Guide
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Week 5


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Kingdom Warfare: Part Two
Suit Up!

Interpreting the StuffObserving the Stuff!
Ephesians Divided By Two!
Ephesians, like Paul's other letters, is broken into two parts: theology and practice. The first three chapters (1-3) demonstrate that the Father's plan for us was adoption. The last three chapters (4-6) 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.

Interpreting the StuffInterpreting the Stuff!
Finally...
The 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 (6.10). This is a picture of Divine Enablement.

Be Strong...
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. 13.12-14; 1 Cor. 15.53-54; 2 Cor. 5.3; Gal. 3.27; Eph. 4.24, 6.11-14; Col. 3.10-12; 1 Thess. 5.8). So that (for the purpose) you can take your stand against the devil's schemes (v. 11b). The word schemes (NIV) could be translated strategies. The enemy is tactically shrewd and ingeniously deceptive. His plan for your life is destruction.

For our struggle...
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 principalities
* 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.

Take Up...
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 (Isa. 59.17).

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
Paul 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 (Eph. 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: 6.14
Background
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.
Application.
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 game.

The Breastplate Of Righteousness: 6.14
Background
When the Roman soldier wore this piece of armament, it covered his front and back. The breastplate covered his vital organs.
Application.
Paul likens the breastplate to righteousness. In Ephesians 4.2 and 5.9, 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 Boots: 6.15
Background
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 stance.
Application.
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 Real.

The Shield Of Faith: 6.16
Background
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.
Application.
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 us.

The Helmet Of Salvation: 6.17
Background
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.
Application.
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 Testament (Luke 2.30, 3.6; Acts 28.28; Titus 2.11). To be saved is to accept the deliverer and the deliverance, knowing that nothing the enemy can throw at you can penetrate.

The Sword Of The Spirit: 6.17
Background
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 in.
Application.
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 translations. In Luke 3.2 the word of God appears to be a message from God which John preached. In Luke 4.4 the word of God is that which is provided to give man life. Hebrews 6.5 suggests that the believer taste the word of God. In Hebrews 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 Ephesians 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!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 day-to-day life?
* How peaceful is your life? How often do you feel like your helmet doesn't fit? Why?

Resource Stuff!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 Revell Bible Dictionary. One of these should suit your personal needs.

* Adoption

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