International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday February 22, 2015
Purpose: To receive the call and strength to withstand evil
Bible Lesson: Ephesians 6:10-20
Ephesians 6:10-20 (CEB)
(10) Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength. (11) Put on God’s armor so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. (12) We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens.(13) Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. (14) So stand with the belt of truth around your waist, justice as your breastplate, (15) and put shoes on your feet so that you are ready to spread the good news of peace. (16) Above all, carry the shield of faith so that you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. (17) Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.
(18) Offer prayers and petitions in the Spirit all the time. Stay alert by hanging in there and praying for all believers. (19) As for me, pray that when I open my mouth, I’ll get a message that confidently makes this secret plan of the gospel known. (20) I’m an ambassador in chains for the sake of the gospel. Pray so that the Lord will give me the confidence to say what I have to say.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
As I write my commentary for this week’s lesson, word has come out of Libya that 21 Christians have been beheaded by the Islamic State or ISIS. The news of such atrocities amplifies the horror of the evil forces we (the church) are fighting today.
To deny that the devil is pulling out all of his tricks at this stage in history, would be to bury your head in the sand. For better than 15 centuries the church has been fighting the evil forces of the devil as proclaimed by the Islamic radicals. The Islamic nations today have declared war on all Christians and Jews. I am well aware that the Crusaders did not always follow the teaching of Jesus, and were brutal in the way they handled those that were trying to wipe out the Jewish population at that time.
What the Crusaders did for 2 centuries, pales when compared to the 15 centuries of declared war against all Christians and Jews.
The churches fight is still against the evil forces of cosmic darkness and spiritual powers mentioned by Paul in this week’s text. It is for this reason that as Christians we need to pick up and put on the armor provided to each of us by God. The evil day spoken of is here now.
Paul in this letter to the church at Ephesus gives us instructions on how to battle the evil ones. The belt of truth, the breastplate of justice, shoes ready to travel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and most importantly the sword of truth. Interestingly only the sword of truth is both an offensive and defensive weapon.
In addition to what we put on our bodies, we also need to prepare our spiritual selves. Paul says we need to be in constant prayer for all believers. But we especially need to be in prayer for our Christian leaders that they would assume responsible roles as Paul did. Our Christian leaders need to take an active part in the conversation and they need to act in confidence that their actions are in accord with God’s desire and teaching.
The time to make a stand for Christ is now, we can no longer allow ourselves to fall victim of the devil’s tricks. We have both the power and righteousness required to resist the devil and the armies of darkness. The enemy is defeated by our faith, which extinguishes the flaming arrows.
As the old hymn says, “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.”