For the months of June and July, during children’s church, we are going to study about spiritual warfare. Our main text will be Ephesians 6:10-17.
The first lesson is an overview of the battle that we face on a daily basis. First, we have to establish that there is warfare and that there are two camps, those who serve the Lord and those who do not. There is no third team. Indifference and ignorance places you in the “other” team’s camp.
I. God gives us commands
Verses ten, eleven, thirteen, and fourteen present the commands that God gives to us. The first command that God gives to us is to be strong in the midst of this battle. How are we able to be strong since we are fearful people by nature? The rest of the command is “in the Lord”. If you are a follower of Christ, you have the Holy Spirit in you and you have the power of God living in you. No matter what battle you face, the One who lives within you has all things placed under His feet. He is Master over all and He is in you and fighting for you. Do not be afraid. On the other hand, be strong because you are strong, not because of your strength but because of Christ’s strength. The second command is “put on” the full armor of God. The Lord has set at your disposal His entire armor selection. Your job and my job is to know all of the pieces of the armor and put those people on, one by one. The phrase “put on” literally means to let them envelope you, sink into them. Don’t just put a few of the pieces. Instead, know what each piece is and put each one on and use all of them. The third command is similar to the second but different. Not only are you to know what all of the pieces are and put them on, you are also to take them up. The previous command is to allow the clothes to envelope you and the second command is to pick them up in a ready position, ready for battle. In other words, tighten up your belt and get ready for battle. Finally, the final command is to “stand firm”. You are able to stand your ground because you are not afraid due to the fact that you have the power of God at your disposal and you have all the weapons for defense and offense at your disposition. All of this is necessary because there is an enemy who is on the prowl. Let’s take a look at the enemy’s tactics.
II. The enemy’s tactics
In verses eleven, twelve, thirteen, and sixteen, we discover the enemy’s tactics. Knowing the enemy is crucial, not to fear him or build him up, but, instead, we need to do some recon so that we know how, when, and where he attacks. This will help us stand firm. The first thing that we learn about the enemy is that he schemes against you. The word translated “scheme” is the word in Greek that we get the English word “method” from. The enemy is methodical in what he does. He does not just lob darts at you. He is skilled and has planned out his attack, down to the when and where. The roots of “method” in Greek are “a journey against you”. The enemy is against you and he has plans to destroy you. In verse twelve, we discover that the enemy is not flesh and blood but he does use people to attack you. He is a deceiver and he deceives others to attack you. When you are attacked by a person, you must realize that the person against you is not the enemy, he or she is just being used by the enemy. The enemy’s schemes against one person can be used to cause that person to attack another person. The two people end up fighting thinking that they are hurting the enemy, yet they do not realize that he is unscathed because as long as they are fighting each other, he remains the puppet master in the background. The next thing that we learn about the enemy is that he has specific times when he attacks and specific times when he “plans” his next attack. Just because you are not facing a battle at the moment does not mean that a battle is not waiting for you. During the “down” time, the enemy is plotting his next move. The enemy’s main attack is on your mind. He has flaming arrows (thoughts) that he hurls your way. Have you ever had a thought and wonder, “where did that come from?”. There is an enemy that is hurling these thoughts and hoping that they will stick. Since we have an enemy who is on the prowl, we need weapons, both offensive and defensive.
III. The armor we have been given
In verses fourteen through seventeen, God reveals to us the specific pieces of armor so that we can defend ourselves and attack the enemy. As we cover each of the armor pieces, please note that there is nothing to cover your back. We are on the offense in this spiritual battle. Jesus taught this to His disciples.
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church ; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16)
In this spiritual battle, who has the gates? What are gates used for? According to Christ, who is on offense and who is on defense? We are on the attack, taking enemy ground. He is on defense. We do not need anything to protect our backs. We need all the protection on the front side. Let’s take a look at the armor.
- belt of truth
- breastplate of righteousness
- the shoes of the Gospel of peace
- the shield of faith
- the helmet of salvation
- the sword of the Spirit
As we go through the summer, we will cover each of these pieces, one by one, so please be patient. There is so much to learn and it is going to be great. Now, let’s take a look at the results of following God’s advice.
IV. The results of obedience
Verses eleven, thirteen, and sixteen reveal the benefits of obeying God. The first thing that we learn is that we are able to stand against the attacks of the enemy. His “scheming” does not overcome us. While attacked, you are able to resist and be victorious. If you do not follow God’s plan/advice, then you will not be able to stand firm and you will not be able to resist. Instead, you will fall victim to his attack. When the enemy shoots his flaming arrows (thoughts) at your mind, you are able to block them, extinguish them, and be attack instead of just defend. In fact, the arrows are coming from the ones on defense while the attackers must block them and continue their attack. Victory is already ours because of Jesus Christ. We just have to take up His armor and run to battle, knowing that we have already won.
Which team are you on? If the enemy is not attacking you directly then you must already be on his team. If you are on his team, he will use you to attack others. Indifference and ignorance are not a defense for you and you cannot remain neutral. Do you have the power of God in you because you are in Christ? Do you realize that victory is already yours? Do you know the enemy’s tactics? Are you ready for his attacks? Do you know what armor you have at your disposal? Do you take it up daily, moment by moment? Are you walking in victory? If not, then why not? May the Lord help us realize the battle that we face daily and help us understand that victory is already ours.