God’s Plan for Spiritual Warfare
Part 6, The Marvellous Plan of God for the Church Sermon Series, A Study of the Book of Ephesians 6:10-17
The world has seen so many wars. But it’s not just the war between nations that we are worried about, there is also a much greater war that involves everybody in this planet, and this is - spiritual war. What is spiritual warfare then? Spiritual warfare is a battle against the spiritual forces of evil, it is God and His people against Satan and his minions. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Two problems arise from spiritual warfare, overplaying and downplaying. When people overplayed spiritual warfare, they blame every mistakes, every sins, and every negative feelings to the devil. “The Devil made me do it!, It’s the devil who brought this disaster, the devil pushed me to disobey God, etc.” The devil becomes the most convenient excuse to avoid taking responsibilities for sins.
On the other hand, downplaying spiritual warfare means, we simply ignore the spiritual forces at work in this world. Many people say, “I’m a modern person, living in this highly technologically advanced time, and the devil simply belongs in the ancient times. So, people who downplayed spiritual warfare, ignored Satan, as much as they ignored sin. But Satan is very real as God teaches us about him.
1. God wants us to know our enemy.
“11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
· Satan in Hebrew is a noun which means adversary, accuser, and it is derived from the verb to oppose or to obstruct.
· The noun Satan appeared 18 times in the Old Testament, 14 of those occurrences being in Job 1-2, the others in 1 Chronicles 21:1 and Zechariah 3:1-2.
· Satan was blameless from the day he was created until he sinned.
· He was a cherubim perfect in beauty, astounding appearance and has the ability to make decisions for himself.
· Satan led a horde of misguided angels to go against God and His holy angels but were defeated.
· And because Satan could not overcome God, he entered our space and tempted Eve that led to the fall of Man.
· In the New Testament, we learn that Satan blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they may not believe that Jesus is the true Son of God and the only way to salvation.
· Satan also tempted God’s children to lie, slandered them, incited persecutions, and prevented them from serving God’s purpose and will.
2. God wants us to take a decisive stand against Satan.
“11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
· There is no middle ground for Christians because Jesus said, “30 “Whoever is not with me is against me.”
· Satan embedded his evil schemes deep into the world’s systems, he was behind evil leaders, false religions, and even in many churches today.
· Satan incited false doctrines, disobedience to authority, divisions, unforgiveness, unfaithfulness, lack of commitment to God and to His church, and even provoked negative emotions to weaken our stand in the Lord.
3. God wants us to use His provisions for victory.
“14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.”
· The Roman Empire provided armor that protected the vital organs of their soldiers, most especially, the heart.
· Paul was using this picture of a fully armed and protected soldier to point out to the truth that in the Lord we are strong and protected.
· Christians are commanded to stand firm, which carries the idea of being stable in the mind, strong in the faith, and secured in God’s assurances.
· We can stand firm through the assurances of God (Eph. 1:3-14) we stand secured in the gospel of Christ (Eph. 1:13), we are made strong by the grace of God, we are confident in our God-given faith (Eph. 2:8-10), and we fully trust the plan of God for us (Eph. 3:10-12).
· Satan came to weaken our stand in the Lord’s truth. But the good news is that God will never abandon us because the Bible assured us, “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6, NIV.