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Part One:

The Believer’s Armor and the Spiritual Battle

Ephesians 6:10-20

Bill Fallon


In order to determine the correct interpretation and acceptable applications, the background and the context must be carefully considered. Even thought the cults are notorious­ly guilty of the error of neglecting this principle, that does not excuse us from the same responsibility.


The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians was written about 62 AD by Paul while he was imprisoned, probably in Rome. He had been to Ephesus briefly during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19-22), and stayed there for three years during his third missionary journey (Acts 20:31). Paul performed miracles there (Acts 19:11), for God’s glory (Acts 19:17,20), and to vindicate his authority (II Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:4). God’s good news of salvation spread through­out much of Asia as a result of Paul’s faithful proclamation of it, both publicly and privately (Acts 20:20). In this area Paul had 20/20 spiritual vision .

Paul warned the Ephesian Elders (Acts 20:17), whom God had made overseers of the Church (Acts 20:28, 29), that after his departure “grievous wolves” would enter in, “not sparing the flock.” It appears that the Church ultimately collapsed, not from an overt doctrinal heresy but from a more insidious and “acceptable” compromise.

About 30 years later John writes of Jesus’ assessment of the Ephesian Church (Rev. 2:1-7). Though they had labored and stood for the truth, they had lost their first love. The Divinely-given remedy for this seemingly-minor but potentially lethal problem is found in verse 5:

 1. Remember - from where you have fallen.

2. Repent - change your mind about your present attitudes and actions.

3. Repeat - do the first works.

The alternative would be that God would remove the Church (v5, cf. 1:20). Apparently they did not heed God’s admonition as today we see the Christian Church practically nonexistent in that area of the world. I believe that the same admonition is to be applied personally and corporately to us today.


The Epistle is divided into two major portions according to the subject matter. Chapters 1-3 are mainly doctrinal in content and chapters 4-6 are primarily practical.

Some ways to summarize these two sections are:

Chapters 1-3                     Chapters 4-6

Our Belief                           Our Behavior

Our Calling                         Our Conduct

Our Position                       Our Practice

Our Heritage                       Our Habits

Our Possession                 Our Profession

Our Resources                   Our Responsibility

No matter what mini-outline we use, it will help us to understand the thrust of the book if we remember that the two main divisions consist of: what God has done, and what we are to do. This order is appropriate as we cannot have right living without right doctrine.

An example of the doctrinal portion would be illustrated by conducting a study of the first three chapters and noting every instance of what we have or are “in Christ,” “in Him,” or “in whom.” (e.g. 1:3,4,7,10,11,13,17,20; 2:6,7,10,13,21,­22; 3:6,12). Great promises abound for the individual believer and for the Church collectively.

It is essential at the beginning of this study to establish to whom Paul is speaking concerning these spiritual blessings. Many people assume that they will go to heaven because they have been “religious” or have led a “good” life. God says that “...there is none righteous, no not one” (Rom. 3:10), and that “...all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We may have done more good things than our neighbor but, by our works, we do not have the righteousness required to enter a sinless heaven. Titus 3:5, states, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.

That is what Paul is saying in the context of Ephesians. Eph. 2:8,9, states, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” This is a clear statement that contradicts man-made religion, including much of what is called "Christianity." If we trust in Jesus only, without polluting His perfect payment for sin by adding our sinful efforts (Isa. 64:6), we can know without a doubt that we have eternal life. Let us see what I John 5:13 tells us and does not tell us, “These things have I written unto you that believe (not work, pay, promise, turn your life around, be baptized, etc.) on the name of the Son of God (not your religion, good works); that ye may know (not think, hope, guess) that ye have eternal life,... (not life until you sin again, mess up, or stop believing).” It is only after establishing that we are saved by faith in Him can we then proceed to Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained (prepared) that we should walk in them.” Thus the last three chapters of imperatives intended for the one who has trusted in Christ can now be applied to us.

Chapter four begins with a “therefore.” In effect, Paul is saying, “In light of all that has just been presented; i.e. what we have and are in Jesus, let us now “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” Many more practical exhortations follow. (“Vocation” here is usually translated “calling.” It is a noun that comes from the verb “calling” used in the same verse. “Vocation” and “called” are identical to the “calling” and “called” of 4:4).

Chapter four then presents the ministry gifts to the Church - apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor/teachers (4:7-11) and their purpose - for the perfecting (maturing) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, ff. (4:12-16). The walk of the believer as a new man in Christ is described in 4:11 through 4:32. The walk of the believers who are “followers of God as dear children” (5:1) is portrayed in 5:1-17.

5:18 seems to both conclude the previous section and introduce the next. “...but be filled with the spirit.” Being “filled with the Spirit” simply means to be “influenced” or “controlled” by God’s Holy Spirit. We are talking “yieldedness” or “obedience.”

Scofield briefly outlines the balance of the book as:

The inner life of the Spirit-filled believer 5:19,20

The married life of Spirit-filled believers as illustration of Christ and the church 5:21-5:33

The domestic life of Spirit-filled believers as children and servants 6:1-9

The warfare of Spirit-filled believers: (The passage under consideration) (6:10-24).

The warrior’s power (6:10).

The warrior’s armor (6:11).

The warrior’s foes (6:12-17.

The warrior’s resources (6:18-24)

The Battle:

If we are believers as described in the first three chapters, then we are to live as believers should live as described in the last three chapters. If we do “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called,” we are living in obedience to God and will be on a direct collision course with the enemy. If we do not, we are in rebellion toward God and in collusion with the enemy (Matt. 12:30).

The Christian life never ceases to be a conflict with the enemy. The obedient Christian life is not to be likened to waltzing through a meadow picking daisies. It is more to be compared to cautiously walking through a mine-field while snipers are firing at us. We cannot see the snipers because they belong to the supernatural realm (6:12).

Some believers are losers because they do not even prepare for the battle (Luke 12:47). They are choosing not to fight. Some are losers because they do not even know there is a battle going on (I Cor. 15:34: Rom. 13:11-14). Both of these groups are already beat. It has been said that there are three kinds of Christians: Those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who do not even know what is happening. It is impossible to live an obedient Christian life without coming into conflict with the enemy.

It is the object of this series of Bible studies to honor God by helping us to be victorious in the battle in which we are engaged. We will study more about:

The Enemy: Satan and his demons, the spiritual realm.

The Believers Responsibility: We do not have to know everything about his wiles, we just need to be obedient (I Cor. 4:2) We need to put on the armor.

The Armor: What it is and how to apply it.

Overview of Ephesians

Theme: Building the Body of Christ

Key verses: Ephesians 2:8-10 and 4:1-3.

2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of your selves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Survey from

“The Open Bible” Nelson Publishers

Paul wrote this epistle to make Christians more aware of their position in Christ and to motivate them to draw upon their spiritual source in daily living: “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” (4:1; see 2:10). The first half of Ephesians lists the believer’s heavenly possessions: adoption, redemption, inheritance, power, life, grace, citizenship, and the love of Christ. There are no imperatives in chapters 1-3, which focus only on divine gifts. But chapters 4-6 include thirty-five directives in the last half of Ephesians that speak of the believer’s responsibility to conduct himself according to his individual calling. So Ephesians begins in heaven, but concludes in the home and in all other relationships of daily life. The two divisions are: the position of the Christian (1:1-3:21) and the practice of the Christian (4:1-6:20).

The Position of the Christian (1:1-3:21): After a two-verse prologue, in one long Greek sentence Paul extols the triune God for the riches of redemption (1:3-14). This hymn to God; grace praises the Father for choosing us (1:3-6), the Son for redeeming us (1:7-12), and the Spirit for sealing us (1:13,14). The saving work of each Divine Person is to the praise of the glory of His grace (1:6, 12, 14). Before continuing, Paul offers the first of two very significant prayers (1:15-23; cf. 3:14-21). Here he asks that the reader receive spiritual illumination so that they may come to perceive what is, in fact, true. Next, Paul describes the power of God’s grace by contrasting their former condition with their present spiritual life in Christ, a salvation attained not by human works but by divine grace (2:1-10). This redemption includes Jews, yet also extends to those Gentiles who previously were “strangers from the covenants of promise” (2:12. In Christ, the two for the first time have become members of one body (2:11-22). The truth that Gentiles would become “fellow heirs, of the same body” (3:6) was formerly a mystery that has now been revealed (3:1-13). Paul’s second prayer (3:14-21) expresses his desire that the reader be strengthened with the power of the Spirit  and fully apprehend the love of Christ.

The practice of the Christian (4:1-6:20): The pivotal verse of Ephesians is 4:1, because it draws a sharp line between the doctrinal and the practical divisions of this book. There is a cause and effect relationship between chapters 1-3 and 4-6 because the spiritual walk of a Christian must be rooted in his spiritual wealth. As Paul emphasized in Romans, behavior does not determine blessing; instead blessing should determine behavior.

Because of the unity of all believers in the body of Christ, growth and maturity come from “the effectual working in the measure of every part” (every member does its share) (4:16). This involves the exercise of spiritual gifts in love, Paul exhorts the readers to “put off concerning the former conversation (manner of life) the old man” (4:22), and to “put on the new man (4:24) that will be manifested by a walk of integrity in the midst of all people. They are also to maintain a walk of holiness as children of light (5:22-6:9) Paul’s colorful description of the spiritual warfare and the armor of God (6:10-20 is followed by a word about Tychicus and then a benediction (6:21-24).

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