The Christian’s Battle Cry

Ephesians 6:10


Dr. John Hoole




We have been examining the subject of Spiritual Warfare for the last several months.  The most famous passage on this topic is Ephesians 6:10-18.        We began examining verse 10 in our last lesson.  We will continue looking at that verse again today.  Let’s begin today’s lesson by reading verses 10-12.


Ephesians 6:10-12 NKJV



Good guys and bad guys. Heroes and villains.  There is a reason that a large number of the stories we read and the movies we watch trace these themes.  Everything from simple childhood tales like Little Red Riding Hood to sophisticated science fiction dramas like Star Wars portray the conflict.


The truth is that these stories, perhaps often unknowingly, reflect a key spiritual reality!  There really is an ongoing cosmic battle between the good guys and the bad guys, between the forces of good and evil.


In the Bible the battle is played out between nations, between groups of people, between members of the same family and, at times, within the heart of a single person.  It is not just your imagination when life seems difficult.  You are in a spiritual battle.  The battle is not just out there. It is cosmic, yet it is close.  It is of vast proportions, yet it is intensely personal.


The Unrecognized Battle


If the battle we are in is so significant, why is it that we are often largely unaware of the conflict?  The battle is difficult to recognize at times for several reasons:


• We acknowledge that life is difficult, but it is easy to attribute most of the pain, brokenness, and sorrow around us to living in a fallen world.  Certainly, the events recorded in Genesis chapter three had devastating effects, but that is only one chapter in the story.


If we see the Fall as the beginning and source of all that is wrong in this world, we fail to recognize the Fall as one battle (although admittedly a major one) in the larger ongoing war.


• It can also be difficult to recognize the battle because evil often presents itself as good.  Satan is known as the angel of light, and he can easily make darkness seem as light It is the subtle deceptions rather than the obvious lies that lull us into complacency .


• Lastly, it is difficult to recognize because part of the battle is in the seen world (the realm of our physical senses) and part of the battle is in the unseen world (the invisible spiritual realm).  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (the visible realm) but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (the invisible realm) (Ephesians 6:12).


Let’s return to our text.


There are several Greek words that can be translated as “power.”  Three of them are used in this passage.  Let’s look at these three verses with the Greek words inserted.


Ephesians 6:10-12 NKJV


10    Finally, my brethren, be strong [Endunamao: Root words = En + Dunamis] in the Lord and in the power [Kratos] 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 [Exousia]  against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.


I will discuss Dunamis and Kratos more thoroughly in a few minutes.  They will come up again in another Passage in the book of Ephesians.  We will not address Exousia today, but will when we get to verse 12.  I addressed it briefly in a lesson several weeks ago.


Today we are going to focus on Verse 10.


Ephesians 6:10 NKJV


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


This verse tells us where our strength comes from.  On our own, we couldn’t fight spiritual adversaries.  We need to be strong in the Lord.  But what exactly does that really mean?  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?


In a story recorded in II Kings chapter six, Scripture allows us a glimpse behind the stage curtain into the reality of the unseen battle.  The King of Aram, an enemy of Israel, had sent a great army with chariots and horses to capture the prophet Elisha.  Elisha’s servant was very frightened when he looked out the door and saw these enemies surrounding the city,  Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him.  For there are more on our side than on theirs!”  Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!”  The LORD opened his servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire (II Kings 6:16-17, New Living Translation).  These angelic servants of the Lord had been sent to preserve the life of Elisha.  If, like Elisha, we were able to perceive the full range of events constantly at play about us, we would be amazed at the extent of activity in the unseen realm.


In chapter six, Paul does not go into great detail about the power and strength of God.  That is because he dwelt on it in earlier passages of Ephesians.  So, let first turn to chapter one to see what Paul says about this power.



In chapter 1 Paul greets the Ephesian readers (1:1-2) and then begins to enumerate our many spiritual blessings in Christ (1:3-14).  He notes the Ephesians' faith and love (1:15), and now describes his prayer for them.


Ephesians 1:16-19 NIV


16    I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

17    I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

18    I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

19    and his incomparably great power for us who believe.


Every time Paul thinks of the Ephesians and brings to mind their faith and love, he begins to thank God.  He often prays for them that God will open their spiritual eyes to a full comprehension of all that God has for them.  His prayer is three-fold, that they might know the…


•  Hope to which he has called them (vs. 18),


•  Inheritance which the saints possess (vs. 18), and


•  Power that is focused on believers (vs. 19).


It is "power in the church" that I want to examine in greater detail.


Unimaginable Power for Believers (1:19a)


The first part of verse 19 casts about for words to describe the infinite extent of this power:


"... His incomparably great power for us who believe."


The word Paul uses for "power" is the common Greek noun dunamis.  Its meaning is: "potential for functioning in some way, the ability to achieve, power, might, strength, force, capability."  Our English words "dynamo," “dynamite,” and "dynamic" come from this word.


But "power" by itself isn't half the story.  Paul includes two modifiers, and the first is translated variously as:


"Incomparably" (NIV),

"immeasurable" (NRSV),

"exceeding" (KJV)


These various descriptors come from a participle of the Greek verb huperballo.  The Greek word is a compound of the words HUPER and BALLO.  The word huper describes something that is above and beyond anything else.  The word ballo means to throw or to hurl.


However, when the two words are used in conjunction with each other, together they depict an archer who overshoots his goal.  He put so much energy into it that when he pulls back on his bow and releases his arrow, he overshoots, overreaches, surpasses, and eclipses his goal.


The second modifier that describes this power is "Great" (NIV) or "greatness" (NRSV, KJV).  The Greek adjective here is  megathos, which speaks of the "quality of exceeding a standard of excellence, greatness."


What Paul is saying in this verse is that this is not just "power," but extraordinarily humongous power.  This is boundless, immense, measureless, and vast.  One could say that it is so mighty that it is simply beyond human ability to measure.  This is the power we are to have mentioned in Chapter 6.


But where is the power directed?  What is this huge power designed to do?  The NRSV translate the proposition eis as "for us" and KJV renders it "us-ward.


The Greek preposition eis is a very common word that "indicating motion into a thing or into its immediate vicinity or relation to something."  God's great power is extended toward us.  We'll see in 3:20 later in this lesson that God's power is "toward" us and also works "within" us believers.


Resurrection Power (1:19b-20a)


Let’s add the remainder of verse 19, and add the first half of verse 20.  They combine to make one full sentence.  And let me add some Greek words.


Ephesians 1:18-20 NIV


18    I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

19    and his incomparably great power [Dunamis] for us who believe. That power [Kratos] is like the working of his mighty strength [Ischuos],

20    which he exerted [Energeo] in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,


Notice again the use of both Greek words, Dunamis and Kratos.  We already defined “Dunamis” a few minutes ago, as we looked at the first part of verse 19.,.


In the latter half of verse 19, Paul gives an example of the type or kind of power he's talking about:  At the end of Verse 19, Paul adds two additional words to our power vocabulary.  And he uses the Greek word ISCHOUS, which is rendered:


"mighty strength" (NIV),


"great power" (NRSV), or


"mighty power" (KJV).


These are descriptors to the Greek noun kratos that is used earlier in this sentence.  It means "ability to exhibit or express resident strength, might," here referring to "intensity in might."  Kratos is combined with the Greek noun ischus, which means "capability to function effectively, strength, power, might."  Great power! Mighty strength!


In Paul's verses that we just read, we are told God has exerted just this kind of power in the resurrection of Christ from the dead.


Think about that for a moment.  The immense, infinite, humongous power that God extends to believers is the same sort of power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead.  In other words, the power at our disposal as the Church can do the most impossible feat, crush the most unconquerable foe.


This immeasurably great power is for us -- you and me -- who believe.


Paul prays for the Ephesians -- and I believe he was praying for all saints down to modern-day readers.  He prayed that our spiritual eyes will be able to see and our faith will be big enough to grasp this tremendous resource.


The Power at Work within Us (3:20)


I want to conclude this study of "power in the Church" with two verses which form a doxology, a praise-saying, at the conclusion of the first half of the Ephesian Letter:


Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV


20    Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

21    to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


The phrase),"exceedingly abundantly" (NKJV) "immeasurably more" (NIV), or "far more abundantly beyond" (NAS) ranslates the Greek adverb huperekperissou.


This word means "quite beyond measure," the highest form of comparison imaginable.  It is a compound word from hyper, "over, above, beyond" + ek, "out of" + perisseuo, "to exceed, to be abundant."  When you say someone is "hyper" (or "hyperactive") you mean they are way above the normal activity level.   "Super abundant" is the idea of this word.


So, Paul reminds us that God is able to work "super abundantly" more than we can even imagine in our wildest prayers.  But notice the focus of this power – "according to his power (dunamis) that is at work within us."


The phrase "at work" is the Greek verb erergeo.  This means: "work, be at work, be active, operate, be effective."  It is from this word we get our English word "energy."


The Church in history has seen great things, but those times are not over.  Not by any means!  As we believe God's promises, we have just begun to see his greatness evidenced in our midst.


God's super abundant power is designed to energize and activate his church with power to accomplish his plan here on earth.  You and I should pray for this power.  Imagine this power working in your congregation. Envision it.  Begin to expect it day and night.  And as we do, as our faith rises, we will begin to see Christ's power in our church to a greater degree than you ever believed possible.  That is what I get out of this passage!




Again, our text says, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”


With what we have learned in examining the Greek words used here, is that this verse is about supernatural power which God has made available for our fight against the unseen, demonic powers that war against our soul.


To review, the word “strong,” used at the beginning of this statement, is taken from the word endunamao, which describes a power whose purpose is to infuse a believer with an excessive dose of inward strength.  This particular type of endunamao power is so strong that it can withstand any attack and successfully oppose any kind of force.


The word “power” used in the second half of this verse, describes what I have come to call “demonstrated power.”  In other words, kratos power is not a power that one merely adheres to and believes.  Rather, this kratos power is a power that is demonstrative, eruptive, and tangible.  It almost always comes with some type of external, outward, manifestation that one actually sees with his or her eyes. This means kratos power is not a hypothetical power – this is real power.


As we learned earlier, this is the exact same power God used to raise Jesus from the dead.  Kratos power was overpowering and irresistible on that day long ago.  Flooding the grave where Jesus’ dead body lay, this conquering power permeated every dead cell and fiber of his body with divine life until it was impossible for death to hold Him any longer.  


The power that raised Jesus from the dead was an eruptive power, a demonstrated power, an outwardly visible power.  It was the strongest kind of power known to God or man.


And now Paul uses this very word to describe the power that is available for our use!  With this empowering Presence of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, we can expect the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead to be operating in us.


We need to turn up our level of expectation.