The Apostle Paul warns a visible church in Ephesus about an invisible enemy of spiritual forces.
The Apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12), and I believe it would be easier to face spiritual attacks against an enemy we can see, but since fallen angels and Satan are spirit, we cannot see the, but these evil spirits apparently control authorities and powerful “forces of evil in the heavenly places,” so we’re not equipped to take on an invisible and powerful enemy…so we need God’s help and as we will read, we can receive it.
What do you think “cosmic powers” are?
What are the “heavenly places” that these spiritual forces of evil occupy?
How often do you feel under attack by the enemy?
The Apostle Paul tells us we must “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph 6:13) and “having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph 6:14). I see that Christians are required to take action as we must “take up” the full armor, and then “having fastened on the belt of truth,” you “put on the breastplate of righteousness,” so we must take the initiative since armor doesn’t put itself on. By studying about righteousness, which is found in Christ, we find out how we become righteous (2nd Cor 5:21), and then we can fasten our minds on that truth.
What is the “breastplate of righteousness?”
What do you thing “the belt of truth” is?
How can you “put these on?”
The Apostle Paul tells us that part of the armor of God are the shoes of the gospel or as he writes, “as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) and again we read we need to “put on,” so Paul keeps reminding us that it’s up to us to “put on” the armor of God but in doing so, we might overlook the shoes. Perhaps Paul calls “shoes for your feet” the “gospel of peace” because we who have trusted in Christ are at peace with God because of Christ (Rom 5:1) and there is no more condemnation (Rom 8:1), so the gospel of peace is the gospel that removes the enmity of God against us by having God’s placing the wrath on Jesus at the cross.
What do shoes have to do with “the gospel of peace?”
Does this mean we are to be spreading the gospel as witnesses?
When Paul wrote, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one,” (Eph 6:16), again he says “take up” which is similar to “put on” so he is telling us we have to make an effort and put on your spiritual armor for protection. The faith that saves is a shield for us against the Day of Judgment that is coming on all unbelievers, but this shield if to be used against the enemy and without faith, we cannot defend ourselves against all the flaming darts that the enemy sends our way. The enemy might even use others in attacking us, so we must take up the shield of faith every single day.
Why is faith described as a shield against the enemy?
Give us an example of a “flaming dart” the enemy has thrown at you?
How can a shield “extinguish” a flaming dart?
The Apostle Paul instructs the church to “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” so these two things seem to go together. If you have been saved, then you have been saved through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and you and I have access to the only offensive piece of equipment in the armor and that is “the sword of the Spirit” which being capitalized, is a proper noun, and refers to the Holy Spirit, so with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we can be equipped to resist the enemy just as Jesus did in resisting the Devil’s temptations. When tempted, Jesus quoted the Word of God and the Devil had no answer to that.
Why is the helmet referred to as “the helmet of salvation?”
Have you ever used the Word of God to resist temptation?
One of the things we can use to fight the enemy is not even a piece of equipment….it is prayer, so Paul tells us that we are to be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph 6:18). To keep alert is to keep the enemy from sneaking up on us and when we are praying, we are connecting with the God Who can see what we don’t see and help us avoid the enemies tactics of surprise attacks, so if we are praying, we are preparing and we are keeping more alert by praying in the Spirit.
What does it mean “praying in the Spirit?”
How can we be “praying at all times” in our busy lives?
Is prayer a defensive, an offensive weapon, or both?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also host of Spiritual Fitness and Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.