The book of Ephesians has directed our several week-long series at Mosaic titled Present Battle: Eternal Victory. Last Sunday, Carrie Bach closed the series with a beautifully vulnerable sermon emphasizing Ephesians 6.
We are in a present battle that has an eternal victory. Therefore, it is vital that our identity is deeply rooted in Jesus and in Him alone. Our strength lies in the Lord and not in our own might, for apart from Him, we can do nothing.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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.” Ephesians 6:10-12.
God has called us to put on our armor. Our society encourages us to fight for ourselves (as seen often in asking for a pay raise at work, for example), but this is not what God intends for us. He doesn’t call us to charge or to fight, but rather, to stand and to know His strength. In that, there is power.
“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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes on your feet, having put on the readiness by the given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication…”. Ephesians 6:13-18.
In the first part of Ephesians 6, God asks us to do these three things: Stand. Withstand. Stand firm.
As God’s people, we are made to stand. It’s part of our identity. It is who God has made us to be. Of course, this begs the question: how do we stand? In what ways, specifically, can we do what God is asking us to do and walk out in this identity? In this chapter, Paul provides handrails to the Ephesians. Thankfully, we can take his encouragement for these people as encouragement for ourselves, as the Word is living and relevant today as it was 2000 years ago.
- Fasten on the belt of truth
- It is not relative. My situation does not define His Truth.
- I do not examine the Bible, the Bible examines me.
- Put on the breastplate of righteousness.
- We live under the grace of God – it is the love of God – which prompts us and encourages us to live glory to glory. His call to righteousness is not so much a chore as it is an honor to represent Him
- The love of God transforms us into His image
- Righteousness is not religious; God’s righteousness is not a license to sin.
- Put shoes on your feet with a readiness of the gospel of peace. The gospel is powerful to advance His Kingdom. The gospel is greater than words on a page; it transforms.
- Take up the shield of faith. God does not call us to live by what is seen but to live by what is unseen. What lives in the eternal is the most real, despite our tangible worldly reality
- Take the helmet of salvation. Romans 8:6: “The mind governed by flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” The helmet guards us from the lies of the enemy. He stalks like a lion, but his roar is his greatest asset. There is nothing more he can do than to roar, as his force is weak.
- Take the sword of the spirit – the Word. This is our greatest defense in the battle against the enemy, because The Word is Truth.
- Prayer is powerful and effective. Prayer brings about the peace of God. Prayer changes nations.
- Worrying is not prayer. Complaining is not prayer.
Clothe yourselves in the armor of God. Know that His armor is a gift; to receive it is a gift. However, we must know the word of God in order to use this gift effectively. To be made to stand, you must spend time with Him. With this knowledge, there are things we can do to grow in intimacy with Him, so that we may receive the gift and use it authoritatively:
Check out to check in. Check out of media to check in to the presence of God. Of course, media is not inherently wrong and it is not inherently sin, but to use it as a point of comparison is sinful and it is destructive.
Dress well to test well. Put on your armor, as Paul describes in Ephesians.
Understand that we are not moved by our weakness but remain standing by His strength. God is not surprised by our weakness or our lack. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and in our weakness, He reveals His greatness. God knows we cannot fight the battle alone; in His grace, He doesn’t ask us to do so. The Lord will fight for you; all you must do is stand.
Remember who we are fighting against, and remember the great name of our Victor. Turn your eyes toward the Victor, because the battle is already won. He is winning today and He will win forever.
Want to hear Carrie’s sermon IRL? We got you.