The story of the battle between good and evil has been retold over and over, from the Greek Myths to "The Avengers". It is played out daily through video games. It is tempting to leave it in the story books, movies and games, but doing so would be a grave mistake. This week's sermon was an introduction to the nature of the battle, and our responsibility as Christians to become soldiers in this war.
Spiritual Warfare is not a game or a story for us. It is a fact. When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we also accepted him as our Commander. We have been enlisted into war against the spiritual forces of evil, and we must not go in unprepared. The good news is that God has given us everything we need to succeed. We just need to be willing to use it.
Ephesians 6:10-17 gives us our armor and our marching orders. Verse 10 tells us to be "strong in the Lord." Soldiers have to be strong. Our military men and women go through rigorous physical training to be able to withstand the trials of war. Our battle, however, is "not against flesh and blood (vs. 12)." Physical strength will do us no good. Our strength comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ, and with each other. Romans 12:4-5 reads: "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Ephesians 4:15 tells us that Christ is the head. We need to work together, and we need to be connected to the head to function.
We also need to put on all of our armor. Verses 14-17 give us a marvelous description of the armor of God. Paul uses the picture of a Roman soldier fitted out for battle. It is hard to imagine a soldier today going out without part of his equipment. What would he do against the enemy army without his boots or his weapon? We fail because we go off without some of our equipment. Paul names truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation. These things all work together to protect us. If we are without some piece of protection, the Devil will be able to attack us where we aren't protected.
The final piece of armor is the "Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (vs. 17)." We know from John 1:1-18 that Jesus is the Word of God. He is our weapon. Jesus told us in John 16 that he would send us the Holy Spirit. If you would like to know more about how you can have the Holy Spirit in your life, read the post "Filled with the Spirit." Jesus said that when the Spirit comes, he will teach us the truth, and prove the world to be wrong.
We have to know the truth because Satan is a liar, and he fights dirty. He will use every scheme he can to win, even using God's word against us. If we don't know what God really said, we can be fooled, and will easily become a casualty; ineffective in this war.
The world thinks that its hope comes from technology, education, and monetary wealth, but we know that it only comes through Jesus Christ. We have to stand strong. We have to speak truth. We have to fight evil wherever it is. The lives of our loved ones and our communities hang in the balance. We have to be well equipped, we have to stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow Christians, and we have to be fully committed to the mission. The winner of this battle is the last one standing.
"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 )"