Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 39
Now we’ll go right back to where we left off in our last lesson, and that will be in Ephesians chapter 6, beginning with verse 10. As most of you know we as a class are not affiliated with any particular group, most of us attend our own different denomination each week. So this is truly just a Bible study that has been going on for many years now, and since 1991 we have shared this Bible study, with your help, to our television audience, and God always seems to supply our needs. So we again thank you for helping us pay the bills and for your kind letters we get each day, we just can’t thank you enough. I think most of you realize that Iris is totally a “help mete” in this ministry, and we always appreciate the fact that 99 % of our letters begin with “Dear Les and Iris.” And I appreciate that so much because I just couldn’t do it without her.
I mentioned back in our study of the Corinthian letters, that you’ll notice that every once in a while Paul just seems to shift gears, and will go from one subject to something seemingly totally different, and here is one of them. Now in the last two lessons he came out of the relationship between the husband and the wife, based on love, and the comparison of the love of Christ and the Church. Then he carried on into chapter 6 with that same attitude between the parents and their children, but now we come into something totally different. Now we’re going to cover the territory of dealing with our adversary Satan and the powers that be. Now verse 10.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Now you have no idea how many letters and phone calls I get, that ask, “Is it Scriptural that we are to bind Satan?” Personally I’ve never heard it, and it sure isn’t in this Book. There is no way that we humans can bind Satan. Satan is a spirit being, and God in the power of an angel will one day, as we see in Revelation chapter 19, bind him and put him in the pit for a thousand years. But there is no way that we can bind Satan today, nor are we instructed to. I pointed out to one individual that the instruction as we see right here is to resist him, to oppose him, but there’s no way we’re going to bind him. Look at verse 11 again.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Now the first thing you always have to do in Bible study is think of a situation way back where we have a perfect example of what Paul is talking about here. I like to do this just to make people think. Where you can you think of an instant where someone resisted Satan? Well the Lord did in Matthew chapter 4. Let’s go back there for a moment and look at it. Now if Satan were to have been bound, then the Lord would have done it right here, but He doesn’t, but what does He do? He resists him. And how does he resist old Satan? With the Word of God. And it’s no different for us today. We can not bind him, but we can resist him by the Word of God! And here it is in Matthew chapter 4.
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (or tested) of the devil. 2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 3. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Now we know the Lord could have done it. but He certainly wasn’t going to do at Satan’s command, so what does He do? He withstands him, He resists him, and look how He does it.
“But he answered and said, It is written, (He quotes Scripture) Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Alright now you come through these various temptations and every time, what does Jesus quote? The Scripture! Now that’s our defense, do you see that? Now coming back to the Book of Ephesians, as you look at these verses in whole, there is not one word in here that we are to attack Satan. All of the attributes of this event are defensive, and that’s all we can do. We can withstand him, James says we can resist him, and he will flee from us, so here is where we have to have a knowledge of the Scriptures in order to confront Satan if and when he approaches us.
So we’re to be prepared because he will attack at one time or another. You know, I don’t think we have to feel that he’s constantly attacking us day in and day out. I told someone the other day, and it probably shocked them a little bit, that I have more trouble with my old sin nature than I do with Satan. Isn’t that right? It’s our old sin nature that gives us the most problems. Satan, I think, is periodic in his attacks on the believer. But our old Adamic nature is a 24 hour battle, because that’s where we’re in a constant warfare. Now moving on to verse 12.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Now let’s come back to Romans chapter 8, because the only way I can teach is to compare Scripture with Scripture, because it usually explains itself better than I can. Here Paul writes in the conclusion of this great chapter of Romans 8 about our security as a believer.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, (creation) shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now come back to the Book of Ephesians. In other words, these principalities, and powers that Paul speaks of are in Satan’s domain. These are the powers of darkness that Paul warns us about in Ephesians, and again he does not tell us to attack them, but rather we’re to resist them, we’re to have a defense against them, and be ready with the Scriptures to resist. We always have to understand that it’s not flesh and blood that we defend against. Paul knew that better than anyone. As he writes this letter to the Ephesians believers, where is he? Well he’s in prison in Rome, and whether it was this exact moment, or a year or two later, who became the most awful emperor that the Roman empire had ever experienced? Nero. It was under Nero of course that Paul was finally put to death.
Now I have to feel as I study some of these things that some of the freedom that Paul experienced in his earthly prison experience was because there was another emperor – Nero came in a little later. But we do know that Nero was the emperor when Paul was put to death. Nero was wicked, and like Ahab in the Old Testament, and he also had a wife that was worse than he was. She happened to be a wife that had been a proselyte of Judaism, and she of course would listen to the Judaisers who detested the apostle Paul, and wanted his life to end. So she egged Nero on in a lot of his wicked things.
So Paul writes from a position of full understanding what it is to be up against the powers and principalities and the wickedness, and darkness of this world. He knew what it was, as he was talking from first hand experience. But on the other hand, Paul never gave up, Paul never despaired, but his makeup was constantly up beat as we’ll see when we get into the Book of Philippians where his comments were rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, over and over, in spite of his horrible circumstances, and so it’s an encouragement to us.
My, we have no idea what the apostle had to go through, but we do get a little picture of the wickedness, and the things that are taking place in the realm of the principalities and powers, because all you have to do is pick up your daily papers. What is causing the murders and the random violence that’s sweeping not only America, but the whole world? Well it’s the Satanic powers, and the things that are constantly producing such wickedness. Now verse 13, and Paul begins with the word “Wherefore,” since we’re dealing with something beyond the physical, this is something that is in area of the invisible. And that of course is where Satan’s domain is.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Now another point I like to make is, if Paul is in prison in Rome, who is constantly in his presence? Roman soldiers, as one of them was usually chained to him. So he had a first hand view of the operations of a Roman solder. It’s unique to Paul I think, that he uses the things that were around him in the everyday world to make his point even though it was Holy Spirit inspired. For example, when he tells us to run the race, what is he making the analogy with? Well the Olympics. He gives us the same background that the Olympic runners had to prepare to run their race, and so do we have to prepare to run our race for the Lord.
Now of course he’s using the Roman solder to make a point. These soldiers were known for their ability in battle. Now as he comes down through these verses he’s going to literally look at that Roman soldier, prepared for altercation of one sort or another. He may not have had all his battlefield armour on, but yet Paul was aware of all the things that Roman soldier needed before he went into battle. He was seeing it around him all the time. Paul was such a tremendous witness for the Gospel that even these pagan Romans soldiers, as they took their place as his personal guard, by the time they rotated out to another place of service, what where they? They were believers!
So this is why he could say in the Book of Philippians chapter 1:13, that the Gospel had reached even unto the palace. I mean this is hard to comprehend, that under those horrible pagan circumstances, yet the man in the power of the Holy Spirit was constantly winning these men to Christ, who in turn were going into other places of duty and were becoming a testimony as well.
“So that my bonds (those chains to which he was attached to a Roman soldier) in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;”
That is throughout Rome. Now go over to chapter 4 and this just builds on verse 13 we just looked at. Here Paul is closing the letter to the Philippians and says the following.
“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”
That’s why I don’t think Nero was yet the emperor, because Nero would never have allowed this. But because of Paul’s testimony to these soldiers who would come in and be his personal guard, and when they were rotated out to other places of service, they were actually penetrating the household of the emperor. Now some of course feel that this was limited to the Roman headquarters of that garrison, rather than the actual palace of the emperor. But whatever, Paul was having such an impact on those Roman soldiers as they would come into to guard him 24 hours a day that by the time they left that tour of duty they went out as believers. I think that they went to the ends of the Roman empire, and that is why that Paul could write to Titus in chapter 2 the following.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath (already) appeared to all men.”
Now just stop and think about that. What a testimony that man had even as a prisoner, winning those pagans around him to a knowledge of salvation. Now if you’ll come back to Ephesians chapter 6, we find that Paul writes from first hand experience of the preparations for battle that the Roman soldier had to go through. Also that all of these things that Paul mentions are defensive weapons. There’s only one offensive weapon mentioned and it is also used defensively, and that is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Now verse 14.
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth,…”
The loins is the upper legs, and that of course was to deflect the spears and the arrows of the enemy. Paul is going to bring that now into the Spiritual realm, and so as the Roman soldier had his loins protected with some sort of armour, we too are to have our spiritual loins girt about with truth. Now those of you who have heard me teach very long know there’s another term that we can always substitute for the word “truth” and not do violence to the Scripture, and what is it? The name of Christ!
If we’re literally protected by the presence of Christ, then Satan can’t touch us. You know as Iris and I travel a lot, and as we put the nose of the car into traffic, we have learned to just ask the Lord to just hedge us about with His presence. When that’s there nothing can touch us. Now we run across horrible accidents constantly, and during this last trip we made we came across four of them. That’s enough to just curl your hair, but we have to constantly rest in that knowledge that we’re in His protective care, and Satan can’t touch us. Always remember Satan can’t touch us without God permitting it to happen. So here again we are to have our lions girt about with the very presence of Christ, the Truth. Let me show you in Ephesians chapter 1.
“In whom ye also trusted, (in Christ in verse 12) after that ye heard the word of truth, (an again I can put the term Christ in there for truth, which is) the gospel of your salvation:(that’s when we became a believer. When we heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel) in whom also after that ye believed, (and nothing else. Then after you believed) ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,”
So the whole concept of Paul’s teaching is, “That Christ is the very Truth of God, He is the Word of God, and we are to be surrounded with His very presence. Now the last part of Ephesians 6:14:
“…an having on the breastplate of righteousness:”
Now those of you who remember when we taught back in Romans chapter 3, how do we receive the righteousness of God? When we believe the Gospel! Now I had to do a little research on this because I never want to put something in here that’s not here. But the breastplate of the Roman soldier that Paul was looking at as he was writing this did not just cover the upper chest as we think of a bullet proof vest today. But the breastplate actually went to the lower part of the torso where the legging then would pick up. So this breast plate of righteousness was that which covered the whole torso of the Roman soldier. Now let’s look at Romans chapter 3 for a moment. You’ll recognize the verses because we’ve used them often. And remember the breastplate is righteousness! This is our security, it’s our defense against the principalities and powers. Now verse 21 and 22.
“But now (that we’re under Grace rather than Law) the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:…”
What is unto all and upon all? Righteousness! God’s righteousness is imputed to us, it covers us, it’s our defense against the powers of darkness. This righteousness has been placed upon all them that believe! Another one I always like to use from the Old Testament is found in Isaiah chapter 61, and verse 10. Now this is a Jewish prophet, but he is also writing by the inspiration of the Spirit the same as Paul does.
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he (God) hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,…”
Do you see the analogy? Oh as God’s righteousness has been imputed, it becomes the breastplate that Paul talks about in Ephesians chapter 6. And it’s our defense against the powers of the evil one. Now coming back to Ephesians for just a moment, let’s look at verse 15.
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”
Now can you imagine a Roman soldier out on the battle field in briars and sharp rocks with nothing to protect his feet? Of course they had to be protected, otherwise he would have been powerless against the enemy. But we too must have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. There’s a couple of good verses for that where we have the feet referred to in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament,. Always remember, the feet are beautiful in the sight of God when we take the Gospel to other people.