We need Ephesians 6 more than ever, because the world is going through a difficult time right now, as are many believers. We are fighting COVID 19, we are fighting government lockdowns and mask wearing, and sadly, we are fighting each other.
Even Christians are fighting one another! When we need unity more than ever, when we as a church stand on the brink of history, some are concentrating more on the news and the media, on COVID and vaccination, instead of on the real, and what has always been the real enemy.
Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour 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.
Strip it all back, and we are not fighting the government, or the disease, or the Chinese, or the vaccine… Or each other! We must stop and recognise that we are ultimately fighting Satan and his cohorts.
I believe we have the right to have an informed opinion. But we do not have to right to attack one another and treat our brothers and sisters with distain because they disagree with us.
2 Corinthians 8:7 (ESV)
But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
Morgan Freeman said, “Just because I disagree with does not mean I hate you. We need to relearn that in our society.”
Sometimes we need remind as to who our real enemy is!
1. THE ENEMY IS REAL, EPHESIANS 6
While we are engaged in fighting one another over COVID, the restrictions, the vaccine, whether it works or not, etc., some of us are taking our eyes off Jesus and getting entangled in the things of the world around us.
2 Timothy 2:4 (ESV)
No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
I know you’ve all searched Facebook, Google and YouTube for information to support whatever your belief is about this current situation. At the end of the day, it is just your opinion, either way. I’m not saying don’t have an opinion, but I am saying don’t hate on someone who opposes your point of view. Opinions are like noses, everybody has one, and most of them smell.
I am amazed at the passion with which people, including many Christians, have attacked one another over matters of opinion around COVID. Let me say again, I’m not saying don’t have an opinion, I’m not saying don’t research and be informed, I’m certainly not saying don’t be outraged by what is happening, but let Paul speak into this situation…
Ephesians 4:15 (ESV)
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
Listen, if you love your opinion or your doctrine more than you love people, you will not speak the truth in love, and you will have conflict and disunity. But if you love people more than your opinion, we will have unity, and God will triumph over this and every situation.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
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.
We do Not wrestle flesh and blood! Not people, not governments, not Bill Gates, Joe Biden or Anastasia Palaszczuk! We fight Satan, and we need to stop seeing people who disagree with us as the enemy and get back in the real fight, which is against satan and his minions.
SATAN FIGHTS DIRTY
Satan doesn’t hold back, doesn’t take prisoners and doesn’t fight fair!
Now we know that Satan and his hosts at times can manifest themselves by directly possessing a person. But they more frequently have other, more subtle means of influencing human activity and carrying out their evil purposes. They love to turn God’s people against each other on peripheral issues that don’t matter in eternity.
In this modern world, the enemy seems to work through two primary means:
- Belief systems.
By introducing subtle lies into the world-views the devil can shape both individual lives and entire societies, and he can ravage the world. Look at COVID. It’s the thin edge of the wedge approach, and the world falls for it, every time.
If I’d have told you 2 years ago that the government would introduce an app on your phone to track every movement you make, every Australian would have been horrified! Infringement of personal liberties, etc.
Now, we all accept it and do it. Our world view has been changed. It’s the thin edge of the wedge. There’s more control to come, passports, tracking, lockdowns. The enemy is already modifying our world view and sneaking these things in.
Our best protection against this subtle deception is a grounding in biblical truth, which enables us to test the ideas we encounter from religious teachers, educators, government leaders, the media, family, friends, and more. We can hold these ideas up against a never changing standard… The Word of God.
Ephesians 6:14 (ESV)
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth,
Psalms 119:11 (ESV)
I have stored up your word in my heart. that I might not sin against you.
- Human institutions and leaders.
Satan world views and mindsets, but he also targets human systems and institutions because of their influence over others. Consider the character and spiritual choices of first-century groups such as the Pharisees, or the Jewish Council (Acts 7), or Pilate, Caesar, Herod and all the others.
1 Corinthians 2:8 (ESV)
None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Yes, Satan uses this world’s rulers, he uses governments and the media, and social media, but see through the facade to the real enemy. From the beginning
Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
That’s our fight today… Same as it always has been! God v satan, good v evil. If we are passionately fighting for our point of view and not praying, we miss the point.
2. THE VICTORY IS SECURE
With all that’s going on, with media and social media, with companies like Facebook or Google removing Sky news because they don’t agree with what they are reporting, we truly are seeing the manipulation of millions of people via governments and media. Claims and counter claims are being made, logic is being thrown away, theories and conspiracy theories abound, facts are being distorted, 8 million people are locked down in NSW, lives ruined, businesses destroyed, and no one, not even you, really knows the truth.
I’ve never seen the entire world in such a state. If ever you needed proof that the wisdom of man can’t solve the world’s issues, this is it. It looks like the world is out of control, and like we are powerless, but the Bible says,
1 John 4:4 (ESV)
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
I can’t prove to you who is right and wrong in all these issues, I can only offer opinion, just like you. But What I can tell you for certain is that God is still in control, even if the enemy fights hard.
1 John 5:4 (ESV)
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
When the allies invaded France in 1944 and gained a foothold, the Nazi were never going to win the war. But they put up a heck of a fight. It took another year of death and destruction, but they were ultimately defeated. Satan might be putting up a fight right now, but I’m declaring he is already defeated!
3. THE BATTLE IS UPON US
This spiritual battle is upon us right now. Satan wants us concentrating not on Him and his ultimate aims, but on anything else. It use to be that gay marriage or climate change filled our minds, but now it’s COVID. Whatever the subject, as long as the devil remains hidden he’s happy, so he wants us fighting one another over opinions, grasping at perceived truths, but having no love.
Think about it. How much media have you heard about Christians being martyred more than ever across the globe? The battle is upon us, and we are busy chasing the shadows the media feeds to us. It’s time we saw through the statistics and the non stop media coverage of COVID to see the true enemy.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (ESV)
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
If we are to wage war for Christ, we have to take the fears, the anger, the arguments and every lofty opinion captive. When we do, we have divine power to destroy strongholds.
A stronghold in the Greek is OCHY-ROMA, which means a castle or fort. But Vines dictionary tells us it also means, “anything on which one relies, of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavours to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent.” In other words, you and I arguing so vehemently for our opinions without love can actually become a stronghold for the enemy, and we have been given divine power to destroy such strongholds.
The world wants to change you and make you a “conformer,” but God can help you become a “transformer” (Rom. 12:1–2).
4. THE STAND IS ESSENTIAL
Ephesians 6:13 (ESV)
Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
“Stand Firm.” In the rush of the fight, men are apt to be carried off their legs. If they can keep their footing, they will be victorious; but if they are swept away by the tide of battle, borne down by the rush of their adversaries, everything is lost.
That’s why Paul calls us in this spiritual battle to stand, and stand firm. We must maintain the position in which our Captain has placed us. The apostle also speaks of withstanding as well as standing, a more active word. We are not merely to defend, but also to assail. It is not enough that you are not conquered; you have to conquer:
The battle Christians face every day is rooted in the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). He is happy for you to picture him as a cartoon character wearing a red jumpsuit with horns and carrying a pitchfork so that you won’t take him seriously.
Meanwhile, like an opposing football team, his demonic realm watches your game reel. They know your history, your weak spots, and your sin patterns. Their goal is to keep you from experiencing God’s will for your life. You’re not their first assignment. They’re good at what they do. And currently, they will use the most readily available thing at hand to fill you with fear, cloud your vision and blind your mind to the truth… COVID.
2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV)
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
But he’s blinding believers too. We have to get our eyes off all this junk and back on Jesus. We have to fight the spiritual with the spiritual. Your human strength won’t work. Your only hope is to be strengthened by the Lord and to put on the full armour of God (6:10-11).
5. THE ARMOUR IS FOR US
Standing firm in the armour of God doesn’t stop the spiritual warfare from raging. It stops it from defeating you. The battle continues, the distractions of the world rage on, but we can put in the armour of God and stand for what is right and true.
I’m going to explore the armour of God in the light of COVID 19 next week, but let me encourage you with this.
We are in a spiritual battle, and God has already given us the weapons to win it. They are not internet knowledge, conspiracy theories, fear of the virus or vaccinations, or anger with those who don’t agree with you.
Our weapons are spiritual. I’m not saying don’t have an opinion, I’m not saying don’t research about this current situation. What I’m saying is love one another, be gracious and kind to those who disagree with you, and get your head back in the real game, praying in the Spirit against satan and his evil schemes, of which COVID is just the latest is just the latest instalment… Satan wants souls, and he wants to neutralise your stand for Christ. Paul said,
2 Corinthians 2:11 (ESV)
so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
I’m simply saying don’t play into this stuff all the time. Just because it is 90% of our news bulletins or conversation, doesn’t mean we have to make it 90% of our lives too. Our armour, and our weapons, are spiritual. The Word, prayer, praying in the Holy Spirit, these are the things that will destroy satan and attain victory!
That’s why Paul writes about the armour, and he finishes the list with the only offensive weapon we have, the word of God…
Ephesians 6:17-18 (ESV)
and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
Prayer is the power source. John Piper says, “Prayer is a Wartime Walkie-Talkie”.
6. YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU!
Right now, COVID is more rampant, and fear is more palpable that ever before. Right now people are attacking one another passionately over issues they don’t even really understand. And right now, your country needs you. It needs me. It needs us, not fighting over opinions, not debating things of which we really know so little for sure, but pulling together and praying together.
Remember, Peter walked on water until he took his eyes off Jesus, and looked at the wind and waves around him. He began to sink when he focused on circumstances, instead of on his Saviour. I fear many professed believers, overwhelmed by clearly biased media and social media, are doing exactly that right now. It’s time to stop, reset and refocus on Christ, and on eternity, now how many people tested positive.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Today I want to ask you to join me in fighting this spiritual Battle in the eternal.
1 Timothy 6:11-12 (ESV)
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Always keep this truth in mind: You are not fighting for a victory; you are fighting from a position of victory. Christ has secured the victory for you, and he offers it through the armour of God. The victory is yours when you are well-dressed for warfare, and when you focus on obeying your commander, not the media.
What we call spiritual warfare is the conflict in the spiritual realm that affects the physical realm. The daily problems we face here are rooted there. But, importantly, the resources you need to fight the battle are there too.
Through the cross and resurrection of Christ, victory is already won. The devil has lost. The only power he has is the power you give him, and it’s time we took it back off him. Christians, We are to stand firm today in Christ’s victory.
1 John 4:4 (ESV)
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Today I’m calling you to join me a suit up for the fight, and let’s forget the arguing and the social media stoushes, and let’s join together in prayer for our people. We will probably never agree on questions to do with the current world situation, but we can agree to disagree agreeably and just live one another, and we can also agree on who our real enemy is, and we can agree to stand together and fight in prayer for our people!
So by all means do the research, have your opinions on what is happening, but please, speak the truth in love. I’m not saying don’t do that, but I am saying let’s add spiritual warfare to the mix. Our prayer is powerful, so join with me now and pray.
Ephesians 6:12-13 (ESV)
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 armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.