Notes on Christian Warfare (6)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Saints Ability   (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

The ability of the saints to stand, to be invincible in the face of the enemy lies here (v11). The alternative is not just flight, but utter capitulation, ending in a rout. We are to stand as victors in Christ, unvanquished. Therefore, perseverance in the use of the whole armour of God is indispensable. To pray without ceasing. The general’s command is, stand! To be on our guard at all times. The sentry may not fall asleep, nor leave his post until he is relieved.In a war zone, the sentry who does either would face an immediate court martial and be shot. And if you are a believer in Christ living in this world you ought not to be asleep (Ephesians 5:14). And neither have you as yet been relieved of your duties (Mark 13:13). God’s grace flows to us through the armour. For putting on the full armour of God is the same as putting on the Lord Jesus Christ, thus, the grace of God comes to us through Christ (Romans 13:14). We pray but we pray in the Spirit, without the grace of the Lord we cannot pray as we ought (Zechariah 12:10). Why are our prayer meetings throughout the land today dull, boring, dead even? Because we lack this very thing of which the prophet speaks, “the spirit of grace and of supplications” (v10). There is no spiritual life without the life-giving Spirit of grace. In the ongoing battle against the flesh, Paul, in a very real sense disowns the stirrings of sin as alien intruders to his new life in Christ. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:15:20). These intruders have no right to intrude, he has no desire for their interference now that he is a new man. But he has to fight them off, he has to slay them. How? “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13). He says, “evil is present with me” (Romans 7:21). Put the letter ‘D’ in front of the ‘evil’ and you have the enemy that Paul has to fight. And so too do we. It is the Devil who stirs up the evil, kindles the fires of sinful thoughts, feelings, and desires. Then he stands back and accuses us (Revelation 12:10).

Our forgiveness is real, but Satan does not want us to enjoy that forgiveness. He tempts and he taunts and accuses us. If he can get us preoccupied with our sins and failures, or keep us bound to our besetting sin or sins, he will leave us bereft of any enjoyment of God and our new life in Christ. He is ever seeking to destroy our peace and to distract us from serving God. But if he can get you in a downward spiral, burdened with feelings of guilt and shame, he knows you will consider yourself totally unfit for service. How he loves to keep you there. If he can blot out all thoughts of Jesus who tells you over and over, you are forgiven, “be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2)! He has the upper hand, he has drained you of that good cheer, the joy of your salvation. Yes, there are times when we have sinned and we need to put it away (1John 1:7). We need to make restitution if we can. But, we need to resist the Devil. Instead of submitting ourselves to his relentless taunting and accusing, we need to, submit, therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). That is the answer, we have the God given ability through the Lord Jesus Christ, put him on, and, “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). To be clothed in Christ is to be clothed in the whole armour of God.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
Sermon Audio

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