Dressing for Success: Ephesians 6:10-20

 

The single most frequent, and important, thing the canonical epistles say about the devil and his kingdom of powers and demons is that they have been defeated by the death and resurrection of Christ.  The confident proclamation of Christ’s victory resounds throughout the whole of the New Testament.  But this is not the only thing these writing have to say about the demonic realm.  Since we live in the dynamic tension between the “already/not yet” of Christ’s victory, these defeated forces yet have to be reckoned with.  Between the D-day of the cross and the V-day of the eschaton, there are battles yet to be fought.  Though Satan is in principle defeated, we still need to be rescued “from the present evil age” (Gal. 1:4) and to “struggle…against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).  The New Testament has a good deal to say about what this struggle looks like, how it is to be fought, and how it shall be won.1

 

Spiritual warfare is an integral part of the entire Christian experience.  It is a fact of life.  To think that a Christian could avoid spiritual warfare is like imagining that a gardener could avoid dealing with weeds.2

 

The purpose of this pamphlet is to engage in observation, interpretation, and application of Paul’s admonition to the Christians at Ephesus3 to “Put on the full armor of God.”  D. Martyn Lloyd Jones states:  “There is nothing more urgently important for all who claim the name of Christ, than to grasp and to understand the teaching of this particular section of Scripture.”4 American Bible teacher Mark Bubeck would agree:

Our government demands that our military leaders spend their whole lifetime studying, improving, and perfecting military strategy…If earthly military needs demand such study and careful preparation, how much more our preparation to meet our enemy demands our most diligent effort.  The believer who does not become familiar with spiritual warfare will indeed be a poor soldier of Jesus Christ.5

 

To disregard the teaching of Ephesians 6:10-20 is spiritually perilous.  As John Eldredge writes:

To live in ignorance of spiritual warfare is the most naïve and dangerous thing a [Christian] can do.  It’s like skipping through the worst part of town, late at night, waving your wallet above your head.  It’s like walking into an al-Qaeda training camp, wearing an “I love the United States” T-shirt.  It’s like swimming with great white sharks, dressed as a wounded sea lion, and smeared with blood.6

 

But according to Edith Schaeffer there are Christians who, for one poor reason or another, disregard Ephesians 6:10-20.  Schaeffer says, “[T]here is a deafness, a blindness, an insensitivity among many Christians for they refuse to recognize the war in which they are involved.  They are letting the enemy attack and score victories without resistance.”7

 

I. EPHESIANS 6:10-13: THE ADVERSARY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

 

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power.  Put on the whole armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

 

Louis Berkhof forthrightly comments:  “The Church in the present dispensation is a militant Church, that is, she is called unto, and is actually engaged in, a holy warfare.”8  William Hendriksen is equally frank in stating that the Christian Church “has an enemy hell-bent on its destruction.”9  Here in Ephesians 6:10-20 Paul “lifts the veil over the [C]hurch’s struggle in the world”10 and reveals the identity of the enemy of the Christian Church.  This diabolical enemy – the devil (diabolos) – has been referred to by John White as “his infernal majesty.”11  He is the invisible, deceitful, powerful, and inimical adversary of the Christian Church.  And he is not a solo act.  The devil is the diabolical commander-in-chief, as it were, of the “Board Room of Hell.”12  As Albert Leckie observes in commenting on Ephesians 6:10-13, “[a] host of unseen powerful, tactical, malevolent, spirit-beings is arrayed against the believer.”13  In the graphic words of Gregory Boyd, “creation is caught up in the crossfire of an age-old cosmic battle between good and evil.”14

 

Paul speaks of these powerful, tactical, malevolent, spirit-beings as rulers, authorities, powers, and spiritual forces of evil who inhabit the “heavenly realms” (v.12 = en tois epouraniois).  Paul is the only New Testament writer to employ this phrase, “in the heavenly realms,” and he does so five times, all of which are in Ephesians (1:3, 20, 2:6, 3:10, 6:12).  Skevington Wood posits that this Pauline terminology “could simply denote the unseen world in general, including both good and evil forces.”15   Ralph Martin nicely ties together each usage of this Pauline phrase and builds, as it were, on Wood’s suggestion:

The nearest parallel [with 6:12] is 2:2; and in both texts the [C]hurch’s conflict is seen to be located in the upper air regions (en tois epouraniois).  But this precise region is also the sphere of Christ’s rule (1:20), the consequent fountainhead of God’s blessings upon His people (1:3), and the place where the wonders of what God is doing through the [C]hurch are being made known (3:10).  In spite, therefore, of the tremendous hostility from demonic powers which the [C]urch encounters the assurance is given in this phrase that “because these powers are competing against God” (G.H.P. Thompson) they are doomed to failure and defeat.16

 

We are not to demythologize these terms18 – rulers, authorities, powers, and spiritual forces of evil – and thus reinterpret them to simply signify evil human personalities and evil human institutions.  Evil human personalities and evil human institutions are evil (poneros) because of the invisible, deceitful, powerful, inimical influence of these wicked spirit-beings.  As Millard Erickson notes in reflecting on what has been called structural or institutional evil, “Behind the visible structures and institutions of society and culture, evil forces are at work.”18  Paul is referring to literal and personal “fallen spiritual beings [demons] that operate in Satan’s domain opposing the redemptive purposes of God.”19  Paul lists four types of fallen spiritual beings here in Ephesians 6:13,

Archai - Rulers

Exousiai - Authorities

Kosmokratores - Cosmic Rulers

Pneumatika - Spiritual Forces

 

Is there a demonic hierarchy?  Clinton Arnold answers this questions with wisdom:  “While the terms may imply a hierarchy within the demonic realm, we have no means of discerning the various ranks by the use of these terms.”20  Ed Murphy treats this matter judiciously as well:  “Paul is not being technical.  He is simply heaping up words to describe the massive and complex hierarchy of evil supernaturalism with which the believer is at war.”21

 

The devil is a cunning and deceitful adversary.  He “is at his wiliest,” John Stott states, “when he succeeds in persuading people that he does not exist.”22   We might add that the devil is quite pleased when those who do believe in his existence imagine him to be a “hideous, horned, and hoofed monster.”23  He is an evil genius who employs many wickedly strategic schemes (methodeias) in his insidious attempts to harass the Church and hence hinder the Church from being an effective and excellent witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.  Skevington Wood suggests that “in the context of Ephesians” the enemy was scheming “to destroy the unity of Christ’s body [the Church] (Ephesians 3:14-22; 4:1-16, 27) through the invasion of false doctrine and the fomenting of dissension (Ephesians 4:2, 21, 31, 32; 5:6).24  Believers are to be  spiritually discerning and thus aware of the scheming stratagems of the devil (II Corinthians 2:11).  Richard Lovelace speaks strong words here:

If a thorough knowledge of [the devil’s] characteristic devices were widely disseminated among the churches, the Christian warfare for the extension of Christ’s kingdom would be immeasurably strengthened.  In the present situation we are often operating like an army without intelligence, beating the air and one another at times, fighting flesh and blood instead of the principalities and powers which lie behind them.25

 

It is the pernicious purpose of the devil and his demonic army to make life “difficult and dangerous”26 for those who belong to Christ’s Church.  This enemy will see to it that there will be especially trying days for the believer.  Paul speaks about “the day of evil” which Markus Barth renders as “the darkest day.”27  Thus, amid the “war zone”28 of this fallen world, faithful followers of Jesus Christ are “to stand and hold out in a critical position on [the] battlefield.”29  The fight of faith is at times an intense “struggle”.  The term struggle (pale) is indicative of a wrestling match.  The point is, ancient warfare often entailed strategic hand-to-hand combat in close physical quarters.  The believer wages war against an invisible adversary who is an evil expert at cramping the believer’s quarters.  Spiritual warfare, Cindy Jacobs notes, “is hand-to-hand combat at close quarters with an enemy that wants to destroy us.”30  J.G. Machen is correct:  “It is impossible to be a soldier of Jesus Christ and not fight.”31

 

II. EPHESIANS 6:14-17: THE EQUIPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

 

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

 

Paul now prepares to detail the various pieces of the panoply, or what Markus Barth calls the “splendid armor of God,”32 which Paul, twice in the preceding section, has imperatively instructed the Ephesians to “put on” (v.11 = enduomai) and “take up” (v.13 = analambano).  Paul’s intent is to inspire the Ephesians to be “dressed for success”33 – to be clothed for “combat readiness.34  Believers are to “stand firm” not in their own vastly inadequate strength but in the mighty power of the panoply of God.  It is well worth observing the similarity of power words in Ephesians 1:19 and Ephesians 6:10; 1:19 = dunameos, kratos, and ischus; 6:10 = endunamoo, kratos, and ischus.  The power of God that raised Christ from the dead is the same power invested in the believer to combat and conquer the enemy!  Clinton Arnold stresses that the imperative “stand firm” (v.14 = stete) is the “chief admonition” and the “central command” of Ephesians 6:10-20.35  R.C. Sproul, echoing a widely held view, notes that the imprisoned apostle (Ephesians 3:1, 6:20) “takes the common elements of battle garb from the Roman soldier and gives a spiritual application to each one.”36  He continues by saying, “Each Christian is a target of Satan and his angels, and this struggle goes on throughout one’s lifetime.  If we are to stand firm we have to be properly equipped for that battle.”37

 

A recent manual written for firemen states that, “Firefighters require the best personal protective equipment available because of the hostile environment in which they perform their duties.”38  The point is well taken; followers of the Lord Jesus Christ require the best personal protective equipment, spiritually speaking, because they are serving their Lord in an extremely hostile environment presided over by the devil who is “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and who carries out an incessant and implacable military campaign against the child of God (1 Peter 2:11).  Therefore, the believer “must be armed” as John Calvin says “from top to toe”39 in order to, as Paul says to Timothy, “war a good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18).

 

1. The Belt of Truth: The belt or girdle, made of leather or metal, served an important and practical dual purpose for the Roman soldier.  Cinched tightly but comfortably around his waist it kept the soldier’s bulky one piece bodily undergarment (tunic) and his breastplate in place, and it was on the belt or girdle the soldier would keep his sword in a sheath or scabbard when not in a combat situation.  Thus the belt or girdle served a key role in enabling a soldier to march or fight in an unimpeded fashion.

The spiritual application here is that Christ is the truth (John 14:6) and He brings freedom to those who receive His truth (John 8:32) – freedom from spiritual bondage to the devil, the slanderous father of lies (John 8:44).  Clinton Arnold urges believers to “Know the truth of who you are in Christ (for the powers of darkness will try to deceive you).  Practice honesty and live with moral integrity.”40  Neil Anderson writes, “If [Satan] can disable you in the area of truth, you become an easy target for his other attacks.  You stand firm in the truth by relating everything you do to the truth of God’s Word.  If a thought comes to your mind which is not in harmony with God’s truth, dismiss it.”41

 

2. The Breastplate of Righteousness: The breastplate (thorax) was a vital piece of equipment worn by the Roman soldier.  It was known as the heart protector but it was more than that.  There were two types of breastplates available; a lighter one was made of leather with metal affixed in pivotal places (heart, lungs, bowels) and a heavier one was made of a layered chain mail metal.  The breastplate served, in effect, as a corset which covered the soldier, front and back, from neck to thighs.

The spiritual application here is that Christ is the believer’s righteousness, positionally in justification (2 Corinthians 5:21) and progressively in sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:2 = In Christ Jesus and called to be holy).  Thomas White writes:  “The breastplate is the covering, the cleansing of guilt through the blood of Christ [justification].  To put on this covering is to appropriate on an ongoing basis [sanctification] the Father’s forgiveness of our failings and to shield ourselves from false accusation.

 

3. The Shoes of Peace: The footwear of the Roman soldier was that of a sandal secured by strong and properly fitted straps.  The sole of the sandal was that of pliable but durable leather with metal cleats on the underside or, as Josephus says, “full of sharp and thick nails.”42  The sole and the cleats provided the soldier with protection, when marching, from planted sharpened pieces of wood protruding from the ground.  This footwear also provided the soldier with surefootedness with respect to stability (he could dig in) and mobility (he could move quickly).  This practical and protective footwear allowed the Roman soldier to be “at the ready” at all times.

The spiritual application here is that as the believer walks through the spiritual war zone of this world he or she is enabled to “stand firm in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:21, 1 Peter 5:9).  Those wearing the shoes of the gospel need not be tripped up and brought down by the enemy (Luke 10:19, Romans 16:20).  Furthermore, Christ, who is “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), promises to be with all those (Matthew 28:18-20) who faithfully proclaim the gospel of peace (Isaiah 52:7, Romans 10:15) in enemy held territory.

 

4. The Shield of Faith: The shield Paul mentions here is the thureos which in its oblong shape was about 2 feet wide and about 4 feet long.  It was made of two pieces of thin wood glued together and overlaid with linen and several layers of leather.  It was then ”bound with iron above and below”.44  Straps on the underside secured the shield to the arm of the soldier.  Because of the size of the thureos, soldiers, when carrying this shield in formation, could line them up together in wall-like fashion and kneel behind them for protection.  When going out to battle the soldier would often soak his shield in water as this would have an extinguishing effect on flaming arrows and missiles fired by the enemy.

The spiritual application here is that believers are “through faith [in Christ] shielded by God’s power”  (1 Peter 1:5) in the hour of severe trial.  When the devil hurls his fiery darts of accusation, temptation, condemnation and numerous other malicious and seductive missives, the believer need not be pierced and burned and left fatally wounded on the spiritual battlefield of life.  Through faith in Christ the believer will prove to be a victor rather than a victim (1 John 5:4-5).

 

5. The Helmet of Salvation: The helmet of the Roman soldier was either made of leather with metal plates or entirely of bronze.  The helmet included cheek pieces and a hinged visor.  The exterior of the helmet contained an ornamental plume or crest as well as identifying insignia.  Thus the helmet was both protective and decorative.  Due to the heaviness of the helmet the interior was lined with felt or sponge in order to make the “weight bearable.”45  The obvious intent of the helmet was to protect the soldier from serious head injury.  According to Markus Barth, “Nothing short of an axe or hammer could pierce the heavy helmet.”46

The spiritual application here is that the believer must be mindful of the fact that it is the pernicious purpose of the enemy to poison the believer’s perspective by seditiously undermining his or her confidence in his or her security and identify in Christ.  If the enemy succeeds here he has inflicted a serious blow on the believer.  Therefore, the Christian must, through the prayerful reading of Scripture, continuously cultivate the “mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5).  Dean Sherman offers practical counsel:  “We need to post a guard at the gate of our minds to check the credentials of every thought and every imagination, ready to cast down that which is not true, not righteous, or not of God.  If it doesn’t belong, out it goes.”47

         

6. The Sword of the Spirit: Harold Hoehner refers to this as “the sword given by the Spriit.”48  John Stott notes:  “Of all the six pieces of armor or weaponry listed, the sword is the only one which can clearly be used for attack as well as defence.”49  Paul has in view here the machaira, a short, pinpoint sharp, two-edged sword of six to eighteen inches in length. The machaira was extremely effective, that is dangerous, in hand-to-hand combat.

The spiritual application here is that the believer utilizes the written Word of God as a sword when under vicious attack from the devil.  “We can never win Gods battles without God`s book.”50  The Lord Jesus Christ modeled expert usage of the sword of the Spirit when doing battle with the devil in the wilderness of temptation (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13).  W. E. Vine unpacks the apostle`s intent as to the sword of the Spirit being the rhema of God:  [T]he reference is not to the whole Bible as such, but to the individual Scripture which the [Holy] Spriit brings to our remembrance for use in time of need, a prerequisite being the regular storing of the mind with Scripture.”51  This is why former Green Beret captain and now Christian pastor, Stu Weber, urges believers to be involved in a “regular, rigorous regimen of Bible study.”52  From the believer’s reservoir of biblical knowledge the Holy Spirit is able to quicken in the believer’s heart, mind, and spirit a specific potent promise that will parry or ward off the assault of the enemy.  As George Mallone writes, “any specific statement given to us by the Holy Spirit can assist us in our defense.”53  “[A]s we speak the words of Scripture they are accompanied by the work of the Holy Spirit and have the power  of a spiritual sword.”54  Thomas White shares the following:  “I have a favorite text, 1 John 3:8: ‘The reasons the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.’  A straight, simple strong jab of the dagger.”55  John White insightfully observes that, “the Bible is called the sword of the Spirit for three reasons:  The Spirit inspired it; the Spirit will place it in your hands and teach you skill in using it; the Spirit will make it cut deep.”56

* * * * *

“To put on the armor of God,” William Gurnall shares, “is to appropriate His power in a most personal way.”57  A daily prayerful donning of the armor of God is, in essence, a daily decision to live life righteously and under the empowering Lordship of Jesus Christ.  “Each piece of armor,”  Larry Lea  observes, “is nothing more than a manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.”58  Lea continues:  “We’re really putting on Jesus Christ…We’re talking about a way of releasing the character of Jesus Christ so that the One who is on the inside of us can be manifest on the outside of us.”59

 

III. EPHESIANS 6:18-20: THE INTERCESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

 

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.  Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.


In the succinct words of Gregory Boyd, prayer is “an act of war.”60  “Prayer,” Clinton Arnold says, “is the heart of spiritual warfare.”61  It is “foundational to deploying all the other weapons.”62  Peter Wagner concurs:  “The central, foundational activity for spiritual warfare is prayer.  In one sense prayer is a weapon of warfare, and in another sense it is the medium through which all of the other weapons are utilized.”63  One is reminded of George Duffield Jrs. Words from his hymn, Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus:  “Put on the gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer.”

 

R.C. Sproul’s insight as to the necessity of prayer in spiritual warfare is worth repeating here:

Just as a soldier on the battle line has to keep in constant communication with…his commanding officer, so the Christian who is on the battle line must be in constant communication with his Lord.  He might be fully equipped with all of the armor, but if he is cut off from personal communication with his own commander then he is isolated and vulnerable.”65

           

Jack Hayford’s insight as to the efficacy of prayer in spiritual warfare is worth repeating here also:

“Praying with all prayer” (A.V.) is the final exhortation of the greatest single passage in the Bible on spiritual warfare…Power is the key to our victory [Ephesians 6:10], and prayer is the pathway to power…Prayer opens the doorway to the dynamic that shakes, shatters and does violence to the world of darkness.65

 

Paul begins this section with words, “Pray in the Spirit.”  While this certainly can refer, to “the Holy Spirit’s work of guiding and directing us to pray for specific things”66 in our native language, it can also refer to the possibility, as Gordon Fee carefully and irenically points out, of “praying in tongues.”67  It is exegetically untenable – or to put it simply, unreasonable! –  to arbitrarily preclude here the potential place of glossolalia – praying in tongues – in spiritual warfare as Sproul summarily does:  “To pray in the Spirit does not mean to pray in tongues.”68

 

The intercession, that is the prayer life, of the spiritually militant Christian Church should be characterized by the following three matters:

 

1. Dependence: Prayer, as it pertains to spiritual warfare (actually prayer always pertains to spiritual warfare), speaks of a dependence upon God for His interventions in situations that are beyond the capacity of men and women to cope with and/or solve in their own strength.  There is always a need to pray.  There is always a need to be dependent upon God.  The believer is to pray on “all occasions” (en panti kairo).  Quin Sherrer shares her modus operandi of prayerful dependence on God:

When I’m seeking God’s guidance for spiritual battle, I use what I call a Four-W strategy:  Worship—Wait—Word—Warfare.  I worship the Lord, then wait in His presence until He quickens something in His Word to use in warfare against the enemy in the battle at hand.69

 

2. Discernment: The phraseology, “all kinds of prayers (proseuches) and requests (deeseos)” bespeaks general prayers – perhaps the present day equivalent of the “unspoken prayer request” – and specific or detailed petitionary prayers.  It is always necessary to pray with judicious discernment.  How would the Lord have His people pray in order to best combat and conquer the assaults of the enemy?  To pray without discernment may be analogous to that of a “submarine in a harbour plowing full speed ahead without radar or periscope.  Or a loaded 747 trying to land in a dense fog without instruments or radio.”70  The previously quoted words of Richard Lovelace surely apply to the matter of prayerful discernment:

If a thorough knowledge of [the devil’s] characteristic devices were widely disseminated among the churches, the Christian warfare for the extension of Christ’s kingdom would be immeasurably strengthened.  In the present situation we are often operating like an army without intelligence, beating the air and one another at times, fighting flesh and blood instead of the principalities and powers which lie behind them.71

 

3. Diligence: Paul exhorts the Ephesians to “be alert (agrupnountes) and always (proskarteresis) keep on praying for all the saints.”  The call here is for diligent or vigilant watchfulness in prayer even to the degree of being willing to forego a night’s sleep, if necessary, in order to pray for others in critical need (Matthew 26:41).  Jim Cymbala says, “We have…’911’ access to God, but our direct line to the throne of grace will do us little good if we fail to use it.”72  The Christian Church must be diligent in prayer.  “This is the engine that will drive the Church.”73  Paul’s plea for continuous prayer in the Ephesian Church (see also 1 Thessalonians 5:17 = “pray continually”) when heeded, will result in what Cheryl Sacks would call a “prayer saturated Church.”74  A prayer saturated church will stand firm and serve well.

 

Paul, the prisoner of the Lord concludes this pericope (passage) on spiritual warfare with a poignant request for personal prayer.  “Paul also asks [The Ephesian Christians] to arm him for his ongoing struggle for the sake of the gospel in Rome,”75 because, “Biblical preaching is a declaration of war on the kingdom of darkness.  Satan does not stand idly by.  When he finds someone who is diligently faithful to the ministry…of the Word [as was Paul], he goes on the attack.”76  This humble apostle does not see himself as an elite soldier who is too proud to ask the rank and file of Ephesus for prayer support.  Me genoito! (May it be)  Paul would very much appreciate the sentiments of the song writer who said, “I need the prayers of those I love.”

SOLI DEO GLORIA.

 

Addendum

The Warrior’s Prayer
David Jeremiah

Heavenly Father, Your warrior prepares for battle.
Today I claim victory over Satan by putting on the whole armor of God!

I put on the Girdle of Truth!
May I stand firm in the truth of Your Word so I will not be a victim of Satan’s lies.

I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness!
May it guard my heart from evil so I will remain pure and holy, protected under the blood of Jesus Christ.

I put on the Shoes of Peace!
May I stand firm in the Good News of the Gospel so Your peace will shine through me and be a light to all I encounter.

I take the Shield of Faith!
May I be ready for Satan’s fiery darts of doubt, denial and deceit so I will not be vulnerable to spiritual defeat.

I put on the Helmet of Salvation!
May I keep my mind focused on You so Satan will not have a stronghold on my thoughts.

I take the Sword of the Spirit!
May the two-edged sword of Your Word be ready in my hands so I can expose the tempting words of Satan.

By faith your warrior has put on the whole armor of God!

I am prepared to live this day in spiritual victory!

Amen

 


 

END NOTES

 

1      Gregory A. Boyd, God at War:  The Bible and Spiritual Conflict (Downer’s Grove, Illinois:  Inter Vasity Press, 1997), p. 269.

 

2      Clinton E. Arnold, 3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Book House, 1997), p. 19.

 

3      I am aware that en Epheso in Ephesians 1:1 is in square brackets in the Greek New Testament.  While the epistle may have been an encyclical, I accept the tradition that views the Ephesians, as at least, the initial recipients of Paul’s inspired correspondence.

 

4      D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Soldier:  An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10-20    (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Book House, 1988), p. 11.

 

5         Mark I. Bubeck, The Adversary:  The Christian Versus Demonic Activity  (Chicago, Illinois:  Moody Press, 1975, p. 23.

 

6         John Eldredge, Waking the Dead:  The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive (Nashville, Tennessee:  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003), p. 152.

 

7         Quoted by R. Arthur Matthews, “Dealing With The Enemy In Society” in Engaging The Enemy:  How To Fight and Defeat Territorial Spirits, ed. C. Peter Wagner (Ventura, California:  Regal Books, 1991), p. 56.  Martin Luther – who was very aware of the reality and severity of spiritual warfare—(It has been said he threw a bottle of ink at the invisible, inimical devil!)—would seriously lament such insensitivity.

 

8         Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Edinburgh:  The Banner of Truth Trust, 1988), p. 565.

 

9         William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary:  Galatians and Ephesians  (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Book House, 1990), p. 270.

 

10     Ralph P. Martin, “Ephesians,” in New Bible Commentary.  Third Edition, eds. Donald Guthrie, et. al. (Leicester England:  InterVarsity Press, 1989), p. 1122.

 

11     John White, The Fight:  A Practical Handbook for Christian Living  (Downers Grove, Illinois:  InterVarsity Press, 1976), p. 77.  Passages in Scripture which many believe discuss the primal fall of Satan include:  Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:11-19, Luke 10:18 and Revelation 12:1-12.

 

12     Thomas B. White, The Believer’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Ventura, California:  Regal Books), p. 35.  I am not advocating (nor denigrating) the relatively new theological emphasis on Territorial Spirits.  It is a subject which I personally need more time in which to investigate and evaluate.  Certainly, Daniel 10:12-14, 20 is suggestive of demonic territorial influence but I’m somewhat concerned as much of the popular writing on Territorial Spirits strike me as being heavily subjective rather than solidly Biblical.

 

13     Albert Leckie, “Ephesians,” in What The Bible Teaches, Ritchie New Testament Commentaries, ed. Tom Wilson, (Kilmarnock, Scotland:  John Ritchie Ltd., 1983), p. 166.  The Ephesians would certainly get Paul’s teaching here having come to faith in Christ from a background of strong occultic bondage (Acts 19:17-20).

 

14     Gregory A. Boyd, God At War:  The Bible and Spiritual Conflict (Downers Grove, Illinois:  InterVarsity Press, 1997), p.18.

 

15     A. Skevington Wood, “Ephesians,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume eleven.  ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan, 1978), p. 86.

 

16     Martin, p. 1123.

 

17     Boyd, p. 59 agrees that these terms are not to be demythologized and reinterpreted:

 

Walter Wink’s diagnosis of our culture must be taken seriously (though not necessarily accepted) when he writes concerning angels and demons:

                We moderns cannot bring ourselves…to believe in the real existence of these mythological entities that traditionally have been lumped under the general category “principalities and powers.”…It is as impossible for most of us to believe in the real existence of demonic or angelic powers as it is to believe in dragons or elves, or a flat world.

 

18     Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Book House, 1986), p.650.

 

19     Thomas B. White, p. 32.

 

20     Clinton E. Arnold, 3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Books, 2003), p. 38.  Arnold notes that:

The first two terms are the most common way Paul speaks of demonic spirits.  They are normally found together in Paul’s writings and appear to be a summary way of referring to all sorts of evil powers (see 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 1:15).

 

21     Ed Murphy, The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare  (Nashville, Tennessee:  Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), p. 406.

 

22     John Stott, The Message of Ephesians  (Leicester, England:  InterVarsity Press, 1979), p. 265.

 

23     Edward R. Roustio, “The Epistle To The Ephesians” in Liberty Bible Commentary, ed. Jerry Falwell  (Lychburg, Virginia:  The Old-Time Gospel Hour, 1983), p 2427.

 

24     Wood, p. 86.

 

25     Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life; An Evangelical Theology of Renewal  (Downer’s Grove, Illinois:  InterVarsity Press, 1979), p. 137.

 

26     Charles Hodge, Ephesians:  The Classic New Testament Commentary, ed. Philip Hillyer (London:  Harper Collins, 1991), p. 194.

 

27     Markus Barth, Ephesians:  Translation and Commentary on Chapters 4-6.  The Anchor Bible Commentary (Garden City, New York:  Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1974), p. 759.

 

28     William Gurnall, The Christian In Complete Armour.  Volume One.  Abridged by Ruthanne Garlock, et. al.  (Edinburg, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1991), p. 59.

 

29     Barth, p. 762.

 

30     Cindy Jacobs, Possessing The Gates of the Enemy:  A Training Manual for Militant Intercession.    Second edition with study guide (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Chosen Books, 1997), p. 64.

 

31     J. Gresham Machen, “The Good Fight of Faith” in Valiant For The Truth:  A Treasury of Evangelical Writings,  ed. David Otis Fuller (New York:  J. B. Lippincott Company, 1961), p. 449.

 

32     Barth, p. 759.

 

33     Larry Lea, The Weapons of Your Warfare:  Equipping Yourself to Defeat the Enemy (Altamonte Springs, Florida:  Creation House, 1989), p. 93.

 

34     Stu Weber, Spirit Warriors (Sisters, Oregon:  Multnomah Publishers, 2001), p. 171.

 

35     Clinton E. Arnold, Ephesians:  Power and Magic  (Great Britain:  Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 105.

 

36     R. C. Sproul, The Purpose of God:  An Exposition of Ephesians (Scotland, Great Britain:  Christian Focus Publication, 2002), p. 147.  Many see Paul’s description of the panoply also being influenced by Isaiah 11:5, 49:2, 59:17, and the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon 5:17-20.  Paul often writes using warfare as a metaphor.  See Romans 13:11-14, 16:20, 2 Corinthians 6:7, 10:4-5, Philippians 2:25, Colossians 2:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, 1 Timothy 1:18, 6:12, 2 Timothy 2:3-4, 4:6-8, Philemon 2.

 

37     Ibid., p. 147

 

38     Richard Hall and Barbara Adams, eds., Essentials on Fire Fighting. Fourth Edition (Oklahoma State University, USA:  Fire Protection Publications, 1998), p. 79.

 

39     John Calvin, Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians (Edinburgh:  The Banner of Truth Trust, 1973), p. 657.

 

40     Arnold, 3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare, p. 42.

 

41     Neil T. Anderson, The Bondage Breaker (Eugene, Oregon:  Harvest House Publishers, 1990), p. 80.

 

42     Flavius Josephus:  Complete Works.  Translated by William Whiston, War of the Jews,  V1,I.8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Kregel Publications, 1981).

 

43     Stott, pp. 280-281 observes:

Our fourth piece of equipment is the shield of faith (verse 16) which we are to take up not so much  ‘above all’ (AV), as if it were the most important of all weapons, but rather besides all these, as an indispensable addition.

 

44     Ibid., p. 281.  Stott is quoting Armitage Robinson.

 

45     Markus Barth quoted in Cleon Rogers Jr. and Cleon Rodgers III, The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan, 1998), p. 447.

 

46     Ibid., p. 447.

 

47     Dean Sherman, Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian  (Seattle, Washington:  Frontline Communications, 1990), p. 45.

 

48     Harold W. Hoehner, “Ephesians” in The Bible Knowledge Commentrary, New Testament.  Eds. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (USA:  Victor Books, 1983), p. 644.

 

49     Stott, p. 282.

 

50     William Barclay, The Letters To The Galatians and Ephesians.  Revised Edition.  The Daily Study Bible Series (Burlington, Ontario:  Welch Publishing, 1976), p. 184.

 

51     W. E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Old Tappan, New Jersey:  Fleming H. Revell Company, 1981), p. 230.

 

52     Weber, p. 166.

 

53     George Mallone, Arming For Spiritual Warfare:  How Christians Can Prepare to Fight the Enemy  (Downers Grove, Illinois:  InterVarsity Press, 1991), p. 34.

 

54     Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology:  An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine  (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan, 1994), p. 430.

 

55     Thomas B. White, p. 49.

 

56     John White, p. 82.

 

57     Gurnall, p. 59.

 

58     Larry Lea, p. 95.

 

59     Ibid.

 

60     Boyd, p. 282.  Christ modeled a strong commitment to prayer as He lived and ministered in the war zone of this world (Luke 3:21, 5:16, 6:12, 9:18, 28, 11:1, 22:39-44, 23:34, 43).

 

61     Arnold, 3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare, p. 43.

 

62     Ibid.

 

63     C. Peter Wagner, ed. Engaging The Enemy:  How To Fight and Defeat Territorial Spirits, pp. 7-8.

 

64     Sproul, p. 152.

 

65     Jack W. Hayford, Prayer Is Invading The Impossible  (Chepstow, Gwent, United Kingdom:  Bridge Publishing, 1985), pp 19, 34-35.

 

66     Arnold, 3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare, p. 46.

 

67     Gordon D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence:  The Holy Spirit In The Letters of Paul  (Peabody, Massachusetts, 1994), p. 730-731.

 

68     Sproul, p. 152.  One cannot help but suspect that the usually careful Sproul is guilty of a doctrinal bias against genuine contemporary expressions of glossolalia.  Surely he is aware that 1 Corinthians 14:15 (which, in context, clearly has tongues in mind) and Ephesians 6:18 (which admittedly does not explicitly mention tongues) are both addressing the matter of praying to/en pneumati or praying in the Spirit, as does Jude 20 also.

 

69     Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock, A Women’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Ann Arbor, Michigan:  Servant Publications, 1991), p. 98.

 

70     Charles Swindoll, Come Before Winter…And Share My Hope  (Willowdale, Ontario:  R. G. Mitchell Family Books, 1985), p. 23.

 

71     Lovelace, p. 137.  Italics added.  Lovelace mentions six stratagems of the enemy:  temptation, deception, accusation, obsession, possession and physical attack.

 

72     Jim Cymbala, Breakthrough Prayer (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan, 2003), p. 49.

 

73     Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan, 1997), p. 27.

 

74     Cheryl Sacks, The Prayer Saturated Church:  A Comprehensive Handbook for Prayer Leaders (Colorado Springs, Colorado:  NavPress, 2004).

 

75     Arnold, 3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare, p. 45.

 

76     Bruce Mawhinney, Preaching With Freshness (Eugene, Oregon:  Harvest House Publishers, 1991), p. 31.

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