Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Paul urges his readers to be strong in the Lord. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to be strong soldiers of the Lord.
Read Ephesians 6:10-12
I. Situational Awareness. Paul urges his readers in our Sunday School material to be strong in the Lord. They are to put on the full armor of God. They are to understand that they wrestle against the devil, not simply flesh and blood.
- Being strong in the Lord, instead of just a victim. Notice in vss. 10-12 that the struggle against the devil and those under his influence calls for being strong in the Lord.
First, the devil and his influence is real. The devil is the enemy, and he is able to influence people. If the same people were influenced by God, they would be great friends.
Second, we are called to put on the full armor of God and to be strong in the Lord. This is as opposed to simply being a victim of the devil. There are too many people who describe the problem, instead of doing what God is calling us to do.
Third, notice the use of comparing the Christian walk with the Roman soldier. There are those who pretend that the church is not to be compared to anything secular, but this Sunday School material is an assault on that way of thinking.
We need to be open to using whatever helps us be effective in communicating the truths of God’s word. Let’s work on being strong in the Lord, instead of simply being victimized by the devil.
Read Ephesians 6:13-17
II. Battle Preparation. In our Sunday School material, Paul talks about the various parts of the armor to be put on. The armor is to protect, so the one wearing the armor can stand the attacks of the devil.
The armor includes the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, footwear of readiness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of God’s word.
- Belt and breastplate. Notice in vs. 14 that believers are called to put on the belt of truth and breastplate righteousness.
First, the belt of truth is a reference to knowing and living by the truth found in God’s word. Second, the breastplate of righteousness may be a reference to two types of righteousness.
There is the righteousness that comes from accepting Jesus as our savior by faith. And there is the righteousness that comes from living by God’s will. Let’s strive to understand and live by God’s word, which includes accepting Jesus as our savior and the living by Biblical principles.
- Footwear of readiness. Notice in vs. 15 of our Sunday School material that the footwear is compared to the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. There is some debate about the exact meaning of this phrase.
What is clear is that the more we know and live by the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives us peace with God, the more ready we are to do battle against the devil. Let’s make sure we are prepared in our understanding of the gospel of peace, so we can do battle in a godly way.
- Shield of faith. Notice in vs. 16 the shield of faith is to protect from flaming arrows. First, the faith in question is not only a belief in God but a trusting in God that moves us to obey Him.
Second, the shield of faith is needed because the devil is trying to kill us with flaming arrows. The devil never means us any good.
Third, the commentator notes that the Roman shields were made in such a way that when soldiers fought shoulder to shoulder, the shields could interlock in such a way that they were better protected when they fought as a group, instead of by themselves.
In like manner, believers are better protected and more effective in battle, when we are in a group, instead of isolated by ourselves.
Being an active member of a church family and being involved supportive and encouraging Christian relationships are important. Let’s work on using shields of faith to protect us from the devil’s attacks.
- Helmet and sword. Notice in vs. 17 that believers are called to put on the helmet of salvation and carry the sword of God’s word. First, the helmet protects the head. Our salvation is based on our faith in Jesus’ payment for the penalty of our sins. Our place of thinking should be protected with the assurance of our salvation through Christ.
Second, the sword is designed for offense. Believers should be prepared to advance against the devil’s attack with the proper understanding and application of God’s word. Let’s work on keeping our heads protected with salvation, as we advance with the word of God.
Read Ephesians 6:18-20
III. Prayer Support. In our Sunday School material Paul urges his readers to pray. They are to pray in the Spirit. They are to pray for God’s people. They are to especially pray for Paul’s bold ministry of God’s word.
- Praying in the Spirit. Notice in vs. 18 that believers are urged to pray in the Spirit for everyone. First, praying in the Spirit includes, not only praying for what we believe to be God’s will, but it also appreciates the Holy Spirit’s intercession into our prayer lives.
The Holy Spirit takes what we say and change it into what should be said (see Rom. 8:26-28). We are at our best, when we yield to God’s perfect will being done, whether it is in accord with our will or not (see Lk. 22:42).
Second, our prayer lives should include praying for everyone, not just our own wish list. Let’s work on praying for God’s will to be done with everyone.
- Praying for effective ministry. Notice in vss. 19-20 that Paul wants prayer for the effectiveness of His ministry. In the heart of those who are truly sent by God is a desire to be effective.
Being effective is not the same as being stress free or life being easy. It is better to be effective, in spite of difficult situations, than to have an easy and stress free life with nothing being accomplished for God’s glory.
Let’s work on praying for the effectiveness of ministry. The effectiveness of church ministry is measured by how many people are getting saved and growing. The effectiveness of our personal ministries is measured by how well we are doing what God has told us to do.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being strong soldiers of the Lord. God has much for those who obey His will.Please click here to let us know, if this has been quality and helpful information for you (i.e., make sure you let us know the name of the article). Feel free to share your questions and comments about the article as well.