Ephesians Part Two: Dive
FROM VICTORY BACKWARDS
We have got to be careful in our Christian life that we don’t have “assumed” knowledge only. Our knowledge should come from the revelation we get personally from the Word of God as well as from our Pastors, Podcasts and books. My passion is for people to be living, loving and engaged in the Bible. I think it is dangerous when the only knowledge of the Bible that you have comes from others: what you have heard in a sermon or what you have read in a book. Let me ask you can you quote your favourite preacher, more than you can quote the Word of God? Daily Devotions are great but they are a supplement to reading your Bible, for me so are podcasts and blogs. I would be heartbroken if you just read this blog and didn’t pick up the Bible and engage with it yourself. Our passion is to point you to the Bible and see you transformed, healed and changed by its powerful words, not mine.
Let me explain why I am so passionate about you receiving first-hand wisdom from the Word of God as we jump into studying Ephesians 6:10-20. I was taught when I was younger that if you didn’t pray for your family daily, Satan would have the right to attack them because the blood of Jesus only lasts 24 hours and it won’t protect your family after that! Oh my, as I type this I am so embarrassed that I believed that, but it motivated my life. Daily I would get up and pray in fear that the blood of Jesus would be over my family and that he would protect them. My prayers were motivated by fear and based on a lie. So one day I was on holidays and I forgot to pray, my sister rang, and to this day I remember the sounds of the screams as she told my Dad that my nephew had died in his sleep. As soon as I heard her, the thought came into my head “it’s your fault, you didn’t pray protection over them, he died because you didn’t pray.” For the next 6 months, I beat myself up so much for not praying that I ended up consumed by guilt, shame and condemnation. I left Church, I stopped praying altogether and I fell into depression. It wasn’t until an older Pastor came to me and challenged me, he asked me what had happened? As I was trying to give him a very Christian answer, the truth poured out of my mouth. “The blood of Jesus only lasts 24 hours and I killed my nephew because I didn’t pray that morning and he wasn’t protected and safe, it’s my job to pray for them!” The Pastor tried his hardest not to laugh, the only words that came out of his mouth was ‘Show me where that is in your Bible?” I said "I don’t know I was told that" he said “Katie, the only truth you base your life on is in the Word of God, the rest is sinking sand!” From that day on I read my Word, I renewed my mind with the Word of God and established the truth in my life, I changed all of my assumed knowledge for the truth of His Word, it is upon that foundation that we stand!
See, John 8:32 is a well-known verse; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But once again don’t forget the THEN. Then means the condition of this is back in 8:31. So let’s go back to 8:31, it says: If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. I was set free from guilt by the truth of the Word of God, we need to not have “assumed” knowledge but do what 8:31 says; Hold to His teaching, know His Word and believe it above everything else in our lives.
So, it is from that that I want to look at Ephesians 6:10-20. The truth of this scripture is so powerful, I want you to be set free from any condemnation or legalistic works based prayers in your life. When you pray, you pray from the identity that we chatted about in the Dive last week, you already have every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, you already have the inheritance, the Holy Spirit is with you, you are seated in heavenly places, holy, blameless in his sight, forgiven, chosen, we have the incomparable great power in Him, we don’t pray in fear, condemnation or beg. We pray with honour, awe and reverence in God and all he has done for us!
Look at Ephesians 1:19-23; and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realm, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
When you pray, you pray with the Holy Spirit, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. I love in the above verse it says Jesus is seated at God’s right hand in the heavenly realm. Don’t miss the keywords, he is seated, he is not standing, pacing nervously just in case this doesn’t work out. He is seated, having defeated the enemy on the cross, he is seated – a position of authority and a position of completion. When you pray, you need to understand that you pray with Jesus who has completed the mission, it is finished it is only up to us to enforce what he has already claimed. All powers, authority and dominions are under Him and we come into our prayer lives with that confidence and with that as our inheritance. You pray from Victory Backwards, you pray with the victory already won, and all you need to do is enforce and stand, it not up to us to re-fight the war.
Some of you don’t know how powerful and amazing the victory of the cross is and so you pray like I did, in fear that I need to do all the work and I wasn’t even sure he would hear me, let alone answer me. No! Pray from the victory that has already been won, standing in confidence in your identity in Christ, praying in power and victory and enforcing all that he won on the cross.
Ephesians 6:10-20 starts with the key sentence: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." We are called to not be strong in our own power, works or ways but be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Know who he is and be strong in your confidence in Him. It then continues; Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Jesus is seated in heavenly places having won the victory, Paul is calling us over and over again to stand in the day of evil. What does that mean, stand – hold your ground, do not be moved out of the place of victory, do not run in fear or shrink back in intimidation. See that your role in prayer is not to win the war, but to keep the ground that Jesus already won. To stand and not give up your ground, to stand and not shrink back in fear, to stand and not be intimidated out of your inheritance, the victory that has been won for you. The repetition of stand in this verse is intentional, he is saying put on the Armour of God people and stand! I love that he says, after having done everything…. stand. Paul is saying when you have worn out your own wisdom, devices and works, the only thing left to do is stand! This is not works based prayer, the victory doesn’t depend on your works, the victory has been won, all you need to do is lock your legs in and keep the ground.
For my family, now I pray from a place of victory, my prayers are more Thanksgiving and declaration then begging. I am thanking God for what he has done, what he will do and the victory that he is out working over my family and my life. I am not begging God to move, I am appropriating the victory that he already won on the cross, he moved 2000 years ago, it is up to us to speak and declare that victory over our lives, families and churches.
Sorry this post is a little long, but I wanted to touch on one more thing before we finish Ephesians, we loved venturing through the Armour of God with Ryan last week in our Deep Dive. I just want to touch on a couple of things before we finish up in Ephesians, look at the Armour of God in Ephesians 6:10-20, it consists of the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) and praying in the Spirit on all occasions (yes this is part of the Armor don’t let the paragraphs stop you!) Look at the traits that the armor gives us, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, prayer. Have you ever noticed that these are all the things that Jesus won for us on the cross? Not one of these things we can obtain by works or in our own strength. So what is Paul saying, he is saying put on the victory that Jesus won on the cross, be completely clothed IN HIM like a warrior, know that you are clothed in righteousness, know that you walk in peace, know that you have faith to protect you, know that you fight with the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit will pray through you at all times. This is not about our works, this about taking all Jesus did for us and standing in it. We cannot do any of these things ourselves so stop praying like it is up to you to defeat the enemy. You have that peace that you need, claim it! You have that faith that you need to protect you, stand in it. See yourself clothed as this mighty warrior as you pray.
Your prayer life is to be based in your identity in Christ, believe the Word of God over the condemnation of the enemy and stand IN HIM in your identity and from that place pray in the victory that he won of the cross. Pray with the power of the Word of God on your lips and pray with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit at all times. Take off the responsibility of your family and trying to win the war and stand in the victory that the battle has been won, it is our job to worship, celebrate and stand in that victory.
Have a great time in Ephesians, go adventuring through Ephesians for one more week, and let it change your perspective of prayer, victory and maturity in Christ.