Summary of Figuring life out: as you face the enemy
Brent begins with a discussion on why our world refuses to label terrible acts as evil. As Christians, we understand that there is an entity that is evil and it does evil and rejoices in evil. This, of course, is the Devil. Brent then asks the audience what is our perception of the Devil: is he a cute harmless cartoon or is he a real evil entity?
We must realize that we are in a spiritual battle
The spiritual realm is real and it affects the physical world. Even though our society has devalued the supernatural, it is clear that the supernatural is real. Paul is writing not in generalities: he is referring to the Devil. But we must be careful not to hyper-spiritualize everything.
The Devil can affect governments
The spiritual forces in the spiritual realm are powerful and can affect our physical world. The Devil can even affect governments and people of power. This is proven when the Devil tempts Jesus — during the 40 days in the wilderness — with the power to rule the world. This means the Devil did in fact have the power over aspects of Jerusalem and the Roman empire. Jesus didn’t refute the Devil’s claim to have this power because it was true.
The Devil’s made me do it — or maybe not
We forget that our own heart (“our own body”) tempts us to sin. We must remember that the Devil is not omnipresent, which means he isn’t always focused on us. Perhaps we are so weak by our own heart that we don’t even need the Devil’s encouragement.
The war is over and the Devil has already lost
Why do we live as if we have been defeated in this spiritual battle? Jesus has won it all. The cross (“Jesus’ sacrifice”) has defeated spiritual death. The cross has defeated the Devil.
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood…
Brent provides various examples where things don’t seem so black and white when we consider the spiritual aspects of the situation. (To the reader: Brent told a story about a funeral that might be held at SouthRidge. Listen to the audio to understand the complexity of this funeral’s circumstances.)
The devil doesn’t come dressed in a red cape
The Devil isn’t going to show up in an obvious way. He’s going to arrive in such a sly way that we won’t even know we are being manipulated through temptations. Brent provides several great examples of how the Devil works through temptations and our own weaknesses. Here is a short list of some of the great examples Brent provided:
- We are not worthy of God’s forgiveness
- Guilt regarding past sins
- Intimidates us into silence and fear (“You don’t know your Bible well enough, so read it more before you act out your faith”)
- Sin isn’t that bad
- The cost of follow Jesus is too much.
- Why would a “loving God” ask a person to such a hard thing? He must not be that loving.
- He will begin to isolate us from other Christians
How do we fight the devil?
We are called to:
- Verse 11: Be strong in God’s power – be filled with the Spirit (“be strong” doesn’t mean we go and grab it, instead it means God will send his Spirit on an ongoing basis. We need to be active in our relationship with God. We need to draw near to him and obey him.)
- Verse 12: put on God’s armour – Paul says “put on the armour of God” because clothes do make the man or woman. (We will cover this topic in an upcoming message)
- Verse 12: to stand – this is what we are called to do. We are called to stand against the Devil’s temptations.
Resource: John White, The Fight (Book)
About this Message Series
This is a message in a series called Ephesians. The goal of this series is to discuss the topics and themes that arise from the New Testament book Ephesians. The book of Ephesians is a letter that Paul wrote while in prison. Sometimes it is called a Prison Epistle. It was written to encourage believers. He was encouraging other faithful followers of Jesus to serve in unity and love in the midst of persecution. This series was started in January 2016.
About the Speaker
Brent is the lead pastor here at SouthRidge. He and his wife Pam were part of the original church plant.