Background Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-24; Revelation 2:1-7
Lesson Background: The church of Ephesus was founded in 53 A.D. upon Paul return to Jerusalem from his Second Missionary journey. He returned a year later on his Third Missionary trip, and there stayed three years, teaching and preaching with great effectiveness (Acts 19:1-20). As a result, he became very close to them. A few years later, Paul was sent to prison in Rome. While in prison, mainly under house arrest, Paul wrote this letter to the church and sent it by Tychichus. The letter was a letter of encouragement. In this letter, Paul addressed the spiritual battle that believers are engaged in which begins our lesson text.
Empowered by God (Ephesians 6:1012):
Divine Protection (vv. 10-11). “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” With the word “Finally,” Paul reached the conclusion of his letter and recapitulates everything that he has admonished them in his letter. Paul use of the word “Brethren” expresses the intimacy or closeness that he shared with the believers. The phrase “be strong in the Lord” is the Greek present tense meaning “be made strong.” One’s own strength is inadequate to fight spiritual battles that confront us. Believers must constantly stay connected to the source of their strength, the Lord. When we constantly seek the Lord’s strength, we also receive “the power of his might.” Paul literally told the Ephesians to be empowered by the Lord rather than to attempt to fight the battle upon their own strength.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (v. 11).” Paul was encouraging the Ephesians to prepare for combat. Christians are not called to comfort, but called to combat. The spiritual battle that we fight is real, so Paul expresses the urgency for preparation for battle with the command “to put on the whole armour of God.” The words “put on” mean “to make use of” of the complete armor that God provides for his people in our “struggles against the devil.” The word “devil” means slanderer or false accuser. The “devil” or Satan, is an angel who rebelled against God (see Isaiah 14:12-17). Since Satan is a supernatural being, supernatural help is needed to fight him and his fallen angels. The devil’s arsenal is called his “wiles” which refers to his schemes and cunning craftiness.
Unseen Enemies (v. 12). “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Although Paul’s readers no doubt faced hostility from human authorities and others, they needed to know their real battle was not “against flesh and blood” or human beings. Our main enemies are not evil people, but evil spiritual beings. Both “principalities” and “powers” refer to authoritative figures in the demonic realm. The phrase “spiritual wickedness in high places” probably refers to those demons who affect people in high places to commit the vilest acts of immorality.
Outfitted by God (Ephesians 6:13-18).
Fully Equipped (vv.13-17). “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.”
Paul repeated the command to “stand” their ground and then went on to describe the preparations needed to do this.
References: KJV 2022-2023 International Sunday School Lessons, Standard Lesson Commentary,