Introduction: Last week we studied Ephesians 6:10-17 and the
spiritual battle armor that Paul says we need to be able to
“stand against the schemes of the devil.” We noticed two
important things. First, that our battle was “against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,”
Ephesians 6:12, and second, that almost all of the armor was
defensive in nature. That might cause us to decide that we
are exclusively “waging peace” in our relationship with
other people, as the title of this study suggests. But then
Paul said something that did not quite fit. He requested
prayer to help him “boldly” (he uses the term twice in
Ephesians 6:19-20) proclaim the gospel. Perhaps “waging
peace,” is more about the “waging” than the “peace.” Let’s
dive into our study of the Bible and see what it says
elsewhere about the nature of our battle against evil!

I. Peaceful Destruction

A. Read 2 Corinthians 10:1-3. What do you think is the
reason why Paul claims to be humble in person, but
bold when he is away? Is this an ancient version
of social media where people write things they
would be unlikely to say to your face? (I think
Paul is repeating the allegations made against him.
His opponents claim he is only bold when he is not
present. The suggestion is that he is a coward.)

1. What do you think is Paul’s opinion about
being bold face to face? (He says he may well
have to be bold in person. He does not say
that is improper.)

2. Let’s relate this back to Ephesians 6:19 where
Paul refers to “boldly” declaring the gospel
in the context of a defensive battle. Is
waging peace inconsistent with speaking
plainly? (Apparently not.)

3. What does Paul mean when he says
(2 Corinthians 10:3) that we are not to wage “war according to
the flesh?” (Humans are obviously, “flesh,”
but Christians have much more powerful
spiritual weapons.)

B. Read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. This gives us an answer
as to the kind of spiritual war we are waging. How
does the Christian wage war compared to the person
of the world? (We use divine power. We use the
knowledge of God. This tells us that our weapons
against the falsehoods of the world are
presentations made in accord with the leading of
the Holy Spirit and the teachings of the Bible.)

1. What is the end goal? (Destruction and
captivity of false arguments and false
opinions. We “destroy arguments and every
lofty opinion” and we “take every thought
captive to obey Christ.”)

2. Does this sound anything like “waging peace?”

3. I have read sections of the Quran and the
Hadith, which are central to Islam. Islam says
that it is a religion of peace. I’ve read the
road to peace for Islam and it involves
conversion or destruction of those who do not
accept the teachings. After all opponents are
either converted or silenced, you have peace.
Is that consistent with what we are studying?
(Paul does not seem to be writing of physical
destruction. He is not coercing people. Rather
his spirit-powered arguments destroy opposing
arguments and opinions.)

C. Read 2 Corinthians 10:6. Paul is going to, he says,
“punish disobedience” when “obedience is complete.”
Can you explain what he means? Can you explain how
this is “waging peace?” (This highlights a very
important procedural point: Paul will not punish
the disobedient if most of the church is
disobedient. In order for the church to move
forward, most have to be obedient and the lines
clearly drawn.)

D. Read 1 Timothy 1:18-20. Does this help us to
understand “waging peace?” (I think so. Paul will
take firm measures against those who are teaching
false doctrines. The result would be peace in the

1. At this point we need to see if we can make
sense of Paul’s caution in Ephesians 6:12 that
we are in a battle against “spiritual forces
of evil in the heavenly places.” How can we
reconcile this with taking strong measures
against fellow church members? (Armed with the
teachings of the Bible and the leading of the
Holy Spirit, an important church leader like
Paul can restore spiritual harmony to a church
by ousting those who oppose the plain
teachings of the Bible and promote demonic

2. Are we only talking about opposing church
members? What about waging peace against
unbelievers? (Look again at
2 Corinthians 10:4-5. Paul advocates destroying arguments
and opinions “raised against the knowledge of
God.” Presumably more of this exists outside
the church than in the church.)

E. Read Acts 19:8-9. What is this approach to waging
peace? (Recall Paul’s strategy that the majority
need to be obedient for him to move against the
disobedient? Sometimes we just need to withdraw. We
claim victory for those who are converted and we
start somewhere new.)

II. Resistance and Suffering

A. Read 1 Peter 5:8-9. How would we resist Satan? (We
need to be alert. We resist Satan by relying on our

B. Read 1 Peter 5:10. What note of realism does Peter
bring to our discussion of spiritual warfare? (We
might suffer. There is no promise that every
spiritual battle will go perfectly. Rather, we have
an enemy who wants to hurt us.)

1. Will those who are in accord with God end up
prevailing? (Yes. God will “restore, confirm,
strengthen, and establish you.”)

C. If you have been a Christian for some time you have
undoubtedly seen conflict in the church. How do you
know who is on the right side? (The first lesson we
learned is that the right side will be supported by
the Bible. The right side will reflect the power of
the Holy Spirit. Second, we need to pay attention
to the leaders who God has put in place to direct
the church.)

D. Read Isaiah 59:14-15. Will our leaders always be
righteous? Will they always be truthful? (Isaiah
tells us that sometimes doing what is right makes
you a “prey” (victim) of leaders who are evil.)

E. Read Isaiah 59:16-18. In situations like that, what
should the faithful pray will happen? (God will
intervene. He will “repay” evil with vengeance.)

F. Read Romans 8:36-39. This speaks of terrible things
happening to God’s people. How can they be called
“more than conquerors?” (Our confidence in terrible
times is that God loves us. No one will be able to
separate us from His love. He will ultimately
rescue us.)

III. Obstacles to Victory

A. Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. What is a major
difficulty in sharing the gospel? (Satan blinds the
minds of those who do not believe in Jesus.)

B. Read Romans 1:20-22. How does this suggest that
Satan damages the brains of those who resist God?
(Those with damaged minds have consented to this by
refusing to honor God.)

1. As you are “waging peace” to promote the
gospel, what encouragement do we find in the
two verses we just studied? (We should not
feel that we are failures if our opponents or
unbelievers are not converted by our Spirit-
guided arguments. The grounds for unbelief run

C. Read Acts 19:11-12. Look at how Paul seems to
effortlessly defeat evil! If clothing just touches
his skin, that clothing will be able to cast out
demons. How is that possible?

D. Read Acts 19:13-16. Who are these people? What is
the warning to us in our spiritual battle? Is it to
avoid being overconfident? Is it a warning to
understand our “role?” (It appears, because they
are called “Jewish exorcists,” that they have been
able in the past to drive out evil spirits. But, it
does not say they are followers of Jesus.)

E. Read Acts 19:17. Was it not the demon possessed
fellow who beat up the sons? Why is Jesus’ name
being extolled and feared?

F. Read Acts 19:18-20. What is the problem among
believers that is now being fixed? What does that
tell us about the sons of Sceva? (Acts never says
that the sons of Sceva were Christians. Even if
they were, some of the new Christians had not put
away their “magic arts.” The lesson here is we must
not only be believers to claim authority to
overcome demons, but we must examine our life to
see if we are ready. That is why Paul could
effortlessly cast out evil spirits, but the sons of
Sceva (even when they invoked the name of Jesus)
were beaten for it.)

G. Friend, waging peace for the gospel does not mean
that we have to be meek or timid. We can be bold.
Our boldness arises from our spiritual weapons.
Will you determine today to ask the Holy Spirit to
guide all of your efforts to promote the gospel?

IV. Next week: Ephesians in the Heart.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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Holy Spirit as you study.