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Demonic Flaming Arrow Attacks
DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE FACING Spiritual Terrorists Daily? Each day we walk through life—Satan’s dark realm has well-placed archers, arrows ignited, and ready to shoot. Impure thoughts are a flaming arrow that the shield of faith can extinguish. So are the flaming darts of anger, pride, fear, despair, covetousness, jealousy, and every other well-aimed fleshly temptation. If Satan’s team lands an arrow (as we saw in his attack on Eve in the Garden) the impact and splatter of his fiercely burning pitch can ignite within our minds doubts about God’s goodness, distrust about God’s plan, and disobedience to God’s Word. Doubts, distrust, disobedience. That’s Satan’s simple goal. Satan wins if he can make this flaming dart start a wedge between us as believers, or between us, and our Father. Only the shield of faith, (holding onto the truth of God and acting upon it even when it is unseen), can extinguish these flaming arrows. Take up the shield today, because, without that shield, it is impossible to please God.
John Barnett here and welcome to our study in God’s word of Ephesians 6. You’ve joined us in what I call the 52 Greatest Chapters. That’s what those four letters stand for (FTGC). We’re in the 42nd of 52 weeks, going through a summary of the whole Bible, of the key chapters. Getting the message, the doctrines, most of all the personal application. Ephesians 6 answers a question some of you might have. Have you ever been going through the day and all of a sudden, the worst, the most vile thought came across your mind? Or have you ever exploded with anger at someone, and when you’re done you look back and you say, where did that come from? Or have you ever been so overcome with a smoldering jealousy or fear have you ever been just paralyzed by fear, and it just happens so fast? How does all that happen? Where did it come from? Did you know the Bible answers that here? Look at this. God warns us, that we live in a world, filled with arrows shot at us daily. Deadly arrows from Satan. What we’re going to see is the whole context for spiritual warfare. What Satan wants to do is, he wants us to doubt God’s goodness. He wants us to doubt God’s plan. He wants us to doubt God’s word. If he can do that, he neutralizes us. What we’ll see is, all of Ephesians, this wonderful epistle from Paul, is connected. The truths of this spiritual warfare section we’re going to concentrate on, which is chapter 6:10-24, Spirit empowered warfare, it can only be Spirit empowered when we understand Ephesians 5:18 Spirit filled submission to God and one another.
Over here, just the big picture. The book of Ephesians and the city of Ephesus. First of all, it was a miracle church. I explain to you, it’s just unbelievable there’s even a church in Ephesus, right in Satan’s shadow. It’s almost like in his backyard the Lord snuck in and built the greatest church of the New Testament world. The greatest revival. The greatest missionary sending church.
Also, this letter to the Ephesians was one of Paul’s prison epistles. It’s has a divine sequence. It’s a beautiful way to see that the first three chapters of Ephesians talk about everything that God did for us. Then, the second three chapters, chapter 4, 5, and 6, is all about what God expects from us. This divine sequence that theologians call Position, chapters 1-3, and Practice, chapters 4-6. Then we’ve already seen the connected topics of submission and warfare. Here is why, number five is why we have this title. God gives us an urgent warning, that Satan wants to neutralize us, to get us disconnected from God. That’s what we’re going to look at.
I’m sitting down, and what I want you to think about is that I’m sitting right across from you. We’re having a small group Bible study. This is so important. Bonnie and I just got back from two months, traveling overseas, teaching, and preparing, and ministering, doing evangelism. I can remember Bonnie and I were involved in food distribution to some of the homeless, all kinds of different things we were doing, but you know what? We were, away from our local church, our body of believers we love, and know, and minister to, and that they know us now. It’s wonderful to travel all around and work with the next generation, and do evangelism but it’s very hard. What really kept us going was this small group. When I write in my journal and when I read with you like I did this morning, again, I read through the whole book of Ephesians. I was writing my last minute thoughts and preparations in my journal because I was thinking that I was going to be getting together with you, just like I have for years, discipling small groups.
If you want to know the context of what I’m doing here, and Bonnie is right over there recording, and I’m sitting here. I have all my notes, and Bibles, and notebooks, and slides. I’m meeting one-on-one with you. It’s a mutual meeting. As I meet with you, your prayers and your encouragement, I read the incredible notes that you write at the bottom of the videos. They are so encouraging to us. You say, we’re praying for you. We’re praying for strength. We just feel like we’re going with you. We’re partnering with you as you serve. That’s what kept us going those two months, your prayers. In fact, Bonnie said to me, she couldn’t believe how our 17 interconnected flights, and all of our train rides, and van rides, and everything that we did, everything, and all of our COVID tests, all of those nasal swab things, and everything that you have to do to travel these days, everything flowed together. Why? Because God was blessing this ministry. I believe, because of your prayers. Thank you.
Let’s look at the slides and we will get started. We are on week 42 of the 52 Greatest Chapters. Remember, you can go to our 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible Facebook page. It actually says that, The 52 Greatest Chapters, and you can get the study and print it out. I’ll show you in my journal in a little while. Here is the passage of scripture we’re studying, Ephesians 6. Here’s my title. Remember what I do is, I write a title, in one sentence, of this chapter. After reading it through and working all week I wrote, God warns that we live in a world filled with deadly arrows shot at us daily. I’m going to show you that right there in Ephesians 6.
Let me explain that because this is something that many believers, if they’re a new believer, they’ve never heard of. If they’re a believer that’s grown up in a church that didn’t systematically teach the Bible, they’ve never heard this. This is what I call the reality that we face spiritual terrorists daily. Each day we walk through life, Satan’s dark realm has well-placed archers, arrows ignited, and ready to shoot. Impure thoughts are a flaming arrow that the shield of faith can extinguish. That’s what we’re going to learn today. Such are the flaming darts of anger, pride, fear, despair, covetousness, jealousy, and every other well aimed fleshly temptation. If Satan’s team can land an arrow and we saw that in his tech of Eve in the garden. Do you remember way back in the second week of our study when we did Genesis 3 & 4, Satan’s attack on Eve back there in Genesis. Look at this, the impact and splatter of his fiercely burning pitch on that arrow can ignite within our minds doubts about God’s goodness, distrust about God’s plan, and disobedience to God’s word. Doubt His goodness, distrust His plan, and disobey His word.
Look up here, because see, this is what Satan wants to do. He wants us to doubt God’s goodness. Like saying, oh God isn’t going to let me ever be happy, I can’t find someone to marry, or I can’t find a good job, whatever we’re struggling with. Doubting that God is good, God’s eternal character, one of His attributes as we read about in our systematic theology (that’s a resource), and as we read about in our study Bible (that’s a resource). That’s one of His attributes. When we doubt Him we’ve given Satan a foothold in our life. Remember, “Without faith it’s impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is…” what? What He has revealed in His word, that He is good.
Then, we distrust God’s plan. We say, what’s wrong with your timing? What’s wrong? I have this need. I want to get, I need money, I’m looking for whatever, finishing this or finding that, and why isn’t God helping me? What you don’t realize is, God is helping us and God knows the end from the beginning. He’s making us do the hardest thing, the hardest thing for me and maybe the hardest thing for you, wait. Why? Because we need Him. Then, we have to trust him. We have to cling to Him. Satan doesn’t want us to trust God’s goodness. He doesn’t want us to trust God’s plan. He doesn’t want us to obey God’s word.
Back down to the slide. Those terrorists are shooting those arrows at us and igniting within our mind doubts. Watch out for that. Doubts, distrust, and disobedience, that Satan’s simple goal. Do you see how simple? If he can neutralize us, Satan wins. If he can make this flaming dart start a wedge between us as believers, between you and your husband or your wife, between you and your parents, or you and your children, or you and your employer, or you and your brothers and sisters in Christ at church, between us and our Father. Only the shield of faith, and we’re going to see that’s our central focus in the armor, can extinguish those flaming arrows. What’s the shield of faith? This might be the most important part of today, holding onto the truth of God and acting upon it even when it is unseen. This is my challenge. This is when I’d lean across the table and I’d say, take up the shield today because without that shield, look at this, it’s impossible to please God.
Let me talk about this for a minute and I’m going to use my Bible here. This whole 52 Chapter Study started at Panera, Starbucks, Chipotle. Those were the three places where I met my 10 small groups as a pastor. I taught the congregation that to get ready for living through the darkest days on Earth, the End of Days in which we live, Satan’s constant waves of deception and temptation, that it’s wonderful to attend a big church service. When I used to preach, there were a thousand people and in the first service, and then there was a second service. Big church. When I was at Grace with John MacArthur, there were 3,500 in every service. That’s great. That’s like being in a stadium watching a game, but how do you get close enough to someone that asks you, are you really reading your Bible? Are you just acting like it? Where are you reading? What did you read today?
Do you see? Christian life is a community that’s close. The early church. Bonnie and I, just last month I was teaching in Greece and we went around the archeological ruins of Corinth. We looked at all the archeological signs and all the books and everything we studied; we took our field trips with our students there. Do you know what they said? There’s no house that was in Corinth that could fit more than 100 people inside or in its courtyard. The courtyard, that was usually in the center of Roman homes. That means Paul ministered for a year and a half to a congregation of 100 or less because the Bible tells us that they all met in one house. That’s what it says, we know that. It says in Romans, the church that met in your house. That’s when that epistle was written from Corinth to Rome, and Paul commended the wonderful host of the church. He says that our church met in a home, so that means there was 100 or less people in the church in Corinth. 100 is about the size of a church that you can get to know almost everybody in the church. Most of us can’t handle more than about 100 different people, and really know them. That’s why it’s so important for us to be connected so that someone can come up to us and say, what verse are you memorizing? What can I pray for? How are you seeing God at work in your life? When’s the last time you shared the Gospel with someone? Those are all the questions that stir us up to serving the Lord. Back to the slides. It’s impossible to please God, do you see, without faith. We need to take up that shield today. We need to be asking those that we are close to, whether they have that shield of faith.
Remember where we are, we’re seeking to understand God’s word by taking this 52 weeklong journey. If some of you have just joined us, we are in week 42. You have two choices. You can go back to week one and start at the beginning, or you can just keep traveling on with us. It doesn’t matter, but we’re looking at spiritual warfare. We’re surveying the whole Bible. How? By looking at 52 of the 1,189 chapters. There are 1,189 chapters in 66 books. The 52 that we’re studying completely summarize every part of the Bible. We’re learning to apply it by using the Devotional Method.
What’s the Devotional Method? Number one, you get a title. Look up, see my title right there? God warns us that we live in a world filled with arrows, these deadly arrows shot at us daily. That’s my one sentence after reading, I wrote down in my journal, after a few days of going through. The way I do it is, whatever our passage is I read it all each day. I always was an eager beaver in school. You know what? I not only read Ephesians 6, I read the whole book. It doesn’t take that long to read the whole book. It really gives me the big picture of what God is doing. Back to our slide, we write a title. After we read through the passage, we summarize it in one sentence. Then we find as many lessons, trues, doctrines as we can find, in our own words. That means, that whatever you write is good. Some people they’re afraid that someone’s going to correct what they wrote, and it’s going to be dumb, and they’re going to laugh at it. This is your journal, write it in your own words.
Then, look here, here’s the essence. Write a prayer in which you asked the Lord to unleash one or more of those truths or lessons that you found into your life. Then try, as I’ll tell you at the end of every week, to find someone to share those with.
Here’s my journal. I write week 42 at the top of the page, Ephesians 6. Here’s my title. Remember, every time I read I write a different title. The one I showed you on the board was my first one. I keep enlarging it. This is very long, it’s more than one sentence, so I’m breaking the rules. How do we follow the Lord in every dimension of life while facing constant demonic terrorists, seeking to hinder our marriage, our family, and our work? The more I read chapter 6, those are all topics in chapter 6. Our life. Our marriage. Remember, I told you it starts back in chapter 5, about submitting to one another. Our family. Chapter 6 talks about parents and children, and it talks about our work. That’s the context of Ephesians 6, spiritual warfare, and what we’re going to study this week of the armor of God. Then, I summarize after reading.
Look up, do you remember we have this resource? The MacArthur Study Bible. When you read the MacArthur Study Bible, you see a map of Ephesus. You see a map of Paul’s journeys. You have all these footnotes. You get a bigger picture.
Look back at my summary. I wrote, we all are targets. Each day as you and I awake and walk out into life we face an ambush. Unseen, demonic enemies are tracking us to shoot and wound us. They’re armed. They’re ready to unleash fiery arrows with deadly accuracy. There’s only one defense: the shield of faith. That’s our focus in God’s word today. Taking the shield of faith, quenching the fiery darts, standing for God. The question we need to ask each other, and I ask you across the table, how did the battle go this week?
One of the things I do, and I’m going to read it to you, is share in my small group with some of the resources I have. I love the translation of the Bible by J.B. Phillips. You can’t read that every day, it’s just one of the many versions of the Bible, but it’s really interesting. Ephesians 6, this is what I wrote. His rendering of the Greek language really helps us feel the fight around us. Listen to God’s voice. When we read the Bible, it’s God’s voice as I read His word. Here, it is starting in verse 10, “In conclusion, be strong, not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless resource. Put on God’s complete armor so that you can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. For our fight is not against any physical enemy, it’s against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents.” I call them terrorists. “From the very headquarters of evil. Therefore, you must wear the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground. Take your stand then with truth as your belt, righteousness your breastplate, the Gospel of peace firmly on your feet, salvation as your helmet and in your hand the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Above all, be sure to take faith as your shield, for it can quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at you.” Wow. I love that.
Here are the lessons I found. I’m just going to run through them really quickly. Ephesians 5:18-6:9 is the context for the rest of the chapter. When filled by the Spirit, every dimension of our life changes. There are seven transformations listed in this passage. Look over here at my Bible and I’m going to show you how I mark them. This is what I mean about reading the Bible through every day. It says right here in verse 18, this is Ephesians 5, verse 18. “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” That’s a present passive imperative. It’s a constant filling by the Lord. Then it says, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things.” Verse 20, the way you know you’re full of the Spirit is you can thank God when you have a flat tire, and when you lose your job, and when you get COVID, and when you’re out of money, and when you feel horrible, because only fullness of the Holy Spirit produces at immediate by-product of giving thanks.
Look at this, this is what I’m talking about, the seven. See, I wrote my Bible 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Here we go. What are they?
- Everyone submits to one another. When we’re full of the Holy Spirit we are not proud and domineering. We’re mutually submissive to those all around us. That means to those in the church, and those in our family, and those in government, and those in law enforcement. We’re submitting to one another in the fear of God. Paul has already covered that Romans 13, about authorities and everything.
- Look, we each have a role in life, a gender specific role. Number two, right here in verse 22, “Wives, submit to your own husbands.” Paul didn’t say that, God said that.
- Number three, in verse 23, Husbands, “For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the Church.” Husbands have a role that they submit to God to be the leader of the family and of the marriage. That’s another topic. I can’t go into marriage and family. I have a whole course on that. I’ve written two books on that. That’s the third by-product of being full of Spirit, mutual submission. Wives submit their husbands, husbands leave their selfishness that they were born with and start loving, look at verse 25, their wife just as “Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her.” A Spirit filled husband will sacrifice for his wife and serve her like Christ serves the Church.
- Look at number four, children will obey their parents. That’s a by-product of the Holy Spirit’s filling. Number four in chapter 6, verse 1.
- Employees look at number five, verse 5, there of chapter 6. Employees will obey their employers. Wow, I could go into that deeply. We don’t see much of that nowadays. We see striking and complaining. We are supposed to, whoever we work for, we’re supposed to have this submission the Spirit brings.
- Employers, if you’re the one who’s in charge of leading, if you are someone that looks over other employees, you are supposed to do the same thing. “Give up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in Heaven.” Employers are supposed to bow to the fact that there is a Master watching over them.
- Which Is what all of us are to do, is to be under the headship of Christ, which just completes the whole submission.
Back to the slides. That’s the context, that’s my first observation. In chapter 6, children. God says He’s designed the authority and roles of parents to children. Obedience is what He expects. Then, in verses 5-9, he says workers obey their masters. Work sincerely as to Christ. We are Christ’s bond servants. We do God’s will from the heart. We work for the Lord. God will reward any good done for Him in any context. Remember, most of these were slaves back then. God says you get rewards in Heaven for being a good slave in the Roman Empire. Wow. Then, starting in verse 10, look at this. This is just my notes. As I’m reading, I observed this. The first three pieces of armor are modified by one command, “to stand.” Thus, in order to stand, these three must be present. A waist girded by truth. Why first? God’s word, His truth, is to surround my life. Truth first, then righteousness. Righteousness flows from truth.
Look at my fifth lesson, life is a constant cosmic struggle that only God can get us through. We need his protection. He strengthens us. Verse 10 is a passive imperative. Verse 11, we put on for ourselves, His gear. This is something we have to do. We have to remind ourselves to put this on. Verse 12 says, we face an awful foe that promotes evil and wickedness. We must actively, verse 13, take up our armor daily. Verse 14, the goal is to stand. Peace is to shod or protect our walk by choice. Above all the other pieces faith is a shield that must constantly be deployed to quench those fiery darts. The helmet and the sword must also be used.
My sixth observation, prayer is to be constant. Paul said pray for me, that he would be bold in speaking as Christ ambassador. Remember last week we were in 2 Corinthians 5 and we’re all ambassadors. Paul said, we’re all ambassadors. He was an ambassador. You and I are an ambassador. That’s how we can pray for each other. Then, the chapter ends. People can bring comfort, verse 22. We need to know how others are doing. Some are not sincere in their love. Those are just my notes.
Here’s my Bible and a look back at Ephesians 6. When I studied 6, look what I do. I’m turning back the page and I start by looking at Ephesus. You always have to get the context. Ephesians was written to a specific group of people in a specific place. Look at this slide. Ephesians 6 tells us number one about the miracle church. It was planted in Satan’s shadow. Here’s just a little bit about Ephesus.
It’s right here on the map. This is modern day Turkey right here; this would be Turkey on a map. This is Syria today. Down here is Israel. Lebanon’s right in the middle, right here. Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey today. Paul left his home church over here in Syria and Antioch and he walks. He goes to Ephesus. This is the third missionary journey. Acts 19 is where the whole birth of the church at Ephesus is explained.
This is what it looked like when Paul walked into town. I’m going to show you, in a second, a picture of this theater. It held 20,000 people. This is the amazing main street. This street and this street, you can see even today in the excavations. This is the Harbor where people sailed up. This is Satan’s shadow. This is the temple of Artemis, that huge temple with all the evil, and occult, and materialism, and sensuality that went on there.
That’s what that temple looked like. It was the one of the seven wonders of the world. This was probably infested, this temple, with so many demons. It was also inhabited by all these temple prostitutes and evil. By the way, they had a rule back then that if you we’re within reach of the temple. If you were in the temple precinct, which was actually this perimeter down here at the base of these stairways, if you stayed inside the perimeter, anywhere in here, you could not be prosecuted. Everybody in trouble, and thieves, and muggers, and everybody else hung out around here. Of course, it probably became hard to eat and they’d sneak off and get caught. This was not a good place. It was demonic. It was sensual, immoral, full of witchcraft, materialism, and everything. Of course, false gods.
This is that theater. This is the street I told you about right here, the street that went down to the Harbor. This is a street that goes into town. This is a 20,000 seat theater. We remember from Acts 19 that’s where Paul went in and they wouldn’t let him stay there, because there were 20,000 people chanting great is Diana of the Ephesians. They were afraid the gods would rip them apart, so they sent him away.
This is the miracle. I call it God’s word prevailed in dark Ephesus. Ephesus experience one of the greatest revivals in biblical history. Right there is where it is (Acts 19:19-20). Paul went to the godless heart of the Eastern Roman Empire city of Ephesus. There he confronted the evils of daily life that godlessness begets: materialism, pride, occultism, and sensuality. The results are worthy of our attention. First, the kingdom of darkness is left shaken to the core, confused, and fighting against itself.
Secondly, look at this, God called out. In fact, ekklēsia is the Greek word. Ek is out of. klēsia is called. That’s what the Church is called. Ekklēsia is the word Church in the New Testament.
The church at Ephesus was the ekklēsia of Ephesus, which means the called out ones in Ephesus. Who calls? God called out a group of believers that would form one of the greatest churches of the New Testament era. By their zenith, at the top, they numbered as many as 50,000. Ephesus was the home church of Paul. He was there for three years. Mary the mother of our Lord, John the apostle. By the way there’s, in Ephesus, the temple of Domitian who exiled John off to Patmos. Isn’t that something? Timothy followed Paul as the pastor and was martyred. In fact, Jesus wrote to the church at Ephesus first in Revelation, because of their zeal and fervency for Him. God’s word prevailed in dark Ephesus.
Second element, Ephesians is a prison epistle, look at this, as Paul awaited trial before Nero. Think about this. Remember, Paul wrote 13 epistles. Last week, remember, we looked at Galatians and now we’re looking at Ephesians. Ephesians was written between 60 and 62 AD while Paul was in prison, either in Caesarea or in Rome. This is called his first imprisonment. During his second imprisonment down here, he writes 2 Timothy. Between these two, Paul is out and he’s traveling. He’s able to visit other churches. He goes to Corinth and writes to Titus, the book of Titus. In either Thessalonica or Philippi he writes to Timothy. Then 2 Timothy comes, as he’s on death row. This epistle is a prison epistle.
Remember Paul’s life. He’s saved. Then this huge block of time of training, 13 to 14 years of training. Paul trained 14 years in order to serve for 10 years. He starts serving in his first missionary journey, his second missionary journey, and look, his third missionary journey. That’s where we are in Ephesus. Paul is planting this church. Look over here, during this huge block of time he’s writing between his time in Caesarea and Rome. He’s writing the prison epistles before his final imprisonment and martyrdom. Ephesians 6 is a by-product of the miracle church, the greatest revival, right in Satan’s shadow, the prison epistle. Paul’s writing it, waiting to go before Nero, not knowing about the future.
Thirdly, when God inspired this book, there is a divine sequence. Look over at my Bible here. I’m going to show you Ephesians 1, verse 3. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us,” look at verse 3, “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” He chose us. He predestined us. He made us. All of this, chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, look back at the slide, is about our position. Chapters 1-3. What does that mean? What God did for us. All of chapter 1, 2, and 3 is all about what God has done. He saved us. He called us. He brought us alive in Christ.
Chapters 4-6 is about our practice. What does that mean? What God expects of us. Look over at my Bible. Chapter 4, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you.” Remember, “therefore” always is a device to make us look back. Therefore, based on all that God has done Paul said, while I’m a prisoner here in a Roman prison, I “beseech you to walk worthy of the calling.” Chapters 1-3 are your calling, the conduct is starting in chapter 4, chapter 5. Look at all this. Chapter 4, verse 25, “Put away lying.” Verse 26. “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.” Don’t “give place to the devil.” “Let no corrupt word.” “Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit.” “Let all bitterness […] be put away from you.” Do you see all of these practical verses? “Be filled,” verse 18. We already looked at “Be filled with the Spirit.” Look back at the slide. All of those are what God expects from us.
Ephesians 6 is a letter to the miracle church. It’s a prison epistle. It’s a divine sequence. It contains verse 10 of chapter 6, our imperative. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” It’s the imperative mood. What does that mean? It’s a command. It’s in the present tense in the Greek language. What does that mean? It’s an ongoing present action. Be continually, right now, in the present time, strong. The form in the Greek is, it’s passive, the voice. It means it’s not something we do but we receive the action. We are supposed to allow the Lord to strengthen us. How does he do that?
Last month when we were teaching the book of Romans and the book of Galatians in Rome, we went and stood, as a field trip, at Trajan’s column. Trajan was the emperor right after Domitian from 98 to 117. This is actually part of his column. It has over 2,600 little people on the column. If you get close with a camera and look, this is one of the people. It’s a Roman soldier wearing his Roman armor. In 113, he’s commemorating how he was victorious because his soldiers were doing what they were supposed to do, they were wearing, the helmet, and the breastplate, and the sword. You can’t see the feet, but they’re shod. That reminds us of this.
This is right out of Logos. I’ve reminded you that another great tool is the Logos Bible software. This is what’s on my computer. This is their graphic of the armor of God. Here’s the armor of God. The belt of truth, you see it right there and you can read all about it, how important it was. The breastplate of righteousness right there. The sandals of the Gospel of peace right there. The shield, look at that great big shield of faith. It describes it. The size and how vital it was. If a soldier got hit knocked on the head, he was out of commission. The only authentic weapon right there. The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Then, what’s interesting, most people only talk about the six pieces of armor. Actually, there’s another piece that might be one of the most important. Our heavy artillery, prayer is in verse 18 where it says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication.”
We see that there are these connected topics. Look up here on the board. I want to remind you of what I said about this. God connects Ephesians 5, Spirit filled living where we’re submissive to God and to one another and fulfill our roles, with this Spirit empowered warfare. That’s what’s so important, to obey the Lord and to see this connection. In the slide, do you see Spirit empowered warfare, all this gear doesn’t work if we’re not willing to submit to the Lord and obey.
This is what I call our spiritual defense system. This is a foundational element to this whole study. The 52 chapters will not be used by God to change your life if you are not exercising spiritual health. What is that? Eating and drinking in God’s word. Plus, exercising by walking in the Spirit. That’s spiritual health. You’re finding refreshment in Christ, and sustenance from His word, and obeying Him by yielding to the Spirit. That’s part one of being healthy and defending against the evils of Satan. Number two is what we’re looking at in this chapter, spiritual armor. Using the armor God commands in Ephesians 6:10-18. Then, that leads to what most of us don’t even think about, resisting the devil and his demons. With spiritual warfare, by the way these three are vitally connected. If you neglect spiritual health, if you neglect putting on the armor, if you neglect resisting the evil one, any part of our spiritual immune system Satan and his army have a point to target in the relentless campaign.
Look up for a second, let me put this into modern context. Did you use hand cleaner? Did you wash your hands for 20 seconds? Everywhere, there’s a sign in every public restroom. The center for disease control says, wash your hands for 20 seconds. Remember these two years of COVID? How all of a sudden, the unseen enemy all around us, this invisible enemy, all of a sudden America and the world got aware that there is this deadly enemy out there? We have to wear our face mask, wash our hands, not touch our eyes and nose and mouth, and not get these deadly pathogens into our system. Do you know what’s more deadly than COVID? COVID will ruin your health and your body. Spiritual pathogens can destroy the soul, can neutralize. Do see up there? These pathogens from Satan can make us doubt God’s goodness, and distrust His plan, and disobey His word. It can make us not useful to God. That’s worse than having COVID. Look back at this slide, our spiritual defense system. Don’t neglect any part of it. Eat and drink, and exercise, and wear the armor, and resist the devil.
Miracle church, prison epistle, divine sequence, the connected topic of this Spirit-filled submission and Spirit empowered warfare. By the way, the Spirit won’t empower our warfare if we’re not submitting to and obeying all that we talked about, from 5:18-6:9 in the book of Ephesians. Look at this, the final thing about Ephesians 6 starts in verse 10 with the urgent warnings. Look over here in my Bible at verse 10. “Finally,” so Paul’s written all this. Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 down through verse 9. It says, “Finally, my brethren,” and look at this, these are imperatives. Present, passive imperative; “be strong.” Remember, we covered that already. “Put on.” “Take up.” “Stand.” Why is all this? Because verse 12. We aren’t wrestling “against flesh and blood.” It isn’t your boss, or your neighbor, or the person at school, or work that bothers you all the time. That’s the real problem.? It’s “principalities,” “powers,” “the rulers of the darkness.” By the way, rulers, kosmokratōrs. The word is kosmokratōr. Sounds like Star Wars or something. “The rulers of the darkness of this age,” “spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places,” they’re arrayed against us. They’re worse than all of the COVID-19 virus because this impacts our soul. Paul says, look back at the slide, I urgently warn you. We’re facing the deadliest foe of all.
What are the fiery darts? By the way, let me find it over here, it’s in verse 16 over here. I want to get that before I do this slide. “Above all, taking,” verse 16, “the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Look at this. What are the fiery darts? Every day, we are bombarded by the forces of the darkness of this world. Each believer faces an arsenal of wickedness shot by a skilled warrior that’s been ambushing humans for thousands of years. The arrow choices, at the disposal of the realm of darkness, exactly match every way that the god of this world, Satan, has found to attack us humans.
What are the fire darts? At any moment Satan can send our way, darts to inflame immoral desires. Darts, to spark a smoldering fire of hatred. Darts, to ignite us into flaming anger. Darts, to swallow us into the shadows of doubt. Darts, to consume our hearts with covetous. There are some people, they’re just neutralized because they want a bigger and better house, and car, and digital device, and clothing, and whatever. Darts, that swell us with pride. Darts, to plunge us into fear. Darts, to tip us over into despair. That’s what Satan can do. Those are the fiery darts. That’s why this lesson is so important.
Satan shoots us, by the way, when we’re down. When we face pain Satan says, God isn’t really good. Do you know what God says in his word? “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” When we face sorrow. Because something has overwhelmed us. When we are sorry. Immediately Satan whispers in our ear and shoots us with a doubt about God and says, God, doesn’t really care. What does the Lord say? You have to trust Me. That I love you and I’m not going to harm you. No good thing will I withhold from you. I’m not going to let any evil befall you. When you are tempted and we really want something that we don’t have Satan says, God doesn’t understand your needs. You need to take matters into your own hands. God doesn’t understand that you need that job, or you need that security, or you need that wife, or you need that husband, or you need that relationship. You know what God says? Trust My timing. I haven’t given you that yet because I want you to trust Me, need Me, seek Me, rest in Me. When we lose our husband, or wife, or child, our parents, or our job, or our health and we think oh no God isn’t strong enough to keep me from getting COVID, or keep me from losing my job, or keep me from losing my beloved help meet and partner. You know what the Lord says? I’m taking everything and everyone out of your life so I can be closest. Wow. This is clearly what we face every day, Satan’s lies and God’s truth. When we get sick Satan says, oh God’s not in control. You know what the Lord says? Fear not. Fear not. I think COVID has really revealed how much fear we have. People are just going crazy with fear. God says, trust Me. I am able to keep you. Lusts. When we’re facing lust, consuming desire for something Satan says, God doesn’t really want you to be happy, that’s why He’s not letting you have that. God says, hey, trust My plan.
How do we apply this whole chapter? This is my prayer that I wrote. It’s from the whole chapter, starting in verse 1. I said, Lord, I want to be an encouraging and nurturing dad. I want to work as Your employee. Verses 1-4. Verses 5-9. Keep me standing in Your armor. Verse 10 onward. Help me to take up that shield that I can stand and honor You. Help me to also speak boldly today. (That was my first prayer.) Amen. Then, I had another one the next time I worked through this. Lord, I want to be a righteous man. I want to be buckled in by the belt of truth. I want to be wearing righteous choices. I want to grow in understanding Bonnie and leading her by serving her in Christ honoring humility. Thank you for Your promised help.
It’s time for us to go. I just have two more slides, two final challenges. Here they are. Find someone you can share your findings with and your application prayer, and pray for us. I look up at you and say, get your notebook, this is your introduction to the study of Ephesians 6. Spend this whole week there. Remember, this is a weeklong journey. Spend the week in the book of Ephesians, especially chapter 6.
As you’re in chapter 6, remember that the book of Ephesians, is from Acts 19’s miracle church. It was written while Paul was under Roman imprisonment. It has this divine sequence of our position, everything God has done and everything God expects for us. It’s connected to this fullness of the Spirit. It has this urgent warning in it. Satan over here wants to shoot his arrows at us. He wants us to doubt God’s goodness, and His plan, and His word. What’s the solution? Be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18. Start submitting to what God has told us our role and His desires for us are in His word. Then, be strong in the Lord. What does that mean? Let the Lord be our strength instead of us trying harder, like we saw last week in Galatians. It’s not you trying harder to resist temptation, or fear, or lust, or covetousness, or whatever. Anger, or anxiety, or whatever you struggle with. It’s saying, Lord, I want to be strong in you. That’s why the helmet, we have to understand salvation and have His righteousness held in by His truth. Have that sword, and the peace, and the faith, and constantly meeting God in prayer.
My earnest expectation to you is that you take seriously the forces of darkness around us, the arrows coming your way, and resist them by faith, claiming the promises of God, and letting the word of God be that shield that quenches all those fiery darts from Satan.
Have a great week in God’s word. I can’t wait to come back next week; we’re going to just keep on going. Focus on Ephesians 6, and we’ll see you next time.
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