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October 28, 2021 4:00 am
The prayer then becomes the closing theme in the letter of the season is not mentioned as a part of the Christian's armor. The armor rendered in verse 17 and prayer is in addition to that, and more. Prayer is in concert with that soul. The apostle Paul is not saying, in addition to these things and prayer, but rather than into this for how to use these spiritual defenses in his current series on grace to you, but even if you know how to use this God-given protection.
You may still not be ready for Satan's attacks to activate your armor you need one more ingredient you need prayer praying at all times. That's the strategy for winning spiritual battles and it's the focus of John's message today he calls a study, the believers armor and with that, let's get to the lesson here is John 1671, was born in Germany a man named Johan Borchard for a start, he wrote the following words to an old hymn, rise my soul to watch and pray from thy sleep awaken, being not by the evil day unawares or taken for the flow well we know lost his harvest rebirth. While the Christian sleep watch against the devil's snares, less the sleepy find the for indeed no pains.
He spares to deceive and blindly Satan's pray often are they who secure our sleeping and no watch are keeping. But while watching. Also pray to the Lord. Unceasing he will free the EB thy stay strength and faith increasing all Lord, bless in distress and let nothing swerve me from the will to serve the over hundred years ago. Charlotte Elliott wrote the words for another hymn, Christian seek not yet repose cast aside dreams of ease away. Thou art in the midst of foes watch and pray, principalities and powers mustering their unseeing array wait for thy unguarded hours, watch and pray watch as if on that alone hung the issue of the day. Pray that help may be sent down watch and pray both of these hymns point up the reality that victory over Satan victory over his hosts victory in the warfare with which we are engaged involves a tremendous commitment to prayer. That's what both hymn writers are saying and that is precisely what the apostle Paul is saying in chapter 6, verse 18. Now is already discussed the warfare in chapter 6 verses 10 to 13 and is discussed very clearly the armor in verses 14 to 17, and now he brings on to bear the theme of prayer in verse 18 begins praying always a prayer then becomes the closing theme in the letter of the season is not mentioned as a part of the Christian's armor because it's more than that. The armor rendered in verse 17 and prayer is in addition to that, and more. Prayer is in concert with that song. The apostle Paul is not saying, in addition to these things and prayer, but rather woven into this is prayer. All the while we are attending to the bells of truthfulness and the breastplate of righteousness in the shoes of the gospel of peace and the helmet of salvation of the sword of the Spirit, all the while that we are engaged with those elements, the shield of faith we are at the same time involved in prayer, praying always all through the procedure of arming ourselves all through the demands of the battle all three.
Whether it's the heat of the war alone. We are engaged in prayer.
Prayer is the very air we breathe. I remember reading about the kind of animal that lives at the dark places of the sea. Down deep in the seats, neither fish and fowl really, but it lives there and it can stay there in the darkness for for some period of time, but that it must ascend all the way to the surface and gas prayer and then go back again and so the believer all the while in his life. In all the vicissitudes and at all times of his life must ascend as it were, to the throne of God to breathe the air prayer and then and then alone can he be able to exist in the darkness of the world about it and that's exactly what Paul is saying here. Prayer is like our breath. I told you before that. It's like breathing it. You don't have to think to breathe because the air exerts pressure on your lungs and forces you to breed and so is a believer not to pray, is to hold your breath spiritually and the results are all bad, all the while you live the Christian life all the time you put on the armor all the time you fight your breathing, and breathing, and breathing as it were in prayer. Prayer pervades all of that. I think in reading Pilgrim's progress of how God gives to Christian in that wonderful allegory, a weapon called all prayer and the instruction that when everything else fails. This will cause you to be able to defeat all the fiends that come in the valley of the shadow but prayer is really more than bunion sees it there it's it's more than an additional weapon is the atmosphere in which all our living occurs all our fighting and all our arming ourselves is pervasive in that sense. Now the fact that it is climactic in the book of Ephesians is planned by God's Holy Spirit is not by accident, our Lord urged men always to pray and not to faint. In Luke 18 one and he knows that in the battle when it gets hot. You can faint you can get weary you can give up. You can abandon the fight if you don't pray you really only have two alternatives, either prayer faint is no middle ground.
And so in the warfare that is just talked about prayer becomes vital, but it's more than just that context, the reason prayer comes here is because it fits the ending of the total book the whole letter of Ephesians comes to a climax and a peak in a pinnacle at this point. It's as if prayer is like a musical crescendo in the great the great anthem of praise that is the book of Ephesians elements show you why I say that if you go back and Ephesians you will find that this book probably more than any other book in the entire Bible presents the resources of a believer dial in my mind. I don't see any other book matching it in stature as far as a delineation of the resources that are ours and being in Christ is incomparable and that's it is a low cataloging of all is ours is Christian what Peter says in one simple phrase that we have all things pertaining to life and godliness. What Colossians 2 says in that one simple phrase you are complete in him is really magnified and exploded to its fullness in the book of Ephesians OR completeness is here, all our resources are here in the key that is chapter 1 verse three Blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly's in Christ Jesus. And then he goes on to delineate them for six chapters. It's a monumental cataloging of all that is ours in Christ, and it lifts us to great heights. It starts us, as it were in the heavenly's we start in the glories and we stay there for the whole block until finally become a chapter 618 God demands that we fall on our need and prayer then becomes the key market to appropriating the resource there all their and they are all ours in Christ, but we cannot simply float around in the glory, as it were. We have to come to the reality of being on our knees before God, so that these things can be implemented in our live.
So the booklet begins in the heavenly's ends on its knees. As Paul calls to prayer, they might think in a book with such tremendous resources. Prayer would be very necessary will be to pray for example us according to chapter 1 verse three we are super blessed.
According to chapter 1 verse 4 to 6 we are super loved, according to chapter 1 verse seven we are forgiven and redeemed chapter 1 verse eight says we are given wisdom chapter 1 verse 11 says we are made rich. Chapter 1 verse 13 says we are secure, sealed to the spirit.
Chapter 2 verses 4 to 6 we are allied with new life. Chapter 2 verse seven where the objects of eternal grace. Chapter 2 verse 10 we are God's masterpiece again. Chapter 2 verse 10 we are called to a life of good works, which God will do through us. Chapter 2 verses 13 to 18. We are one with God and with every other Christian chapter 2 verse 19 we are members of God's intimate family. Chapter 2 verse 22 we are the very habitation of the Holy Spirit chapter 3 verse 20 we are powerful beyond our own imagination. Chapter 321 we are able to glorify God, what an incredible definition of a human being.
Amazing what God is done for us beyond anything we can even imagine when you move from there into the fourth chapter. It just keeps going and chapter 4 verse three we are told we possess the living spirit of God in us in chapter 4 verses 4 to 6. We are members of the body of Christ. In chapter 4 verses 11 to 13. We have received gifts and gifted men to perfect us to do the work of the ministry. In chapter 4 verses 20 to 24 we have Jesus Christ to teach us to walk a new life in chapter 5 verses one and two we received the love of God so that we can walk in love and chapter 5 verse eight we have received God's very light, so that we dwell in the light in chapter 5 verses 15 to 17 we have received the wisdom of the truth of God so that we can walk wisely in the world. In chapter 5 verse 18 we have received the power of the fullness of the spirit of God.
In chapter 5 verses 21 through chapter 6, verse nine, we have received the resources to make every human relationship all that God ever intended it to be. Finally, in chapter 6 verses 10 to 17 we have received invulnerable invincible fantastic powerful armor against what Satan is Less and help less.
If we use it climaxing itself and the sword of the spirit. The magnificent weapon of the word of God which is in the hand of every believer.
Now that's a tremendous picture that's all what it is to be a Christian now.
By the time you got no in your head and you recognize your exalted position in Christ and you see the resources for effective Christian living and you know you lacking nothing immediately then face a problem and the problem is what you might call a kind of Dr. legalism, a problem may be defined in first Corinthians 1012 let him that think at the standard take heed lest he what fall you can actually become what I would call a spiritual atheist. In other words, you have a full belief in God you just don't need you.
We are so adequate we have so much knowledge we have so much information. With so many resource we understand our position. We know our gifts we seeing God's blessing we had so much success and very little failure and so it's easy for us to just move along and not really acknowledge God at all. We can fall into a terrible sin of feeling where adequate and losing a sense of dependence on God. I guess we should pray as one brother prayed that God give us enough success to know he's there in enough failure to desperately needed.
We have so many things going for us in our society in our church in our lives we seen such tremendous blessing of God.
It's easy to become smug and reduced everything to the how to use and the gimmicks and the programs and the methods and we've got it all. We've done it all. It's all great. You know, maybe our marriage is working out. Our kids are good. Everything's fine at the church.
It's all wonderful and we become spiritual atheist. We just tune God out and that kind of passionate deep longing, yearning, earnest prayer that God calls from our hearts just isn't there. The armor is not mechanical in the armor is not magical it needs God. God infuses into the armor and God infuses into our resources. His power and his energy so there is the latent danger that Christians whether knowledge of doctrine and some kind of a history of success in a fairly effective grip on practical spiritual principles can become satisfied and they don't need a heart rending, passionate, constant prayer that's tragedy and that's why the epistle that begins in the heavenly's ends on its knees, because that is dependent on prayer you looking live to say I know so much.
But I'll see too much happening. What you think the armor or you think your resources are either magical or mechanical and are not dependent on prayer. The soul of man moving in the presence of God.
That's what Paul wants us to cease. Let's look at it. First of all I want to see the general instruction in verse 18. The general instruction verse 18. You'll notice there are four walls praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. The four walls of prayer four times all his emphasis.
This is so great. Each piece put on with prayer.
Prayer pervades that we are and we do is the all-encompassing element of our lives. That's why say it is the air we breathe, there is no time in our lives when we should not be in prayer us at first about the frequency of prayer will take dissolves one at a time. The frequency of prayer verse 18, praying always. When we pray always that some of you come out of backgrounds were you prayed reading out of a prayer book or were you prayed a certain set time.
You know the Jewish people use to print certain times and even in the book of acts when the early church met they met for the prayers. It says and that was really a holdover from their old Judaism was set times of the day for the prayers but the New Testament of the new covenant and the birth of the church brought a new era and that is if there is to be in all ways character to prayer. We are not praying at the set times anymore.
We are praying at all times. On every occasion and every time Jesus gave us indication this was coming when he said in Luke 2136 watch ye therefore, and pray always the early apostles set it next six for we will give ourselves continually to prayer continually not only to those prescribed prayers by 20 prayer.
It was said of Cornelius and asked Ken he was a devout man and prayed to God always. In Romans 1212 it says continue diligent in prayer in Colossians 4 to continue in prayer in Philippians 46 in everything by prayer and summing it up in first Thessalonians 517 pray without what cease.
Second Timothy 13.
The apostle Paul indicated that he did that to Timothy. He wrote, without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day. We are to pray always the next 12 we find the church praying constantly, even though there prayer was somewhat weak in faith. God answered so that there is a pattern of praying at all times. I used to wonder what this meant, because my life was filled with so many things there was the seemingly no way I could pray at all times and obviously you can't run around with a little book reading prayers all through the day.
You know you go to Israel and you see those Jewish people genuflecting for the Wailing Wall go on hour after hour through their prayers isn't just walking around mumbling certain formulas they repetition is simply living your life in God consciousness is that your whole life rises before God in communion and communication. I can look at my own life and I used to wonder how you could pray always, and now I find very few times in my life and I'm not conscious of God. Everything I see in everything I experience in my life simply becomes a prayer that is it something I share with my best friend.
It's something it instantly is communicated with God.
If I am tempted immediately. I find that temptation becomes a prayer Lord, you know what I'm going through help me in this.
If I see something good. My first thought is God you are the source of every good and perfect gift.
Thank you for that.
If I see something evil I sale God that evil should reign oral God make it right.
If I see somebody without Jesus Christ, and I have occasion to meet them. My first response is always, oh God is so sad that they don't know you draw them to yourself. If I see trouble I say, God, you're the deliver. In other words, life becomes an ascending prayer all of its lots in all of its deeds and all of its circumstances become a cause or a appointive communication with God as a way to live. See that's what it means to set your affections on things above, that's it means to think about Christ to have his conscious presence in your mind, so that everything becomes a prayer all your life and all your thoughts and I guess really that's the whole point of the Christian life. You see she the reason God saved you was for fellowship. Did you know that he saved you for fellowship for first Johnson that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, why do you declare the gospel that you also may have fellowship with us and our fellowship is with the father and with his son Jesus Christ. God saved you for fellowship.
He wants your fellowship and is no greater expression of fellowship and prayer. That's when you commune with God and if you been saved and you don't commune with him you're denying him the purpose for which he saved you. You're denying the purpose which for which you redeemed you, your save to enter into fellowship with him.
So we are continually pray the root word in Colossians 4 to continue in prayer is the root car to rattle it means to be steadfast to be constant accused of Moses when it says he endured in Hebrews 1127. The term is used in its intensity and in Colossians with a preposition added to the front and it means to be intense to hang in there in constant prayer the ideas, not just some kind of easy-going once in a while. Drop in a prayer to the Lord, but a whole life of strong persevering struggling over deep issue and you know it sister is just a way of life. When your heart is open to God, earnest, strong, courageous, persistent prayer holding on and not letting go of your blessed in our Lord Jesus gives to illustrations in Luke 11 and Luke 18 a toxin.
One portion about the, the unjust judge and the woman kept coming, and bacon and big and big and finally unjust judge did what she wanted.
And the Lord is saying if and on just judge will give something to a persistent lady what you think. I just God will give to his own child. If he persists, and later on, the guy bangs and bangs and banged on the door demands of the stars close go to bed I'm in bed with my wife and kids.
I'm not good now bangs and bangs and find the guy says okay to gives him the bread what Jesus is saying if is if a sleepy man who's tucked in and asleep will come down and give bread to somebody banging on his door. What you think.
A loving father will give you a son is a need and deported both of them is they kept persisting and they got what they wanted, and God is saying. If you are persistent and faithful in your prayers and you pray with importunity and he'll hear and answer. So life is to be a constant exercise of prayer all beloved know so much, and never think about God all you think about is the things that you've learned in the whole purpose of what you've learned is to draw you into the presence of God. This is grace to you with John MacArthur.
Thanks for being with us to learn more about prayers vital role in spiritual warfare. Tune in tomorrow as John continues his series from Ephesians chapter 6 called the believers armor John you've written a number of books on prayer. There's even a book of your pulpit prayers that's available so I think a lot of us would get the impression that somehow it's easy for you to pray but prayer for most of us is the hardest of all the spiritual disciplines. So what would you say to a new Christian. What is the best way to develop a rich, intense prayer life. You need to know how to pray and that means you need to pray the way Jesus taught us to pray right in what we call the Lord's prayer but it's actually the disciples prayer and I've pulled all that together and wonderful little gift book called Lord, teach me to pray. It's very very important that you pray the way Christ taught us to pray and in the disciples prayer.
He showed us the structure for our prayers. Prayer is essential. It's our spiritual breathing and James says you have not because you ask not. Or you ask wrongly so you want to pray the right way because you are accessing the blessings of heaven, but I would say something. Secondly, to this is very hard to think on your own, just list the faith to think to just create a setting where you're just sitting there thinking very few people can concentrate like that on their own and that would be true in prayer because you can so easily be distracted if it if you if you want to be able to think things through. What I've learned is you need to have a conversation with somebody hi I can stay on message. I can stay on theme.
I can think deeply about something. For example, if I'm talking to you about it, Phil, and you're giving me feedback.
All of a sudden that thinking when I verbalize things and you verbalize back and we refine and we keep each other on the subject that's really really productive. It's hard to be able to do that just isolated on your own unless your your your pretty trained to do it. I think prayers the same thing. I think the way to cultivate an effective prayer life is to make it a conversation with somebody that you care about somebody that you love somebody was a part of your life and do it together and that'll that'll teach you and strengthen you and being able to do it on your own, and I know the Bible says going to your closet and pray, and you will do that you will do that sort of automatically have to look at my wife and say I am more likely to pray about something didn't do anything else because that's kind of the default and sort of an open conversation with the Lord all the time but I think when you're starting out to pray. It's really helpful if you can pray with someone or with a small group of people cultivate the kind of conversation that really is rich, but it to get you started. Order a copy of Lord, teach me to pray. Yes friend. This book, Lord, teach me to pray will help you ground your prayers in Scripture and to develop a powerful and effective prayer life. Order your copy of Lord, teach me to pray when you get in touch today, you'll reach our customer service team at 855 grace or go to our website TTY.org. There you can purchase.
Lord, teach me to pray.
It's a practical book for any believer, but especially for newer Christians. So you might want to get a copy or two to give away again to place your order. Call 855 grace or go online to TTY.org. Thanks for remembering that grace to you is supported by people just like you people who are listening and learning from these daily Bible teaching programs and want others to benefit, to stand with us financially particularly important as we get to the end of 2021. Click on the donate email@example.com. You can also express your support when you call us at 855 grace or you can send your tax-deductible gift to grace to you.
Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412. Thanks also for mentioning this station's call letters when you get in touch. That's more important than you may realize now for John MacArthur. I'm Phil Johnson inviting you back tomorrow when John will continue his look at prayer the spiritual discipline that connects and energizes every piece of the believers armor be here for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you