Wealth, Walk & Warfare of a Believer


Dr. John Hoole



Today, we continue our series on the subject of Spiritual Warfare.  In previous lessons, we spent some time defining what this war is.  We also noted that each believer is a soldier in this war.  If you are a believer in Christ, you are automatically part of the army of our King.


In defining what Spiritual Warfare is, we noted a few things. 

1.       It is the battle that’s been going on for thousands of years since the fall of Lucifer from Heaven.  It is the forces of Satan and his demons against God and his angels.


2.     This battle finds its focus in humans, who are the highest of the creations of God.  We are the only part of creation that has been stamped with the image of God.


This warfare is the struggle that true believers go through in this material world, where we endeavor to reflect God’s loving influence as much as possible.  And Satan and his demons take great issue with that.  Part of that war is seen in the struggles all of us have in fighting temptation where we are called to be overcomers – but not in our own strength.


Thus far, during this series, we have discussed:


        •  Our throne rights as a believer


        •  Our adversary in this battle


In our very first lesson in this series, I presented you with Five Basic Truths about Spiritual Warfare.  And the following week we dissected each of these five in some detail


Let me once again refresh your memory.


1.  First Basic Truth: There is an invisible world.


2.  Second Basic Truth:  We are involved in an invisible war.


3.  Third Basic Truth:  Our Foe is Formidable


4.  Fourth Basic Truth:  We must respect our foe, but not fear him.


5.     Fifth Basic Truth:  We do not fight for victory, we fight from victory.


The term, Spiritual Warfare, is not found in the Scriptures, but the concept is certainly taught there.  Two of the most associated biblical passages on the topic were written by the apostle Paul.


2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV


3      For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

4      The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

5      We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.


Today, we turn to the book of Ephesians.  The sixth and last chapter of Ephesians where we find Paul’s other Passage discussing Spiritual Warfare.  For the next several weeks, we will look at what it tells us in some detail.


But, before we turn to that chapter, I want to review the entire book of Ephesians, and how it sets the stage and leads us up to the last chapter of the Book.


To begin our review of the Book of Ephesians, I want to take you to Ephesus the city.  The apostle Paul made several trips into Ephesus.  On one occasion, he stayed and taught the word of God for 2-3 years.


In the nineteenth chapter of Acts, we are told the impact the gospel had on the Ephesian population.


Acts 19:10-12 NKJV


10     And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

11     Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,

12     so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.


The people of Ephesus were heavy into idolatry and magical black arts.  In Ephesus was the Temple of Artemis - one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.  And many in Ephesus made money off these worshipers.  Response to the ministry of Paul became a concern to some business owners.


We continue reading:


Acts 19:17-19 NKJV


17     This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

18     And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.

19     Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.


At this time, Ephesus was probably the fourth largest city in the Roman Empire – maybe 250,000 people.  And so many of them were being converted into Christianity, that it upset some of the business owners.  This is especially true of a man named Demetrius.


He stirs up other businessmen and then the people.


Acts 19:24-25 NKJV


24     For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen.

25     He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: "Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade.


The whole city was turned into confusion, and a riot erupted in the large theater.


Acts 19:28-29 NKJV


28     Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!"

29     So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's travel companions.


I am not, in today’s lesson, going to talk about the riot and its impact, except to say that the apostle Paul was protected by the city officials and rushed out of town.


What I want to point out is that while many business owners were growing rich in catering to idolatry and black majic, that  later, in prison, Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus, where he tells them where true and great and eternal riches come from.


While Paul was in a Roman prison at the time of his writing, there is not the slightest trace or hint of downheartedness to be found.  On the contrary, one step across the threshold of its pages, brings us into an atmosphere of unbounded spiritual affluence.


A great deposit of riches has been made for the Christian in the bank of heaven.  It is the oldest bank in existence.  It dates way back to before the world was.  It does not belong to time and earth, but to eternity and heaven.  Unlike the banks on earth, it is as unshakable and as steadfast as the triune God who founded it.  Its doors are never closed day or night to the child of God.


While a run on any bank in our country on earth will cause it to close its doors, nothing would please our Lord more than have a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment demand for its treasures.  He has placed a deposit for us in Christ of unsearchable riches that can be drawn upon according to our need and our desire.


The very words and phrases or the book of Ephesians all speak of wealth.  Let’s examine some of them. 


                   “Grace” is used 12 times;


                   “Glory” 8; “Inheritance” 4; “Riches” 5; “Fullness” 3; “Fill” or “filled” 4


                   The incomparable words “In Him” or its equivalent, 27 times.


At the very entrance of this book, we are told of the immense blessings God has for us.


Ephesians 1:1-3 NKJV


1       Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

2       Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3       Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,


In this third verse, Paul opens the door to give us a glimpse of what awaits us.  It is the key to this house of spiritual treasures.  It is like Paul could not wait to unfold gradually these riches, so he places a nugget of gold in our hands at the threshold, an earnest of what we shall find within the book.


Do you see the vast array of information Paul gives us in the 3rd verse?


The Blesser        - It is God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Don’t miss the implication given.  Everything that the Father does for the Church or the Christian, He does primarily for the glory of His Son.  It is He who made this relationship with the Father possible.


The Blessed       - Who receives the blessing?


Two short pronouns give us the answer.  The first is in the phrase,  “OUR Lord Jesus Christ” – Those who have made Him the Lord of our lives.  The second pronoun is the word US, as in …”who has blessed US.”


When is the Blessing?


“He HATH blessed us…”   - Past tense:  In other words, belongs to the believer NOW.  Everything that God ever can give to His children is already given in Christ.


The wealth is here described and defined


The word SPIRITUAL designates the character of the blessing He bestows.  The child of God is one who realizes it is the spiritual, not just the natural, where we find our primary environment.  We have taken on a heaven-born nature.  Our paramount needs are spiritual.  Our blessings are “spiritual blessings.”


How is the wealth measured?


EVERY spiritual blessing is ours  The elasticity of God’s grace is stretched to the uttermost of our need.  Nothing that love can give has been withheld.  If God has bequeathed to the Christian every spiritual blessing in Christ, then He must have given us the capacity to receive and to hold these blessings.


Where is the wealth located?   - “In Heavenly Places”


This is emphasized repeatedly in Ephesians.  The Greek word translated “heavenly” is found five times in the book.  In chapter 1, verse 20, it is shown to be Christ’s seat of power.


Where has this wealth been deposited?    - In Christ


These two words are the essence of the entire book of Ephesians – in Christ.  IN fact, this preposition followed by an eternal Proper Name is the key to the whole New Testament.


All this is found in the very threshold of the book.  And the first three chapters elaborate much more about our wealth in Christ.


The Walk of a Believer


The first 3 chapters of Ephesians tells us how God sees us in Christ in the heavenlies.  But the next section (4:1-6:9) tells how men should see Christ in us on earth.  Paul presents the divine standard for every Christian’s life.


Ephesians 4:1 NKJV


1       I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,


With regard to our walk as believers in Christ, I will just list seven ways our walk is described in the Ephesians.


•  Walk in Unity

•  Walk in Holiness

•  Walk in love

•  Walk in Light

•  Walk in wisdom

•  Walk in praise

•  Walk in harmony.


Warfare of the Christian


Ephesians begins with the Christian in Christ in the heavenlies, abounding in his exhaustless wealth  as an heir of God and joint heir with Christ.  It continues with the Christian walking worthily of the Lord in loving and joyous fellowship with fellow-Christians and in the strength and peace of a harmonious home.  This would seem to be a suitable place to end the letter.


But what a change occurs at Ephesians 6:10.  We are suddenly taken from our restful home to the rigorous warfare of a battlefield.  A vast host is mobilized for conflict, and we hear our call to arms.  Ephesians 6:10-18 pictures the Christian facing a foe, and are forced into battle.


Is this an anti-climax or a disappointment?  By no means.  It is the inevitable consequence of a life lived in Christ in the heavenlies, filled with the Spirit, and walking as a foreigner through a world “that lieth in the evil one,” and is under his domination.


Ephesians 6:10-13 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.


If you are a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, then you have declared yourself a warrior of His.  Perhaps you did not realize this.  As a Christian, you are a soldier that has enlisted in the greatest and longest battle ever fought.


2 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV


1       You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2       And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

3       Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

4       No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs — he wants to please his commanding officer.


We need to know about the spiritual conflict we are engaged in.  We must learn what it takes to be a good soldier in the army of God.  And we need to know our enemy.


And, most of all, we need to know the resources God has for us to fight this war.  We are not in this alone.