Spiritual Warfare (Part 1 of 2)Ephesians 6:10-20
In military battles, it’s important to gather intelligence about the opposition. Shouldn’t we do the same in spiritual warfare? Listen to Truth For Life as Alistair Begg answers this question and more as we begin a new study in Ephesians 6.
The Danger of Unbelief
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.John 10:28
The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For when a child of God mistrusts His love, His truth, His faithfulness, it is greatly displeasing to Him. How can we ever grieve Him by doubting His upholding grace?
Christian, it is contrary to every promise of God’s precious Word that you would ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could He be true who has said, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”1 What would be the value of the promise—“‘The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you”?2 What truth would there be in Christ’s words—“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand”?3 What value would there be in the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved if one child of God should perish. What value could be placed in the veracity of God, His honor, His power, His grace, His covenant, His oath, if any of those for whom Christ died, and who have put their trust in Him, should nevertheless be cast away?
Banish then those unbelieving fears, which so dishonor God. Arise, shake yourself from the dust, and put on your beautiful clothes. Remember, it is sinful to doubt His Word in which He has promised you that you will never perish. Let the eternal life within you express itself in confident rejoicing.
The gospel bears my spirit up:
A faithful and unchanging God
Lays the foundation for my hope,
In oaths, and promises, and blood.
1) Isaiah 49:15
2) Isaiah 54:10
3) John 10:28-29
Atonement for Unsolved Murders
1“If in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess someone is found slain, lying in the open country, and it is not known who killed him, 2then your elders and your judges shall come out, and they shall measure the distance to the surrounding cities. 3And the elders of the city that is nearest to the slain man shall take a heifer that has never been worked and that has not pulled in a yoke. 4And the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which is neither plowed nor sown, and shall break the heifer's neck there in the valley. 5Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come forward, for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to him and to bless in the name of the Lord, and by their word every dispute and every assault shall be settled. 6And all the elders of that city nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, 7and they shall testify, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it shed. 8Accept atonement, O Lord, for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and do not set the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel, so that their blood guilt be atoned for.’ 9So you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord.
Marrying Female Captives
10“When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.
Inheritance Rights of the Firstborn
15“If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him children, and if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved,1 16then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn, 17but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the firstfruits of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.
A Rebellious Son
18“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
A Man Hanged on a Tree Is Cursed
22“And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.
With God We Shall Do Valiantly
A Song. A Psalm of David.
1My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!1
2Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
3I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
4For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
5Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
6That your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by your right hand and answer me!
7God has promised in his holiness:2
“With exultation I will divide up Shechem
and portion out the Valley of Succoth.
8Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah my scepter.
9Moab is my washbasin;
upon Edom I cast my shoe;
over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
10Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
11Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
12Oh grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
13With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.
Help Me, O Lord My God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
1Be not silent, O God of my praise!
2For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
3They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
4In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.1
5So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.
6Appoint a wicked man against him;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin!
8May his days be few;
may another take his office!
9May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow!
10May his children wander about and beg,
seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
11May the creditor seize all that he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
12Let there be none to extend kindness to him,
nor any to pity his fatherless children!
13May his posterity be cut off;
may his name be blotted out in the second generation!
14May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,
and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!
15Let them be before the Lord continually,
that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth!
16For he did not remember to show kindness,
but pursued the poor and needy
and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
17He loved to curse; let curses come2 upon him!
He did not delight in blessing; may it be far3 from him!
18He clothed himself with cursing as his coat;
may it soak4 into his body like water,
like oil into his bones!
19May it be like a garment that he wraps around him,
like a belt that he puts on every day!
20May this be the reward of my accusers from the Lord,
of those who speak evil against my life!
21But you, O God my Lord,
deal on my behalf for your name's sake;
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
22For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is stricken within me.
23I am gone like a shadow at evening;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24My knees are weak through fasting;
my body has become gaunt, with no fat.
25I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they wag their heads.
26Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love!
27Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O Lord, have done it!
28Let them curse, but you will bless!
They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad!
29May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak!
30With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31For he stands at the right hand of the needy one,
to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.
Israel Refined for God's Glory
1Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,
and who came from the waters of Judah,
who swear by the name of the Lord
and confess the God of Israel,
but not in truth or right.
2For they call themselves after the holy city,
and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
the Lord of hosts is his name.
3“The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
4Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
5I declared them to you from of old,
before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, ‘My idol did them,
my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’
6“You have heard; now see all this;
and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
hidden things that you have not known.
7They are created now, not long ago;
before today you have never heard of them,
lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
8You have never heard, you have never known,
from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
and that from before birth you were called a rebel.
9“For my name's sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried1 you in the furnace of affliction.
11For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name2 be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.
The Lord's Call to Israel
12“Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel, whom I called!
I am he; I am the first,
and I am the last.
13My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I call to them,
they stand forth together.
14“Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The Lord loves him;
he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15I, even I, have spoken and called him;
I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit.
17Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
19your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.”
20Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it out to the end of the earth;
say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock and the water gushed out.
22“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”
The Fall of Babylon
1After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. 2And he called out with a mighty voice,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
3For all nations have drunk1
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
4Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
“Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
5for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities.
6Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
7As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says,
‘I sit as a queen,
I am no widow,
and mourning I shall never see.’
8For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”
9And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,
“Alas! Alas! You great city,
you mighty city, Babylon!
For in a single hour your judgment has come.”
11And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, 12cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, 13cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.2
14“The fruit for which your soul longed
has gone from you,
and all your delicacies and your splendors
are lost to you,
never to be found again!”
15The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,
16“Alas, alas, for the great city
that was clothed in fine linen,
in purple and scarlet,
adorned with gold,
with jewels, and with pearls!
17For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”
And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,
“What city was like the great city?”
19And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out,
“Alas, alas, for the great city
where all who had ships at sea
grew rich by her wealth!
For in a single hour she has been laid waste.
20Rejoice over her, O heaven,
and you saints and apostles and prophets,
for God has given judgment for you against her!”
21Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,
“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence,
and will be found no more;
22and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,
will be heard in you no more,
and a craftsman of any craft
will be found in you no more,
and the sound of the mill
will be heard in you no more,
23and the light of a lamp
will shine in you no more,
and the voice of bridegroom and bride
will be heard in you no more,
for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,
and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.
24And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,
and of all who have been slain on earth.”
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