I. Strength in the Body
1. 1-4 Strong Families: For the Body to be strong, the families that make up the body must be strong. Husbands are the heads of the family just as Christ is the head of the Church. Husbands must be the spiritual leader of the family. If the husband and the wife lead the children with love, then the children will want to obey all that the parents ask of them. Their motivation will be more out of love and respect–not wanting to let their parents down–than out of fear of punishment (although that is necessary as well, but not frightful). This is not only fulfilling but also honoring the parents’ command. Just as with his wife, the father must nurture the child: punish when it is due, but not unjustly or out of rage, and always in love. This will make the child convicted of sin and not mad at the punisher. This will hold the family together and make a stone for building a strong fellowship of believers.
2. 5-9 Strong Relationships
a) Serving Others (5-8):Everything we do is a witness. When we are under someone’s leadership, we should serve them the way we expect to be served. We must offer good service and good stewardship of that which they entrust to us. How can we be trusted with the mysteries of heaven if we cannot be trusted with earthly responsibility? Act as if we are serving Christ, because that is ultimately who we are serving. Do not just serve because you have to, but do it as unto the Lord. We must sincerely want to do a good job pleasing the person in charge and our Lord. All that we do, we do before God. Whatever we do in His will, we do for Him.
b) Leading Others (9):This is where having a strong home can develop a strong community. If a man has his home in order, then he will be a strong servant and strong leader. In the same way he leads his house he can lead others. Just as he does not lord his authority over his wife and kids, he does not lord it over his servants either. Love them and seek to bring out the best in them through encouragement and discipline. Do not over work nor mistreat them. Both they and you serve Jesus, so fear God.
II. Strength in the Spirit Part 1
1. 6:10-17 The Armor of God
a) The Strength of His Might (10): Remember it is He who strengthens us in our inner man. Our strength comes from Him (3:16). “The Lord strong and mighty (Psalm 24),” lives in us and gives us the strength to overcome, not only in the natural, but also in the supernatural. We are strong in the Lord when our walk is strong (4:1).
b) Full Armor (11): The strength of his might and us being strong in Him is the basis for putting the armor on if we are going to withstand the plans and attacks of the enemy. [Example: 1 Samuel 17 - David defeated Goliath because he fought in the Spirit. In v. 39 David removes the armor and lays down the sword given to him by king Saul, because David already had his spiritual armor on, and that is all that he needed to defeat Goliath.] Every piece of the armor is important and must be on if we are going to stand.
c) Struggle in Heavenly Places (12): This is a much debated verse as to the context, doctrine, and theology of its meaning and interpretation. In context with this study this is a observation of the language and descriptions used in scriptural context. This is not a dogmatic theological statement of a stance on the exact rank, placement, and identity of the spirits in heavenly places. [The descriptions below are my opinion based on my personal studies.]
We can misunderstand easily here as Christians if we lose sight of the spiritual battle and take out the fight on people. Although we deal with flesh and blood everyday we must stay spiritually focused.
Against the rulers: There are four different levels of spiritual forces listed here that we struggle against. Some people develop whole hierarchical doctrines here of demonic rank. I am not going that route. There is a clear distinction made here: It seems to start at a lower level in the former part of the verse, then lists “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” in the latter, which appears to represent the higher level of demonic activity. Rulers obviously rule over something. They seem to be under others here, at the lowest reference. Paul likely is listing them in ascending order. They may represent a locale, or areas of thought–perhaps thought processes of a particular kind that influence different situations and understandings.
Against Powers: These seem to be over rulers, possibly controlling several locales or regions; strongholds such as small philosophies or minor factions of false religions and cults.
World Forces of Darkness: These have “world” authority and move ranks and states, and even countries. Also they may control major areas of worldwide influence such as MTV, pornography and mental issues such as depression.
Spiritual Forces of Wickedness in the Heavenly Places:These are the “principalities and powers.” They control entire strongholds in the spiritual realm, such as; false religions such as Islam–a spirit of religion that denies a relationship with Jesus–as well as the spirits of death, murder, and suicide. Also, major world thoughts such as evolution. They have the ability to persuade masses of people into believing a common lie that will prevent them from believing the Truth. Theses are commanders of the demonic armies. They control the lower forces in the locales, and they may influence the main deception of the evil intent or empire’s agenda or “schemes (11).”
The theme throughout this teaching has been that we are seated above these powers. We will be better prepared to defeat the enemy by understanding his tactics. I do discourage studying anything satanic however, the Holy Spirit will guide us in the wisdom and power to over come these obstacles that try to slow the powerful advancement of the kingdom of heaven.
I do not subscribe to the “heavens are brass” or the “airways are cluttered” with demons common teachings. We have direct access to the Father. Our place is way above their place and Paul specifically made this clear early on in the book, so we would realize our position before he even mentioned the position of the demonic.
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