INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.10-13
Ephesians 6. We have entered a new section in the book of Ephesians. Last time we simply introduced the passage before us in verses 10-20. I would like to recover some of that this morning to catch us all up to speed.
You recall that in chapters 1-3, we have the wonders and the glories of life in Christ. Paul has expounded the glories of this new society, the church…and how Jew and Gentile are now 1 new body in Christ.
And since chapter 4, Paul has been imploring us and pleading with us to live in a way that fits our understanding of the glories that we have in Christ.
Because we have salvation and an inheritance, redemption and election because we have these things, and as we understand them, our lives will have a clear distinction with the pagan lifestyles around us. Our homes, as well, should reflect the glories of the gospel ….how Christ has loved the church and how the church comes underneath the leadership of Christ.
And now in verses 10-20, Paul is summarizing parts of Ephesians and is challenging us.
And instead of imploring us to walk, as he has done previously, in verses 10-20, he implores us to stand.
He’s also moving from exhorting individuals like husbands and wives and fathers and children and slaves, now he is exhorting all of us collectively.
He is giving us a rousing call to action. He is calling on us to use the training that we have received in the book of Ephesians. Living correctly in Christ does not just happen by default. It takes work. And you will experience opposition in your Christian life.
Let’s read Ephesians 6:10–20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Review Ephesus Spiritual Battle
Our text this morning will be verses 10-13. In this passage we see clearly that Paul is expecting believers in Ephesus to be in a spiritual battle. We saw last time how indeed there was a spiritual battle for the hearts of the people of Ephesus.
And we defined spiritual warfare as growing in Christ and resisting temptation, but it is also standing firm with the Lord, with His purposes and plans as they are written in his word.
As we take it into the battle scene, not only are we growing in Christ, we are resisting as verse 13 talks about. We’re growing in Christ, we’re resisting temptations, and we are standing firm with the Lord, with His purposes and his plans and his desires for us as they are written in his word.
Spiritual warfare is recognizing and standing firm against the many deceitful strategies of Satan. We are called upon to resist those strategies and to stand firm using the individual pieces of the armory given to us from God. As we use these pieces of armory, we are identifying ourselves with Him and His purposes.
If we lived in Ephesus, we would need to be especially careful to stand against the success mentality of using God or a god or occult or magic practice to create success for me.
In our day, we struggle too. We struggle with following the ways of the world and indulging ourselves again in desires of our sin nature and following the world’s way of success.
Transition to Passage
And in this spiritual battle, what are we called upon to do? To be strong in the Lord.
The apostle’s main point for us here is to be strong in the Lord. We see that in verse 10, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” We have three different words there in verse 10 emphasizing the need for that strength. Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. All three of those words are separate words.
We are strong in the Lord by, verse 11, by putting on the full armor of God. And the reason why we put on the full armor of God is, verse 11 says, so that we will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
And he repeats that similar phrase in verse 13. “Take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day.” You can see the similarity there.
And as well in verse 11, 13 and verse 14 we are commanded to stand firm and to resist. These are similar words.
And the reason for being strong and taking up is because, verse 12, our struggle is not against humanity but against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The main command in the passage is to be strong in the Lord “Be Strong in the Lord”….
So I’d like to preach on “Be Strong in the Lord to Stand Against Satan’s Schemes”
Main Command: Be Strong in the Lord (v.10)
And the phrase be strong in the Lord could really be translated be strengthened in the Lord. In other words this is a command to gain strength from the Lord. The Lord is ever ready to provide strength for you if you but go to him.
You have no power in and of yourself. The only power in this life that matters comes from the Lord Jesus. And the way it’s worded here indicates that this is not some quick fix, but it is something that you are to continually do … Be being strengthened … Always be strengthened in the Lord.
What exactly does that even mean? We need spiritual strength, and we get it in the Lord it says. And we have seen that phrase “in the Lord” several times in Ephesians to speak of our spiritual connection to him.
Those who have trusted Christ and repented of their sins are spiritually united to him because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
ILL: It’s kind of like a tree. A tree needs to be strengthened in the soil. There needs to be a real intimate connection between the tree in the soil.
For us to be strengthened in the Lord, requires a growing understanding of the gospel of Christ. And that is the point of this phrase in verse 10 and we know that because of how these words are used earlier in Ephesians. You remember I noted that these three words in verse 10 for strength are all different words. They are all found back in Ephesians 1:19.
So, I’d like to ask you to turn back to Ephesians 1:19. In the spiritual battle, we need spiritual strength. How are we going to get that spiritual strength?
In verse 19, we see these same three words for strength and power.
Ephesians 1:19 speaks of the surpassing greatness of Christ’s power toward us who believe. This power verse 19 says is in keeping with the working of the strength of his might. In the phrase there “the strength of his might” those two words are found back in Ephesians 6:10.
Paul is summarizing in Ephesians 6 things he’s spoken about before in Ephesians. And since we have similar words in both passages, we know that Paul is drawing our attention back here Ephesians 1:19.
And the point here in Ephesians 1:19 is that Paul is praying that we would know and come to understand what is the surpassing greatness of Christ’s power toward us who believe. And if you wanted to know the kind of power we’re talking about it’s found in verse 20.
This power, the strength, this might of his was brought about in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.
That’s the kind of power that we have directed toward us. The same kind of power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead and seated him at the Father’s right hand … that power is directed toward us and Paul is praying we’d understand that.
And as we continue into chapter 2, we are told the condition of all believers before coming to Christ. You were dead in your sins you lived your life according to Satan … And you are a child of wrath, but God because of his rich mercy … Verse five says he made you alive together with Christ… by grace you been saved… and verse six he’s raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
In other words, because the Lord has directed his power toward us… that same resurrection power he displayed in Christ, because that is directed toward his people, we have regeneration. We’ve been born again. We have spiritual resurrection we have been seated with Christ in the heavenly places… And you have no idea what that means… to have a seat with Christ.
Yet, this is the strength…. This is the power and this is the might that we have in Christ. We need to come to understand that. Now, back to chapter 6.
This strengthens us in our spiritual battle. The gospel strengthens us. It is Christ Jesus who has died for our sins… He’s taken the great debt of our sin and he has nailed our sin to the cross … And he has canceled our debt by faith in him and then he raised himself from the dead verifying the reality of that canceled debt.
And it is that same resurrection power in Ephesians 1 that Paul says is directed toward us … it is that same power that will give us the strength that we need in the battle. Ephesians 6:10 … Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. What might? What strength or power? Nothing but the power of the resurrection… There is no greater power than that kind of power. It’s easy to take life and to kill and it’s easy to make devices that can take life en masse…. But it takes a supernatural power to give life where there once was only death. That is the strength of the Lord; that is what we are to understand and that resurrection power is what gives us strength in battle.
Now, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might… be strong in that kind of power….in resurrection power.
So Paul is praying that we would understand glorious resurrection power that he demonstrated three days after the cross and that he has demonstrated in our very lives as we have trusted Him for salvation.
APP: and so to gain that spiritual strength from the resurrection of Christ… To gain that strength as we are commanded to do and as God wants to give it us, it takes what Paul did in Ephesians 1. It takes praying that we would come to understand the glorious resurrection power of Christ.
Have you prayed that for yourself since studying these passages? Did you catch yourself at all during the weeks that we studied that passage …did you catch yourself praying that you would understand the glorious power of the resurrection of Christ that is directed toward you?
Meditate long, give your strength to Christ, consider him…considering who he is what he has done on your behalf pray that you know it and pray that you receive it so that you might be saved and grow in Christ and be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
TRANS: the text gives us a further way of strengthening ourselves in the Lord. And the way that the apostle words it is in verse 11. We can keep on being strengthened in the Lord by putting on the full armor of God.
How to be Strong in the Lord: Put on God’s Armor (v.11a)
Ephesians 6:11 put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
This is how we will be strong in the Lord. We will be strong in the Lord to the degree that we put on the full armor of God.
Put on the full armor of God
This full armor of God … Is what we are to put on.
We sing about this full armor of God in the song “Soldiers of Christ arise.”
Stand then in His great might,
With all His strength endued;
And take, to arm you for the fight,
The panoply of God,
And the panoply of God is this Greek word translated in our text “full armor.” Put on the panoply of God. Put on the full armor of God.
Put on truth, righteousness, preparation of the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God …. This is the full armor of God, the panoply of God.
If you glance down into the passage into verses 14 to 17, you’ll notice that some of these pieces of our armory are referred to in an Old Testament passage. And we know that because it is in all capital letters.
And we won’t go back there today; we’ll do that at another time, but when we do reference those passages in Isaiah, you’ll find out that these pieces of armor are his. It is God’s full armor. It is his truth his righteousness his gospel of peace…
And so because these things are his and because we are commanded to put it on, the idea of and of putting on the full armor of God is this: we are identifying with him and his purposes. We are taking his truth and his word to heart. These are His pieces of armor and we’re commanded to put them on … by doing that then we are identifying with him and his purposes. We are taking his truth and his word to heart.
And so what does it mean to actually put the full armor on?
That word “put on” was used back in Ephesians 4:24 to refer to what happened at salvation. What happened at salvation was that we put on the new self. At salvation we put on, we were clothed in a new nature.
If you have trusted Christ and you have repented of your sin, God has regenerated your heart, you have put on the new you. Old things passed away, all things have become new. You are a new creature in Christ Jesus.
So you put on the new self, the new you, at salvation. Now, what happened at salvation is also similar to what happens as we grow in Christ. As we grow in Christ we are putting off the habits of the old self and we are putting on the habits of the new self.
In other words, when we put on godly habits… We are becoming who we already are in Christ. In Christ, a believer’s standing is that he is perfectly righteous before God. But practically every day, I sin. So I’m called upon to live up to my perfect standing before God. In Christ I have a perfect standing; I am justified, I am declared righteous because I have trusted in Jesus Christ and turned for my sin.
But practically every day, I sin and I need to grow, I need to be sanctified. I need to put on righteous, godly behaviors. So now Ephesians 6:10 I am to put on the whole, the full armor of God … This also means to grow … but specifically, to grow in identifying completely with Christ in all of those individual pieces of armor…
I’m to grow in putting on truth, identifying with His truth … I need to grow in righteousness … taking into my life what he says is righteous… I’m to grow in the gospel of peace, faith, that trust in him,… I’m to grow in putting the helmet of salvation … this understanding of salvation and as well I am to grow in putting on and using the specific statements of word of God.
As I put on the full armor of God I am growing in Christ and I am identifying with him and his purposes. I’m becoming more like him and I’m having his desires and goals and plans and purposes for me and for this world and for everybody … I’m having them all at heart.
So again, to put on the full armor of God means to grow to become more like Christ and to grow in identifying with him and his purposes.
TRANS: But why? Why should I put on the full armor of God? Why should I grow to become more like Christ and grow in identifying with him in his purposes? What’s the purpose of this?
The purpose is so that we can stand firm against the schemes of Satan. This is why we need to be strong … This is why we need to put on the full armor of God and grow to become more like Christ and growing in identifying with him in his purposes… Because Satan is alive and he is active and he has his devilish schemes to attack God’s people.
Why Put on God’s Armor: The Reality of Our Warfare (v.11b-12)
Put on God’s Whole Armor so that you will be able to stand firm
We are called upon to stand firm. We’re to have strength and stability and success in conflict or in some difficulty.
We’re to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. This word against is used not only in verse 11 but five times in verse 12.
Six times total in the passage stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers against the powers against the world forces against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
So stand firm! Be strong, stand your ground don’t give an inch. Satan’s schemes are real. Have you taken the bait? He is crafty and his schemes will always appear attractive or else no one would sin. If sin wasn’t fun, no one would do it!
This is Satan’s design. Seems fine and you might be able to justify your reasoning as to why, but in the end it’s a trap. 2 Co. 11:14 says that he disguises himself as an angel of light.
ILL: Earlier in the book of Ephesians, we were told not to steal. But he who used to steal, is no longer to steal, but to work with his hands and to give.
My wife and I watched a documentary on shoplifting. And these lost people are attempting to figure out why people shoplift. For example the Hollywood actress Winona Ryder was caught shoplifting in 2001.
Why would a multimillion dollar actress shoplift? Lost people are trying to figure this out. The documentary said that some people find the adrenaline rush of stealing and the relief of not getting caught addicting.
The person interviewed said that it’s very rarely the thing stolen that really matters, it’s more of the action itself that is desired.
It’s a thrill it’s a rush… come on! But the documentary continues and it says that for most people, shoplifting is almost immediately followed by panic, disgust, regret, confusion, “what have I done?” But then the tension builds up again and they have to go back and do it, even when they are trying to talk themselves out of it.
So these are lost people analyzing other lost people about the nature of Satan’s schemes and the human response. They see the attractiveness of the bait but what they don’t see is the dishonor of God on the other side and the defilement of conscience and the guilt of conscience that results.
And for a Christian who has been given the power of Christ in his resurrection, the solution to avoiding this is to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. To meditate long and hard on glories of Christ’s resurrection and be praying that he receive it and understand it.
The solution also is to put on the full armor of God … to be growing in Christ and to seek to understand His plans and purposes and to take those to heart.
As you study Satan and his schemes in Scripture, you come to understand that Satan loves to twist the word of God to affect improper behavior in people. He did this for Eve in the garden … “Has God really said?” Satan asks….
He enticed David to number the people, which there are plenty of examples of taking a census in the Old Testament. But in Satan’s way, he tempted David and David sinned against God. It was crafty and even the scholars debate on how that is actually sin. Satan is crafty!
And there is Job’s experience and how Satan sought to get Job to curse God by destroying him and everything that he had.
And our Lord’s experience in Matthew chapter 4 and in Luke 4 and how Satan twisted God’s word to get Jesus to sin. And as well and 1 Timothy 4, that speaks of demonic doctrines.
So Satan twists the word of God. And Acts chapter 5, Satan uses lying and in Ephesians 4:27 Satan uses anger to get a foothold into believers lives.
And in Zechariah chapter 3, Satan is accusing Joshua the high priest. Satan can falsely accuse… we learn that in the book of Revelation as well. We are not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes in 2 Co. 2:11 … And in that passage, the context is forgiveness. Satan can get a foothold the people’s lives through their lack of forgiving one another.
This is why you must learn to be quick to forgive, be quick to ask for forgiveness, be slow to anger, and be committed to telling the truth and be committed as well to the word of God.
Satan loves to twist the word of God. This is one reason why the preaching seems to be so focused on the specific words of God. A preacher should be willing to risk some of the more enjoyable aspects of sermon preparation in order to make sure that the people understand the specific words of God correctly. And this is why we need to pray, because he can come by and snatch those words out of our hearts and not bear fruit.
TRANS: So, we must put on God’s whole armor so that we will be able to stand firm against Satan’s schemes.
But as well, we also need to put on God’s full armor because your struggle is not against man but against supernatural powers.
Put on God’s Whole Armor because your struggle is not against man, but against supernatural powers
Ephesians 6:11–12 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. [and now…put on God’s full armor because…] For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We have to be growing in Christ we have to be putting on each piece of the armor we have to be growing in taking to heart God’s inscripturated plans and purposes because our struggle is against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places.
Our struggle is against them. Although they themselves are not our focus. And neither is the struggle of the focus against flesh and blood.
But nevertheless, the schemes of Satan include demonic temptation.
And it is intense. It’s a struggle it says. This is a wrestling this is a fighting this is a battling and its against these wicked rulers. But we are not taken up with the demonic. We don’t get fascinated by the novels and the contemporary portrayal of these demons. We shouldn’t be taken up with that stuff, no we take up verse 13 says the full armor of God.
So we stand firm but the way we fight is by focusing on the full armor of God and by taking it up.
And at times it can seem like face-to-face warfare. Like we described it last time, it’s like we can hear the beating hooves and the barbaric battle cries and clashing swords …
but it comes in the form of … Not flesh and blood, but satanic schemes. It’s that intense, but it’s not physical, but spiritual.
But shall we fear in the intense spiritual battle? By no means! We have been a made alive together with Christ! We have been enthroned with Him, who is above these evil powers. We fear not for them! They themselves have been put underneath the feet of Christ and he stands on their neck…
And eternally speaking, so do we. But practically every day we shall stand with Christ on their necks as we take up the whole armor of God … and grow spiritually and get strengthened at his throne…and seek to understand and know and identify with his very purposes. If we do this, we will “tread all the powers of darkness down.”
Our focus is not these individual evil powers… We can’t see them, but we can know their schemes.
APP: how many Christian leaders that you might listen to on the radio have fallen into one of the traps of Satan? How many of their marriages have fallen apart?
Who is above the need to be strengthened in the Lord? How many of our children are losing the battles with one of Satan’s schemes… the world?
And what about your marriage, anger, lying, or pilfering of your employer…?
TRANS: Now, so you see mortally wounded bodies all around on the battlefield … will you be another one? Because the battle is fierce because the battle is real because the battle is waging on….
…just in case you didn’t get it the first time, verse 13…he restates it…because this is our struggle, we must take up God’s armor to withstand and to stand.
Take Up God’s Whole Armor to Withstand and to Stand (v.13)
Therefore now take up the full armor of God so that you’ll be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything to stand firm, stand firm therefore…
We stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Verse 11 is the same idea of resisting in the evil day… At any time at any moment there may be an evil scheme to resist… There may be a trap to avoid … There may be a flaming arrow to protect yourself against.
If you take up the full armor of God and you resist as we’re called upon to do then you will have done everything and then you will stand firm.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.10-13
The Christian life is lived in the heart and lived out of the heart. It is internal. It is, therefore, a call to study and to be diligent. It is cognitive, it is mentally taxing, and it’s a call to be strong to be alert and ready. And it’s a call to act upon that knowledge.
We are addressing your mind your heart and your will this morning. This is a call to use the book of Ephesians in the day-to-day battle in the church.
And you are weak. You cannot grow in Christ and study hard and give yourself over to his plans and purposes. No, you are weak you must be strengthened in the Lord to be victorious in the evil day.
Life in Christ is not comfortable … Life in Christ, life in his church is not a sit back, kick up your feet in the La-Z-Boy and sip your iced tea. No, there is a battle. And you are not on neutral ground. You are either living for God or against him. Have you trusted him are you on the Lord’s side?
The plans that you have and the desires that you have and the choices that you make are either going to reflect his plans and desires or not. And it is the “or not” that is a scheme of Satan. You will always be able to find yourself trapped in sin, but you won’t find yourself trapped in righteous behavior. You can’t fall into righteousness…., But you will fall into sin unless you get strengthened by the Lord…every day. Everyday get in His word and pray!
So are your goals and desires lining up with his? Are you seeking a carefree life? Or are you seeking to live a life of standing firm in the evil day and helping others who have received mortal wounds in the battle?
Are you sensing the urgency of the hour? Look around you in the world. We have men in the pulpits who are twisting the word of God, we have people in the pew who love to hear it, and we have kids who are so absorbed with the things of this world and we have parents so taken up with the pursuits of this life … Are we dead to the urgency? Or are you sensing it? Repentance is refused…anger, lying, stealing…we tap each other on the wrist…but no, this is sin. Repent, confess your sin and get right with God!
Do you understand that you live inside of your body? You are not your body, you live inside of it… you are spirit in a body. This is you. And there is satanic and demonic warfare being let loose for your soul…
Are you intent on waking up to the dangers … Or are you going to keep living half asleep in your Christian life? Wake up! Be on the alert! And get your armor on!
Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour… is it you? Are you, you little sheep, are you next?
I pray to God it’s not you! But Christ is our Victor he has won the battle and if we are his, we have won the battle with him.
Jesus Christ has lifted his hand in his marvelous might against all the spirits of wickedness who have accused the brethren and have tempted them and trapped them …
And Christ is the Lord of the church and he faithfully restores…. Be restored, cling to him, confess your sin and win the battle … get back up, and put your armor back on and watch him continue to do mighty deeds through you.
604 Who is on the Lord’s side