- Sermon Notes
Suited to Stand Firm
Illus. It’s gotta be the _____?
This morning, we are going to open to Ephesians 6. The book of Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul while he was in a Roman prison. It is a book that speaks to us about the church, those in Christ. He wrote in chapter 4 verse 13 about the important reaching unity in faith and attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. He speaks to the need for unity in the body, but in chapter 6, the inevitable difficulties that those who are in pursuit of unity might face and what to do when they do.
Paul wrote a great deal about unity in the book of Ephesians, and at the end of the book, Paul says, “finally.” And his word, “finally,” represents what was to follow which was the last word that He was giving after talking up to this point about his spiritual perspective for God’s people living in the midst of an environment and world that believed much differently. A pagan environment specifically, they were surrounded by a world that was headed in a different direction, a different goal line.
In light of this reality, and following his statement, “finally,” Paul tells them three times in the section that follows to stand firm, stand firm, stand firm. To “stand firm,” means just what it says, to stay put, don’t move! Upon giving the call to stand firm, he then details out the way which they will be able to do just that. What he details out specifically is what to wear or put on spiritually in order to be properly suited to stand firm, both individually, and collectively as the body of Christ.
Read: Ephesians 6:10-17
- Recognize Where the Real Struggle is Situated
Ephesians 6:11-13, 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.
- Paul wants us to understand the reality, or root of where our struggle is situation, and it is in the spiritual realm.
- Paul tells us that the real struggle is situated in “heavenly places.”
- Of the “heavenly places,” the spiritual realm, Paul had already told some things that are important to recognize:
Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ
Ephesians 1:20, Jesus is seated at God’s right hand in the heavenly places…
Ephesians 1:21-22, 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. And He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church.
Ephesians 2:6, we are seated with Him in heavenly places…
- Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against “but (verse 12) against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
- We recognize then that there are things we wrestle and struggle against, and most often we put people at the center of the struggle…But Paul is saying that is not where the struggle is situated or rooted.
- Without understanding the biggest issue, and the fact that there is a spiritual battle behind all we come up against presently, we will continue to fight the wrong battle and apply our struggle against another person personally.
- There is an enemy against us, who has schemes and plans in place to take us out.
John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.
- “Heavenly places” is where the struggle and battle is. And it is our ability or inability to address the unseen realm, that will determine our success in the seen realm.
- Paul tells us that God has given us armor that we are to put on and use that is from the heavenly realm, so that in this realm, we can operate with authority.
- Put on What God Has Provided
Ephesians 6:13, 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.
- What is clear here is that God provides us the armor, it is available to those in Him, but God does not put it on for us. It is available, but we must take it up and put it on.
- For me and for you, there is armor available so that we can withstand the evil day, or days, but we must take up and put on the armor, the full armor.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
- So, Paul writes this while in the custody of Roman soldiers, perhaps looking at what protected those guards physically, and he details out for you and for me, the way in which we are to guard our lives spiritually.
- Paul details out each piece that is necessary for the Roman soldier in their defense against attack, as well as the weapons of their warfare.
- Spiritually, we have both elements we need for defense against the enemy, and offense to take down strongholds and overcome enemy territory.
- In verses 14 to 17 he will tell us that we can “Stand firm therefore” having put on each piece!
- Confirm Every Piece as you Stand Firm
Ephesians 6:14, Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth…
- The phrase ‘stand firm,’ sheds light on the reality that there is much we must stand firm in and there is much that will come our way in an attempt to throw us off course.
- The list of equipment begins with the belt of truth, which is wrapped around the waist.
- The soldier in that day wore a tunic of loose-fitting cloth. Since ancient combat was hand to hand, and loose tunic was a potential hindrance and danger.
Ephesians 6:14, Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth. (NASB 95’)
- Girding was a matter of pulling up the loose ends in preparation for battle.
- Loins are regarded as the seat of physical strength and power. It also represents the private area of a person’s life.
- For us then, the belt of truth pulls in all the spiritual loose ends and guards the core of our lives spiritually.
- Biblical truth is defined as an absolute standard by which reality is measured. Truth is God’s view on any subject.
- To be equipped for the battle, we must recognize where truth lies.
John 14:6, I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
John 17:17, Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.
John 8:32, You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Illus. It must be known!
- The enemy wants you to believe lies about yourself and lies about God.
- Paul identifies the belt with truth. It’s the foundation on which everything else is connected. There’s a reason why truth is so important, because one of the main tactics and schemes of the enemy is to lie.
John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil… He does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
- If the enemy can get you to believe a lie, he has won a great victory. If he can make you a liar, that too gives him a great victory.
Genesis 3:1, Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
- Satan does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.
Ephesians 6:14, Stand firm… having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
- The next piece of armor Paul tells us to put on is the breastplate of righteousness.
- This was a tough, sleeveless piece of leather, bronze, or other heavy material that protected a person from their neck to their thighs.
- It would protect the soldier’s vital organs, their heart, and their lungs.
- Regarding our armor spiritually, Paul says that righteousness is to be our breastplate.
- The day you asked Jesus into your heart you were made right with God. And righteousness gives us the evidence that we have been made right with God.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Romans 3:22, This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
- When we understand that God has made us righteous, we desire to live life right, to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Matthew 5:6, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
- The enemy will do all he can to cause you to question the reality that you have been made right with God.
- Many Christians have sad, hurt, and broken hearts because they have the righteousness of Christ, but they have failed to apply it to their lives.
Romans 8:1, Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 6:14(a), 15, Stand firm… with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
- The Roman soldier had shoes that protected his feet without slowing him down. They also had spikes that ensured solid footing.
- If you do not have shoes for the rough terrain and rocky places, you will not get very far.
- We must fit our feet with the gospel of peace, that is the foundation of our steps, and that which we stand on and upon as we proceed forward.
- He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). The fact that Jesus conquered sin and death (sin’s penalty) is good news, indeed. The fact that He offers to share that victory with us is the greatest news of all (John 14:19).
John 16:33, These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
- We are to fit our feet with the Gospel, which is the good news, the good news that brings peace.
Romans 10:13-15, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
- The world is stirred up, worried about defeat, but your feet are firmly planted in truth and righteousness. So take peace with you. All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, but people cannot believe if they don’t hear.
Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
Ephesians 6:16, In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
- Faith is what is necessary after we put on the shoes and begin moving. Biblical faith is living, moving, walking in a particular direction because you are convinced God is telling the truth.
2 Corinthians 5:7, We walk by faith, not by sight.
- The flaming arrows and fiery darts come when you begin to share the Gospel, the good news.
- For the soldier in a battle, the flaming arrows come as the soldier begins to gain ground. The Lord knows that the arrows will come when you gain ground for His kingdom.
- Roman soldiers in the first century would use a shield made of wood and covered with leather held together with metal bands for strength.
- The shield was about 4 ½ feet by 2 ½ feet in size and would protect them from flaming arrows, or fiery darts coming from the enemy.
- Roman soldiers were known to soak their shields in water to help extinguish the flaming arrows.
- Here Paul connects the shield to our faith, it is the armor that protects when the enemy sends flaming arrows your way.
- The faith here is referring to the trust in God during tribulation. It is our complete reliance on God. Our total dependence on and willingness to do God’s will.
- It means believing in the promises God has given, even when they have yet to materialize.
- Fiery darts come in many forms, and they are fiery, thoughts, feelings, imaginations, fears, and lies can all be hurled at us from the enemy, but faith turns them back.
- If you are walking by faith, you will extinguish the fiery lies sent your way.
1 John 5:4, For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
- Faith is active and we see how necessary it is when we begin to move forward.
- The soldier would also use the shields for “team protection.”
Ephesians 6:17, Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- The helmet covers the head which is a major target in battle.
- And it is Satan who seeks to destroy a believer’s assurance of Salvation with weapons of doubt and discouragement.
- In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul defines the helmet we put on as the “hope of salvation.”
- Biblical hope is the absolute expectation of coming good. What is the opposite of hope then? The absolute expectation of coming bad.
- “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” Proverbs 23:7.
Illus. Who do you think you are?
- The helmet of salvation is the assurance we have that He alone purchased our salvation and gave it to us as a gift.
John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”
Psalm 27:1, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
- Lastly vs. 17. take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
- Interestingly, it is the sword of the Spirit which is the only piece of armor that is to be used as a weapon. Meaning if everything else is in place, it is all you need to fight back.
- The sword of the Spirit because it is the only weapon the Spirit uses.
- So, when we ask for the Spirit to fight with other weapons, we are asking Him to fight with weapons he simply does not use.
- The Word here is being used in battle.
2 Corinthians 10:4, The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
- There is a big problem if we are not using the only offensive weapon we are given properly. There is a problem if we are not skilled in how, when, where, and upon who we are to use a sword. This leaves us open for attack.
- When Jesus encountered the enemy in Matthew 4, His response to spiritual attack was the Word of God.
Matthew 4:4,7, 10, He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”… “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test”… “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”
It is written, it is written…May we be those who follow Jesus in this in what we face in our lives….It is written, it is written, it is written!
Ephesians 6:18, 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…
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.