Sunday Morning Live Stream – Finding Strength: The Need For It

Finding Strength: The Need
Ephesians 6:10-13
January 10th, 2021

We are starting a series together today that is all about finding strength, because let’s face it, we could all use a bit more of it. As we live for Jesus, as we do the things He calls us to, live our life like He did, share the message He did, and become more and more like Him (We call that here the way of Jesus… remember that?), there are challenges that will come. There are hard and trying situations, confusing times, and difficulties of life that will come up specifically because you are trying to follow Jesus. And in those times, you need a strength that comes, not from within you personally, but from outside of you, from God. You need His strength that comes from His protection, His ‘suit of armour’ that He puts on you.

Until almost Easter, we are going to be looking at what that armour looks like. We are going to be looking at different ways for us to be finding strength, but before we do that, I want to look at the why question, the need for it. I invite you to turn to Ephesians 6. It is in the New Testament, about 1/3rd of the way in, after 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, before Philippians and Colossians.

Ephesians 6:10
1) His protection comes from Him
It is important for us to agree right at the start that His strength that comes through His protection is all about Him. It is not about us, in our efforts, becoming stronger. It isn’t about us trying harder to be better, to be stronger, to be more courageous, to stand more firm. It is all about Him.

Verse 10 says “Be strong in the Lord.” This isn’t something that you can do on your own. The verse actually translates better “be made strong in the Lord.” It is about God doing something in you, and Him making you strong, Him putting His protection on you, and then you choosing to trust in what He is doing, not in what you can do.

APPLICATION QUESTION: Are you trying to face all the challenges of your Christian faith on your own?

Eph 6:11 (why do we need His protection?)
2) His protection shows us what is true and false
Paul goes on to say that we should put on His whole armour. The image here that the reader would have understood was a soldier putting on all their pieces or armour (including weaponry) before going on duty. It was not just strapping on an helmet and thinking they were fine. They needed complete protection in order to be ‘safe’.

It is also an active action of putting on, much like getting dressed. And we actively put on this armour through us trusting God and letting Him clothe us in His protection. And the reason why we need this armour, this protection? Because each day, we will be bombarded and surrounded constantly with choices between what is true and false, and it wont always be easy to know the difference. The verse calls it “the devil’s schemes”. These are the deceptions, things that are fake, false teachings, and things and people that are against God. It is important to remember that word “schemes”, because a scheme is meant to fool people, it is meant to be a con job. And by very definition of a scheme, unless you know the truth, it is easy to get caught up in the scheme. (Think all those email and phone scams…). As I think of schemes, I also, think of 1 Peter 5:8 which speaks to the sneaky schemes of our enemy.

There are so many things even within the church today that we have to be careful of, that are not Biblical, that are completely false, yet people unknowingly flock to. Why? Because they are not being fully dressed in the armour of God.

The point is that if you are dressed in His protection and walking in His strength, a natural result of that is that you will be able to pick up on and pick out things that are not of God, things that are not true, things that are schemes and fake, false teachings. The greatest defense against things that are false is to know the truth. And in clothing yourself in His protection, you are clothing yourself in His truth.

APPLICATION QUESTION: The deception is real. Are you choosing to protect yourself by trusting God, taking on His protection, and standing on truth as a result?

Eph 6:12-13 (Why do we need His protection?)
3) His protection is what gives us strength to fight the enemy
Paul is very clear here that as followers of Jesus, we are in a battle, but it is not a traditional battle of human to human. It is not a traditional battle with guns, swords, and shields. We don’t have a physical enemy that we can see like a person in front of us. In some cases, we are not even sure what we are fighting against. But we know that we are in a battle, and it is a distinctly spiritual battle. It is a battle for our hearts, minds, and souls.

And as we fight this battle, we are aware that we are in that continual battle between good and evil. And as this battle goes on, there is a very real commander, Satan, who is at work to destroy, to bring down, to ruin the people and the cause of Jesus Christ. And he will use any tactic he can to do so. (like division, bitterness, anger, distractions, comfortability and complacency, apathy, busyness). And his tactics aren’t limited to bad things that we can easily pick out (see last point). They can also be good things that are seemingly innocent. Anything that can take our eyes off of Christ and put them on us, he will use.

One effective tactic out there that he uses is to convince people that there is no battle. That the battle is over-rated. Not really real. Just something that people use as a crutch when things aren’t going well. I don’t say this judgementally, but this morning if you are believing that the battle doesn’t exist, that is all the more proof that it does and that the enemy is real.
What does Paul say though? Put on the full armour of God, be fully protected by Him, adopt a position of finding strength in Him, and when the day of battle comes (the evil day), you will have done everything you can to stand, and stand in victory you will.

APPLICATION QUESTION: Is your life a reflection of victory, or a reflection of defeat? If it is the later, what do you need to do to change that? Who should you be going to?

So what?

As we follow Jesus, it is not always an easy journey. The reality is that we are engaged in a conflict on a spiritual level. It is a conflict that has been going on since the beginning of the ages, and one that will continue until Jesus returns again to end the battle once and for all, and declare His final judgement. In the mean time, we have an enemy whose game plan is scheming, deception, and being a con man. We have an enemy who desires to bring us down in defeat. And in all of the conflict, it is easy to feel tired. It is easy to feel weak. And there are many days where we are wanting to be finding strength so that we can carry on. The good news is that as we turn to God and trust Him, and put on His armour and His protection, we will find the strength we need, He will make us strong in Him so that we can stand, and having done everything to stand, we can and will stand in victory.

The ultimate good news in all of this is that as we stand strong, fully protected in His armour, we look forward to the day where it comes to reality that because of what Jesus did (which we celebrated this morning with Communion), it beomces fully realized that the battle has already been won. Even though Satan right now is doing whatever He can to try and mess things up and mess you up, his days are numbered, the end is coming, and he knows it. So today, with that in mind, as we trust in God, we follow Jesus, and we allow Him to clothe us in His protection and make us strong in Him, we can stand in the victory that has already been won through Jesus, and the victory that will be unleashed when Jesus comes again.
-> Remember:
1) His protection comes from Him
2) His protection shows us what is true and false
3) His protection is what gives us strength to fight the enemy


This week, our church family (because you are all family no matter how old you are or who you live with) challenge is two part:

Make a suit of body armour. Post pictures of you making it on our facebook page #HMCFAMILYCHALLENGE. There are points for the most original, most creative, or most artistic suit of body armour. This is a contest. And the winning submission gets a prize.

In order to be eligible, you need to do this part too. As you are making your armour, talk as a family about the ways and the situations in which the Armour of God can protect you. And if you are doing this on your own, maybe write a journal about it.