Ephesians 6:10-12 Part 2: Walk Worthy of the Gospel: Stand Against the Schemes of the Devil
“The burden of discipleship lies with the disciple, follow me is the invitation and the rest depends on what I do with that.” – Omar Reyes
Who Our Enemy Is Not: Flesh and Blood
The text is clear. Our enemy is not each other. Our enemy is not even those that the world system calls our enemies.
Sometimes people are an unwitting tool of the enemy, but are in and of themselves not our enemy. Sometimes flesh and blood must be opposed because it can threaten harm as an unwitting instrument in the work of the enemy.
Paul tells us that we are not to be combative and quarrelsome toward our opponents (those who are opposed to the gospel) because we hope for their rescue. Listen to why Paul says they need to be resuced:
“…and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:26)
Muslims are not our enemy. They’ve been taken captive. We free captives.
Liberal theologians are not our enemy. They’ve been taken captive. We free captives.
Our enemy plays creature against creature and we must be aware enough to fight the right war.
Sometimes there are those on the inside who claim to work for the gospel but actually are instruments of Satan to disrupt the work of the gospel. Paul says that his tactic is to continue to do what he is doing “…in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles…disguising themselves as apostle of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness…”
These people, unlike those taken captive in their unbelief, are to be undermined and opposed. Jesus called them wolves. Paul called them wolves.
How did Jesus oppose them? He rebuked them harshly in Matthew 23:1-36. He screamed at them.
Sometimes we will find ourselves loving those opposed to the gospel because they have been taken captive.
Sometimes we will find ourselves screaming while seeking to undermining Satan’s disguised instruments of upheaval, but the source is one and the same. It’s Satan.
Therefore, in our fighting, we must remember that we seek to attack and destroy the evil one and his works not those taken captive.
Sometimes it’s hard to know if you are attacking the enemy or the one take captive.
To know how to distinguish between captive and evil one we will need:
- To be actively engaged in the fight
You can’t fight a spiritual war while on the sideline or in the stands criticizing those on the field for their work.
- To be dependent on the Holy Spirit to give you discernment
Who is Our Enemy: Our Enemy is Satan and all the angelic hosts who followed in the rebellion
Rulers – act, cause or beginning; head; thus the translation “rulers”
Although debated, some argue that this passage teaches a “hierarchy” in angelic and demonic orders.
Authorities – authority, right, liberty, power to do something
Cosmic Powers – lords of the world; can be referencing demonic entities or even humans who are agents of demonic entities; more likely, in context, referencing Satan and his demons
This Present Darkness – (has the article) darkness, works of darkness; with the article it means “the works of darkness”
Spiritual Forces of Evil in the Heavenly Places – literally “spiritual the evil in the heavenlies”; spiritual, meaning not physical; (the article is present meaning “the evil”) evil; in the realm of the spiritual
- Daniel 10:12, 13; cf. v. 20
“Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty- one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come…”
- 1 John 5:19; 2:15-17
“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one…”
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever…”
- 2 Corinthians 4:4
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
- Ephesians 2:2
“…in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience…”
- Acts 26:18 (Paul’s recounting of his transformation and calling on the Damascus road encounter with Jesus)
“…to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me…”
- 2 Corinthians 11:12-15
“And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
- 1 John 4:1-3
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”
What Describes our Engagement with the Enemy: We Wrestle
Wrestle – struggle; hand to hand combat
Paul chooses the word “wrestle” to describe our engagement with the enemy.
Paul even gives “wrestle” the article, and literally it would be translated “the wrestle”. This indicates that this standing against the schemes of the Devil is “the wrestling” that needs to be done. It is the primary fight.
Perhaps one scheme of the Devil is to deceive us into thinking wrestling with each other is a primary task. If we are busy going hand to hand with each other, guess who is freely and covertly attacking? Satan!
We are to go hand to hand with Satan and his demonic hoards.
How are we to wrestle?
- Be aware this wrestling is real
- Take your thinking captive to the truth of Scripture
- Don’t be a victim of your emotions and by all means don’t make
decisions based on your emotions
- Don’t underestimate the spiritual warfare invited when we live
in sin and rebellion
- Don’t think that because you are obeying and seeking to be actively
engaged in the work that spiritual warfare won’t be needed
- Don’t assume that the spiritual climate here is benign. Naturalism is
part of the spiritual deception and the enchantment is real. Doubt
about the legitimacy of spiritual war is spiritual war and you are
loosing the battle.
Illustration: Demonic voice telling me my sister was dead to keep me awake and not able to preach (I had pneumonia and was sick in Africa while sleeping in a tent and needed rest) is normal for Africa. But silence and concealment is part of the bewitching warfare in the materialistic west. Silence does not mean absence. It means that the warfare is more insidious.
- Pray for discernment to be aware of and identify specifically the demonic
- Hebrews 5:14
“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”
There is Holy Spirit discernment that is given for the moment and there is discernment gained by walking in the truth and being able to discern a lie because you are so trained by the truth. This takes practice.
- Don’t be afraid to call the demonic out and command it to leave
- Don’t play games with the occult for curiosity. Rebuke it.
- Be in community
- 1 Corinthians 12:10
Some may be given the gift of distinguishing between spirits to know evil from holy. You want to be around these people. The Spirit may just send them to you at the right time.
Illustration: Joseph Colston and I rebuking death and destruction.
- Don’t fear, the Lord Jesus has given us authority over the demonic
- Luke 9:1-2
“And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”
- Fear and avoidance is just what the enemy would like, so don’t
avoid spiritual conflict
- Don’t play curiously with spiritual conflict
- Acts 19:11-20
Understand and Practice Worship as Wrestling: Worship King Jesus for his Dominion
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
Ephesians 1:15-23(see verse 20); 2:4-6
“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…”