Study 9 THE WORKER’S VICTORY
THE KING’S WORKERS
by Francis Dixon
Key-verse: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
The Christian life is a victorious life and we are to serve the Lord victoriously. We are to be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” These words introduce our theme, which is amplified in Ephesians 6:10-19. In his letters Paul uses metaphors when speaking of the Christian life: it is a walk (KJV) – look up Ephesians 2:2; 2:10; 4:1; 4:17; 5:2; 5:8; 5:15. In chapters 5 and 6, wives (5:22-24), husbands (5:25-31), children (6:1-3), fathers (6:4), servants (6:5-8) and masters (6:9) are all told how to walk. But Paul changes the metaphor, and in Ephesians 6:10 we see something of the stern side of the Christian life, where there is a fight to be fought; there is a powerful enemy to face and we can only be “more than conquerors” as we “put on the full armour of God”. Paul is emphasising that we, as Christians, are not only saints (Ephesians 1:1); sons (Ephesians 1:5); but we are also soldiers – compare Ephesians 6:11 with 1 Timothy 6:12. As soldiers we must fight in the conflict (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7); and if we are to be victorious soldiers in God’s army we must understand the nature of the conflict, the character of the enemy and the vital necessity of putting on our armour.
1. THE NATURE OF THE CONFLICT
Some people have the idea that in the Christian life it is always easy and joyful when serving Christ. A study of Paul’s words, however, will soon dispel these ideas. Notice the nature of the conflict in which we are engaged.
- (1) It is a real warfare. It is a literal fight against a literal enemy; the word ‘against’ occurs six times in verses 11 and 12.
- (2) It is a conflict between real antagonists. Who are they? “The Lord” on the one hand (Ephesians 6:10), and “the Devil” (Ephesians 6:11). The soldiers, or allies, of the Lord are described as “saints” in verse 18. Satan’s allies are described in verse 12.
- (3) It is a fierce conflict. Verse 12 shows us how deadly a fight it is.
- (4) It is hand-to-hand conflict. Our part is to ‘wrestle’ or ‘to struggle’, as verse 12 tells us. This implies close-combat fighting.
- (5) It is a spiritual conflict. It is as literal as any battle against “flesh and blood”, but it is ten thousand times more deadly since it is a conflict with the superhuman and the invisible – look up Luke 12:4.
This is not far-fetched or fanciful; it is God’s revealed truth and we must accept it, and if we do so we shall be spurred on to “put on the full armour of God”.
2. THE CHARACTER OF THE ENEMY
We learn three things about him:
- (1) He is a real person. Today his personality is often questioned, but scripture never does this. The names given to Satan and the actions attributed to him imply personality: deceiver, liar, murderer, accuser, tempter, prince etc. – look up Job1:6; Isaiah 14:12; Matthew 4:10; Matthew 6:13; Matthew 9:34; Matthew 10:25; Matthew 25:41; Luke 4:12; John 8:44; John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 3:5.
- (2) He occupies an exalted position. From Ephesians 2:2 we learn that he is “the ruler of the kingdom of the air”, indicating his control as ruler over evil spirits; and from John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11, we learn that he is “the prince of this world”, showing his domination in the lives of “those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2). He has a kingdom (Matthew 12:26), he is “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and he counterfeits true Christianity (1 Corinthians 10:20-21; 2 Corinthians 11:14 and Revelation 2:9).
- (3) He is very powerful. We learn this from Acts 26:18. It is subtle (2 Corinthians 11:14); sinister (Colossians 1:13); active (Ephesians 2:2); supernatural (2 Thessalonians 2:9); and destructive (Hebrews 2:14).
One of the first requirements, if we are to be victorious in Christian living and in serving the Lord, is that we should know our enemy, his power and his strategy.
3. THE SECRET OF VICTORY
Ephesians 6:10-18 reveals the following three-fold secret:-
- (1) We must recognise our standing in Christ. Go through verse 10 word by word and notice that we are only strong “in the Lord”. There is no strength or ability to wage this warfare apart from God’s. We are to stand, not in our own strength, but in His – compare verses 11, 13 and 14.
- (2) We must accept our protection from Christ. This is described in verses 11 and 13 as “the full armour of God”. Five pieces are for defensive warfare and only one is for offensive warfare. Notice that there is no protection for the back because (to change the figure) – look up Luke 9:62! Our part is to “put on” these pieces of armour:- (1) The belt of truth (verse 14). As the belt encompassed the soldier, so truth must encompass our whole life (Psalm 51:6; John 8:32; 3 John 4). There must be no hypocrisy, no insincerity, and no compromise. (2) The breastplate of righteousness (verse 14). This covers very vital organs. We must stand firm in Christ who is our righteousness (1 John 3:7). (3) Shoes ready for action. When tempted and tried we are sustained (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:7). (4) The shield of faith (verse 16). Faith must operate in every part of our life; we are literally to live by faith (Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7). (5) The helmet of salvation (verse 17). An unprotected mind is a ready prey to Satan’s deceptions, delusions and defilements (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). (6) The sword of the Spirit (verse 17). Turn to Matthew 4:4-10 and Hebrews 4:12 to see how to use the sword against the enemy.
- (3) We must maintain our communion with Christ (verse 18) – it is essential for real victory.