Tonight I am going to begin a series on the Armor of God from the Book of Ephesians Chapter 6. I believe it is important for us to discuss Paul’s writings to the Church of Ephesus, about our need to fully grasp the defensive and offensive power that the Lord has for us as we are continually entangled in spiritual conflict. As an engaged follower of Christ, spiritual conflict would be a regular entanglement as we are always involved in spreading the message of Christ and instilling the Kingdom of God here on earth.
Reading the Book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul had been on a journey with the church of Ephesus. He was under house arrest by the Romans, but still sent out word to this church as well as the churches in Philippi, and Colosse with a desire to see them prosper. The Apostle taught the Ephesians about unity, individual Spiritual power, living a Christian Life, and not just living a life in name only, but a consistent overcoming Christian life.
When we get to Ephesians Chapter 6, it is near the end of Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus. He leaving his last but probably most important thoughts at the end capping off this letter with an eye on spiritual warfare. He does so, like Jesus using known physical items to get his readers to understand his text. Paul uses armor from a Roman soldier to create his examples, and this teaching was one of the most important in the Christian arsenal through the ages, and is a teaching standard in the church today.
The Apostle Paul taught on the armor of God to the church primarily because as these new believers brought their lives into closer covenant with the Lord, as they lived the overcoming life, their lives would begin to have an effect on others, and an affect in the spirit.
Paul knew that spiritual darkness would be shaken by this new light that would be invading it, and the fight against the light would commence. So the Apostle Paul laid out to the Church, who they were in Christ, and the weapons of warfare that was at their disposal when the enemy reared its broken head in an attempt to come against them.
So I would like to read the whole text the Apostle Paul wrote in Chapter 6 starting with verse 10 then begin breaking it down. This will may take three weeks to do, so we will see.
And to let you know, I want to expand on the text in the Greek & Hebrew because those writings when interpreted in English over time I believe lost the fullness of meaning because our one word did not express the fullness of the words expressed in the original languages. So let’s begin with verse 10, speaking out of the Holman version of the Bible.
“10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”
So let’s start by looking specifically at verse 10, where the Apostle Paul begins to express to the church their weapons of warfare.
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.
The Apostle Paul had just finished talking about obedience in the beginning of chapter 6, and now begins by saying in the Greek, “For the rest, my brethren”, in other words:
Furthermore (or in addition to what I have said), my Brothers, (speaking to those who are in the Christian faith, men and women, sons and daughters of God, Believer in Christ who have understanding);
Be enabled (we are to activate what we have received), be empowered, (receive power and authority to accomplish what is set before you), and increase in it (grow your power and intensify it), and have strength, and be strong, in the Lord. Be strong in His might, and not on your own.
Upon confession as Christ as our Savior, being followers of Christ, we have been given authority from Him. Official permission, to have power over and dominion.
All the way back in Genesis 1:26, it says that God gave man dominion over everything on the earth. We lost that dominion because of sin until Jesus through His death and resurrection took it back, and handed it back to us.
Before Jesus ascended, He said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and in earth.” He then told the Disciples to go. They were to go in His Authority that He gave them. That’s us.
In Mark 13:34, when Jesus is telling believers to watch, because they would not know when He was returning, He says “It is like a man going on a journey, who leaves His home and gives authority to His servants.” We are those servants; we have received that authority.
Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
The Apostle Peter walking in that authority said to the lame man:
Acts 3:6, "... Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give you.” Or such as I have received, I give you and the man was healed. He took up his mat and walked.
The Apostle Paul early in Ephesians 1, prayed for the church in Ephesus that they would know their inheritance and know the power that comes from Christ that was available to us.
Ephesians 1:18 “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,”Eph 1:19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
The Apostle Paul knew his authority in Christ, and knew the power available to him, because he was no different than any other believer. He had to walk the same walk. He was an unbeliever initially, like all who begin the journey, but after the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul grew in knowledge and strength in the Lord. Because it says in:
Acts 9:22, “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” Proving that Jesus was the Christ was accomplished by the Apostle Paul by activating the powerful spiritual gifts he received through the authority he had as a believer.
So the Apostle Paul knew what he was saying to the church of Ephesus about activating their faith, that they were empowered, that they were authorized, and that they had authority in Christ to live an overcoming empowered life, because Paul lived that life to as an example.
He wanted the believer to believe truth, not lies that are so prevalent even in the church today. Remember what Satan said in the Book of Genesis “Hath not God said?” Satan is all about doubt and all about lies. We are to operate in neither of these. Paul wanted the sold out believer to cover themselves in the truth and promises of the Word of God so they would be strong in the Lord and His might.
Which brings me to verse 11. In verse 11 the Apostle Paul begins his steps to get the believer to see that they have weapons in their spiritual arsenal to use to thwart the supernatural spiritual advancements of darkness upon themselves, and on others. He says;
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.
Just like Jesus as I said earlier, the Apostle Paul used common known things people saw every day to get his message across. People in Ephesus knew what a suit of armor was. They had to have seen Greek Soldiers, as well as Roman Soldiers because Rome controlled their province. And seeing them, many probably knew the names of the pieces of armor the soldiers wore, and the protection that it brought. So the Apostle Paul began by having the readers of this letter put in their minds a man in a full suit of armor.
We think no different today, but the armor we may think of today is European armor from the middle ages.
The Apostle Paul is saying that you must put on this armor, so you can stand. In the Greek, the word is Pan Hopla (All Arms) through the French and Latin, the word for this armor morphed into Panoply. So in other words, put on the full panoply of God so you can stand.
Panoply means a complete set of arms, or a whole suit of armor, but not a regular suit of armor, but armor that is a splendid spectacular display. An armor that is glorious, and outstanding, a step up above the others.
Paul was saying, clothe yourselves, cover yourselves, invest yourself into it, and provide and surround for yourself into the whole armor, in as many, or much as you can. Compound yourself into this tool, it’s a weapon of a covering, armor that is given by God, so that you will be of power. So you can abide, appoint, bring, and continue to establish, and stand against the “trickery” or the word in English from the Greek, “Artifice”, which is the clever and cunning, of the one who lies in wait, the devil our adversary and false accuser.
So we as believers must prepare ourselves for warfare by investing in something that will compoundly cover us totally from head to foot to be used as a weapon that we have already received from God, that has power, and the power causes us to be ready for any position we may be called into either offensive or defensive.
Now to “Stand”, means not just as we think to just stand there. I believe we can many thoughts what this means, but in the Greek, the word is histemi, “his tay me”, means to abide - to not tolerate and continue without fading, to hold up, to set-up, to stop or restrict, to place or posture yourself in an active position or posture. So to stand really is an active movement. It is not just standing still. You are standing against something actively.
In summary, we are enabled through a supernatural compounded covering of God to be safe when a spiritual attack comes, but to use this covering as an offensive supernatural weapon of mass destruction. Intense when you think about it and only God would do this for His people.
So Paul is setting up the readers to see that God has hem covered by supernatural power 24/7, and Paul is all about that in his other writings. Let’s do this! We are more than conquers in Christ Jesus. We have received everything we need to overcome, to push back the enemies of God in His mighty strength. Amen!
12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
Verse 12 is what motivated me to teach this series. I really want to know who we up against spiritually not only in our daily lives, but in our intercession for the City of Kenosha praying down strongholds.
This church has a mandate to intercede for Kenosha, to bring people together to pray in the Spirit against the strongholds represented in verse 12 for the strongholds to break off of the people of Kenosha so they will be reconciled back to God. To see the power of a loving God, be seen, so that He will be glorified, but that people will see the full expression of His love toward them.
The Apostle Paul is saying, “For we profit not by remaining in a hard struggle against the carnally minded human nature.”
In other words, don’t waste your time fighting against fleshly things. People!
People who do not know Christ are in the flesh, who are led by spiritual darkness. When Jesus was on the Cross, what did He say? “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do!” The people who hung Jesus on the Cross were under spiritual darkness and oppression. They were led by it. And it is true that many individuals do not know what they doing because they are driven by the spirit of this world. They do not know the truth, so they live a lie and do not know anything better.
But, there are also those who do know what they are doing and are actively engaged in the warfare against Christ’s and His Church. Both are directed by spiritual forces of evil.
When the Apostle Paul uses the word “wrestle”, he is saying that we as believers are in a continuing struggle against the forces of darkness. The word struggle is used in some Bible versions. Our enemy never quits. I know it kind a stinks, but the Apostle Paul is truthfully telling us to be prepared because the warfare we are in does not stop, well until Jesus returns. Our enemy will continue to pound on us in an attempt to see us fail. That’s what he does.
The word Wrestle comes from two words from the Greek, “Esti Pale” “To Be thrown or thrown down.
The Apostle Paul knew about wrestling from the Greeks. Greek wrestlers would oil themselves up and wrestle nude so their opponents could not get a good grasp on them. There were really no rules except whoever was left standing, won.
So we are not to allow ourselves to be thrown down. We are to stand, in our armor against the spiritual forces of evil. We who are compoundly covered in the armor of God, covered in the oil of the Holy Spirit.
When we wrestle in the spirit, we will struggle with them consistently, with endurance, for a time or a season, and remain in the fight. We do not give up. We fight, we actively stand the Apostle Paul expresses.
What we do fight against in our spiritual armor as it continues in verse 12, is this, and I will break it down.
Some texts use “but against rulers”, some use “principalities.” They are similar.
In English, “principality” is a place ruled by a prince. It actually comes from Latin, principalis. Meaning “First.” In the Greek, Arche’, (R Kay) meaning chief, someone with rank, someone of the first order.
A prince who has power and authority, but only over a limited area.
Kenosha would be considered a principality as it is a smaller dominion within a larger dominion, the County of Kenosha, then the State of Wisconsin, etc.
Principalities during biblical times was known as a state ruled by a prince or a governor that was usually a relatively small state or a state that was in a larger state or nation such as like the Roman Empire. I imagine Judea was a principality as it was ruled by Pontius Pilot who was the Prefect or Provincial Governor of that Roman province.
When you read “Against authorities” and some versions use powers.
In the Greek, it’s a “A super human potentate or magistrate who has delegated influence and power within a jurisdiction.” It’s a power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience, one having power and control in an area who has the power to influence. A higher power. In Rome this term could be given to an Emperor. So it is a higher power than a principality.
“Against world rulers of darkness of this age”
In the Greek, “kosmo-kratōr” (kos-mok-rat'-ore), which a world ruler, Satan. So you have Satan, then Authorities, then Principalities, the hierarchy.
The Lord showed me when we started this church that there is spirit of wickedness over each block of Kenosha, with regional directors, city directors, a city principality and it continued on up.
“Against the spiritual powers of wickedness in the heavenlies.”
“Pneumatikos” (phyoo-mat-ik-os), non-carnal, supernatural spirits, or Fallen angels.
“The spiritual powers of wickedness are supposed to be the angels which kept not their first estate; who fell from the heavenly places but are ever longing after and striving to regain them; and which have their station in the regions of the air.”
With all that, one thing I did not find, was the mention of demons in my study, but I am thinking, now this is from me as I continue to study, because there are many books with many theories, demons must be within the realm of the Principalities, as they are of the lowest rank.
Now, I am not degreed theologian, and really with this whole study I more concerned about the armor, than the principalities, and powers and all that stuff.
Remember what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:37-39.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Why should we not worry about these powers and principalities of evil? Because Christ has “disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col 2:15). We have no fear of any prince of darkness, no power of evil, and not only that, we have no fear of death since we’ll be immediately with the Lord at death, no fear of angels (particularly fallen ones), no fear of principalities because Jesus has disarmed them, no fear of things to come, things in the past, or things present.
Jesus Christ is “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Eph 1:21) “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col 1:13). Amen!
We will continue next week!