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TEXT: Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Those of you who have been with us since the beginning of this series know that we are using the classic Christian allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, as a helpful guide to aid us in grasping some of the truths of the Christian life. As you know, a story has a way of grabbing people’s attention and demonstrating things better. We are all familiar with the parables of the Master Storyteller, Jesus Christ, and it has been said that storytelling, like any other form of art, has a way of connecting us with the spiritual realm. The philosopher Rudolf Steiner once said, “Art is the daughter of the divine.”
Two Liberty University professors, Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Mark Ray Schmidt, write in their book, Literature and Spirituality: “Both art and the spiritual draw us into new connections with the world and with ourselves. They help us move from our immediate experiences with the physical world to a new awareness of a deeper reality. With the intangible, creative energy of our minds, we make pieces of art that are very physical. Yet those physical things (novels, poems, paintings) often point us toward the ultimate — the spiritual…”
We thank God for John Bunyan who used the ‘intangible, creative energy’ of his mind to produce a work that has pointed many millions of people to the truths of Scripture and has been a blessing and encouragement to believers down through the years.
The main character of Pilgrim’s Progress is a man named Christian, and of course, with this being an allegory, this character is representative of every Christian. One of the highlights of Christian’s journey to the Celestial City is his stay at the Palace Beautiful. This is quite literally a mountain-top moment in his experience. He has just completed the long, arduous journey up the Hill of Difficulty, and he is afforded an extended and restful stay at the Palace where he is taught by other believers and informed about what he will face on the road ahead. One day, while he is at the Palace, he is taken into the armory. John Bunyan describes it like this:
The next day they took him and had him into the armory, where they showed him all manner of furniture, which their Lord had provided for pilgrims, as sword, shield, helmet, breastplate, all-prayer, and shoes that would not wear out. And there was here enough of this to harness out as many men for the service of their Lord as there be stars in the heaven for multitude.
They also showed him some of the engines with which some of his servants had done wonderful things. They showed him Moses’ rod; the hammer and nail with which Jael slew Sisera; the pitchers, trumpets, and lamps too, with which Gideon put to flight the armies of Midian. Then they showed him the ox’s goad wherewith Shamgar slew six hundred men. They showed him also the jaw-bone with which Samson did such mighty feats. They showed him, moreover, the sling and stone with which David slew Goliath of Gath; and the sword, also, with which their Lord will kill the Man of Sin, in the day that he shall rise up to the prey. They showed him, besides, many excellent things, with which Christian was much delighted. This done, they went to their rest again.
Paul tells us in Ephesians that God has provided us with armor and weapons that are necessary to the Christian life. Let’s look at the implications of this truth.
Let’s look at the strength of the Lord. Paul begins by telling us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” This introductory verse is the key to the entire armory provided to the Christian, and here is why: our strength to fight the battle that we are in comes from the Lord, and not from ourselves.
The phrase “be strong” is in the passive tense, literally meaning, “be made strong.” Being strong is not something we can conjure up on our own. Rather, we are made strong through Jesus Christ and Him alone. Many Christians make the mistake of depending on their own strength, wisdom, or ingenuity in spiritual combat. They think that it is all about what they can do, when in reality, it is all about what the Lord can do through them. Jesus Christ is the One who causes us to be strong. Walter Elwell states, “By implication [believers] are not to look for [strength] in themselves, or in their spirituality or their maturity, or in education, influence, position, prestige, money, programs, personal rights, or other people. Their strength is to be found solely in Christ.”
The call to be made strong in the Lord is not new. The ancient servants of God were also urged to find their strength in the Lord. Joshua was urged to “be strong and of good courage.” We read in First Samuel that David ‘found strength in the Lord.’ When God brought the Israelites home from exile, He told Zechariah, ‘I will make them strong in the Lord.’
In Pilgrim’s Progress, when Christian is taken to the armory, He is shown some of the tools of war used by Old Testament saints. We would never think of some of these tools as useful for warfare: Moses’ staff, Samson’s jaw-bone, or Gideon’s pitchers, trumpets, and lamps. Yet, all of these and more were used successfully in warfare against the enemies of God’s people. Why? Simply because those who wielded these weapons were doing so in the strength of the Lord — not in their own strength.
Why should we allow ourselves to be made strong in the Lord? Because when we are strong in the Lord, we have access to the “power of His might.” Perhaps you are facing spiritual opposition in your life, and you are making the mistake of trying to deal with it on your own. Maybe you find it difficult to pray, difficult to read the Bible, or difficult to witness for the Lord. The devil is fighting against you, and each time you move forward, you end up frustrated, defeated, and downcast.
One day, a father watched through the window as his little boy tried to lift a large stone out of his sandbox in the backyard. The boy was frustrated as he wrestled with the heavy object because he just couldn’t get enough leverage to lift it over the side. Finally, the boy gave up and sat down dejectedly in the sand.
The father went outside and said, “What’s wrong, son? Can’t you lift that rock out?”
The boy said, “No, sir. I can’t do it.”
The father asked, “Have you used all the strength that’s available to you?”
The boy said, “Yes, sir, I have.”
The father replied, “No, you haven’t because you haven’t asked me to help you.”
Dear friend, in your spiritual struggle, ask yourself: “Have I used all the strength available to me? Have I asked Jesus to help me? Have I been made strong in the Lord and in the power of His might?” What is the power of His might? The power of His might is the power that opened blinded eyes, the power that made the lame walk again, the power that healed lepers, the power that turned water into wine, and the power that fed over 5,000 people from a few fish and loaves of bread. The power of His might is the power that raised Jesus from the dead. All of that power is made available to you. So, be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.
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If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.
First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.
But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.