Paul first arrived in Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Acts 18). He visited a second time during his third missionary trip (Acts 19) which proved to be a tumultuous time for the church. People were baptized, silversmiths were infuriated, and a riot even broke out. Paul’s relationship to Ephesus was interesting, to say the least. Continue reading “An introduction to Ephesians.”
Can you imagine how encouraging it would be to walk into a job interview and hear the employer say, “I already have plans for you.” Knowing we had a place in the company might be encouraging. However, knowing that the company recognized our potential and was already forming specific plans for our work with them would really get us excited. It would mean that we have been assured of a good future with this company and that would make the physical work joyful, something we looked forward to each day.
Victory in battle is not something that is promised. It is something that requires that you know your enemy, knowing how he will attack, and then prepare yourself for battle.
Our nation has known many wars, but Vietnam is the first one that I remember. As a child it is the war that most of the older men that I know speak about. After much study and interest in this war I must conclude that it was an extremely frustrating war. Thick jungle terrain made the enemy hard to find, and guerrilla warfare made him hard to fight. Many Vietnamese who peacefully worked in the rice paddies during the day would put on the black garb of the Viet Cong by night. He would invade unsuspecting U.S. forces camped nearby and then disappear. Another aspect of this war that made it particularly difficult was public opinion. Most American’s were strongly anti-war and the effect on our troops was devastating. Morale among our troops was often really low which affected how they fought.
In the same way, spiritual warfare for the Christian has many parallels.
Subtly and with great deceit, Satan disguises himself as “an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) and “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Even his emissaries disguise themselves as Christians and “servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:13-15). With such a cunning enemy, it takes great wisdom and discernment to know who he is much less defend against his attacks.
Most Christians today seem to be defenseless. It seems like this because they chose to close their eyes to the supernatural and deny that we are at war. Some seem to think that Satan is a good plot for a TV series (No joke, there is a TV show called “Lucifer” that portrays Satan as someone who just wants to have fun while on vacation) or a good book. It seems like they think that only the superstitious and credulous take the idea of Satan and spiritual warfare seriously. Some Christians have just given in to the mocking and ridicule of those who are not Christian and think we are foolish to believe in Jesus.
Church, we are indeed at war. Ephesians 6:10-12 reminds us that this spiritual battle is real and that God expects us to participate. He has given us everything we could possibly need or want to win this battle but we must volunteer for active duty. He has given us the full armor of God so that we can stand firm against our enemy (Eph. 6:11).
Let me encourage you to seek to better understand this battle and find the grace to identify the enemy and stand against him with all courage.