10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
How do we protect ourselves in the spiritual battle for the soul? What are these dark forces that keep cropping up in my life, and how do I fight back? Where do I find hope against hostility?
From what universe beyond this one that most of us inhabit does this kind of evil arise? Well, Ephesians was talking about this centuries ago. Our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but against … the powers of this dark world and against the forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Well, what makes normal go so horribly abnormal? No explanation quite chins the bar except that of a malignant malevolence slithering through right under radar. It’s called evil, and evil is large, cosmic, organized, subtle, pervasive, and real.
Where is our hope against such hostility? Ephesians recognizes that while the world is not a neutral playing field, neither is it a level one. And while evil can seem so overpowering, there’s a difference between having the home field and having the upper hand. And God provides us two ways to get the upper hand.
1. First, God gives me a spiritual ______________________________. When Ephesians talks about armor plating and helmets, what it is really talking about are a regimen of meetings with God that can prop up and protect my soul.
2. Where is the faith community in my life? Where is that faith family of believers that God has given me for my protection?
Ephesians says, Pray for all the saints and pray also for me. Evil loves only one thing more than weakness, and that’s ____________________________ Isolation. And that’s why the author says, I need the church. I need church.
We are God’s best gift of protection for each other. The church is God’s army for fighting the remaining evil in the world. All Christians are called to take part. C. S. Lewis describes it this way he writes: ___________________ – ________________________ territory that is what the world is.
When we’re caught in a storm of evil, God’s people can show us place, and God’s practices can show us the way. There IS a difference between having the home field and having the upper hand. In Jesus the Christ we have the upper hand…and in God the Father we have a safe place to stand. Answers: Discipline, Aloneness, Enemy-occupied
What is this passage / message reveal about what God is like or has done?
What does this passage / message teach me about the way I should live?
What is something new I learned today?
Through this passage or message, what is God calling me to do?
You are invited this Sunday to our sermon series, Christianity 101 at Cypress United Methodist Church. Our services are at 8:15, 9:30 and 11 AM.