Ephesians 6:10-20; Christianity is in hostile territory.
length: 62:03 - taught on Feb, 22 2022
Tuesday February 22,2022
The world in which we live out our Christian lives is not neutral territory but a battleground.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The battle is not against a human enemy, but, seen from a cosmic perspective, is against spiritual powers who are ruled and organized by the devil. The devil and his organization use people to play out their schemes, but it is not ultimately the people, even evil people that we wrestle against.
This gets confusing to us when evil comes at us from the source of evil people, and it hurts us and our loved ones. Are we to give the people a pass, knowing that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood?”
God doesn’t delve into our lives as citizens, in His Word, other than to tell us to obey the king. He also tells the wife, children, and slaves to obey their authority, even when the authority is evil towards them. We are not to obey if the authority tells us to sin. But anyone who is old enough to know, situations can be sticky and not so cut and dry. David eats the Showbread, God tells the Israelites to use underhanded tactics on the battlefield to trick the enemy, Rahab lies to the authorities about the spies, and countless situations not in the Bible where God’s people, who know His Word, still find themselves perplexed about the right decision to make. Should the American colonies in 1774 established the First Continental Congress to respond to the growing crisis of British imperialism? Should they have formed and army and fought or should they have submitted and waited to see what God might do? Unless we had God to tell us, we couldn’t know for sure, and that was a very complex situation with many people and situations involved.
Still, however each one of us concludes where the line or boundary is in our fight against people, God plainly tells us that our struggle is not with them. It is not the pastor’s job to give his congregation instructions that lie outside of God’s word.
In our battle against the devil and his forces God gave us His own armor and its description is clear.
Our weapons are spiritual - truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Holy Spirit and the word of God.
This is what we are to wear, along with some others that are from the same source, like love and goodness, i.e., the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The key to it all is the same key to everything, the victory of Christ for us that brings all believers into eternal life with God the Trinity forever. Our strength to do everything has to come from God and in the way that He ordained it to flow through us, by our faith and obedience.
As believers we must know as much true knowledge about Christ as is possible, and its only source is the Bible. He is our victory; knowing Him is knowing victory.
Let’s say Superman was real. If Superman was flying over all the major cities stopping all crime, and if his moral code was adopted by all the politicians and administrators; federal and local - “Truth, justice, and the American way,” we would love it, and our world would be a lot safer and more prosperous. But God didn’t send Kal-El (Superman).
Some have wrongly concluded that Jesus was something like Superman - that He was God only disguised as a man. Clark Kent wasn’t a real person and Docetism is the false doctrine that Jesus wasn’t really human, but only dressed as one. If that’s true, Jesus cannot take our place in judgment; can’t be our Mediator, and so can’t save us. But the Son of God did become a Man. He is a true human, but without sin. He was tempted in all things and as a human, not as God, He stood firm against the devil in the wilderness using faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. He did not stand against the devil as deity. The standing of deity is never in question.
Superman can’t save a soul. His death would have no impact on the destiny of anyone else. Jesus’ death impacted the destiny of every single human in history.
The method of our battle must not be different than Jesus’. Another method is not His armor.
God sent us Jesus of Nazareth, God the Son in the flesh who is the bread of life from heaven and He came and dwelt among us and gave His life for us. There is no other name under heaven by which men can be saved. Jesus is the only one who can save us.
Todd Miles is a professor of theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR.
“Jesus is the only one who can save us, but humans, darkened by sin and rebellion, don’t like that fact. People know things are not quite right; in fact, they know things are nowhere close to right. We have all been there. We know, deep in our hearts, that we need someone to rescue us from the mess we’ve made of our lives, our relationships, and the world around us. We know we need a Savior. But many people just don’t want Jesus to be that Savior. Not the Jesus portrayed in the Bible. Not the actual living Jesus. The real Jesus asks too much, is too much, and says too much for their liking.” [Todd Miles, Superheroes Can’t Save You]
Todd Miles’ book is about the false views of Jesus, not the eradication of Jesus from the public square, but false doctrines about Him which I think are more dangerous. After all, we’re warned over and over in the NT about false teachers, not atheists or pagans, but false doctrines that infiltrated the church.
Miles’ continues, “The bad ideas about Jesus, at least the popular bad ideas, don’t turn Him into a monster. No, they are just subtle changes of misunderstandings about the Lord that make Him more comprehensible, more domesticated, less intrusive, and less demanding. But the Jesus created by these bad ideas cannot save.” [ibid]
Successfully standing firm can not be accomplished in any other way than Jesus’ way. Every legitimate desire can only be fulfilled in Christ.
Jesus is the only one who can save us and He performed the work of that salvation, not in some way He devised, but in complete submission to God the Father’s will and plan. Can we gain the victory in any other way - a way of our own device?
And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created by Him and for Him.
[from Miles’ book with some alterations] “All things have been created by Him and for Him,” and that includes you and everybody you know, and all people who have ever existed. What this means is that every legitimate ultimate desire that you have can only be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Do you want significance? It can only be found in Him. Do you want meaning? Follow the way of Christ and He will give it to you. Do you want true life that is ultimately indestructible? It belongs to Jesus Christ and it is His to give. Do you want a loving family? Jesus has made and earned your adoption into the family of God. Do you want to be a part of a great team, something much bigger than yourself with great victory or defeat on the line? Jesus will give you a church. Do you want purpose and a mission? The Lord Jesus promises to use you in His quest to save and re-create the world. Do you tire of trying to live up to what you think are God’s impossible standards? Jesus promises to give you rest while you reach ahead. Do you want to be forgiven, finally, once and for all? Forgiveness of this kind is only found in Christ Jesus. We were made to worship Him and receive everything good and valuable from Him alone.