Vol. 17, No. 2 – January 14, 2018
Walking in Unity – 4:1-16,
Walking in Purity – 4:17-32,
Walking in Love – 5:1-6,
Walking in Light – 5:7-14, and
Walking in Wisdom – 5:15-6:9.
As we study the last section of this book, we are going to learn how to…
Stand in Warfare – 6:10-20.
Having learned the description of the ideal home and workplace, the focus now shifts to the battlefield. Having noted our personal internal warfare of the Angelic Conflict in the previous chapters, now we are going to note the external warfare we are all a part of during the Angelic Conflict.
Many times the NT speaks of the Christian life in military terms. Yet, the language here describes something that is more than just a figure of speech. This battle is real, difficult, and dangerous. Although salvation is free to the person who receives it, it is not brought to its highest point without great effort. The Angelic Conflict is real and part of the reality of human life, whether people comprehend it or not.
For the believer, no true soldier of Jesus Christ can expect to be immune from it and the assaults of the enemy. Likewise, no Christian can afford to be neutral in this conflict. Therefore, in this section, believers are called to stand firm in the midst of spiritual warfare by means of God’s power, with God’s armor, and in constant prayer.
As Christians, we face three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil, Eph 2:1-3.
- “The world,” refers to the system around us that is opposed to God, Satan’s cosmic system, that caters to “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” 1 John 2:15-17. Society apart from God is a simple, but accurate, definition of “the world.”
- “The flesh” is the Old Sin Nature that we inherited from Adam, a nature that is opposed to God and can do nothing spiritual to please God, Rom 7:15-21.
- “The devil,” a real fallen angel who led the rebellion against God in eternity past, who has stayed in rebellion and is the leader of the fallen angelic forces to thwart God’s plan for mankind and your life.
Yet, by His death and resurrection, Christ has overcome the world, John 16:33; Gal 6:14, and the flesh, Rom 6:1-6; Gal 2:20, and the devil, Eph 1:19-23. Therefore, as believers, we do not fight for victory, we fight from a position of victory! The Spirit of God enables us, by faith, to appropriate Christ’s victory for ourselves.
Therefore, in these closing verses of the letter, Paul discussed four topics so we, by understanding and applying these truths, might walk in victory: The Empowerment, vs. 10; The Enemy, vs. 11-12; The Equipment, vs. 13-17; The Energy, vs. 18-20; The Encouragement, vs. 21-24.
1.) Empowerment, vs. 10.
Eph 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”
Before delving into the conflict, God reminds us of the strength and power that is available to every believer to be victorious in the Angelic Conflict, using three Greek words in this passage, DUNAMIS, KRATOS, and ISCHUS. Therefore, this section discusses a believer’s use of God’s resources to help him stand against evil powers.
Whereas, every division of Eph 4:1-6:9 was introduced by the Greek inferential Particle OUN, Eph 4:1, 17; 5:1, 7, 15, and the verb “walk,” PERIPATEO, Eph 4:1, 17; 5:1, 8, 15. This final division is signaled by “finally,” as the Greek begins with HO LOIPOS, in the Adverbial use of a Genitive phrase.
LOIPOS, λοιπός means, “remaining, over, from now, rest, other.” Literally it reads, “the remaining, the rest, etc.” Paul used it often to conclude a message or give one final point, cf. 2 Cor 13:11; Phil 3:1; 4:8; 1 Thes 4:1; 2 Thes 3:1. Many times, those constructions include, “brethren,” ADELPHOS, as do some variant Greek translations of this passage. But ADELPHOS should not be included here.
But if we take this literally, as we should, it means, “for the remaining, the rest of the time, or from now on.” In other words, going forward in your Christian walk, do what is commanded in this passage, “be empowered for battle by God.”
This also tells us that Paul foresees the impact of this book on the Royal Family of God. He sees it as turning people around and moving them in the right direction. He sees it as the means of getting believers oriented to the Plan of God and entering into the tactical victories of the Angelic Conflict.
As we have seen in this book, it demands growth. From the time that you start the first chapter and begin to see that you are in the Plan of God, and that you are special in the plan of God, and that you live in a special age, from that moment on, Ephesians becomes extremely important to empower and enable you to be victorious inside the Angelic Conflict.
Psa 18:39, “For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”
Psa 35:1-3, “Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. 2Take hold of buckler and shield and rise up for my help. 3Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me; say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation’.”
Next, we have the exhortation to be empowered, “be strong in the Lord,” utilizing the first Greek word for power/strength, ENDUNAMOO, ἐνδυναμόω that can mean, “strengthened, enabled, acquire strength, gain power, empowered, etc.” It comes from the root verb DUNAMAI, “be able, have power to do, have capacity for,” and the noun DUMAMIS, “power, might, ability, force.” It is inherent strength or power that characterizes God that is given to the positive spiritually mature believer.
ENDUNAMOO is in the Progressive Present, Passive, Imperative. Therefore, this is a command to the believer for the continuous action of receiving God’s power. It is being strengthened and enabled within your soul to be able to stand your ground and fight, leading tactical victories in the Angelic Conflict. The Present tense indicates the necessity of continuous dependence upon Jesus Christ. The Passive tells us we receive this empowerment from Jesus Christ, (i.e., His Word and His Spirit), showing that strength must come from outside the believer, for without God’s help we would never make it. As we will see in the rest of this verse, The Lord Jesus Christ, God, is the means by which we receive His strength and power to be victorious.
ENDUNAMOO is used three times in the LXX of the OT, first in Judges 6:34 and 1 Chron 12:18, for the empowerment of certain men for battle.
Judges 6:34, “So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.”
1 Chron 12:18, “Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was the chief of the thirty, and he said, “We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to him who helps you; indeed, your God helps you!” Then David received them and made them captains of the band.”
It is also used in Psa 52:7, for the man who falsely trusts in his own strength and riches, “Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and was strong in his evil desire.”
In fact, Heb 11:33-34, reminds us that the OT saints were strengthened by the Lord to perform mighty feats, “Who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong (ENDUNAMOO), became mighty (ISCHUROS) in war, put foreign armies to flight.”
These were individuals who had conquered kingdoms, put armies to flight, quenched the power of fire, etc., all by receiving this enabling power from God.
In the NT, ENDUNAMOO is used to tell us Jesus Christ is the source of this strength, Phil 4:13. For example, the Lord was the One who inwardly strengthened or enabled Paul to serve, 1 Tim 1:12. Cf. Acts 9:22; Rom 4:20; 2 Tim 4:17.
Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
1 Tim 1:12, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service.”
And, as our verse, Eph 6:10 says, “in the Lord,” which is EN KURIOS in Dative of Sphere. This tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of this strength, when we are in the sphere of Jesus Christ. That is, because of our union with Him, when we are in fellowship with Him, we gain this power as a result of the filling of the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18, and the intake and application of His Word, Bible Doctrine, Heb 4:12.
Heb 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
This means that by His Spirit, (the empowering and enabling ministry of God the Holy Spirit), and His Word, (Bible Doctrine resident within your soul), we have power to be victorious. With these two power options, the believer is strengthened for battle inside the Angelic Conflict.
This also reminds us of the fact that we are Royal Family of God and that we have a higher honor and privilege, greater doctrine, greater opportunity, greater horizons, and greater power than any group of believers that have ever lived.
Next we have, “and in the strength” which is the Coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and,” that adds the following to the DUNAMIS we are to receive. The addition first includes, “in the strength,” which is the Dative in simple apposition of EN HO KRATOS. In other words, it is the same type of Dative that we just noted regarding DUNAMIS EN KURIOS; inherent power in the sphere of the Lord. KRATOS is another description of the “power” we receive from the Lord Jesus Christ.
KRATOS, κράτος means, “strength, power, and might,” but also “dominion or authority.” It is manifested power; power that is demonstrated in our lives.
In classical Greek it refers to “strength or power.”
- In the sense of “strength,” it can be used in describing the physical strength of a man, the material strength of a substance such as iron, or more abstractly to refer to military strength.
- In the sense of “power,” it is often used for the authority granted to certain men, thus political power, ruling power, or sovereignty.
- Medically, it refers to the “ligaments,” those strong bands of tissue that hold the skeleton together.
In the NT, it refers to God’s manifested power and in the following doxologies, His dominion, 1 Tim 6:16; 1 Peter 5:11; Jude 25; Rev 1:6. In other words, it means His conquering power.
In Acts 19:20, KRATOS is associated with the Word of God as a growing power, “So the word of the Lord was growing mightily (KRATOS) and prevailing (ISCHUS).”
This strength or power is made available to the believer who walks faithfully in Him, Psa 59:9, “Because of his strength I will watch for You, for God is my stronghold.”
Eph 1:19, “And what is the surpassing greatness of His power (DUNAMIS) toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength (KRATOS) of His might (ISCHUS).”
Col 1:11, “Strengthened (DUNAMOO) with all power (DUNAMIS), according to His glorious might (KRATOS), for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.”
Being in union with Jesus Christ, we have been given the power of victory over sin and death.
Heb 2:14, “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power (KRATOS) of death, that is, the devil.”
Then we have the final phrase, “of His might,” which is the Genitive of Possession HO ISCHUS AUTOS. Jesus Christ is the One who possesses this power, and is the One who gives this power to us, so that we too might be victorious inside the Angelic Conflict.
The word used here for power is ISCHUS, ἰσχύς that means, “strength or power,” but also “ability and forcefulness.” It refers to endowed power and is a very strong word for inner ability. It comes from the root verb ISCHUO that means, “be strong, able, forceful, or to prevail.” Therefore, ISCHUS means, “having strength, power, might, or forcefulness, with the idea of the possession of power as an endowment.”
It is used in the great SHEMA in Mark 12:30, 33; Luke 10:27 for the Hebrew MEODH that means, “great exertion or force,” for the totality of love we are to express towards God.
Mark 12:30, “And you shall love the lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
The instability of our minds to anchor upon the rock of Jesus Christ is not indicative of His stability or dependability, but of our fickle loyalties. The people of God tended to forget the work of God, choosing to focus on the circumstances of life rather than the faithful character of their all-powerful redeeming God. Unfortunately, in the battle of our minds, feelings become the dominant force gaining victory over the comforting work of God that was once a strong tower of hope to us. Therefore, we must remember our God in the good times and bad times, by remembering His Word and promises to see us through whatever may come our way. That is why He begins this last section by reminding us to appropriate the power, strength, and might of God in our lives, before delving into the battle call.
Kenneth Wuest translates our verse, Eph 6:10, “Finally, be constantly strengthened in the Lord and in the active efficacy of the might that is inherent in Him.” Or we could say, “Participate in the strength that is inherent in Him.”
Paul wrote this letter in regard to the various cults of the ancient pagan world that the Christians of the new church were detached from, but still feared when they fell back to relying upon their own human powers.
The IVP Dictionary of Paul and His Letters states, “Believers within the young Christian communities in and around Ephesus lived in a culture where magical practices flourished. These practices were reinforced by the renowned Artemis cult. Artemis was worshiped as a goddess of the underworld with cosmic supremacy; she bore the six magical Ephesia Grammata on her cultic image,”
The six magical Ephesia Grammata, (Ephesian letters), are an ancient Greek magical formula attested from the 5th or 4th century BC. It reads, ASKI(ON) KATASKI(ON) LIX TETRAX DAMNAMENEUS AISIA. What these six words mean is a matter of considerable speculation, if they mean anything at all. They may simply be barbarous words of invocation, devoid of meaning, similar to our “hocus pocus” today, although their use is clear. They were a spoken incantation, a protective spell, an ALEXIPHARMIKA. Similar to the mantras of Buddhism and Hinduism, they were “meaningless words” potent to protect those who could speak them correctly, their power residing in their sound, so that they were ineffective if mispronounced. Others thought they could also be six demon servants of Artemis. Roughly translated it reads, “shadowless, shadowy, the earth, fourfold (4 seasons), the sun, auspicious.” These were widely perceived as powerful words.
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Artemis was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows.
At Ephesus in Ionia, Turkey, her temple became one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was probably the best known center of her worship except for Delos; her alleged birth place. There the Lady whom the Ionians associated with Artemis was worshipped primarily as a mother goddess, akin to the Phrygian goddess Cybele, in an ancient sanctuary where her cult image depicted the “Lady of Ephesus” adorned with multiple rounded breast-like protuberances on her chest; associating her with the fertility cults of the ancient world.
Today, we see such images in accordance to the ancient images of Artemis / Diana, as the huntress goddess.
In the book of Acts, Ephesian metalsmiths, who felt threatened by Paul’s preaching of Christianity, jealously rioted in her defense shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Acts 19:23-28.
The IVP Dictionary goes on to say, “The people of the region had an extraordinary fear of the hostile spiritual “powers.” Through magical practices and cultic rituals, people sought relief and deliverance from the dreaded realm of the powers. This fear was not immediately allayed, however, when people became Christians. Demonstrating his sincere pastoral concern, Paul addressed their fear of this realm. More than any other Pauline letter, Ephesians stresses the hostile role of the principalities and powers against the church. In contrast to the power of the hostile supernatural realm, Paul emphasizes the superiority of the power of God and the supremacy of Christ, (Eph 1:19-23; 4:8-10). He demonstrates that believers have access to this power by virtue of their union with Christ, thereby enabling them to resist the vicious attacks of the hostile powers, (Eph 6:10-20). He regards all these spiritual powers as evil and under the leadership of a being he calls “the devil.”
Therefore, in comparison to the Pagan religions and the Ephesia Grammata, Paul speaks of the true and real power of God that the believer can experience and enjoy that far surpasses any power that Ephesus for all of its elaborate spiritism had ever witnessed.
So, Paul is exhorting these believes, and us today, to be overcomers by reminding them that they have real power, real strength that is of and from God, so that they, and we, stop giving over to the weakness of the flesh with fear to the false god’s that have absolutely no power or strength, as they are, “gods made with hands that are no gods at all,” Acts 19:26b. Cf. Deut 4:28; Psa 115:4; Isa 44:10-20; Jer 10:3ff; Acts 17:29; 1 Cor 10:19; Rev 9:20.
Acts 17:29, “Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.”
In our culture today, everyone wants to talk about problems without talking about evil, faith, or the Spirit. Anyone who proposes a spiritual cause to a problem is labeled as a fanatic, or naïve, silly, unenlightened, or uninformed about the real issues. Some may give a sentimental value to those of faith but nothing more. In their hearts, they believe such talk is inane. But sooner or later every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground, and that he faces an enemy who is much stronger than he is; apart from the Lord. Therefore, you must take into account sin and Satan when you try to assess the problems of your life and this world. Paul, as a trustworthy and inspired apostle, is not uninformed about the real problems; he is informing us about the real, unseen battle beneath these visible problems.
Therefore, we must be strengthened by the mighty power of the Lord, because we do not want to crumble when the evil one tempts us. Do not look in the wrong place for strength. Our strength is not in our resources and ability, in how long we have been Christians, in how much we know about the Bible, or in how long we have been in ministry. Our strength is in our union with Jesus Christ and His mighty power, Eph 1:19. In another passage that alludes to being a soldier, Paul says in 2 Tim 2:1, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” We are called to look in the right place, to the right person: Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are to say, “Yes, I am weak, but I do not have to remain weak. I will find my strength in the Lord,” Cf. 1 Sam 30:6; Heb 11:32-34.
1 Sam 30:6, “Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”
We must remember who we are and what is ours in Christ. The strength that is mentioned in vs. 10-11, 13 implies that the Devil can be resisted as we walk in the Lord’s strength.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#18-002, 18-003, 18-004
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I Welcome You to the Eternal Family of God !!!