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Ephesians 6:10-20

Spiritual Protection and Provision of the Gospel

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. 

Eph 6:10–20.

On December 29, 1777, after ten days of observing the poor conditions and suffering of soldiers camped at Valley Forge, General George Washington penned a famous letter to the legislature of the states to detail how “exceedingly short they are of the complement of men” needed. His letter was also a clear and urgent request for the states to send supplies to the struggling soldiers. Troops were without the necessities of food, blankets, clothing, and shelter. They endured the hardest winter of all the winters of the war, and Washington pled for states to take “early and vigorous measures” to provide more men and supplies or they would not withstand the British troops. The states would rally around his stern, compassionate, and compelling letter and send the needed support. 

We are all engaged in a spiritual battle. Do you ever feel like you have been left in short supply or abandoned? Do you ever feel that you might not have the protection and provision that you need? Well Ephesians 6 reminds that we are in a battle, and it details the battle, but even more it details that God has not left us without supplies. He gives us everything we need to win the fight, and we need to avail ourselves of his protection. 

  • The Battle

First, our struggle is supernatural — supra flesh and blood. Its not just physical. It’s not just the stuff we see, it is a battle for our minds, hearts, thoughts emotions. We live in a materialistic world that seeks natural causes for all that we do. But why is it that hate can grow so intense in people that they decide to murder and hate others. Why do people become enslaved and addicted to pornography, social media. Why do some become so enslaved to fears they stop going out, refuse to talk to people, and block themselves into basements and rarely appear. We are spiritual beings and we have a spiritual enemy. The battle is not just one of our bodies and stomache, but of our very soul. 

Second, the struggle is personal. The word for “struggle” indicates a hand-to-hand fight (as the Spanish say, mano a mano). An exchange of arrows or artillery is not pictured here, but sweat against sweat, breath against breath. We don’t outsource our part in the battle. We have to engage. 

Don’t think we are not in a battle. Few years ago, I was playing a nice friendly game of Ticket to Ride with a family member. I was kind of working my side and he was kind of working his side. I was in the lead, had multiple cities, was on the verge of the longest road. I’m pleasantly minding my own business, thinking I ve got him, and all the sudden that person take his piece, doesn’t put it on his side of the board, but drops it right on my most critical spot. It severs my road, keeps me from the city I needed and destroyed everything I had been working for. There was no more being nice. It was straight up coming for your jugular. That is what playing games with Mark is like. Its full on. There is no mercy in cards. If you think you are going to have a friendly game to encourage one another, think again! Watch your back. 

You need to know you are in a battle. The entitlement culture of America, and that we deserve to be affirmed, to be successful, to have a life not just of the pursuit of happiness, but of ease and comfort and constant affirmation set us up to failure. There is little strength or fortitude. You have an enemy. You have a battle. The enemy is scheme against you. 

Satan schemes. Do you know he plans his attacks? He has a strategy. Plan to succeed or plan to fail. You have to make plans. Satan is not all powerful, he is not greater than God, he is a creature and not a creator. He is not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent. He is finite, limited, and will one day be cast off for eternity in the lake of fire. He does have influence and he plans and schemes to turn people from God. 

Satan’s main goal is to undermine God, and that is his desire for you. You must fight against this. 

Do you know his tactics?

Satan lies, and is the father of lies. “When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). The first time Satan appears in the Bible in Genesis 3, the first words on his lips are suspicious of the truth (“Did God say, You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?”). And the second words on his lips were a subtle falsehood (“You will not die”). John says that Satan “has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him” (John 8:44). We are dealing with the essence of falsehood and deception.

He lies and leads us astray. Gets us to think wrongly about the world, ourselves and who he is. The crazy things people do today. You can help but wonder how thinking gets so twisted. Cutting, addiction, isolation. Thinking that doing such things will help. Destroying ourselves is never a good idea. Addiction is often a belief that something other than God can fix us. Work of an enemy sowing bad seeds in our field. 

Satan tempts people to sin. This is what he did unsuccessfully to Jesus in the wilderness — he wanted him to abandon the path of suffering and obedience (Matthew 4:1–11). This is what he did successfully to Judas in the last hours of Jesus’s life (Luke 22:3–6). And  Paul warns in 2 Corinthians 11:3, against this for all the believers: 

“I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

Sometimes he delays God’s messengers. In the book of Daniel, Daniel is praying for 21 days. Finally the angel michael comes to him and reveals he has been delayed because of (Daniel 10:12, 13; cf. v. 20

Satan plucks the word of God out of people’s hearts and chokes faith. Jesus told the parable of the four soils in Mark 4:1–9. In it, the seed of the word of God is sown, and some falls on the path and birds quickly take it away. He explains in verse 15, “Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which was sown in them.” 

Satan causes some sickness and disease. Jesus healed a woman once who was bent over and could not straighten herself. When some criticized him for doing that on the Sabbath, he said, “Ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 13:16). Jesus saw Satan as the one who had caused this disease.

If he can distort your devotion to God with business, other ways to God (other religious, occult, mediums), he gets you to believe the wrong things. Mental illness. 

One of the Devil’s most effectual methods is to instill doubts about God’s goodness. This was his greatest tool against Martin Luther. Roland Bainton, Luther’s great biographer, writes: 

“The content of his depressions was always the same, the loss of faith that God is good and that he is good to me.” R. Kent Hughes, Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), 217.

We have an enemy all around. You may think SAtan is a red guy in tights, a pitch for, and horns on the head. He is more crafty than that. He wants to destroy you by taking you away from God. He will tempt you with devotion to other things, promise you what only God can give, and his ways are alway much easier than God. Satan will show you the bait and hide the hook. He shows you the goods and hides the cost. He wants you to believe there is no spiritual side, that he doesnt exist, and once he convinces you of that, he bombards you with debilitating thoughts. We live in the most affluent culture to ever live, best medical treatment in history, best housing every, and we live in a systemically and chronically mentally ill society. Why? Many factors. But one is we are oblivious to the spiritual battle going on. 

  • The Lord's Armament 

We have an enemy who seeks to attack us, but we have a Lord who has provided us with armor and weapons. We are not deprived. 

Full armor of God. Panoplia. Not just a little. 

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. 

Armor of God. This is what protects us. Prepares us for battle. It is his armor. When David went out to battle Goliath, Saul gave him his armor. It was the best but it was not suitable to David. God’s provision is the best and fits each of us perfectly.

Belt of truth. A belt drew up the tunic and clinched it so it would not impede a soldier charging into battle. It fixed the sword firmly in place. Its not so important to know exactly how we have a belt of truth, but Paul is showing that what God has done for us is our very defense against our enemy. 

The Word of God is our source of truth. There is protection in the word. It holds many things together. How is your spiritual battle going? Probably as well as you are doing in reading the word? The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. We need truth in our lives. How do we fight against SAtan’s lying scheme. With truth!

Teach your kids the importance of truth and telling the truth. It is a safeguard for them. As you teach them the importance of not lying, help them to see that God does not lie and has given us his word of truth. 

Breastplate of righteousness. Most likely the breastplate, was a metal piece which covered the front of the body and was to ward off the deadly thrusts of the sword, thus protecting the vital organs, especially the heart. This is what righteousness does.

Shame and guilt are opposites of righteousness. When the enemy makes you feel shame and guilt, he can manipulate you, keep you from doing the things you should do. Satan is an accuser and he finds our faults and shortcomings and prosecutes us with them. He attacks you. Being clothed in God’s righteousness frees us from his clutches. Protects us. 

Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Filthy rags form a futile breastplate.

Shoes readiness of the gospel of peace. It was an open-toed leather boot with a heavily nail-studded sole which was tied to the ankles and shins with straps. These were not shoes for running — for example, fleeing or pursuing an enemy. These boots function like cleats. They gave the foot traction and prevented sliding. Much ancient battle was hand-to-hand and foot-to-foot, like on the line of scrimmage, so these boots gave the Roman soldier an advantage over ill-equipped foes. The “readiness” points to feet firmly planted on solid ground. Sets us to push back and advance against the enemy. 

Shalom: “completeness, soundness, welfare.” good news of peace with God. when we have this, we are on certain ground. Satan can take nothing from us. God provides it all. 

Shield of faith. The shield indicated here, in distinction to the small round shield worn on the forearm in battle, was a large shield about four feet high and two and a half feet wide, very much like a door (from which the word is actually derived). A soldier could put his entire body behind it as it absorbed the javelins and arrows of the enemy. In the case of flaming arrows, very often the arrow would snuff out as it buried itself in the thickness of the shield. During battles these great shields would often bristle with smoking arrows like roasted porcupines.

Satan’s attacks. Others are doing it so you can too. Can’t believe God did you like that. You have earned a little reward for yourself. Taking a little won't really matter. No one will know. It's just this one time. They did it. 

We are told lies that are contrary. Satan always shows the bait but he hides the hook. 

Helmet of salvation. Roman military helmets had a band to protect the forehead and plates for the cheeks, and extended down in back to protect the neck. When the helmet was strapped in place, it exposed little besides the eyes, nose, and mouth. The metal helmets, due to their weight, were lined with sponge or felt. Virtually the only weapons which could penetrate a metal helmet were hammers or axes. Given the importance of ones head no soldier’s uniform was complete without a proper helmet.

Helmets and armor build confidence. A kid will be scared to tackle someone but when you put a helmet on them suddenly they feel invincible. Our helmet is not what we have done but what God provides for us. Our salvation is in Jesus. Our confidence is in him. It means no attack of Satan can keep us from what Jesus has done for us. Even if Satan’s attack causes our death, Jesus can redeem. Even if what we most fear happens we can rest assured. 

Sword of the Spirit. This is the one offensive weapon. the Roman legionnaire’s double-edged short sword, a most effective weapon for hand-to-hand fighting. The last part of verse 17 enjoins us to “Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

In God’s word you have what you need to slay the enemy. You dont need more stuff. You need the word of God inside you. 

When Jesus battled Satan in the desert, fighting away temptation, he did so with God’s word. Satan had a different plan for him. Satan also quoted Scripture but it was a twisted version. Jesus knew the word and knew the meaning of it. 

Treasure Island. Jim Hawkins, witness Long John Silver kill a reluctant mutaneer, Jim hastily runs on the Island and then hears someone behind him. He is cowering in fear and then he realizes something. I have a gun. Suddenly he gets up to confront the noise that he heard. He was armed and dangerous. He could handle himself..  

Satan is greater than us. He is greater than people. But there is no dualism in Scripture. No great struggle against good and evil. God is set to destroy him. He is only able to do what God allows. What Satan is able to do, God is undoing in the work of Christ. We have every provision in Christ. Know the gospel. Study the gospel. 

Let me also mention another important weapon. Church community, many are often surprised to not see it mentioned as part of the armor of God. It is important to mention the many “we’s” in the passage and also that all the commands of this passage (be strong v10, put on v11, take up v13) are all plural. The community of the church is clearly in mind and it is a key asset for the battle. We are not alone in our fight. We have help and support.  A  simple military strategy is this: have a bigger army than your enemy. Isolate the enemy and gang up on him. Christians are floundering today because of poor relationships. The enemy is winning.People feel pietistic, I don't need church I just need Jesus. It’s like saying I don't need a helmet, sword, shoes. You are about to be a dead man. Your enemy has won. You have lost. 

  • The Donning of Equipment

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 

God has provided all of this. Will you listen to truth? Talk about it with others and find strength by praying for all the saints. 

Be strong in the Lord. Put on the full armor of God. Stand firm in readiness. Take up the shield of faith. Be alert. Pray in the Spirit. 

18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 

Pray for those that are drifting. No one ever wakes up and says I want to throw my life, marriage, away today. 

Trust in Christ. People want God’s benefits but dont really see their need for Christ. You have missed it all. You ahve to surrender to him. You have to stop going your own way. Stop just coming to God when you need something or mess up real bad. Give your life to him. 

Put on his salvation. Trust in his truth. Take the gospel. Remind yourself of the love he has shown in Christ Jesus. Love to a sinner who doesnt deserve it. 

I think the church ignores Satan’s work too much. We are unaware and vulnerable. Like deer on open day of gun season. Totally unprepared. Havent heard a shot nor been threatened. Lulled to sleep. Need to wake us up. 

Filling our minds with empty scrolling of things of very little benefit. 


The suffering of the soldiers at Valley Forge, and Washington’s desperate attempts to rally Congress and the states to their aid, has become legend. Congress was impressed with Washingtons care for the army and recommended solutions rather than just complaining and attacking others. They would send the supplies necessary. It is also noted by many that “The troops who survived emerged seasoned and disciplined, a far cry from the untrained men who had straggled into camp during the bitter December of 1777.” The soldiers were shaped by the adversity. 

Who do you want to be? Do you want to be one who gives up as soon as the marriage gets hard, as soon as some people express they dont like you, as soon as you an adversary shows up, or conditions lessen to a place of deficient, below your standard. 

God has given us everything we need for battle. You lack nothing. You will be attacked. Maybe you are being attacked. It is a test to prove faithful with. Dont turn to other things. You dont need some secret spell, you dont need astrologers or fortune tellers. You dont need luck. You need to immerse yourself in your Bible and understanding what Christ has done for you. Do you want to help your friends through their hardships? Then know you Bible. They dont need pep talks that lack Biblical truth. 

God has given us all we need, everything we need for life and godliness. Everything to defend ourselves. But you have to make a decision if you want to live for him, or leave yourself open to satan’s attacks. Are you willing to turn aside from the world? To some God protection is