Text: Eph 6:10-18

Title: Standing In Christ

Subject: Standing for what is right

Intro: The Bible says, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” 1 Cor. 16:13

I believe everyone here is familiar with the story of Gideon and his battle with the Midianites from Judges 7. The Midianites numbered 135K, while those Jews responding to Gideon’s call numbered 32K. I think you can see a problem developing already! Then God says to Gideon, “send the cowards home,” and 22K left! Now, how did that many cowards end up on the front lines of battle?

Some reported for duty because they were scared not to! You know, peer pressure! Some reported because their wives told them to! You know, spousal pressure! Some reported because they didn’t know the seriousness of the situation! You know, situational pressure! But as soon as the opportunity presented itself to depart—they departed!

Now the Lord says, “Ahh, Gideon, we still have a numbers problem—there are still too many. Bring them down to the stream for a drink.” And so 9,700 get on their knees and stick their faces into the water, while 300 bring the water to their lips and lap it up. Then God says to Gideon, “send the careless home,” and the 9,700 left! Now, how did that many careless soldiers end up on the front lines of battle?

Well, first, they were not cowards! They were ready to fight, but they did not realize the scope and seriousness of the battle. Had the enemy come upon them with their faces in the water, they would have all lost their heads! They forgot that obedience is in the details. It is the little things that trip us up; that moment of carelessness or inattention to a very important detail. So 300 were left standing with God and Gideon!

So what’s the point? Well, according to God, only 1% of Christians are ready to stand and face the enemy. They are the conquerors. 33% of Christians are willing to stand for God, but are careless in their walk, talk and practice of life, thereby disqualifying themselves from many areas of service for God. That leaves 66% of Christians that are out and out cowards when it comes to standing up for God.

The Bible says, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”

So what’s the point? Well, I do not think anyone in this room has made it his or her goal to be a failure for God. But if this percentage holds, 1% of you are conquerors, 33% of you are careless Christians, and 66% of you are out and out cowards when it comes to standing up for God! My purpose tonight is to use the Word of God to remind you of your responsibility to stand as a conqueror.

The Bible says, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”

“Standing in Christ”——-Eph 6:10-18————prayer

Note: We are living in an age when STANDards (something worth standing for) are falling like autumn leaves. We are not standing for what we once did. Our personal standards have taken a nose dive, and, sadly, new Christians use older [in the faith] Christian’s lifestyles as their standard of holiness. Therefore our church & Christian school standards continue to slowly deteriorate as family values and standards go down the proverbial tube. And because all of our attention is focused on ourselves, we are slowly losing our desire and ability to stand up for God. We are excusing activities, actions and attitudes in our lives and in the lives of others that we once considered inexcusable! But God has not called us to be cowards. God has not called us to be careless. God has called us to be conquerors.

What does it mean to “stand?”

1) “To be fixed in the presence of others, 2) to be unmovable, firm, 3)to be ready/prepared, 4) to be of a steadfast mind, 5) to not hesitate or waiver.”

What does it mean to “withstand?”

“To set one’s self against, resist, oppose”

Stand for God’s standard of right, and withstand, in yourself and others, God’s standard of wrong! Sometimes you must be fearless, and sometimes you must be fearsome. Our example is Christ.

I. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS TO BELIEVERS IN CHURCH (v10-12)

A. The Time to Stand (v10) (but never a time to relax)

1. Finally (when you hear and understand your responsibility) & henceforth

2. “My brethren”. This concerns the whole church.

B. The Ability to Stand (v10)

1. Be strong (“empowered/strengthened”) in (not “by”) the Lord (imperative)

Note Your ability to stand comes from your relationship to Jesus Christ. The moment you see yourself as a hell deserving sinner, and you see Jesus Christ dying in your place as your Saviour and Substitute, and you trust Him and Him alone to pay the penalty of your sins, you become a child of God. At that moment you are placed into Christ.

As Christ’s human ability came from His relationship to God, your human ability comes from your relationship to the Son of God!

2 Cor. 2:14 (in part) “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ…”

The Ability to Stand (“in the Lord”)

2. Because you stand in the power (“dominion”) of His [inherent might] (“the strength of another”) (v10) (imperative)

Note: You don’t exercise your dominion or your strength, but the power of Christ’s dominion & strength, & that because you are in Christ!

3. Because you stand dressed in the whole (complete w no missing parts) armour (“protective battle gear”) of God (v11a)

a. Put it on & leave it on!

Note: The armour is not yours, it is provided by God in Christ! So your ability to stand is 1) in the Lord, 2) in His dominion & strength, 3) in His armour. For the battle we need all that God provides, and God provides all that we need!

4. Why do you need this 3 fold provision? (v11b-c)

a. So that you are able (“have the ability, power”) to stand one’s ground

1) Against (“towards, facing”) the wiles (“deceit, trickery”) of the Devil.

a) “Wiles” = plural for various forms. Look them full in the face & recognize them for what they are! (The problem is with you!)

Note: The Devil tricked the cowards into following Gideon, but God exposed them. The Devil tricked the careless into letting down their guard, but God exposed them. And the Devil will trick you into thinking that you can serve God in your own strength and on your own terms, but God will expose you.

b. What are the wiles of the Devil? (v12)

1) He makes us think the enemy is flesh and blood (“the weakest part of man”), but we wrestle NOT against flesh & blood!

a) “Wrestle” = a contest of strength where one combatant pins the other to the ground & can do damage in the process. Individual, hand-to-hand combat!

2) He makes us think the enemy & the battle are not spiritual, but we wrestle against spiritual adversaries. Now the Holy Spirit lists the adversaries: 3 groups.

a) Principalities & powers (thrones & dominions). These are orders/ranks of angels, in this case Satan’s fallen angels called demons. These are the demons that deal directly with individuals.

b) Rulers of the darkness (“of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell”) of this world. These are archangels, rulers of the darkness of this world, who rule over the ranks of angels. This is a world-wide dominion everywhere there is spiritual darkness.

c) Spiritual wickedness (“elements, forces of evil”) in high (“heavenly”) places (the abode of Satan and his demons)

You are not fighting the Muslim at the 7-11, you are fighting the one who blinded the eyes of the Muslim at the 7-11!

II. SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS TO BELIEVERS IN CHURCH (v13) (Because your fight is with this enemy…….)

A. Take (“pick up”) unto you the whole armour of God

1. So you are able to withstand

a. In the evil day (“the day of your testing, a critical day, a day of peril and trial”) (a day when you might not be thinking right)

2. So you are able to do (“perform, accomplish”) all (“the whole”) that’s necessary (God’s will for you)

3. So you can stand [as victor] at the end (battle & age)

Note: The whole Christian puts on the whole armour for the whole battle. It is not like these items are not hanging in your spiritual closet. You were given them the moment you received Christ. Some of you have put them on and left them on (conquerors). Some of you have put on some, and laid aside some (careless). Some of you hung them in your spiritual closet, and they are in mothballs to this day (cowards).

III. THE ARMOUR OF GOD (v14-18) (In order to stand you must..)

A. Girt Your Loins About with Truth (“that which is true according to God”) (v14)

1. Truth is your robe. When it is tied tight around you it keeps all the other parts in place & allows freedom of movement

a. Before God

b. Before others

B. Having on the Breastplate of Righteousness (v15)

1. Protects the heart and will from Satan’s arrows & thrusts

2. Right thinking/acting according to God’s standard. Doing what’s right

C. Your Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace (v16)

1. The military sandal that made quick and sure steps possible

2. “Preparation” = a state of preparedness, mental readiness

a. “The preparation which comes from the Gospel whose message is peace [with God].”

Note: “It is the peace with God which alone imparts the sense of freedom, relieves us of what burdens us, and gives the spirit of courageous readiness for the battle with evil.” This is not the proclamation of the Gospel, but the prompting by & dependence in the Gospel for the conflict.

D. Take up the Shield of Faith (v16)

1. “Above all” = most especially. s faith, war is death!

2. The shield that is adaptable to every circumstance, because God never changes. It is protection from every stroke of Satan/life.

3. The shield which consists of faith (“trust in the word of another”). Not only for salv., but for every circumstance of life.

a. It extinguishes and protects from fiery missiles

E. Take up the Helmet of Salvation (v17)

1. “Take” = take up or receive [as a gift from God] (imperative)

2. The helmet which is salvation. Protection for the head, mind, intellect. You can stand because your thinking is protected by salv. in Christ, and should be governed by Christ. With the mind of Christ you will not be confused or confounded.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1:7

F. Take up the Sword of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God (v17)

1. Take up the sword supplied by the Holy Spirit

a. The only offensive weapon. Though we are told to stand, in order to take our position and hold our ground it is sometimes necessary to thrust and cut

2. Which is the spoken Word, the preached Gospel in all its length and breadth

Jesus said to Satan, “It is written” and spoke the Word of God.

Paul stated that the Gospel was “the power of God.”

G. Praying Always (v18)

1. An individual act & a continuous attitude. While you stand, you acknowledge your humble dependence on God by prayer.

a. Prayer does not change God, but it does change your attitude toward the battle

2. In the sphere of the Holy Spirit, which is in the will of God

Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Note: You can be clothed with all the military gear, and yet be careless in this vital activity. Your prayer life is to include variety, earnestness, consistency, and spiritual reality.

H. Watching Out for Your fellow soldiers (v18)

1. Watching for all saints (what is best for others, self-denial)

a. By perseverance (staying true to your calling)

b. By supplication (asking God on their behalf)

Concl: I suppose the title “coward” is offensive to most of us, yet God said to “send the cowards home,” and 66% left. I suppose to be reminded that we are careless Christians is also offensive to most of us, but God said to “send the careless home,” and 33% left. That only left the 1% who were ready for battle. These were conquerors Though we all want to be thought of under that title, the sad truth is, most of the 99% are unwilling to leave their comfort zone for the battle zone. Most of the 99% are unwilling to make the necessary changes in their lives to stand as a conqueror, not even necessarily before men, but before God.

How is it with you tonight, brother or sister in Christ? If I asked the conquerors to come forward, would you honestly be in that number?

How about the 33% that are careless Christians? Are you willing to make one or more changes in your life that will lead to becoming a conqueror? (And you already know what needs to be changed.)

How about the 66% that are cowards? You know who you are even if no one else does. How many of the 66% are pricked in your hearts with a desire to enter into your reasonable service for God?

First, is a determination to stand for God!

Second, is a determination to put on the whole armour, not just some of the items your feel most comfortable in.

Third, is a determination to do the will of God no matter the circumstances or consequences.
 

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