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The Believer's Warfare, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
October 6, 2021 4:00 am

The Believer's Warfare, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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October 6, 2021 4:00 am

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You have all the resources all the power you have all the principles to live the Christian life is just one thing you need to know in spite of all of resurrection power, in spite of all of the truth you need to know being available will not be easy defend yourself against a much more dangerous enemy, one who if you are a Christian, you're sure to face find out today on grace to you as John MacArthur continues his series. The believers armor. It's an in-depth look at how Satan tries to discourage believers and how, through Christ, you can resist his attacks. So now open your Bible, or use.

The study Bible app and turn to Ephesians chapter 6. And here's John MacArthur with a lesson we come to a brief kind of introduction the look at the first section, verses 10 through 13, let me read it to finally my brother, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. We will not exhaust all that's in those verses. But becoming back to them next time we study this and in the following session so will kind of look at it in an overview and got some key things but let me remind you of the context briefly as we begin, Paul has in this book presented to us. The great realities of being in Christ, what it means to be a believer what it means to belong to God what it means to have the spirit of God indwelling, what it means to become adopted into God's family what it means to stand in the human the position of the believer who is in Christ, who she is in Christ where we stand. Our identity a definition of our character because of Jesus Christ.

Positional truth, who we are in Christ, the great realities that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavens that we have been given adoption and love and predestination and forgiveness and enlightenment of knowledge and understanding and power.

We have been taken out of the dominion of Satan and placed into the kingdom of Christ. We have been made to do good works, which God is before ordained. We have been moved as it were, away from the style of living of the world and ushered into a whole new dominion the union with God union with Christ, a union with the spirit of union with every other believer.

Our attitudes change we think different. We feel different.

We talked differently at different in all of these things are identified as marks of the believer in the first three chapters of the book of Ephesians and all of it. According to the tremendous purpose of God in the ministry of the church as he has made us one in Jesus Christ and filled us with resurrection power chapter 4, five and six. Our practice was discussed opposition who we are, our practice, how we live and the apostle delineated for us standards of living which we are to attain the idea could be illustrated by a car first three chapters describe the car. It's engine it's power plant, its capability and in the second.

Three. The roadmap on which the car is to drive and we as believers are defined as high powered individuals in the second three chapters show us where we are to go with this power. The ignition switch is being strengthened by the Spirit in the inner man being filled with the spirit as the spirit controls us. We turn on the power plant and begin to move out in obedience to follow the roadmap God is given the way we are to live is different than the world we are to walk worthy. It is a walk of oneness a walk of unity, a walk different than the world a walk of love, a walk of light, a walk of wisdom, a walk in the spirit. Our relationships are different.

Our songs are different, our marriages are different. Our families are different. Our employment situations are different. All of these things unique standards principles by which the believer is to function in the world.

Now think of it, then this way. In summary, you have all the resources all the power you have all the principles to live the Christian life is just one thing you need to know in spite of all of resurrection power, in spite of all of the truth that you need to know being available. It will not be easy and that is the way Paul wants to end his letter don't dare take anything for granted, because you know how your to operate on the job doesn't guarantee you pull it off because you know how you conduct yourself and your family doesn't mean you'll fulfill it because you know the truth about resurrection and about the power available doesn't mean you're going to apply it necessarily because you know what God teaches about marriage is no guarantee that you'll see the fulfillment of it, even though the power is there and the principles are there some else is there and that's the enemy the adversary who wants to withstand any good thing God sets out to do, the enemy will be there to thwart divine purpose in your life.

And so when you come to defining the Christian life.

The best term is simply warfare warfare. That's what Paul uses to speak of it.

In this passage. In fact, at the end of his life.

He said I have fought a good fight in his ministry. He said I fight, not as one who beats the air to Timothy said be a soldier who endures hardness repeatedly in Scripture. The Christian life is seen as a warfare when Jesus began his ministry. The initial thrust of his ministry was a war was Satan a conflict with Satan after 40 days of fasting in which Satan approached him, attempted and subtly three times and the way his ministry and it was the same way as Satan began to besiege him in the garden of Gethsemane, and he began to sweat as it were great drops of blood that shows us a lot of things, but it shows us one thing I like to point out and that is that whether you're at the beginning of your experience or at the end of it you're going to be in the same battle and if you think it will get easier.

You're wrong.

Jesus had a conflict at the beginning, but he didn't sweat great drops of blood in the wilderness that was at the end when he was in the garden.

There was, if anything, an intensification of the efforts of the enemy as Christ came closer to accomplishing his goals are a member. When I was young. Somebody said to me you know you to begin the witness because the more you do it the easier it gets. That isn't true, the more effective you become the harder Satan works you know people say to me you know you been drinking. So I must be easy, is it any easier than it ever was. It's the same, if anything, sometimes it's more difficult.

You might be surprised to know that Satan would want to thwart me.

Anyway, he possibly could from preaching. I fight more now to get the time to study than I ever thought my life minutes early morning light night doing it wherever you can, because there's so many things that Satan wants to do to undermine that priority of teaching the word of God, but it is in any easier because it's always a war. It never stops being a war and you always have a certain sense of wariness goes along with a great sense of accomplishment because the longer you fight the battle, the greater the string of victories right in the greater the string of victories, the more the confidence you have in God. And the more you know the judge going to take you through.

And the more thrilling it is.

As you see God's power working. I can understand what it means in Revelation when the Saints died. It says they rest from all their labors.

I think about heaven and those terms. Sometimes, but I'll tell you as long as I'm here, the battle is there and I want to be in the midst of the battle. The apostle Paul said in first Corinthians chapter 16 in verse eight he said I must tarry at Ephesus. Why, because our great door and opportunity is open under me and there are many adversary pieces I stay here because this is where the war is the hottest globulin the Christian lives. I had to get out of this is getting difficult to find an easy ministry but a minute of the pastorate soon as it gets tough. They going to go see Gottlieb, and Paul says I gotta stay here. This is where the battle is the hottest.

This is where the greatest victory is potentiated. It's a warm. It never ceases to be warfare living for Christ is not waltzing through a metal picking daisies is walking through a minefield with snipers all around you snipers you can't see or perceive because they belong to a supernatural realm beyond your ability to conceive.

This is war and the enemy is spent on the destruction of every divine purpose and so the believer has to view himself in that manner. We are sons yes and we are servants yes, but we are soldiers to and as Paul says in second Corinthians chapter 10 the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but they are spiritual and we are dealing with imaginations and we are dealing with high things he says and we are dealing with bringing our thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ. We are fighting a war that is not simply physical, not simply fleshly it can have that element. The battle against the enemy can come through human being, it can come as it did to Jesus through the persecution of man.

It could come in the form of spit, it can come in the form of mockery and cursing and abusive language. It can come in the form of blows to the face. It can come in the form of nails and spears in the side it can come to the to the to the Christian today as it did to the apostles in form of a being beheaded or being killed for the sake of Christ. It can come in those ways and maybe as we continue to preach Jesus Christ faithfully in an increasingly godless humanistic society and will come to that.

But behind the physical behind that hatred and the persecution we see from people. There is a domain of of spiritual beings that are at war with the believer and they simply use the physical world as a means to their ends, it is not so much that men hate Christ as that Satan hates Christ and uses men as his pawns use the force behind the warfare and so we face an enemy that is so strong and so clever and so deceiving and so subtle that if ever we are to fulfill the potential of our position.

If ever we are to live and practice what we are in position if ever we are to know the fullness of Christian living. We must listen to what Paul says at the end of this book, we can't be so foolish as to think now that we've got all this data, we can run out and make it the way it ought to be were going to hit opposition.

At step one and all the way down the line as long as we endeavor to live in God's kingdom on God's terms. Because Satan will do his best to withstand us. So as we look then at verses 10 to 13 let me share five things with the preparation, the armor, the enemy, the battle, the victory first. The preparation and by the way, this is basic you do not want the battle to begin when you're unprepared you don't want to be just sort of lollygagging around and all of a sudden you're halfway defeated before you wake up and realize you're in the war, so preparation comes first, and this is Paul's word in verse 10. Finally, he says that because it is the last of his major themes in the book. My brother and uses that term because he wants to identify with them in the struggle, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.

As a general principle in living depend on the strength of God. That's what he said as a way of life.

My brother and depend on God's strength and noticed two times uses the word in in the Lord and in the power of his might and that is a cardinal reality in the book of Ephesians we are in Christ, we are in the Christ we are one with him. His life is our life's power is our power. This truth is our truth. We are one with Christ in human and so it is in Christ, that we are strong. It is in Christ, that his might, becomes our might and by the way, no matter how strong our enemy is and will see how strong in a moment's strength is superior. I can't help but think of the church at Philadelphia in Revelation chapter 3 it talks about this church is a good church. In fact, it's one of the two out of the seven churches to which no condemnation was given. This was a righteous community of faith in our Lord says to them, you will have an open door before you. This is a church that was reaching out a church that was blessed by God and then in verse eight it says and you have a little strength, and you know what's beautiful about that is the fact that even a little strength preserves the church. God is so much more powerful than Satan that a little of his strength is enough to overcome all of the enemies see greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world and so infinitely greater that the smallest amount of divine power can overcome the greatest amount of the power of hell and the enemy. And so the strength is ours in the Lord in Philippians 413, Paul says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Again, the resources our blog and I believe that we have that resource to deny that to me is to deny a basic fundamental reality of the Christian life, to say nothing of playing havoc with the thought of Paul in Ephesians chapter 6, I believe, at the cross Jesus Christ gave a deathblow to Satan as recorded in Hebrews 214. He destroyed him who had the power of death, and I believe all we need to do is enter into that victory. Listen, if Christ defeated Satan at the cross and I was in Christ, then I defeated Satan at that same cross and as Satan is now subject to Christ so is Satan subject to me as he is under his feet so as Romans says, is he under my feet. I believe he is a vanquished fall. I believe he can lay no just claim to a believer. Romans eight says, who shall lay any charge to God selected is God that justifies it. If God is declared me just. And if God has won the battle and of God has gotten the victory in Jesus Christ and that victory is mine. And Satan has no power to withstand the resurrection resource that dwells in the life of every believer.

The point is this. We are in a war, but there is no reason to lose and there's no reason to be afraid divine resource longs to us. Timothy is a young man in the ministry had grown fearful he had grown timid.

He had been besought by the last sitcom the young man young man he had been besieged by people who were telling him false doctrine and they were pretty strong at what they were doing. He was being inundated by his own fearfulness so that he literally became ashamed of the testimony of Jesus Christ. He became ashamed of his companion, the gospel, the beloved apostle Paul, a disciple to and in the midst of these terrible feelings of timidity, of fear, a lack of love she last in all of these things. The apostle Paul calls to him in second Timothy 21 and says be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus Timothy, there is no reason for this. You claim the strength is yours and in chapter 1 he said God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. The point is this. There is no Christian, no time in his life. Who needs to feel that he loses the battle to the enemy God has given us in Christ the resource for victory. Now on to him was able to do exceeding abundantly above all you can ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Another fact is we can win there.

We know when the war in the end because Christ is gotten us the victory does know since losing the battles along the way.

But there are some things we have to know, first we have to have our strength in the Lord and secondly we have to have the armor on. We hear a lot about demon problems today.

Christians are supposedly worrying about how do you deliver each other from demon is a lot of what is known as Christian exorcism going on, which is totally foreign to Scripture, there is no word about that in the Scripture. In fact, there is no incident in all of the Scripture where demons are ever cast out of a believer anytime, anyplace, whenever Satan is dealt with.

He is dealt with in terms of two things. One, the strength of the Lord and to the provision God is made for every believer in Christ. It's always that way. Rituals and exorcisms and all that are foreign to Scripture why we don't need that because the resources of their that's what I want to get across to its there. Ephesians chapter 1 in verse 19 it talks about the power toward us who believe what kind of power mighty power how strong power that raised Christ from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly's far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that his name not only in this age but in that which is to come.

What kind of power do we have the power that conquered death on the cross.

The power that conquered death and the grave. The power that exalted Christ to the right hand and said every angel and demon in the universe under his feet. That's the power we that's the power toward us so that I say to you that every believer has a resource resource within him, with which he or she can deal with Satan. No matter what onslaughts the devil may bring but on conditions one that his strength is in the Lord, not himself, to that he fulfills the conditions of the armor. The provision God has made, so preparation beloved means we recognize that in the Lord, the power is available. Colossians 110 says that you may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing by the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power. We have all might, according to his glorious power Christ who has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear son is given us this power.

There is no believer who cannot deal with Satan on terms of resurrection power available in Christ and recently I've heard about Christian who supposedly has demons and doesn't have the resource to get rid of them so people are doing it for him. That is foreign to Scripture, there is within every believer. The resource in the power of God to free that individual from any satanic involvement. What ever matter how simple or complex it may be in first Corinthians. I want you to notice the word of Paul in chapter 10 and verse 12 it says this wherefore let him that think as he stands take heed lest he fall. You know when you're vulnerable. When you think you're not. When you think I have the information I've mastered the book of Ephesians. I've even memorized it. I have all the doctrinal data. I will write. I know what to do. I got the principles for when you think you can handle.

Satan I could handle at. I've got all of the necessary equipment. The point is this. When you think you can do it you can, but on the other hand, when you depend upon God.

There is nothing Satan can do to you that needs to cause you to lose the issues, grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. The title of John's current study based on Ephesians 6 is the believers armor of John as I was in your teaching in this series. It amazes me the amount of detail that you bring out. For example, we talked yesterday about the historical context of the churches in Asia minor is a lot of work that goes into preparing a message like this course, there are some people who would say about this teaching method will this doesn't really work for everyone in every age group in every culture.

So let me ask when it comes to making God's word relevant does this one teaching method work in every context. Well, it's not a matter whether it works for me what you mean works for me and it's attractive or entertaining know it is, it has to be done this way.

It's the only way to get to the meaning and ancient truth. Ancient revelation has an ancient context. You do know service to Scripture if you don't deal with the context this this is the thing that I hear story of Goliath as an illustration, David puts stones in his sling tells Goliath what stones do you have in your sling that'll kill the Goliaths in your life. This is an abomination right this is a travesty. What was going on between Goliath and David had nothing to do with your spiritual struggles.

It had to do with the honor of God being protected when it was being assaulted in the abominable religion and action of the Philistines so but this is this is common stuff where you take a story in the Bible and you you ignore the meaning you ignore the history of nor the context you can't do that and come to an accurate interpretation you prostitute the Scripture and you literally substitute your own interpretation. For the one that God self ordained. We are so grateful that the Lord has led us to do the hard work so that you can be protected from wrong understanding so that you're not tossed here and there by waves of and winds of doctrine and trickery of men craftiness in deceitful scheming. God's word doesn't need new methods fresh techniques doesn't need your clever ideas doesn't need your creativity.

Listen it. It doesn't need you at all to do anything but set yourself aside and find out what God meant by what he said grace years always been committed to that that'll never change. We thank you for your partnership and if you haven't gotten in touch with us before contact us start receiving our monthly newsletter and learn to be a part of a group of folks who interpret the word of God accurately so that they can receive the full revelation God intended yes friend by receiving John's letter you'll stay informed on how you can pray for us and you also receive offers for free copies of John's latest books and other resources month after month asked to start receiving John's letter when you contact us today. Send an email with your mailing address to or drop us a note at grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 or call us toll-free 855 grace and asked to start receiving John's monthly letter or number again 855. If you're looking for a particular resource that will deepen your study of Scripture, let me suggest our flagship resource. The MacArthur study Bible study Bible has 25,000 detailed notes that help you understand and properly interpret what you read in God's word order MacArthur study Bible available in the English standard new King James and new American Standard version, call us toll-free at 855 grace or shop that's our website one more time. for John MacArthur and the staff at grace to you on Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you television Sundays on NRB TV that's DirecTV channel 378 or check your local listings for channel and times and be here tomorrow as John continues to help you recognize Satan's attacks and deal with them power for another half hour unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you

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