Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #1012 MP3 Audio File Video File

Battling Evil

(Ephesians 6:10-18)

Delivered 05/17/20

There is a lot going on in our world. This covid-19 event has to have you asking questions if you’re a thinking person. The numbers don’t add up to justify shutting down the world. And now that we know that this covid-19 is not as deadly as the seasonal flu, why is all the fear mongering still going on?  Why are the States led by Democrats not opening up? Why does it seem that the Democrats want to ruin our economy and our nation? We’ll talk about this more in a minute, but what I want you to understand is that we are in a battle against evil; and if we are going to survive, we need to put on the Armor of God.

This past week, on May 11th, 2020, Q posted (4207) Ephesians 6:10-18 as a reference to the battle we are fighting with the Deep State. We have discussed Q in the past. Q is a group of high-level military intelligence officers overseeing a subversive operation to thwart the planned destruction of our constitutional republic. Claiming to be an insider within the US government working with President Trump and the Patriots to take down the Deep State, Q posts cryptic messages to anonymous internet forums

Last Sunday, May 10th, an Anon on the board said, “The use of the hashtag would absolutely blow up. Q, #ObamaGate tweet requested from Q+.” So, an anon on the board is asking Q whether President Trump (Q+) can tweet out ObamaGate. President Trump tweeted out, OBAMAGATE! Q responded in post 4199, “For Anons.” Whoever Q is he/they are working with President Trump to take down the Deep State and to save this country.

Who is the Deep State? Since it was first coined over 20 years ago, no precise definition for what it means has fully taken hold. Use of the phrase generally denotes belief in an informal or parallel government that exists to countermand legitimate, usually more democratic, institutions.

According to a Monmouth [mon-muth] poll from the spring of 2018, “Few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term ‘Deep State’; another 24% are somewhat familiar, while 63% say they are not familiar with this term. However, when the term is described as a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy, nearly 3-in-4 (74%) say they believe this type of apparatus exists in Washington. Only 1-in-5 say it does not exist.”

Depending upon whom you ask, you will get different answers to the question as to the identity of the Deep State, but I believe that the Deep State is made up of corrupt politicians, most of those in the News media, most of those in Hollywood, and a hand full of billionaires. The Deep State was involved in Pizzagate, adrenochrome, and satan worship; they are pure evil. They want to destroy our constitutional republic. They are globalists who promote socialism and communism. If Hillary had become President, China would have owned us by now and we would be living under communism. Trump is a gift of God’s grace to those of us who love this constitutional republic.

Why do most of those in Hollywood, most members of the news media, and most politicians hate President Trump so much? I think that it is because since the day he was elected, he has gone after human trafficking and the drug cartels which fund the Deep State.

Believers, what is happening in our country right now is not about a virus. We are in a spiritual war against evil. It should be clear that evil is trying to consume us.

I believe that President Trump and the Patriots are in complete control and are about to take down the Deep State and restore the country to the people. Could I be wrong? Of course I could. But whether you believe in the Q movement or not, you have to see this for what it is—a spiritual battle. It is a matter of darkness against light and evil against good. We need to pray for our President and for our country or America as we know it will be gone.

As believers, we need to put on the armor of God so that we can be victorious in this battle. So, let’s look together at the passage from Ephesians 6 about the Armor of God, considering verse 12 first of all in order to set the context.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 ESV

This verse is addressed to the first century saints and to them alone. Paul tells
them that they are not fighting “flesh and blood.”   It is a battle with spiritual forces who are not flesh and blood. This is talking about the "divine council" and the battle that was going on between Yahweh and the lesser gods. I believe that the battle that the first-century saints were fighting was against "spiritual beings." Notice the terms Paul uses. The word "rulers" is from the Greek word arche which has a wide range of meanings. The word "authorities" is from exousia which means "power, ability, privilege." These titles are used of human and spiritual powers.

But notice the other words that are used. "Cosmic powers," which comes from the Greek kosmokrator, is used only here in the New Testament. But it is used of spiritual beings in Testament of Solomon. In the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, kosmokrator means "lord of the world, world ruler." It occurs in pagan literature as well of gods, rulers, and heavenly bodies. Why would Paul use this word that is used only once in the Bible but was used in other literature for spirit beings unless he intended to convey the meaning of spirit beings?

Paul goes on to say, "against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” These forces are "spiritual"; they are not human. And they are found in "heavenly places," denoting the spiritual realm, the place where Yahweh dwells.

In the first century, then, their battle was with "spirit beings." What about us? I do not believe that we are fighting with Satan or spirit beings today. This spiritual battle was unique to the first-century saints (see my 6-part series on spiritual warfare). Let me add, however, that I believe that we can find application of these verses in our lives today.

We are not fighting Satan, demons, or gods, but, as believers, we are in a battle with evil. As Christians, we battle the worldview and regulations of some very evil non-believers. So I am not saying that we are not in a battle.  We are. But we (twenty-first century believers) are not fighting against “the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” That battle was fought and won by our Lord Yeshua two thousand years ago.

Let's look at these verses and see if we can make applications to our lives today.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Ephesians 6:10 ESV

"Be strong" here is literally "be continually strengthened." In the original text, it is in the present tense. The passive verb suggests that we are not the ones who strengthen ourselves. We continually depend on the Lord to strengthen us.

The prepositional phrase, "in the Lord," denotes the sphere from which the strength comes; namely, in the Lord or in union with the Lord. Paul's command to be strong in the Lord rests on his first two chapters where he makes it clear what it means to be in the Lord. The phrase "in the Lord" refers to Christ, not to God, which is consistent throughout this Epistle.

We are strong only by the "strength of His might."  At the beginning of this letters, Paul taught about the power God wielded in the resurrection of Christ. It is that same power that is exercised for the benefit of those who are in Christ.

and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:19-20 ESV

The Greek here is "highly poetic," but he is essentially praying that the Christians might know something about the powerful force of the powerful power of God! Believers, Yahweh our God is omnipotent. The word means "all-powerful" and refers to the fact that God's power is infinite and unlimited.

The strong Christian is one who has come to see more and more of his own weakness and propensity toward sin. That awareness drives him to depend all the more on the Lord's strength for everything.

While he was on the run from Saul, David allied himself with the Philistine king and was about to go into battle against Saul and the forces of Israel. God intervened and David and his men were sent home from the battle. But they arrived to find their city burned and their wives, children, and possessions taken captive by the Amalekites. At that point, David's men were so embittered that they were talking about stoning him:

And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 ESV

David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”  The Lord graciously directed David to pursue the raiders and recover all of their families and goods. That same strength that David depended upon is available to every Christian. You may be at your lowest point. You may be discouraged. It may seem that God's promises are not true. But no matter how much may seem to be against you, you can "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might."

We can have confidence to face pressure, adverse circumstances, and hostile powers knowing that God has put into our lives a power so strong that it raised Yeshua from the dead. This power is available to every person who is in Christ.

From start to finish, the Bible proclaims the mighty power of Yahweh. When fierce enemies threatened to annihilate His chosen people, time and again Yahweh provided deliverance. In one of the most dramatic instances, Sennacherib's army had Jerusalem surrounded. It looked like Israel was doomed. But in response to Hezekiah's prayer, Yahweh delivered His people:

And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. 2 Kings 19:35-36 ESV

Often throughout Scripture, Yahweh reminds His people of the obvious—that nothing is too difficult for Him (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17, 27; Zech. 8:6; Matt. 19:26; Luke 1:37; Rom. 4:21). Our strength comes from our dependence on our union with Him:

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 ESV

The words "of God" are genitives of origin, indicating that God provides the armor. Please keep that in mind. They were to put on the armor so they could "stand." "Stand" is a key word in this section. Paul repeats it in verses 11, 13, and 14. Also significant is the word "withstand" (6:13) which comes from a Greek compound word from the root, "to stand," meaning literally "to stand against." It's a military term for holding on to a position that is under attack. Believers, I believe that we are to hold our position; we are to stand theologically and morally against all attacks. And to stand we have to have on the armor of God.

Do you know where Paul was when he was writing this letter? Paul was in chains in a prison in Rome.

for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:20 ESV

So, he was chained. And he had standing before him and around him Roman soldiers. Many have suggested that Paul got the idea of putting on the full armor of God from the armor of the Roman soldier. That may be, but it also may be that he was thinking about Isaiah 11:5 which says of the Lord:

Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. Isaiah 11:5 ESV

Or Isaiah 49:

He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” Isaiah 49:2-3 ESV

Or Isaiah 59:

He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. Isaiah 59:17 ESV

What do these texts from Isaiah have in common? If you're familiar with Isaiah, you will recognize immediately that Isaiah 11 is the great chapter of the Messianic king, and how he's going to come and establish his kingdom. Isaiah 49 is one of the great servant of Yahweh songs. And Isaiah 59 is a Messianic chapter, having to do with Christ. All three passages, then, are passages that speak of the Lord Yeshua, the Christ as the warrior king of God.

The fact that Paul draws this description from the Old Covenant Messianic passages suggests that he's really thinking of Yeshua as the warrior. We are in Him, therefore, we have His strength, His power, and His authority in the trials of life as we trust in Him.

The armor is just a graphic way of saying what Paul says in Romans 13:

But put on the Lord Yeshua the Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14 ESV

In other words, Christ Himself is our armor. He is the belt of truth.

Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 ESV

He is our breastplate of righteousness.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

He is the gospel of peace that we stand on.

But now in Christ Yeshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.  Ephesians 2:13-14 ESV
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:17 ESV

He is the shield of our faith.

looking to Yeshua, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 ESV

He is our helmet of salvation:

he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Yeshua the Christ our Savior, Titus 3:5-6 ESV

He is our sword, the Word of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 ESV

Yeshua is our full armor, capable of protecting us from every trial and situation we face.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13 ESV

Here Paul talks about standing in the "evil day." The prepositional phrase "in the evil day" seems to be referring to a final cataclysmic satanic outbreak just prior to the second advent of Christ. The evil day was the end times, the last days of the Old Covenant era.

That age and the reign of satan ended in A.D. 70 at the parousia of Christ. Christ is ruling, and the devil has been defeated. But we 21st-century believers still face evil and if we are going to stand against it, we must put on the armor of God.

I believe that Paul as teaching the same thing in Ephesians 6 that he taught in Romans 13. In Ephesians he calls it an "evil day" while in Romans he tells them to "know the time."

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11 ESV

"Knowing the time"—the word for "time" has nothing to do with chronological time or calendars. It's the Greek term kairos that points to an event or an epoch or a significant happening.

The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12 ESV

He equates their salvation with the "day," which is referring to the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was the "night," and it was about to pass away. The rabbis connected the Olam Haba and the resurrection. The "night" is the time when they were sleeping. The "day" is when they are raised.

"Put on the armor of light"—"the verb "put on" is ordinarily used of putting on clothes. I see putting on the armor of light as the same thing as putting on the armor of God, which is the same thing as putting on Christ:

But put on the Lord Yeshua the Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14 ESV

“But put on the Lord Yeshua the Christ”this is the heart of Paul's exhortation. It sums up all he has said from 12:1 thru 13:13. What does Paul mean by "put on Christ"? "Put on" here and in Ephesians 6:11 is from the Greek word enduo, which means "to put on clothes," or "envelope in." It has the idea of a garment which is wrapped around oneself. This Greek word is used literally this way in a number of places in the New Testament. "A literary parallel to this use of 'put on' is quoted from Dionysius of Halicarnassus' Roman Antiquities 11.5, where 'to put on Tarquin' means: 'to play the part of Tarquin.'" [Bruce, p. 229.]

Enduo in Ephesians 6:11 and Romans 13:14 is an aorist imperative middle. An aorist imperative calls for a specific, definite, decisive choice: "Do this now, at once, once for all." The middle voice indicates the subject performs an action upon himself or herself. So, believers are called to once and for all put Christ on as a garment, to play the part of Yeshua. Paul is saying, "Become like Yeshua the Christ, act like Him. Put on Yeshua Ha'Moshiach when you get up in the morning. Make Him a part of your life that day."

Notice what Paul says in Galatians.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27 ESV

"Put on" here is also enduo, but here is an aorist indicative middle, which simply states a thing as being a FACT. Believers have clothed themselves in Christ at salvation.

How can Ephesians 6:11 and Romans 13:14 say to believers to put on Christ when Galatians 3:27 says that we have put on Christ at salvation? I believe that Galatians is talking about our position whereas Romans and Ephesians are talking about practice. At salvation every believer puts on Christ in the sense that we receive His righteousness:

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. Romans 4:5 ESV
For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 ESV

When you trusted in Christ, you received His righteousness. God declared you righteous in Christ because positionally you are in Christ. You became united with Christ and share all He is and has.

In Ephesians 6:11 and Romans 13:14, Paul is talking to believers. He is not telling them to get saved and put on Christ's righteousness in a positional sense. In this text, putting on Christ is an exhortation. Those who are positionally righteous are to practically act like it. We are to play the part of Christ. You are to live like Him, act like Him, put Him on. Many believers do not look like Christ, but we are all supposed to. When the world looks at you, they should see Him. How can we do this? Let's look at the different pieces of armor that Paul lists and see what we can learn from them:

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Ephesians 6:14 ESV

The clothing of the Israelites of old was not like our own. The men did not wear pants, sport coats, or suits. They wore garments which were much less form-fitting. Their garments not only were draped over their bodies, they went almost to the ground. If a man needed to run, he would first have to gather up his garment and tuck it into his belt or sash so that he would not stumble and fall. Girding the loins was the first step in preparing for vigorous activity, which involved the feet.

In the soldier's armor, it is the belt that holds the rest of the items in place; likewise, truth holds everything together in our Christian walk. Without the truth that God has revealed in Scripture, there would be no righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation for us to "put on."

Our priority must be to gain knowledge of the truth. Since God reveals truth to us through the words of Scripture, we must pursue theological and biblical studies to construct the foundation of our spiritual life. As we increase in our knowledge of and commitment to truth, we become increasingly protected from deception.

The late philosophy professor, Allan Bloom, began his best-seller, The Closing of the American Mind (Simon and Schuster, 1987), stating (p. 25):

There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students' reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2+2=4. These are things you don't think about.”

He goes on to point out that although these students may be varied in backgrounds and religious beliefs, they are unified in their allegiance to relativism and equality. The danger they fear from those who hold to absolute truth is not error, but intolerance. And tolerance is the supreme virtue that our educational system has inculcated for many decades. Bloom says (p. 26), "The point is not to correct the mistakes [of the past] and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all."

Bloom was not a Christian. He was a Jewish philosopher at a secular university who was pointing out the absurdity of intellectual relativism. It effectively shuts down rational discourse, education, and all attempts to improve society by resolving problems. But it is firmly entrenched in our educational system and in our society at large. If we throw out the idea of absolute truth, we are also discarding absolute standards of morality.

This is not just a problem of the unsaved. A study by George Barna in the early 1990s showed that while only 28 percent of the general population expressed strong belief in absolute truth, among those who identified themselves as born-again evangelicals, the number dropped to 23 percent!

Commentators line up on both sides of the question of whether truth here refers to God's truth as revealed in His Word or the truthfulness and integrity of the believer. I believe that it refers to both! The armor is a metaphor for Yeshua the Christ. He is the truth, and we are to play the part of Christ.

Paul referred to the Bible and its central message, the Gospel, as "the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). Therefore, any deviation from God's Word is error or falsehood. Clearly, God communicated the truth of His Word in written, propositional statements that may be understood. The emerging Church movement rejects this and opts for a story-telling approach to the Bible. But in the process, its proponents make many false propositional statements about the propositional statements in the Bible.

We must hold firmly to the idea of God and His Word as absolutely true in every culture and in every age. As Gordon Clark wrote, "Since God is truth, a contempt for truth is equally a contempt for God."

How do we stand against the blatant attack on the morality of the Bible? How do we guard ourselves from falling into the moral relativism and tolerance of our degraded culture? Gird yourself with the belt of God's absolute, unchanging truth.

“Having put on the breastplate of righteousness”—the breastplate covered the soldier from his neck to his waist, front and back. Thus it protected his heart and other vital organs. In Hebrew thought, the heart represented the mind and will, and the bowels were the seat of the emotions. Thus the breastplate of righteousness protects the believer's mind, will, and emotions.

The Christian is a righteous person, not because of his good works, but because he has been justified by God through faith in the work of Yeshua the Christ. This knowledge gives us the basis on which we can resist anything that tries to undermine our confidence in approaching God. Christians sometimes sin, but God has provided a solution for sins.

and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15 ESV

Roman soldiers, in order to have facility of motion, were in the habit of putting on shoes that were thickly studded with sharp nails. Shoes give stability.

This is not talking about evangelism. The context here is about defensive, not offensive armor. The idea here is that believers are prepared to stand against attacks because they are firmly grounded in the gospel of peace. The gospel of peace gives believers tranquility of the mind and security of the heart.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16 ESV

"Shield" is thyreon. Wood writes as follows: "Thyreon is derived from thyra (a door) and refers to the large oblong or oval scutum the Roman soldier held in front of him for protection. It consisted of two layers of wood glued together, covered with linen and hide, and bound with iron. Soldiers often fought side by side with a solid wall of shields. But even a single-handed combatant found himself sufficiently protected. For the Christian this protective shield is faith (pistis).”

Believers, we are to trust in Yahweh our God. We are to trust Him in every situation we face. Our life is to be one of walking in faith.

and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 ESV

By helmet, he means that the biblical truths about salvation are meant to protect the mind. Our understanding of the salvation we have in Christ and our justification by Christ serves to guard our conscience against doubts and fears. Doctrine protects the mind as a helmet protects the head.

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, not our beliefs about the Word of God. By telling us to take up the sword, Paul is telling us to believe and apply it. He is calling his readers to take possession of the biblical doctrines and identify with them.

Paul uses a term here for the Word, which is probably a reference to an individual text. It's probably a reference to a particular word. Rema is distinguished from logos in that way. Now if we don't store up the Word of God in our minds, how can we have a word from God?

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18 ESV

In the original Greek, Ephesians 6:18 does not begin a new sentence. It connects with verse 17 like this: "Take the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit." Paul is exhorting his readers to take the Sword…praying. Prayer is the power that wields the weapon of the Word. So, believers are urged to take the Sword of the Spirit by prayer and maintaining alertness.

Paul mentions prayer four times in this verse to emphasize the priority of prayer. He uses three different words: proseuche, deesis, and proseuchomai. The word "praying" is from the verb proseuchomai, which was used from the earliest times to suggest communication with deities, whether in the form of a vow or a petition. The word "prayer" is proseuche which points to the general privilege of prayer and lays stress on prayer as an act of worship and devotion to God. It looks at prayer as an approach to God that recognizes of our needs and inadequacies and God's omnipotent ability to meet those them. Both uses of "supplication" are the word deesis. It means petition, supplication, or request; it stresses the sense of need. Paul uses the word "all" four times in verse 18.

It is all prayer…at all times…with all perseverance…for all the saints. Paul tells the believers to "pray at all times.” This phrase is literally, "at every opportunity," or "on all occasions." It's the same idea as:

pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

The Greek word translated "without ceasing" was used of a hacking cough and of repeated military assaults. Someone with a hacking cough does not cough every second, but rather he coughs repeatedly and often. It’s not a sporadic thing. It's not out of the blue; it's habitual. It's not an isolated act. It literally means "in every season of life, always praying."

Believers, we are not battling “cosmic forces” but we are fighting evil. And if we are going to be victorious, we must "put on the armor of God" or "put on the Lord Yeshua the Christ." Paul’s exhortation is this: "Become like Yeshua, act like Him." We are to play the part of Yeshua. We are to put Him on when we get up in the morning. We are to make Him a part of our life each day.

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