Being a Soldier For The Lord

Ephesians 6:10


Dr. John Hoole



As I was thinking about this lesson, I was reminded about a story I had heard.  One Sunday morning, a wife wakes her husband, telling him it is time to get up and prepare to go to church.  He responds by saying, “I don’t want to go to church; Why do we have to go today?”  She responds, “Because you are the pastor.”


Living the Christian life is one of the hardest things you will ever attempt to do.  Of course, this is only true if you really attempt to live as a Christian.  That is because being a Christian is more than slapping a fish bumper sticker on their car, or wearing Christian t-shirts, and attending a weekly worship service at the church.


The Christian who truly steps out to follow Jesus into the dark and hellish places of earth will experience great difficulties, trials, and roadblocks in life.


1 Peter 4:12-13 NKJV


12     Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;

13     but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.


Christians will be called to love those they would be inclined to dislike or even hate,  to forgive those who seem to deserve nothing but punishment, to be patient with those who are rude and condescending, and to even  serve those who are the least enjoyable to be around.


They will face great temptations in their personal life, will struggle with their marriage and with raising their children in their home life, and they will be challenged in their honesty and integrity at their work life.  It is easy to sail through the Christian life if you are not actually living it,  But there is nothing more difficult than truly attempting to follow Jesus wherever He leads.


Have you ever wondered why?


The answer is spiritual warfare.


Due to spiritual warfare, Christian families, marriages, and children are under attack.  The church is under attack.  Even the Bible is under attack.  It is spiritual warfare when an unexpected bill arrives in the mail right after you decide to give more of your money to help the poor and homeless.


It is spiritual warfare when you have a difficult time at work on the day you were going to take your wife out on a date.  It is spiritual warfare when your kids misbehave one hour before family game night.  It is spiritual warfare when we receive a critically important email five minutes before we were going to read the Bible.


Therefore, since Christians who seek to follow Jesus in this world will face the resistance and struggles of spiritual warfare, it is imperative for Christians to know what is involved in spiritual warfare and how we can prepare ourselves to stand in the midst of this struggle.


We must train ourselves to be strong and powerful soldiers of Jesus Christ in this ongoing battle.


Ephesians 6:10-18 is the best passage from Scripture to provide such training.


Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV


10     Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

11     Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12     For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13     Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14     Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

15     and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16     above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

17     And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

18     praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints


The text begins with a rallying cry or a call to arms.


Ephesians 6:10


10    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.


When an army sees their foe across the battlefield, they often shout a battle cry to get the blood pumping and the adrenaline rushing, and hoping to put some fear in their enemies.


When Gideon led his 300 men to face the Midianites, they surrounded the camp and then, all at once, broke the pots which hid their torches, blew a blast from their trumpets, and then shouted the rallying cry of “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” (Judges 7:20).


Yes, Ephesians 6:10 contains the battle cry for spiritual warfare.  Paul wants to spur us on toward victory, and so he says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”


It would not be wrong to put an explanation point after this opening statement.  Now, although this is a battle cry for all Christian soldiers, it’s not just something to get the blood pumping. It is full of richness and depth of meaning.


This battle cry is not just meant to spur us on in the heat of battle, but also to prepare us for the battle.


Ephesians 6:10 NKJV


10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.


The opening words of Ephesians 6:10 are a call to prepare for battle.  But Paul begins by directing these instructions to his brethren.  It seems like a small, insignificant word in the context of this passage, but it is not.


As you look at that passage, note that Paul does not call only fellow-apostles.  Nor is he speaking only to fellow-pastors, or fellow-evangelists, to arms.  Rather, he summons fellow-soldiers.  The arch enemy of Christ is attacking His Body of which the “brethren” are members.  Therefore, not one of them is exempt from the conflict.  Every Christian is conscripted for both defensive and aggressive warfare.  He calls every saint to arms.  We are in this battle together.


The concept of “brothers” is essential in any warfare context.  By using the term, “my bethren,” here, Paul is associating himself with those to whom he writes.  He is saying, “I am not your commanding general ordering you around in this war.  Rather, we are a band of brothers in this battle.  We are fellow soldiers in this war.  We fight side by side.  We watch each other’s backs.  We protect each other and defend each other.


This is essential to understand and even more important to practice.  When we see another brother or sister in Christ who is facing problems, we need to come alongside them and help them.  See what you and I can do to serve and support them.


In any battle, the heroic soldiers are those who stay and help the wounded get off the battlefield.  Yes, some heroes are made by charging without fear into a barrage of bullets, but the real heroes are those who rescue and deliver the hurt and wounded from the field of battle.


The movie “Hacksaw Ridge” is a true story about Private Desmond Doss.  He was drafted into the army for World War II, but since he was a pacifist, he refused to carry a gun or shoot others.  However, he wanted to serve his country and do his part.  He ended up earning the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving 75 fellow soldiers in the Battle of Okinawa, all without firing a single shot.


As Christians, we are in this battle together, which means we must help those around us who get injured and damaged in the fight.  We must come around them and give them the encouragement and support that they need.  We must protect and provide for them. We must carry out our wounded and tend to the injured.


Furthermore, the concept of “brothers” reminds us that we are not fighting this war alone.  We are not The Lone Ranger in this battle.  We are not a one-man fighting machine like Rambo.


Instead, we are facing our enemy with friends and brothers on all sides of us.  That is what Paul means by using those encouraging words, my brethren.


And just as any soldier in any war can improve his strength, so also, we can gain strength in this war.  How?  Through training and exercise.  As soldiers, we need to spend time in boot camp, or basic training.


My first flight on an airplane was in June 1963.  That plane took me to basic training at Lackland AFB, outside San Antonio, TX.  When I entered the Air Force, everyone at boot camp received the same training.  After basic training, each of the new airmen were given order in a wide range of more defined skill sets.  When that happened, each received more training in the new areas of assignment.


For myself, I took several exams, and depending on how I did, I received orders into the field in which they had the greatest need.  I was sent off to Syracuse University, where I was to learn the Russian Language.  They crammed four years of class time into one school year.  Five-six hours of class time every day learning the language.  While you wouldn’t say my training was physically demanding, it was most assuredly demanding.


I received orders stating that I would be using my language skill while aboard aerial reconnaissance platform.  This required me to attend further training.


         Goodfellow AFB.


Then on to Stead AFB outside Reno, Nevada.


        •  Francis Gary Powrs U2 – McKone & Olmstead RB47

                7-mo prison;

        •  Solitary Confinement (Sleeplessness)

        •  Interrogation

        •  Classroom training for a week.

        •  On Snow Shoes, being chased by our instructors.


What does my experience have to do with being a soldier of God.  We all need basic training to be a soldier in God’s army.  We need to spend time with Him.  We need to be grounded in the Word of God.


2 Timothy 2:15 KJV


15    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.


This is something we all should do.


As you continue your training, you will eventually realize the areas God has gifted you.  As you do, some of your training becomes more specific.


But here is a caution.  Because of disuse, my ability to communicate in Russian is greatly reduced.  As Christians, we cannot let that happen.  In God’s army we must be in continual training.  And He will help us be in top shape.


When Paul was writing this letter to the Ephesians, he was familiar with the solders of the Roman military.  The Roman soldiers had extremely rigorous training.  What sort of training and discipline and cultivation?  After taking their oath of service, they were branded or marked with the letters SPOR, which was a Latin acronym showing that the soldier belonged to the “Senate and People of Rome.”  Remember that as Christians, we have been sealed with a mark of ownership as well (Eph 1:13).


Ephesians 1:13 NKJV


13     In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,


Upon receiving this seal of ownership, the soldiers began their training.  Strenuous exercises helped the Romans be more disciplined, physically fit, and healthier than any other army of their time.  We must be the same as soldiers in God’s army.


Paul says, we must become strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.  It is not physical strength Paul has in mind, but spiritual.  He wants us to exercise and work out spiritually.  But just as with physical body building, spiritual strength training does not happen naturally.  You do not become physically strong by sitting in a couch watching TV, and you do not become spiritually strong by sitting in a pew watching a Bible teacher.  You will only become strong by getting up and engaging in strenuous spiritual activity.


And what does this look like?  How can you work out spiritually?  Paul will go into more detail on this in the following verses, especially when he begins to lay out the pieces of spiritual armor that God has provided to us.
























By knowing what this spiritual armor is, and how to wear it,……


……we will be gaining the strength, power, and might of God in Jesus Christ.


So wearing the spiritual armor is one key to gaining spiritual strength,……


……and later chapters of this book will go into great detail about the armor.



But putting on the armor is not the same thing as exercising with it on.


Remember, the Roman soldiers exercised and marched while wearing their armor.


So how can we exercise as Christians? How can we work out?



Paul has already explain how throughout his letter to the Ephesians.


We must know what we have been given as Christians,……


……and then we must use these gifts from God to love and serve others.


Each of us has responsibilities from God.


Each of us must discover what tasks and assignments God has given to each of us.


Then we must start practicing them.






Just as in the Roman military, not every soldier was an expert swordsman,……


……and not every soldier was a perfect shot with a bow.


In fact, some soldiers might have been better at cooking or logistics,……


……and so might not have seen much combat at all.


But all the parts work together as a whole……


……when each part performs the task it has been assigned.



In the spiritual world, this is related to spiritual gifts.


Each Christians has been given special responsibilities and assignments by Jesus.


As each person learns to fulfill the assignments they have been given by Jesus,……


……the whole body works together as each part does it share, for the benefit and blessing of us all (Ephesians 4:11-16).



If you are a teacher, teach!


If you are a servant, serve!


If you are a leader, lead!


If you are a giver, give!


As you practice and train with the skills and gifts you have been given,……


you will be working out and exercising as a soldier of Jesus Christ, becoming an effective soldier in His army.



In our next lesson, we will tackle the remainder of Ephesians 6:10.


         “Be strong in the Lord and in the Power of His might.”












Power Up for Battle (Ephesians 6:10b)


Many people are afraid of facing the forces of darkness in spiritual battle……


……because they think they are not strong enough.


They worry that they do not have enough power.



And guess what? They are right. You are not strong enough.  I am not strong enough.


You do not have enough power to face the forces arrayed against you.


It is foolish to think otherwise.



But thankfully, you do not have to depend and rely upon your own strength and power in this fight.


With his battle cry in Ephesians 6:10, Paul shouts, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!”



In Ephesians 4–6, Paul instructs Christians to perform certain duties and responsibilities.


But he only did this after revealing the riches and blessings……


……that we have in Jesus Christ which will help us do what He asks.


God does not ask us to do anything without first providing us with the resources we need to do it.



This is why, at the very beginning of this section on spiritual warfare,……


……before Paul tells us what to do in this battle,……


……Paul points out that God has provided to us the strength and power we need to stand firm against the attacks of the enemy.


The power we need for spiritual battle is not ours, but God’s.


The strength and resources of God are at our disposal for the battle before us.



This theme of power and strength from God was also mentioned earlier in Ephesians.


At the beginning of Ephesians 1–3 which deal with our riches in Christ,……


……Paul writes that the “exceeding greatness of God’s power has been given to us who believe (1:19).”


Paul writes again about His power in us (3:7)……


……and prays that those to whom he writes will know and experience the great power of the Spirit that is at work in us (3:20).



Paul was not the only Biblical author to speak of such power.


Almost every New Testament book speaks about the power that Christians……


…… have been given through the Holy Spirit living in their lives.


Since this is so … since every Christian has this infinite supply of power available to us,……


……why do so many Christians live in such a defeated state?


Why do so many Christians appear to be so powerless?


Why is it that we don’t feel it, or experience it,……


……or see its effects in our lives?


If we have all this power, why do so few of us seem to see any evidence of it in our lives?



The answer to this question is to remember that