I have never ever come face to face with a demon and I can say that I am glad I haven’t or if I was, I was unaware. Sure, there have been times when I could sense that I was in a place where evil was present, but I can’t say that I have ever willingly or knowingly encountered evil incarnate.
However, I do remember in the early nineties attending a concert in a large concert hall with friends of a band who was anything, but a Christian band and I could truly sense the presence of evil in the place. Now, I have absolutely no proof that there was satanic activity going on, nor did I see evil spirits flying around, but I did have a feeling. It was odd because my friends could sense it as well. We all decided to stay for a little while longer, but eventually we decided that this place was not where we wanted to spend the rest of our night.
Whether we know it or not we are surrounded by evil and unbeknownst to many we are engaged in a battle of good vs. evil and we cannot see what is going on around us, but we can most likely sense or feel the evil activity going on around us.
Today we are going to talk about this as we are starting a new series titled “Spiritual Warfare” and in the next four weeks we are going to look at what the Bible has to say on this subject. In the weeks to come I will talk about the four realities of Spiritual warfare and we will look at…
In our times together we will look briefly at the realities of the war that is being waged on us and all believers. So, let’s buckle up and prayerfully prepare as we engage in this war.
You are probably familiar with Michael Buffer, but you probably did not know his name. In 1984 this boxing ring announcer developed the catchphrase "Let's get ready to rumble!" in his announcing, which gained enormous popularity. He obtained a federal trademark for the phrase in the 1980s and acquiring it in 1992. Consequently, he has earned in excess of $400 million with the license for his trademark.
His trademark phrase often caused the audiences to roar with excitement pumping up the crowd and the opponents for the upcoming match. Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard once told Buffer, "When you introduce a fighter, it makes him want to fight.”
We are engaged in a battle and it is not a battle against people. We are called to be prepared for this battle before entering the squared circle with our spiritual opponents. Unfortunately, we do not have Michael Buffer following us around to announce the battle we are about to engage in, but we have something far greater than a catch phrase to prepare and pump us up.
We are not in a battle with each other and our weapons do not include guns, tanks, missiles, knives, Filipino fighting sticks, brass knuckles, or other weapons. It is not a war of words or fists. It is a spiritual battle that is fought in the spiritual realm. We are in a spiritual battle and it is the ultimate fight of good versus evil.
Read Ephesians 6:10 -18
War is terrifying. If you have ever lived in a time of war or served in the military during a war or conflict, then you know the level terror involved in warfare. Those of you who have served in the military (especially on the front lines) know better than any of us the importance of having the proper equipment, gear and training before you engage in a battle. You know the necessity of wearing a helmet, having proper training with your weapon and the importance of keeping it in close proximity, and knowing how to use your proper battle gear. Before one is sent off into battle, he is given the necessary equipment and training to both protect and achieve victory. Since it is crucial that a soldier prepare for war, it is just as essential that we non-military civilians be prepared for the spiritual battle we are engaged in. It is necessary to have the proper equipment and training while engaged in this battle.
The passage we just read gives us a look at the battle gear we have and should use for our protection in this spiritual battle. This gear is available to us but is of no use if we leave it sitting beside untouched and enter the battle unarmed.
Schemes of Satan
Vs. 11: The first thing Paul tells us to do in this battle requires action on our part!!! We are told to PUT ON THE ARMOR! We cannot be protected from spiritual attacks if the spiritual armor is sitting off to the side and we never put it on! The Apostle Paul tells us that we are to put on the armor so we can stand against the schemes of the devil. The word schemes in the Greek is “methodeia” and it refers to the works of Satan that he has mastered and those being the crafts of trickery, cunning arts, lies, and deception. 2 Corinthians 11:13 - 15 tells us, “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no great surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will be according to their works that Satan masquerades himself as an angel of light.”
Satan is a first-class deceiver. Deception is his business and his business is good. So, in response to the schemes of the devil Paul tells us to put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD. He does not tell us to put on a a few select pieces we think we need, we need to put on ALL of it. Each piece of armor serves a purpose and each piece is vital to fully protect us from spiritual attacks.
Now, the armor serves a twofold purpose.
It is important to understand this because we can never be victorious in battle if we are only always on the defensive and never on the offensive and vice versa. There is a time to protect and there is a time to attack.
Since we will be talking more about the battle next week, I am going to skip down to verse 14 as we look specifically at the armor.
(Weapons of Defense)
Verse 14: The Belt of Truth: The belt or girt in Roman armor (which is probably the style of armor Paul is referencing) was a vital piece of the armor. It was usually a 6-8” leather belt that was wrapped around the waist and all the armor was attached to it and it was also used to tie or secure loose flowing garments. Without the belt nothing would be secured, and the armor would eventually fall off of the person or hinder the soldier as he fought. The belt is a foundational piece of the armor.
Paul describes the belt as the Belt of truth. The truth is foundational to the believer since Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the father except through me.” Jesus is the belt that holds everything together. In the spiritual battle we are in everything is hinged to the truth of Jesus and the Gospel. We are in a vigorous spiritual battle and God wants us to secure our garments (not be hindered by objects and distractions) and connect all of our spiritual armor to the truth of the Gospel and allow this truth to be the foundation of everything we are in Jesus. The truth prevails in the end.
Vs. 14: Righteousness like armor on your chest. I am not a fan of the CSB translation of this, I prefer the ESV translation that refers to it as the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate was a bronze shield that was strapped over the chest to cover the heart. The heart is an essential organ in human body. Without a heart we would be dead. The breast plate would protect the heat from arrows and swords.
Righteousness simply means being right with God. In Jesus we are made righteous. We are not righteous on our own accord. In fact, we are at the core evil and at odds with God. When we submit ourselves fully to God (As Romans 12:1, 2 tells us) we become righteous in the eyes of God. Since we are made right with God, He will protect our hearts. He will sustain life; he will keep us safe from the attacks of the heart. If the heart stops pumping, then life ends. J. Vernon McGee writes, “Christ is the righteousness of the believer…Only the righteousness of Christ can enable a believer to stand before God.” And I would add, “And to stand against the attacks of Satan.”
Vs. 15: Feet sandaled with readiness for the Gospel of peace. The Gospel of peace is exactly what it says it is; the good news of peace. The word Gospel literally means “good news”. The footwear represents readiness and preparation and the feet represent agility and endurance. As believers engaged in warfare we must always be prepared to share and stand firm in the Gospel. Most importantly we must be willing to live it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of salvation.
Vs. 16: Shield of Faith: The shield Paul has in mind is one that is made up of three layers of wood and covered in leather that was fully soaked in water. According to D.A. Carson, “In battle (the shields) could be locked together with others to form a wall in front, and a roof overhead.” They provided a source of security and protection against the arrows and spears hurled at them. Like a shield, faith in Christ is what protects us from the fiery arrows and spears of the evil one. These arrows or darts that are hurled could be things like evil desires, guilt, doubt, anger, lust, fear, criticism, worthlessness, depression, and anything else that would cause one to take his eyes off God. The faith Paul is talking about in this passage does not refer to what one would call general belief or faith, but instead the saving faith in Jesus. This faith is what gives the believer security in his relationship with Jesus.
Another one of Satan’s tactics is to cause insecurity in the believer, he says, “Oh you did this? Well, God’s not going to accept you anymore.”
“You did that? Well, God’s through with you, He doesn’t love you anymore.” Your faith in Christ will protect you from these fiery darts that Satan will shoot at you daily!
Vs. 17: The Helmet of Salvation: The purpose of a helmet is to protect the head. God’s salvation is our greatest source of protection. The continual reminder that those who have repented of their sins, responded to the calling of God to become one with Jesus. Living a completely submitted and obedient life to Jesus Christ is the believer’s true source of victory. If you do not have Jesus as your personal savior, then this battle cannot be won.
(Weapons of Offense)
Vs. 17: The Sword of the Spirit: The sword is the Word of God (which verse 17 reminds us). Christ is the fulfillment of the Word of God. (I John 1:1) The Word of God is powerful! Hebrews 4:12 says, For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. This weapon is not only used as a means of defense but also is used to strike. The Word of God is powerful, when Jesus was tempted in the desert, he used the Word of God to fend off the devil and it was sufficient. We must cling to the Word of God; we must know it and love it, for in it is power.
Vs. 18: Pray at all times in the Spirit: This last weapon is sometimes overlooked. Klyne Snodgrass writes in his commentary on Acts, “The well-armed soldier in Christ’s army, by definition, is continually praying in the Spirit and alert.” Praying in the Spirit strengthens you. When you pray in the Spirit you communicate with God and He communes with you.
The fully armored believer is victorious! This does not in any way imply that we will live lives free from harm and sin, it is quite possibly the contrary. When the enemy is losing ground and being backed into the corner, he will spare no punches. When the enemy is trapped in the corner his claws will come out and the battle will become more violent, even ruthless, and he will attack at full force. This why I hesitate to even preach this series. However, when the enemy attacks at full force we can stand firm in the attack because we are fully armored and covered.
There is a battle going on in this church and churches around the world and Satan is having a field day. Many believers do not realize there is a spiritual battle going on around us. Complacency and apathy in the church and for believers in general is what Satan desires. It is time to take action and our enemy is not going to like this. It is time we stepped into the “squared circle” fully protected by God’s armor and ready ourselves to engage in a battle that can and will be won. But be forewarned, if we enter this battle without the full armor of God and in our own strength we will fail, and we will fall and we will be devoured by the enemy. So, let us take a stand and put on the armor of God for the bell has rung and the battle has begun.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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