The devil is real and aims to destroy God’s people, but God is greater and will win the final victory.
Which Halloween candy do you prefer, chocolate or not? What is your least favorite?
This week, we dive into a topic many don’t like to discuss–spiritual warfare. The devil is a real person, and his mission is to destroy God’s people. This is his only way to get at God! We must “put on the full armor of God, so that [we] can take [a] stand against [his] schemes.” There is power in the name of Jesus, the One who defeated sin and death on the cross!
Watch this short video with your group.
Primary Scriptures: Ephesians 6:10-18
- Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Paul begins this last section at the very end of his letter with “finally”. Up to this point, he has carefully established our place in Jesus and the basics of the Christian walk. When he wrote “finally” here, he is speaking in light of all he has previously said. Describe your glorious standing as a child of God, all that He has done for you, and what it means to you daily.
- According to verses 10-11, what 2 things must a believer do to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil”?
- What does it mean to “be strong in the Lord and in His strength”?
- This is God’s armor that He shares with us! Discuss each aspect of His armor He has graciously given to us. How does knowing you have access to God’s armor encourage you as you endure difficult times? See Romans 8:37.
- What do you learn about God and about Satan in this passage?
Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Ephesians 6:10-18 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore how Christ followers are to depend on the strength of God and the protection of spiritual armor, in order to stand against the attacks of spiritual enemies.
Getting to know you: Paul reminds us that our struggle is “not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” How does this truth affect the way you think about a struggle or conflict you may have in your family, relationships, or in the workplace? How will you apply this passage and use the tools (armor) God has provided us?
Getting to know them: We have access to God’s Spirit and His strength–not ours–to face hardships in life. Discuss ways you can encourage each other with this truth. Pray for specific struggles your group members may be facing. Allow God to work by the power of His Spirit, and pray for members to be protected by truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Word of God!
Getting to know Him: When facing attack, meditate on Ephesians 6:12, that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” and pray for the person through whom the attack is coming. Challenge each other to memorize 1 John 4:4, “because the One[Jesus] who is in you is greater than the one[the devil] who is in the world.”
Engage the World Around Us
Engaging at Faith Promise: Pastor Zac challenged us that Heart for the Harvest (“H4H”) is coming up in two weekends. This is not a time to kick back, sit, or stand still. It is a time to stand firm and advance! As a congregation, we are praying and fasting for God to move in our hearts towards generosity. It is a time to connect with God and disconnect from the world! “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” -Ephesians 6:18. Your financial gifts through our annual Heart for the Harvest Offering are key in our effort to launch new campuses, see exponential growth, and produce changed lives.
Engaging in Community/Engaging the World: It is through our generosity at FP that we are able to support local groups such as Emerald Youth. Emerald Youth Foundation is a Christian, urban youth and community ministry in Knoxville, TN serving over 2,300 young people annually. Your group could pray about finding ways to spend some time together volunteering. Emerald has a variety of ways in which you can get involved. Check out the information in this link to learn more. https://www.emeraldyouth.org/getinvolved
Expand God’s Kingdom
Our mission at Faith Promise is this: “We exist to help real people with real problems find real love.” The very task of reaching out to the lost places us in the sights of the enemy. Because we are seeking to reach nonbelievers and sharing with them about the real love and hope found only in Jesus Christ, we are offensively engaging the enemy’s territory—we can expect that the enemy will fight back. We needn’t fear, however. We can rely on the Power of the Spirit and God’s armor to go into battle knowing Satan is already defeated! How will you pray for God to empower our church as we face spiritual warfare so that we can shine as much light on the name of Jesus Christ? “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1Corinthians 16:13-14)
1. Answers will vary. If discussion is quiet, ask for how God has blessed your members’ lives. Feel free to emphasize that their lives to come are the ones that are filled with overwhelming amazing blessings (like Hebrews 13:14 talks about), even if their lives right now are a lot more like Stephen in Acts 7:59.
2. Be strong in the Lord and in His strength; put on the full armor of God. Both are essential!
3. His strength works in us as we rely on it and step out to do the work He has called us to do. It is not realized unless we take action! It is also not realized when we take action in our own strength. Satan’s schemes against us come to nothing when we stand against them in the power of God.
And conversely, if we do not put on the whole armor of God, then we have at least one ‘weak point.’ And that can be very troublesome. Because there are instances of people in the Bible not really understanding spiritual warfare, and then suffering because they fall into sin. (E.g. Acts 19:15 — which happened at Ephesus).Trying to engage in warfare casually is a really, really bad idea. Consider ‘warfare’-related verses like 1st Timothy 1:18-19.
4. Answers may vary. Don’t be afraid to look up a little bit about Roman military equipment before leading a discussion on this passage. For instance, did you know that Roman tower shields were designed with hooks on the corners? Also, those shields were bucklers, which were strapped and buckled onto the arms of the soldiers using them (much like a belt), so they couldn’t drop them. This way, even if a soldier were injured, the shield wall could remain in tact, and a soldier could remain standing because of those by his side—and the entire column of soldiers could still advance. Of course, it would be a different story if everyone were injured. This is a very rich study that is made amazing if you get to look into the historical facts surrounding the equipment Paul mentions—and that which he leaves out!
5. In the Christian life we WILL battle the spiritual forces of wickedness, these demonic forces that are under Satan’s authority. Although we are assured victory, we must engage in the struggle until Christ’s return. God provides us supernatural power with the Holy Spirit as well as his surrounding armor to do battle- “to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”