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THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO STAND – Ephesians 6:10-13

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on August 30, 2017 under AM Bible Study |

AM Bible Study Group; August 30, 2017 from Ephesians 6:10-13

Theme: The believer must take up the whole armor of Christ to stand against the devil’s attacks.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

In the command to walk in a manner worthy of God’s calling in Christ (Ephesians 4:11), Paul had been applying the command to the peaceful life of home and work (5:22-6:9)—between wife and husband, child and parent, and servant and master. But now, Paul’s instructions take a very serious turn where the situation is not so peaceful. Paul reminds the believer that he or she is in the midst of a spiritual battle against a powerful enemy set on the utter destruction of that worthy walk. And so, to walk fruitfully and victoriously, the believer MUST wear the armor God has provided.

It has often been observed that the Book of Ephesians is the New Testament parallel to the Old Testament Book of Joshua. In both books, the theme is that of the people of God taking up the inheritance that He has given them. And in both cases, the people of God must do so in the context of battle. It is a battle that, if God’s people are submitted to Him and obedient to His call in both stories, they will certainly win. But they must do as God says, and take up the provision God has made. The theme in Ephesians 6:10-20 is the spiritual warfare of the believer; and in verses 14-17 we’re told about the spiritual armor, and in verses 18-20 about the offensive weaponry. But in verses 10-13, we’re told first about the reason why this provision is necessary—and why it is so vital that it be taken up.

A failure to grasp what it said in verses 10-13 is not just neglectful in the Christian life; it is disastrous; and no doubt explains why many fail to make progress in the Christian life—or even fall off the path altogether. May the Holy Spirit help us to realize the situation we are in, and enable us to take up the whole armor—and thus stand!

Notice first …


Paul begins by saying, “Finally, my brethren …” (v. 10). (Note that not all ancient manuscripts contain the words “my brethren”.) Paul’s introductory word “finally” (or, as it can be translated, “of the remaining matters …”) is meant to draw our attention to this as a final and necessary concern regarding the worthy walk. It is not to be neglected!

This final word is an appeal to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (v. 10). Certainly, it is a call to be strong; but a believer falls into great danger when he or she seeks to “be strong” on the basis of their own human resources. For the situation in which we are called to walk the worthy walk, our own human resources will not do. As Paul affirms in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” For such a mighty spiritual work, only spiritual resources can be sufficient.

Therefore, in the context of being strong in Christ and in His power, Paul writes, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (v. 11). Note several important details:

1. We’re commanded to put on this armor. As redeemed people, we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ (see Isaiah 61:10); and that is something that is placed on us as God’s gracious act toward us. But here, we’re commanded to put the armor on ourselves. It is our responsibility.

2. We’re commanded to put on the whole armor. Each piece is essential and is a part of a necessary whole; and no part is to be neglected. If we pick and choose which piece we will wear, we will end up unprotected.

3. The command is given in the light of the threat of a powerful enemy. The ‘wiles’ (or “schemes”) come from a powerful enemy—comparable to a roaring lion (see 1 Peter 5:8-9)—who has had at least 6,000 years of experience in trapping God’s people and robbing them of a full inheritance in Christ. It is a life-or-death battle for him; and he will not give up the terrain he has stolen easily.

4. The end goal is that, when the attack is over, we “stand”. Therefore, this command to take up the whole armor of God is absolutely necessary in order to “stand” against the devil’s schemes and crafty plots.

This ‘necessity, then, leads us to next consider …


Paul writes, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, …” We sometimes think that we do; but that itself is one of the devil’s wiles. He keeps us focusing on people who are hostile to us; and so—without realizing we’re doing so—we end up distracted by fighting the wrong enemy. Our war, ultimately, is not against human opposition. All human opposition—no matter how powerful it may seem—is ultimately only the temporal tool of our real enemy.

Our striving is not against flesh and blood (because it is flesh and blood that we seek to win from the devil through the gospel); “but against principalities” (that is, spiritual—not human—rulers), “against powers” (or “authorities”), “against the rulers of the darkness of this age” (using a word here that means “world rulers”; suggesting the influences that demonic forces hold over nations), “against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Consider that these forces are not yet thrown out of heaven, but are still in the heavenly places in rebellion against God for a time. How plain it is, then, that we absolutely MUST don the whole armor of Christ!

That leads us lastly to consider …


As a logical consequence, Paul writes, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day …” The word “withstand” here is one that means “to set in opposition; to oppose; to resist”; and it is, in fact, the same word used in 1 Peter 5:9, when Peter writes of the devil, “Resist him, steadfast in the faith …” The on-going purpose that the armor is meant to protect, then, is that of resisting the devil’s attacks. It is important to remember what our place in the battle is. It is not to attack the devil; but rather to resist him when he attacks us. We defeat him—through the power of Christ, and by taking up the whole armor—by not being defeated by him.

And for that reason, note the long-term outcome: “and having done all, to stand.” If we take up the whole armor as we should, then when the dust of battle is cleared, we will be left standing—faithful to our Savior and still holding on to every spiritual blessing we have received in Him. Paul said that it was in this way that he and the other apostles commended their ministry: “by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left” (1 Corinthians 6:7). And this is also true for the believer:

* * * * * * * * * *

Paul urged elsewhere, “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Thessalonians 5:8-10). The command, then, to take up the whole armor is told to us more than once.

Next, then, we’ll consider that armor piece by piece.

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