We are in enemy territory. I don’t know if you know that, but we are. Paul says,
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (12)
This dark world. This world occupied by the enemy. But not human enemies. Spiritual ones. Satan all his demons occupy this territory, and it’s because of them that we dwell in “this present darkness.” (ESV)
You don’t have to look far to see it. Morals are collapsing. What’s is right is considered wrong, and what is wrong is considered right. Exactly as Isaiah once talked about when he wrote,
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. (Isaiah 5:20)
Paul said something similar to Timothy.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (II Timothy 4:3)
We are here. This is the world we live in. This is why Paul admonishes us,
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. (13)
The day of evil. What does he mean by this? I can’t help but think that he’s talking about a time of persecution. A time when Christianity will no longer be tolerated. Already, we find it under attack in America. In Canada, there are things Christians simply cannot say on the radio or be shut down for violating “hate crime” laws.
The questions is, as a church, how do we fight back?
Not through our own strength. Rather, Paul says,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (10)
Nor are we to rely on human weapons to fight, whether it’s literal weapons, political weapons, or weapons of mere human rhetoric. Instead Paul says,
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (11)
Again we’re not fighting humans. We’re fighting the spiritual powers behind this present darkness we are facing.
The thing I keep coming back to throughout the book of Ephesians, though, is vitally important here as well. While certainly God calls us individually as Christians to take up the armor of God and take our stand against the devil, Paul is telling the church to do this.
Put another away, “All of you. Put on the full armor of God so that all of you, standing together, can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. (Luke 11:17)
And if the church is divided against itself, we have no chance to stand against the enemy. So again we come to the question of unity. God has joined us together as one body under Christ. Satan, however, is trying to tear us apart. It’s much easier to destroy a church that is coming apart at the seams already than to destroy one that is in complete unity.
And it’s much easier to pick off a lone Christian than it is a group of Christians supporting and protecting one another.
So as we face attack in this dark world, how will we do it? Divided? Weak? Fighting in our own strength with human weapons? Or united as one, fighting with spiritual weapons in the strength of the Lord?