Today we are at the end of our series in Ephesians.
This has been an exciting study.
This letter transformed the early church and hopefully it will transform our church,
As well as our homes and our society.
This was Paul’s prayer and it is my prayer.
Paul’s prayer and my prayer is not that you will be inspired but that you will be transformed.
Today’s section of scripture begins with Paul trying to prepare us for the battles that we will face.
He does this by first describing the enemy.
And second, by describing the tools that we have to defend ourselves from this enemy.
I want to begin with the big picture.
What is this all about?
Well, back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve fell prey to the serpent.
Satan came before them and tempted them.
Satan tried to get them to question what God had said.
Adam and Eve lived in a perfect society.
They lived walking with God.
In many ways, this new society, the church, was to be the same.
All of what Paul teaches in Ephesians is to bring us to a place of holy living with God.
That we might trust God fully and live accordingly.
Jesus had come that we might have full abundant life.
In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come to give you life and life to it’s fullest.”
Back in the Garden of Eden, Satan came and he stole the trust that man had with God.
He killed and destroyed that pure relationship that they experienced.
Satan was able to do all of this with very little resistance.
The battle that Paul is trying to prepare us for today is the same battle that Adam and Eve faced.
This battle is with Satan.
When you see problems creep into the church or in your homes, it’s tempting to blame the people involved.
But, Paul is warning us to look deeper.
Paul is saying that Satan and His powers of darkness are at the core of all disunity.
Paul says that our battle is not against each other in our homes or in the church.
No more than Adam’s battle in the garden was with his wife Eve.
Adam and Eve would have had a perfect marriage if not for Satan.
And, you would too.
Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers and the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The enemy is not us, it’s Satan.
It is Satan who is the enemy and he is out to destroy us.
He is out to destroy our homes and he is out to destroy our church.
Adam and Eve fell prey to Satan in the garden and it cost them everything.
We are now under the same attack as Adam and Eve were under.
Paul understood this well.
His prayer was that you would also understand it well.
Understanding who the enemy is, is the first step in being able to win the battle.
Unfortunately, most of our homes and most of our churches don’t get it.
And the result is that we have weak homes and weak churches.
Instead of this new society working in unity and love,
It often doesn’t work at all.
Often we blame each other just like Adam and Eve did.
How sad that we should blame each other and not the real enemy.
We could have the perfect church.
So, now that Paul has described the enemy he continues by describing the tools that we have to defend ourselves against this enemy.
The good news is that this new society, which is to be like the old society of the Garden of Eden, has been giving tools to defend itself.
These tools are more powerful than anything on earth.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Paul says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
When we use these tools we are told that the gates of hell will not be able to defeat us. (Matt. 16:18)
Unfortunately, most of us never pick up these tools;
Most of us are unaware that there is an enemy attacking us.
We allow the enemy to creep in just like Adam and Eve did.
We allow him into our homes and into our church.
Once again, the result is destruction.
Make no mistake about it; Satan is out to destroy God’s new society just like he destroyed the old one.
In heaven we will wear robes of glory but for now we must protect ourselves.
Let’s look at the tools that are in the box.
First, is belt of truth.
Today we have the Word of God.
Adam and Eve walked with God but didn’t have the written word.
The Word of God is our first defense against the enemy.
Men and women who know God’s word always stand stronger than those who don’t.
Satan is like a lion that picks out the weak in the herd and takes them down.
Second, is the breastplate of righteous.
God has given us His righteousness.
In the garden, Adam and Eve could have called out to God in their temptation.
They could have sought God’s help.
We too can call out to God at any time.
We can pray always and follow God closely, allowing Him to protect us in all situations.
Third, is our boots.
We are to wear the boots of peace.
Our boots allow us to be able to withstand the pressures that Satan would put on us.
We learned at Christmas that there is peace on earth but we only see this peace when we focus on the baby Jesus.
Our focus is to remain on Jesus.
We are to get our peace from Him and we are to live at peace with others.
For me, these boots have helped me walk through some long valleys.
We need to constantly check to see if we are wearing boots of peace or of conflict.
Forth, is the shield of faith.
Our faith protects us against the darts that Satan throws at us.
Satan tries to discourage us the same way that he discouraged Adam and Eve.
We get discouraged when we feel as though we can’t trust God.
We get discouraged when we don’t fully believe God’s promises to us.
This discouragement causes us to look out for number one.
We begin to think of ourselves first and other not so much.
We begin to think that we must take care of ourselves first.
Faith is our defense against discouragement, depression, defeat, distrust and despair.
As I get older, faith comes easier as I have seen God in action.
Know this; God will never let you down!
When Satan throws arrows at you, hold up your shield of faith.
Our God is always victorious!
Fifth, is the helmet of salvation.
Understand that you are a child of God.
You will not be defeated by Satan.
In John 10:28-30 Jesus says, 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Understand that God is standing next to you and He will protect you.
Lastly, is the sword of the spirit.
This sword is the word of God.
The sword is the only tool that we have to attack with.
All the rest are for protection.
But, God’s word has already defeated our enemy.
We need to understand that Satan has been defeated and that God is the victor.
We have all that we need to live victorious in this new society, the church.
We can have victory at home and in the church.
Paul began this letter with the words, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
And, he ends the letter in the same way with these words, “Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.”
My prayer for you is the same as Paul’s prayer for you; that you would understand the grace that God has given you and that you would live in peace and unity, submitting to one another in love.