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Ephesians 6:10-24

The conflict spoken of in Ephesians 6 is not to obtain our spiritual blessings, because we already have them by virtue of being “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Rather, the conflict is to walk in the practical enjoyment of them and to share them with others! There are three "soul conflicts" in the New Testament that we do well to distinguish:
# Reference  Combatants
Solution to the conflict Applies to:
(1) Rom. 7:7-25 The old & new natures  Believe the Gospel and be sealed A quickened soul that is not sealed
(2) Gal. 5:16-25 The flesh & the Spirit  Give the Spirit its proper place  A Christian that is in a bad state
(3) Eph. 6:10-20 A Christian & the Devil  Put on the whole armor of God  A Christian that is in a good state

The Gal. 5 conflict is not a normal Christian conflict, and the remedy is to walk in the Spirit. But the Eph. 6 conflict is a normal Christian conflict, and the remedy it to put on the whole armor of God. If I am walking in the flesh, Satan wont't waste his time and energy fighting against me directly as in Eph. 6. I'm burning up from the inside out; i.e. I am self-defeating. But when I have gotten deliverance from sin, and I am seeking to walk in the enjoyment of my heavenly portion, then Satan attacks. Christ has won a great victory at Calvary, and by enjoying and spreading the Mystery, the news of that victory reaches far and wide. Satan cannot have that, and so he appears to stop up our path.

The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan is a helpful illustration of New Testament doctrine concerning the individual standing and salvation of the believer. A critical step in this journey was crossing the Jordan, a picture of our death and resurrection with Christ. After the Jordan comes Canaan, Israel's promised possession… a picture of our portion seated in heavenly places in Christ. The first thing Joshua sees after Gilgal is the Angel of the Lord with a drawn sword. We should be prepared that there will be warfare in Canaan. Fighting will characterize possession of the land. In Ephesians the warfare is not with the flesh (like in Galatians), but spiritual wickedness in high places. The Canaanite and the Perizzite are still in the land. There is conflict because it is the place of Christian privilege. The Angel tells Joshua to take his shoe off, "For the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." We must have an understanding of the value that God places on these heavenly things. We are not to toss them about as if they were merely concepts. For example: we reach in ch.1 that the Church is the complement or fulfillment of Christ. The very one who will fill the universe with His glory has chosen to be incomplete without us! There are glories of Christ that could not be displayed without the Church! This is holy ground, and needs to be treated as such.

Four Things We Need to do before We Can "Stand" in Battle (vv.10-13)

Step #1: Find your Strength in the Lord (v.10)

¶ 10 For the rest, brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the might of his strength. v.10 we are told to be strong, not in ourselves, but “in the Lord”. see Josh. 5:14-15. As the redeemed people of the Lord, we are there to fight His battles. We do not stand alone, but with Him as our captain. Also, the ground we stand on, the foundation of our inheritance, is holy ground. It is based on none other than the person and work of Christ.

Step #2: Put on the Armor of God (v.11)

11 Put on the panoply of God, that ye may be able to stand against the artifices of the devil: v.11 It must be of God; human armor will not stand up to the attacks of Satan WHO is skillfully TRYING to resist our progress. His power has been broken IN THE DEATH OF CHRIST, but we now face his strategies.  He is trying to get WE WHO HAVE BEEN DELIVERED back into his power.

Step #3: Know your Enemy (v.12)

12 because our struggle is (1) not against blood and flesh, but (2) against principalities, (3) against authorities, (4) against the universal lords of this darkness, (5) against spiritual power of wickedness in the heavenlies. v.12 It tells us in v.11 that we stand against “the devil”. Furthermore, Satan uses others in this war because he is not omnipresent. We find in this verse that Satan has a hierarchy in his kingdom, and not all demons are equal. For example, we know that Satan out-ranks Michael (Jude 9). Here we have the various sub-layers in that evil hierarchy, all arrayed against the believer. Our warfare is against:
  1. Not men. That is, not against men, such as in physical combat. However, Satan may use men to push and present evil teachings to us (e.g. Arius of Antioch).
  2. Principalities. Demonic beings that have dominion over specific regions on the earth. See the princes in Daniel 10; “prince of Persia”, “prince of Greece”, “Michael your prince”.
  3. Authorities. Demonic beings with great power, even over other demons.
  4. Warlords. Universal authorities, perhaps Satan’s right hand demons.
  5. Spiritual sin itself . The dark and elusive energy that hates God, His Word, and His people. It is sin in the broadest context; not “sin in the flesh” or "sin in the world" but the principle itself.

Step #4: Understand your Objective (v.13)

13 For this reason take to you the panoply of God, that (1) ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, (2) having accomplished all things, to stand. v.13 TAKING (APPLYING) THE WHOLE ARMOR OF gOD WILL RESULT IN VICTORY. the goal is to stand. we will have conflict in two ways;
  1. Passive. “to withstand in the evil day” - by virtue of our being in positionally in the heavenlies, and Satan’s nature is to deny us our inheritance. What is the evil day? In one sense, it is the last 2000 years, but in another sense, the evil day is a specific attack that will come on us at one point or another in our lives.
  2. Active. “having done all, to stand” - when we have enjoyed a portion of our inheritance, the enemy tries to drive us out.

The Armor of God... Battle Ready (vv.14-18)

See full article on the Armor of God.

Piece #1: The Girdle of Truth (v.14a)

14 Stand therefore, having girt about your loins with truth, V.14A The Girdle of Truth speaks of having the truth applied in power to everything that takes place in the heart. in reading the word, let its power affect you.

Piece #2: The Breastplate of Righteousness (v.14b)

14b and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, v.14b The Breastplate of Righteousness is a godly walk, practical righteousness with God. Having the breastplate on will do two things: (1) ensure we have a good conscience, and (2) ensure that the ministry is not blamed.

Piece #3: The Shoes of Peace (v.15)

15 and shod your feet with the preparation of the glad tidings of peace: v.15 The Shoes of Peace speak of a peaceful path. (Isa. 52:7). The shoes of peace are the spirit of Christ that will allow us to not be swayed by every wind of doctrine. It results in a steadiness that will be seen by others in this world. In other words, the shoes of peace are the stabilizing influence of the Gospel. Having our feet protected allows us to be vigilant. The emphasis in this verse is on the word "peace" not on the word "gospel".

The first three pieces of the armor have to do with the state of the heart being right first: (1) loins girt with truth, (2) righteousness for a breastplate, and (3) feet shod with peace. These are put on in the dressing room. There is a moral progression with these three. Truth practically applies results in practical righteousness in the life. Righteousness in the life results in peacefulness in the pathway!

The last three pieces of armor come with a slight change. Now we move over to the armory, which is the last stop before the battlefield. These pieces are more external; in fact the entire list goes from the most inward (girdle, then breastplate) to the more outward (shoes), and then the extremities (shield, helmet, sword). We do well to have the under-pieces properly secured before we arm ourselves with the external ones. If there is a failure in this fight, it will most often be traced to under-preparedness in the first three pieces which may have propagated a chink out to the external ones.

Piece #4: The Shield of Faith (v.16)

16 besides all these, having taken the shield of faith with which ye will be able to quench all the inflamed darts of the wicked one. v.16 The Shied of Faith is complete confidence in God. Once the heart is right, we get the shield of faith by which we can “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked”. The shield of faith is looking up with complete confidence in God (Psa. 91:1-5). It is the first line of defense. note: the shield extinguishes darts… immediately takes away the threat. Darts – doubts and accusations.

Piece #5: The Helmet of Salvation (v.17a)

17 Have also the helmet of salvation, v.17a The Helmet of Salvation is the enjoyment OF our full SALVATION, the intelligence of what has already been done for us… an anchor for our minds.
17b and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word ['rhema']v.17b The Sword of the Spirit is THE WORD OF GOD in the power of the Spirit, used in dependence. It is the first and only offensive weapon. Now we can fight, having put on the preceding five pieces of armor, being sheltered and shielded. Since the word is 'rhema' not 'logos', a better rendering would be, "the sayings of God"; see note on the Word and Words of God. This would suggest that the "sword" is the word for the occasion. We get an example of this when our Lord met and overcame Satan by presenting a scripture suited to the moment, and gave the principle "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word ['rhema'] of God" (Luke 4:4). But if we do not have the "logos abiding in us" (1 John 2:14) we will not have a rhema for the time. We need to be well-acquainted with the written logos, and then we will have a specific word when the time comes. 

Piece #7: Praying Always (v.18)

18 praying at all seasons, with all prayer and supplication, and watching unto this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; v.18 Prayer is not exactly a piece of the armor, but the spirit or attitude in which we are to stand in battle. No matter how active a soldier is, it will do no good if he hasn’t been communicating with the CFO (Commander of Field Operations) – the Captain of the Lord’s Host. We need entire dependence - the Word of God and prayer. half the battle is fought out in God's presence beforehand in prayer. “watching thereunto” – expecting the prayer to be answered (I Kings 18:43, James 5:17).

Four all’s in v.18 that we need to take note of:
  1. all seasons – prayer should done when things are going well, and when there are challenges.
  2. all prayer & supplication – prayer is generally connected with requests made for daily needs, while supplication is To ernestly beg the Lord for a thing, it is an expression of dependence and confidence.
  3. all perseverance – we are to pray tenaciously, “watching thereunto” expecting the Lord to answer the prayers.
  4. all saints – not limitted to those who we are infellowship with, but the whole body of christ.
Ten Aspects of Prayer (from Jim Hyland) (1) Repentance, (2) Worship, (3) Praise, (4) Thanksgiving, (5) Fellowship or communion, (6) Confession, (7) Groanings, (8) Requests, (9) Supplications, and (10) Intercessions.

An Example of the Conflict (vv.19-20)

19 and for me in order that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the glad tidings, v.19 paul solicited their prayers for very unselfish reasons… that Christ’s interests would be furthered in the earth. every servant of the Lord in a public role feels the need for utterance… even the great apostle. The second thing that is needed is boldness. the mystery of the glad tidings is the mystery in a general way, looked at as the portion of those who receive the gospel. All the blessings that are brought in by receiving the gospel.

20 for which I am an ambassador bound with a chain, that I may be bold in it as I ought to speak. v.20 it was the truth of the mystery that paul suffered for “in bonds”, because it brought gentiles onto equal ground with the Jew. “an ambassador in bonds” – so much had the truth affected paul that he viewed himself as an ambassador, a citizen of heaven, but in bonds for the truth of the mystery. “boldly, as I ought to speak” – the truth is worthy of bold proclamation. he asked for boldness in the situation that he was in. this verse tells us that Ephesians is a prison epistle.

Tychicus to be Sent (vv.21-22)

¶ 21 But in order that *ye* also may know what concerns me, how I am getting on, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make all things known to you; v.21 paul was counting on the love of the ephesians, that they would really want to know how he was doing in prison. the apostle Paul was not a private person, nothing was hidden. everything he was doing was for the Lord. it was a nice commendation, “a beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord”. He is also spoken of in Col. 4:7 and given the same commendation. But to the colossians he was also sent to see their state (it was poor). this was not gossip… Tychicus seems to have had the gift of a pastor… getting to know Paul very well, and the state of local assemblies. It is healthy for individuals in an assembly to know the state of others, and to have a care to know.

22 whom I have sent to you for this very thing, that ye may know of our affairs and that he may encourage your hearts. v.22 as a result, the transparent knowledge of his affairs – even of his imprisonment – would “encourage the hearts” (v.22) of the saints. Could the same be said if the saints were made aware of my state?

Benediction (vv.23-24)

¶ 23 Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. v.23 if we are to profit from this epistle we will need from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ:
  • “peace” – settled peace with god, rom. 5:1.
  • “Love with faith” – love to one another made possible by faith?
24 Grace with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption. v.24 grace to those who love the Lord in incorruption, that is, with a pure heart.

¶ Written from Rome unto the Ephesians by Tychicus.