THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES
Intro: Ill. This following story is told by Leroy Eims about
the time when he was serving in the Marines in the
South Pacific during World War II: "Shortly after we hit
the beach, our armored amphibious tank took two
artillery shells broadside. We immediately evacuated
our disabled vehicle and darted from hole to hole
toward the enemy airstrip, which we were to take.
"The sergeant began to check on us to make sure
that we were OK. He crawled over to me and asked,
`You all right, Eims?'
"I answered, `Yeah, I'm OK, Sarge.'
"He looked at me and asked, `Eims, where is your
"I felt the top of my head and answered, `Must be in
the tank, Sarge.'
"`Where's your duty belt?' Our duty belts carried
ammunition for our rifles, a canteen of water, and a
"`Must be in the tank, Sarge.'
"`As a matter of fact, Eims, where's your rifle?' He
looked at me with disgust and pity. Because of our
hasty departure from the amphibious tank, I was
dressed about the same way that I would be dressed
for a game of volleyball. And there I was, hopping from
hole to hole, from tree to tree!
This story reveals the truth about the modern
church. Most Christians have forgotten that the
Christian life is not a playground, but a battlefield. As a
result, very few of the Lord's people are armed,
equipped and ready to wage spiritual battle. Whether
we ever believe it or not, we are engaged in spiritual
warfare. If we are to be successful in our work for the
Lord Jesus, then we must be prepared for that battle
and be ready to go to war.
In this passage, we are given insight into the battle
we are engaged in and into the weapons with which we
are to fight this battle. My friends, we are in the fight of
our lives! If we are to do what the Scriptures say and
"stand", v. 11, 13, 14, then we must know how to
prepare ourselves for this battle. Here, Paul reveals
some aspects of the battle in which we find ourselves
this evening. I just want to remind you tonight that we
are involved in The Fight Of Our Lives and we must
know how we are to prepare to ourselves to be effective
in that fight. Allow me to share with you the aspects of
this fight that are revealed in this passage.
I. V. 10b-12 OUR ENEMY IN THIS FIGHT
A. v. 11 Our Enemy's Name - This name is the
Devil! This is a word that means "slanderer,
accuser." We get our word diabolical from it.
His name reveals his character. Since he made
his first appearance upon the pages of the Bible,
the devil has been in the business of lying,
slandering and accusing the people of God,
Gen. 3:1-6; Job 1, 2.
B. V. 11-12 Our Enemy's Nature - These two
verses tell us two things we need to keep in mind
concerning this enemy.
1. V. 11 He Is A Shrewd Enemy - The word
"wiles" in verse 11 is the same word from
which we get our English word "method". It
refers to craftiness and trickery. In
Ephesians 4:14, it is translated "lie in wait."
It gives the image of a hunter disguising
himself in order to capture his prey. What a
perfect picture of the devil! Remember what
the Bible tells us about him, 1 Pet. 5:8; 2
Cor. 11:14. Satan will pull out all the stops to
trip you up!
2. V. 12 He Is A Spiritual Enemy - Too often,
we are guilty of fighting the wrong foe! We
will get at odds with our fellow believers,
when the real enemy is the devil! He is a
master at sowing discord among the
brethren. We need to remember that our
fight this evening is a spiritual battle.
(Ill. The devil might work through people at
times to get to us and cause us to stumble,
but the real battle is fought on a spiritual
level. We must never attack other people!
Our battle is with an unseen army of spiritual
enemies lead by the devil himself.)
(Ill. Since our enemy is a spiritual enemy,
some might wonder how we go about
knowing how to fight him. This story from
WWII concerning General George C. Patton
will help us see it a little more clearly.
Patton's troops and tanks were engaged in a
successful counterattack of German forces
under General Erwin Rommel. Patton is
reported to have shouted in the thick of the
battle, "I read your book, Rommel! I read
your book!" And that he did. In Rommel's
book Infantry Attacks, the famed "Desert
Fox" carefully detailed his military strategy.
And Patton, having read it and knowing what
to expect, planned his moves accordingly.
Satan has authored no book, but God has
fully exposed our enemy's tactics in His Holy
Word. Study it and plan your defense. The
key to defeating the devil is understanding
how he works. And the secret to that is
reading about him in the Word of God, 2
I. Our Enemy In This Fight
II. V. 10 OUR ENERGY IN THIS FIGHT
(Ill. The Bible makes it clear in these verses that our
goal as Christian soldiers is that of standing. This
word refers to something that is firmly fixed. It
speaks of people who do not waiver. If we are to
stand in this the day of battle, then we must not only
know our enemy, but we must possess energy for
the battle. Verse 10, gives some much needed
insight into this matter of our spiritual energy.)
A. The Source Of Our Energy - We are told here
that the source of our energy is not within
ourselves. That is good to know, because there
are times when my energy runs low. We are
told, however, that we are to "be strong in the
Lord and in the power of His might." This
means that we draw our strength from the
"power of His might." This sounds redundant
on the surface, but when you understand that
the word "might" means "force, strength and
ability", and that the word "power" refers to
God's "dominion and sovereign ability to
exercise His power." Then it is easy to see how
the Lord can strengthen and energize those who
place their trust in Him.
B. The Scope Of Our Energy - When a believer's
faith is in God, then the Lord's power becomes
the power of that believer! If the church could
ever grasp the truth that we are as strong as that
in which we trust, it would revolutionize the
(Ill. Let me illustrate. I cannot fly, but when I put
myself in an airplane and yield to its power,
suddenly, I have the ability to soar into the air. I
cannot run 65 miles per hour, but when I get into
my car and yield to its power, I suddenly have
the ability to achieve speeds that I could never
achieve on my own. Those are poor illustrations,
but when my faith is in God and in His power,
then His strength becomes my strength. His
power becomes my power. That is why the Bible
says what it does to those who live by faith:
Ephesians 3:20, "Now unto him that is able to
do exceeding abundantly above all that we
ask or think, according to the power that
worketh in us,"
Mark 11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto
them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say
unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this
mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast
into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart,
but shall believe that those things which he
saith shall come to pass; he shall have
whatsoever he saith.
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst
believe, all things are possible to him that
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He
that believeth on me, the works that I do shall
he do also; and greater works than these
shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
C. The Strength Of Our Energy - Ill. It enables us
to stand, 1 Cor. 15:58. So that when the battles
are all over and we go home to be with the Lord
in His heaven, we can leave this world like Paul
did, 2 Tim. 4:7. God's power will be our power
and we will be able to stand for Him in the day of
battle! We all know that too many aren't
standing, they are falling by the wayside! I don't
want to fall, I want to stand!
(Ill. "During the War Between the States," writes
Gary Redding, "a Union solder from Ohio was
shot in the arm during of the battle of Shiloh. His
captain saw he was wounded and barked an
order: 'Gimme your gun, private, and get to the
"The private handed over his rifle and ran
toward the north, seeking safety. But after
covering two or three hundred yards, he came
upon another skirmish. Then he ran to the east
and into another part of the battle. Then he ran
west but encountered more fighting there.
"Finally, he ran back to the front lines,
shouting: 'Gimme back my gun, cap'n. There
ain't no rear to this battle!"
When it comes to spiritual warfare, "there ain't
no rear "!
Friends, there is no where to run to! The
battle rages all around us. The best we can do
is place our faith in the awesome power of God
and stand! Ill. Shammah - 2 Sam. 23:11-12!)
I. Our Enemy In This Fight
II. Our Energy In This Fight
III. V. 11a; 13-18 OUR EQUIPMENT IN THIS FIGHT
(Ill. It has been said that a soldier is no better than
his equipment. Paul has told us about our enemy
and about our energy. Now, he takes the time to
speak concerning our equipment. He lets us know
that we know all about our enemy. We are blessed
with boundless energy and we have the best
equipment that any army in history has known.
A. V. 11a; 13-17a Equipment That Is Designed
To Defend - The image that is given here would
have been familiar to every person in the
Ephesian church. Paul is describing the armor
of the average Roman soldier. Note: This was
not the armor of the super-soldier, but the
common, run of the mill, every day soldier. For
these soldiers to be effective in battle, they need
to be protected on the battlefield. Paul uses the
image of their armor to teach us about how we
need to dress up for the day of battle.
1. V. 14a The Girdle Of Truth - This girdle
encircled the waist and served to stabilize the
body, protect the mid-section and provide the
soldier with a place to restrain his garments
so that his movements in the heat of battle
would be unhindered.
(Ill. For the believer, this refers to knowing
the "truth" of the Bible. Jesus promised us
that the truth had the power to make us free,
John 8:32. Knowing the truth will stabilize
us, protect us and prevent us from being
tripped up in the battles of life. This reminds
us that we are to walk in the truth!)
2. V. 14b The Breastplate Of Righteousness
-This refers to the leather body armor that
was worn to protect the vital, tender areas of
the body. Specifically, the heart is in mind
(Ill. For the believer, this refers to
righteousness of life. We are declared
righteous when we trust Jesus as Savior, 2
Cor. 5:21, but we are commanded to
practice righteousness as a habit of life, 1
Pet. 1:16. When we live holy, consecrated
lives before the Lord, we are less prone to
attacks from the devil. Our hearts are
guarded and protected from his slings and
arrows. This reminds us that we are to live in
3. V. 15 The Shoes Of The Gospel - Roman
soldiers wore sandals that had nails driven
through the bottoms to provide the soldier
with the surest of footing on the battlefield.
He did not have to worry about his feet
slipping in the heat of the battle, for he was
(Ill. For the believer this reminds us that we
are to be well grounded in the things of God.
We are to be sure of our own conversion and
of the fundamentals of the faith. We need to
now what we believe and why so that we will
be on a sound foundation when the battle
comes against us. Such a sure-footed stand
would serve to give us peace in the battles of
life. This also pictures the soldier being
ready to mach into battle. His feet were shod
in preparation for service. So too, the child of
God must be ready to march forward at the
Commander's order, 2 Pet. 3:15.)
4. V. 16 The Shield Of Faith - This is not the
little round shield, but it refers to the large,
rectangular shield behind which a soldier
could be safe from the fiery darts of the
enemy. Often, Roman soldiers would soak
these leather shields in water before battle.
This enabled the shields to be more effective
in quenching the flaming missiles of the
(Ill. The believer is reminded that when he
goes into battle, he must have in his
possession the shield. Our shield is not
leather, but our shield is faith. It is a shield
that is able to quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked. It is a shield that is well soaked in
the water of the Word, Rom. 10:17. It is a
shield that will never fail nor expose the
carrier! Why? Because faith allows us to
stand in the battle and receive the victory
regardless of the odds we face, Heb. 11:1-2!)
(Ill. Note its importance: We are told that we
are to have this article "above all". Without
faith we cannot serve God, nor can we
please Him. Even when some of the other
articles of our armor are missing or damaged,
let us be sure that faith is always at hand!)
5. V. 17a The Helmet Of Salvation - The
helmet was given to the Roman soldier to
protect his brain. Regardless of how well the
rest of him was protected, a blow to the brain
rendered the entire soldier ineffective.
(Ill. If we are to be effective in the battle for
the glory of God, then we must first be saved.
Salvation provides the helmet that is
necessary to protect our minds from the
attacks of the enemy. When we are saved,
we are transformed! It is this transformation
that allows us to think right thoughts and
wage holy war. The mind must be protected!
As we fight the battles, we must never forget
what the Lord did for us and in us when He
saved us by His grace. The fact of our
conversion will be like a helmet protecting the
mind from the devil!)
B. V. 17b-18 Equipment That Is Designed To
Defeat - Not all the armor was designed to
protect the soldier. Sometimes, the soldier was
required to take the battle to the enemy.
Therefore, the soldier possessed two offensive
weapons that allowed him to strike back when he
1. V. 17a The Sword Of The Spirit - This refers
to the short, straight sword carried by every
Roman soldier. It was very effective in hand
to hand combat and was essential to the
survival of the soldier.
(Ill. Of course, we are told that our sword is
the Word of God. It is the Bible that we are
to use to attack the enemy and see him fall.
It is the Word of God that enables us to
conquer him in every battle we face. It is
essential for the Christian soldier to be
proficient in the use of this weapon. How?
By study! By hard work! By putting it to use!)
(Ill. The primary Greek word for the Word is
"logos". This refers to the totality of the Word
of God. However, the word used here is the
word "rhema". While "logos" refers to the
entire armory of the Bible, "rhema" refers to
just the right sword for that battle. This is
seen in the life of Jesus, Matt. 4:1-11. When
He faced the devil on the Mount of
Temptation. Jesus strolled into the armory of
the Word and entered the weapon room
labeled Deuteronomy. From that room, he
selected three weapons to use on the devil
and He defeated him!
So it is with us, when we go into battle
with the enemy, there will be just the right
sword for that particular battle. Let us
become so familiar with the armory that we
can select the precise weapon to use in each
battle we face. As the Word of God is used
as the sword of the Spirit, we will see the
enemy sliced to shreds in every battle we
2. V. 18 The Briefing Room Of The Spirit -
Another advantage we have is that have the
ability to be in direct communication with our
commanding officer at all times. This has
always been a problem on battlefields.
However, in the spiritual realm, this problem
has been forever solved. The greatest
offensive weapon we have is the ability to call
on the Lord our God when we are in the thick
of the battle. He is able to communicate His
orders to us on the spot and we can
implement them immediately. I am
convinced that it gives us a decided
advantage over the devil!
Never be guilty of neglecting the
awesome power of prayer! Prayer brings you
into the presence of God and it allows the
Lord to work through you in a remarkable
way. Prayer unleashes the power of God in
the life of the believer!
Conc: As believers in Jesus Christ, we are engaged in
spiritual warfare with unseen wicked forces. To
overcome our enemy in the power of the Holy Spirit, we
must remain resolute in our confidence in God and
determine never to accept defeat.
A story from the Korean war illustrates this attitude.
As enemy forces advanced, Baker Company was cut
off from the rest of their unit. For several hours no word
was heard, even though headquarters repeatedly tried
to communicate with the missing troops. Finally, a faint
signal was received. Straining to hear, the corpsman
asked, "Baker Company, do you read me?"
"This is Baker Company," came the reply.
"What is your situation?" asked the corpsman.
"The enemy is to the east of us, the enemy is to the
north of us, the enemy is to the west of us, the enemy
is to the south of us." Then after a brief pause, the
sergeant from Baker Company said with determination,
"The enemy is not going to get away from us now!"
Although surrounded and outnumbered, he was
thinking of victory, not defeat. My friends, we are not
fighting for victory this evening. We are fighting from
victory! That makes all the difference in the world! Our
Commander-in-chief has already won all the victory for
us. All we have to do is get up, dress up in the armor,
stand up and line up awaiting our marching orders. He
will lead us to victory. Therefore, let us avail ourselves
of the tools we have been given and let us learn to
stand. We are in the fight of our lives, but the victory
belongs to us, 1 Cor. 15:57!