What a great Bible discussion tonight! We had a question about demons and their interference with prayer. We looked at the primary passage about that: Ephesians 6:10-20.
6:10-17 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
6:18–20 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. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (NIV)
With the theme of being “in Christ,” and after establishing the doctrine of that in chapters 1-3, Paul addresses the practical application in chapters 4-6. In chapter 4, he identifies how relationships are dealt with in the Church: “speaking the truth in love” “deal with anger,” “speaking well of others,” and “forgiving as we have been forgiven.” He continues in chapter 5 noting the conflict between the former way of life and the new life in Christ. Then from 5:21-6:9, Paul turns his attention to specific relationships: wives and husbands, children and parents, employees and employers.
As a conclusion to all this, Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians that the real battle is spiritual in nature, not just a physical, mental, or emotional battle. As we look at Jesus’ earthly life we see that the battle against Satan/devil begins even at Jesus’ birth when Herod tries to kill him (Matthew 2). Then the spiritual high of Jesus baptism (Matthew 3:13-17) is immediately followed by his being expelled into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. At the end of his ministry as he nears the cross, the devil tries to stop him by possessing Judas to betray Jesus. through all of this Jesus is victorious.
When Jesus dies and rises victorious, he defeats sin, death, and the devil.
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. (Romans 5:18 NIV)
He is the payment for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2 GW)
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:12 NAS95)
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8b NIV)
And Jesus’ victory is credited to our account (as righteousness).
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NAS95)
That means all believers in Christ are now joined in that battle against the unholy three: sin, devil, and the world. Paul describes the battle dress of a Roman soldier as an appropriate description of how the Christian fights this battle. Notice that all of the armor is defensive in nature, except for the last one. The offensive weapon is the “sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.”
Then in 6:18 Paul mentions four times “all” to emphasize the prayer life of the believer in Jesus Christ is an ongoing, continual dialog. God speaks through his Word, and we speak to him in prayer. Obviously the devil does not want us to be praying, and so will try to discourage us at any point.