Ephesians Part One: Dive
IDENTITY BEFORE WAR
You can’t get to Ephesians 6 without going through chapters 1-5. That sounds stupid doesn’t it, of course, I can jump to Ephesians 6 and just read that without reading Chapters 1-5, but for me, you shouldn’t go to Ephesians 6 without knowing what is written in Chapters 1 to 5.
The best-known section in Ephesians is chapter 6:10-20 Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. This is the warfare section and we all want the victory so we happily learn how to take up the whole armour of God against the devil. But did you notice the first word of that section, it says FINALLY. You are not supposed to jump straight to Ephesians 6:10-20 this is the final instalment of an incredible letter that builds us up to stand against the enemy in warfare.
Is your warfare not working, do you feel defeated by the enemy more than you feel the incredible overcomer that we are called to be? Let me fill you in on a simple answer, you went to chapter 6 without knowing chapters 1 to 5. You went to the FINALLY without knowing what came before. As you read the Word never miss the key terms like therefore, finally, in conclusion. If you want the keys to these, go back and find out what they are the finally of, what are they the conclusion of, get the whole picture.
So, what is 6:10-20 the finally of? Chapters 1-5 of course and what does that contain, chapters 1 to 5 contains the declarations of your identity. This identity is what you are to stand on when making your stand against the enemy.
As you read Ephesians, write a list of what you are in Christ. This is your identity, In Him, and in this identity, you find a solid foundation upon which you stand when the enemy comes against you. When I was young I learnt Ephesians 6:10-20 off by heart, I tried my hardest to war against the enemy with the whole armour of God on, every morning I would act out putting on the armor of God, but I didn’t have the solid foundation of my identity in Christ and I would find myself defeated over and over again. What was I doing wrong? It is upon Him and the identity that he has given us that we stand against the enemy, we are going to find out next week that the armour of God is in fact just accepting the traits that Christ won for us on the cross on. If we don’t know who we are then we won’t fight with the strength that God has given us.
Let me show you the declarations of identity in Ephesians. Let’s start in Ephesians 1:3 we start with the declaration that we are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Identity Foundation 1: You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places
Put that into your foundation of who you are, so if the enemy comes against you and says ‘you do not have spiritual blessing’ you can reply that is part of my identity – Ephesians 1:3 says I am blessed with every spiritual blessing. Notice the tense, it doesn’t say you are being blessed or will be blessed it says you ARE blessed. You have it. It is yours! So, we don’t pray begging God for spiritual blessing, we already have that, we thank God for the spiritual blessing that we have.
Next is 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.
Identity Foundation 2: I am chosen by God before the foundation of the world
You are chosen before you did anything before you were born, He chose you. You didn’t work to be chosen, he chose you before the foundation of the world. So, when the enemy comes in and says ‘you are nothing, worthless to God’ you can say Identity Foundation number 2; Ephesians 1:4 says I am chosen by God before the foundation of the world.
Let’s look at one more and one of the most important:
Ephesians 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
Identity Foundation 3: I am seated in heavenly realms with Christ
How amazing is this! You are not in the midst of your enemies, you are not overcome by them, you are seated above them in heavenly realms right next to Jesus. See yourself an overcomer, seated in authority with Christ.
Can you see the importance of the identity markers found in the first five chapters of Ephesians to our warfare in chapters 6? Without knowing your identity and what Jesus has done for you, what he has given you and what you are already established in, you will be fighting on shakey ground and fighting for things that you already have. Some Christians wear themselves out fighting the enemy over being holy, blessed, sons and daughters, loved, your inheritance, sealed with the Holy Spirit and God has not called you to fight for that but to stand on the fact that you already are those things.
We are going to go through next week Ephesians 6, standing on your identity and defeating the enemy from the high ground of victory. The battle has been won it is up to us to enforce the victory not refight the battle.
Let me tell you more In Him identity markers found in Ephesians
We have redemption through his blood Ephesians 1:7 – you have been saved and redeemed from your evil ways, stop doubting and live life in the truth of your identity
We have an inheritance Ephesians 1:11
We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit Ephesians 1:13
We have Gods immeasurably great power towards us who believe Ephesians 1:19
Even when we were dead in our trespasses, he made us alive in Christ Ephesians 2:5
We are seated with Him in heavenly places Ephesians 2:6 – let that one sink in - you are seated in heavenly places, you are the head and not the tail, you are in a place of victory already, you are not fighting from the mud you are declaring victory from the high ground
We are his workmanship, created in Christ for good works Ephesians 2:10
And this is only chapter 1 and 2. Can you see the declarations of your identity that Paul has filled Ephesians with? These are not things to come when we get to heaven, these are what we are now in Jesus Christ. Because we are In Him we have these things. Highlight the words IN HIM throughout Ephesians. All of these identity markers are found IN HIM, if you have not given your life to Jesus then that is the first step.
My prayer over you as you read Ephesians is found in Ephesians 1:17 “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of Wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe."
I pray that as you read Ephesians and see all the things you already are, that your confidence would build and your mind would be filled with the declaration of God over your life. Sometimes it is easier to believe the voice of the devil when he tells us we are nothing, God is not with us, he doesn’t love us, he won’t take care of us, we are not blessed, we are worthless. But today I want you to stop believing the lies of the enemy and start believing the declaration of God over your life. It is on that foundation that Ephesians 6 is meant to be read. Paul wanted your identity In Him solid before you started fighting the enemy. It is on the solid foundation of an identity in Jesus Christ, seated in heavenly places that we are to war.
When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness in Luke 4, the first thing he said was “If you are the Son of God,” he questioned Jesus identity before he did anything. Jesus knew that he was the Son of God and that God was well pleased with him, his Baptism was a confirmation of that. Luke 3:22 “You are my beloved Son, with you, I am well pleased.” On that identity and with that as his foundation, Jesus defeated the enemy by quoting the other truths in the Word of God back to Satan. Know your Bible so you can come against him with the truth of God’s word. The Word of God is the sword by which we defeat the enemy.
Ephesians is going to tell you what you were before you were saved and give you instructions on how to live your best life, it screams declarations of what you are now! Stand on the truth of what you are now because everything in life can scream the opposite.