The Necessity of Christian Warfare

The Necessity of Christian Warfare
Posted on May 12, 2015  in Bible, Christian Warfare, Theology, William Gurnall
As you know, Sean is reading William Gurnall’s book, ‘The Christian in Complete Armour,’ which is a 600 page exposition of Ephesians 6:10-20 written in the 17th century.  A few weeks ago I decided to begin reading D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13 entitled, ‘The Christian Warfare.’  My reading choice weighs in at just under 400 pages of 20th century writing.  Between the two of us we are aiming to share various insights regarding the nature of Christian warfare and the spiritual battle in the Christian life.
Lloyd-Jones’ book is made up of twenty-six messages dealing with the various outworkings of these four verses.  Lloyd-Jones spends much of his time teaching on: the enemy, the origins of evil, assurance of salvation, quenching the Spirit, temptation and sin, worry and anxiety, worldliness, and many other topics derived from the theme of these verses.
In his introductory comments Lloyd-Jones reminds his audience that this section of text is not an arbitrary add-on to what Paul has previously written.   These words are crucial to the message of Paul’s letter; they are a necessary extension of what Paul has previously said.
The first three chapters in Ephesians remind us about the great doctrines of the Christian faith.  These chapters tell us who we are, what we are, and how we have become what we are.  Starting in chapter four Paul pleads with us to live in a manner worthy of our calling (Eph 4:1).  In light of the fore-mentioned great doctrines, we are to put on the new self (4:24), be filled with the Spirit (5:18), and submit to one another (5:21).
It is at this point in Paul’s writing (chapter six, verse ten) that Christian warfare is pulled into the mix of his exhortation.  Lloyd-Jones comments on the flow of Ephesians by saying,
“He [Paul] has reminded us of what we are, he has shown us the possibilities that belong to our new position, and there is no limit, no end, to them…Limitless! Endless! ‘Oh,’ you say, ‘how wonderful!’ Wait a minute! says Paul.  Let me remind you that you have to live that kind of life in a world in which there is a tremendous power working against you, that you will be engaged in a terrible conflict with the devil and all his forces.  If you do not realize that, he says, and take the appropriate action with respect to it, you will undoubtedly and inevitably be defeated. So, he is compelled to introduce this subject.”
The subject of Christian warfare should be an essential concern of every believer!  Why?  Because there is a power at work in the world that is set against us.  This is a subject not often discussed among Christians, but it is of vital importance to Christian faith.  We MUST be aware that we have an enemy and are in the midst of a battle!
With this said Lloyd-Jones leaves his audience with four general comments about these verses.
1. The Christian life, in the first place, is a warfare; it is a struggle.
2. This is a warfare that you and I have to wage.
3. The nature of our call is a call to battle. This is a serious call – it is resolute, it is a call to fight!
4. This is a battle you have to keep fighting – there is no discharge in this battle.
Let us all strive to heed the priority of this biblical matter.  The Scripture is full of references to the reality of the spiritual battle.  I pray that we would be a church that grows in our resolve to fight, daily, as soldiers in the Lord’s army!
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

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