Kingdom of God
Kingdom Warfare: Part Two
Observing the Stuff!
Ephesians Divided By Two!
Ephesians, like Paul's other letters, is broken into two parts: theology and
practice. The first three chapters
demonstrate that the Father's plan for us was
The last three chapters
tell us how to live out our adopted life. It is in this last section that we
find the passage that we are considering in this week's study.
word finally could be translated for the remaining time. Paul is
saying that the whole of the interim between the first coming of Jesus to
inaugurate the kingdom and the second coming of Jesus to consummate the kingdom
will be characterized by conflict. Thus, for the remaining time, be strong in
the Lord and in his mighty power
This is a picture of Divine Enablement.
This phrase could be translated: Continue to be
inwardly strengthened by the resurrection power of Jesus.
Put On...So That
Put on means to cover
with clothing. It is a favorite phrase of Paul (Rom.
Thess. 5.8). So that (for the purpose) you can take your stand against
the devil's schemes
11b). The word schemes (NIV) could be translated strategies.
The enemy is tactically shrewd and ingeniously deceptive. His plan for your
life is destruction.
Flesh and blood means human. We do not
fight against humans but the forces behind them which drive humans to do
dastardly deeds. Paul gives a full description of the enemies with whom we will
be in continual conflict. They are powerful, wicked, and cunning. We fight:
||against principalities: High ranking spiritual beings blocking
heaven from earth
||against powers: A different expression for the same thing as
||against the rulers of the darkness of this world: a metaphor
for the devil
||against spiritual wickedness in high places: This possibly
refers to the most depraved abominations, including such things as extreme
sexual perversions, occultism, and Satan worship which come from the
supernatural sphere where Satan temporarily rules.
Wobbly believers who have
no firm foothold are easy prey for the devil.
The word is different from put on. It means to take up a
thing in order to use it. Paul provides a detailed look at the weapons
available for the believer in this ongoing conflict. There are six main pieces:
belt, breastplate, boots, shield, helmet, and sword. Each pictures a spiritual
weapon: truth, righteousness, good news of peace, faith, salvation, and the
word of God. In the Old Testament two of these items are used to picture God as
a warrior who was fighting to vindicate his people. He put on righteousness as
his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the
garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak
God is pictured in the
Old Testament as having the very pieces of armament that God gives to his
people. Paul is saying that if this armament was good enough for God, it is
good enough for his people. These pieces of armament are all that the believer
needs. He or she doesn't have to go running after every present, Christian fad
to fight the enemy. We already have all that we need.
The Army of God
used this metaphor in Ephesians when he alluded to the six pieces of equipment
which the Roman soldier used, which are analogous to the weapons the Christian
soldier has at his or her disposal
6.10-17). The Church is the army of God through whom God brings his rule
into this Present Evil Age. Here is our equipment. Suit up!
The Belt of Truth:
The Roman soldier used his belt to tuck his tunic up, so it would
not become flowing attire in the midst of a battle and impede him from fighting
his enemy. In addition, the Roman soldier's belt was used to hold the warrior's
weapons: the large and small swords.
Paul described the belt
as being like truth. Truth is truthfulness and honesty as opposed to phoniness,
deceitfulness, and hypocrisy. To participate in these latter activities is to
play the devil's game. You should know that you cannot beat him at his own
Breastplate Of Righteousness:
When the Roman soldier wore this piece of armament, it covered
his front and back. The breastplate covered his vital organs.
Paul likens the
breastplate to righteousness. In
Paul used the word righteousness to clearly mean right character and
conduct. Believers are most vulnerable to Satan when they destroy their
character and compromise their conduct. In short, when a believer sins. If we
continue to sin, it is like having a chink in our armament that allows the
enemy a pathway into our lives. Think about it: Sin puts a chink in God's
armament. If we replace old sinful patterns with right character and conduct,
the enemy cannot get to us as easily.
The Roman soldier had special boots. They were made of leather
with studded soles and allowed the toes to be free. They were tied to the
soldier at his ankles and shins with ornamental straps. Wearing these boots
equipped the soldier for long marches and provided him a solid, firm
The gospel of peace (rest
in the midst of turmoil), which is given to the believer, helps each believer
to stand on a firm foundation. Remember that one of the deceptions of the enemy
is fear. Most of what we fear does not happen. We use mega energy to worry.
Fear is: False Expectations Appearing
Shield Of Faith:
The shield that Paul referred to was the larger of two shields
that were used by the Roman soldier. It measured 4½ feet high by
2½ feet wide. It was like a small wall built of two layers of wood,
glued together, and covered with leather. The shield could be planted in the
ground and the Roman soldier could squat behind it. One of the weapons used in
wartime was darts that had been dipped into pitch, lit, and fired at the
opponent. The Roman shield would catch the dart and extinguish it.
For the believer, Paul
likens the shield to faith to the believer's ability to believe that God will
protect him from ultimate harm. As Satan throws his fiery darts: unsought
thoughts, desires to disobey, rebellion, fear, lust, hate, anger, sarcasm,
etc., we can hide behind our shield of faith, knowing that God will protect
Helmet Of Salvation:
The Roman helmet was made of a tough metal-like bronze or iron. It
had a hinged visor for frontal protection. Nothing short of an ax could
penetrate the helmet.
Paul likened the helmet
to the believer's salvation. It seems that salvation means the means of
deliverance based on the four other times this word appears in the New
2.11). To be saved is to accept the deliverer and the deliverance, knowing
that nothing the enemy can throw at you can penetrate.
Sword Of The Spirit:
The sword for the Roman could be an offensive and defensive
weapon. In this passage the word sword is machaira (makh-ahee-rah). This
was the smaller of the two Roman swords. It was a twelve-to-fourteen inch
knife-like instrument whose blade could cut in any direction and whose tip was
pinpoint sharp. It was used for close personal combat. The soldier would use
the larger sword to disable his opponent. Then he would use the smaller
instrument to penetrate the chinks in his opponent's armor and plunging it
Paul likened this sword
to the word of God. Word in this passage is rhema. It is used
seventy times in the New Testament. Five of these times it is used in the
phrase word of God. On all five occasions it should be translated a
word of God, although it is translated the word of God in most
3.2 the word of God appears to be a message from God which John
4.4 the word of God is that which is provided to give man life.
6.5 suggests that the believer taste the word of God. In
11.3 the word of God is an utterance by which God summoned into
existence that which had not existed before (Gen.
1.3). In light of the above, it seems best to take
4.2 to also mean a word of God, a specific statement given by the Spirit
to assist the believer in defending against the enemy as well as assaulting the
enemy during a battle. This may be a spoken word of Scripture or an
impression from God.
Doin' the Stuff!
It is always important to apply what you have
learned. Pause at this point and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to
meditate on and put into practice some or all of the following.
||How are you arming yourself with the truth of God's Word? How are
those in the battle with you treating you?
||What ways are you choosing right character and conduct in your
||How peaceful is your life? How often do you feel like your helmet
doesn't fit? Why?
BibleHandbook: Resource Stuff
Read the following Dictionary Articles from Easton's Bible
Dictionary. Easton's is about a century old, therefore, some of the
information is not current with newer Bible Dictionaries. You might read the
articles off-line in a number of different Bible Dictionaries. If you do not
own a Bible Dictionary, I would recommend New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. If
you like lots of color pictures, try
Dictionary. One of these should suit your personal
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