Ephesians, Chapter Six, Lesson Three

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1 Ephesians, Chapter Six, Lesson Three THE SPIRIT FILLED LIFE - Part 8 Ephesians 6:10-18 STIMULATE ** Do you recall from our study together last week in Ephesians 6:5-9 what it was that gave us our greatest joy? Obedience to the Word of God! (Luke 11:28) ** If we are to do our part in maintaining Holy Spirit Filled labor relations, what were the three ways we could do this, if we are the employee or employer? 1) By showing respect (V.5) 2) By doing God's will from the heart (V.6) 3) By rendering service (V.7) And all of that with our own "good will" attitude. MOTIVATE ** Over the next two weeks, the apostle Paul will draw his thoughts to his beloved Ephesians to a God glorifying conclusion. As he does, he is going to instruct us regarding the Biblical definition of the Christian lifestyle. When we hear the good news of the gospel shared in the Christian media of our day, what does it usually sound like? It is the health, wealth, prosperity "gospel" that tells you what you can demand from God, rather than what He demands from us. ** How does our life as Christians almost never get described - even though this is exactly what Scripture calls it? It is a warfare! cf. Romans 7:22-23, 2Corinthians 10:3-4, James 4:1, 1Peter 2:11, 1Timothy 1:18-19, 1Timothy 6:12 and 2Timothy 4:7 ** Today we will be learning once again from the pen of the apostle Paul. This time he will show us "The Spirit Filled Life" painted out in three phases. We will see: The Christian's Warfare The Christian's Weapons The Christian's Wisdom Read passage (V ) (V ) Opening Prayer INVESTIGATE The Spirit Filled Life

2 V.10 ** The Christian's Warfare - After all we have learned from this wonderful letter of Paul's, what is different about the way he opens our passage for today? "Finally" - This is a powerful use of this word, when we take into consideration all of the elements of the Christian's life and walk that Paul has addressed up to this point. Even though all of that was important, this too must not be overlooked! ** What two things does Paul want us to do, in addition to everything else he has taught us? 1) Be strong in the Lord 2) Be strong in the strength of His might ** Let's look at these one at a time. What does it mean to "be strong in the Lord"? Very much like the exhortation to wives, husbands, children, parents, employees and employers - this is speaking of the realm or sphere of our strength. We have been clothed "in" Christ, we received His indwelling strength, it is not something that we can generate on our own. cf. Galatians3:27, Romans 13:14 and 2Timothy 2:1 ** Alright then, how is being "strong in the strength of His might" different? More than just the realm or sphere of our strength, this is referring to the limitless reservoir of power available to us through our relationship with God Almighty because of the work of Jesus Christ. This is speaking of God's strength, an active and effective power belonging only to God - and we have it at our disposal. cf. 1John 4:4 and Jude 24 V.11 ** Having received this marvelous power from God, what is the Christian to do with it? "Put on the full armor of God". Remember that Paul is under house arrest and chained to a Roman guard. As Paul looks at "his prisoner", he will merely be using that soldier's attire to describe how a Christian is to be prepared. That is the Holy Spirit's resourcefulness, in inspiration, at work. ** What little word in that command is very important regarding our preparedness for the battle? "full" - we are not to pick and choose just our favorite items. This is not shopping list, but rather a call to arms. ** What is it, here in verse eleven, that Paul is preparing us for? He wants us to "be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." Methodia is used here for "schemes", and is the word we get our English word "method" from. It carries the idea of craftiness, cunning and deception. cf. Ephesians 4:14 ** What are some of his schemes? How does the devil try trip us up in our walk with Christ? 1) Mixing error with truth - Genesis 3:4-5 2) Misquoting or applying scripture - Matthew 4:5-6 3) Promising good for those who will do his evil bidding - Luke 4:6-7 4) Appearing like angels - 2Corinthians 11:13-14, Galatians 1:8 V.12 ** How does Paul describe the Christian's lifestyle?

3 It is a "struggle". Pale - lit. hand to hand combat, many times to the death. This term was used to speak of wrestling and was characterized by trickery and deception. ** With whom are we not struggling? Not against other human beings! Not "flesh and blood". ** Then with whom? "against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places". These terms all refer to the different strata and rankings of those demons and the evil, supernatural realm in which they operate. ** Where is there realm located? In the heavenly places - it is supernatural. From the atmosphere surrounding the earth, to all of creation. cf. Ephesians1:20, 2:6, 3:10 V.13 ** Why does Paul now repeat his command to "take up the full armor of God"? Because of the "therefore"! Because of the struggle, the war and the strength of the enemy. ** How does Paul describe the "day" of our battle? It is the evil day! ** When is that? Right now! cf. Ephesians 5:16, Galatians 1:4 ** How complete a job are we to do in preparing for this warfare? "...having done everything..." We must not view this life in a casual, it doesn't really matter, attitude. ** If we are willing to obey Paul's command, and we put on the full armor of God - we do everything we can to be prepared, then what do we do - attack? Absolutely not! We stand! Remember in Whose strength we reside, and with Whose strength we gain the victory. We do not take on satan or his demons, we do not perform exorcisms. We simply stand in the holiness of God, maintaining our integrity while depending on the faithfulness of Christ to defend us. cf. James 4:7-8 V.14 ** Now that we have seen the Christian's Warfare, let's look at the six weapons which make up God's armor designed to help us stand. (Remember Jude 24) The Christian's Weapons - What is the first one? 1) Truth - aletheia basically refers to the content of that which is true. Like the truth of God's Word. But it can also mean truthfulness, going beyond the truth of the message to the truthfulness of the messenger. cf. Psalm 51:6 ** Why does Paul tell us to "gird our loins" with truth?

4 A soldier would take the ends of his tunic and pull them up around his waist and gird them or tie them with a belt for better mobility in battle. We must not get caught up or entangled in the satanic lies of this world as we stand for Christ. cf. 2Timomthy 2:4 ** What is the next piece of Believer's armor? 2) The breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate was designed to protect the vital organs in battle, nothing protects us more than living righteously before our Holy God. cf. Ephesians 4:22-24 V.15 ** How about piece number three? 3) The preparation of the gospel of peace. ** Why would Paul tells us to "shod our feet" in light of what he said in verses 11, 13 and 14? If we are going to "stand" for Christ against the supernatural forces of evil, our feet must be protected with the reality that we have "peace" with God through the gospel. cf. Romans 5:1, 8:31 V.16 ** What is the next piece of armor? 4) The shield of faith - thureos this was a 2-1/2' x 4-1/2' large shield designed to protect the entire body. ** What is the defining characteristic of this particular shield? It is the shield of "faith" - the supernatural ability to believe God. To take Him at His word, to trust in His faithfulness. cf. Matthew 8:5-10 ** What do we do with this shield? We are "able to extinguish all the flaming missiles (belos) of the evil one". Doubt, discouragement, lust, greed, vanity, envy - all temptations. V.17 ** We're still not done, what do we need next? 5) The helmet of salvation - Protecting our most vulnerable minds, the reality of our salvation keeps us standing firm. It did not depend upon us, but rather upon our gracious God. cf. Hebrews 9:28 ** And what is the last piece of our armor? 6) The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. machaira - a small sword used in hand to hand combat. The one Peter used to cut off the ear of the High Priest's servant. cf. Matthew 26:51 ** How is this piece of armor different from the others? It is our only offensive weapon! cf. Hebrews 4:12, 2Timothy 2:24-26

5 V.18 ** Understanding now the seriousness of the warfare and the need for our weapons, what do you suppose is the wisdom of The Spirit Filled Life? The Christian's Wisdom - He cannot do it on his own, he must be a man of prayer. ** Let's look closely at Paul's statements on prayer, how inclusive is it? All prayer, all times, all perseverance, for all the saints! ** What is the difference in Paul's two terms - prayer and petition? proseuche (prayer) - refers to general requests deesis (petition) - refers to those that are specific By using both words, Paul is saying we are to be involved in all kinds of prayers. We cannot make this battle come out for God's glory base upon our own strength. ** What does Paul mean by "praying in the Spirit"? He is telling us to pray in the name of Christ, to pray consistent with His nature and expressed will. cf. Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 3:17, Matthew 26:38-46, John 6:38 ** What does Paul say here in verse 18 to make us understand that prayer is very important? "be on the alert with all perseverance" (Matthew 26:41) ** Who is on our prayer list? "all the saints" - at least! Both in general needs and specific! As well as praying for the lost. EXTRICATE ** What was The Christian's Warfare? The spiritual battle against satan's domain. ** What are The Christian's Weapons? The full armor of God - we must be faithful to put it all on and to leave it on! ** What is The Christian's Wisdom? We know we cannot do it ourselves, but rest in our utter dependence upon God through prayer. DELINEATE ** Even with a good understanding of all that we have learned together today, what must we remember regarding our strength to win the battle? It is not our own strength...we simply cannot win over the daily temptations of life by gritting our teeth or "hanging in there".

6 It is His strength, as we reside in the realm or sphere of the influence of Christ in us. EVALUATE ** What have I learned today (or been reminded of) regarding my warfare, weapons, or wisdom, that I need to work harder at applying? ACTIVATE ** Next week, as we draw our study of this marvelous epistle to a close, the apostle Paul will show us just how important prayer is, and how it will build a genuine concern for others in our hearts. But for today, may I encourage you to focus on what our gracious Lord has shown us and be willing for Him to stretch you in your daily walk with God. Closing prayer

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