Paul had just written of the mutual submission that the people of God ought to have for one another in the various groupings in the Christian family. Now he looks outside that family to the challenge of the world outside the Christian church. The believers needed to know the strength that only God could give them to live and minister in that world.
1). THE COMMAND TO BE STRONG. Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord (Greek word is endynamousthe from dunamis meaning power.) Paul was able to command his readers to be strengthened because he himself had looked to God for strength and had indeed been strengthened by Him. He used the same word in these verses, Phil 4:13, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me; 1Tim 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me; 2Tim 4:17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.
Verse 10 continues, …and in the strength (Gk. kratei) of his might (Gk. ischuos). These words are also found together in Eph 1:19. The first word is used only of God but the second can mean indwelling strength. God is the source of both. Paul wants his readers to look to God to receive His strength.
i). How can they be strengthened? Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour (Gk. panoplía) of God. (This is the armour that God supplies as we turn to Him for help). …that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (We note that we are to “stand” not “charge”. The reason being that the battle has been won on the cross and believers are to stand in that victory, Col 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
ii). Why do they need to be strengthened? To be able to take part in a spiritual battle against spiritual forces. Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Whatever power might exist, Christ’s power is always supreme. They needed His power not their own in overcoming evil.
2). THE COMMAND TO PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD
Eph 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
i). The pieces of armour
- Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. It involves knowing and living by the truth in true integrity.
- Eph 6:15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Being at peace with God and being ready to share the gospel of peace equips believers for any sudden challenge that may emerge.
- Eph 6:16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. Our faith shields us against all the accusations Satan as Diabolos (the Accuser) might hurl at us.
- Eph 6:17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The assurance of our salvation enables us to stand confidently against that which would seek to destroy us. In addition, the word of God (the sword of the Spirit), as we live by it, enables us to defend our position. It also becomes our offensive weapon in breaking down the barriers of ignorance and deceit and falsehood.
Paul simplified the meaning of all this armour when he told the Roman believers, Rom13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. When we are clothed with Christ or have put on the armour of God we can stand firm in victory over the forces of evil.
- How to pray. Eph 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Praying “in the Spirit” is perhaps a wider term than praying in tongues. It means being led and guided by the Spirit of God as we pray. Paul elsewhere had shown the place of the Holy Spirit in enabling believers to pray according to the will of God, Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
- For whom to pray. Prayer is not for selfish purposes. It enables us to become involved in what God is doing or wants to do in particular situations. Thus we must be ready to pray at all times and to pray for all believers as He leads us by His Spirit. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
- What to pray. Paul knew that his death could come at any time. He wanted to make the most of the time he had left. He didn’t want to miss out on any opportunity of sharing Christ with others. He asked that people might pray that he be given boldness to share the gospel message. Eph 6:19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, Eph 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
i). Why he wrote the letter. He wanted his readers in Ephesus to know his present situation. Eph 6:21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing,
ii). Why he sent Tychicus with the message. Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose,
iii). For what purpose did Tychicus come? To inform them in Ephesus and to encourage them. that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.
i). Peace, love, faith. He wanted them to know God’s peace and love. Eph 6:23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
ii). Grace. He and they had been the recipients of God’s amazing grace. He desired that they might continue to know His enduring grace and love as they in turn continued to love Jesus, Eph 6:24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.
Blog No.047. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Wednesday 23rd November 2011