Ephesians 6:10-12 ESV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
The Devil’s Schemes
If we are going to be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, then we need to know what those schemes (tricks, ruses, deceptions) are. We need to be made aware of how he and his scheming works, too, and how he is presently working within the gatherings of the church, and within governments, and in our individual lives, too. For, if we are not discerning about these things, we may easily be caught in his traps unaware.
For one, he makes something that is evil appear as something good, and he makes what is good appear as something that is evil. And, he does this by twisting the truth to his advantage and through subliminal messages, too.
For example, I have found in some books written supposedly by Christian authors, which are purportedly written for Christians (for the church), that not only will they take scriptures out of context to make them say what they want them to say, but they will carefully place scriptures here and there to make you think that what you are reading is scriptural, but while they may never refer to those scriptures at all.
For they know, if you see the scriptures, that your mind will naturally make an association between the scriptures and what the author is saying, and so it will give you the sense that the author is supporting what he is saying with scripture, when what he is saying may, in reality, be opposed to scripture.
Another trick of the devil is to give a verbal impression that something in particular is taking place while the actions themselves tell a different story, and so you end up believing that what you are seeing is what was verbally communicated while what is being presented before you gives an entirely different picture. And thus you believe, again, that there is a connection between the two, when, in fact, the two are opposed to each other.
Case in point: We are told that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and yet the primary focus of the holiday is on Santa Claus, Christmas trees, decorations, food, gifts, games, parties and movies.
So, we are convinced that if we put a manger scene in our house that we are giving honor to Jesus, and that by giving gifts to one another that we are honoring Jesus, too. But, while we picture Jesus as a helpless baby in a manger, we also tell how Santa is going throughout the world on a sleigh in the sky delivering gifts to the children of the world all in a single night. So, who gets all the glory? Santa. Who has the hearts of the children? Santa (alias Satan). Or, if not Santa, it is the gifts they are going to receive (1).
And, this is how the false (cheap grace) gospel works, too. They give you the impression that what they are teaching is the true gospel, because it is half-true, but then they throw in a bunch more stuff that isn’t true, but they twist it to make it sound true, and then this “other stuff” is what appeals to your flesh, your emotions, for it makes you feel good, and thus you feel it is good for you. But, they call it the gospel, and so you are convinced that what you are hearing is the gospel, but the attention is drawn to the flesh.
For one, they convince you that all division (differences) is bad, and that we must all unite together as one, but with what? And, with whom? For, even within the gatherings of the church not all “unity” is unity with Christ and with His Word, but it is unity with man and with marketing schemes and marketing books and humanistic philosophy. But, they will use the scriptures to guilt-trip you into uniting with them.
They will also twist the scriptures to make you feel as though standing on the truth of God’s Word is a bad thing, for it divides people, and that division is bad, and it is unchristian, of the devil and that it is not the gospel.
But, Jesus called us to be separate (unlike, different) from the world and to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. And, Jesus definitely teaches an us-versus-them mentality when he says his sheep listen to him and they follow (obey) him, and that those who don’t are not of his sheep fold. Then he says that if we forsake our lives to follow him that we will have eternal life, but if we hold on to our old lives, that we will face death.
So, Satan’s scheme is to convince you that the true gospel is the false gospel and that the false gospel is the true gospel, but the false (cheap grace) gospel appeals to the flesh, for it makes no demands on you with regard to repentance (death to sin) or with regards to obedience to Christ (living to him and to his righteousness all in his power and strength).
Ephesians 6:13-18a ESV
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
So, the only way in which we are going to be able to stand against the devil’s schemes is that we have to know how he operates, and the way in which we know this is by the Holy Spirit, and by putting on the armor of God daily.
Now, this putting on the armor of God is not some routine we go through or something we claim in a prayer. For, putting on the armor of God means we are applying these things daily, in all practicality, to our lives, to our lifestyles, to our walks of faith.
So, this means we have to be truth tellers and not those who practice telling lies. We have to be living righteously in the power of God and not just claiming Jesus’ righteousness over our lives. We have to be those who are sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, but not in word only, but in lifestyle.
And, we have to be those who put our faith into practice, who live what we say we believe, and not just mouth it. And, our salvation from sin needs to not be about some decision we made one day or some prayer we prayed, but we must be walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, living as though we truly have been delivered from our bondage to sin.
And, we must bathe our minds in the Word of God so that we can know how to use it against Satan’s lies, but also we might live it, which is how we truly fight off Satan’s lies and his evil schemes against us. And, we must be in an attitude of prayer at all times so that at any given moment, as prompted by the Holy Spirit, we can pray to God for ourselves and for one another.
Ephesians 6:18b-20 ESV
To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
The only way in which we are going to be alert to the devil’s schemes, though, besides all of the above, is that we must be discerning about what we are daily taking into our minds and into our hearts. For, if we are feeding our minds daily with the junk of this world, it is going to be counterproductive to us living the truth of God’s Word, or even to being able to comprehend the truths of God’s Word, that we may apply it to our daily lives. For, as the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
And, for us to truly make supplication for one another, we must make certain that we are walking in the truth we have been given and that we are not giving the devil a foothold in our lives by our participation with the things of this sinful world. For, we can’t clearly hear the Spirit speak and know what to pray if we daily are being entertained by and are feeding our minds and hearts with the philosophies, values, principles, thinking, attitudes and behaviors of the world. For, they are opposed to each other.
And, in order to pray for one another that we may be bold in our witness for Jesus Christ and for the truth of his gospel (death to sin and living to righteousness), we should also be those who are sticking our necks out on the line, potentially to be chopped off, because we are proclaiming the truth of the gospel, too. Then, we can be united in prayer, one for the other.
He Gives Purpose
An Original Work / June 9, 2012
“Listen to Me when I’m calling to you.
Obey freely My word.
Follow Me in all of My ways.
Do all that I say.
Hear Me gently whisper to you
My will for your life and future.
Give all of your life and heart to
Follow Me always.”
Repent of your sins and worship Jesus.
He’s your Lord and Master.
He died for your sins so you could
Live with Him today.
He has a plan for your life and
He gives purpose and direction.
He gives meaning to your life,
So follow Him today.
“I love you so much I gave My life for
You to walk in My ways,
Living for Me each day as you
Bow to Me and pray.
Witness for Me of your love for Me and
Of My grace and mercy,
How I died to save you of your
Sins now and always.”
Sunday, January 27, 2019