Ephesians 6:10-13

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 17, 2006



A Super Bowl Story

Coach Bobby Ross had put together the perfect Lions team for ‘99. The only thing he was missing was a good quarterback. He had scouted all the colleges, and even the high schools, but he couldn’t find a ringer quarterback that would ensure a Super Bowl win. Then one night, watching CNN, he saw a war zone scene in Bosnia. In one corner of the background, he spotted a young Bosnian soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand grenade straight into a 15th story window a good 200 yards away - ka-boom! He threw another hand grenade into a group of about 10 soldiers over 100 yards away - ka-blooey! Then a car passes, going around 90 miles per hour - bulls-eye! Right into it. “I’ve got to get this guy,” Ross said to himself. “He has the perfect arm!” So, he brings him to the States and teaches him the great game of football and the Lions go on to win the Super Bowl for the first time in history. The young Bosnian is lionized as the Great Hero of football, and when Ross asks him what he wants, all the young man wants to do is to call his mother. “Mom,” he says into the receiver, “ I just won the Super Bowl”. “I don’t want to talk to you,” the old woman says. “You deserted us. You’re not my son”. “I don’t think you understand, Mother” the young man pleads. “I just won the greatest sporting event in the world. I’m in the middle of thousands of adoring fans.” “No, let me tell you,” the mother implores. “At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten and came within an inch of losing their lives last week, and this week your sister was mugged...in broad daylight”. The old lady pauses, in tears, “...I’ll never forgive you for making us move to Detroit.”

We are in a war.

The war isn’t just in Bosnia or even Iraq, it’s all around us.

If we choose to ignore the war, we’re finished. We’ve lost.

If we aren’t equipped properly for the war, we’ll be defeated.

But if we do what our commander-in-chief asks, and take the things He equips us with, we will not only survive, we will be victorious.

:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

be strongendunamoo – to be strong, strengthen; to receive strength, increase in strength; related to the word dunamis, “power”

powerkratos – force, strength; power, might; in the NT chiefly of God

mightischus – ability, force, strength, might

Paul uses three different but similar words used for “strength” here.


The right power

We need strength to face the war we’re in.
But our strength is not enough.  We need God’s strength.
We live in a world that knows a lot about fuel.  We have vehicles that run on regular gasoline, others that run on premium.  Some vehicles run on diesel, others run on propane.  Electric vehicles are starting to come into their own and there is talk about one day having a hydrogen car.
But with each vehicle, you need to have the right fuel.
You can’t run a gasoline engine on hydrogen.
The battle we’re in requires the right kind of fuel.  I believe Paul is talking about the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said,

(Acts 1:8 NKJV)  "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

powerdunamis – the ability to follow God.

We need to learn more and more to yield our lives to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to overflow us with His power.

:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

may be abledunamai – to have power; to be able to do something (the verb form of dunamis)

the wilesmethodeia (our word “methods”) – cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery

We have an enemy who has a plan, a strategy to defeat us.

Paul had written to the Corinthians in his first letter about a situation where Paul he asked the church to remove a person from the church because of their rebellious, open and unrepentant sin (1Cor. 5). But eventually the person came to their senses and turned around, so Paul wrote back to the Corinthians to forgive this person and receive them back into the church because …

(2 Cor 2:11 NKJV) lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

devicesnoema – thought; an evil purpose; literally a “working of the mind”
Apparently one of the “wiles” is to trick us into bitterness and unforgiveness.
We too should not be ignorant of Satan’s “wiles” or “devices”
Joe Lewis was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. He fought, if I recall correctly, 71 times professionally; he lost only once. During the decade and a half he held his title, he defended it 25 times. Bill Stern, the voice of American sports on radio, decided toward the end of the Brown Bomber’s career that he would interview him and find out the technique or the secret that Lewis employed in fighting his opponents and how he could win over people who were at times much larger than he. His answer was very simple “I study my opponent, I plan my fight very carefully. The results are always the same. 1) I’m never surprised and 2) I stay on the offensive”.

the devildiabolos – false accuser, slanderer

He is the “slanderer”, the “accuser”.

This title for the devil contains a hint to more “wiles” of Satan.  One of Satan’s strategies is to keep us under condemnation, so riddled with guilt that we feel like we could never do anything for God.


The right weapons

We need to use God’s weapons if we’re going to survive this war against Satan.
God offers us His armor – which we’ll be looking at over the next couple of weeks.
When we talk about the strategy of Satan to discourage us through accusation and condemnation, God has a weapon designed to fight this.
(Rev 12:10-11 NKJV)  Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. {11} "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Satan is called the “accuser of the brethren”.
One of the elements of the victory was the blood of the Lamb.

How does that work?

Satan’s accusation and condemnations work so well because most of the time we deserve all the condemnation he heaps on us.  We are guilty.  We did do something horrible.

But Jesus came to bring forgiveness and healing.

He bled and died on the cross in order to be a sacrifice, a substitute for us.  He died in our place.  We were the ones deserving of death because of our sin.  But instead of us paying the price for our sins, Jesus paid it for us.

We can overcome this “wile” of the enemy when we come to accept God’s forgiveness.

(1 John 1:9 NKJV)  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

A word about “armor”
David and Saul’s armor –

David went into battle to face the giant Goliath, he was offered King Saul’s armor.  But he didn’t use the armor because it wasn’t his, it wasn’t comfortable, he wasn’t used to it.

That was a wise choice for David.

Make God’s armor your own – this isn’t an optional thing to us like it was for David. We MUST get comfortable with God’s armor.
You have to have the right weapons for the enemy you face.
I went to the Troy football game on Friday. They have a fullback named Derrick Coleman, 6’2”, 220 pounds. He can run, and he can run right over his opponents. There was one run where he swung over to our side of the field and went charging down the line. You could hear the crunch as he ran right through the first couple of tacklers. I’d hate to have been that first guy trying to tackle him, but even more if I didn’t have any of that “armor”, the bulky football padding. Ouch!
A Civil War soldier, who had lost his bayonet, whittled one from wood so that he could pass inspection. He hoped he would not be discovered until the regiment had gone into battle, where he planned to pick one up from a dead soldier. At inspection, an officer asked to see his bayonet. The soldier stated, “Sir, I promised my father I would not unsheathe my bayonet unless I intended to kill someone with it.” The Officer insisted that the soldier hand over the bayonet. Taking it out, the soldier looked skyward and said, “May the Lord change my bayonet to wood for breaking my vow.”
In seriousness, that soldier wasn’t ready for a real battle.  He had something that kind of looked like a bayonet, but it wouldn’t do in a real battle.
We need to become familiar with and skilled at using the weapons that God wants us to use.

:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

wrestlepale – wrestling; it’s from an old Greek word (pallo), which meant to throw or swing, and described a contest between two men where they throw each other around until one can hold the other down with his hand on the opponent’s neck. I’m not sure if they broke chairs over each other, fought in a cage, wore makeup, or had someone yelling, “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!!!”

Actually, the Greek idea of wrestling was a little bloodier than WWF. The looser of the match would have his eyes gouged out and be blind for the rest of his life. It doesn’t sound like a little friendly wrestling match, does it?

The battle we face is for keeps.  It’s dangerous.  Lives are at stake.  Eternal lives are at stake.

Paul now gives us a list of who some of the soldiers are we wrestle against. The list describes various rankings of angelic beings.

principalitiesarche – beginning, origin; the “first ones”, the leader; the first place

powersexousia – power of choice, the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); the “authorities”.

rulerskosmokrator – (“world” + “power”) This obscure Greek word is “found in the Orphic Hymns of Satan, in Gnostic writings of the devil, in rabbinical writings (transliterated) of the angel of death, in inscriptions of the Emperor Caracalla” (A.T.Robertson)

ageaion – for ever; period of time, this “age” we live in; Paul uses this word in one of his descriptions of Satan as the “god of this age” (2Cor. 4:4)

spiritual hostspneumatikos – relating to spirit; The word “hosts” is not in the Greek. The phrase could be translated “against spiritual things of wickedness in the heavenlies

heavenly placesepouranios – existing in heaven

As we saw in Rev. 12:10, Satan and his rebellious angels still have access to heaven where they accuse us before God.  There will be a day when they will be kicked out of heaven, but for now they are in the “heavenlies”.


The right enemy

We have an enemy and his name is Satan.
But the problem is that because we can’t see Satan, we fall into the mistake of thinking that some of the people around us are our enemies.
Who are the people who cause you the most trouble? Who causes you the most heart-ache? Who would you identify as the “enemies” in your life?
For some of us, those “enemies” might look like people we work with. For others, it’s a person at school who gives us a hard time. For others, it may be a little closer to home – some of us might be tempted to say our spouse is our enemy, others might say their kids or their parents.

If your enemy is a person that has “skin” on, could I suggest you’re fighting the wrong enemy?


Before Andrew Jackson became the seventh president of the United States, he served as a major general in the Tennessee militia. During the War of 1812 his troops reached an all-time low in morale. As a result they began arguing, bickering, and fighting among themselves. It is reported that Old Hickory called them all together on one occasion when tensions were at their worst and said, “Gentlemen! Let’s remember, the enemy is over there.”

What do I do about the “flesh and blood” people I have trouble with? Jesus gives us four things we can do:
(Mat 5:43-45 NKJV) "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' {44} "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, {45} "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

1. love – this may sound pretty impossible when you have a real mean person staring you in the face, but this is what God wants us to do. We can’t do this on our own strength, but God can help us.

2. bless – I think the issue here is the words that come out of our mouth. Don’t respond with mean things, respond with good things.

3. do good – God wants more than words, He wants actions. Do good things for the people who hate you. Very practical.

4. pray for – you may wonder how you could ever do these things for the people you’ve considered your “enemies”. It starts with prayer. I find it very hard to “hate” people that I pray for regularly, at least if I’m praying the right way for them.

:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

take upanalambano – to raise; to take up (a thing in order to carry or use it).  This is just like salvation – God offers us salvation, but it doesn’t do us any good unless we receive God’s gift of salvation.  In the same way, God offers us His weapons of warfare, but they won’t do us any good unless we learn to use them.

you may be abledunamai – to have power, strength, ability

to withstandanthistemi (“against” + “to stand”) – to set one’s self against, resist

having donekatergazomai (“according to” + “to work”) – to perform, accomplish, achieve; to work out

It seems that it takes some effort on our part in this battle.

It’s not our “strength” (vs. 10) that counts.
It’s not our weapons (vs. 11) that we use.
But we are required to “do all” in the battle.  We have to take advantage of what God offers us.

to standhistemi – to stand; to stand immovable, stand firm; continue safe and sound, stand unharmed, to stand ready or prepared; Same word used in verse 11, also related to “withstand” in verse 13.



As we’ve worked our way through the book of Ephesians, we’ve been reminded of the overall outline of the book:  Sit – Walk – Stand.
Paul starts off the book showing us the wonderful things that God has done for us – these are the things we are to learn to be “seated” with in heavenlies, to learn to receive what God has done for us.
Then Paul talked about our “walk”, what it’s like to follow Christ – how our lives are changed, the work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives, and how God changes all our relationships – marriage, family, and work.
But now it’s time to “Stand”.
We are in a battle and we need to stay on our feet.
In the wrestling match, you try to throw your opponent down keep him down.
Our goal is to stand.
If you haven’t noticed, you have an enemy who hates you.
Every time you make a stand for Christ, you will find opposition.
For some of you, you remember what it was like when you began to think about following Jesus. All sorts of things went wrong. There were all sorts of things to distract you from making that decision.
For others of you, the moment you made that decision, things went bad. You thought that following Jesus would end all your problems, but they got worse.
For others of you, you’ve found that each time you take a step of growing, a step of following Jesus more, a step of serving Christ, you have seen opposition. I’ve talked with people who have come to the conclusion that they are better off not getting too serious about the church thing, because every time they do, trouble happens.

In his book, Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes, “There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. “Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons, but the instructor wanted $5 a lesson. It was cheaper to pay the bully, so I gave up karate.”

Too many Christians believe it’s easier to pay the bully than learn how to defeat him.

I’m not reminding you of these things to scare you away from Jesus. I’m trying to remind you that there is an enemy who wants to either keep you from turning to Jesus, or at least keep you from getting too serious about Him.
And our call is to stand. Don’t quit. Don’t lay down. Don’t turn away. Stand.
Get back up
(Prov 24:16 NKJV) For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.
His strength.
His weapons.
Against the right enemy.