“Be strong in the Lord”

Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 15 Nov 2015

Eph 6:10-13
10 Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

11 Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

In the world people are fighting against flesh and blood, one race against another race, one nation against another nation. But we do not fight against flesh and blood but rather against principalities and rulers of the darkness of this age.

The Word tells us, finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. The power of the Lord Jesus is great. However, the devil and demons have power too but limited. But God’s power is the greatest, and He has commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations and teach them to keep all that He has commanded us (Matt 28:19-20). You do not get salvation through education. Education without Christ just produces clever devils. Jesus commanded us to teach the nations, not just to know, but to keep all that He has taught us.

We read in 1Sam 30 how David strengthened himself in the Lord, when his men spoke of stoning him, because their town was burned down and their wives and children taken away (1Sam 30:6). Then he said to his men, let’s go and pursue the enemy. And they pursued the enemy, and overcame them, and recovered all their wives, children and possessions. David was a true hero. He didn’t lose strength in adversity.

We’re in a battle. Being a Christian is a fight, because you’re at war with the devil. The devil will oppose you all the way. But if you’re friends with the devil, he will give you peace and fight with others that are at war with him. But why do you want to be friends with the devil? Hell was not created for people, but for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41). Of course, if you stick to the devil you will go where he goes.

In Luke 10 we read that Jesus sent out his 70 disciples. Jesus had the closest 3 disciples, then the 12 and then the 70. Each had a special place. The communists say that all must be equal, but how foolish would it be to chop off the fingers of your hand so that they’re all the same length? Even gifts are given in different ways, like the parables Jesus spoke where some received 5 talents, another 2 and another one. Yes, we’re all the same in many ways, that we are all human and that Jesus died for us all.

So when the 70 returned they rejoiced that the demons were subject to them. Then Jesus answered them that He saw satan fall like lightning from heaven. When the devil’s kingdom is destroyed, he doesn’t sit still, but come down to fight like lightning. Jesus also said that He has given us power over serpents and scorpions and all the power of the enemy. But He said that we should not rejoice in this that the devils are subject to us, but rather that our names are written in Heaven.

God created the angels before man. And initially they were all good. But they also had different positions. One’s name is Michael, an archangel, with his name meaning, ‘like God’. Another is Gabriel, meaning, ‘God is powerful’. Then there was Lucifer, a beautiful and powerful angel, and his name means ‘light-bearer’. That is also why we read that the devil comes like an angel of light. Most probably he was the highest of all the angels. But he wasn’t satisfied with his high position, but wanted more for himself, and because of his pride, he became the devil and satan (Is 14:12). Satan exalted himself and wanted to be equal with God (Is 14:13). He was the most beautiful, and walked among the stones of fire, as we read in Eze 28:12-13 and Eze 28:16. He was extraordinary, close to God. But then pride came in (Eze 28:17). Beware of pride. If you uplift yourself and become proud, you will surely fall.

Adam and Eve had a wonderful relationship with God, until they listened to satan’s lie. After that, when they heard God approaching, they hid. Before that they loved God, they loved being in His presence. But when sin entered they hid from Him. God asked Adam what he had done, and he blamed Eve. Eve again blamed the serpent. When God asked the serpent, he didn’t blame anyone else. You will get nowhere if you blame someone else when you sin. Adam should not have listened to Eve, but should have rather reprimanded her, that she should not eat of it.

Pilate’s wife warned him that she had a dream that he should not have anything to do with the blood of this innocent man, Jesus. But he didn’t listen to his wife when he should have. (Matt 27:19)

It’s a weakness of men, that they listen to their wives when they should not and do not listen when they should.

When satan rebelled against God, he drew a third of the angels to his side and they made war with God. And God instructed Michael and the other angels to fight the devil, and there was a terrible war in heaven, but they overcame him and satan was thrown out of heaven (Rev 12:7). Now satan makes himself out to be lord of this earth. But he is a defeated foe.

We read in Genesis that the serpent will bite man in the heel, but that satan’s head will be crushed (Gen 3:15).

In Col 2:15 we read that God has taken away all the weapons of the devil. What does it mean that He made a public spectacle of him? During the time of the Romans this concept was clearly understood. From time to time there would be uprisings within the Roman empire and Caesar would send his army to crush that revolt. When that rebellion was put down, the rebel leader would be chained naked to one of the chariots, and in Rome he would be fastened to a central pole and made an open shame, so that all could mock him. As the army returned with the rebel, two soldiers on horseback would go ahead with incense and proclaim all the way that the enemy had been defeated.

In the same way Jesus overcame satan on the Cross and defeated him, as He cried out, ‘it is finished’. All our sins are paid in full in Jesus.

When you give in to the lusts of the flesh, you choose the devil. And what will he give you? You will only go to hell where he is. But Jesus has overcome the devil and gives us everlasting life.



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