4 keynote sermon

Sunday December 2 "Stand" Pastor Wood

Topic Ephesians 6:10–24 (ESV) The Whole Armor of God

  1. Text: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For 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. 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 firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 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, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Principalities and powers 6:10–20

But now Paul brings us down to earth, and to realities harsher than dreams. He reminds us of the opposition. Beneath surface appearances an unseen spiritual battle is raging. He introduces us to the devil (already mentioned in 2:2 and 4:27) and to certain ‘principalities and powers’ at his command. He supplies us with no biography of the devil, and no account of the origin of the forces of darkness. He assumes their existence as common ground between himself and his readers. In any case, his purpose is not to satisfy our curiosity, but to warn us of their hostility and teach us how to overcome them. Is God’s plan to create a new society? Then they will do their utmost to destroy it. Has God through Jesus Christ broken down the walls dividing human beings of different races and cultures from each other? Then the devil through his emissaries will strive to rebuild them. Does God intend his reconciled and redeemed people to live together in harmony and purity? Then the powers of hell will scatter among them the seeds of discord and sin. It is with these powers that we are told to wage war, or—to be more precise—to ‘wrestle’ (verse 12, av)

The enemy we face (verses 10–12)

The armour of God (verses 13–20)

Paul’s first prayer-wish is this: Peace to the brethren, and love with faith (verse 23). Peace has been a characteristic word of this letter. In the doctrinal section at the beginning he has explained how Jesus Christ ‘is our peace’ since he has broken down the dividing wall and created a single new humanity, ‘so making peace’, and how he then ‘came and preached peace’. Consequently, in the ethical section which follows Paul has begged them both to ‘maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ and to ‘forbear one another in love’ (4:2–3), indeed to ‘walk in love as Christ loved us’ (5:2).

John Stott

6:10–20 The Warfare of the New People

Paul made sure believers recognized that as new people who have been granted new life in a new family with new relationships they still would endure spiritual warfare. The closing portion of Paul’s letter explained his account of the Christian’s conflict with evil forces.

Believers must adorn themselves with the armor of God in order to stand against the devil’s schemes. Five defensive weapons are identified: (1) the enabling nature of truth that resists lying and false doctrine; (2) the covering quality of righteousness that resists accusations of conscience and despondency; (3) the stabilizing quality of peace that resists slander and selfishness; (4) the protective ability of faith that resists prayerlessness and doubt; and (5) the encouraging nature of salvation that resists fear and disappointment.

Two offensive weapons are included in the armor of God: (1) the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and (2) prayer. It is fitting that this prayerful and meditative letter concludes with an exhortation to prayer (6:18) and a request for prayer (6:19–20).

6:21–24 Conclusion

We learn that Tychicus was the bearer of the letter (6:21). Paul concluded the letter with words of grace and peace (6:23–24). The unusual benediction provides a fitting benediction to Paul’s majestic letter.

Holman Bible Handbook