangerous…If you don’t have the right shoes on, you can get hurt.
- It’s the preparation of the gospel of peace. You need to be prepared and resolute to be a person of peace who is grounded in peace before the attack comes. It counters a scheme of the enemy. If he can bring conflict, if he can destroy your relationships, he’s won a great victory.
- If he can bring war between you and your spouse, your family, your spiritual family, or anyone around you, he’s won something big.
- The enemy wants conflict and he’ll stir it up. Do you think the enemy wants peace in the Middle East? Peace in America? Peace in the World? No, he wants conflict, he wants chaos.
Psalm 133:1,3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.
- The enemy knows scripture. If he can break unity (peace) there is no blessing.
- But Jesus is the Prince of peace. He IS your peace. He speaks peace in the midst of the storm. He’ll give you peace with God so that you yourself can be a man or woman of peace.
- Jesus speaks peace to the troubles of your heart and heals those wounds which you carried so that you can grow in strength and you yourself can speak peace.
- He wants to heal the wounds brought by division, bitterness, and hurt so we can replicate that peace from souls that are healed and renewed.
Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
D. Take up the shield of faith
- The Roman soldier of the first century would use a shield made of wood and covered with leather held together with metal bands for strength.
- Groups of soldiers would lock their shields together to form the ‘tortoise’ for great effect.
- Before battle, the leather would be soaked in water so as to extinguish flaming arrows. A strategy of the enemy was to tie cloth to the end of arrows, dip them in flaming pitch and send them flying into the shields in the hopes of setting them afire.
- Paul connects the shield to our faith, it’s the armor that protects when the enemy sends flaming missiles against us. One of the key strategies of the enemy is to attack your faith.
Illus. – A good illustration of this is the fact that darkness cannot draw near to light.
1 John 4:4, Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
- So, the enemy needs to send “arrows” of doubt, fear, insecurity and whatever other tactics and lies he has against our faith to see what will ‘stick’.
- Fear is the opposite of faith. Fear is the prison of the soul; we must not be taken captive by fear.
- What do we have to be afraid of? They could take my life; then I’ll be in the presence of my Savior, Paul responds. What if I’m persecuted and they bring harm to me? Then I’ll count it an honor to be persecuted for the name of Jesus Christ. What if I lose all my possessions? God is the strength of my life, and He is my inheritance, Paul responds.
2 Timothy 1:7, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.
Psalm 3:1-3, O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, “There is no help for him in God.” But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.”
- Roman soldiers would lock their shields together. They are much more difficult to defeat when strength is added to strength.
- In the same way, we need to be locked together as a church family, we are stronger together. If the enemy can get you drawn away, you’re much more vulnerable, you’re much easier to defeat.
Illus. In the wild, predators always look for the isolated gazelles, those not close to the herd.
- We are stronger together when we encourage each other in faith. Then, when the enemy sends flaming missiles, you have a defense, there is a strength of faith, you have confidence in God as a shield.
- It’s the troubles, the stresses, the difficulties of life that the enemy would use against you to attack your faith, “If God were for you, if God truly loved you, He wouldn’t let you go through these troubles.”
- Jesus spoke of this when He said that the word of God falls on different types of soils, or different types of hearts. One type of soil is thin; it has rocks in it. At first, they receive the word of God with joy, but as troubles and difficulties arise in their life they’re offended and their faith withers.
- Faith is the very thing that will sustain you in times of trouble; it’s confidence that God is with you that gives you strength. He never promised that life would be easy, but He did promise He would be with us.
John 16:33, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
E. Take the helmet of salvation
- A soldier wouldn’t think of going into battle without a helmet; otherwise he’ll suffer a mortal wound.
- If the enemy can get you to doubt your salvation, that is a mortal wound.
- When someone messes up their life the enemy is right there on the attack, “You call yourself a Christian? There are troubles in your life; I see you have sin; look how badly you’ve messed up. You’re not a Christian, you’re not a follower of Christ.”
- If he can get you to doubt your salvation, that’s a mortal wound. Take up the helmet of salvation.
- This is not your armor; this is the armor of God you’ve taken up. Our salvation is sure and steadfast and nothing and no one can snatch us out of His hand.
John 10:28 – 30, and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
- Our salvation was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus Christ and nothing and no one will take it away from us.
- You might say, “I have sin in my life.” Oh, He knows that very well. Listen, you didn’t earn your salvation by your holiness and you’re not keeping it by your holiness either.
- The helmet of salvation is the assurance we have that He purchased our salvation for us and gave it to us as a gift. He’s not going anywhere; He’s not turning His back on you, you don’t turn your back on Him.
- Jesus IS your salvation.
Psalm 27:1, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?
It is our position in Christ which is our defense.
- He IS your Truth
- He IS your Righteousness
- He IS your Peace
- He IS your Shield
- He IS your Salvation
Stay clothed in Christ.
13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 [a]in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 [b]With all prayer and petition [c]pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, [d]be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
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