When I got up this morning I started thinking about today's reading; the second half of Ephesians 6. As I thought about it, I started thinking about the movie Gladiator. If you have never seen the movie, it depicts a former military leader being enslaved by a jealous son of the king, whom the son killed. The military leader was thrown in to the coliseum (with others) to battle against bigger, faster, better equipped opponents. As the men walked out on the battle field they grabbed their weaponry. They were ill equipped and most had the look of defeat before the “games” began.
If you were trying to survive something like that, what piece of equipment would you want.
Before we answer this hypothetical question; let's first consider our very real opponent. Our very real and evil, beyond words, adversary. Some of you know who this adversary is, and some of you don't believe he exists. In either case, we all underestimate him. It is interesting how surveys come back the same year after year: a large percent of people believe God exists, yet only a small percentage of people believe the devil is real. Many people say silly things like, “the devil is just symbolic of our sinful nature.” No right thinking, born-again believer can read their Bible and walk away without concluding that Satan is real, he roars around like a lion seeking whom to devour and he is more cunning than all the beasts of the field.
Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Genesis 3:1a Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
If you don't believe there is a real threat out there, how will you prepare? If you don't believe the threat is real, why would you prepare?
Ephesians 6 makes it clear, not only is there a threat, but this threat is not against flesh and blood. Flesh and blood would be easier wouldn't it? We can at least get our mind around a flesh and blood battle, right? But this battle is not of flesh and blood:
Ephesians 6:11-12 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Wiles of the devil? What's that?
The Greek word for wiles is “schemes, craftiness, deceitfulness."
John MacArthur puts it this way: Satan's schemes are propagated through the evil world system over which he rules, and are carried out by his demon hosts. “Wiles” is all inclusive, encompassing every sin, immoral practice, false theology, false religion, and worldly enticement.
Ephesians 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
Take a good look at this country. False religions are rampant, false teaching is on the lips of professing Christians, Hollywood is polluting the minds of our youth and we let them drink it up like water, “fun” events that don't involve booze are almost unheard of, and pre-martial sex is the excepted and expected norm.
Hmmmm.....do you still think this battle is pretend?
Why would the devil mount his attacks on these fronts?
Revelation 21:6-8 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Do you have faith in God's promise to save those that love Jesus? Do you have faith that Jesus was telling the Truth when He said you can not get to Heaven except through Him? (John 14:6) Do you have the kind of faith in Jesus that surrenders everything you have to Him, without a care of what the world will say or do to you?
FAITH! Above all faith!
Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
That being said, we don't want to be without any piece of the whole armor of God. We are to be fully equipped daily with the armor. We are not suppose to take it off on Friday and Saturday night and take it up again Sunday morning. Would you step in to the coliseum WITHOUT taking everything they offered you on to the battle field?
Ephesians 6:11-18 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—