Standing Firm Against Satan – PT4
Biblical Sermon Outline
By Pastor Ron Jones, www.titusinstitute.com
We have been studying what the Bible says about how we as Christians can stand firm against the attacks of Satan which is given in Eph.6:10-17. Turn there with me.
This passage is divided into five points.
I. The preparation
II. The enemy
III. The battle
IV. The victory
V. The way to victory
We have previously looked at the first three points in depth and this morning we come to the last two points.
We have seen that our enemy is the devil and his demons who continually slander God by spreading lies about him.
They do this through the world, that is, fallen human beings whom they dominate and direct.
We saw that Satan attacks believers in four ways:
1. He incites our fleshly desires within us through the unbelieving world
2. He attempts to deceive us with lies through the beliefs and values of the unbelieving world around us.
3. He attempts to deceive us with a false Jesus and a false gospel through false Christians.
4. Satan can physically afflict us or ones that we love with illness, crimes, disasters, persecution and the like.
This morning we come to the last two points.
IV. The victory
Now we come to the victory.
What does God expect from us when we face temptations from Satan?
What kind of victory can we have?
Look at v. 11
v. 11 “so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”
“Take your stand” is best understood as “stand firm.”
“Stand firm” means just that, we are to stand firm and we can stand firm.
The purpose of depending on the Lord’s power and wearing the armor of God is so that we might be able to stand firm against Satan’s attacks. The opposite of standing firm is falling down. It is not running. You can’t run from Satan. You have to stand firm against him.
Satan cannot take away our salvation so Paul is not talking about falling out of the grace of God. You cannot fall out of God’s grace if you are a child of God. Paul is talking about not falling down in our testimony for God, not allowing our light to shine before men for the glory of God. We are to stand firm for Jesus Christ. He says this in v.11 and again in v.13, he repeats this and adds a few details.
After describing the demonic hosts, Paul gives the purpose of putting on the armor of God in v. 13.
v.13 “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.”
V.13 says, “to stand your ground” and “to stand”
This word or a form of this word Paul uses several times in this passage - emphasizing what our victory over Satan is all about.
6:11 “take your stand” [Grk = stenai]
6:13 “stand your ground” [Grk = compound antistenai]
“to stand” [Grk = stenai]
6:14 “Stand firm” [Grk = stenai]
What does stand firm mean?
To keep doing what you know is right. It is to know what is right and to do what is right. It is to follow the Lord. Satan is trying to keep you from doing that. If we put on and keep on the armor of God and depend on God’s strength this will be our victory. We will be able to resist Satan and stand firm.
The victory God desires of us is that we resist Satan, that we withstand his attack.
v.13 says “the day of evil.” That refers to a particular time that Satan is attacking us through the four ways that we have discussed.
It is a time when Satan has stirred up our fleshly desires, or we have been tempted to believe some lie of Satan’s that some sin is justified when it is not, or we have been tempted to believe some false statement about God or Jesus, or when we have been physically afflicted or persecuted.
What will we do? Will we resist him and stand firm or will we fall into sin and error?
Notice, God does not say we are to beat Satan up; we are not to win demons to Christ; we are not to attack Satan directly. We are not to hunt for Demonic strongholds that do not exist and tear them down.
This is our victory; we can defeat Satan.
If we are going to do that, we need to commit ourselves before these “evil days” occur to put on the full armor of God. So, in order to stand firm, God has provided us with armor which is the way to victory
V. The way to victory – armor explained in v. 13-17.
There are six pieces of armor. Paul is speaking figuratively.
Each piece of armor is a way of describing a particular quality we need to possess in our lives if we are to have victory over Satan. In other words, the breastplate of righteousness is a way to describe that we need to be righteous in our lives.
To “put on” means that we need to commit ourselves to living out these characteristics in our lives. We need to develop certain characteristics in our lives that keep us prepared at all times for Satanic attack.
v. 11 “the full armor of God” and v.13 “the full armor of God”
“full” = all of it
Everyone of these characteristics must be a part of our lives if we are to defeat Satan. If you are missing any part, Satan will hit you there.
What is the armor? What are these characteristics?
1. Belt of truth
2. Breastplate of righteousness
3. Shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace
4. Shield of faith
5. Helmet of salvation
6. Sword of the spirit
The first characteristic needed to prepare for Satan’s attacks is
the belt of truth.
1. The Belt of Truth
v. 14 “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…”
To buckle the belt of truth around your waist means to commit yourself to know, understand, and live out the truth in your life as God has revealed it in the Scriptures.
The first piece of armor to put on is the belt of truth.
So what is the belt of truth?
Truth is reality. “Truth” states what is real, what actually exists. A “lie” states what is false, what actually does not exist, what is fantasy. We know that Mickey Mouse is fantasy. We know that we are not going to get up in the morning and put a red, blue and yellow suit on and fly around like Superman. We know that is fantasy.
When we talk about God’s truth, a lot of people think of God’s truth as something separate from themselves that exists in heaven and has to be brought into their lives. That is not what it is at all.
What God reveals is actually what happened and what is happening and what will happen. God created the world. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Gen.1:1 says. That actually happened. That’s a true statement. It doesn’t matter if people say that the earth was created by a big bang and then there was an amoeba that formed on the earth and then everything developed from there. That is not real. It is not true. God deals with reality and tells us what actually happened because he did it.
Putting on (buckling around) the belt of truth means that we need to commit ourselves to what is reality which is what God says is reality.
We are to be committed to the truth wherever it takes us even if we don’t like it. There are a lot of Christians who have not fully submitted to the truth. They have only submitted as far as they want to. Putting on the belt of truth means fully submitting to it.
How we will know if something is true or not?
We know because the God of the universe who created all of it knows what it is all about has revealed that to us. God has revealed to us what is truth or reality in His Word. The Word is also the way we can judge the reality of what is around us.
The Word gives to us the truth about God, His character and nature, the origin and fall of man, the need for redemption, and many other facts.
The Word also gives us a grid by which we can evaluate what is real around us and what is false. All truth is not necessarily mentioned in the Word, but the Word tells us how to evaluate what we perceive so we can know what is false and what is real.
We need to ask ourselves, “Are we committed to the Word and willingly to follow it no matter what?”
The Psalmist is an OT believer committed to the Word and he demonstrates the characteristics of someone committed to the Scriptures.
He praises the Lord that all of the Lord’s words in the Scriptures are true. He recognizes and confesses what God’s Word is – the truth. Earlier in v.30 he share his commitment to God’s Word of truth.
This is an expression of how a believer can put on the belt of truth whethere he is in the OT period or NT period.
These are parallel statements. This OT believer says that he has committed himself to the way of truth, which is the same as setting his heart on God’s laws, on God’s revelation.
To buckle the belt of truth around our waist means to commit ourselves to know, understand, and live out the truth in our lives as God has revealed it in the Scriptures. The believer must have a clear grasp of what is true and what is false if he is to defeat Satan and he must be committed to live by that truth.
If we don’t know the truth, we can’t recognize lies.
Our commitment to and knowledge of the truth
1) guards us from believing Satan’s lies that indulging the lusts
of the flesh is not that bad and is beneficial to us,
2) guards us from believing other lies of the world, and
3) guards us from believing a false Jesus and false gospel from false Christians
4) guards us from doubting God, His love and care for us, and His sovereignty over our lives.
2. The Breastplate of Righteousness
v. 14 “with the breastplate of righteousness in place…”
To put on the breastplate of righteousness means to commit yourself to following God’s commandments (His way of living) as revealed in the Scriptures as the regular pattern of your life.
The second piece of armor the Roman soldier wore was the breastplate. The breastplate was made of heavy linen to which were attached overlapping pieces of horn or metal discs or it was made of metal woven chain, inter-linked rings of metal or solid metal.
It was used to cover the most vital area of the soldier’s body, the chest and abdomen. So it was extremely important. Paul calls the breastplate, the breastplate of righteousness.
There is no indication that there is any significance to the differences between the belt and the breastplate, each just provides a metaphor for a different characteristic. As there are different parts to a soldier’s armor, each being important, so too are there different characteristics to the believer’s defense against Satan’s attacks. Each is important.
What is the breastplate of righteousness?
What he’s talking about here is the personal daily righteousness in our lives. Righteousness is not a bunch of God’s do’s and don’ts. It is God’s way of living.
God’s way of living is conforming to God’s ethical and moral standards and following his commandments in all areas of life he has given them no matter what anybody does around them.
Satan will use people around you who will not live righteously to turn you away from living righteously. People might lie about you or gossip about you and you will want to retaliate. Satan wants you to retaliate to destroy your testimony with those around you. To stand firm, we need to be committed to righteousness no matter what happens around us. That is putting on the breastplate of righteousness.
1 Tim.6:11 (not in sermon, but added in outline)
Paul is saying here, commit yourself to these characteristics which includes righteousness.
God has clearly revealed his will in the Scriptures and when we commit ourselves to following his will as he has revealed it we are putting on the breastplate of righteousness.
Our commitment to righteousness
1) guards us from indulging the lusts of the flesh when we are tempted
through the world
2) guards us from believing lies of the world that righteousness is irrelevant to people and many other ungodly priorities are relevant
3) guards us from believing a false righteousness which comes from a false gospel
4) guards us from turning away from the Lord for escape or pleasure when we are suffering because Satan is physically afflicting us
3. The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
v. 15 “ and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace…”
The “readiness that comes” is preparation again. It is a repeat of the overall theme which he gives for emphasis. We need to prepare by putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace.
Where does this preparation or readiness come from? It comes from the gospel of peace.
v. 15 “…the gospel of peace.”
This is the source of our readiness or preparedness to stand against Satan. We are ready because of the gospel of peace in our lives.
What is the gospel of peace?
The gospel of peace is the good news that we can have peace with God through Christ’s death on the cross.
We have been “justified through faith” and have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a description of our salvation. As believers we have peace with God. He is on our side in this war with Satan.
Our peace with God means that God is at peace with us. He is not in conflict with us. Even when we sin, God still is not at war with us. He calmly and loving disciplines or trains us to teach us to turn away from sin. But that is never in anger or wrath. All of God’s wrath and anger toward us was spent at the cross. That’s peace with God.
That peace gives us a very important assurance that we need to continually hold onto if we are to stand against Satan.
As humans in a fallen world, we have big problems. We have conflict with our flesh and with the world and with Satan. We are going to need the Lord to help us. And when we do we need to know he is going to be there to help us.
Our peace with God means that the Lord is always with us to help us in our time of need.
In v.15 the “weaknesses” are the weaknesses of the flesh.” It refers to our struggle with temptation and sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need. In what kind of “need” will Christ help us? It is the need that comes from being tempted and being weak in temptation.
This means we are never alone. Jesus is always with us to help us. All we need to do is ask. One of Satan’s greatest weapons is to get us to believe that we are alone in our struggles and trials. No one is there to help us or be concerned about us. Nobody truly loves us and cares for us. We’re trapped between a rock and hard place and no one cares.
If we are struggling with some attitude or emotional issue in our lives, if we feel that we are alone, on our own. We will quickly become discouraged. This causes us to despair and give in to the temptations of the world. “If I am alone and need to survive whatever I do must be okay whether it is the Lord’s way of doing things or not.”
How do you trust the Lord and follow him in every circumstance and every situation if you are not sure he is there to love you and care for you? You must continually hold onto the truth that God is with us every moment of every day in every situation we are in.
The confidence we have peace with God through Jesus Christ
1) guards us from indulging the flesh because we are doubting that God
is always with us working on our behalf by his love and sovereignty and
can be always approached for help
2) guards us from believing lies of the world that we are alone and have no one who loves us and cares for us and no one who can help us
3) guards us from believing that we have to work for our salvation and gain peace through works
4) guards us from turning away from the Lord when we are being physically afflicted by the realization that God cares for us and will help us in our time of need.
4. The Shield of Faith
v. 16 “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
The shield of faith is wielded when you trust God that what he has revealed in his Word is true and you live according to his Word.
Paul says to “take up the shield.”
v.16 “Taking up”
You don’t put on the shield, you take it up. However, it is the same metaphor. It means “to commit ourselves” just like “putting on” means.
The shield is called by Paul, the shield of faith, that is, it represents faith.
v. 16 “the shield of faith”
What is faith?
“Faith” is trust and confidence in God that all he has revealed in His Word is true. It is relying on God and what he says in his Word.
The shield of faith is wielded when we trust God that what he has revealed in his Word is true and live our lives according to his Word. If you do not believe that God will do something he promised he would do, you are not wielding the shield of faith. We come to Christ by faith and we need to live by faith.
Here, Paul is not talking about salvation faith, the trust a believer has which has brought him to salvation, but the faith and confidence in God and his Word a believer must have everyday of his life.
In Prov.3:5-6, the Holy Spirit reveals to us what trusting God is all about for believers of all ages.
This passage teaches four important truths about faith:
(1) Trusting the Lord involves your whole heart, total trust, not partial
(2) Trusting the Lord involves leaning on God’s perceptions of reality not your own
(3) Trusting the Lord involves acknowledging God and His ways as first priority
(4) If you do this, God will make your paths straight.
What is a straight path?
Is it a life of riches? It is a life of fame? Is it a life where you will have a nice house and a nice car? Is it a life where you will have the perfect job? Is it a life with perfect people in it? No. It has nothing to do with those things.
It is a path of rigthteousness. It is a life of God’s blessing. It is a life that reflects Christ. It is a path filled with God’s mercy and grace. It is a life where the fruit of the Spirit will be displayed in your life, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the like.
Then, Paul tells us why we need to take up the shield of faith.
v. 16 “with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
“Fiery arrow” – a lie or other temptation from Satan in any of the four ways he attacks us.
Paul says, “To defend ourselves against these temptations we need to trust God.”
Our commitment to trusting God that what he has revealed in his Word is true and live our lives according to his Word:
1) guards us from indulging the lusts of the flesh by trusting God that
his way is the best way
2) guards us from believing the lies of the world because we are trusting in what God has revealed not in what the world says
3) guards us from trusting in a false Christ, a false gospel, and false Scriptures
4) guards us from turning away from the Lord for escape or pleasure when we are suffering because we are trusting God to work in our lives as he has promised in his Word
5. The Helmet of Salvation
v. 17 “Take the helmet of salvation…”
To take up the helmet of salvation is to continually hold onto the precious truths, that you are saved, that you cannot lose your salvation, and that your salvation will bring a future of eternal blessing.
“Taking up the helmet of salvation” is referring to the assurance of salvation.
And in Scripture “assurance of salvation” has three aspects:
1) Assurance that we are saved
2) Assurance that we cannot lose our salvation
3) Assurance that salvation will bring eternal blessing in God’s presence forever
Taking up the helmet of salvation is holding on to these precious truths that we are saved, that we cannot lose our salvation, and that our salvation will bring a future of eternal blessing.
I want to look at each of these aspects because Satan attacks in each of these areas and the helmet defends against his attacks.
a) It is an assurance that we are, right now, saved.
A believer must have the personal confidence that he or she is saved and thus a child of God. This is God’s desire for his children, that there is no doubt in our minds that we are saved.
1 Jn. 5:11-13
The apostle John writes to believers in the churches of Asia Minor who were doubting their salvation even though they had repented of sin and turned to Christ for salvation. People had arisen who were calling themselves true Christians, but were not. They had rejected what the apostles said about Jesus Christ, that he was both God and man.
They were not true Christians. However, they were so strong and so committed that they shook up the true believers in Jesus Christ and caused them to doubt their salvation. John writes the letter of 1 John to assure these believers of their salvation because they were the ones who believe the apostolic doctrine of Christ and had trusted him to save them.
In this passage, he shows how our assurance is based solidly on the Word of God. John says we can “know” (v.13) that we have eternal life. This is a knowledge not by experience but reflection. If we have trusted in Christ and him alone for salvation, then we can know that we are saved. We don’t have to feel saved to know we are saved.
This is not an emotional knowledge or experiential knowledge, but an intellectual knowledge based on God’s truth. Our assurance of our present salvation is based upon the authority of the Word of God.
This is the first aspect of the helmet of salvation. There is a second.
b) It is the assurance that we cannot lose our salvation.
This is the truth of eternal security. A believer, cannot in any way, lose his salvation once he has been saved.
The Greek word “never” means “never.” A Christian will never perish. It is a direct and powerful statement by Christ about his sheep. This gives us believers powerful spiritual security in our lives.
Satan wants us to doubt our salvation or make just feel that we can lose our salvation so we want to give up, so we will give into his lies. It is also a powerful motivation to honor the Lord in our lives out of gratefulness to the Lord for what he has done for us.
c) It is the assurance that salvation will bring eternal blessing in God’s presence forever
It also refers to the hope of our future salvation in Christ.
Jesus promised us that one day he would come back for us and bring us to live with him forever. This refers to the rapture where the Lord brings us into the fullness of our redemption which is the resurrection of our bodies and that we will be with him forever in this wonderful glorified state.
This is our future inheritance as children of God, the joys and blessings of resurrected life with Christ forever. It is ours, but we have not yet experienced it. This hope causes us to give up focusing on pleasure in this life. This hope causes us to sacrifice ourselves for Christ and His kingdom in this life. This hope causes us to rejoice in the midst of trials.
How can this assurance help us turn away from Satan’s temptations?
Our assurance of salvation
1) guards us against indulging our fleshly lust because we know we do not
have to pursue the sinful pleasures of this life because we will experience
the eternal pleasures of heaven
2) guards us when Satan attempts to deceive us with lies that we are not saved or we can lose our salvation or that there is no hope of a blessed life after death
3) guards us from depending on our own works to earn heaven rather than on Christ alone
4) guards us from doubt and despair when Satan physically afflicts us because we have a confident hope that we will experience great joy in the presence of God forever
6. The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God
v. 17 “Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
What is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”?
This “sword” is called by Paul “the sword of the Spirit”, that is it is the sword which belongs to the Holy Spirit. This sword which belongs to the Holy Spirit is “the word of God.” The sword represents the word of God.
When we wield the sword, the Word of God, it is the Holy Spirit, which works through that Word to work His will in our lives. It is His Word, His instrument to change our lives and the lives of others.
The sword is wielded when we apply specific Biblical statements, commands, and truths to specific situations, issues and temptations in our lives.
Why does Paul tell us this?
To make us realize just how powerful the Word of God is in our warfare with Satan. The word is a divine weapon coming from the Holy Spirit. When we use it, we are using a weapon far greater than Satan or any flaming arrow he can throw at us.
Let’s look more closely at the expression, “the Word of God.”
The Greek word used here which is translated “word” is “rhema.” It refers to specific Biblical statements, commands and the like from the Lord, which are in the Scriptures.
The sword is wielded when we apply specific Biblical statements, commands, and truths to specific situations, issues and temptations in our lives. The Bible gives God’s will on a variety of subjects and we need to apply them to the subjects that they address. So wielding the sword of the Spirit means to apply specific Scriptures to our lives.
Let’s look at a time when Jesus wielded the sword of the Spirit against Satan’s temptations.
Satan tempted Christ in three different ways, each way demanded a different Scriptural truth to stand against it.
Remember Satan tempted Christ audibly and Christ spoke back audibly; this we do not experience. But what Christ actually did to stand against Satan was not in the spoken statement as much as it was in trusting and obeying it and thus not falling into Satan’s trap. That is what we need to do as well.
Let’s just look at one of the temptations:
In v. 3 Satan is tempting Christ to use his divine powers to meet his own personal needs or gain rather than follow God’s will and use his divine powers only for the redemptive purposes for which he was sent.
In v. 4 Jesus meets that temptation with the specific and appropriate Scripture,
not live by bread alone, but on every word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God.”
What Christ says is that according to this verse, man is to live by following God’s will articulated in the words in the Scriptures. This is his first priority, not meeting his own personal needs.
Jesus searches in his mind for the Scripture that applies to this temptation and then applies it by trusting and obeying it. Thus, he wields the sword of the Spirit. Christ applied the Scripture to the temptation, trusted it, that God could indeed sustain His life by the word of His mouth, and obeyed it, by not performing a miracle himself.
Each time he does this and each time Satan is thwarted. Notice, Satan cannot make Christ do anything. Christ must choose to follow the temptation if Satan is to trap him. It is the same for us. Satan can only tempt us, he cannot make us do anything. We’re not going to go into the other two, but each time Christ wields the word.
If we want to use the Word of God against Satan’s attacks, this is what we must do. This is why it is so important for us to know the Word of God. If we don’t know what the Bible says, we can’t fight off Satan’s temptations.
We do this often without realizing it. When Satan tempts us, the Holy Spirit brings to mind specific verse – or truths – from Scripture, which deal with that temptation. When we are tempted, to wield the sword, we need to think of or search for the appropriate truth in God’s Word, trust it, and obey it.
If we do that, we will turn away from that temptation.
Our commitment to applying specific Biblical statements, commands, and truths to specific situations, issues and temptations in our lives.
1) guards us from indulging the lusts of the flesh by helping us understand
the true nature of fleshly sin and how to turn away from fleshly sin according
to God’s truth
2) guards us from believing the world’s lies by helping us understand the truth
3) guards us from applying falsehoods to specific situations, issues, and temptations
4) guards us from turning away from the Lord for escape or pleasure when we are suffering because we know what God reveals in his Word about suffering and how to deal with it
If we commit ourselves to these six characteristics which Paul describes
as the armor of God we will be able to stand firm against the attacks of
Satan because we will be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.