What would be your last words to the church? What would you say to prepare the church for an uncertain future?
Paul’s last words to the church at Ephesus prepared them for the difficult days which he and the church would experience.
We know that Paul wrote to Ephesus, but we also have evidence that he may have seen this letter as one to be circulated among neighboring churches. It’s instructive that Paul’s last words of this letter prepared them for both temptation and persecution.
Paul gave them three things to do.
First, he wanted them to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. This, of course, meant that Paul believed in the existence of evil and its devouring power. Satan has schemes to destroy us. The word for “schemes” is the word from which we get the word “methods.” Satan’s methods are for the purpose of creating havoc in your life. He has plans, and he is shrewd in how he uses them.
Satan often puts us in positions from which there is no good remedy. He seems to relish giving us options which will create harm no matter what.
For these reasons, we should determine even more to “stand firm.” We are called to resist the devil. When we resist, he will flee from us.
As shrewd as Satan is, we can win the victory when we determine to stand firm and resist. Much of the battle is won when we simply struggle to obey God and to resist the devil.
Second, he wanted them to use everything God had given them to stand up to the devil’s schemes. He urged them to put on the whole armor of God.
Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians from prison. He knew that a Roman soldier had a helmet, a breastplate, a belt to hold other weapons, excellent sandals, and a sword and shield.
Christians don’t need that kind of protection and weapons; we do need the gifts which God provides for His people. Our strength is not in horses and chariots but in the wonderful blessings of God. We should be people who trust in God’s truth and live in His righteousness. We must be people of prayer and the Word of God. Our faith must endure, and we must rejoice in our salvation.
This armor will protect us from the methods and schemes of the devil.
Finally, Paul called for prayer. He told them to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
We simply can’t make it without a close, personal relationship with God.
Tomorrow I will write more about how prayer will help you stand firm. If you would like to receive that and all of my daily posts you can sign up at waylonbailey.com or in the box below.