The scholars say of all of Paul’s writing,
the book of Ephesians is like the cream of the crop. I
love the book of Ephesians. It’s like the cherry on top of the cake. You know, a lot of the Apostle Paul’s
letters, a lot of those letters that he wrote to first century believers in
provinces, during that day and age. He wrote letter after letter to
disciple them and mature them. They didn’t know what it meant to be a
part of this new race of people, no longer Jew and Gentile separated, that they
were now brought together under the umbrella of Christ’s Blood
shed on Calvary. They were a new race of people. They didn’t know what that meant. So he
wrote them letters to help them to understand this new family of God. And of all of those letters
that would become the New Testament. Scholars say the cream of the crop
of all of Paul’s letters is Ephesians. Because in the book of Ephesians, he spends
more than the first half of the book just rehearsing who you are. He spends one chapter and then another
and then another, just making sure you know what is the hope of
His calling and choosing you. He wants to make sure you know, what is
the lavishness of the mercy of God that has been bestowed upon everyone, who
places faith in Jesus Christ. He wants to make sure you know that
even if you’ve been rejected by everybody else, mother and father, sister or brother,
best friend or spouse, has walked away from you, that you have been hand
picked and selected, adopted by the most high King. He wants you to know that there
is no pit of sin, that you’ve gotten yourself into. You know most of the stuff we’re in, most
of the pits we’re in it ain’t the devil, it’s us…really. A lot of it y’all we do to ourself. Come on, somebody say, Amen! The Apostle Paul says, I want you to know
there is no pit you’ve dug for your own self, that the mercy of God is not
so great and so grand that He can’t reach down in that pit, and snatch
you up out of that pit. He wants you to know, that you have
been pulled out of darkness and flung into the marvelous light of God. In fact, Paul get so beside himself, he burst
out in a prayer and he prayed in the first chapter Ephesians. I’m praying that the eyes of
your heart would be opened. He says because if they just be open,
he says, Grace, you would see, you would see once and for all what is the
hope of His calling and choosing you? He writes this incredible letter about who we
are, about why we can step up to the plate and have victory because
of our relationship with Christ. And then he’s trying to figure out
how to close a letter like this. How do I put an exclamation point on
that letter so that the daughters of God in Memphis, Tennessee, at the conference will
step up to the plate, so that when they go back home and the challenge
is still just right there in their face, they won’t shrink back and fear
in insecurity, but that they’ll go ahead and rise up to the mandate
of chapters one through three. How do I put a period on this thing? I want you to just imagine Paul, he
was in a Roman prison, probably house arrest when he wrote this letter. Imagine him hanging over the parchment paper
with his ink quill in hand, trying to figure out the words to say to
make sure that we never succumb to the schemes of the enemy. I want you to pick picture, the beads of
sweat on his brow, as the Holy Spirit begins to inspire him
to write these words. And he Ephesians 6:10. He says. Finally, be strong in the Lord
and in the strength of his might. He says put on the full armor of God,
so that you may be able to stand firm against the scheme. Somebody say schemes, the schemes of the
devil, he says in verse twelve, our struggle. It is not against flesh and
blood, but it is against rulers and against the powers, against the world
forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness that are
in the heavenly places, he says. So therefore, in verse thirteen, you might as
well go ahead and put down all the weapons of this world that haven’t been
working for you anyway, and take up some weapons that actually
have some power. Take up the full armor of God so that
you may be able to resist in the evil day. And having done everything to stand firm,
he says you ought to just go ahead and stand firm therefore. The apostle Paul puts a period on his
letter to us, an exclamation point on his letter to us by introducing to us a
concept that has never been this clearly articulated in Scripture. There are other places in the Old and
New Testament from which we can infer the topic. But this is the first time a
writer comes right out in big, big, bold letters and says, you have an enemy. And your enemy is not the
person you’re sitting next to tonight. Somebody needs to hear that your
husband is not your real enemy. Somebody needs to know that your boss,
your boss is not your real enemy. Somebody needs to be told tonight that
your co-worker, you know that one, that one that if she says one more thing
to you, you go knock her out. That one. The apostle Paul came to
tell you tonight, through Holy Spirit, that your real enemy is no one or nothing
that is flesh and blood, tangible and touchable, physical. Anything you can see is
not your real enemy. The Apostle Paul comes right out to say
you have an enemy, an invisible, unseen enemy, who is hoping that just because
he’s invisible, you will also think he is fictional. The apostle Paul brings
up the topic of spiritual warfare. He says you have an unseen enemy
behind many of those challenges that are sprawled out in front of your life. Behind many of them is an influencer, someone
who is stirring the pot in hopes that you will be so intimidated and insecure
you’ll never rise up to be the daughter that God has called you to be
and claim the victory that is already rightfully yours. It’s his scheme. It’s his sinister attack against your life
to just compel you, to shrink back in fear, insecurity and never become who
God has called you to be. You’ve got this unseen enemy. He’s preying on the fact y’all, he’s preying
on the fact that he hopes we will forget he’s there. This is what he does, he shifts
the attention cleverly stage left so that you’ll forget he’s the one off to the
stage right, pulling the strings of much of what is happening in our life. He’s so disguises himself behind life’s
most pressing problems and hopes that if he decides disguises himself cleverly enough,
you will forget he is the one behind the scenes, because then he knows
you will direct all the wrong weapons at the wrong culprit. He knows you’ll think
your words will work and your money will work and your solutions will
work and your rationale will work. Your connections will work. He knows that we will use earthly
weapons and they will only accomplish earthly natural results. As long as we forget that
there is a real enemy. Oh y’all, if we can get this in our
minds and our hearts and when we go home tonight, tomorrow and we look that problem dead
in the face, the bills that are still there, the health concerns that we
have, the trouble on our job, the struggle and friction in our relationship, if we
will go home and see them from a spiritual vantage point, we will stop
using the weapons we’ve been using to fight that problem. Do
you understand that you have not or you and I
are not fighting for victory? We have already been given the victory. We are fighting from
our perspective of victory. It changes everything when you realize
that in the end we win. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve read it
or not, but at the end, yeah, we’ve already got it in the bag. Victory has already been given to us. You and I are just going to
claim what God has already given. In the Scriptures, there are over 8000
promises that have been offered to believers in Jesus Christ. Listen, y’all not a couple
dozen, not several hundred. Over 8000 promises God has given us. Promises are, opportunities for you to
experience God while you’re on Earth. He never intended for us to wait
to get to heaven, to experience heaven. He planned for you to experience heaven
while you’re yet on planet Earth. That’s why He gave us the Holy Spirit,
so we can experience what it means to have God with us. John 1:14. The word became flesh so that
He could dwell among us. I love the message version of that. The word became flesh and
moved into the neighborhood. He plans to hang out with you. He fully intends to be engaged in
the regular rhythms of your everyday living. And so when you and I are, when you
are making a decision to face the battle, from a stance of victory, it means
that you tell yourself and remind yourself that these promises that they are
available to you right now. But do you know of those 8000 promises? Most of them He did not place in
our hand, He placed them within our reach. Which means you have to do your part
in order to claim what God has already given you access to. It’s
not that they’re not there. It’s just you have to do
your part to go get it.