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Part Fourteen

The Believer’s Armor and the Spiritual Battle

Ephesians 6:10-20 (Verse 18, “Praying Always...”)

Ephesians 6:18-20

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.

For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I my speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

We see from this verse and our previous study that God wants us to be “praying always.” Praying is simply the asking of God for something we desire. Verse 18 adds more information to this exhortation. We are to be, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

What is “all prayer and supplication?” “Supplication” is similar in meaning to “prayer.” It is something “wanted, requested, or needed.” “Watching” literally means “without sleep,” or “attentive and ready.” “Perseverance” is a good one-word translation and means “to continue steadfastly and with unremitting care.” “Saints” just means “holy ones;” the believers who now have Christ’s righteousness by trusting in Him (II Cor. 5:21).

Verse 18 is telling us, “Through (or by means of) all (or all forms of) praying (asking) and requests, [to be] praying (asking) in every point of time (continually)” in spirit (no article, could mean the Holy Spirit or the human spirit) in or by means of perseverance for requests or needs of all the believers. This sounds a lot like we ought to be praying for things that we need and for the needs of others. This is commonly called intercessory prayer.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority...” (I Tim. 2:1,2). We are told that Jesus intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; Isa 53:12) and also that His Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26,27). These are Divine examples of what we should be doing for others. New Testament believers are called priests (I Pet. 2:9). One of the major functions of the Jewish priests to intercede for the people. Can we do any less for others?

In verse 18, Paul tells us that we should be praying for all the saints. In verse 19, he makes a more specific request. He now seeks prayer for himself, and in a particular area.

He implores the church to pray for him that he may be able to boldly open his mouth and clearly proclaim the Gospel as he ought (lit. as is necessary). The word “boldly” in both verse 18 and 19 is full of meaning. It is the same word as “plainness” in II Cor. 3:12. “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech.” Definitions of the word include, “boldness, fearless confidence, openness,” but also entail “plainness, clarity, unambiguousness.”

The Apostle, Paul put a high priority on presenting the Gospel as God would have him to do (I Thess. 2:4; Gal. 1:10). This included the clarity and purity of the Gospel. In Gal. 1:6-10, he emphasizes the necessity of proclaiming the true Gospel and pronounces a Divine curse on those who propagate a perverted message. The criterion for distinction is the “grace of Christ” (v5), which is emphasized throughout the rest of the epistle (2:16, 21; 3:22; 5:1-13).

In II Cor. 12:3, he gives us a warning concerning this issue, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” He follows this with more warning about the false gospel and a defense for his proclamation, then in verses 13-15, he describes the false apostles who proclaim this false gospel that has been corrupted from “the simplicity that is in Christ.” “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed into the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” We see here that these false apostles are deceitful, appear as true apostles of Christ as teachers of righteousness. This is the issue with the Gospel, grace or works (Rom. 11:6). If we add man’s righteousness to God’s perfection, we pollute the whole thing (Isa. 64:6). Please note also that these false apostles have Satanic power behind them. We are truly in a spiritual battle. We need the spiritual armor in order to stand.

Paul was an “ambassador in bonds” at the time of the penning of this epistle. Why was he in jail? Because he had been doing the very thing for which he is asking for prayer; boldly proclaiming the Gospel. He tells us in Philippians 1:12-18 that this “jail time” was working out for “the furtherance of the gospel” (v12), and that because of his bonds and testimony, many more were becoming bold (fearless) in their proclamation of the Good News (v13-18). Oh, that we could get the spiritual vision that he had. He served, sacrificed, and suffered, for such a short time with eternal values in view (Rom. 8:18). May we confess our shortsighted and selfish values and rearrange our priorities in order to be victorious in the spiritual battle before us with and for the One who did so much for us (I Cor. 15:58).

Brief Overview of Ephesians 6:10-20

V.10 The source of our strength.

V.11 The command to appropriate the resources and the purpose for their application.

V.12 The description of the enemy with whom we battle.

V.13 Reiteration of the command to appropriate the resources, and the purpose of them in light of the magnitude of the enemy.

14-17 The description of the resources.

V.18 Prayer, the way to apply the resources.

19-20 The ultimate goal in the battle; to proclaim God’s Good News of Salvation (John 15:8; I Thess. 2:4; Gal. 1:10), and to glorify God by bearing much fruit (John 15:8)

1st Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

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