Someone has observed correctly: “Whatever corrupts a man,
whatever hurts a man, whatever is evil, dark, and bitter is
of the devil.
He is the sinister minister of all that is corrupt and
has never blessed one life; he has never encouraged a single
soul to do what is right and holy” (Bullard).
Do you want to see the victims of Satan?
Go to an emergency room.
You can see the child with puffy cheeks who was
abused by her outraged father.
You can see the teenage girl with bruises on herself
who was beat up by a boyfriend on drugs.
You can see the drunk who is drooling blood.
You can see the young man who suffers bad burns
because he got caught in the crossfire of two gangs.
Someone else puts it this way: “I’m convinced that
the same Satan stalks today, causing the hunger in Somalia,
the confusion in the Middle East, the egotism on the movie
screen, and the apathy in Christ’s church.
And Satan chuckles among the dying” (Source unknown).
“If you are living for God, you have a great battle on your
hands. You have
surely discovered by now that the Christian is called to the
battleground of life, and not the playground of it. ... The
struggle engages everyone who names the name of Jesus.
There are no conscientious objectors in this war.
None are exempt for any reason; all must fight”
Christians have gone A.W.O.L, many have jumped the fence,
and many have fled from the Lord's army thinking they were
escaping to freedom, only to discover, very soon, that they
were enslaved to Satan and his forces once more (Poe;
We have a great battle on our hands, and all Christians must
fight in it together.
The good news is that our Holy Commander and His
forces have more power, more strength, and more wisdom than
Satan and his wicked hosts!
One good brother observes: “It is true Satan is
strong and therefore dangerous; but it is also true God is
far stronger, and His side will prevail.
Satan's power is the power of the spoiler, not the
He seeks to destroy individual soldiers whenever he
can, but he cannot win the ultimate victory, for his defeat
began in earnest with the resurrection of Jesus. ... [Thus]
'we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,' and
in Christ our victory is complete ...” (Williams)!
Paul closes the book of Ephesians by reminding his
readers to fight the good fight of the Christian warfare.
He gives them five actions which all Christians can
use in their warfare against Satan and his wicked hosts.
The first action is: Remember your Allies!
Let's read 6:10-11: “Finally, my brethren, be
strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God ...” Our Allies are
Jesus, God, and one another!
This version has “Be strong in the Lord!”
But a more accurate translation would be: “All
of you, let yourselves be made strong by Jesus and by the
power of His strength!”
You see, we can't make ourselves strong for the
battles ahead; only Jesus, with His infinite, mighty,
exceedingly abundant, and great power, can do that for us!
This is the power that we see unleashed in the
Gospels; it multiplied food to feed thousands, it cast out
demons, it healed the crippled, the blind, the mute, the
deaf, and the leper, it calmed the storm, it overcame all
Satan's temptations, it raised the dead, it shook the earth,
and it left the tomb in victory!
Here is the unlimited power with which Jesus desires
to bless all His disciples.
No wonder, the apostle John exclaimed in 1 John 4:4:
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them,
because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the
Jesus is for us, who can stand against us?
“All of you, let yourselves be made strong by Jesus
and by the power of His strength!”
Our Lord, who sits at God's right hand and occupies
the highest place of honor in the universe, is our Ally!
God also is our Ally, and Paul says that He has
provided us with a complete armor so that we don't enter
into our battles unprepared.
No, He has given us both defensive and offensive
equipment for the battle.
Our last ally is one another.
The text literally says, “All of you, let yourselves
be made strong by Jesus” and “All of you, put on the whole
armor of God.”
You see, we have each other's help in this battle because
we're all in it together!
This is one reason why Christ built His church; He
knew that we needed the strength which could be found in
working together against the foe!
With Jesus' power, God's protection, and one
another's help, we can hold our ground against the attacks
of our spiritual enemies!
Remember your Allies!
The next action is: Recognize your enemies!
Let's read about them in verse 11-12: We put on God's
protective armor “so that you may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers
of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of
wickedness in heavenly places.”
Corps of any army plays a vital part in its warfare because
it enables officers to know and to understand the enemy.
Unless you discover in this all-important battle who
your enemies are ... you will have an extremely difficult
time defeating them” (Bullard).
Our first enemy is the devil.
“There is a malignancy in the universe, a hostile
power filled with hatred against the right and the
righteous, a darkness that seeks to overcome the light.
Yes, we have an ENEMY who is an adversary ready to
pounce on the unwary (1 Peter 5:8)!
The knowledge of this opposition should motivate us to be
self-controlled and on our guard. ... The devil seeks to
destroy us, but we should not help him by our own
carelessness and prayerlessness” (Williams).
The word “stand” is interesting here because it shows
we must hold our position, and not let Satan gain any ground
in causing any of us or another member to turn back into his
kingdom of darkness.
We must stand against Satan's schemes.
“What are Satan schemes?
Satan's line of attack is at least threefold: He
appeals to the lust of your flesh, the lust of your eyes,
and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
In subtle ways, he leads you to think that you can
get away with evil just once.
He convinces you that your needs are the most
important thing in the world right now.
Satan tells us that the immediate pleasures of sin
are greater than any apparent punishment.
Slowly, subtly, methodically, he leads you down the
path of spiritual rebellion” (Bullard).
... As Christian soldiers, our task is to strive for
victory, standing firmly against [this] defeated but still
powerful foe” (Lockhart; Lincoln). “For we do not wrestle
against flesh and blood ...”
You can't wrestle passively; this is an active,
intense, and at times painful struggle.
Satan has most of the world in his kingdom of
darkness already; so those who are in the kingdom of light
become his special targets.
Satan's wicked hosts are also our enemies.
In this struggle, “the enemies are not human (flesh
and blood) [but these] spiritual powers of evil may use
human instruments” (Foulkes), just as we saw in the
“... [One] reason Satan is so mighty is that he not in this
war alone. He
rules over a host of angelic and demonic forces which assist
him in his mission of spiritual wickedness.
Here they are described in four groups: rulers, the
authorities, the powers of darkness, the spiritual forces of
evil. ... Because Satan is a created being, he cannot be
everywhere at the same time as God is.
But he can tempt and deceive men all over the world
because of the enormous forces working with him” (Bullard).
Someone has correctly observed: “Our battle is with
demonic forces in the unseen realms whose weapons are lies,
false doctrines, false religions, false philosophies, and
clever perversions of truth” (Bullard).
Under the devil himself, these spiritual hosts of
wickedness work tirelessly to keep people in darkness and to
draw followers of Christ back into that darkness (Foulkes).
“Satan's real battle is against [God], but his attack
is against you because he knows [Christ] has set His love
and affection upon you.
Thus, in order to win this war, you need to
[recognize your enemies].
Know [their] nature.
Master [their] schemes.
Open your eyes to the dirty tricks [they] are using
to deceive you and manipulate you into joining [their
leader's] rebellion against God” (Bullard). Recognize your
The third action in our Christian warfare is: Resist the
attacks by being equipped and by fighting together
Let's read verses 13-16: “Therefore take up the whole
armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the evil
day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,
having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having
shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be
able to quench all the fiery darks of the wicked one.”
Someone has rightly
noted: “The command 'Stand! [and Withstand!] falls like
hammer blows [three] times [in this passage] ... there is
simply no substitute for perseverance.
Satan is persistent, so we must be resistant!
'Therefore submit to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you'”
(James 4:7) (Williams).
“But how can we resist the attacks of Satan and his
wicked hosts?” the Ephesian brethren might ask.
So, the apostle Paul replies: “By being equipped with
God's defensive armor and by fighting together!”
What is God's defensive armor?
It consists of four pieces: the belt of truth, the
breastplate of righteousness, the boots of peace, and the
shield of faith.
“The only way we can defeat [these evil forces] is
with the truth.
Truth will expose the lies of the enemy. ... The devil [and
his hosts] will attack you with error, false doctrines, and
The only way you will be able to hold your ground
against his deceptions is to saturate yourself with the
The reference to truth can also mean that we are to
always maintain a sense of integrity in our lives, truth
that also comes from our inward being (Foulkes).
When we are dishonest with each other and with our
neighbors, our credibility is diminished, and Satan's forces
are beginning to rule us for Satan is the father of all lies
The breastplate was often made of a solid metal piece, and
it had one function: “to protect the soldier's vital organs.
It covered his body from neck to waist, front and
back, and made him virtually invulnerable” (Bullard).
There may be two meanings involved here as well.
As followers of Christ, we enjoy the righteousness
that He has bestowed upon us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 states: “For God made Him who
knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the
righteousness of God in Him.”
It's like we often sing: “Our hope is built on
nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.”
His righteousness covers our sins.
But this could also mean that just as Jesus practices
righteousness, so we strive to practice righteousness daily.
“Satan will attack you with impurity.
But his fiery darts cannot penetrate a Christian who
is living a godly life with other members in the power of
the Holy Spirit.
If you cease to let practical holiness be a daily
part of your life, you have left yourself wide open to the
savage attacks of your enemy” ... In your spiritual warfare,
Satan will attempt to trip you up; he will put briers of
doubt, rocks of
discouragement, and pitfalls of disappointment in your path.
But you can stand in the midst of it all if you know
that you are at peace with God, that He is on your side, and
that God is FOR you! ... [And you are at peace with other
members as well, and they too will help you.]
When you stand in these boots, Satan cannot knock you
The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness,
the boots of peace, and then the wonderful shield of faith.
“Paul uses [a] word that designates the large shield,
approximately 5 feet high and 2.5 feet wide; it was so heavy
it took both hands to lift it.
Obviously, it was not used in close combat.
This shield had but one function: to provide full
body protection during a time of attack.
... What is this shield that protects us, that wards
off the flaming arrows [of blasphemous thoughts and the
hurling rocks of burning desires]?
We have but one
shield, our faith.
It is our trust and confidence that our God sustains
us. We believe
in Him and His promises. ... Our God-given faith is our
major line of defense.
The bigger you build your shield, the greater will be
your protection” (Bullard)!
With all this defensive armor, truth, righteousness,
peace, and faith, we are equipped to resist Satan and his
Paul also says that we can resist by fighting together.
There is another interesting thing about the shields
that Paul had in mind.
The edges of these shields were so constructed that
an entire line of soldiers could interlock their shields
together to [ward off objects from above like a solid roof]
or to ward off objects in front like a solid wall”
fact, the archers would stand behind this protective wall of
shields to shoot their arrows, as they advanced against the
enemy” (Goble quoting MacAuthur Jr.).
We are not in a one man army, but we work together
interlocking our faith as we hold our position against
Resist the attacks by being equipped with truth,
righteousness, peace, and faith and by fighting together!
The next action is: Retaliate against the foe by using
salvation, God's Word, and prayer, and by looking out for
others with more prayer (6:17-20)!
Let's read verses 17-20: “And take the helmet of
salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of
God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the
Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and
supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance
may be given to me that I may open my mouth boldly to make
known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an
ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I
ought to speak.” The
question might be asked again: “How can we retaliate against
Satan and his wicked foes?”
Paul replies that we can do it by using our offensive
weapons and by looking out for others!
The “helmet and sword were given to the armed
combatant by an aide” (Weed), and this means that Paul seems
to be switching from our defensive armor to our offensive
this, we have three pieces: the helmet of salvation, the
sword of the Spirit or the word of God, and constant
is the mind controlled by God, the mind that has full
assurance of salvation.
When God has rescued your mind from the corrupt
thinking of this age and begins to control your thought
processes, Satan cannot lead you astray.
... This is where many Christians are losing the
battle. ... Ask them if they are saved, and they stammer, 'I
sure hope so,' or 'I guess I'll have to wait until judgment
to find out.'
You cannot win the war if you doubt that the victory is
Think back to the beginning of Ephesians.
God has chosen you; Christ has redeemed you; the Holy
Spirit has sealed you!
Beloved, it is time to put on the helmet of salvation
and wear it with confidence” (Bullard)!
The word for “sword” indicated one about 12-18 inches
long which was carried in a scabbard and used in close
combat; it is another offensive weapon.
We can march aggressively against the enemy when we
know God's word.
If you know your Bible, you can win the battles
against false doctrine, against religious error, and against
You can march against the forces of [evil], and set
free the captives ... of the devil” (Bullard)!
Just as Jesus overcame Satan with God's word, let's
strive to keep our Spirit's swords sharp as well!
Isn't it interesting that “the army of the Lord
marches on its knees!
... [Our] battle is [through] prayer.
The devil does not want us to pray.
He doesn't care what else we do. ... [He is not
impressed by our funds, our buildings, and our programs],
“but he fears our prayers. ... No church will ever be
mightier than the prayers of its people. ... What the church
needs ... are more prayer warriors who pray continually!
These are soldiers in full armor who know the enemy
and are down on their knees ... claiming the blessing of
God, claiming His strength and help, and claiming divine
resources [and help] against [our] adversary. ... We must
engage in the attack; we must take the offense [with
salvation, God's Word, and prayer]” (Bullard).
We can also retaliate against the foe by looking out
for others: “being watchful to this end with all
perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
One commentator puts it this way: “In addition to
perpetual prayer in general, the Ephesians were constantly
to be alert to the needs of all the saints and to keep on
making 'petition' for them.
'Be on the alert with all perseverance' ... [means]
to be given to praying for [all] the saints” (Lockhart).
It is wonderful to hear people in this congregation
praying for other members because this is how the battles
Retaliate against the foe by using salvation, God's Word,
and constant prayer, and by looking out for other members
and praying for them continually (6:17-20)!
The final action is this: Re-energize by focusing on
righteous relationships (6:21-24)!
In the last verses,
Paul writes: “But that you also may know my affairs and
how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful
minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you;
whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may
know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.
Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God
the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus
Christ in sincerity.
Paul wanted to let the brethren at Ephesus know how he
was doing, so he sent a personal ambassador in Tychicus to
explain how everything was going with Paul.
Likewise, Paul would be anxious to then hear what
Tychicus had discovered about the brethren in Ephesus during
his visit with them!
Nothing re-energizes us for the battle like focusing
on righteous relationships!
Horace Jones, Iman Brown, W. A. Stewart, Gene Cloer,
Howard Horton, and Tony Hamilton are all names have a
significance to many of you in this congregation, and
Their faith strengthened your faith, and their
memories and visits still strengthen you even today!
Just like veterans who reunite to recall their former
battles, so we too become re-energized when we remember the
righteous relationships of our fellow comrades in Jesus'
army as well!
“When Americans were drafted during World War 2, our
government was uncertain how long the conflict would last,
so the draft notices read 'for the duration.'
In like manner, when we became Christians we signed
up 'for the duration'” (Williams).
Those who have endured spur us on to endure as well!
Re-energize by focusing on righteous relationships
The New York Times reported that a survey was made of 1,000
Americans, and they were asked if they agreed with this
statement: “Satan is not a living being, but a symbol of
Sixty-two percent agreed with the statement (Roberts).
This means that if members in this audience feel the
same way, then over half of you won't believe this sermon!
But the majority CAN be wrong!
The inspired apostle Paul tells us that Satan is
real, that he's strong, and strategic, and sinister, and
this is our number one enemy as believers in Jesus Christ!
Thank God that Jesus is stronger and mightier, the
Supreme King, and Satan will flee if we will resist!
We can overcome the devil and his foes if we'll
remember our Allies, recognize our enemies, resist his
attacks, retaliate with assurance, God's Word, and prayer,
and re-energize by focusing on righteous relationships!
“Satan's power is the power of the spoiler, not the
victor, [and he] cannot win the ultimate victory! ... [Thus]
'we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,' and
in Christ our victory is complete!
Listen, can you hear Satan chuckling right now
because he knows he still rules you?
If you haven't enlisted in Christ's army, there is no
time like the present!
If you have enlisted but then later deserted, it is
not too late to get back in the battle!
Let the Holy Commander and the Supreme King be your