Exposition of Ephesians (07): Spiritual War and Prayer (Eph. 6:10-24)

Date: 9/2/2018
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Ephesians
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

Ephesians 6:10–24  (GS Trans.) - Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty strength. 11 Take up the full armor [panoply] of God, so that you will be able to stand your ground against the crafty schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the cosmic forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavens. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 binding your feet with whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the burning arrows of the evil one; 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Spiritual War - Paul admonishes the saints to be ready for spiritual war. The strength needed for the day of battle is “His mighty strength” (6:10). We are to stand against the crafty schemes of the devil and his minions. These are called, “rulers, powers, cosmic forces, and spiritual forces of wickedness.” These evil forces exert influence on earth from the places of authority over the earth, the heavens or heavenly realms, just as God’s rule is the kingdom of the heavens and Christ is seated at heaven’s throne. The Bible speaks in spacial terms, but its precise meaning is a different “dimension.” Evil forces affect our earthly life; therefore, we must be equipped to wage war with spiritual (heavenly) weapons (2Co. 10:4). The weapons needed are drawn from an analogy to the Roman war kit, including a  belt, a breastplate, soldier sandals (caligae), a shield, a helmet, and a short sword. Each element is instructive. Truth is the belt from which other weapons are secured. Righteousness covers the vitals, such as the heart. Thick and heavy sandals are bound to our feet for spreading the gospel, which indicates an offensive ability. Faith is a shield to put out the fiery darts of Satan. Salvation is a helmet, protecting one’s head. The Spirit and word (rhema) is like a short sword (machaira) for close combat. In effect our weapons are truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word and the Spirit. This is another way to say our union with Christ is the basis for standing firm and resisting the devil.

By means of all prayer and requests pray at every time in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 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, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus will tell you everything. He is a loved brother and a faithful minister in the Lord. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, to let you know how we are, and to encourage your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 May grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ, in life imperishable.

Prayer - Paul’s direct application on spiritual warfare is prayer. The final section of the passage and book urges the saints to pray in every time or on every occasion and in every form: urgent, silent, prepared, prescribed, domestic, social, congregational, etc. “No period of life should be without it — youth, middle life, old age, all demand it; no condition of life — adversity, prosperity, sunshine, desolation, under sore temptation, under important duty, under heavy trial, under all the changing circumstances of life, personal, social, Christian” (Spence, et al, Pulpit Comm.). The special prayer that Paul requests is for his own opportunity for ministry. Given the cosmic dimensions of this epistle, it is astounding that in the final words, Paul simply asks that the saints would pray that he would be bold to preach the gospel as an ambassador. Finally, Tychicus will update the saints in person. Tychicus was entrusted with this letter. He is mentioned five times in the NT (Eph. 6:21; Acts 20:4; Col. 4:7; 2Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12). He accompanied Paul to Jerusalem along with Trophimus (the Ephesian) and was with him through his later imprisonments. The final benediction is to all the brethren or the whole community to be blessed in peace, love, and faith.

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more