Paul writing to Christians living in Ephesus warns them to “… be alert with all perseverance ...” (Ephesians 6:18).
Why would Paul say this? What was happening then that he would need to give such a strong warning?
I want to focus our attention on three sections in chapter 6 of Ephesians.
I: P _________________ verses 10-13
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
Do you ever ask, “what is going on in the world, anyway? Why all the conflict?” Do you feel like you are being attacked from all sides?
We are in an unseen battle - a battle which is beyond our comprehension - a real battle which is beyond our five senses, but as real just the same.
The battle is transcendent - beyond us, but at times very near. It is not a battle that we can touch or easily “put our finger on” because it is a battle against “spiritual forces of evil.”
It is against powers which are “cosmic” that are ruling over us. The first P is POWERS. As Christians we are engaged in an intense battle with POWERS which are spiritual in nature.
What are we to do? How do we engage in this conflict? What provisions has God made for us?
II. P _________________ verses 14 - 17
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.
Is there a correlation between the armor of God and Christ Himself?
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth …
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
and having put on the breastplate of righteousness …
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).
and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace …
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14).
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one …
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).
and take the helmet of salvation …
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2).
How is Jesus and the armor related?
Had you ever noticed the correlation between each piece of the armor and Christ Himself? In all circumstances, God has provided everything necessary to protect us in this battle - Christ Himself!
The second P is PROTECTED. We are completely and adequately protected by Christ as we engage in this battle with cosmic powers. This is what Paul was speaking of when he wrote to the Romans “Put on Christ.”
III. P _________________ verse 18
The final P is in the last section.
"…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints"
(Ephesians 6:18 )
Enveloping yourself and others in prayer is fulfilling Pauls command to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).
The final P is PRAY - ‘Pray at all times... for another. Prayer is demonstrating that we are not depending on our own strength, our own wisdom, our own knowledge. By enveloping ourselves in prayer we are recognizing our inadequacy, and confirming that we are not “sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency - our adequacy - is from God who has made us sufficient...” (II Corinthians 3:5-6) for all things.
We hope you will join us in "22 Weeks of Prayer!"