SPECIAL TOPIC: SPIRITUAL WARFARE (from Eph. 6:10-24)
(Please see online commentary for the exegesis)
A. The Christian life is a spiritual struggle (cf. Romans 7). Problems, suffering, and persecution are not abnormal, but normal, for Christians in a fallen world (cf. Matt. 5:10; Acts 14:22; Rom. 5:3-4; 8:17-18; Phil. 1:29; 1 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 3:12; James 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:6-9; 2:11; 3:14; 4:12-17; 5:10; Rev. 11:7; 13:7).
B. The spiritual battle may be related contextually to the present passive imperative, "be filled with the Spirit," of Eph. 5:18 and the present passive (or middle, see note at Eph. 5:22) imperative "be made strong in the Lord," Eph. 6:10. As the filling is related to daily Christlikeness (Col. 3:16) so too, is the spiritual battle. People are priority with God. The battleground is interpersonal relationships on a daily basis. Only people are eternal. Although these passives speak of God's power, the Christian must allow the Spirit to work in their lives. Covenant involves two parties, two choices.
C. We must be careful of two extremes: (1) Satan causes everything and (2) there is no personal evil. I assume, because of OT monotheism, that Satan is a created being and a controlled being (cf. 1 Kgs. 22:19-23; Job 1-2; Zech. 3:1-5). He is neither omnipresent, nor omniscient. Satan has been mentioned earlier in the letter in Eph. 2:2 and 4:14,27! He is only one of three enemies that Christians face daily—the world, Satan (and his), and the flesh (cf. Eph. 2:2-3; James 4).
D. God provides our spiritual armor and weapons, but believers must
1. recognize the daily spiritual battle
2. avail themselves, by faith, of God's resources
3. stand (cf. Eph. 6:11,13,14); spiritual maturity is not automatic, nor is it based on longevity, IQ (i.e., intelligence), or giftedness
E. I have always been told there is one offensive weapon for the believer, but I think there are two.
1. knowledge of the Word of God, Eph. 6:17
2. prayer, Eph. 6:18-19
F. Eph. 6:21-22 is almost identical to Col. 4:7-8. This is additional evidence of the close relationship between these two books. However, it is interesting that the entire discussion of spiritual warfare is omitted in Colossians. Each book has its own uniqueness.
G. See the follow Special Topics
1. Special Topic: Satan
2. Special Topic: Personal Evil
3. Special Topic: Monotheism
4. Special Topic: Why Do Christians Suffer?
H. The Special Topic where I list the books that have helped me the most in this area of spiritual warfare is Special Topic: Exorcism. There is so much confusion and human opinions in this area. We all wish we had more biblical evidenc on this subject!
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