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                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS"

             Standing Strong In The Armor Of God (6:10-24)

INTRODUCTION

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" - Ep 6:10-20

3. In this lesson, the last of this series on Ephesians, we shall 
   consider what Paul has to say about "Standing Strong In The Armor Of
   God"
      
[We begin by noticing...]

I. THE SOURCE OF THIS STRENGTH (10-11a)

   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!
         a. Which Paul already referred to earlier in this epistle - cf.
            Ep 1:19; 3:16,20
         b. Which Paul refers to in his epistle to the Philippians - cf.
            Php 2:12-13; 4:13

   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

[The point is, we are not left to our own feeble strength, but there is 
"divine strength" that we can "put on" to protect us in the "battles" we
must face.

Speaking of "battles", we next consider...]

II. THE NEED FOR THIS STRENGTH (11b-13)
   
   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. 2Co 2:11
      2. For example, some of Satan's "schemes" are:
         a. Blinding people via false doctrine - 2Co 4:3-4; 1Ti 4:1-3
         b. Enticing people to indulge in illicit desires of the flesh 
            and mind - Ep 2:1-3
         c. Bringing persecution upon those who try to do right - 1 Pe
            5:8-9
      3. Only with the Lord's help can we overcome the wicked one - 
         2Th 3:3; 1Jn 2:13-14 (note the comments to "young men")

   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" - 1Ti 4:1-3

[We may not fully understand how the "rulers of the darkness" operate,
but clearly we see the need for all the strength God provides us in 
order to "stand" against such forces.

What is the strength God provides?  As we continue in our text, Paul 
explains...]

III. THE NATURE OF THIS STRENGTH (14-20)

   A. IT IS THE "WHOLE" ARMOR OF GOD...
      1. Note verses 11 and 13
      2. To be able to...
         a. "stand against the wiles of the devil"
         b. "withstand in the evil day"
         ...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
         b. Truth can free us from sin, which can easily 'beset' us - 
            cf. Jn 8:32-34; He 12:1
      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. Php 3:9
      3. THE GOSPEL OF PEACE, which is crucial to our ability to "stand"
         a. The gospel is God's power unto salvation - Ro 1:16-17
         b. Armed with the gospel, we can have "beautiful feet" that
            enables us to take the glad tidings to others - Ro 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 - Ro 10:17
      5. SALVATION, which is like a helmet
         a. In 1Th 5:8, Paul speaks of the "hope of salvation" as our
            helmet
         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! - He 4:12
         b. With this "sword" it is possible for the Spirit to "cut to 
            the heart" those who hear the Word - cf. Ac 2:36-37; 7:54
      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" - Mt 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 - Lk 18:1-8
            2) "supplication for the saints" - especially those with 
               special needs, even as Paul asked the Ephesians to pray 
               for him - Ep 6:19-20

CONCLUSION

1. When we arm ourselves with such qualities as...
   a. Truth
   b. Righteousness
   c. The gospel
   d. Faith
   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"! 
   - Ep 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 - Ep 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"
                                       - Ep 6:23-24
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