WAR! and The Marianna Trench
Ephesians 6:10-12 &18, June 06, 2021
6:10 – Transition. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
6:11-12 – Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.
6:18 – 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 Lord’s people.
Marianna Trench – depth 36,070 feet, pressure 15,750 psi, sea level 14:7 psi. Mount Everest – 29,016 feet
Three Points – 1) The nature and tactics of the spiritual forces of darkness 2) How these verses have been and still are misinterpreted 3) How we can counter the tactics of the demonic
First, we need to remember in Paul’s 3 years in Ephesus he never addressed any heresies or false doctrine. But several years later in 1 Timothy Paul sends Timothy back to Ephesus because of rampant false teaching from false teachers. Acts 20:29-31 warned of this. Timothy was sent back as the false teaching was threatening to undermine all that Paul had accomplished in the region.
The nature and tactics of the spiritual forces of darkness.
It is not tanks, airplanes, ships, and soldiers (boots on the ground), but instead is unseen. Much like today via UAVs or Cyber warfare. Cyber warfare is unseen and can be accomplished via a keyboard from the other side of the world. This is our war whether we want it or not. And it goes on 24/7 without letup.
Verse 12 reveals the demonic realm is divided into a well-organized hierarchy to accomplish its goal of deceiving and encouraging mortals (us) to wage war against God.
In John 8:44 Jesus reveals Satan’s nature in addressing the Pharisees, You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Because Satan’s nature is to lie and distort the truth, we should not be surprised that he and his minions wage a non-stop propaganda war of lies and misinformation against the purposes of God.
Satan wants to destroy the church in Ephesus and not only there, but all churches then and now.
Let us look at how these verses have been misinterpreted in the past and for some still today.
In the 1970s through the 1990s, while there was much made of spiritual warfare, humans were treated as puppets or marionettes controlled by Satan or his minions ignoring our moral responsibility for our deeds. This belief was so strong a comedian, Flip Wilson, had a famous routine with the line, “The Devil made me do it.”
Still, the belief was such that, If only the church would rise up and cut the marionette’s strings we could win the spiritual war, people would be free, and a massive revival would result. This was and is FALSE. Why? Because we are sinners! And in our sin we are open to being deceived and manipulated.
So, how can we counter the tactics of demonic activity today?
We must remember always that we are in the midst of a war of false propaganda, misinformation, and a constant bombardment of outright lies about God. About Jesus. About the Holy Spirit.
The enemy watches us constantly looking for buttons to push, strings to pull to take us away from God’s purposes in our lives. Thus, Paul’s warning earlier about the language we use, not going to bed angry and in Romans not even gossiping.
How do we counter all of this?
The answer is simple and somewhat mundane or banal. I say this because culturally we are treated to the BIG and SPECTACULAR where grand things are accomplished. Think the movies of the Avengers and Star Trek.
We do accomplish grand things, but it is by grounding ourselves in scripture. After all, how can you spot the counterfeit if you are not familiar with what the real thing looks and feels like?
Spending time in scripture and prayer does not sound very exciting, but in prayer we are conversing with the creator of the universe, of all that exists. While it may not compare to the blockbuster movies, it is even greater and it is essential. We have to walk the walk, live holy lives, and 6:18 Remaining alert at all times.
Finally. Are you alert? Are you aware of the spiritual war that is going on against God? Are you aware of the lies against God?
Are you aware of the lies against the church? Are you aware of the lies against you – a believer?
When Paul wrote this he was not just writing about us doing this individually as some sort of singular hero. There are no spiritual Rambos. We are to do this both individually and corporately.
We are to fight as a unit as the Roman soldiers did. Do we fight this war as a cohesive unit or are we divided?