I had the opportunity to
talk to a high ranking official in the Rhodesian army once. He said, "In
warfare the first wave that comes at you is not the one that gets you. It
is what is behind the first wave that gets you. That is where your tanks
and heavy artillery are." I got to thinking, that is the same way it is in
spiritual warfare, isnít it? Satan always likes to come on as a roaring
lion, but Iíve heard that lions that roar have no teeth. However, they
love to make you think that they do. Satan will always put a person in
your life to cause you trouble.
Itís funny. We donít war against flesh and blood, but flesh and blood seem
to be the instruments that Satan uses. Why? Because he has been mimicking
God for as long as you can remember. He wants to be like God. Do you think
I am afraid of the one who comes in my house and shakes my windows and
makes weird noises? Are you kidding? At least I know what I am dealing
with. That is not the one I am worried about. I am worried about the one
who comes on as a deceiving angel of light, making me think he is bringing
truth when in reality it is all deception. He uses people, but people are
not our enemy.
Satan will take darkness & deception and put it in any realm you can think
about. He will put it in the realm of religion. Did you know that? As a
matter of fact, Paul warned Timothy that in the last days people are going
to be believing doctrines of demons (1Ti 4:1). It doesnít matter what pulpit
Satan has. It can be the world or just your television set. It doesnít
matter where he is. He is just trying to get our minds. Once he gets our
minds, he turns us upside down and the rest is history.
Do you remember the story of the two disciples who were discouraged on
Resurrection morning in Luke 24:13-36? They were walking down the
road to Emmaus. Emmaus was in the exact opposite direction. They should
have been in Jerusalem celebrating, but they werenít. They were walking
down the wrong road. Well, Jesus came alongside them and said,
"Hey, guys. Whatís
"You mean you donít
know what is going on."
Well, yes, he knew about what was going on. But he said, "About what?"
"About Jesus. We thought he was going to be the Messiah, the one who would
come and bring in the kingdom. But now He is dead."
The Lord Jesus answered back and said,
foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have
Do you know what
He was saying? He was saying, "You have built your lives on a lie. You
have listened to the tradition of the elders. You have never listened to
what the prophets have said in Godís Word." As a result they were going in
exactly the opposite direction they should have been going. Disciples.
Discouraged. Defeated. Why? Because they had not allowed truth to be the
anchor of their life. I wonder how many of us are the same way. Maybe it
is in your marriage or your family. Somewhere down the road, maybe ten
years back, you departed from what God said. As a result it has been going
downhill ever since. Satan is the mastermind of darkness and deception.
That is an unseen enemy.
Letís read together the passage again to sort of keep it in our minds.
Verse 10 says,
"Finally, be strong in the Lord & in
the strength of His might 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you
will be will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
[Remember, you canít stand unless you are dressed properly.] 12 For our
struggle is not against flesh & 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.
Now we come to the structure of the whole teaching of spiritual warfare.
Basically it is summed up in two things. One is found in
v14-17. The second one is found in
v18. If you
will look at it correctly, they all fit together. You canít disjoint verse
18 from what he is talking about here.
The first thing is that we
and stand firm. The word in verse 13
means to stand firm in the face of all the aggression and the oppression
of the enemy. That is the first thing we are to do to walk in victory.
Then the second thing we are to do is to pray at all times and to pray in
the Spirit. You cannot just stand there, youíve also got to pray. The
praying and the standing go together. You have to stand first because you
cannot pray effectively until you are standing. Then you pray in the
Spirit. Letís work our way through that.
Paul says in Ephesians 6:13,
"Therefore take up the
full armor of God,"
Whenever you see
a "therefore," always look to see what it is there for. It just hooked us
up to verses 10-12:
"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
Alright, letís take it apart. First of all,
up the full armor of God"
"How can I stand in the face of the devil?" You stand being properly
dressed. Youíve got to have on the full armor of God. The whole book of
Ephesians is talking about how to get dressed in the righteousness of
Christ, in the garment that we are to wear. That garment becomes our armor
and enables us to stand.
Go back to Ephesians 3:16 (click
that He would grant you, according to
the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit
in the inner
man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you,
being rooted and grounded in love
The word "dwell"
means to be at home, to settle in, to be comfortable, to have access to
every area of your life. So it is very simple what he is saying hereójust
learn to surrender to God.
What is your problem? "Well, I have a family problem." Alright, take it to
the Word of God. Take it to the will of God. Put it at His feet. Find out
what God says and be willing to surrender that whole area of your life to
Him and then you turn Him loose in your life and He begins to strengthen
you in the inner man with His Spirit. Now, this is going to affect your
lifestyle, and that lifestyle is like a garment (click
Ephesians 4:24 says, (click
and put on the new self, which in the
likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the
Some people get confused here. When you look at
Colossians 3:9, 10, 11 (notes)
we have already put off the old man and we have already put on the new
man. If you look at
Romans 6 it says the old man is dead (click
for in depth exposition of
Dead to Sin). But
you look at Ephesians and it says put him off and put on the new man.
"Well, I thought I had already
put on the new man."
Here is something that might help you. Letís say you have a factory, and
this factory is filled with workers. On the top floor of the factory you
have the management. Every day for 30 or 40 years the management has sent
down little memos to tell you how to do your job. Therefore, you are used
to listening to what the memos have told you. Some people have been on the
job 30 years and are going to do it a certain way. One day somebody buys
the factory and moves out the management. They are no longer there. They
come in and completely renovate the floor with different offices,
different carpet, everything. A brand new management moves in. Well, all
of a sudden they start sending their memos down, and it is different than
the way they used to do it. The workman down at the end of the factory is
saying, "Are you kidding me? I have been doing this for 30 years of my
life. I am going to do it my way!" Uh oh. Look out. There is going to be a
conflict somewhere. He has been so trained to do it one way and is not
listening to what the new management has to say.
Colossians 3 is talking about the management. The old management has left
and the new management has walked in. Romans 6 is the management. The
management is dead. It ceases to have power over us. But in Ephesians it
is talking about the factory. Paul states that you need to take off your
old manner of living and put on a new manner of living. The thing that
bothers us is we still have the flesh to deal with. All the lusts of the
flesh of the unredeemed body are still pulling us to do it the old way.
The Spirit is telling us, "No, no, no! You do it this way."
So to me, sin could be said not to be of an unregenerate nature, in the
sense that we have a new nature in Christ. It could be of an unrenewed
mind. We have not learned to line up. Now obviously, perfection will not
be reached down here, but sanctification is lining up our minds with the
new management that is in our life. That may fall short, but that might
give you a little bit of difference here. Each passage talks about
something different. We are talking about a manner of life.
Okay, so I put on this new garment. Now, underneath this garment,
underneath this new lifestyle, are the armored attitudes of
6:14-17. It is
a person who is standing. How do you stand? (Ephesians 6:14) (click
"Stand firm (Aorist Imperative ~ often expresses note of urgency ~
the idea is to definitely, decisively do this now! Stand firm!) therefore,
HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH AND HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF
That is the only way you can stand. The armor and the garment are the
same. One is the underlying attitude which affects the garment on the
outside. It is Christ in us, strengthening us in the inner man.
So look back at Ephesians 6:13
expository notes on Ephesians 6:13):
"take up the full armor of God," The full armor means until Christ has
taken the areas of your life and is walking and ruling and reigning in
them. It goes on, " so that you will be able to resist in the evil day,
and having done everything, to stand firm."
Our SUBMISSION to Christ
RESISTANCE to the devil
Here is what I want to share with you. Our submission to Christ is our
resistance to the devil. Look at what it says: "take up the full armor of
God, that you may be able to resist." I cannot resist until I have
submitted to Him. How do I put on the full armor? It is inward, not
outward. It is something that is a relationship. It is surrender. It
is obeying Him.
Submit therefore to
God. resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Why? Because he canít handle the presence of the One living in you. My
submission to the Lord is my resistance to the devil.
In verse 13 he uses the term "in the
"Evil day" basically refers to the time period. We know that is limited
and temporary because one day God is going to come and take all that away
from him. But while we are living in a day that is evil, we know that he
surrounds us in the universe. We know he works in people. We know he is
the mastermind of deception. While we are doing that we need to stand and
to stand we have to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We have to
be clothed in the armor and the garment.
Paul goes on in verse 13 and says,
"and having done everything, to stand firm.."
everything" means having accomplished putting on the full armor of God,
having accomplished being surrendered in the inner man, strengthened in
the inner man. Having accomplished that, now he says, "stand
The term "stand
firm" means immovable in the
face of everything Satan can throw at you. In other words, if I am going
to walk in the victory which I already have in Jesus, I had better get
dressed in His righteousness. That righteousness of Christ within me
becomes my armor against the devil. The Word of God is so much implied
You know, I wonder why Paul doesnít stress the Word of God. I think I know
why. He spent three years with the Ephesians driving that into their
Colossians he said,
"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you"
(Click exposition of
They know that.
They know the Word has to be there. You donít know the will of God if you
donít know the Word of God. Therefore, how am I going to stand?
Monday morning rolls around too quickly for me. What is the first thing I
need to do? Make sure my heart is surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is all. I donít have to worry about getting up and saying, "Oh, do I
have my breastplate on? My loins girded? My sandals? What else?" That is
not it. Put Christ on. Christ is our warrior, and He will take care of all
the rest of it. The full armor of God is all in one piece. It is all in
the Lord Jesus Himself. As I put Him on I know I can stand firm,
immovable, unshakable. By the way, it does not say that I wake up tomorrow
morning and go after the devil. Have you ever heard somebody say that? "We
need to get on the offense." I hear that all the time. "We need to get on
the offense. Letís go down and crash hellís gates." I donít see that. He
tells me just to stand immovable and when the conflict is over and all the
hurtful cries of battle have finished, I will still be standing in the
presence and in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Just stand firm. That
command to stand firm takes us all the way down through verse 17. Look at
the last few words of verse 13: "having done everything, to stand firm."
Now watch v14:
"Stand firm therefore"
Then Paul tells
you how to stand firm. We know that to be the full armor of God. Go down
to verse 18. They are all connected. The first thing in spiritual warfare
is to stand. That involves the armor, the garment.
The second thing is to pray at all times in the Spirit. Standing and
praying, that is the way we walk into the battle that we are in every
single day. Verse 18 says,
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, (Click
devotional by Spurgeon)
Wow! First of all, when he mentions prayer here, he is saying, "Trust God
in everything." The word "prayer" is
proseuche. That is not the word for
petition. That comes up next. The word "prayer" is the word that means to
make a vow to. It is an attitude. It is an attitude of trusting Him.
"Well, I donít always trust Him." That is right. You donít unless you are
standing. Remember, standing comes first. Standing is being strengthened
in the inner man. Once I am standing I can pray. My attitude must be,
"God, I am going to trust you whatever comes my way. I am going to trust
you. It doesnít matter. I know you somehow are in control and I am going
to put all my trust in you."
A man can always know
how much he is trusting God
by his prayer life
A man can always know how much he is trusting God by his prayer life. As
much as you pray is as much as you trust. If you donít pray, then you must
not trust. If you are not praying, you must not be standing because if you
are standing, you canít help but pray. It is that constant communication
with God by the means of prayer in the Spirit.
Well, he mentions the word
petition (Greek =
deesis). The word petition means exactly
that, request. He says, "With all prayer and petition pray at all times in
the Spirit." Now what does he mean, pray at all times in the Spirit? I
donít have any trouble with "at all times." The word "times"
kairos) means every opportunity. It means
to seize the opportunity as it comes up. This does not mean just having a
prayer time in the morning with a long list of things to bring before the
Lord. Pray at every opportunity.
SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY...
NOT...JUST...A PRAYER TIME IN THE MORNING...
PRAY AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY
So many people have that messed up in their minds. You ought to start your
day that way, but make sure you are standing BEFORE you are praying
because the way you pray is in the Spirit. It is not just a random,
throwing everything before God with your grocery list and hope that He
will do it before the day is over. Pray at all times. Every
opportunity. Then Paul says, "in the Spirit." Now what in the world does he
mean by that? "in the Spirit." simply means that you are in
with Him, under His control (cf "Be
Filled With the Spirit") and youíve got a prayer partner who is
leading you at every opportunity in prayer.
"Well, I have never experienced that before."
Well, maybe you are not standing. I keep telling you that standing has got
to be before praying. You canít pray in the Spirit unless you are
controlled by the Spirit. That kind of thing hinges together.
Pray in the Spirit. Let the Spirit lead you in how to pray. That is
probably the weakest area of any Christianís life. It is the weakest area
in my life. One of the reasons is I have had so much difficulty
understanding it. What does it mean to pray in the Spirit? We used to
think that getting requests from everybody in the church was the answer. I
remember one night someone was praying and he was saying, "Lord, bless
ah..." That is what we were doing in our prayer time. This is really the
way a lot of people do it. That is why they are so discouraged. That is
why they are so defeated.
"Well, I will get up early in the morning."
That is okay. Get up early in the morning. But once you get up, it starts
a process all day long. Youíve got to be standing before you can pray in
the Spirit. Please see this. The Spirit will lead you in how to pray. Then
you enter into an adventure of praying that youíve never been in before.
YOU'VE GOT TO BE STANDING
BEFORE YOU CAN PRAY IN THE SPIRIT
Paul goes on to say, "for all the saints" I think the reason he says that
is because when you are being led of the Spirit to pray, it is not about
everything you need. God is going to start putting people on your heart
for the first time and you will start seeing people and you will start
praying for them. You have no clue what God in His sovereignty is doing in
that personís life.
In 1987 on a trip to Romania, I got so sick. I had the highest fever I
have ever had. I was delirious at times. I was in a hotel and was so sick.
I remember laying there thinking, "God, I donít know what to do." I was so
sick. My fever was so high. It was 1:00 in the morning and I remember God
impressed on my heart, "Wayne, while you are praying now, remember it is
6:00 back at home. At 6:15 church is going to start and they are going to
pray for you, Wayne. They are going to pray for you." Between 6:15 and
6:18 that evening my fever broke. It broke. During the night I got better
and better and better. When I got home I told that story to the
congregation. An Associate Pastor came to me and said, "Wayne, that night
in choir we were trying to get ready to go upstairs. We were running late
and we couldnít leave because we felt so impressed to pray for your
healing at exactly the same time your fever broke in Romania!" Oh, folks.
We havenít tapped prayer yet! When I am filled by the Spirit, then I can
pray in the Spirit. The Spirit of God will lead me in my praying. What is
the difference in the sovereignty of God and prayer? Why do we pray if God
is sovereign? Because He told us to, thatís why. Whatever degree of
difference is in your mind, you had better just shut it down and let the
Spirit lead you. Pray in the Spirit.
Then Paul goes on and says,
"and with this in
view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the
The word "perseverance"
is not your normal word for perseverance. It basically has the idea of
staying awake, to lie sleepless, to be watchful, to be vigilant. He says,
on the alert" (Gk =
agrupneo) The word "alert" there means
exactly that, be on the watch, on the guard.
Let me draw a picture for you. How are we to walk into battle? Standing
firm. How do you stand firm? You have to have on the full armor. How do
you put on the full armor? Strengthened in the inner man by the Spirit of
God with the underlying motivations of everything that is armored found in
verses 14-17. You have to stand first. Now pray in the Spirit. Do you know
why? We war not against flesh and blood. You and I are not our enemies so
we need to learn to let the Spirit lead us in praying for each other. The
next time you have a problem with somebody, the next time you want to vent
a little bit of flesh, ask yourself the question, "Has the Spirit led me
in this? Am I standing? I may not have prayed for this person therefore I
have no right to open my mouth towards anybody about this person until I
have prayed in the Spirit concerning him."
If you are standing, praying is a natural.
You canít have one without the other.
Led by the Spirit of God. Standing firm. Praying at all times in the
Spirit. If you are standing, praying is a natural. You canít have one
without the other. But you have to have standing before you have the
praying, armed with the garment and the armor of Chris