Ephesians 6:10-18 by Robert Dean
Is it possible to defend ourselves against Satan’s attacks? Listen to this lesson to learn that although Satan is powerful and smart, he is limited in what he can do. Find out that God has given the believer many ways of defending themselves against these demonic attacks. Learn the importance of our thought life and hear Scriptures that tell us how to develop a mind honoring God. See that our power and strength comes from the Word of God as we hear a description of the various spiritual weapons that make up the whole armor of God. Take comfort in knowing Satan can never outwit God.
Series:Angelic Rebellion (2020)
Duration:1 hr 8 mins 54 secs

The Divine Council: Standing Strong
Ephesians 6:10–18
Angelic Rebellion Lesson #16
January 5, 2021
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Opening Prayer

“Our Father, we’re so thankful for the ways in which You oversee our lives. We know that we have our responsibilities but ultimately, we realize they are limited and that You are the One who is in control. We must learn to relax and trust in You.

“At the same time, we dare not let down our guard and we must do that which we can do in order to protect ourselves. That’s just the essence of wisdom.

“Father, above all we pray that You would be glorified in whatever takes place in our lives. We pray we will handle our tests in a way that glorifies You. As we continue our study, we pray that You would help us to understand what Your Word teaches. We know this is just a tremendous example of just trusting in You and putting our faith, our hope, and our confidence in You so we can relax and go about our lives knowing You have ordered our steps.

“We pray these things in Christ’s name. Amen.”

Slide 2

It’s been ten days since we were last in our study of the angelic rebellion. That was the fifteenth lesson. We’re on the sixteenth lesson in this series and we’re close to finishing it. In fact, because of the way things are going to break out in tonight’s lesson we’ll actually be going back into 2 Peter on Thursday night. This is how we got started, I was looking at 2 Peter 2:5 and its intersection with what is coming up in Ephesians 3:8–9.

We took the time to get a broad perspective on this angelic rebellion and how it impacts us personally in terms of our spiritual life, the role we play in our testimony before the angels and before people, and how God has worked in and through human history to bring a resolution to this angelic rebellion. Also, we will look at why that is important.

As we come to tonight, we’re going to be focusing on what it means to stand strong, to stand firm, and to hold our ground in this spiritual conflict and spiritual warfare described in Ephesians 6:10–18. Then, on Thursday we’ll connect some dots as we go back into 2 Peter.

Slide 3

By way of review, what we saw in the two previous lessons was to talk about Satan’s limitations. Secondly, we talked about Satan’s strategies as they are revealed by his titles.

When we talk about Satan’s limitations, it’s important to recognize that Satan is not God. He is a finite creature. He had a beginning in eternity past when he was created by God. This limits him.

Slides 4 and 5

He is limited in all of his attributes. Only God is infinite in all of His attributes. When we think about God, the essence of God, we know that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He knows everything that could be, might have been, and will be. He knows all of the variables, all of the things that could have happened, might have happened, and will happen depending upon what decisions are made by human beings.

He has built Creation in such a phenomenal way because of His unlimited intellect that no matter what decisions He allows human beings or the angels to make that are in violation of His absolute standards, that it is not going to blow up or destroy that which He has created.

In other words, God has created a level of flexibility to handle the chaos of rebellion. That is so important to understand, and we need to understand that Satan as a creature is not omniscient. He can guess pretty well because he is the most intelligent of all that God created.

He is certainly not omniscient and there’s so much he does not know. Yet he thinks he does. He is not omnipotent. He is limited in his power and his ability. He is not omnipresent. He is not everywhere in God’s creation. He is limited in where he is.

That means he doesn’t know everything. He may have myriads upon myriads of fallen angels at his command and they spread out and have an intelligence network beyond anything we can imagine and a communication ability that is beyond anything we can imagine.

That does not mean that they can outwit God. This is the irony. Satan as a finite creature thinks he can outwit God when he doesn’t even begin to know how to play the game that God has in mind. Satan is involved in this conflict going back to his original fall and then his influence on the woman, Eve, and then on Adam and the Fall of man into sin.

As we’ve reviewed, the term fall doesn’t mean a literal fall. It is a moral fall, a moral failure, and a moral collapse. In that God gave a hint of how He was going to fix things. He warned the serpent that there would a conflict between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

In that conflict the seed of the serpent would have his head crushed but the seed of the serpent would also fatally wound the Seed of the woman. A lot of people have treated this over the years as if the head wound is the fatal wound and the striking of the heel is not, but if a cobra bites you on the heel you’re going to die just as much as if he strikes you somewhere else.

The surprise to Satan was the resurrection. The Seed of the woman died on the Cross, but the resurrection occurred and it was victory over death. This is what gives victory. Satan is constantly surprised, constantly outwitted by God. He knows no more than what God has revealed in Scripture.

Satan’s arrogance blinded him. Arrogance is blinding to all of us. We blind ourselves and self-deceive ourselves. So because of the blinding nature of Satan’s arrogance, he misinterprets and misunderstands Scripture just as unbelievers do. He wants to interpret it in terms of his own thinking, in his own mind.

Satan has many limitations, particularly no “omni” characteristics. He’s also limited in the area of truth. God is truth. Throughout His very nature He is absolute truth. That means He is also absolute reality because reality is that which conforms to truth.

This is one of the big conflicts today in the intellectualism of post-modern man is that they have rejected absolutes. This plays right into the devil’s hands. Modern man has said there are no absolutes; there’s no truth. This is exactly what Satan is saying except he wants to be the one that identifies and conforms to his own truth.

God is absolute truth. He is the definer of reality, while Satan is the father of lies. He wishes to distort reality thinking he can be like God. He is self-deceived and therefore totally divorced from reality. That is true for all fallen creatures.

We lie to ourselves. We’re self-deceived. We are in arrogance and so we’re divorced from reality and the only thing that brings us back to reality is the light of God’s Word, the illumination of the truth of God’s Word.

Further, we know that Satan has no righteousness in him. There’s no justice in him and there is no light in him even though he masquerades as an angel of light.

Slide 6

The third thing we saw is that as a finite creature, Satan is also totally dependent upon God for his continued existence. Without getting off into a lot of metaphysical extraction, every one of us has something about us that gives us existence. It is a moment-by-moment reality and if God in His will were to pull that from sustaining our existence we would just disappear into nothingness.

So moment-by-moment God sustains; God brings about that continued existence. Satan, the fact that he exists from second to second is due to God enabling him and giving him existence. What we learn from that is that Satan as a creature is finite and as such, he is dependent upon God no matter how much he chafes at that dependence. He cannot be independent.

Satan can’t do anything unless God grants him permission to do it. We have to understand this. This covers the basis of Satan’s limitations. This means when we face Satan, no matter how horrible, how ugly, no matter how powerful and overwhelmingly scary that might be, when we face that which Satan is attempting to do, the God who we are associated with, the God who is our Father, is greater than anything Satan can do.

We just need to relax and trust in God. The Apostle John says in 1 John that “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world”. That pretty much settles it.

Slide 7

The second thing we looked at is that Satan’s strategies are revealed by his titles. We see that there are a couple of different words that are used to communicate the idea of strategy, but fundamentally we started with this title that he is the father of lies. John 8:44.

This is a fantastic chapter in the gospel of John as Jesus is confronting the Pharisees and challenging them. They, in their self-righteousness are rejecting that which Jesus is saying, In John 8:44 He says to them, “You are of your father, the devil.”

That ought to take us back to Genesis 3:15 when it talks about the seed of the serpent. Of course, both Jesus and John the Baptist called them the viper’s brood. They were a brood of vipers which means they are the seed of Satan. It’s just another way of putting it.

Now He says again that Satan is their father, the one who is behind everything they are doing. Then there is a very interesting statement that comes next when Jesus says that he, referring to Satan, was a murderer from the beginning.

As I thought about this phrase, from the beginning, the concept of the beginning is an interesting term, a key term in the Gospel of John. We first see it in John 1:1 when John says that in the beginning was the Word. It’s interesting in the Greek. You have this phrase that is talking about that at a point in time, defined in Genesis 1:1 as that point when God created the space-time universe, when God created the heavens, which is the space and the Earth and it is from that time, not necessarily at that time, that this suggests that Satan is a murderer.

What it suggests to me but we can’t push it too far because there’s not enough evidence but it suggests to me that whatever else we can say about it that Satan’s rebellion against God did not come at the end of Genesis 1 or at the end of the creation week, but from the beginning. There are people always wrestling with this issue of when did Satan fall and how that relates to Genesis 1. I think we get a hint here although it’s not something we can drive a truck through.

He’s a murderer from the beginning. He does not stand in the truth, as I said in terms of his limitations. The truth is not part of Satan whatsoever. There is no truth in him. That’s a very strong statement. When he speaks, whatever he says is a lie. We studied this in 2 Corinthians 12—that he masquerades as an angel of light and a minister of righteousness, but he is a liar through and through. He is nothing but a deceiver.

When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources which, of course, are finite, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 2 Corinthians 2:11 tells us that we need to be careful. The context is dealing with a man who had given himself over to sin. He had married his father’s wife, which is a violation of the Mosaic Law and a violation of the laws of incest.

He had given himself over to that and as a result of that Paul had called for him to be excluded from the congregation. He repented, that is he changed his mind and turned away from his sin, and yet people were still excluding him in the Corinthian congregation.

In the previous verses Paul is saying that the congregation needed to welcome him back now because he had turned from his sin. Paul said that now they needed to do this, “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

By continuing to operate in self-righteous arrogance because you are holding a past sin against someone when it’s no longer an issue, then that is nothing more than blind arrogance. When we fall into any sin of arrogance that’s falling into the sin of Satan.

This verse explains the reason here is that we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. I thought this was a very interesting term. We talked about it a week ago Sunday. The way that this is listed in the Lexica is that this has the idea of Satan’s thoughts, mind, or schemes.

If you look at how this word is translated in this verse, it usually has something along the idea of Satan’s devices, his strategies, his tactics, his schemes, or something of that nature. The word itself is used six times in the New Testament. Its distribution is very interesting because five of these are used in 2 Corinthians by the Apostle Paul. The only other one that is used is in Philippians 4:7.

The idea in each of these is the idea of thinking, what a person thinks. Philippians 4:7 talks about the fact that we are to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving we are to let our requests be known unto God and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard our hearts and minds.

There’s that word, minds. Mind here is used as a figure of speech. We’ve talked about a metonymy before, which is when you put the thing for what the thing does. What does the mind do? The mind thinks. The mind strategizes. The mind works out its plans and its procedures. That’s the idea here.

When we hear that God will guard our hearts and minds, it is not talking about the physical brain; it’s talking about the thought processes that are going on. That’s the idea of this word in each of these various uses, that it is the idea of the thinking of the person.

Slide 10

We’re not ignorant of how Satan thinks. He thinks according to his self-absorption. He thinks according to arrogance. He thinks more highly of himself than he ought to think. He thinks he can be like God and he thinks in terms of deception and lies.

We’re not ignorant of these ways of his, this way of thinking. In 2 Corinthians 11, talking about his use of deception we read, “For such are false apostles …” In the early Church there were such a lot of false teachers and false apostles that were deceitful that Paul warns the Corinthian congregation just as Peter warns his readers about the coming deception in 2 Peter 2.

Paul says, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.” Here he’s talking about the human beings who are being deceived and led astray by Satan who are calling themselves apostles. To be a true apostle of Christ you had to be commissioned by Christ. You had to be a witness of His teaching and you had to be a witness of His resurrection. That only applied to a limited number, the Eleven and the Apostle Paul.

Then in 2 Corinthians 11:14 we read, “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” Satan is able to completely deceive people. He makes himself out to be the most wonderful and glorious creature. The most righteous. The most just. The most loving. He is everything that self-deceived fallen human beings think God is like.

He deceives people in incredible ways. Deception is his central tool. That’s his major way of thinking, in terms of deception. Paul goes on to say in verse 15, “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers—that refers to the fallen angels—also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness whose end will be according to their works.” There is accountability and there is judgment that is coming.

Slide 11

Another passage that is important to look at is in 2 Corinthians 4:4 which says, “The God of this age whose mind has blinded …” As I’ve said many times, it’s not about how we feel; it’s how we think. We have to think according to the Scripture.

A second title we looked at is accuser of the brethren which comes out of Revelation 12:9 talking about Satan, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world …” In verse 10 part of that deception is accusing the brethren before God. “For the accuser of our brethren before our God day and night, has been cast down.”

We saw that the one who defends us is the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a great picture for what we’re going to see in terms of the Ephesians 6 passage. It is Christ who is our defender. He is the One who takes on Satan. It’s not our responsibility or ability to do that.

Slides 12 and 13

Titles such as the devil refers to one who accuses, slanders, lies, and is our adversary. This is the meaning of the word DIABOLOS taken from the Old Testament Hebrew s’atan also meaning an adversary. This is what Satan is doing. He is seeking to destroy us through these false accusations.

Slide 14

Then we look also in relation to this in Ephesians 6:11 that we are instructed to put on the whole armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The term for wiles is where we get our word methods, METHODEIA and it has to do with craftiness. Remember Satan is described in Genesis 3 as the craftiest of all of the creatures. He is the most subtle, the most deceptive, and that’s what this is all about, his attempts to deceive people. Your response to that is to put on the whole armor of God so that we can stand, not so that we can attack.

Slide 15

Then we looked at the title God of this Age, Ruler of this world. Satan is the one who has taken illegitimately the title ruler of this world. He stole it from Adam when Adam sinned. Until Jesus Christ returns and defeats him, he is still going to attempt to turn this world into his kingdom.

In John 12:31 Jesus calls him the ruler of this world and repeats it in John 14:40. The word world refers to this kosmic system of thought, not necessarily the inhabited planet as its used in John 3:16 where it says that God loved the world in this manner. This is talking about that which has organization, the word KOSMOS is a word that has a lot of different meanings.

It talks about things that are arrayed, that are organized a certain way, adorned, and made very, very attractive. This describes all of the organized thought systems of the world. This includes all philosophies, all world religions, anything that is not coming from the Bible.

A lot of people use the phrase, “that’s biblical”. What they mean is that they can make that fit the Bible. What it means when you say something is biblical is it is derived directly from the Bible, via exegesis from the text, this is what the text teaches. It’s not something we can massage and make it seem to fit what the Bible says or something similar to it.

All these organized thought systems of the world are inherently built upon arrogance and antagonism toward God. Those are the twin features of Satan’s thinking. He is arrogant and he is hostile to God. He is antagonistic to God and the things of God.

Slide 16

He’s the God of this age, the passage I just mentioned. He’s the deceiver of minds and the thinking. That’s the idea there. He has blinded the thinking of the world. He blinds those who don’t believe lest the light of the gospel, the glory of God whose is the image of God should shine on them.

As I pointed out when we covered this is that in the Calvinistic doctrine of total depravity, which says that man is incapable of believing or comprehending the truth without God first regenerating man,s is contradicted by 2 Corinthians 4:4. Why does Satan need to blind the unbeliever if the unbeliever is inherently incapable?

Slide 17

Another passage is 2 Corinthians 10:3–5. It’s a very important passage for understanding the war that we are in. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but empowered by God for the destruction of forces.”

I want you to notice that there are four phrases here, three of them deal with the flesh and they’re in contrast to the statement “empowered by God”. “In the flesh” refers to our mortal bodies and though we live our lives in the flesh, the flesh here doesn’t have that overtone of the sin nature here.

Though we live in the flesh, in mortal bodies, we do not war according to the flesh, according to the standards of finite man in independence from God. Then Paul explains why he says that we don’t war according to the flesh. He says the weapons of our warfare are not derived from our autonomy from God, our independence from God. They’re not grounded in our own sin nature and our desire to make life work on our own apart from God.

In contrast Paul says we’re empowered by God. See you have two options. You can do God’s way or you do Satan’s way. That’s basically it. We do God’s work God’s way. A right thing done in a right way is right, but a right thing done in a wrong way is wrong.

A lot of people don’t understand this, that methodology is just as important as what we do, how we do what we do is just as important. There are a lot of people who come up with great ideas about what we should do. We can say they’re right and we see it in politics a lot. You have a particular issue in your life and some politicians comes along and says we need to fix this problem.

You’re right on board with this. Finally, someone has seen the problem you’ve seen. Then the politician comes up with a solution and the solution is wrong, but you’re already sucked in because this guy sees the problem you see then you’re going to go along with it because he wants to fix it. He’s going to do it the wrong way, so methodology is just as important as what we’re doing. We can’t fight Satan according to Satan’s strategies, Satan’s tools, Satan’s methods, or according to the autonomy or independence of our own sin nature.

Slide 18

Then Paul describes this battle in 2 Corinthians 10:5 when he says, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised against the knowledge of God …” What we’re destroying here has to do with thought systems, the philosophies and religions of life, the speculations and these high ideas which are actually opposed to God and the knowledge of God. He says what we are doing is taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

This is what the spiritual life is all about. It’s about thinking. We are to look at every thought. There are some different ways you can handle thought. The word thought here can bring up the idea of every area of intellect. This word involves how we do music, how we do drama, how we think about history, about we think about economics, and how we think about politics. Every area of thought needs to be brought under the authority of divine revelation.

Even though the Bible may not be a biology textbook or a geography or economics textbook or a textbook of political science, the Bible teaches a lot on all of these areas because God in His omniscience is the ultimate creator of all things. We have to learn to submit our thinking to the thinking of God.

We have to take every area of intellectual activity captive to the obedience of Christ. It is not only talking about these areas of intellectual activity, whether it is music or drama or poetry or writing fiction or nonfiction or history or whether it involves business, economics, and commercial activity, but all things need to be under the framework of a Judeo-Christian biblical worldview.

Then we have a passage in Philippians 4:8 where Paul says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate [or think] on these things.”

That’s what we’re supposed to think about. We’re not supposed to think about a lot of things that captivate our minds because that just leads us in the path of lust, whether it’s material or money lust or whatever it may be, sexual lust, chemical lusts, whatever, our thoughts take us in wrong directions. We have to be self-disciplined in our thought life. That’s what it means to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, so these are the categories that we use to look at our thoughts.

Are our thoughts noble? Are they pure? Are they lovely? Are they of good report? Are they virtuous? Are they praiseworthy? Those are the kinds of things we should think about, and it involves a discipline of our minds and our mental attitude.

Paul concludes that verse in verse 9 by saying, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Slide 19

That brings us to our key passage here in Ephesians 6:10–18. It begins in a way that is similar to Philippians 4:8 introducing that which comes toward the conclusion with the word “finally”. He says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

I translated this to finally be strengthened by means of the Lord. It is the Lord who strengthens us. He strengthens us and it is by means of His power. The phrase “by His mighty power” is a term that relates to His omnipotence. We can face the onslaughts of Satan because we are not limited in power. In and of ourselves we are limited in power, but not God.

We have God’s power. He surrounds us with His omnipotence and we are to relax and rest in that. We are to be strengthened by the Lord. This is a different way of doing combat. We’re not out there for a head-on confrontation with Satan, but we are seeking to let God handle the situation.

One of the things we’re going to get to eventually is that we find in the 2 Peter passage on false teaching, and I want to talk a little bit about this thing called the New Apostolic Reformation but not spend a lot of time. I’ve mentioned that a couple of times before. There was an excellent presentation on it at Pre-Trib this last conference.

The New Apostolic Reformation has its roots in the Charismatic Pentecostal Movement in what was identified as the first wave, which is when Agnes Osmond allegedly did something. She wasn’t speaking in tongues. She was speaking in glossaria gibberish in 1901.

This kicked off what was known as the first wave or the beginning of the Charismatic movement. There’s a second wave when an Episcopal rector in Van Nuys, California spoke in tongues in I think it was 1957, which began the charismatic revival. Then you have the John Wimber, Peter Wagner thing that developed out of Fuller Seminary in the 1970s leading to what became known as the Vineyard Movement.

Peter Wagner was a key leader in the missions department at Fuller Seminary, who by the early 90s came along and said the third wave didn’t go far enough and so he said they needed to restore the five-fold ministry which is basically the gifts of prophet and apostle, etc.

They’re out there and he’s written a book on territorial spirits and how to take dominion over Satan and all of that stuff. This dominates a lot of our culture today. It’s an extremely threatening theological system and is very popular within certain areas of so-called evangelicalism today. We have to take a look at that because it is false teaching, and it influences a lot of politics today because they’re into dominion theology.

We have to be strong in God’s power and not in our power. That’s what happens in this dominionist thing, it is taking dominion in the name of Jesus and having a direct assault against Satan. This passage completely destroys that whole mentality.

Slide 20

Paul begins by telling us to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Then he says in Ephesians 6:11 we are to “Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” This is your primary command that comes along in this section. We’re to put on the full armor of God.

Slides 21–23

The other commands in this section are telling us how to do this. It’s interesting that because of the grammar here, which starts off with this present imperative emphasizing that this is supposed to be a lifestyle, shows its importance. Subsequent commands are in an aorist tense. It doesn’t really have to do with time as much as usage.

A lot of times when you have this kind of structure you have the initial command expressed in a present imperative and then the details of how you do that are then expressed in aorist tense commands. The basic command at the beginning here is to put on the full armor of God so you’ll be able to stand firm.

This is the key word that you find throughout this section. The main word is HISTEMI in the Greek. Then you put an ANTI as a prefix, a preposition meaning to stand against. This word is used several times throughout here. This word is an interesting word. It means to stand your ground.

It’s talking about the fact we are wrestling with the demons. We are in this wrestling contest. There are a lot of mixed metaphors here. You have this metaphor of just the hand-to-hand combat in Ephesians 6:12, which reminds us we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.

One of the ideas in the wrestling match was that the opponent would not put you off balance and throw you to the ground. The idea was that you needed to stand and be stable. That’s the background for this.

It’s the stand firm and is translated in some passages as to “resist or stand against or even to oppose”. In the beginning of this section, we have a form of this word in Ephesians 6:11 where it says to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. It doesn’t say to attack his schemes.

Ephesians :13 shows us the reason for standing firm, “That you will be able to resist in the evil day.” Again, this is a defensive term, to not succumb to the deception and temptations as Eve did and then Adam. In Ephesians 6:14 it’s repeated, “Stand firm, having girded and having put on …”

We’ll deal with having girded and put on in a minute, but these are your commands and they’re stated as an aorist imperative, showing this is how you put on the armor. So in Ephesians 6:11 you have the word HISTEMI, to stand in place. Then in Ephesians 6:13 you have the intensified form ANTHISTEMI, to resist or oppose and then back to HISTEMI again in Ephesians 6:14.

Slide 24

The word ANTHISTEMI has this additional idea, not just standing, but resisting and opposing. It’s used three times in the New Testament for resisting the devil, not attacking the devil. In 1 Peter 5:9, James 4:7, and Ephesians 6:13 it is used.

Slide 25

In Ephesians 6:13 we’re to take up the full armor of God for the purpose of resisting in the evil day. That’s the NASB translation which captures the idea better than just saying to stand. James 4:7 tells us “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” 1 Peter 5:9 says, “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

Slide 26

You can see that it’s resist, resist, stand against, and oppose and it is a defensive terminology. Each of these is expanded upon in this slide.

Slides 27, 28

It means to stand still in a stationary position. You’re letting someone else do the attacking. You’re letting Christ go on the offensive. We’re not going on the offensive. We are standing firm with the armor. We are using the Word of God only to counter and to protect ourselves as I’ll show you in a minute. ANTHISTEMI means we resist, we stand against, and we oppose.

Everything in here is focusing on this concept of a defensive posture. Let’s go back to verse 11, “Put on the full armor of God.” This is a clothing term. We are to put on, the word ENDUO, which has to do with putting on clothes, so we’re putting on the armor of God. This follows up the initial command that we are to be strong in the Lord in Ephesians 6:10.

How can we be strong in the Lord? First of all, by putting on the whole armor of God. The putting on the full armor of God is an aorist imperative following up on the present imperative of being strong in the Lord in verse 10. This is against the schemes of the devil.

Slide 29

Now Paul is going to explain why we do this. In Ephesians 6:12 it says, “Because our struggle is not against flesh and blood …” You may think that you are fighting a certain system, maybe some leadership, maybe a group of people in opposition to Christianity. In the 1st century you could identify a person like Nero and others who were perhaps Jewish leaders.

It’s easy to think we’re fighting flesh and blood; we’re putting a human face on the enemy but ultimately they are being energized and powered by Satan. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood in the English. It’s not against human beings. It’s not against mortal powers. Ultimately, it’s against the spiritual forces of darkness that are identified as the rulers, the powers, the world forces of this darkness.

The word there for rulers is the word KOSMOKRATOR. These are the rulers of the kosmic system. These are fallen angels. The word “power” or DUNAMIS, indicates that their capabilities are far beyond anything we can imagine. They are world forces of this darkness. We live in a world of darkness, a fallen world. And they are also called “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenlies”.

They’re invisible to us. We can’t see them. We can’t watch them maneuvering. We can’t comprehend that so we’re fighting an invisible enemy. We can’t take that enemy on because the intelligence, the power, the capabilities is far beyond anything we can image. We have to take up our posture in a defensive way and let Christ deal with it.

Slides 30, 31, 32

That’s the faith-rest drill. We put our faith and trust in Christ, so we are told to be strong in the Lord, to put on the full armor of God by clothing ourselves with all these different aspects of armor that are going to be described. And in Ephesians 6:13 we’re told to take up the whole armor of God ANALAMBANO, which means to take it up. It’s a command so that’s how we fulfill the command to be strong in the Lord is by taking up or putting on the whole armor of God. Those two phrases are synonymous.

Then what do we do with it? We don’t attack. We stand, therefore. As I pointed out before, the first command is a present imperative and the subsequent ones that tell us how to fulfill that initial command are all aorist imperatives. We are strong by putting on the whole armor of God, taking up the whole armor of God, and standing and staying firm.

So Ephesians 6:13 says to take up the full armor of God so that, with the result that, you will be able to resist or stand against in the evil day. That is referring to when you are coming under temptation or when you are coming under attack. It may be through external human forces.

We may see a day not too far distant when there are a lot of assaults against churches, so we have to be prepared for the fact we may no longer have a government that supports the free teaching of God’s Word in local churches. We pray that God would intervene and raise up leaders who would continue to defend our historic laws and our constitution.

We are seeing that during this time of the pandemic various political leaders who are becoming little tyrants and they’re wanting to shut down churches and violate our first amendment rights. There are no qualifications to those first amendment rights in terms of not allowing us to freely assemble. We have to be able to stand against and we do that through putting on the armor.

Slide 33

Then Paul concludes, “Having done everything, stand.” Having done everything that Scripture says, you don’t then try to come up with something else to do. You just relax and trust in God. That is what prepares us. That’s with everything we’ve learned in the Old Testament about God. He is our Shield. Psalm 3:3, “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.”

Slide 34

In Psalm 18:2 God is described as a Rock and a Fortress and a Deliverer as well as a Shield and the Horn of the Power of my Salvation. This is not justification salvation, but deliverance from a temporal problem and a stronghold.

Slide 35

He is called a hiding place in Psalm 119:114, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.”

Slide 36

In Psalm 144:2 He is our fortress, our high tower, and a deliverer and a shield and the One in whom we take refuge.

Slide 37

Psalm 31:2: He is our Rock of refuge, a Fortress of defense. This is important because this applies even to disease. We need to take every precaution that we can, but we trust in God. We need to relax and let God take care of the situation. We do not operate on fear or anxiety, but we operate in trust and we relax and trust in God. He holds our lives in His hands and always has.

Slide 38

This armor illustration we have in Ephesians 6 is one where some try to make every little piece of armor mean something. Actually, what we see is that this is just a general metaphor for protection. It’s used in the Old Testament but in different ways. It’s not this hard and fast thing where breastplate always means this and helmet always mean that, and shoes always mean this and that isn’t always so.

Isaiah 59:17, “For He put on righteousness as a breastplate and a helmet of salvation on His head. He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal as a cloak.” This is talking about when the Messiah comes to establish His Kingdom and uses similar language of this protection, such as the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation.

Slide 39

In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love.” Here the breastplate isn’t righteousness; it’s faith and love because he’s using the metaphor in a slightly different way.

Slide 40

2 Corinthians 6:7, “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand on the left.” Now it’s not just the breastplate of righteousness; the whole armor is called the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.

Slides 41, 42

Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Each time it’s slightly different but the whole idea is the protection of the believer through God’s means and God’s methods. In Ephesians 6:13 we are then able to resist or stand against in the evil day and having done everything, to stand still in a stationary position.

Slide 43

In his commentary on Ephesians, Harold Hoehner, who for many, many years was the head of the Greek department at Dallas Theological Seminary and taught Ephesians from at least the early 70s until around 2004 or 2005 writes, “Due to the military model in the present context, the idea ‘to resist, withstand, stand one’s ground’ is fitting. Thus, the term denotes a defensive rather than an offensive stance. It is better to have a consistent defensive stand. The whole context speaks of a firm stand before the foe, not a victorious one.”

This is the idea in kingdom now theology, to go defeat Satan. But that’s Christ’s job. Ours is to stand firm.

Slide 44

The armor here is described in terms of the helmet of salvation. The helmet protects the head, so this is the idea that our head, or mind, is protected by God’s salvation, that we are justified. We are then to put on the belt of truth, using the antiquated idiom of girding up our loins. That is where a Roman soldier wore a belt around his waist with all his equipment attached to that: his sword, his breastplate, everything hangs on that belt, and it’s described as the belt of truth. In other words, truth is that which holds everything together because it’s absolutely true.

Then we have the breastplate of righteousness. This is both positional and experiential. We have positional righteousness in Christ as we saw in Zechariah 3 of Joshua the high priest. He was clothed in garments of excrement. Satan accuses him and the Angel of the Lord tells him to remove his garments with excrement and they are replaced with white garments. That is positional truth, positional righteousness.

Then when we cleanse from sin either ritually in the Old Testament or through confession in the New Testament, that is our experiential righteousness.

Then we have the shield of faith, which is trusting in the sufficiency of God’s Word that is the shield of the faith, which is what we believe that protects us. The shield here is not the smaller shield, but the larger shield that the soldier could hide behind. That which gives his feet stability is the gospel of peace with God. Now that’s the overview.

Slide 45

Let me give you a couple of pointers as we go over this. The command is to stand firm and then we have it translated simply as a participle, having girded and having put on. The command is an aorist imperative, and the participles are also aorist. What that means is that the action of the participle is at the same time as the action of the command, but usually it is that which precedes it. The standing firm comes as a result of having girded your loins with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.

Slides 46, 47

As you look at it, we could translate it in two different ways. Stand firm by means of girding your loins with the truth and by means of putting on the breastplate of righteousness, or it could be causal which would be to stand firm because you have girded your loins with the truth and have put on the breastplate of righteousness. That’s that command to stand firm and it indicates it’s by either means or cause.

Slide 49

1 Peter tells us, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your   ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy for I am holy’ ”. That soldier’s breastplate is that holiness, being set apart to the service of God that protects us.

This is seen in passages like Romans 6:13 and Romans 14:17. The breastplate guards the believer’s heart against the assault of Satan.

Slide 50

The shodding of your feet with your hobnail sandals is important. This is what gave the Roman soldiers great stability. They marched across the empire and on the backs of their enemies by this firm footwear. For us it is the gospel of peace with God. This prepares a foundation for our lives.

Slide 52

In Ephesians 6:16 we read, “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” The shield consists of faith which is the doctrine, that which we believe.

Slide 53

And this idea of taking up means to just pick it up, put it on, and utilize it. It is the THUREOS shield which is the very large shield which is like standing behind a door.

Slide 54

Polybius describes the THUREOS. He said it had a convex surface. It measured two and a half feet wide, roughly wider than an individual. The average soldier was probably not six feet tall. He was probably closer to five and a half, maybe six feet for some, but the average soldier could hide behind this shield. It was described by Polybius as a hands breadth in thickness. That’s three or four inches thick, so it was very, very heavy but it provided a strong defense against the enemy.

Slide 52

They were able to hide behind it and in certain formations the soldiers could all lock shields and be completely protected from an onslaught of arrows or any other attack. They were able to quench all the fiery darts or the attacks of the wicked One, which is Satan.

Slide 55

Ephesians 6:17 says, “And take the helmet of salvation …” Each one of these is a command. We have to apply the Scripture as it is in each particular area. The helmet of salvation protects our head.

Slide 56

And second, the sword of the Spirit. It’s the short sword. Usually, I have a makhaira sword in front of the pulpit and is a short, double-edged sword, which allows defensive action as well as offensive action.

It’s not the long sword, which is the broad sword which is primarily used in aggression. This sword is used in both defense and well as counterattack. It describes the Word of God. The best illustration of this is when Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by Satan. He tempts Christ by offering Him illegitimate things and Jesus counters each time by quoting from the Book of Deuteronomy. He uses the Word of God to counter Satan’s thrust and to parry it and to then to throw Satan off on his assault.

Slide 57

Then the last verse in this section says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit …” We should be praying continuously as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5, “Pray without ceasing.” That’s continuous bullet prayers as we carry on a moment-by-moment conversation with God.

Then we are to be watchful as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 5:8 to be sober and watch for the attacks because Satan goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. “Being watchful to this end all perseverance and supplication for the saints.”

What we have seen here as we’re wrapping up this series is that we have seen that Satan is alive and well on planet Earth, which is how Hal Lindsay put it in the title of his book. It was the best part of the book. No, he had some good things in there, but he also got a little out-of-bounds in a few places.

Satan is very active. He’s active through his demons. He’s active through many of his devils and through the human leaders of false religions, false philosophies, university professors, politicians, political leaders, and military leaders. These are the devil’s disciples who seek to oppose God and oppose Christianity.

There are those assaults in this age. One of them we don’t have is the assault of demon possession. Despite all of the anecdotal evidence, there’s no hardcore evidence or nowhere in the Scripture from Romans to Jude is there a mention either of a problem of demon possession or a solution to demon possession.

People ask if individuals aren’t demon possessed today. Yes, possibly. The solution, because their volition is not removed, even though it may be suppressed by an indwelling demon, is that they may still respond to the gospel. The issue is the preaching of the gospel because that is the only solution to everything in the New Testament. The individual can respond by trusting in Christ as his Savior.

We’ll come back next time and as part of our study in 2 Peter 2:5 we’ll also look at some of these other assaults that are going to take place in the future during the Tribulation period just as they did in the past, for example, the context of that study is Genesis 6.

Closing Prayer

“Father, thank You for this opportunity to be reminded that You are our fortress. You are a high tower, a stronghold, our defense and You are the One to protect us. We are to stay behind the protective walls of Scripture and the instructions in Scripture.

“We are to look to You in prayer and ask You to protect us and defend us. We are blind as to what Satan is doing in the sense that he is invisible. We can only trust in Your Word. We are to walk by faith and not by sight.

“Father, we pray that You would encourage us with Your Word. You are in control. You are strong and You are stronger than he who is in the world. Father, we can trust in You. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”