Spiritual Warfare - "Tell the truth and shame the devil"

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

May the words of my mouth and the mediation in in all our hearts be acceptable to you, our Lord and Saviour - Amen 

How important is the truth in your lives?

What value do you place on the truth?

Put it another way - Would you characterize your life as a quest for things truthful?

            Truth - important or not

We as Christians have made the decision that truth is important

I think that consciously or unconsciously that truth is our prime Goal in life

            I think that we are all searching for truth in its various forms

And for those that are not here or any other place of worship, they have simply decided that ultimate truth - spiritual truth is not their present priority

they are engaged into other pursuits of truth - maybe the perfect sleep-in

I have always had this vision that one of the purposes in my life is to be a father,

and I am living the dream

not sure I felt that way the last two months when I get  woken up multiple times in the night

serious though - I am living fulfilled a truth for me

There are also sorts of small examples truths

            Only the right key works for the matching car

            Or the right answers on a test

            The examples are limitless

                        In the end - everything we do is based on little or big truths

So we get to St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and the truths he is trying to share with that community of believers 2000 years ago and with us today.

The first half of the letter - Paul is trying to instruct them on the believer’s position or relation in Christ

            With teaching on:

Praise and thanksgiving for God

And the saints that have prepared the way for them

Instruction of the full body of believers

Including both the Jews and the gentiles

And then the teaching on the mystery of God

That is the grace of God

The second half of the letter, chapters 4-6 is Paul teaching on the truths for the believer’s practice in the Lord - or the true application of a believer.

                  There is an appeal for unity in Christian fellowship

A plan for the proper functioning of Christians within the church

an appeal for a new morality

and for personal piety in the Christian household

but then - as Paul draws this epistle to a close. 

            He does it in the most dramatic way.

We have the passage for today,

It is about what Christians are truly battling

            - it is about spiritual warfare

            Paul is trying to reveal to readers - To uncover for them

                        The true 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.

Jews and gentiles living under occupation could easily thought that the Roman army or the emperor were the enemy

            But Paul removes that vale

                        Paul is getting to the heart of the matter and sharing a timeless message

The real enemy is the enemy that attacks us all at the spiritual level

Examples of belief in spiritual-world-beyond-our-vision are riddled through out the bible

            Beginning with the serpent in the garden

            To warnings of the first commandment - that we should worship the one true God

To the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness where he says

Go, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve."

Paul was not the only New Testament writer who recognized Satan as a threat to the believer

  • James believed it! - (James 4:7) - Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
  • Peter believed it! - (Acts 5:3) - Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?"
  • Also in (1 Peter 5:8,9) - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

·         Certainly all the gospel writers do as they describe the healings of those that were demon processed or in describing the transformation of Judas Iscariot in the betrayal of Christ

And of course Jesus instructed against it with what we know as the Lord’s Prayer! - (Mt 6:13) - And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

If the Word of God is true, then we must take this spiritual warfare seriously

We must take the advice from proverbs which tells us that we should believe that “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”

            a shield

From my own life I can testify to spiritual warfare

Spiritual warfare is a topic that I was quite skeptical of before I experienced it first hand

In the two week period when I was discern the call to ministry I was faced with more dubious situations then ever before or afterwards

I was in sales and in that short two week span I had so many opportunities to make big sales - if I only comprised my values

Yet when I had made my decision - the opportunities completely went away

Temptation was there in that time of great questioning and transition

In retrospect I can only attribute it to spiritual warfare

I want to say also that I don’t believe in mass demon possession

            The devil is much to clever and subtle for that

And also that there is no place for using spiritual warfare as an excuse.

            “the devil made me do it”

                        God has provide us with too much to use that cope out.

My mother used to say to us kids one thing that always stuck in my mind

                        In fact she said it just the other day when I was talking to her on the phone

            It might well have been the wisest thing that she ever taught me

                        “Tell the truth to shame the devil”…


The devil lurks in the dark places, the places that don’t see the light of day

            The devil schemes and asks questions like

                        Did God really say…

St. Paul in this passage is writing to warn the people that evil is hidden all around them.

It is a timeless message

-          Timeless because the forces that oppose God’s will are all around us

They are there when we get angry

And think about how we would like to live out that anger.

They are there when our Pride shows up

And we think we can do it on our own

Without God’s help…

They are there when we think-about telling a lie,

Even a small one.

But Paul sees clearly through all the masks of the evil one

            Paul sees the devices and warns against them

Warns against them with a hope-filled message

            Hope filled because the undercurrent of that message is that

- God provides -

o       In fact God provides us with a whole armory

§         A whole armoury rooted in truth

            the belt of truth

the breastplate of righteousness.

-          righteousness modeled by the true Lord

Footwear to travel to share the gospel of peace

-          the truth of good news of Christ

the shield of faith,

-          faith in the true power processed by God alone

the helmet of salvation,

-          that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life

the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

-     the only offensive weapon in the armoury,

where all other weapons defend, the word of God attacks the false messages of the Devil

The psalm that is appointed for today speaks about safety and security of God’s temple

            It is a psalm of praise that rightly worships God for all that God has provided

                        How - when we are right with God - we are blessed

And there is one particularly beautiful line that sums it up

 “go from strength to strength

That is what we have from Paul’s closing thoughts in the letter to the Ephesians

In the midst of struggle and assaults from the devil we have an armoury to defend ourselves

            We go from - God’s provision - to God’s provision

            From strength to strength

                        From truth

To righteousness

To the gospel of peace

To faith

To salvation

And finally we go beyond defending ourselves

- In the strength of God’s provision

To defending others by attacking with the sword

-          the word of the Lord

From Strength to strength

Therefore, the church has to “suit up” with God’s armor

to carry the battle to the foe. 

It isn’t enough to be Godly politicians, businesspeople, individuals, couples and parents in an ungodly world. 

You have to be equipped for spiritual warfare

                     because that is what you are actually going to be engaged in! 

You have to do your part

you have to accept - and put on God’s defenses - the whole armory

And how does Paul Advise us to equip ourselves with this armory against tricks of the devil

  • Paul then moves on to his second answer.

"Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication.”

The greatest weapon that Christians have to battle evil and to work for its spiritual transformation is not armor or shield or helmet or short sword. 

It is our knees! 

It is prayer. 

The first answer from Paul is the awareness of spiritual warfare.

            But the second is the Christian response


I think there are great dangers in responding as certain politicians might like to and mobilizing the war machine.

            Christ has turned the expectations upside down

                        And the understanding of war was transformed

Just as the Jews were expecting a politician and warrior messiah

            Christ turned their expectations upside down

                        Christ came as the teacher of peace and the sacrificial lamb

Paul is very clear - Prayer is how we address - how we engage in the struggle

So take my Mom’s advice

Which was her mother’s advice to her

And “tell the truth to shame the devil”

Both the Gospel passage and the passage from Paul to the Ephesians tell us a simple message 

-          God provides

As we are about to commune with our Lord in the Eucharist…holy communion

…as we think about how God provides for us

Let us give thanks to the Lord that provides

- And returning to the gospel - St. John writes of Jesus’ words

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me…the one who eats this bread will live forever.”      

Abide in that truth


Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more