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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
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As a Christian soldier, who we really wrestle against.
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Terms & Abbreviations used:
Human Good = Evil + Good Deeds while not in fellowship with God
OSN = Old Sin Nature
TLJC = The Lord Jesus Christ
SSE = Spiritual Self Esteem
PVTD = Positive Volition Towards Doctrine
+H - The Happiness of God
NVTD = Negative Volition Towards Doctrine
Doctrine = Bible Truth
BEGIN BIBLE STUDY
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotes and references
are from the NASB – New American Standard Bible
As a Christian soldier, who we really wrestle against.
EPH 6:10-11, Finally, [or from now on], be strong or start becoming strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Pick and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
The schemes of the devil is Satan attacking both the grace of God and the judicial decisions of God. So the very fact that we are told to clothe ourselves in the armor, and that we have to put on each piece, and we are told how to use each piece, reveals that every one of us is engaged in this battle. And the first thing we have to learn as Christians is how to fight the good fight of faith. We are in it, we can never get out of it, and therefore it is very important that we know exactly what to do. We may go AWOL but even going AWOL is not getting out of the battle, it is merely being captured by the enemy.
In talking about being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, the apostle is dealing with the question of building us up, and making us strong and capable and ready to do everything we have to do in this great fight. That is positive. But in this matter of the armor the outlook is somewhat more negative.
You are waiting for something to happen to you. Or, it is the difference between the offensive and the defensive. The strength and the power of His might is an offensive characteristic, but the armor is concerned with our protection, and the defensive side of our struggling and wrestling with the devil and the principalities and powers. And it is not surprising that the apostle uses this order.
The positive should come before the negative. In other words, if you enter into this spiritual conflict on the defensive only, and have ignored and forgotten the offensive and the positive, you are already defeated. And this is how Satan and the kingdom of darkness defeats believers who even have doctrine. They get so wrapped up in the satanic attack that they begin to worry, live in fear, anger or bitterness and forget about verse 10,
EPH 6:10, Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.
And there is another reason why it is quite inevitable that the first exhortation should come before the second. It is simply that none of us could possibly use this armor if we had not first been given the strength. You need to be strong in order to use the armor. If you clothe the spiritual weakling in this kind of armor, it will make him helpless and useless. He will have to use so much of his energy in trying to handle and to move inside the armor, that he will not have energy left to deal with the enemy. In other words, this armor is of such a character that you have to be capable of using it.
Note that the apostle Paul, having told us to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might, goes on to say twice for emphasis.
EPH 6:11, Put on the full armor of God,
EPH 6:13, Therefore, take up the full armor of God,
And the reason for his exhortation is that we need protection. The strength in verse 10 is not sufficient, we still need the protection which is provided by this armor. In other words we have to realize that as long as we are in this world, defense against the subtle attacks of the enemy is a constant necessity never to be neglected. Though we may be very strong, though we may have grown in grace marvelously, and have had great victories, we must never rely upon that strength and growth. We must never rest upon it. We must never assume we are beyond reach of the enemy.
The enemy that is forever confronting us never admits defeat and is always watching and waiting for our unguarded moments. He never relaxes, and he commands great powers, such as the rulers of the darkness of this world, the spiritual wickedness even in the heavenly places. The devil himself is aggressive and his ambassadors are everywhere and always watching for a moment of slackness when a believer with PVTD is off guard.
Our enemy is not only powerful but also subtle. As we have seen, his methods and the variety of his weapons are such that we cannot afford to take anything for granted. Whatever we have to do, though we may feel ourselves to be equipped with divine power, let us be very careful. He always knows the Achilles' heel, the point of weakness.
That’s why Peter said in 1PE 5:8, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Therefore, though we may have great strength and power, the apostle reminds us that this defensive armor is always an absolute necessity. This is the key to the whole situation. Nothing but the armor of God will ever serve us in this conflict in which we are engaged.
There is no protection, there is nothing we can do, that will ultimately protect us against this deceptive, subtle, powerful enemy but the armor of God. And the great thing is that we are not left to our own resources and devices.
So concerning the Christian armor let's note the following points:
1. It is armor for every part except the back which is provided with no defenses to show that the Christian is never to quit but to keep on going by means of the Spirit in spite of the pressure from the enemy. Defensive action does not mean that you are not fighting, it simply means that you are holding your ground or standing firm.
HEB 10:35-39, Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.
2. The armor is for both offensive and defensive action which means to protect the believer and to aggravate his enemies. If there is anything that aggravates the enemy, it is to ignore their attack. Arrogant people and arrogant creatures hate to be ignored. However, remember that you must know when it's time to get on the offensive and when it's time for the defensive.
3. It is also armor that has been proven. Our Lord Jesus Christ used this armor to defeat Satan and his entire kingdom. And the saints have used this armor throughout the years to handle spiritual warfare.
4. This armor is spiritual, and is intended only for spiritual purposes. It is called "the armor of light (ROM 3:12)," in reference to the bright and glittering army of the Romans, and to show that it is for "ornament" as well as for defense. And that means that when you observe someone operating in the armor of God, it is an ornament or a decoration of the character and nature of God.
So we are now ready for EPH 6:12.
EPH 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and 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.
The word for is the subordinating conjunction "hoti" which could also be translated because.
Why are we to put on the full armor of God? Why are we to hold our ground against the strategies of the devil?
EPH 6:12, Because our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
You may think that it is because you live by sight, but ultimately it is not.
EPH 6:12, Because our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
Next we have a nominative singular subject in the Greek made up of two words: the first is the definite article he and the second is the noun pale which means warfare, not struggling as we know it but warfare. The definite article identifies this as "the warfare" or "the spiritual warfare" and the good fight of faith which we are called to fight and to endure. The definite article also distinguishes this spiritual warfare from all other types of combat in life. This word also means a contest between two in which each endeavors to throw the other, and which is decided when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck. And this doesn’t mean that we have physical contact with the devil and his demons, it is simply showing the closeness of the battle.
This word is known as a hapax legomena which is a word that occurs only once in the New Testament. Pale does not exist in any other part of the New Testament. Therefore, what does this word mean?
This is a word used from the time of Homer which refers not just to combat in a wrestling match, a very unique wrestling match which was really combat. And when you consider that the loser in the Greek wrestling contest had his eyes gouged out with resulting blindness for the rest of his life...we can form some conclusion as to what happens in spiritual warfare when believers fail. They become spiritually blind and defeated.
The result is; Emotional revolt of the soul. Blackout of the soul. Scar tissue of the soul.
So this word refers to a spiritual warfare or spiritual combat.
EPH 6:12, Because our struggle is not
"is not” is the pres-act-ind of the verb eimi which is estin and with this we have the negative ouk which means that our warfare keeps on being not against flesh and blood. Whatever our warfare or combat is, there is something that it is not...and that is against flesh and blood.
Prin - One of the easiest ways for a believer to fail in spiritual warfare is to get their eyes on flesh and blood or people. And this means that they blame people for their problems. They become bitter and angry with people. They become vindictive and revengeful. They don't want reconciliation or restoration which is the desire of God. The point is that Satan and his kingdom of darkness loves to destroy the believer’s focus. He loves you to get your eyes on people, JER 17:5.
JER 17:5, Thus says the Lord, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord."
To get your eyes on people is to cause you to get angry and reactionary toward people when they let you down or when you think they are the ones that you're battling with. Satan and his kingdom of darkness also causes you to get your eyes on self, 1KI 19:10, 1CO 1:10 11.
1CO 1:10-11, Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you.
When you do this, you are failing in the realm of spiritual warfare
So back in EPH 6:12, Because our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
Now the word against is pros plus we have the accusative singular of relationship which expresses and idiom for opposition. We have two nouns coming up. The first one in the Greek is haima which is the word for blood. In fact, it doesn't say flesh and blood, it says blood and flesh.
The second word is the Greek word sarxz which is translated flesh. Now, everything in the word of God is important. The way that the words are located...the way the words are related. Remember that Heb 4:12a says "The word of God is alive and powerful".
And as MAT 5:18 teaches, not one dotting of an "i" or crossing of a "t" will pass away. Now blood is used first to emphasize people rather than their sin nature. Blood is mentioned first because you cannot function in the soul without the circulation of blood to those frontal lobes. And the solution to all of the problems you face is found in the psuche, the soul. And that means the circulation of metabolized doctrine in the soul. And so blood comes first.
Then flesh is used here, sarxz for the old sin nature. And the point here is that we are not in combat with people and their sin natures. There are times we do get on the offensive against people but never against Satan and his kingdom. So we have blood before flesh because blood represents the concept of reaching the soul. It is the soul that is saved.
EPH 6:12, Because our struggle is not against blood [people's souls] and flesh [their old sin nature],
Prin - This means that our spiritual combat or spiritual warfare is not against a visible enemy.
We’re on the defensive against an invisible enemy. We are in a state of warfare, exposed to invisible enemies, and we are naturally unprepared for this warfare in our own strength. This is why we must be equipped from Gods' armor, for no weapon of our own will be able to defend us. The enemy we have to contend with bears an incurable hatred against us, and seeks nothing less than our destruction and overthrow.
And that is because the Trinity lives inside of us and Satan hates the Trinity, especially TLJC.
Satan and his kingdom of darkness is mightier than we are; and unless we have help from above, we are no match for him. He is an artful enemy, invisible and near us. And what is worse, he has a contact or a strong agent within us, called our old sin nature.
So EPH 6:12, Because our struggle is not against blood [people's souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers,
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Ticket to Heaven, it was written for anyone not absolutely certain about their eternal future.