Ephesians Episode 10

Beth's Notes

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 Therefore 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. 21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. 23 Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.  Ephesians 6:10-24 (NIV)
God desires for His children to stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.  In our verses for today, Paul begins by telling us to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power - a power that overcomes resistance.  We are to be strong in His inherent strength - through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit - equipping us to do all things Christ calls us to do as Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13:
13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

Sooner or later every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battlefield not a playground and Paul is warning us here to be prepared.  While Satan is doomed, he is not dead. We face an enemy that is much stronger than we are - apart from the Lord, of course. Christianity is not an exit from warfare rather an entrance into it. Paul tells us to don the full armor of God so that we may be able to stand against the devil’s schemes. We are to take an active part. Paul uses the military to illustrate the believer’s conflict with Satan and his forces of evil. This is reasonable as he himself was chained to a Roman soldier and his readers would have certainly been familiar with soldiers and the equipment they used.

Every believer in Christ is engaged in a great spiritual battle and must equip himself for it. As Christians we face three enemies:  the world, the flesh, and the devil. Paul tells us earlier in Ephesians 2:1-3:
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NIV)
“The world” refers to the system around us that is opposed to God, that caters to “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”.  1 John 2:15-17 tells us:
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)

“Society apart from God” is a simple, but accurate definition of “the world”.  By His death and resurrection, Christ overcame the world. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us:
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

Paul adds in Galatians:
14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14 (NIV)

“The flesh” is the old nature that we inherited from Adam that clings so tenaciously to us though redeemed. It is a nature that is opposed to God and can do nothing spiritually to please God. This is why Jesus tells us in each Gospel that we are to die to self. Through His death and resurrection Christ also overcame the flesh. Paul tells us in Romans 6:5-7: 
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Romans 6:5-7 (NIV)
And again in Galatians 2:20:
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

Lastly, our enemy “the devil” prowls around like a roaring lion seeking those he can destroy yet Christ has overcome his power and his authorities by making a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross. We do not have to give him an inch. Paul tells us in Colossians 2:13-15: 
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)
This written code, the Law, was like a handwritten “certificate of debt”.  Since people apart from Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit cannot keep the Law perfectly, it is like a bill of indebtedness. So people, unable to pay the debt, are criminals in God’s eyes, guilty. But Jesus took... away this criminal charge - this certificate of indebtedness - by His death for those who would believe. It is as if He were nailing our debt to the cross with Him – a debt too great for us to pay - showing He paid our debt in full. He wiped our slate clean. As Krishna Ral put it: “Jesus for thee (me) a body takes, thy (my) guilt assumes, thy (my) fetter breaks, discharging all thy (my) dreadful debt; and canst thou then such love forget?”
Paul also writes earlier in Ephesians of the incomparably great power believers now have in Ephesians 1:17-23:
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:17-23 (NIV)

Therefore, believers are fighting from victory not for it. The indwelling Holy Spirit enables every believer by faith to appropriate Christ’s victory for ourselves. We do not have to live, indeed we are not to live, as defeated Christians. What kind of example does that demonstrate to the world?  I am reminded of a quote by Elisabeth Elliot about Amy Carmichael:
“Amy Carmichael felt that the world had far too many run-of-the-mill Christians, cool, respectable, satisfied with the usual, the mediocre. Why bother to lay down one’s life to multiply the number of those?” Elisabeth Elliot
Why, indeed. God desires for us to be fully devoted followers of Jesus – walking as He walked – through His power and for His glory. There is to be a difference in our lives. We are no longer to blend with the world, therefore we are to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. The victories of the Christian life are to be achieved by a relentless and lifelong battle against evil. Conflict will abound and we must therefore avail ourselves of God’s armor in taking our stand against the devil’s schemes.

The word translated “schemes” is from the Greek word “Methodeia” meaning: “method, the following or pursuing of an orderly and technical procedure in the handling of a subject”. Just like God has a plan for each of our lives, so, too, Satan. It is not simply whimsical or haphazard rather both orderly and technical.

In our own power (which is no power at all), we are no match for Satan and his minions. Our strength must come from the Lord to fight these spiritual foes. In Ephesians, Paul gives the first five chapters to the purposes of God and now he writes of the existence of a devil that is opposed to these purposes. John Stott writes:
“Is God’s plan to create a new society? Then they (the hostile spiritual forces) will do their utmost to destroy it. Has God through Jesus Christ broken down the walls dividing human beings of different races and cultures from each other? Then the devil through his emissaries will strive to rebuild them. Does God intend his reconciled and redeemed people to live together in harmony and purity? Then the powers of hell will scatter among them the seeds of discord and sin.” Stott

As Stott shows, the very fact that Paul follows his beautiful and uplifting        portrait of peaceful Christian homes and happy Christian relations in Ephesians 5:22-6:9 with this stark description of warfare indicates that even these things will not be achieved without conflict – as we can probably all attest to. Clearly the victories of the Christian life are to be achieved by a relentless and lifelong struggle against evil. And even then they are realized only to the extent that we avail ourselves of God’s armor.  Our struggle is not against flesh and blood as Paul states in verse 12 rather there is an invisible struggle going on. While we cannot see the devil and his legions, he is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8. If we are to be successful we must remain alert and equipped to use the armor that is needed. In his wonderful book, The Red Sea Rules, Robert J. Morgan writes fitting words for our passage today:

“Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.”Robert J. Morgan
“Satan doesn’t surrender his prey without a fight. He comes racing after the converted soul, chariot wheels churning the dust, seeking to discourage you, to defeat you. He pursues you with the intensity of Pharaoh. He may use your old friends, a spot of persecution, or discouraging responses by your family. He may show you a hypocrite in the church or afflict you with a general slacking of zeal. He may launch a missile of temptation right at your heart or fire a volley of trials and TRIBULATIONS into your life.” Robert J. Morgan
“Every time we resist the slightest temptation, we honor God. Every time we overcome even the smallest problem by trusting and obeying our Lord Jesus, God is glorified in our lives.  Whenever we choose character over convenience, faithfulness over ease, or honesty over deceit, we bring honor to the Lord Himself.” Robert J. Morgan
Our world is materialistic considering only what we can see, touch or measure. Talk of the devil is hardly regarded as serious. If the real problems of this world are simply materialistic and visible as poverty, oppression, hunger, and various forms of injustice, how is it that they have not been solved or eliminated long ago? There are forces that stand behind what is visible only to the eye. Our battle is not against human beings. It is against spiritual powers.  

The admonitions Paul gave indicate that Satan is a powerful and strong enemy. And we need the power of God to stand against him. Never underestimate the power of the devil. He is not compared to a lion or dragon for naught! The book of Job tells what his power can do to man’s body, home, wealth, and friends. Jesus called Satan a thief who comes “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” in John 10:10. Yet Jesus came to give life and give it to the full. Abundance. Such a yummy word, Amen?  Doesn’t that have such a pleasant ring? Not only is Satan strong, but he is also subtle and we fight against “the wiles of the devil”. “Wiles” meaning “cunning, crafty arts, stratagems”. The Christian cannot afford to be “ignorant of his devices”. Without God’s armor believers will be defeated by the “schemes” of the devil which have been effective for thousands of years – all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Some men are cunning and crafty and “lie in wait to deceive” but behind them is the arch-deceiver, Satan. He masquerades as an angel of light and seeks to blind men’s minds to the Truth of God’s Word. Paul uses wording that indicates we are involved in a hand-to-hand battle and are not simply spectators at a game. Satan wants to use our external enemy, the world, and our internal enemy, the flesh, to defeat us. Again, his weapons and battle plans are formidable.  

Paul repeats the word “against” five times in verse 12. It is his way of saying with emphasis that in the warfare in the Christian life Christians are really “up against it”. These are enemies and we must fight against them. 

In our battle with the adversary we are fighting against enemies in the spirit world, and we need special equipment both for offense and defense. God has provided the whole armor for us and we dare not omit any part. Satan is always looking for an unguarded area of our lives.  Proverbs 25:28 tells us:
28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)

The city walls were the protection against the enemy in Biblical times. If the walls were broken down they were vulnerable to the enemy. That is how we are as well. Think of self-control as the wall around you. If we have any breaches in that wall, Satan is a very good shot and he will go for that weakness  every time. Paul commands his readers to put on the full armor of God, take the weapons and withstand Satan – all of which we do by faith. Knowing Satan is a defeated foe, as Christ has already conquered him, and that the spiritual armor and weapons are available, by faith we accept what God gives us and go forth to meet the adversary taking our stand against the evil one. And He will cause us to stand because He is faithful and able to cause us to stand. To be sure, the day is evil, and the enemy is evil, but as Romans 8:31-32 states, God is for us:

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)

Satan is a liar and there is no truth in him. The believer whose life is controlled by truth will defeat him. The belt of Truth held the other parts of the armor together, and truth is the integrating force in the life of the victorious Christian. The Roman’s soldier’s belt was part of his war equipment, for it gave him a feeling of inner fortitude and strength when tightened. A man with integrity, with a clear conscience, can face the enemy without fear. It is to be his inner strength, that which gives him confidence. Inner truth or truthfulness begins with a knowledge of God, Who is truth, and a knowledge of the Truth of God inevitably leads to a life change consistent with God’s character. The belt of truth also refers to a believer’s integrity and faithfulness. As a soldier’s belt or sash gave ease and freedom of movement, so truth gives freedom with self, others, and God. The belt also held the sword. Unless we practice the Truth, we cannot use the Word of Truth. Once a lie gets into the life of a believer, everything begins to fall apart. For over a year, King David lied about his sin with Bathsheba, and nothing went right. Psalms 32 and 51 tell of the high price he paid. 

It is significant that Paul puts truth first. This suggests that successful spiritual warfare begins with fixing Christianity’s great doctrines firmly fixed in our minds. In Christianity truth comes first, then action follows.  We have a heart change than a hand change. Without truth, without the doctrines, without the knowledge of who God is, who we are, what we have become in Christ, and what we have been called to do we really do not know what kind of activity in which to engage, and we will be vulnerable to Satan’s onslaughts and wiles. We are to know the great Truths of Christianity and to study our Bibles to apprehend them more deeply. And not only that, but we are also to apply these Truths to our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The breastplate of righteousness was the second piece of the Roman soldier’s equipment.  It symbolizes both the believer’s righteousness in Christ which Paul writes of in 2 Corinthians 5:21:
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

As well as his righteous life in Christ which Paul addresses in Ephesians 4:22-24:
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

Satan is the accuser, but he cannot accuse the believer who is living a godly life in the power of the Holy Spirit. The life we live either fortifies us against Satan’s attacks or makes it easier for him to defeat us.  When Satan accuses the Christian, it is the righteousness of Christ that assures the believer of his salvation. But our positional righteousness in Christ, without practical righteousness in the daily life, only opens the door of opportunity for Satan to attack us. We must have practical holiness expressed in righteous thoughts and deeds. Therefore, imputed righteousness from Christ is not to be divorced from practical actual righteousness through His power. We are to live righteously so Satan as well as the world can see that we are God’s true children and faithful servants.

The shoes of the gospel of peace is mentioned next. The Roman soldier wore sandals with hobnails in the soles to give him better footing for the battle.  If we are going to “stand” and “withstand”, then we need the shoes of the gospel. Because we have peace with God that comes from the gospel, we need not fear the attack of Satan or men. We must be at peace with God and with each other if we are to defeat the devil. James tells us in James 4:7-10:
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10 (NIV)

The shoes also have another meaning. We must be prepared each day to share the gospel of peace with a lost world. The most victorious Christian is a witnessing Christian. If we wear the shoes of the gospel, then we have the “beautiful feet” mentioned in Scripture. Paul tells us in Romans 10:14-15:

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15 (NIV)
Satan has declared war but you and I are to be ambassadors of peace and as such, we take the gospel wherever we go.  And we are to be prepared to share his word in all seasons. Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2-4:
2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. 3 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. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (NIV)

Next listed is the shield of faith. Paul is referring here to the Roman shield that was about four-and-a-half feet long and about two feet wide, and covered the soldier’s body completely. It was made of wood, and covered with tough leather. As the soldier held it before him, it protected him from spears, arrows, and “fiery darts”.  So when the soldiers advanced in rows, as the Romans did, the enemy was faced with a solid wall of shields – row upon row of them. These advancing columns of a Roman army were called phalanxes, and they were the terror of Rome’s foes. Paul is saying our faith should be like that. He also suggests that we Christians are not in the battle alone. The faith mentioned here is a living faith – a trust in the promises and the power of God. Our faith is a defensive weapon that protects us from Satan’s fiery darts. In Paul’s day, arrows, dipped in some inflammable substance and ignited, were shot at the enemy.  Satan shoots “fiery darts” at our hearts and minds:  lies, blasphemous thoughts, hateful thoughts about others, doubts, and burning desires for sin. If we do not by faith quench these darts, they will light a fire within and we will disobey God. We never know when Satan will shoot a dart at us, so we must always walk by faith and use the shield of faith. And remember what the writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 11:1:
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

And again in Hebrews 11:6:
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

Faith is also a way of viewing all experience since it is the lens through which the believer views all circumstances.

Next mention is the helmet of salvation. Satan wants to attack the mind much like he did when he defeated Eve. The helmet refers to the mind controlled by God. It is unfortunate that many Christians have the idea that the intellect is not important, when in reality it plays a vital role in Christian growth, service and victory. When God controls the mind, Satan cannot lead the believer astray. The Christian who studies the Bible and learns the meaning of Bible doctrines is not going to be led astray too easily. We are to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. Whenever Paul ministered, he taught the new converts the truths of the Word of God, and this helmet protected them against Satan’s lies. Paul writes to his beloved Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-4:
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. 3 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. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:1-4 (NIV)

Remember ladies, we cannot teach what we do not know ourselves.

Lastly, Paul addresses our offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. All the other pieces of the armor are defensive, the sword of the Spirit is the alone offensive weapon. Nothing in all of life is more powerful than the Word of God. You can take it to the proverbial bank. Not of our own making, it is powerful, effective and sufficient in battling Satan’s lies. The only thing powerful enough for that are the Truths of God embodied in the Bible which is the Word of God. There is nothing on earth that convicts people and transforms lives the way the Bible does. Scripture states of Scripture in Hebrews 4:12-13:
12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)

The Bible is our means of resisting the attacks of the adversary. A material sword pierces the body, but the Word of God pierces the heart. The more you use a physical sword, the duller it becomes, but using God’s Word only makes it sharper in our lives. A physical sword requires the hand of a soldier, but the sword of the Spirit has its on power, for it is “living and powerful”. God used men through the empowering of the Holy Spirit to physically write the Word and the Spirit also wields the Word as we take it by faith and use it. A physical sword wounds to hurt  and kill, while the sword of the Spirit wounds to heal and give life. 

When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness he used the Word as well, but does not quote it completely, taking it out of its context to give it a different leaning\meaning. This is often his MO, seeking to keep us confused over Scriptures. Disorder and chaos are his handiwork. By partially quoting God’s Word or removing it from “where it sits” in the Word, Satan breeds befuddlement and confusion in God’s people. We counteract that by being “Bereans” those who searched the Scriptures to see if what they heard was Truth  prior to taking it in as a core value. That is why it is uber important for us to be discerners of the entire Word. It is the whole Bible that makes the Christian. The better we know the Word, the easier it will be for us to detect Satan’s lies and reject his offers.

In one sense, the “whole armor of God” is a picture of Jesus Christ. This means that when we trusted Christ, we received the armor. We put on the armor at the moment of salvation, but there must also be a daily appropriation in order for us to stand firm in all the will of God mature and fully assured. We often get lazy and sloppy with the things of God, Amen? – taking them for granted until trouble comes our way. When King David put off his armor and returned to his palace, he was in greater danger than when he was out on the battlefield. We are never out of reach of Satan’s devices, so we must never be without the whole armor of God. 

Prayer is the energy that enables the Christian soldier to wear the armor and wield the sword. We cannot fight the battle in our own power no matter how strong or intelligent we may think we are. We are no match for Satan and his minions in our own strength. Prayer is the power for victory – but not just any kind of prayer. Paul told us how to pray if we are to defeat Satan.  

First, we are to “pray without ceasing” – always being in communion with the Lord. A Christian must “pray always” because he is always subject to temptation and attacks of the evil one. A surprise attack has defeated many a believer. Secondly, we are to pray will all kinds of prayers – prayer, supplication, intercession and thanksgiving. The believer who prays only to ask for things is missing out on the blessings that come with intercession for the saints and others and for the giving of thanks.  In fact, thanksgiving is a great prayer weapon for defeating Satan who recoils at gratitude and thankfulness.  “Praise” changes things as much as “prayer” changes things. Also, intercession for others can also bring victory to our own lives.

The Bible teaches that we pray to the Father, through the Son, and in the power of the Holy Spirit – all three of the Godhead are involved.  We are to pray the will of God in the Holy Spirit’s power in the sweet name of Jesus, otherwise our praying could be selfish and out of God’s will - which is, of course, God’s very best for our lives.  The Holy Spirit takes our petitions and “ignites” them in the will of God.  It is then that we see God’s hand do great things.  Lastly, we are “to keep on the alert” – watching and praying – which is the secret of victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. Peter went to sleep when he should have been praying in Gethsemane resulting in Satan’s victory over him – the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

We are to persevere in prayer – sticking with it and not quitting. As Paul tells us in Romans 12:12:
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 (NIV)

And in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Keep praying until the Spirit stops you or the Father answers you. We are not to give up. James tells us in James 5:16:
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16 (NIV)
We ought also to encourage one another through our prayers on their behalf. If Paul asked for prayers, how much more should we! We are not in this battle alone. Other believers stand with us in the fight and we are to be careful to encourage and pray for one another. It is such an encouragement to be part of the family of God! We rarely if ever find an isolated believer in the New Testament. Christians, like sheep, flock together!

Paul closes his letter with peace, love, faith and grace! He was a prisoner, yet he was richer than the emperor. No matter what our circumstances may be, in Jesus we are blessed with all spiritual blessings.   

He writes in the closing verse:
24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.  Ephesians 6:24 (NIV)

Grace concludes the letter, just as it had introduced it. The words with an undying love are literally, “in incorruption, incorruptibility, immortality”. It has the idea that believers’ love for the Lord Jesus Christ is to be pure, not corrupted with wrong motives or secret disloyalties. Unfortunately some Ephesian believers later did lose the fervency of their first love for Christ. Paul’s benediction, though unusual, was certainly fitting.

 These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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