TEXT: Ephesians 6:10-18
Ephesians 6:12 says, “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.”
John 10:10, Jesus tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves (devil + demons) are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
– C.S. Lewis (Screwtape Letters)
Skeptical? (four questions)
- Could your view of the world be too simplistic?
- Could your view of the world be too culturally narrow?
- Do you believe in God?
- Is there an unexplainable darkness that you simply can’t defeat?
“If the Bible is true…and it is, then you will not be able to understand, let alone defeat, on your own the darkness in your own heart, in your family, in the city, in the world. It’s beyond you. We’re in over our heads unless God is helping us. It’s not going to just take psychology and sociology.” – Timothy Keller
(Biblically) Who is the devil and his demons?
They are created
Theologian William Gouge wrote, “The (demons) by creation were good angels, as powerful, wise, quick, speedy, invisible, and immortal as any other good angels.”
They are fallen
Augustine once said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”
They are enemies
In order to know how to fight the “schemes of the devil”, let’s ask three questions…(1) How does he work? (2) Where is he present? (3) How is he defeated?
(1.) How does he work? (v. 11) – “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
David Lazarus in March 2017 wrote an article entitled – “Whatever you do, don’t say yes when this chatbot asks, ‘Can you hear me?’ — “It’s the most cunning robocall scam I’ve encountered — and the fact that I’ve fallen for it more than once tells you how successful it can be. The phone rings. You pick it up and say “hello.” There’s a brief silence and then a woman’s voice says, “Oh, hi there!” She offers an embarrassed laugh. “I’m sorry, I was having a little trouble with my headset!” I’ve gotten this call a number of times in recent weeks, at home and at work, and each time I’ve been suckered by the lifelike opening to stay on the line longer than I normally would for a robocall or a telemarketing pitch…This is a new and highly sophisticated racket known as the “can you hear me” scam, which involves tricking people into saying yes and using that affirmation to sign people up for stuff they didn’t order.”
John 8:44 – Jesus says, “…(about the devil) When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
(2.) Where is he present? (v. 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.”
“We do have a physical, tangible struggle. But…over and above what we see, there is an invisible spiritual struggle going on against the devil and his forces…” – James Boice
(3.) How is he defeated? (v. 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 firm.”
There are two ways the enemy is defeated in this verse…
Colossians 2:15 — “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
TAKEAWAYS: What do we do?
- Know your enemy
William Gurnall, an old Puritan, once wrote: “If men hear a noise at night, they cry out, ‘The Devil! The Devil!’ and they run for their life, but they carry around the Devil in their very hearts all day. For if you have a proud spirit or if you have resentment … you are under his power.”
- See the complexity
- Understand evil days
- Stand in Jesus
“Satan doesn’t control us with fang marks on the flesh, but with lies in the heart.” – Timothy Keller
GOSPEL: What’s our hope?
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”
– 1 John 3:8