Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full 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. 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. 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. (Ephesians 6:10-18, NIV)
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The apostle Paul closed his epistle to the Ephesians by calling on believers of all the Church age to be armed for battle. The same Mighty Warrior, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has led His warriors to victory across the centuries will lead His saints to victory in these last days if we arm ourselves in His armor prepared for us, if we are cleansed and filled with His Spirit of power, and if we will obey His orders. If we follow our Mighty Warrior, our King of glory, into battle we shall overcome!
We who live in the 21st century must realize that the same battle plan God gave the apostle to give to early Christians is the same plan for us who follow in the end times.
While the god of this world has been training his hierarchy of evil to adapt strategies for every period in the history of the Church, he no doubt has reserved his harshest, most atrocious attacks for his grand finale.
The prince of darkness knows that the Invincible Eternal One has already decreed his destiny to be the lake of fire forever. Therefore his last-days strategies will be the most brutal and ominous attacks of all the ages. As Jesus Christ warned all living in the end times through His apostle John: Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time (Revelation 12:12, NKJV).
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, the writer orders. The forces we are coming against are not visible; they are not flesh and blood. Therefore, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (II Corinthians 10:3-5, NIV). As Spirit-filled Christians, we have the Spirit’s power to enable us to overcome our own weaknesses and fears and come through the temptations so as not to react as the world, the flesh, or the devil would have us react. In the full armor of God, we are enabled to be strong in the Lord.
The belt of truth. Truth is the girdle holding the uniform tight, enabling the soldier to be free in all his movements. As it is in Jesus, the imagery affirms that truth holds together all other virtues to maintain the freedom of the Spirit within us to take us to the promised victory in battle.
The breastplate of righteousness. Paul speaks of the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness in almost the same breath. We the warriors in spiritual battle have our character in Christ—He is our righteousness, both imputed and imparted. His truth is our inner defense; the breastplate of righteousness is our guard over our vital body parts. Yes, in the born-again experience we have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in our surrender to living in the power of the Holy Spirit, the righteousness of Christ is imparted to us; His righteousness is worked out in our daily living to give us victory over sin and Satan.
The Gospel boots. Soldiers of Christ do not go into battle barefoot. We can march right over the snares set for us by Satan because our stance is based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ—we have peace with God through His death on Calvary. His blood covers our sins, and we are solidly based in His kingdom.
The shield of faith. Satan is dangerously effective in the manner in which he hurls darts of doubt, distractions, and disturbances at believers. The Roman soldiers in Paul’s day knew the enemy’s darts were soaked in poisonous pitch which would ignite when their flesh was pierced. But their protection was a leather-covered wooden shield large enough to protect the whole body. It was a shield of faith! Faith in Christ! Faith in the Holy Spirit! Faith in the blood of Jesus! Faith in the Word of God! Faith is the victory that overcomes the world, the flesh, and the devil!
The helmet of salvation. The helmet is worn by the soldier symbolizing divine power, protection, and purpose in the battle: You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (I John 4:4, NIV). If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31, NIV).
The sword of the Spirit—the Word of God. Many New Testament scholars see this expression as “a parallelism for all that has preceded this weapon.” Paul means here that this weapon, the Word of God, was inspired by the Spirit of God. It is a defensive weapon as well as an offensive weapon! It must be believed, prayed, and tested in battle.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13, NIV).
Praying in the Spirit. To pray in the Spirit is to wait on the Spirit’s influence for praying. The apostle Paul reminds us of how inadequate we are in prayer without the Spirit’s help: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will (Romans 8:26-27, NIV). This writer has learned that there are three mighty effects in his praying when he is sensitive to the Spirit’s anointing for prayer: (1) The Holy Spirit enlightens my understanding so that I can pray according to the will of God; (2) The Holy Spirit inspires my human spirit so that I do not faint (quit or pray amiss); (3) The Holy Spirit emboldens my faith so that I will not be denied.
O God our Heavenly Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, please awaken your people to your provisions for the mighty spiritual awakening you desire to send in these last days! Give us a great hunger for the sanctifying fullness of the Holy Spirit! May we go forth to worship and witness with the anointing of your Spirit.
O God, arouse spiritual leaders across America to call solemn assemblies and announce seasons of fasting and periods of intercession.
Even as antichrist forces are rising up throughout the world to persecute Christian believers, may we ask and trust the Holy Spirit to embolden our faith and melt our hearts to intercede for a rending of the heavens with tidal waves of divine outpourings to save our children, friends, and neighbors.
O God, release your heavenly hosts charging the nations with an atmosphere of a renewed God-consciousness, bringing repentance, salvation, and an historic renewal to the body of Christ throughout the land.
Bless the saints! Save the lost! And even so, come, Lord Jesus!
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Report on OUR HOLY GUEST: We had hoped to have our new book on the Holy Spirit ready to offer our readers with this issue. The work is almost done, but there is editing, designing the cover, and obtaining quotes for costs. We hope to have the book ready for sale for the summer issue.