Ephesians 6 v 11 — (3)
We have considered the first part of Ephesians 6 verse 11 as it deals with
1. What we are to do in Christian Warfare –
put on the whole armour of God.
Put on the Gospel armour, each piece put on with prayer! We must put it on and keep it on for the rest of our lives. There is no leave or days off in the Christian life as far as wearing the armour is concerned.
Then last week we asked
2. How we are to do it? How are we to wage this warfare? The answer is to Stand –
that ye may be able to stand
We have already discovered from verse 10 that we have no power of our own – we are weak and need another’s strength in order to live. The Lord Jesus Christ, who imparts His mighty strength to us by His Holy Spirit, enables us to Stand. Our ability is directly from the Lord. Paul states this in 2 Corinthians 3:5
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
To stand fast is to ENDURE HARDNESS. To stand fast is to OPPOSE THE DEVIL. To stand fast is to GET THE VICTORY.
This morning we must come to the third phrase in verse 11 – that tells us
3. WHY we must put on the armour and Stand – because we have an enemy.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
In World War II a poster depicting a German Soldier was displayed on the walls of many South Coast towns. Underneath was the simple caption, “KNOW YOUR ENEMY.”
We have a deadly spiritual enemy. Peter calls him this in 1 Peter 5 v 8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary (enemy) the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
My friends we have to know our enemy too. And we must be conscious that whenever we have to spend time thinking about and meditating on the enemy, we could inadvertently give him a little foothold into our minds and hearts that was not there before. Therefore it is appropriate before we embark on thinking about him, that we pause for prayer and ask the Lord to assist us.
So let's just bow together for a moment to pray.
“Almighty God, we come to thee this morning, to this passage of scripture that speaks about the enemy of souls, the Devil. And Lord we recognise that whenever we think of him, and whenever we are aware of him, then Lord we need the protection of Thy blood, the blood of Jesus Christ our Saviour, for he hates the blood, and he hates our Saviour, whom we love and who has loved us. And therefore, Lord God, we come under the protection this morning, of that same Lord Jesus, and what He has done at Calvary to deal with the power of the enemy, for he is bound. And yet Oh Lord, we must know about him. So help us in this hour, as we think of these things from the Scriptures, that Thou wilt protect each one of us, and give us Oh Lord, minds that are alert and are helped by Thy Holy Spirit, to think right thoughts of our Saviour, to be glad that he has overcome Satan, and all his hosts, that they are a beaten foe and that we can concentrate too on our Saviour. So we thank thee for Him who has saved us and pray that Thou wilt bless us, as we consider these things this morning, from thy Holy Word. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen”
The term “wiles of the devil” is the first thing to consider.
The word wiles is a translation of the Greek word METHODIAS which can mean schemes, cunning art, craftiness, trickery and deception. The one other occurrence of the word in the New Testament in this same letter in Chapter 4 v 14
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
It is the same word – in 4 v 14 it is singular and so rendered ‘lie in wait’ – like an ambush – or setting a trap for the unwitting to fall into. But here the English word WILES is used.
The word for devil here is DIABOLUS. Our English word Diabolical comes from it and it is interesting that John Bunyan names the devil in his allegory the Holy War, Diabolus. It is formed from 2 other words – which mean to “throw at” – which metaphorically the Greeks used to mean accuse or to malign.
In fact our English word Devil is derived from this word and should only be applied to Satan as a proper name. There is only one devil. To use the term “little devil” or even to say that someone has a devil, strictly speaking is incorrect even though our Authorised version has several occurrences of devil translating another word meaning demon. They should be distinguished – there are many demons – but only one devil – Diabolus.
To know our enemy then we must have some information about him and what he is capable of. Therefore we will simply divide this morning’s sermon into two –
1. The Devil – who is he?
2. The Devil – What does He do?
1. The Devil – who is he?
The devil has many titles and names. He is Satan, the prince of demons. He is the malignant enemy of God and man. Originally created one of the perfect angels, he wanted to be equal with God and thereby fell from God’s favour because of his rebellion. Originally he was good – because everything at the beginning of creation was originally good – God saw it and said so. But something went wrong. There is not much information about the devil’s fall in the Bible – but there are 2 passages that can assist us – Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. The context of both of these passages is about the downfall of the Kings of Babylon and Tyre. But the language goes far beyond that of the 2 earthly kings.
1. Ezekiel 28 v 11 – 15.
11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
It is obvious that these verses could not be true of any earthly ruler like verses 1-10 were. They are referring to a created being who lived on a different plane from man – indeed they speak of “the anointed cherub” – Satan.
2. Isaiah 14.
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Isaiah calls the anointed cherub Lucifer, son of the morning. Five times in this passage Lucifer, Satan, said “I will” and on each occasion it was an attempt to usurp the rightful authority of the God of the whole universe. It was little wonder that the Lord Jesus Christ uses the same term, Satan, in his words in Luke 10 v 18
And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
And the apostle John writing in the Revelation speaks of the casting down of the devil –
Revelation 12 v 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Pride was the downfall of the devil. The Holy Spirit through Paul tells us of Satan’s pride in 1 Timothy 3 v 6
Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
Lucifer was created by the Lord God to serve Him. But in his rebellion Satan brought rebellion into the universe that had up until then been sinless. From the moment that Satan sinned against God and he was cast out of God’s holy and perfect presence, human history has revealed a tremendous battle between the seed of the serpent – Satan and his hordes of demons, other angels who joined him in his defection, and the “seed of the woman” – the saviour who was born of a virgin, the Lord Jesus Christ our saviour.
What else do we know about Satan?
1. He is the source of all evil.
Jesus said in John 8 v 44
He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Satan’s character is utterly evil and depraved. With the result that
2. He is God’s enemy.
Zechariah 3 v 1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
He is ever ready to resist the Lord God and His sovereign purposes. He possesses great power and intelligence being the blessed and senior angel that he was. He set out to destroy the Lord Jesus Christ at every opportunity throughout the history of the world – from the Garden of Eden onwards.
3. He is a real person.
Some people foolishly deny the personality of the devil believing him to be merely an influence. In the Book of Job we read of Satan being questioned by God and answering. If he were merely an influence then that passage would be impossible to interpret – an influence cannot be questioned and then give answers! Also we read of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself being in conversation with the devil in the wilderness.
4. He is the ruler of demons, the other angels who fell with him.
Luke 11 v 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.
Another name for him is in Ephesians 2:2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
It is Satan who has people in his grip – he is a spirit, an evil, unclean spirit; and who operates powerfully in unbelievers, for they are who are meant by children of disobedience, or children of unbelief.
5. He is called the god of this world.
2 Corinthians 4 v 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
He is similarly called - "the prince of this world". The Lord Jesus Christ’s words in John 12 v 31
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
14 v 30
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
And to prove that he is the prince and God of this world we have the text in 1 John 5 v 19
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
He, Satan, holds this world in wickedness. He was the serpent who beguiled Eve in the garden, as Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 11 v 3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
6. He presents himself as an Angel of Light.
In the same passage in 2 Corinthians 11 we read in verse 14
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
He comes to deceive because he has far more strength, ingenuity, cunning and malice than any man. He has access to the minds of men and women and boys and girls. He can present himself as a plausible and genuine person, reasonable and kind.
And knowing these things about him should be reason enough for us all to be convinced that we need to wear, to put on, and keep on the armour that the Lord Jesus Christ has prepared for us and supplied us with! The armour is a supernatural defence against a supernatural foe. Knowing our enemy must be the first strategy in the battle. We need not think that we could know nothing about the enemy – indeed we all without exception began life as his slave! How many slaves are there who did not know their master, even when they had left his employment? Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are ex-worshippers and servants of the god of this world. Every one of us knows something about this enemy! These are aspects of who he is – but now we must move on to
2. The Devil – What does He do?
The wiles, schemes and methods of the devil come in many different forms – we have time to mention just two this morning.
1. He loves to try to pervert God’s Word –
for instance he came to the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness to tempt Him, by seeking to quote scripture –
Matthew 4 v 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
The devil is perfectly capable of using scripture for his own ends. He is a past master of this. It fits in so well with his two-pronged attack against the human race through Adam and Eve at the beginning of the world – deception and disobedience. Eve was deceived and Adam was disobedient. Satan never gives up in taking advantage of those 2 platforms that he has erected, with tragic success. All of us have at some time been deceived by the devil. He has promised us pleasure and satisfaction with the world – which when we get there we find is empty and vain. He promises comfort and ease in riches – but we find nothing but misery when we get there. We who have been saved by God’s grace should be on guard against this wile, this scheme of the devil. He will still try to do everything in his power to deceive us and to trick us or persuade us to be disobedient.
So we are commanded to put on the armour to stand against this wile! We are to wield the Sword of the Spirit, as our Lord Jesus Christ did, answering the devil with the truth!
Still under this heading the devil loves to pervert the truth of God’s word by providing alternatives. For instance he has cleverly propagated the whole Creation / Evolution debate in the last 150 years. It is not forward thinking enlightened scientists who have made outstanding discoveries that underlie this theory of evolution. It is Satan himself! This deadening theory has struck at the heart of millions of Christians and halved their joy in the Lord Jesus Christ the creator of the universe. The monolithic corpse of evolution propounded by Charles Darwin has been set up in western society with such effectiveness that those who believe the Bible as the Word of God, including the Creation account in Genesis, are in a tiny minority. The devil’s theory has been fanned into seeming life by endlessly repeated statements from atheists and humanists and has caught so many Christians unawares. If only they would wield the sword of the Spirit! For not only does Genesis give the truth of creation but so many other passages of scripture. For example John 1 –
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The devil has so infected unbelieving mankind that from our earliest years in schools since the 1950’s we were taught to revere that evolutionary structure. It is a classic example of the wiles of the devil. He is behind it all and we must not be ignorant of what he is doing!
2. Because he has access to human minds he seduces men and women into sin.
He blinds their minds and suggests evil and sceptical thinking. He is so crafty that he makes dark things look light and makes pure and holy things to be unfashionable and out of fashion. The child of God can become perplexed in decision making because there is this impression in the mind, placed there by the devil, to do one thing, that is clearly contrary to what the Christian knows to be right.
For instance in the area of relationships. You can meet someone or be invited to join someone in business. This person is not a believer although may be a little religious. You weigh up the pros and cons of working with or becoming close to this person – and all the circumstances seem right. The heart feelings are positive and some of the people around you seem positive too. The devil at this point tells you that this must be God’s will because everything seems to be right. HOWEVER, at the same time, the devil brings other circumstances into your life. There is a drawing away from the fellowship of the Lord’s people. Prayer and devotional Bible Study is neglected – he makes sure that it is by increasing your workload, by diverting your thoughts from the Lord and His desires for your life. And before you know it, that vital ingredient of guidance, the scriptures, are thrown out of the window. The devil will do anything to stop you reading 2 Corinthians 6:14
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
He knows that you may think twice about what you are doing if God the Holy Spirit brings His Holy word to bear on your conscience.
But supposing you DID read 2 Corinthians 6 v 14. The devil has another set of wiles up his sleeve. He will suggest that the group of believers that hold to that scripture are very narrow and old fashioned, Christians in 2002 don’t hold to that any more. If he can’t get you with that one he will try this. He will make sure that you run into an old friend also a professing Christian who has an unbelieving friend or spouse who are happy in the mixed relationship and are not suffering because of it.
Then again the devil points out to you that there is another church round the corner that doesn’t teach this strict viewpoint so it must be OK.
Furthermore he will suggest that even though your friend or business partner is not a Christian, then because you are a Christian, there will be plenty of opportunities to talk to that person about the Lord Jesus and he or she will be saved and all will be well! Oh how well he knows how to hinder Christians in their lives!
My friends these are the wiles of the devil – he is after your mind and will do anything to entice you into disobedience of God’s word. He started with Eve and he has had enormous success with all of her descendants since then – except one – the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the only man to have successfully repelled the devil’s overtures and we are to seek to follow our master’s example in our Christian lives.
He resisted the devil – and the devil fled from Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ was under regular attack from this prince of the world during His manhood on earth. And that can be a comfort to us. Both our Lord and we are under his scrutiny –
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
However we do not have to be intimidated or bound by the devil. Earlier in Ephesians we had this thought –
Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
And James in his letter gave us this scripture under inspiration –
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
As we close we must remember that the devil can oppress us but if we are truly born again he cannot possess us. In our conversion experience the Lord Jesus Christ has delivered us from the power of darkness. This means that we will never ever be bound by the devil in this life. Furthermore we have been translated, transferred from the devil’s kingdom to Christ’s Kingdom – the Kingdom of God’s Son, the Son of His love.
Oh how wonderful to be a Christian this morning! How glorious to know that we are safe and possessed by the Holy Spirit of God. How wonderful to know that we have been purchased by His precious blood.
Does everyone in this church this morning have this experience and assurance, that Jesus Christ is their saviour? Is there anyone here who still is outside of the blessings of Christ’s pardon and forgiveness because you have not yet repented of your sins and turned to the Lord for mercy? Oh my friend, if this is your condition then go to the Lord Jesus today and forsake your life of sin and rebellion – seek peace and pardon from the Lord God pleading the blood of Christ that washes the soul from sin.
And one final thought. It could be that you have been thinking about becoming a Christian for a long time – but you have put it off – you have delayed – you suppose that there will be a more convenient time to repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You may be young and believe that you have plenty of time left in which to believe and trust the Lord. You may be middle aged but still you think that there is going to come a better time in which you can believe. You may even be well on in your years and you think that your deathbed will be the best time for you to make your peace with God!
My friend, these delaying tactics in your mind have all the hallmarks of the enemy of souls, the devil.
One of his wiles is WAIT AWHILE. He does not want you to rush into anything – he does not want to let you go!
Resist this wile with all your strength today and break free of his satanic grip – and run to the Lord Jesus Christ who is ready to pardon and forgive all who earnestly and honestly will renounce the power of the devil and trust in Jesus alone!