Ephesians 6:10-20
Fight To Win
August 23, 2015
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His power. Put on the whole armor of God,
so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
One of the foremost tourist attractions in England is Buckingham Palace in London, the home of the royal family. For centuries it was guarded by ceremonial troops, called Beefeaters, clad in bright red jackets and tall black, fuzzy hats, but a change took place over 10 years ago when it was feared that the Irish Republican Army or other terrorist organization may stage an attack on the royal family, and so the ceremonial Beefeaters were replaced by regular British troops dressed in khaki camouflage and carrying automatic weapons. The British government understood what terrorists could do, and was willing to make changes so they would be better prepared to defend against a terrorist attack.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to:
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His power. Put on the whole armor of God,
so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
In other words, understand just what it is you are doing battle with and be prepared to do whatever you have to win the battle.
The Christian life, Paul says , is a battle. It’s a battle that we must be prepared for, a battle we must be prepared to win, a battle we must have the appropriate armor for so that we can win.
If the Christian life is a battle, just who or what is it that we are doing battle with? Listen again to how Paul describes our opponent:
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
The rulers. The authorities. The cosmic powers of the present darkness. The spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places
It sounds like something straight out of Star Trek or Star Wars or maybe the TV series Under The Dome doesn’t it?
Just what are these rulers, authorities, cosmic powers and evil in the heavenly places? A simpler, shorter, and maybe more to the point way of putting this is — sin. The rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and evil Paul is referring to are all examples of sin.
We are fighting evil. We are fighting sin.
Sin and evil in all the forms and shapes it may take in the world.
Be ready to fight against evil, Paul is saying. Be ready to fight against sin. You know, sin is everywhere in the world. It’s in us. It’s in our homes. It’s in our communities. It’s in our churches. It’s in our countries. It’s in our world. It’s everywhere, and you have to fight it, in whatever form it might take. Maybe it’s a thought you may have that is not one that God would want you to have. Or maybe it’s a word you may say that hurts someone. Or maybe it’s a word you don’t say that may have helped someone had it been said. Or maybe it’s an action you took that hurt someone. Or maybe it’s that action you didn’t take that may have helped someone had you taken it. What we call sins of omission, things that we don’t say or do, can be just as destructive as what we call sins of commission, or the things we do. Or maybe it’s prejudice or poverty and homelessness or hunger or violence or fear. Sin and evil takes many forms, but whatever form it may take , Paul says, we have to fight it.
We have to fight it. And we have to fight to win.
Understand the enemy and fight to win. That’s good military strategy., and a good strategy for the Christian life.
Understand your enemy and fight to win. Understand just how tricky sin and evil can be. Understand how the devil can trick us and make us think that sin is not really sin and that what is wrong is actually right. Understand how pervasive sin is in our lives and in our world. But understand that just because sin and evil are everywhere and just because it’s hard sometimes to tell the difference between what is sin and what isn’t -we can’t give up. We have to fight. And we have to fight to win.
OK, so given an understanding of sin and evil and just how pervasive it is in our lives and in our world, you may be thinking: “How can I fight it? How can I fight sin and evil in the world? I have a hard enough time controlling it in my own life, how can I do anything about it in others lives or in the world?”
Listen again to what Paul has to say:
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His power. Put on the whole armor of God,
so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
We can’t do it on our own. Left up to our own powers we would never be able to fight sin. In fact, left up to our own devices, we usually end up adding to the sin in the world instead of doing battle with it. But we don’t have to do it on our own. We don’t have to do battle with sin on our own. God has a plan to fight sin, and God gives us the armor we need to join in that fight.
We would never send troops into battle without the latest technological advances in warfare. We should never go into battle against sin without the armor God gives us. Without that armor, we are doomed. With it we can fight to win.
What is that armor that God gives us? What is this “armor of God” that gives us what we need to fight sin in our lives and in our world? Paul gives us a picture of a Roman soldier dressed for battle, complete with his belt, his breastplate, his shoes, his shield, his helmet, and his sword. But this is not just any old armor we have. This is the armor of God.
Listen to Paul’s description of the “armor of God”:
“ fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these,£ take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The belt of truth
The breastplate of righteousness
Shoes that will make you ready to proclaim the Gospel of peace.
Faith as a shield.
The helmet of salvation
The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
That’s what is takes to do battle with sin and evil in all the forms and shapes it takes in our lives and in our world. That’s what it takes to fight sin in our lives and our world — and to win.
It takes the whole armor of God.
It takes the belt of truth. For the Roman soldier the belt was the first thing he put on, then he would strap all his other armor to it. The truth of God is the first thing we must have in our lives to be able to do battle with sin — and to win.
It takes the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate was an important piece of the Roman soldier’s armor. It protected him from attack. The breastplate of God’s righteousness protects us from an attack from sin and evil.
Shoes that will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. The shoes of the Roman soldier had to be sturdy to go over any terrain, yet comfortable enough to be able to be worn for many miles of marching and battle every day. We must have feet that are willing to go anywhere God wants us to go to do battle with sin and evil, feet that are willing to address sin and evil with the good news of God’s peace.
The shield of faith. The shield protected the Roman soldier from enemy spears and swords. The shield of faith, as Paul tells us, can help us quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. All the things the devil may throw at us, all the ways that sin and evil try to defeat us, can be defeated with faith.
The helmet of salvation. For the Roman soldier the helmet was the one of the most important pieces of armor. It protected his head from enemy attack. The helmet of salvation is the most important piece of God’s armor for us, for without we don’t stand a chance against sin and evil, but with salvation we can know that the victory is ours.
The sword of of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The sword was the most effective weapon in the arsenal of the Roman soldier. The word of God is our most effective weapon in our fight against sin and evil.
The belt of truth
The breastplate of righteousness
The shoes of the gospel of peace
The shield of faith
The helmet of salvation
The sword of the Spirit — which is the word of God
The whole armor of God.
That’s what is takes to do battle with sin and evil in all the forms and shapes it takes in our lives and in our world. That’s what it takes to fight sin in our lives and our world — and to win. That’s what it takes to fight to win in the battle against sin
Do you have what it takes? Do you have what it takes to fight to win, to do battle with sin and evil in your life and in the world? Do you have the whole armor of God?
The belt of God’s truth — the breastplate of God’s righteousness — the shoes of the gospel of God’s peace — the shield of faith — the helmet of salvation — the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.
Do you have it? With it, you can do battle with sin and can be victorious. Without it, you might as well give up before you start because there is no way you are going to win.
We have got to know our enemy. We have got to know what it takes to fight our enemy. We have got to know what it takes to win in the fight against our enemy. We have got to win the fight. God is looking for a victory here, not a tie , not a draw, but a victory.

We have got to fight it in our own thoughts, actions, and words that are sinful. We have got to fight it in our community as racial prejudice and drugs and violence and hunger and poverty separate us from each other and from the love of God. We have got to fight it in our world as war, poverty, prejudice, disease and so many other things keep people from truly experiencing the love of God.
We have to fight. We have to win. And with the armor of God we will.
Put on the armor of God. Put on the truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation — and Spirit of God.
With these things we can not lose. With these things we can fight to win. Amen.