Eph. 6:1-4: A Sermon on parents and children

I want to make some introductory comments about our world and our country. Christians are never called to a life of safety. Jesus told us we will be persecuted (Matthew 24:9; 2 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 5:10; John 16:1 and following; John 15:18; Paul wrote many of His letters from a Romans prison, including Philippians which He wrote to a persecuted church, see Phil. 4:4-13) Jim Elliot was a martyred Christian as they were trying to minister to the people of Ecuador in 1956. He and his group were killed by the people they were trying to reach for the Gospel. However, when they were speared To death they had a rifle. They fired a shot in the air. The tribal group they were trying to reach realized they had a gun and could have killed them, but since they did not it opened doors for later ministry. The wives of Jim Elliot, and the group who were martyred, went back and witnessed to the tribe and led them to Christ. Even in the death of the husbands the people came to Christ through their wives. They came to Christ through grace and mercy and love and forgiveness. But it was not easy for the Christian families. I cannot imagine what they went through.

We have enjoyed safety in America for some time. We were a country with Judaeo-Christian values, but we are losing those values. In the United States several things are coming together to cause tragedies. I see several pieces of a puzzle of our great society and these pieces are coming apart. These are not in order from most significant to the least significant. Certainly the most significant is that we are rejecting Christ.:

  1. We are having increasingly violent video games, music, moves, television.
  2. We have the rise of secularism which is leading away from Christianity to a hatred of those that hold Christian views. It went from where most people claimed Christ, to the point where people may not claim Christ but they did accept Christian values as the best values, and now people reject Christ, reject Judeao-Christian values and hate those that hold those values.
  3. We have lost the ability to work, and the need to work, and this leads to the rise of people without purpose and responsibilities.
  4. We have a rise in depression and anxiety. This is linked with the other puzzle pieces. As work and having a purpose in life actually helps fight depression and anxiety.
  5. Our families have fallen apart. People are raised with broken homes and without a father.

That is what I wish to talk about today. The family is critical for our culture’s health.

Think with me, were you ever disobedient to your parents?

Think about it. Think of a humorous time when you disobeyed? What happened? Were your parents correct in the end?

When I was in Jr. High School, (that is what it was called back then, Jr. High) my brother and I went for a long bike ride. My mother told us not to cross a certain road. I followed my older brother and we crossed that road. You know what though? When we got home, my older brother told my mom that we disobeyed. He right out just told her. I was quite surprised. However, later on WE were quite in trouble. My father got home from work and was very upset with us and gave us the punishment which we deserved.

In the passage today we see instructions for children and instructions for parents, mainly fathers. Let’s look at the passage.

My theme:

Children obey and honor your parents. Fathers, don’t provoke your children, but bring them up the in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1-4:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

  1. First, we see Children obey your parents
    1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
    2. Obey is the command in verse 1.
    3. “in the Lord” modifies obey, not parents.
    4. So this is meaning children are to obey their parents as unto the Lord.
    5. Children are to obey their parents as unto the Lord and this means that regardless of whether or not the parents are believers children are to obey them.
    6. This is cross referenced in the Scriptures:
    7. Proverbs 6:20 My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother..
    8. Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old.
    9. Colossians 3:20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.
    10. Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
    11. Deuteronomy 5:16 ‘Honor your father and •your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.
    12. In verses 2 and 3 we see Honor.
    13. This is an Old Testament quotation which we have already read.
    14. Honor is different than obey. We are to honor our parents all of our days, but we must obey our parents while we are under their supervision.
    15. So, are you honoring your parents? Are you respecting your parents? There is no time limit on this Old Testament commandment.
    16. Paul adds: that this is the first commandment with a promise
    17. àIt seems that some paraphrase translations get this wrong
    18. àI believe the Message interprets this “so you will live well and have a long life.”
    19. àI believe God was saying that the people will live long and healthy in the land if they obey their parents. In other words, if they cannot obey their parents their society will not be healthy.
    20. àThis is saying that they would have a long life in the promised land if the children honor their parents.
    21. àTo us we will have a good life now and reward in eternity by honoring our parents.
    22. àNo people group can exist when children do not obey.
    23. àThis is true of our current country. Fathers are not involved and look at us. Look at our country.
    24. We cannot exist without honoring parents.
    25. We cannot exist when there is no authority. We have to have authority in the home.
    26. I expect the world to be the world but we as Christians must do better with obeying and honoring. We must know how to respect.
  • Think of the influence a family has. The devil loves to break apart families. As the family goes so goes society. Ray Ortlund Jr shares: When Jani and I married in 1971, we were just two people. But now we have grandchildren, with more on the way. At present trends, our family alone could grow to 52,488 people in ten generations. That’s a city about the size of Flagstaff, Arizona. And it’s all our fault! We bear some responsibility for these thousands along our lineage.
  1. The next instruction is for Fathers
    1. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
    2. MacArthur shares: In the pagan world of Paul’s day, and even in many Jewish households, most fathers ruled their families with rigid and domineering authority. The desires and welfare of wives and children were seldom considered. The apostle makes clear that a Christian father’s authority over his children does not allow for unreasonable demands and strictures that might drive his children to anger, despair, and resentment. discipline and instruction of the Lord. This calls for systematic discipline and instruction, which brings children to respect the commands of the Lord as the foundation of all of life, godliness, and blessing.
    3. This is now addressed to Fathers
    4. àI believe this is the only verse addressing fathers in this passage.
    5. Fathers are not to provoke children to anger
    6. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
    7. Notice that word “instruction.”
    8. Some personal applications:
    9. àAs a Father I must not be so authoritative that I am trying to incite my children to anger and rebellion.
    10. àI must lovingly discipline my children.
    11. àI must lovingly care for my children.
    12. àThis means I must not have inappropriate, or excessive, boundaries.
    13. àThis means I must not have excessive disciplines.
    14. àThis means that I must not have excessive education or other expectations.
    15. I remember hearing that many Puritan children had been through the whole Bible by age 5. Puritan children were also not allowed to talk or laugh at the dinner table.
    16. àYet, I am supposed to discipline.
    17. àI am supposed to care for and raise my children by the Lord’s ways.
      1. One source I read listed some additional ways in which parents may become guilty of exasperating their children: (1) by over-protection, (2) by favoritism, (3) by discouragement, (4) by failure to make allowance for the fact that the child is growing up, has a right to have ideas of his own, and need not be an exact copy of his father to be a success, (5) by neglect, and (6) by bitter words and outright physical cruelty.
  • Final applications
    1. For children, if you are under your parents’ authority, obey. Of you have not been obeying repent.
    2. If you are an adult, honor your parents, respect them.
    3. If you have not been honoring your parents, repent. Meet with them and apologize and ask for forgiveness. Ask God for forgiveness first.
    4. Lead your children spiritually.

 

Close:

Being a dad is amazing. You know what frustrates me is absent fathers. Meagan’s mother and father had a bad divorce when she was 12. From 12 until when she was 18 he was mainly absent. When I was younger I was sympathetic to Meagan’s hurt over that. But now, I just cannot understand how a man can do that. Before I say anything else let me say that Meagan’s relationship with her father has been off and on restored since she was eighteen and we were married. Her father has apologized. But I look at my two little girls and I think how can a man abandon his children. Parents, we have a heavy responsibility and privilege and honor. You know how exciting it is to come home and hear the excitement in my girls? I hate being away overnight and I miss them. It is wrong to abandon children. Men that do that are not men, they are little boys. But there is another type of abandonment which is more acceptable. Many dads abandon their children spiritually. This is not right. We can get everything right that society says to do, but miss the spiritual. Give your kids food, clothes, housing, education, even college, great; but don’t forget to raise them spiritually. They need Jesus. Without Jesus, our children have nothing. Fathers, parents, what a gift you have been given! Raise them up in the instruction of the Lord. They need to know Jesus.

So, how are you doing with this?

Pray for families this week. Pray for Christian families to follow Jesus. Pray this passage for your family, your children, grandchildren, etc.

 

Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

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Household codes (Eph. 5:22-33)

Submission to one another, Wives and husbands (Ephesians 5:21–33)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, October 29, 2017

Introduction:

Today we enter the household codes section of Ephesians. This is not an easy passage. Sure, it is easy to interpret. It is not easy to stand up here and preach. So, I am sure either men, or women, or both may be upset with me by the end of the message. This is why there are no rocks under your chairs, but even so, if you are unruly I am still a fast runner and there is a door to my left at the front of the sanctuary. Even so, I will preach exactly what the Bible teaches.

Let me say that this is not a politically correct sermon. BUT this is a Biblically correct sermon. I can make mistakes, I understand that, but before being upset with me please look at the Bible and see what it says.

I was listening to Pastor and author Chip Ingram on Moody Radio and he shared about the Christian family as a witness. He shared how one day he went outside and he was in the front yard playing games with his kids. His neighbor across the street was moving. She came across the street to say goodbye to him. She was going through a messy divorce. She came over and talked with him. She said, “I am done with men. But if I were to consider a man again he would have to be like you.” Chip was not saying this arrogantly, it was only because of the grace of God and his commitment to family. She was not impressed with him except that he was spending time with his kids. Chip concluded by saying, a Christian family is a powerful witness. So, let’s talk about a Christian family. The Christian family begins with husband and wife.

My theme today is: Men, love your wives as Christ loved the church and woman submit to and respect your husbands.

The passages: Ephesians 5:22-33:

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

  1. Notice the passage begins by stating “Be subject.” (vs 22-24)
    1. This is one of several “house-rule” lists in the New Testament (cf. Eph. 5:22—6:9; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 6:1-2; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Pet. 2:18—3:7). The writings of some Apostolic Fathers also contain such lists. Luther referred to these sections as haustafel, and some scholars still use this technical term when referring to these lists.
    2. This part is all about husbands and wives: Constable: In each of the three pairings, the first partner is responsible to be submissive or obedient (5:22; 6:1, 5). However, the second partner is also to show a submissive spirit. All are to relate to one another “as unto the Lord
    3. Let me read verses 22-24: Wives, be subjectto your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
    4. But go back and look at verse 21.
    5. Notice verse 21 says to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
    6. That is a nice way to start out this passage. Paul is talking about submitting based off of the authority they are to have. As Christians we should submit to police and government authorities (Romans 13), our employers, parents, etc.
    7. So, Paul is getting into this.
    8. The passage is basic. Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
    9. The husband is the head of the wife.
    10. Christ is the head of the church.
    11. The church must submit to Christ.
    12. Wives must submit to their husbands.
    13. Maybe some of you are here thinking this is not necessary. Let me state what is the conditions of marriage in the United States? What is the condition of the family in the United States? What is going on with our culture? I submit to you that the further we get from God’s ways the more things crumble.
    14. John Stott: “Too much so-called ‘holiness teaching’ emphasizes a personal relationship to Jesus Christ without any attempt to indicate its consequences in terms of relationships with the people we live and work with. In contrast to such holiness-in-a-vacuum, which magnifies experiences and minimizes ethics, the apostles spelled out Christian duty in the concrete situations of everyday life and work.”
    15. Also, Paul did change things up. The Greco-Roman treated women poorly.
    16. One writes: “After centuries of Christian teaching, we scarcely appreciate the revolutionary nature of Paul’s views on family life set forth in this passage. Among the Jews of his day, as also among the Romans and the Greeks, women were seen as secondary citizens with few or no rights. The pious male Jew daily said a prayer in which he thanked God for not making him a woman. And he could divorce his wife by simply writing ‘a bill of divorcement’ (which must include the provision that she was then free to marry whomever she wanted). The wife had no such right.”
    17. So, what Paul is saying is first that the wife is to submit to her husband.
    18. If we want to say that wives no longer must respect or submit to their husbands than we could also say that the church no longer must submit to Christ. The Scripture says in verse 24: But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
    19. But men, don’t think you have it easy. Most of this passage is about your duty. Leadership means responsibility.
    20. By the way, wives are not to submit to their husbands when the husband calls them to disobey God, or harm themselves.
    21. Wives, never settle for abuse. You are not called to allow yourself to be abused.
    22. I was listening to Dr. Michael Rydelnik on Moody radio and a woman called in and she was being physically abused by her husband but she did not think she was right to leave him. He affirmed, as I would, if you are being abused you get out of the abused situation, right away. Talk to me about that if it is going on. Talk with a Christian counselor. If your children are being abused, get out of that situation. Those are not situations where you submit. Submit to God first.
  2. Husbands love your wives… vs 25-27
    1. Look at the next section, now this is for the husbands.
    2. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
    3. Constable: Paul summarized the wife’s duty as submission, and the husband’s duty as love. The word he used for “love” (agapate) means much more than sexual passion (eros), or even family affection (philia). It means seeking the highest good for another person (cf. 2:4). Husbands are to love their wives in the same way that Christ loved the church. The extent to which He went for her welfare, was giving Himself up in death to provide salvation for her (cf. v. 2; Phil. 2:5-11). He gave up His rights, yet maintained His responsibilities. The biblical concept of authority emphasizes responsibility, not tyranny
    4. There is an interesting section about Jesus sanctifying the church.
    5. This is interesting about the husbands call to spiritual leadership.
    6. Husbands, what did Jesus do for the church? He died for the church. Jesus took care of our spiritual need.
    7. We must be financial providers, yes, but most of all spiritual leaders.
    8. Across the church, we are failing miserably here.
    9. When was the last time we had a spiritual discussion with our family.
    10. Do you know that studies show that the spouses that pray together stay together.
    11. I have heard so many say that men need respect and women need loved. Woman need cherished and adored. This is a psychological need. Men need respect. Most men need it. Men may get respect at work and not at home and so they just work, work and work. They feel good at work because they are good at it. If a woman feels loved, cherished, adored she is usually happy.
    12. Many men have this voice inside saying, “I am not good enough.” They need respected. But woman need adored.
  • Husbands love your wife like you love yourself (vs 28-32)
    1. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also doesthe church,30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
    2. love your wives as your own body.
    3. Listen, don’t marry a man who does not take care of himself and respect his body.
    4. to love your wife is to love yourself
    5. verse 29: no one hates his own flesh; we take care of our own flesh; Jesus takes care of the church.
    6. Some commentators have translated “as” to “being,” here and in verse 28. This rendering makes understanding the first part of verse 29 easier. “The husband, the head, therefore, is to love the wife as being his body, even as Christ loved the Church as forming His body.”
    7. Jesus provided for the church. We provide for ourselves. Make sure you provide for your family.
    8. Woman need to know that they are secure. They have a desire to know that they are safe and provided for.
    9. What happens often is that a woman feels insecure because her husband has lost his job. The wife does not mean to, but she innocently questions her husband about the job. She wants to know she is secure. But the husband gets defensive. He thinks she is disrespecting him by questioning his ability to provide. She does not mean to disrespect him, but that is the way he perceives her questions. She wants to know that he is providing, he wants to know that he is respected. The fight begins, so be it innocently.
  1. Summary in Verse 33
    1. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to itthat she respects her husband.
    2. That is the summary.

Close:

I want to conclude with some applications:

If I am to live this out, this is what my personal goal ought to be. These are in the first person pronoun, “I.”

  1. I must love my wife in a self-sacrificing way.
  2. I must be willing to die for my wife as Christ died for the church (verse 25).
  3. I must love my wife as I would love myself (verse 28).
    1. I would defend my body so I must defend my wife.
    2. I will take care of my body so I must take care of my wife.
    3. I nourish my body and so I must nourish my wife.
    4. I take medications when I am sick; therefore, I must make sure my wife has the right medications.
    5. I buy food for my body; therefore, I must buy the best food for my wife.
    6. I am a steward of my body and so I am a steward of my wife. My body is not mine, but God’s and my wife is really God’s woman.
    7. I purchase things to clothe my body, I must purchase things to clothe my wife.
    8. I would not disrespect my body; therefore, I must not disrespect my wife.
    9. I would not harm my body; therefore, I must not harm my wife.
    10. If my body had feelings I would not hurt them; therefore, I must not hurt my wife’s feelings.
    11. I would not say things mean to my body; therefore, why would I say mean things to my wife.
  4. I am to be glued together with my wife (verse 31), I must act like it.
  5. I will love, cherish and obey my wife.
  6. I must cherish my wife with:
    1. Words
    2. Actions
    3. With tender touch
    4. With gifts
    5. Time spent together.

Luke 9:23

Let’s pray.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Our real struggle (Eph. 6:10-20)

Story about man possessed told by a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University

It was 2002 and I was a student at Indiana Wesleyan University. That was one of the four colleges I attended before graduating from Cedarville University. Anyways, I was in an Old Testament survey class and the topic of spiritual warfare came up. The professor was an adjunct professor which means that was not his full-time job. He served as a pastor for his full-time job. He shared a story about a personal encounter with spiritual warfare. One morning he received a phone call from a church member. She said pastor, can you come over something happened with my son last night. Her son was a young man of seventeen years old. The pastor started heading to her house, and also invited a church elder, who was a former pastor to join him. They arrived at her house and saw the women’s son and said, “what happened?” He said his mom was at work the previous night and he had some friends over and they tried to raise a demonic spirit. The pastor said, “What happened?” The boy said “nothing.” The boy continued. He shared that later in the evening he was in bed and woke up to see something black at the end of the bed and this black thing told him to rape his girlfriend, kill her and cut her up in pieces. The pastor asked, “What did you do?” The boy responded with, “Pulled the covers over my head.” The pastor and elder said we want to pray over you. The boy said okay. They then asked him to get on his knees. The boy’s voice changed to a deeper voice as he said, “Why do I have to get on my knees?” They said, “It is submission to Christ…” The boy refused to get on his knees but they said they would pray over him anyways. As soon as they mentioned Jesus’ name the boy dropped to his knees. The church elders met with, and prayed over, the boy the following Sunday. At some point the boy accepted Christ as Lord and Savior and following his conversion they burned all his satan worship stuff. The boy started into satan worship when he was about twelve years old.

Listen, there is a spiritual battle and when we get involved with the devil we do not realize what we are playing with. We get involved way over our head.

Today, I want us to read Ephesians 6:10-20, but we are mainly going to talk about verse 12.

Ephesians 6:10-20:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and havingput on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

My theme: Our real battle is against the devil’s spiritual forces.

Application: Do not fight the battle on your own. Put on Christ, put on the armor of God.

Video clip from the Patriot——-

Did you hear what she said, “make your actions reflect your beliefs!” We must do the same.

We also are at war. It is a war that most people don’t realize is going on. Sadly, it is a war that most Christians don’t even realize is going on. Many Christians know there is a battle going on, yet we fight the wrong battle. We fight the wrong war. We might think it is political, so we think “If we could just vote in Christian people we could return our country to the proper moral nation we once were.” Or, we may think, “It is useless, there is a battle of culture against Christ and we are losing, but what can we do?” Thoughts like the one just listed show that we are fighting the wrong war. The passage we are going to look at affirms that there is a struggle, there is a battle, but our real struggle is spiritual.

In the next few minutes I will reference several verses that tell us where this struggle started and affirm the realities and the extent of this struggle. I have a one page handout which is in your bulletin which includes all of the verses I am referencing and more.

  1. Jesus said worship God in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24). We pray but we don’t see any wires taking our prayer to God. Let’s me setup the passage.
    1. Paul says our real struggle is spiritual. But how do we get to Eph. 6:10-20?
    2. Paul has a major emphasis on the spiritual in the letter to the Ephesians, or really in all his letters. Five times in the letter to the Ephesians we see Paul reference the “Heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10 and 6:12)
    3. Remember the first half of the book of Ephesians was all about the Theology of Salvation. Paul wrote about this awesome truth of Jews and Gentiles having equal status to God, in Christ. Paul shared awesome truths.
    4. Remember in the second half of Ephesians Paul writes about the practical. Eph. 4:1-3: Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
    5. Paul calls us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. Our calling is to salvation in Christ.
    6. Part of that Christian walk is unity as referenced above. Other parts are being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
    7. However, there is a major battle in living the Christian life. We are called to put aside all these things referenced in Ephesians 4:17-32, things like: false hood (verse 25); do not let the sun go down on your anger (verse 26); do not give the devil a foothold (verse 27); do not steel (verse 28); let no unwholesome words come out of your mouth (verse 29); do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God (verse 30); bitterness (verse 31); wrath (verse 31); anger (verse 31); clamor (verse 31); slander (verse 31) and malice (verse 31). We are called to put on all these things in Ephesians 4:17-32: Truth (verse 25); Labor with your own hands (verse 28); Have something to share with those who have need (Verse 28); Speak words that are good (verse 29); Kindness (verse 32); Tender-hearted (verse 32) and Forgiving (verse 32).
    8. We are called to imitate God (Eph. 5:1). We are called to have a different way of marriage (Eph. 5:22-32) Children are to obey and honor their parents (Eph. 6:1-4) and slaves are to obey their masters and masters are to respect their slaves (Eph. 6:5-9).
    9. How do we live this life? In Christ, we live this life in Christ. We live this life by being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
  2. Now, let’s talk about the spiritual battle.
    1. Let’s start with Eph. 6:12: 12 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 forcesof wickedness in the heavenly places. 
    2. Allow me to take a few minutes and give some background to this spiritual battle.
    3. In Revelation 12:3 the writer gives indication that at some point there was a cosmic struggle and satan, who was then an angel, rebelled and fell from Heaven with 1/3rd of the angels. Revelation is written looking backward in this case. We don’t know exactly when satan led this revolt, but Scripture makes it clear that he did lead the revolt. We know that satan rebelled sometime between Genesis 1 and Genesis 3. The 1/3rd of the demons could have followed him all at once or over time that by the end of time 1/3rd of the angels had rebelled and become demons. Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezek chapter 28 both give more indication about satan’s fall from Heaven. He was an anointed angel, but he had some pride and tried to take what was God’s.
    4. We must read this stuff as reality. We think of this stuff as fantasy but it real. The Bible makes it very clear that satan is real and the spiritual realm is real and this is the real struggle. Sometimes we view the Bible through the eyes of our Disney fantasy. Do not let your Disney fantasy cloud your judgment. This is real.
      1. As an aside, this can be a problem with our make believe with children. I was taught that Santa is real. Most kids are, but then they grow up to realize that Santa is fantasy. Many children could think the same about Jesus.
      2. They think I was taught Santa was real and he is not. I was taught Jesus is real; therefore, Jesus is not real.
  • Jesus is real and the spiritual warfare is real as well.
  1. The Bible speaks Truth about all of these subjects.
  1. So, satan fell from Heaven.
  2. But just because satan fell from heaven and took 1/3rd of the angels don’t get the idea that satan is simply an opposing force to God. Satan is no equal. In Luke 10:18 the disciples had been sent out to heal people, cast out demons, etc and when they came back they said, “Lord, the demons obey you!” To this Jesus responded, “I saw satan fall from Heaven like lightning.” God sent the devil down to earth as fast as lightning hits the ground. So, the Lord Jesus is clearly ruler and satan is no equal, yet there is a battle.
  3. In 1 Chronicles chapter 21 the text says that satan rose up and incited David to do something that was sinful. Satan incited David to take a census. This census was sinful because it made David have faith in his army instead of faith in God. Satan wants us to do things that make us doubt the power of the Lord.
    1. Satan will want you to have trust in your job rather than God.
    2. Satan will want you to have trust in your money rather than God.
  • Satan will want you to have trust in your many friends rather than God.
  1. Satan will want you to have trust in your power rather than God.
  1. In 2 Cor 4:4 satan is called “the god of this age.”
  2. The Bible even gives indication that this spiritual war affects the nations which implies that it affects the culture as well. In Daniel chapter 9 he prays to the Lord for an answer about something going on. But Daniel doesn’t get an answer. The answer comes in chapter 10 and in verse 14 the angels says that the response was delayed because the prince of the Persian kingdom delayed his response for 21 days and the angel speaking to Daniel had to get help from the prince angel Michael. The prince of the Persian Kingdom was not a mere man but a demon, a fallen angel.
  3. There is a spiritual war going on and we must recognize this battle.
  4. But many times we ignore the battle, are you recognizing this battle?
    1. When we leave church thinking about things rather than how great a Salvation we have satan is battling us. When we as Christians spend our time arguing about what color carpet to put in the sanctuary satan is attacking us. When we argue about many things in our churches satan is attacking.
    2. Listen, satan loves to get our churches off of the Gospel. Satan loves to distract us to trivial things. I have seen churches argue over bylaws, policies, and budgets. I have seen churches spend years and hours upon hours upon hours discussing the constitution. I dare say many people could have received Jesus as Lord and Savior during that time. I have seen churches spend over an hour discussing whether it was appropriate to wear a hat in the sanctuary. I know of churches that have argued about the temperature of the sanctuary.
    3. A united church, correction, a church united staying True to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:2, 9 and 20:4) can really do damage to the devil.
    4. When churches divide over worship style satan is attacking us. Our emphasis should be reaching the lost with the Gospel, growing in Christ, learning Scripture, worshipping the Lord, ministering to people’s physical and especially spiritual needs and having fellowship. But satan gets us distracted by those things with trivial matters.
    5. Satan does this in families as well. Swindoll tells a story. I was driving down Interstate 75 between Dayton and Cincinnati and I heard the following. He shared that he had a pastor friend who died. So, he was officiating the funeral. He was meeting with the family about the service. Suddenly, one of the daughters of the man who died reached across the table and hit her sister. These are adults! They are divided. Satan wants to divide a family. Oh, when he takes down a family he really hurts society. Satan is taking down America by hurting our families.
    6. Satan and his demons are attacking us.
    7. Our struggle is not with people it is spiritual, a spiritual war. I do not know how the wifi signal works, though I cannot see it, it works. I do not know how the cell phone signals work, though I cannot see it, they work. I do not know how the radio and television antennas work, though I cannot see them, they work. Likewise, I cannot see the spiritual world, but it is there. Many times we are arguing and, though we do not realize it, satan and his minions are in the background fueling the fire.
  • Let’s go back and look at Eph 6:12
    1. He says “our struggle…” struggle implies that there is a real physical battle.
    2. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood—meaning our struggle in not against humans, so what is our struggle with? Paul is going to tell us.
    3. Our struggle is with evil spiritual forces. Look in the verse at how Paul defines these:
      1. Rulers: we know from context that he is not talking about good rulers, for why would Christians battle with them. They are the fallen angels, the demons. And rulers imply there is a hierarchy within their ranks.
      2. Authorities: again, as with rulers, there are certain authorities within their ranks.
      3. Powers of the dark world: Paul doesn’t take these forces lightly, they have certain powers that we don’t have alone.
      4. In the heavenly realms: the heavenly realms means that these forces are in a different form of existence. A form of existence that we cannot see on our own.
    4. Now, what do we do?
      1. First, recognize there is a battle. I mentioned this earlier. I think this is a major problem in the US church. Satan is getting away with a lot because we are wrestling with flesh and blood.
      2. Second, be ready. The rest of this passage is about the armor of the Lord.
        1. The belt of truth: truth is Scripture
        2. The breastplate of righteousness
  • Shield of faith
  1. Helmet of salvation
  2. And the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God: this is the only offensive weapon.
  3. Pray
  1. Don’t fear. 1 John 4:4 says that Jesus who is in us is greater than the devil, who is in the world.
    1. Col 1:15-20 shows that Jesus is in charge of everything.
    2. Phil 2:9-11 shows that every knee will bow to Jesus
  • Rev 20 shows the future destruction of the devil. If satan is bothering you remind him of his future in hell.
  1. Understand that many times there is more than we can see.
  2. You may be dealing with something going on with a family member and things are not working out. We must recognizing there is more going on than we understand. Satan incited King David to take a census which was against God (1 Chronicles 21). Satan will incite you and people around you to do anything and in anyway to bring down Christians and bring down people. The devil is a lion seeking those he can devour (1 Peter 5:8).
  3. We must also not give the devil a foothold. (Eph 4:27). When we are continuing in sin, in hate, and other things we are giving the devil a foothold. When we dabble in spiritual things that are not of God we are giving the devil a foothold and sometimes even opening the door for him to come in.
  4. What do I mean by dabbling in spiritual forces that are not of God? I mean witchcraft; wicca, other religions and religious movements which includes the Eastern religions (talk of Karma); something that appears more innocent but is just as wrong is the many ghost shows that are on the television. These are shows where people are “ghost hunters.”
  5. Don’t toy with this stuff!!! Some of this stuff is fake, but there is a spiritual realm and satan wants to make us fear and distract us from following the Lord.

Close:

I moved the sermons around in order to preach this sermon at Halloween. I believe Christians dabble too much in the worship of death and the demonic. There is a graveyard in the front yard a few doors up from my house. I remember a pastor traveling with a missionary around Halloween and the missionary said, “Christians would never get into this in my country.” Christians are saved from the demonic.

So, are you fighting the right battle or the wrong battle? Too many Christians in the U.S. are totally ignorant, willingly ignorant of the spiritual realm.  It is imperative that we take the spiritual realm seriously.

Read Eph 6:10-20 and think about how you can put on the armor of the Lord this week.

 

Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray