What’s Next? Strive To Conquer! Ephesians 6: 10-20

Ephesians 6: 10-20

By Lay Pastor Kasieli Zebua
Johor, Sunday, December 16, 2018

We are to be thankful if we can enjoy the victory through Jesus’ birth and the scarifice of His life for us. This way, we can experience His provision and victory. Please note that achieving a victory is not easy-peasy. We must bend our efforts for it. As the proverb says, “No gain without pain” ─ without sacrifice or struggle, there will be neither victory nor gain. The Lord knows that life is a matter of struggles. He equips us with His armor to be strong and tough soldiers so that we may come out as winners in Him.
To be tough soldiers, the Lord has equipped us with the whole armor of God. Ephesians 6: 10-20 write, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which i am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it i may speak boldly, as i ought to speak.”
The word “finally” in Greek is loipou, meaning “henceforth = starting from this time. ” That is to say, what should we do next? What is our next duty? Through the Word of God we understand that our next job is STRIVING TO CONQUER!
We once died in sin and trespasses but made alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2: 1-6). We were once Gentiles in the flesh but now are of God’s household (Ephesians 2: 11-22). Having been redeemed and saved, we are obliged to maintain the unity in the relationships among the fellow members of the body of Christ, between husbands and wives, between parents and children, and between masters and servants. In our country, the armed forces exist to serve, protect and defend the Indonesian people against the enemies. In the same manner, the Lord wants us, as soldiers of Christ, to play such a role. In reality, we have no strength for challenging warfare. Yet, only in Him do we receive power and strength to win the battle (v. 10).
Equipped with the whole armor that God has provided, we, as soldiers of Christ, must possess three war skills to win a battle:
1. Having a strong defence
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6: 11-12).
Strong armed forces make a strong nation. And one of the key factors is the existence of tough soldiers. As soldiers, we deal with strong foes: against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. If we are not strong in the Lord, we will lose the battle. With the whole (not partly) armor of God, we are able to take a stand against the enemy.
Besides wearing the whole armor of God, consisting of the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, we are to train ourselves to use it. In the same way, we must live out the Word and count on it as our strength and protection when the enemies come attacking us to weaken our faith.
Being equipped with the Word of God, fellow believers among us, husband and wife, parents and children, masters and servants can hold their ground and resolve problems. The Word of God is able to shield our hearts and minds from the devil’s fiery darts of harsh words so that they cost us no heartaches.
The problem is: God has given us His whole armor to make us strong but we are not able or even willing to put it on. We are passive and miss the fighting spirit. As a result, we lose when multiple problems come attacking us. No wonder so many marriages end in divorce leaving children “unparented,” many fail in their ministries, and the list goes on and on.
Be careful! The enemies attack both from the inside and the outside as well. Without a stronghold, defeat is right before our eyes.
Have we taken up the Word of God? Have we had a stronghold in Him? Or, have we been defeated by sins and we have encountered many problems this year? If we have failed, let’s not blame God for He has given us His whole armor as our stronghold so that we may stand firm in any circumstances. Now the question is: Have we put on the whole armor of God? We have heard the Word many a time. We must put it into practice in every aspect of our lives. Or else, we will be easily deceived by the cunning trick of Satan, just like Eve. Satan twisted the Word and caused Eve to doubt God’s Word resulted in the fall.
Husband and wife must strive to maintain their marriage unity until death set them apart. In whatever relationships (e.g. among brothers in Christ) we are in, we must be faithful to the end. The Apostle Paul rebuked the church in Galatia that had begun in the Spirit but was perfected by the flesh (Galatians 3: 3). They deserted the Gospel of Christ for a different gospel (Galatians 1: 6-7).
Putting on the whole armor of God empowers us to take a stand, not only for a short while but until we finish the race, standing firm triumphantly. Let’s follow in the Apostle Paul’s footsteps. He strived up to the finish line, fighting the good fight and keeping the faith (2 Timothy 4: 7).
2. Being able to attack the enemies
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6: 13).
What should we do next? We must use the whole armor of God to resist and defeat the enemies. In other words, we not only hold our ground but also attack the enemies using the Word of God.
Didn’t Jesus win Satan’s temptation with the Word of God as His armor, saying, “It is written” (Matthew 4: 4, 7, 10)?
2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 write, “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 divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
We must actively use the powerful Word of God and the Holy Spirit as weapons to resist all kinds of sin such as hatred, pride, disputes, filthiness, disobedience to the Word, denouncement of the truth, the spirit of separations, and so on. All these things must be taken captive and defeated for Christ.
3. Being watchful at all times (Ephesians 6: 18-20)
Aside from the ability to take a stand, resist and defeat the enemies, a soldier must always stay on guard because enemies are roaming around. Following their defeat, the enemies may stay far away. But they will come back at the right moment when we drop our guard. After Jesus overcame the temptation, the devil departed from Him, waiting for the right time to return (Luke 4:13). Using a parable, Jesus also warns us that an unclean spirit who has left a man goes through dry places, seeking rest and finding none. When he later finds the house swept and put in order but empty, he comes back along with seven other spirits more wicked than himself. Then they enter and dwell in that house (Luke 11: 24-26).
Now, what should we do to stay vigilant?
 Stay prayful and watchful.
God has equipped us with His armor but let’s not forget to pray in order to be watchful.
Ephesians 6: 6:18-19a say,“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me,...” . Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5: 8). And do not give place to the devil (Ephesians 4: 27).
 Be ready to boldy preach the gospel (vv. 19-20).
We must be ready to preach the gospel. Confronted with challanges, Paul asked the church in Ephesus to pray for him that he might be given the boldness to share the Word of God. In another letter (2 Timothy 4: 2-5), the Apostle Paul reminnded the young Timothy to preach the word, and stay ready in season and out of season for the time would come when they
would not endure sound doctrine. Then they would gather teachers according to their own desires to please their ears. Everyone of us must be ready to preach and share the Word of God. The Apostle Paul already wrote about this difficult time 2000 years ago. Our current condition is all the more difficult. Therefore, we must preach the Word in an outspoken fashion instead of turning it into fables that are pleasing to the ear.
Do we really enjoy reading the Word of God rather than other news on social media and the like? Do we spend more time reading the Bible than other news? How much more?
So again, what’s next? We must be ready to strive to conquer. Remember, life is a matter of struggles. The Lord has equipped us with His armor. Let’s put on His whole armor and strive to win a victory. We must be able to withstand, to resist and to stay alert. In doing so, we can defeat the enemies and finish the race. Amen.

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