Bible Study: Ephesians
(Part 5-Chapter 6:10-17)
by Gary T. Panell
Outline: In the first section of this book we spoke of the "Wealth of the believer" (Doctrinal), from chapter 1 through chapter 3. In the second section of the outline, we are looking at the "Walk of the believer" (Practical), starting at chapter 4 and running through chapter 6 and verse 9. In this section we study how we are to walk (or live) in the spirit in our marriage, with our children, and on our job.
In the final section of our outline we will look at the "Warfare of the Believer" (Tactical). This section starts in chapter 6 at verse 10 and runs through verse 24.
(6:10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Paul was often chained next to Roman soldiers, and had spent his whole life around them in one way or another. So now the Lord shows him the warfare that is going on in the spiritual world, and this war is happening all the time. In order for us as Christians to be victorious in this warfare we have to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." (Romans 13:14)
So each and every day as we walk with the Lord we have to put on the armor needed in this spiritual warfare and that armor can really be summed up in the fact that it is Christ living in us helping us fight against the old nature. "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17)
I really believe that you and I have to put away the things of the world more and more in our lives. This might mean watching less television, it might mean listening to the radio less, or reading worldly material less. In its place we need to spend more time in the word of God and prayer. It means more time with our family and church family, and less time in temporal pursuits. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:6-7) How else can we do this except by spending more time with the Lord in Bible meditation and prayer?
If we are to live the Christian life the way God intended for us to live we have to spend more time with Jesus. Of all the Old Testament characters probably my favorite, even though we don't know much about him, is Enoch. It just says of him, "Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had son and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." (Genesis 5:21-24) His message that he preached is found in Jude but he is also mentioned in Hebrews where it says, "By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, 'and was not found, because God had taken him'; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God." (Hebrews 11:5-6)
Mother Teresa in her book Total Surrender tells of a sister: "Something happened to one of the sisters who was sent to study. The day she was to receive her degree she died. When she was dying she asked, 'Why did Jesus call me for such a short time?' And her superior answered, 'Jesus wants you, not your works.' She was perfectly happy after that." God created us to fellowship with Him and He loves nothing more than to spend time with us, do we feel the same?
There is a spiritual warfare going on that many Christians are unaware of or know little about. Satan is the enemy of God, and he has set his mind to get even with God for expelling him from heaven. In the books of Ezekiel and Isaiah we are told about Satan's past and future. Even though there was a king in Tyre and Babylon at the time these passages were written, God shows who the real power behind these evil kings was, and that was Satan. So here is a description of what Satan is like: "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topas, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.
"You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.
"You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who know you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever." (Ezekiel 28:12b-19) Personally I believe he has lied to himself so much that he actually thinks he can win against God. At any rate he was one of the highest angels in heaven, or the highest before he sinned. God must have given all the angels free will when they were created. One of the differences between them and us is that when they sinned they were not given a way to repent like us. Probably the reason for this is because the angels are in the very presence of God, they know better than to go against God's Holiness! At any rate he now is God's arch enemy and ours. Even though he has a lot of power he is not all powerful like God. Also God has allowed him to carry on for a while, I believe, so we can have a choice between serving God or the devil. When this time of choice is up he will be sent to hell which was prepared for him and all the other fallen angels, and people who do not take the salvation God offers through His Son Jesus Christ and His blood.
Another passage that speaks of what happened to Lucifer, which is what he was called before he fell, is found in Isaiah: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' (Isaiah 14:12-14) "Satan was once an angel called Lucifer, who, in love with his own beauty, fell into pride and self-centeredness. His rebellion manifests in five 'I will' statements addressed against God." (Spirit Filled Bible)
Now Satan is allowed to roam the earth trying to keep people from God, and once they have found salvation he wants to destroy their effectiveness so they cannot reach others. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8) His first great "victory" was in deceiving Eve and tempting Adam to disobey God, which when they sinned he and they brought sin into the world. (Look at Worldview parts one, two and three to see more on this subject.)
In Job we see how it works behind the scenes: "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' So Satan answered the LORD and said, 'From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.' Then the LORD said to Satan, 'Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?' So Satan answered the LORD and said, 'Does Job fear God for nothing? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!' And the LORD said to Satan, 'Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.' So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD" (Job 1:6-12)
We learn several things about Satan from this passage, and that is that he wants to prove to God that people do not really love Him for who He is, but because of what He has given them. We know the story; Satan was not only allowed to take everything away from Job except his wife, but also his health, still Job stayed true to God. We see from this Scripture also that Satan can only do to us what God allows. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) Also that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. "Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." (Revelation 12:10-11) His end is coming, but in the mean time we have to put on the whole armor of God to fight against him!
Since Satan sinned in heaven he has been confirmed in his sin and will never change, Jesus said the religious leaders of His time were just like their father the devil. Strong words, but He knew their hearts and that they were not content just to go wrong themselves but they wanted to take the people with them in their deception. So often it is true of false religious leaders even today. They do not believe the Bible but they don't mind taking money from people so they can be a pastor of a church, it would be better for all concerned, for them to leave and not lead people astray. Jesus said of these people: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44)
Some Christians think you are joking when you speak of Satan and his desire to destroy lives, they think of it as a game, but it is no game. Jesus told us very specifically what Satan's intentions are for our lives, and what He wants for us in contrast to that. "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)
This brings us back to our passage, now that we know a little of the history and goals of Satan. Now, how are we to become victorious over him? These verses give us the answer. We need to realize that we are in a spiritual warfare and only spiritual weapons will work against this enemy. "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him (her) as a soldier." (2 Timothy 2:3-4) Also we are promised that Satan will not be victorious over the Church. "...I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)
There were demon possessed girls that had been brought into the church where we were in Trinidad and Tobago, and when they heard the words to the hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" by Martin Luther they could not stay in the service, but had to run outside. The words of the song are:
(6:11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
We need to put on the whole armor of God; part of it will not work. Suppose you went out as a soldier, but didn't wear your helmet-not a good idea! In Southern California a police officer there had to put on his bullet proof vest each day, one day because it was hot he was thinking about not wearing it, but he put it on anyway. That day he was shot at point-blank range, but he was not killed because he had put on the bullet proof vest. So too we need to put on all the armor every day! Really the armor is Christ as we see in this reference: "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." (Romans 13:14)
(6:12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places.
1. Principalities (Gr. archas) chief rulers or beings of the highest rank and order in Satan's kingdom.
2. Powers (Gr. exousias) authorities, those who derive their power from and execute the will of the chief rulers.
3. Rulers (Gr. kosmokratopas) world-rulers of the darkness of this age, the spirit world-rulers.
4. Spiritual wickedness (Gr. pneumatika ponerias) spiritual wickedness, that of the wicked spirits of Satan in the heavenlies. (Dake's Annotated Reference Bible)
"Then he said to me, 'Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia." (Daniel 10:12-13)
Satan wants us to think he can win against God in this warfare, and I believe he has convinced himself that he can win in spite of what the Bible says. However, we believe the Bible and the prophecies of how Satan will one day be cast into the Lake of Fire when God is finished with him. In the "mean-time," though he deceives and bluffs people into thinking that he is stronger than God, and there is an example of this in the film The Exorcist.
"The 1973 release of the film The Exorcist thrust the whole topic of demon possession onto the center stage of American consciousness. Most of those who saw the film reacted with fear. It is the story of two priests seeking to deliver a young girl from the possession of demons and was actually based on a real-life story. The special effects portraying the bizarre changes in the girl's body were electrifying and a fairly realistic description of Satan's power. Unfortunately in the film version both priests are killed, and Satan has a victory. The actual events took place in the life of a teenage boy. He had opened himself to the manifestations of demonic spirits by playing with a Ouija board. The exorcism team worked intensively with the boy for four months before the battle was finished. God sent Michael to set the boy free and, contrary to the film story, the victory was Christ's, not Satan's." (Exorcism Fact or Fiction? by Dr. Ken Olson)
The point is, Satan wants people to think he is more powerful than God, but he isn't. He is not all-knowing (omniscient), he is not everywhere at once (omnipresent), and he is not all powerful (omnipotent) as God is. He is very intelligent and has been around for a long time so he has learned a lot from experience, but he still makes a lot of mistakes, and his power is limited. God only permits him freedom for a time, when his purpose is finished one word will do him in. He is permitted to exist so that people can have choices. Notice at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ he is let go from his prison for a short time, so all the children of those who entered the Millennial reign can be given a choice. They can choose Christ or Satan, and then their choice will be final.
We need to have a healthy respect for his power and let God deal with him because we cannot in our own strength. Jude makes clear we are not to try and attack Satan as some have: "Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!" (Jude 8-9) We have to respect Satan's power, and attack him only in the name of the Lord. David knew this when he told Goliath, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand." (1 Samuel 17:45-46)
If a Christian does not understand the occult powers that are at work in this world, and how to fight against them, he or she will be defeated by them. But we are not to fear Satan, because fear is the opposite of faith. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) God has provided all we need to fight against Satan and sin. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
"The curtain of the invisible is slightly opened here to give us a brief glimpse of the tremendous spiritual forces arrayed against the people of God. God created 'an innumerable company of angels' (Hebrews 12:22), and apparently at least a third of this host of created spirits have followed Satan in his long war against God and His people (Revelation 12:4,7). These are organized into a great hierarchy of principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world. We dare not be without God's whole armor when wrestling against such powers. Nevertheless, 'greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world' and 'they that be with us are more than they that be with them' (1 John 4:4; 2 Kings 6:16). If we, using God's armor, 'resist the devil,' then he and all his minions 'will flee from' us (James 4:7) (The Defender's Study Bible)
(6:13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Again this idea of taking and putting on all the armor is important; we cannot just have one item and think we are ok. Maybe we are good at studying the Bible, but we don't have much faith, this will never do. In the news it had this title: Body Armor Likely Saved ABC News Pair. It goes on to report: "NEW YORK - Surgeons removed shrapnel from ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff's head and neck, a family friend said Monday, and a hospital official said body armor likely saved the journalist's life. Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured when a roadside bomb exploded Sunday while they were standing in the open hatch of an Iraqi military vehicle." What if they had only had the body armor on or only the helmet, do you see how they would have been killed? So it is with this list of armor, we need all of it, and Christ is the one who helps us put it on by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Paul was often chained to Roman soldiers, so he spent a lot of time with them. Even as he is writing this letter he is under house arrest with probably at least one or more soldiers guarding him. The Holy Spirit gave him this message for us in the Church so we could put on our spiritual armor like the Roman soldiers had on their physical armor. As I was in the military for three years full-time, and nine years in the National Guard, I can tell you that soldiers still use this same equipment today, every piece of it.
(6:14) Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
To a soldier in the military whether he be a Roman soldier or one who lives today they have to have a belt to put on. In those days the sword was put in a sheath. Today we have what is called "web gear" which is a belt that we attach our canteen, "ammo" (ammunition), pistol, first aid kit, and so on. So it is essential, but the point is that it surrounds your body, and that is the way you are to be surround by truth where ever you go. We are not supposed to be one person at church and another at work. We are to be honest in all our dealings, and only Christ can help us be this way if we put Him on each day. "Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom." (Psalm 51:6)
You say, surely soldiers don't wear breastplates today. Well, really we do wear something very much like it, called a bullet-proof vest or "flack gear." This breastplate is the righteousness of Christ. When we invite Christ into our heart and life He gives us His righteousness. When God looks at us He sees Christ, so He says this one is perfect. It is like in the first chapter where we talked about the Passover and the blood that was made into the form of a cross on the door posts. The death angel passed over this house and did not kill the oldest son, even so God will not hold us accountable for our sins if we are "in Christ" and covered by His blood. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
"...and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. (Philippians 3:9) So we are saved by faith alone, but after we are saved we have a part to play and we have to live out the righteousness of Christ in our everyday lives. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." (Titus 2:11-14)
(6:15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
In the military today we wear boots for protection of our feet, but in reality they are usually light weight so we can move around quickly, and that is really what the picture in the spirit is. God wants us to use our feet to get out there with the Gospel.
This is brought out in two key passages on the Great Commission that Christ gave to the Church: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20) "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
The main reason for the "Filling or Baptism" of the Holy Spirit we talked about earlier in chapter 5 verse 18 is that we might be powerful witness for the Lord in getting the Gospel out! "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
We might pray through the phone book for people, but we would need to actually call them and speak to them too in order to be obedient to Christ's command to "go." My wife and I were teaching a children's Bible club, but we didn't have very many children coming so we started praying earnestly for more to come. One day while we were praying the Lord showed me that we needed to get up off of our knees and actually walk down the street and visit at homes giving out invitations. Guess what, after that we had many more kids to teach God's word, but we had to "GO!"
Amy Carmichael makes this so clear in her poem, Daisy Chains. I would like to quote parts of it here: The tom-toms thumped straight on all night, and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:
That I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth. Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman, she was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step-it trod air. She was over, and, oh, the cry as [she] went over!
Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.
Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could not call; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come. Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were far too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.
Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees, with their backs towards the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them it disturbed them, and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. "Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven't finished your daisy chains yet. It would be really selfish," they said, "to leave us to finish the work alone."
There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge. Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for awhile; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall.
Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was the Cry of the Blood. (Ezekiel 3:18)
Then thundered a Voice, the Voice of the Lord: "And He said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brothers' blood crieth unto Me from the ground." The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and the weird wild shriek of the [demon] possessed just outside the gate.
What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it? God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin! Daisy Chains by Amy Carmichael.
God wants us to "go" to the lost! That is why the picture of the feet prepared with the message of peace. "And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!'" (Romans 10:15)
The old time cowboy movies, that my Dad likes so much, would always ask the person before they passed away, "Have you made your peace with God?" You see they had something there, which you would never see in movies today, and that is people are enemies of God they have their backs turned to Him. Our job is to go to them and bring the message of salvation and redemption. If they repent, they will turn from their sin and to face Him, and thus make their peace with God. That is why we are to be prepared to "go" with the message of peace, so people can make their peace with God. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2)
We want to reach all the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ and one of the most neglected parts of the world has been the 10-40 window, as they call it. K.P. Yohannan, director of Gospel for Asia, says, "It can be reached." He says that when Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from years of living in England and South Africa, he quickly realized the "Quit India" movement was failing because its national leadership was not willing to give up European ways. So even though he was Indian, he had to renounce his Western dress and customs or he would not have been able to lead his people out from under the British yoke. He spent the rest of his life relearning how to become an Indian again-in dress, food, culture and lifestyle. Eventually he gained acceptance by the common people of India. The rest is history. He became the father of my nation, the George Washington of modern India.
"The same principle holds true of evangelistic and church planting efforts in all of Asia. 'He says.' We must learn to adapt to the culture. This is why the native evangelist, who comes from the native soil, is so effective. When Americans here in the United States are approached by yellow-robed Krishna worshipers-with their shaved heads and prayer beads-they reject Hinduism immediately. In the same way, Hindus reject Christianity when it comes in Western forms.
"...When Asians share Christ with other Asians in a culturally acceptable way, the results are startling. One native missionary we support in northwest India, Jager, now has evangelized 60 villages and established 30 churches in a difficult area of Punjab. He has led hundreds to Christ. On one trip to India, I went out of my way to visit Jager and his wife. I had to see for myself what kind of program he was using.
"Imagine my surprise when I found Jager was not using any special technology at all-unless you want to call the motor scooter and tracts that we supplied "technology." He was living just like the people. He had only a one-room house made of dung and mud.etc. I asked Jager what kept him going in the midst of such incredible challenge and suffering. He said, 'Waiting upon the Lord, my brother.' I discovered he spent two to three hours daily in prayer, reading and meditating on the Bible. This is what it takes to win Asia for Christ. This is the kind of missionary for which our nation cries out.
"K.P. says, 'The support we Asians need from the West, if we are to complete the work Christ has left us, must go to recruit, equip and send out an army of native missionary evangelist." I agree with this whole heartedly having been a missionary myself to the Hindu and Muslim people in Trinidad and Tobago. We can support these native missionaries which know the culture, know the language, and can go out for about $100 a month to our $3000 a month. They can be far more effective than we ever were! You can read more about this mission and K.P.'s vision for world evangelism, including China on our website links, under Gospel for Asia.
I believe the gospel has to go out into the entire world. Christ gave us this command and He expects for us to fulfill it! "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14)
(16) ...above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
When I went to Vietnam I was in a helicopter unit, it was the 227th Aviation Division of the First Air Cavalry. I went over as a cook but ended up sometimes being a door gunner. One of the other cooks, Cobb by name, I don't know if this way his first or last name, but we always just called him Cobb. Anyway he had gone up as a door gunner also, and was shot in the chest by a little rocket, however he had on his chest protector and only ended up getting some shrapnel on his legs. I'm sure he was glad he had put his chest protector on over his bullet proof vest. The chest protector that door gunners us today is like the shield of Paul's time. This shield is really our faith: "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5)
The soldiers in Paul's time would dip arrows into tar or wax and then start them on fire. You can imagine what a panic this would cause when the roofs of houses would catch on fire, and flaming arrows were whizzing around you. This is the picture of the "fiery darts of the wicked one." Sometimes Satan sends things our way that seem impossible to fight against, like when a loved one dies suddenly or there are insurmountable bills, or the marriage is falling apart. But we can overcome even these "fiery attacks," with the shield of faith!
How do we get more faith? "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) We have to spend time meditating on the Word of God each day!
(17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
We wore a kevlar helmet in the military this was made of a very strong metal that protected the head. What is in the head but our brain, where does Satan like to attack us except with doubts and temptations? First, doubts about our salvation so we need to know these verses and ones like them: "For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." (2 Timothy 1:12)
"And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12)
Some Christians teach that you cannot know you are saved until you get to heaven, but that is not what the Bible teaches. It says that we can know we are saved, it does not say think or hope but as this verse says we can know, that we know, that we know! "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:13) Many Christians spin their tires, as it were, their whole life wondering if they are saved, but these thoughts are of Satan.
Satan doesn't want you having assurance of your salvation because if you do you will stop worry about yourself and start winning others. Of course that is exactly what God wants you to do! You need to say to yourself, "I have received Christ into my heart and life, and as long as I am "in Christ" He is in me. Yes, I need to continue to believe in Christ my whole life, but I also need to rest in the truth of God's Word concerning my salvation!
Paul says in Thessalonians about this subject of the armor: "But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep , we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:8-11)
"For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. (Isaiah 59:17). God wants us being serious about our protection and warfare seeing our enemy is dead set on our destruction.
Now let us talk about the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.
The "word" in Greek is 'RHĒMA' "The significance of rhē>ma (as distinct from logos) is exemplified in the injunction to take 'the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,' Eph. 6:17; here the reference is not to the whole Bible as such, but to the individual scripture which the Spirit brings to our remembrance for use in time of need, a prerequisite being the regular storing of the mind with Scripture." (VINE'S) This is one of our offensive weapons along with prayer. "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
You might say how does the modern armor relate to this? We could say that the rifle is used in place of the sword today, but you might be surprised to know that we still use swords. When I was in the military, we trained with bayonets, and these are attached to the rifle and can be used very effectively up close.
Jesus always used this weapon when He was attacked by Satan. Look at Matthew four and how Jesus used the Word of God when He was tempted by Satan. "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said. 'It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:1-4) Each and every time He was tempted he fought back with the Word of God!
Satan and the demons hate the Bible. When we were missionaries in Trinidad
and Tobago there were some demon possessed girls that we helped deliver. One
time when we were praying for them and reading Scripture one of the demons struck
at my Bible with the hand of the girl. I said to the demon in her, you cannot
destroy the word of God! It had torn the page a little, but I taped it up and
later gave it to a believer that needed a Bible. Satan has to leave when we
quote Scripture because it reminds him of his judgment to come. You may have
heard this saying before, "Sin will keep you from the Bible or the Bible will
keep you from sin." "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin
against You." (Psalm 119:11)
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Gary Tomás Panell
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