IC@MK Sunday Service (31 May 2020)

IC@MK Sunday Service (31 May 2020)

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Posted by International Church at Mont Kiara on Saturday, 30 May 2020


Spiritual Warfare Part 1 – The Need to Stand Strong (Ephesians 6:10-13)

(For accuracy of this transcript, kindly refer to video or audio file)

In the summer of 1997, I had a job working at a Christian camp as a counselor. It was one of those camps where the kids would come and spend the whole week and sleep in cabins, and we, as the counselors would oversee them throughout the night. Some of the weeks when I had a cabin full of younger campers, the boys would want me to tell them bedtime stories as they were falling asleep in their sleeping bags. I remember one week there was a couple of boys in particular who were fascinated with battle stories from the Old Testament, especially stories that they had never heard before. And so, one night I told them the story of Eleazar the son of Dodo, remember that story? We read in Scripture that Eleazar was one of King David’s mighty men. And in the biblical story, there was a battle between the Philistines, the main enemy of the Israelite, and David’s forces, the people of Israel. The battle did not go well for David’s men and most of the Israelite soldiers turn and ran away in retreat, but not Eleazar the son of Dodo. No, we read in the text [1 Chronicles 11:14, Eleazar took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and killed the Philistines. And the Lord saved them by a great victory.] that Eleazar took his stand right in the middle of a barley field and took on the oncoming Philistine soldiers left and right. And we can presume this battle perhaps went on for hours because the text tells us that towards the end of the battle, his hand was stuck to the hilt off his sword so tightly had been clenching it during the battle. And through Eleazar the Lord gave victory to David and to the people of Israel. Standing firm and God’s strength, against a spiritual enemy is what all of us as Christians need to do. Is what we as the ICMK family are called to do as the people of God. We come to the final main section of our study of the letter of Ephesians 6:10-20, Lord willing, we’re going to spend three weeks here in this passage. Listen, as William reads it for us, [Ephesians 6:10-17] “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God,” We’re going to be focusing on this first section this morning verses 10 through 13 where we see three main commands.

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Spiritual Warfare #1 – The Need to Stand Strong (6:10-13)

  1. We are in a Battle

The first one is be strong. Actually, the verb is a passive verb. We can translate it, be strengthened, it’s not to be strong in yourself. It’s received the power that God offers to you. So that’s the first command, be strong, be strengthened. But that’s kind of a general command. And so, the second one shows us how to be strengthened by putting on the armor of God. This is spiritual imagery in the next section describes, six parts of armor we’re supposed to put on, and that’s going to be our focus in next week’s sermon. Today, however, we want to focus on the third command, which shows us why we need to put on this armor. Why, we need to be strong and the third command is that we stand, that we stand firm. Let’s consider a few reasons from the passage of why we need to stand strong. And the first reason is because we’re in a battle. We read, notice verse 12 that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but we do wrestle against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers and spiritual forces, we’re in a battle. Now, I need to give an important clarification. Actually, two clarifications, the first clarification is that this is imagery. The battle language in this passage and many other places in the New Testament is used as an illustration. It’s an illustration of a real fight, a true fight that we are in but It’s not a physical fight. It is a spiritual fight. The Bible never tells Christians to physically attack anyone. The Bible says the opposite we’re to be peacemakers, so please hear that first clarification quite clearly. Second, clarification is that this really battle is not against other people, not against flesh and blood, verse 12 says. And I think that’s a pretty important clarification. Often, times are our focus in life are our focus in the midst of conflicts is against the people who have wronged us, the people who are opposed enough. We think of those family members. We think of our government or another nation’s government. We think of our co-workers and those people are to blame for all of the problems in the world. Our passage says no, there’s a much bigger battle than interpersonal people. Conflict? Yes, certainly. Humans are responsible for their own sin. But, behind the conflict we see in our world, behind hatred, behind racism, behind fights within family members, behind all of that, is a spiritual fight, we’re in a battle. Now notice that this battle is not fought from a distance. The imagery here it is not that we’re all in these fighter jets, weight in a pie in the sky. We should drop our bombs on the enemy. No, the imagery is not that we’re safely behind the walls of our fortress, and we’re looking out the people and shooting at enemies from that. No, the imagery here is that we are wrestling. We’re in hand to hand combats. There’s a close personal struggle that all of us faces, believers, Paul includes himself and we, all have this wrestling. The Bible acknowledges life is hard, including for Christians, especially for Christians. As we see now, with our second point, we need to stand strong, first of all, because we’re in a battle.

  1. We have an Enemy

And secondly, because we have an enemy in this battle. In verse 11, this enemy is referred to as the devil. In verse 16 the enemy is referred to as the evil one. All over Scripture we find that Satan is real. We can’t see him. He’s not a physical being like we, as humans are, he’s a spiritual being that that can take physical form. But as a spiritual being, we find in Scripture that he’s a fallen angel who rebelled against God Almighty and was kicked out of God’s presence. The Bible doesn’t give us much detail about how this happened or when it happened, but it took place prior to Adam and Eve being tempted in the garden because remember Satan was there. Having taken the form of a serpent, this enemy is called Satan. That’s a Hebrew word that means adversary. He’s the enemy of God. He is the enemy of God’s people. Another title for Satan we see in our passage is the devil. A word that has a similar meaning. But it also includes the idea of being an Accuser. He’s a slanderer that uses lies to deceive. Again, we also see in our passage that he’s called the evil one. Every part of his nature has been defiled. All of his working with humans is categorized by evil. He hates God. He hates mankind because we have been made as God’s image bearers. And so, Satan’s goal is to keep as many humans as possible in the darkness. Keep them away from the truth that Jesus has brought to our planet, where for those of us whom Jesus has already rescued those of us who has already saved. Satan’s task is to make us doubt our salvation. As a slanderer, he makes us question the goodness of God. As an accuser, he makes us wonder if God really loves us. As a deceiver, he tries to distract Christians with the things of this world. He tries to keep us from living a life that glorifies God. He tries to keep us from making much of a difference in this life and helping other people follow after Christ. And brothers and sisters, this is why we must stand firm. We have an enemy now. This enemy is not alone. Satan is the leader of the rebellion. But there were many other fallen angels who rebelled along with Satan their river to in Scripture, as demons or as evil spirits, or as the list of four titles we see in verse 12. They’re called the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic powers over this present darkness, the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. We’re not getting the details of what the difference is between these four titles, perhaps we see a distinction here of different ranks, of different chains of command. We can imagine that Satan’s Army is highly organized as it spread throughout the globe, working among all people. Still, we read this list of different kinds of enemies, of demons, of spiritually powers, and we’re not that familiar with the distinctions being listed in this verse. But probably the first audience understood this better. The first Christians living in Ephesus, who would have read this letter back in the first century. First century Ephesus had a reputation, it was known as being an cult center. A place that was focused on magic. Many of the first Christians in this church of Ephesus is likely had a background in astrology, in using charms and in witchcraft. We know this from the biblical account in Acts 19. We’re told how when they came to Christ, they turned away from that past life Acts 19:18-20, “Also many of those who are now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. [So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.]” That this was the background for many of the questions and Ephesus, they had a background connected with the spiritual powers, powers of darkness. Another story right here in Acts 19 shows us the familiarities that these people in Ephesus have with the spiritual powers. When Paul came to the city and was opposed by Satan, we see God gave Paul the power to do miracles and cast out demons. Now there were some Jewish spiritually leaders there in Ephesus, who were not followers of Jesus, that were jealous of Paul. They claim to be exorcists. They claimed to have power over the dark forces, and yet they saw clearly Paul had a kind of power they did not have. And so, they thought that maybe they would try to use the name Jesus, just like another one of the charms. They tried to control the spiritual powers, and this is what happened when they tried that Acts 19:15-17, “But the evil spirit answered them, Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you? And the man whom was evil Spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpower them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. [And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.]” So, the first readers of this letter, the Christians in first century Ephesus, they were aware of an enemy, they knew about the battle we’re all in. They probably have questions about it. They probably were still working through their past connection with these things. They needed encouragement from the Lord, they needed direction. And so, God let the Apostle Paul to to write this section of Ephesians 6, calling believers to stand firm in Christ. Now, these passages are God’s word is for his people in every era. So, we fast forward 2000 years, to ICMK in the 21st century. What is this passage say to us this morning? And as we think of our church congregation, we acknowledge we have a very diverse background. We have very diverse experiences with spiritual warfare represented in our church family. So, let me just pause at this point and give two exhortations to our church family, and probably one of them will be more applicable to you than the other one.

Spiritual Warfare #1 – The Need to Stand Strong (6:10-13)

  1. We are in a Battle
  2. We have an Enemy
  • Don’t ignore this reality

My first application is this, don’t ignore this reality that we have an enemy. Don’t ignore this reality that we are in a battle. And I want to say that especially to people in our church for have to come from Western cultures, who come from countries that emphasize reason and logic and this physical world. There are many in the ICMK family reading Acts 19, to say I’ve never experienced anything like what you just read in Ephesus. And therefore, you maybe have come to the false conclusion, I’m not in spiritual warfare, I don’t have an enemy. You do have an enemy and you have been in spiritual warfare. You just don’t realize it. Our next point is going to talk about the strategies of Satan. But just hear this clear declaration from 1 John 5:19b, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” that includes the West and the East and the North and the South. Satan is active everywhere in our planet today, and so those in our ICMK faith family, who maybe just aren’t that aware of what Satan is doing, will God open your spiritual eyes. Would God open your ears to hear this morning that you would understand the seriousness of the battle in which we find ourselves that you would see the danger of this enemy. Don’t ignore this reality is my exhortation to some of our congregation.

  • Don’t exaggerate his power

But my second application is for the other part of our congregation. And it’s this, don’t exaggerate this enemy’s power. We have many in our church family who come from the background of other religions of other belief systems. You come from cultural traditions that in some ways have been obsessed with spiritual powers and in some ways are fearful of the demonic. And, yes, this passage tells us we must take this battle seriously. But we’re also going to see clearly this morning Jesus has defeated the enemy and we need not live in fear or being obsessed with what he is doing. Hebrews 2:14, “[Jesus] partook of the same things, [meaning he became a human] that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death that is the devil and deliver all those who, through fear of death, were subject to lifelong slavery.” Maybe you’ve come from a different church backgrounds, where the kind of teaching you’ve received about spiritual warfare. It has seemed more magical then it was typical. Maybe you come from a version of Christianity that it has overemphasized of, “A Deliverance Ministry” has tried to find the demonic it in everything in it. It’s been a background that’s failed to see that Jesus is at the center of our faith, not evil powers. So, for some of us in our church family don’t exaggerate the enemy’s power. To others in our church family don’t ignore his reality.

  1. We are Vulnerable to Attack

With that balance, we come now to third reason why we had to stand firm. We’re in a battle. We have an enemy, and we, as Christians, are vulnerable to his attack. Back to Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” We, as Christians are vulnerable, we are susceptible to the attacks of Satan. We’re particular target of what he’s trying to do in the world today. It’s not a matter of, if evil power will attack you, it’s a matter of when and how. Think of it like the Corona virus back in December [2019] and January [2020]. For all we knew, the Corona virus was just in one or two countries in the world, and the rest of us were unaffected and fine. Here we are at the end of May, and the last results I looked up showed that in 213 countries and territories of the world, the Corona virus has been found, virtually everywhere on the planet. And so, with the attacks of the evil one, all of us who are followers of Jesus will eventually find ourselves, if not already under attack in spiritual warfare. We read that in 1 Peter 5:8-9, Mr. Otaki reads, “Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that same kind of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” So hear this brothers and sisters, it’s not a matter of if evil powers will be attacking you. It’s a matter of when and of how. Ephesians 6:13, “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 firm.] we saw similar phrase back in Chapter five, verse 16 we mentioned that evil days being this time in between Christ’s first and his second coming, that we all find ourselves in. Maybe the evil day here could also refer to certain periods in times of life, when we’re particularly in a more serious way than normal under his attack, all of us are vulnerable. All of us are susceptible. We will be in spiritual warfare. And this warfare, verse 11 [Ephesians 6:11] says, involves “the schemes” of the devil involves, his strategy, his tactics, his craftiness. I mean, think about it. Satan has thousands of years of experience, and it’s scheming against the people of God, adapting his lies and his deception in the most dangerous way. That that would be appropriate for the particular people group in particular era of time that he’s scheming to deceive. And so, we see throughout the history of the Bible, the different schemes and strategies of Satan. For Adam and Eve, his scheme was to tempt them with power and the forbidden knowledge they lacked. For King David, his scheme was to tempt him with adultery and later the pride of boasting in his large army. For Judas Iscariot, Satan’s scheme was to tempt him with the lure of greed. Fast forward to 21st century. We could imagine a scheme of Satan beings working among scientists using the lives of atheistic evolution to keep the masses in the darkness. We see his working in remote jungles, controlling the tribal people with a fear of the spirits, spirits in the water and in the trees and animals. Different schemes saying uses a different period of time and different people groups, all trying to get people to fall away from the one true God. And why the schemes of the evil one, are so deadly? It is because we don’t realize we’re being deceived by them. We don’t realize we’re being tricked by evil. 2 Corinthians 11:14, [And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.] puts it this way, saying Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. It doesn’t really seem all that harmful that the activity you’ve been involved with recently. This desire you’re feeling, it doesn’t seem anything wrong with it. You’re not even aware that your priorities in life right now are not honoring to the Lord. It seems like I’m living in the light and there’s a dark serpent deceiving you all the way. See earlier verses here in 2 Corinthians 11:3, the Apostle Paul writes, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led a stray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Satan’s main priority is attacking the church, attacking believers. Remember the exhortation we were given back in Chapter four verse 27 [Ephesians 4:27], “and give no opportunity to the devil.” Satan looking for opportunities within the church, that to get Christians to fight with one another. One of his schemes is that we refused to forgive one another. One of his temptations is, we’re just gossiping and back biting about one another. His scheme is that we hold onto grudges and past wounds. One of Satan’s scheme is get church leaders, to fall into sexual immorality, to tempt leaders of the church with greed and financial mismanagement, which could lead a whole church to fall. One of Satan’s schemes over time is to slip in, false interpretations of the Bible within a church, with slightly twisted views of scripture, and after a while, you find yourself in a church that doesn’t even know the difference between true and false doctrine. We see the scheme, we read it back in Chapter four, verse 14 [Ephesians 4:14, “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”] His scheme is to keep us like Children, talk to and throw by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. There’s that same word we find in Chapter six, verse 11. This is why we’re told. Beloved brothers and sisters, followers of Jesus stand strong, [Ephesians 6:11,] “Put on the armor of God, [that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.] You’re vulnerable to Satan’s schemes. Now, we’re not vulnerable in an eternal sense, Satan can’t take away our salvation. That is firm in the hands of God, that’s secured. But Satan can trick Christians to wasting their lives, just be so focused on things that don’t matter in this short, earthly existence. He could cause us to make sinful choices of which will have to deal with the painful consequences for the rest of our time on earth. And so, my next take away for us this morning, church family is to ask ourselves this, as a church as a whole, as ICMK, where might the enemy be deceiving us? What might some of his schemes be for ICMK? And for each of us personally, in our walk with Christ, are we aware of these schemes of Satan? 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, Lily and Rock read for us, “Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” Would we see this warning, Satan’s trying to outwit Christians. Christians can be ignorant, unaware, naive, not paying attention to Satan schemes. Which means probably within our church family, there are some blind spots we’re not even aware of what the enemy’s doing. It’s probably, he’s leading some of us just to turn a blind eye and excuse the sin in our life. He’s probably causing some of us to believe half-truths, which are also half-lies. Satan uses in a subtle ways, we don’t expect to deceive us, and so would God lead us as a church, and would God lead each one of us as members of ICMK to humbly admit this morning that we’re vulnerable to this. We need the strength and wisdom of Christ in order to stand it and not fall into these traps and into the lies of the evil one. We need to stand strong because we’re in a battle, because we have an enemy, because we’re vulnerable to his attack. But now let’s hear the good news.

  1. We have the Position of Victory

A fourth point this morning isn’t so much our need to stand strong, but that we can stand strong because we already have the position of victory. When verse 10 [Ephesians 6:10, Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.] begins by telling us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his right, notice that this strength this might it already exists. So, we don’t read this thing, all right, I’ve got to create this strength and I’ve got a look inward and find the strength within me. No, this is a strength that belongs to God. Now, yes, you certainly can and God’s very essence of his being, God Almighty is filled with all strength. That’s true. But I think, this verse speaking to a more specific strength. Specifically, the Lord in this verse is the Lord Jesus. Let’s consider his strength over the evil one if you’re quickly read through, say, the Gospel of Luke. We see time after time, where Jesus confronted the evil powers and every time he easily won, showing his might over the enemy. And the purposes of Jesus coming to earth was to defeat this hold that Satan has had on mankind ever since Adam and Eve’s rebellion. 1 John 3:8, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” and through his life and the miracles he did. Jesus took this first step of victory and defeating the evil one. Jesus himself said, Luke 11:20, “But if it is by the finger of God, that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” So, his miracles were a first step of defeating Satan, but even more so, it was the “Cross” which defeated the enemy. Colossians 2:15, “[God] disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him [Christ].” In the cross, Jesus’s defeat of the enemy was accomplished as he rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven and sat down in victory on his throne. Now this is where it’s really helpful if we remember what we’ve learned in the first 5 chapters. We learned back in Chapter one of a prayer that the Apostle offered for believers. Now we studied this prayer back in October [2019]. Also, if you don’t quite remember, that’s okay. Let’s remind ourselves, Ephesians 1:18-19, [that you may know … what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might] The prayer is that you may know what is the immeasurable greatness of God’s power toward us, who believe, according to the working of his great might, these are the same terms we find Ephesus 6:10, [Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.] that we should be strengthened with the power and might of God. Now where is this power and might have gone? Where does it come from? Well, that’s how the verse continues. This great might that God worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places. So this strength was displayed as Jesus rose from the grade and ascended back into heaven. And see now here, since he’s back in heaven, the connection with spiritual warfare, verse 21 [Ephesians 1:20-21, “that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.”] continues, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named. Christ, seated on his throne is a declaration that Satan has been defeated. Christ is already reining in power. Now, in God’s wisdom, we don’t fully understand between, his ascension to heaven and when he returns one day, which will happen soon. God is still allowing Satan to deceive and to try to destroy. Even as God allows that, the final results are certain. Jesus has already won, and it’s this strength that Jesus has that we are charged in verse 10 of Chapter six, be strengthened in the Lord, be strong in his might because, yes, Satan is real. Yes, the enemy is dangerous, but he’s a defeated enemy, which means we can fight with confidence. Jesus already has won, and he’s going to continue to win as we put on the armor of God and rely on his strength. 2 Thessalonians 3:3, “The Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” Yes, now before we consider this additional application from this promise for us today, I do just make need to make it really clear that that this promise and the confidence we can have against the enemy is only for those who are in Christ. Remember how we studied that phrase, in fact it’s our theme title for the Book of Ephesians. It’s is the most common description of a Christian in the New Testaments. We are in Christ, meaning by faith, we are so joined, and united and connected with Jesus, so much so that, what he’s accomplished in his death and resurrection are now attributed to us. They belong to us because we are in him. Now none of us are born in Christ. Your parents could be the most religious churchgoers there are. You’re still not born in Christ, we’re born in the opposite. Remember what we saw in chapter two, verse one [Ephesians 2:1-3, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience”]. We were born dead in trespasses and sins in which we once walked following the course of this world following the prince of the power of the air. Each of us and our sin nature was actually born under the power of the evil one and by our own willful choices have chosen to live sinful lives underneath his dominion. And this is where salvation in Jesus is so amazing. Ephesians 2:4-5, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved” Jesus gives us life in the place of death. He does this for all who humbly believe in him. And when we believe in him, that means we turn from our shameful rebellion and trusted who he is, what he’s accomplished for us, so that we could be set free from the power of evil. And when we do and when God joins us to his son, when we are in Christ, look at where that elevates us, verse six of Ephesians two, [Ephesians 2:6], “—He [and] raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” there’s a spiritual and real victory we have sitting in victory with Christ. If this is true for you, if you individually are in Christ joined to him by faith. Well then, here’s the confidence we have, we can stand firm against the enemy because not only has Jesus already won against the enemy, but in Christ, we have victory over the enemy’s deception, over his lies, over his traps. In Christ, we have everything we need for the spiritual battle. Remember that glorious song, which opened up the book, back in Chapter one, verse three, [Ephesians 1:3] “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” There’s that phrase again, in the heavenly places, the spiritual realms, we’re in a position of victory. We’re a lot more to learn on this. Again, next week we’ll get to the idea of spiritual armor. But I think we’ve learned enough this week to consider now these two applications. Very straightforward from our passage, church family, our first application is this, rely on God’s strength. We know the opposite of that is, right? The opposite of that is self-reliance. Many of us, myself included, so often need to repent of that sin, where we just trusted our own smarts, in our own effort, in our own thinking. Could self-reliance be the main reason why we keep falling for the lies and deceptions of the evil one? Could it be because we’re not relying on God’s strength to stand firm. Would God lead us to humbly admit this morning, how weak we are and would we daily then come to Christ. And pray for this strength, pray that we could live in this victory that Christ has given us. Ephesians tells us to pray for this. We already read one prayer back in Chapter one [Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,]. Remember now also a second prayer we’ve studied in chapter three verse sixteen, [Ephesians 3:16,] “I pray that according to the riches of his glory, he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his spirit [in your inner being.] ICMK family, when we ask God for this power, the power he’s already given us, would we rely on his spirit to give us this victory. Today in the liturgical church calendar, we remember “Pentecost Sunday”. Pentecost was the feast 50 days after Christ’s crucifixion, where Jesus now ascended from heaven, sent the Holy Spirit to the church. We read about in Acts Chapter two. And with this sending the Holy Spirit now brings us the presence and the power of Jesus. Brothers and sisters, would we be relying on God’s strength in this battle. And then a second and final application right from the passage. Stand firm, church family would we stand firm. In the power of Christ, we can. Not perfectly but consistently we can stand firm against the enemy. And so, I would say to you loved one, if in your life you find this repeated pattern of falling into sin and being deceived by the evil one. Please hear this is not God’s plan for your life. This is not the victory that Christ had already won over the evil one for his people. So, brothers and sisters, choose to fight by God’s grace, choose to stand firm. Notice, we’re commanded to do this because it’s not automatic. It won’t just happen. We often don’t stand firm. Brothers and sisters, have we heard then this morning of the call, the call that Christ our captain has given us? Don’t give in to the evil one. Don’t let him prevail against you in his attacks. Notice our role in this battle, the phrase in verse 13, [Ephesians 6:13, Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, having done all, to stand firm.] having done all, stand firm. The idea is we need to be intentional. We need to prepare in advance for this battle. If you’re just waiting for the day, when it’s really obvious you’re under attack, and when you are well, then you’ll start thinking about what it means to resist the devil. If that’s your approach, you’ve already lost. The mindset God’s word tells us is, to have it, is to daily realize I’m at war, and if I’m not intentionally standing in Christ today, I likely will fall to the evil one. I’ll likely give in again to my temper. It’s very possible I’ll be lazy again this week. It’s very likely l’ll give in to my lust, then give in to my addiction and be filled with pride in my attitude towards others. Brothers and sisters, would we strive to fight, would we strive to stand firm. When we fight like, Eleazar Son of Dodo, with our hands clutched firm to the sword, would we stand firm, would we strive in this battle with this hope. The phrase is repeated twice that we may be able to stand. It’s possible because of Christ we are able to fight and win against the enemy. Perhaps my favorite verse in Ephesians uses the same word, “able”. Yet it applies to God with this first remind us then where our ability to stand firm comes from. [Ephesians 3:20] “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” To him be glory in the church because God is able, we too, in Christ are able to stand strong against the enemy.

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