Ephesians 6_10-13      Principalities and Powers

Rev. David Holwick  F

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

February 9, 1992

Ephesians 6:10-13


  I. Illustration of modern terrorism.

     Where were you in 1973?

     I was a junior in high school in Heidelberg, Germany.

        500 feet away was the U.S. Army headquarters where our dads worked.

     It was surrounded by a wall and the military police always checked

        our identification cards when we went in.

     A lot of my classmates would go over there for lunch.

     That particular afternoon as people were leaving the cafeteria, a

        powerful explosion devastated the area.

     The car bomb killed two people immediately and injured several others.

     All of us had read about the notorious Beider-Meinhof terrorist gang,

        but it never seemed real until that day.

     From that point on, the checkpoint police carried guns at their sides

        and searched every car.

     Normal security was no longer good enough.

II. Christians are involved in a silent but deadly struggle.

      A. Everybody faces typical struggles.

          1) Tension within a family.

          2) Problems with people at work.

          3) Obnoxious neighbors.

              a) Paul has been dealing with these relationships.

              b) He calls these struggles against "flesh and blood."

      B. Sometimes these struggles take on a spiritual nature.

         The town of Leadville, Colorado, had a gold rush in 1877.

         Prime property was snatched up all over town by people eager

            to make a fortune.

         Lots were so valuable people tried to steal them by hook or crook.

            Even the clergy had their church properties jumped.

         The Reverend Mr. T. A. Uzzell arrived in town, bought a lot and

            started the first church in the area.

         A few days later he saw that a group of strange men had unloaded

            lumber on his lot and were about to put up their own building.

         The minister explained that he was building a church there.

             The strangers told him to fold his church and fade away.

         So the Reverend Mr. Uzzell took off his coat, rolled up his

            sleeves and waded into those who were trying to dispossess him.

         The church was built.                                      #1595

      C. Christians also face a harder struggle.

          1) People can be tough.

          2) But there is an unseen, spiritual warfare that is tougher.

          3) Some are totally unaware of it, others are overwhelmed by it.

III. The enemy we face.

      A. The existence of evil forces is assumed in this passage.

          1) No biography or origin of evil or Satan is given.

          2) Ephesus had much experience with the occult.

              a) Jewish exorcists rashly used Jesus' name.   Acts 19:13-17

              b) Converts burned their books of magic.       Acts 19:18-20

          3) If God has created a New Society, Satan wants to destroy it.

              a) Where the Church has taken down barriers, he wants to

                    re-erect them.

      B. "Struggle/wrestle" metaphor may refer to hand-to-hand combat.

          1) Military imagery dominates the end of Ephesians.

          2) Transition from peaceful family life to warfare is jarring.

          3) Is also realistic.  Christians are not escapists.

      C. "Rulers, authorities, powers..."           6:12

          1) Popular theme in modern theology.

              a) Liberals see in them human institutions like gov't.

              b) Nazism, racism, etc.

              c) A form of "demythology."

          2) Paul's thought cannot be limited to this.

              a) He sees evil as real and personal and "in heavenly places."

              b) Satan is not as powerful as God, but he is just as real.

              c) He is well organized, and out to defeat God's kingdom.

IV. Our devil is too small if...                                  #1287

      A. He is merely a personification.

          1) To many, even God is an afterthought.

          2) Satan is more than a symbol.

              a) Jesus believed in him.

              b) Even our cultural has hints of recognizing this.

          The Academy award nominated movie "Broadcast News" has a part

             where the hero gives an amazing description of what the

                Devil is like.

          He doesn't have horns and a pointy tail.  Instead, he is...

          "Attractive, nice, and helpful.  ... But bit by little bit,

             he'll lower our standards where they're really important."

      B. Satan is consigned to long-ago times and faraway places.

          1) Satan roams over the whole earth.             Job 1:7

          2) Whole world is under his power.    Jn 12:31; 14:30; 1 Jn 5:19

      C. We assume he leaves Christians alone.             1 Pet 5:8

          1) The Devil tried to tempt Jesus.

          2) He cannot steal your salvation, but he can ruin your

                spiritual effectiveness.

      D. We decide he is not capable of performing miracles.

          1) The Bible says he can.           2 Thess 2:9; Rev 13:13

          2) Power of occult and New Age may be genuine.

              a) But not everything that "works" is from God.

              b) Judge the fruit.

      E. We think we are smart enough, quick enough, strong enough, or

            holy enough to resist him on our own.

          1) Paul's two exhortations:

              a) General:  Be strong in the Lord.           6:10

              b) Specific:  Put on the whole armor of God.  6:11

          2) Exhortations reveal balance of Bible.

              a) We cannot be so self-confident we they we can gain

                    victory by our own strength.

              b) Neither can we be so self-distrustful that we think we

                   have nothing to contribute to the victory.

                  1> "Be strong" equals "be strengthened" (passive present).

  V. What area of your life is most open to Satan's attack?

      A. Insecurity and fears.

      B. Temptations and addictions.

      C. Spiritual laziness.

          1) It is time to finally take responsibility for our own

                spiritual maturity.

          2) Most of us are undisciplined, lazy, weak, and inexperienced.

                If attacked, we would be overwhelmed.

VI. What God has done to help you.

      A. Jesus Christ has defeated the power of the devil.

          1) His death on the cross spelled Satan's doom.     1 Cor 2:7-8

      B. Satan is defeated, but not yet destroyed.

          1) God has power available to gain the victory.

          2) Moral turmoil of Romans 7 is not last answer.

VII. What you must do to win the victory.

      A. Accept Christ as Savior.

      B. Turn over every area of your life to him.

          1) The Ephesians burned their occult books.

      C. Resist temptation.

      D. Develop your spiritual strength through prayer and Scripture.

Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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