Main Idea - Every spiritual battle is won or lost in the preparation!
“Every battle is won before it is fought.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“For which of you, desiring to built a tower, does not first sit down & count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? ...Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first & deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?” Luke 14:28, 31 (ESV)
Ephesians 6:10-13 - “Finally, be strong in the Lord & in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh & 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 armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, & having done all, to stand firm.”
Three Keys to Victorious Preparation
I. Trust in Your Commander – “Finally, be strong in the Lord & in the strength of his might” Ephesians 6:10 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17 (ESV)
II. Remember Your Tools
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 (ESV)
“Sooner or later every believers discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground, and that he faces an enemy who is much stronger than he is – apart from the Lord.” Warren Wiersbe
“In order to take advantage of God’s might, a believer must also put on the full spiritual armor that he supplies...the armor of God is to be the Christian’s life- long companion.” John MacArthur
III. Identify Your Enemy
“For we do not wrestle against flesh & blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, & having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:12-13 (ESV)
“...Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14b (ESV)
“We know that we are from God, & the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19 (ESV)
“...Beelzebul, the prince of demons” Luke 11:15b (ESV)
The Devil’s 4 Pronged Attack on God’s Glory & People
• The Individual - Satan is after you personally. He is tempting people by the millions with drugs, sexual immorality, unforgiveness, hopelessness, discouragement, arrogance, material wealth, etc...
“...Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8b (ESV)
• The Family - It is no coincidence that Satan initially came after a married couple, Adam & Eve. Why? Because the family is the fundamental element of a civil society. Through adultery, domestic abuse, divorce & neglect the devil is attacking God’s glory head-on by coming after the family. He is after yours & he is after mine!
“The tragedy today is that many Christians think they are fighting flesh & blood in their marital & parenting issues, rather than realizing that Satan has an agenda to destroy their home. Whoever controls the family controls the future.” Tony Evans
• The Church - Satan has so many churches completely handcuffed & ineffective at preaching the gospel, making disciples & multiplying churches because division within the body. If he can get us fighting about music styles, ministry programming, pastoral preferences then he has successfully kept us from our mission! This is why Paul said:
“I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility & gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)
• Society - Satan was behind Hitler, Mussolini & Bin Laden to carry out his treachery. But, he is also heavily at work to steal, kill & destroy in all societies of the world (including ours).
Conclusion - Our enemy is the devil & all his demons. The bad news is that they are heavily active in individuals, families, churches & societies. But, I have good news for you today! For the child of God, they are defeated foes!
Main Idea: Every spiritual battle is won or lost in the preparation!
1) Trust in your commander & 2) Remember Your Tools & 3) Identify Your Enemy!
Get Your Victory Now by Preparing for Battle in Christ!
Sources and Further Reading Opportunities:
Strong’s Concordance – James Strong (1890)
Tony Evans Book of Illustrations – Tony Evans (2009)
Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes – Charles Swindoll (1998)
The Full Armor of God – Larry Richards (2013)
Victory in Spiritual Warfare – Tony Evans (2011)
The Armor of God – Priscilla Shirer (2015)
Bible Exposition Commentary – Warren Wiersbe (1996)
Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ – R. Kent Hughes (1990)
Word Pictures in the New Testament – A.T. Robertson (1933)
Ephesians – John MacArthur (1986)
God’s New Society: the message of Ephesians – John Stott (1979)
New Bible Commentary – Carson, France, Motyer & Wenham (1994)
Exploring Ephesians & Philippians = John Phillips (2002)