Introduction: In law school, students are taught to identify the
issues in a dispute. You cannot resolve a problem correctly if you
cannot determine what is in dispute. The title of this lesson
includes the word “warfare.” Clearly, that describes a dispute. The
question for us to resolve this week is “What is at issue in this
warfare?” This begins with figuring out who is the enemy and who is
our friend. Let’s plunge right into our study of warfare in

  1. Friend

    1. Read Ephesians 6:10. Who is our friend in this battle?

      1. When the Bible tells us to be “strong in the Lord”
        what are we being told to do? (We are not to be
        “self-made men (women)” in our Christian walk.
        Instead, we are to work “in” God. We are to partner
        with God. Being strong in the Lord is to have strong
        faith in His love and care for us.)

      2. Next, Paul tells us to be strong in God’s “mighty
        power.” What is Paul teaching us beyond having faith
        in God? (God’s power, not our power, is the key to
        victory in this battle.)

        1. What power does God offer to us? (Read 1
          Corinthians 1:18. Grace is part of God’s power
          to us. Read 1 Corinthians 2:4-5. The Holy Spirit
          is God’s power.)

      3. When Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord and the
        Lord’s power, what does this suggest about our
        opponent in this war? (That our opponent is very

        1. What does it suggest about our power? (Read Mark
          14:38. On our own, we are not strong enough to
          stand against our opponent.)

        2. What does it suggest about our God? (Read
          Ephesians 1:19-22. God has all power. He is more
          powerful than any other “rule authority, power
          and dominion.”)

    2. Read Ephesians 6:11. What is the goal of our battle? What
      is our tactical objective? (To stand against the Devil’s

      1. How difficult does that sound? (The Bible does not
        tell us to go conquer some heavily defended hill. It
        just tells us to “stand.”)

      2. What do you think it means to “stand?”

      3. What does the use of the word “schemes,” when
        describing Satan, suggest? (He does not play by any
        rules. He does not play fair. He intends to fool

      4. Who is on the attack? Who is the aggressor in this
        fight? Who is trying to take more territory? (Over
        the years I have read a number of books describing
        the American Civil War. For most of my life I have
        lived in the American South and I like to tease my
        family (which lives in the north)about the “War of
        Northern Aggression.” There is a lot of truth in
        that title. To win, all the South had to was just
        stand. It did not need to invade the North. The same
        is true here. Satan is attacking, not us. To win, God
        asks us to “stand.” The battle will come to you. You
        need not try to find it.)

    3. Notice that we are called to wear “the full armor of God.”
      What does that suggest about the nature of our fight?
      (This also suggests a defensive posture. Next week, when
      we study in some detail the nature of our armor, we will
      learn that it is mostly defensive in nature.)

      1. How would you describe, as a practical matter, the
        difference between attacking Satan and simply holding
        your own spiritual ground?

  2. The Enemy

    1. Read Ephesians 6:12. Who is not the enemy? (Other people.)

      1. If other people are not our enemy, and if we are in a
        defensive battle, should we call sinners who are
        outside the church names?

        1. What about sinners inside the church?

      2. In my litigation I have represented homosexuals and
        non-Christians. I recall one homosexual whose (non-Christian) religious beliefs I was defending, saying
        to me “Bruce, you must agree with my religious
        beliefs since you are defending me.” I responded that
        I did not agree with his beliefs (religious or
        sexual) at all. His mother was a Baptist. I told him
        I “agreed with Mom.” Do you think it is appropriate,
        according to Paul, for me to defend the religious
        freedom of non-Christians and homosexuals? (Non-Christians, homosexuals, sinners of all stripes are
        not the enemy. The enemy is Satan and the principles
        of his kingdom. The reason I was defending a gay non-Christian was because I was fighting to defend a
        “kingdom principle” – religious freedom for everyone.
        Freedom to choose or reject God is a principle of
        God’s kingdom. See Genesis 3.)

      3. If “other people” are not the enemy, who is? Let’s go
        through each group mentioned by Paul:

        1. Who are “the authorities?”

        2. Who are “the powers of this dark world?”

        3. Who are the “spiritual forces of evil in the
          heavenly realms?”

      4. Are all three of these groups listed above
        descriptions of demons? Or, are some of them humans?

        1. Read John 12:31 and John 14:30. Who is referred
          to here? (Satan)

        2. Read 1 John 5:19. Who is referred to here?

        3. Read Romans 8:38-39. How many demon helpers does
          Satan have? (Read Revelation 12:4,7-9. John
          suggests that fully a third of the angels chose
          to follow Satan and were cast down to earth.)

      5. My reaction to looking at this list of groups in
        Ephesians 6:12 is that some represent positions of
        authority held by humans. However, most of the
        commentaries that I read suggest that only Satan and
        his angels are represented by these three groups.
        Would it be reasonable for Satan to organize his
        angels so that some were “rulers,” others
        “authorities” and still others just “forces?”

      6. Remember that Paul starts out saying “our struggle is
        not against flesh and blood.” Is there any way to
        think Paul is describing human authority in Ephesians
        6:12 and still believe we are not in a battle with
        other humans? (Perhaps we could oppose the power for
        evil of a human position, for example a judge, but
        not oppose the individual person. We fight an abuse
        of the power of the human authority, but not make it
        personal against the human who holds that authority.)

  3. War Tactics

    1. If humans are not our enemies, only demons are the enemy,
      what does this suggest about how we should treat sinners?

      1. How should we try to convert sinners?

    2. Remember our prior discussion about our war being
      “defensive” in nature. How is this consistent with the
      idea of converting sinners? (I see it like pulling people
      out of a burning house. A fireman has a defensive role.
      He is not building new homes, he is simply trying to
      preserve existing homes. Even when a fireman faces a fire
      he cannot extinguish, he still tries to pull people and
      animals out of the blaze.)

    3. How much of your Christian walk is involved in being
      concerned about the sins of others?

      1. Is this consistent with the idea of being called to
        “stand” against Satan and his angels? (I think the
        call to “stand” mostly has to do with me, not others.
        We need to be more concerned with our own spiritual
        progress. Looking over at the spiritual progress of
        others is not our primary concern.)
    4. Read Ephesians 6:19-20. How did Paul understand his
      defensive battle against Satan? (He shared it with others.
      Being in a defensive battle includes sharing our beliefs
      with others.)

    5. Friend, how is the war going for you? Are you clear that
      humans are not the enemy? The only enemy is Satan and his
      organized fallen angels. Are you clear that you are not
      able to fight on your own? You need to be in partnership
      with God. Do you understand that your primary goal is to
      simply stand in the Kingdom of God?

  4. Next week: The Christian Armor.