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by Mr. John Samuel Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, September 11, 2016

What is the most important thing you can ever learn? The most important thing you can learn is that Christianity is real! Dr. Hymers learned that Christianity is real at the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles, from Dr. Timothy Lin. Dr. Lin was a rare preacher. Dr. Lin was a man who really believed in God. When a man really believes in God it sets him apart. It makes him different from other preachers, and far superior.

Dr. Timothy Lin was a pastor from China. He did not come to America until he was a grown man. What he believed and preached was what can be called “living Christianity.” He was not what people would call a Pentecostal or a charismatic. Yet Dr. Lin believed in Spirit-filling, in demons, in angels, in “messages” from God, in real answers to real prayers, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in revival. In short, Dr. Lin believed in “living” Christianity.

Several people have noticed that Dr. Hymers is more like Dr. Lin than any of the Chinese preachers who came out of his church. Dr. Hymers believes in living Christianity. It was often hard for Dr. Hymers to stay in the Chinese church all those years. Most of the people were from a different culture and background than Dr. Hymers. But Dr. Hymers knew that he had to stay. Dr. Hymers knew that it was God’s will for him to stay. And it was there that Dr. Hymers learned from Dr. Lin. Dr. Hymers may not agree with him on every single point. But Dr. Hymers thinks like him. Dr. Hymers believes in living Christianity!

You have to think like Dr. Lin and Dr. Hymers if you want to understand the second half of the sixth chapter of Ephesians. Even several commentators have been confused by the passage. But there is a truth in those verses than must be internalized. Please turn to Ephesians 6:10. It’s page 1255 in the Scofield Study Bible. Please stand as I read chapter 6, verses 10 to 12.

This is the Apostle Paul’s last statement to the Christians at Ephesus. What he said to those early Christians is greatly needed by all of us today.

I. First, the Apostle speaks of spiritual warfare.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

You may be seated. The Apostle tells us that we live on a battlefield. The Christian life is a life of warfare. The Christian life is a conflict. We are at war with the Devil and his demons. Dr. A. W. Tozer wrote an essay called, This World: Playground or Battleground? (Christian Publications, 1988, pp. 1-4). In that essay, Dr. Tozer said,

      In the early conceived the world to be a battleground. Our fathers believed in sin and the devil and hell as constituting one force, and they believed in God and righteousness and heaven as the other. By their very nature, these forces were opposed to each other forever in deep, grave, irreconcilable hostility. Man, our fathers held, had to choose sides – he could not be neutral. For him it must be life or death, heaven or hell, and if he chose to come out on God’s side, he could expect open war with God’s enemies. The fight would be real and deadly and would last as long as life continued here [on earth], ibid., p. 2.

But Dr. Tozer said that mentality has changed in our time. He said, “The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians” (ibid., p. 4).

We have to admit Dr. Tozer was right. Today evangelical Christians don’t want to hear about demons and Satan. They do not want to think that they are soldiers in a cosmic battle with the forces of evil. The main reason is that so many of them are not converted and not real Christians. Their eyes are blind to the spiritual conflict. When they hear the Apostle say, “be strong in the Lord” they don’t know what that means. Because they are not “in the Lord” – and since they are not “in” the Lord Jesus, they cannot possibly draw strength from Him! Dr. S. D. F. Salmond said that the strengthening “can take effect only in union with Christ” (“The Epistle to the Ephesians,” The Expositor’s Greek New Testament, volume III, Eerdmans, n.d., p. 382).

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “You cannot overcome the Devil in your own strength and your own power. The armor of God is needed and available to meet the [strategies, wiles, or methods] of the Devil. ‘Be strengthened in the Lord’ – that is the only place you and I get power” (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, volume 5, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, pp. 278, 279; note on Ephesians 6:10, 11).

You must come to Christ by faith to be saved in the first place. And you as a soldier of the cross must come to Him in prayer again and again to have “the power of his might.”

II. Second, the Apostle speaks of our enemies.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

The Christians of the first and second centuries were aware of the demons Paul spoke of in this verse. In his book Evangelism in the Early Church Dr. Michael Green said those early Christians believed that

The whole world and its enveloping atmosphere were filled with devils; not merely idolatry, but every phase and form of life was ruled by them. They sat on thrones, they hovered round cradles. The earth was literally a hell, though it continued to be a creation of God. To encounter this hell and all its devils Christians had command of weapons that were invincible…Christians went out into the world as exorcisers… which backed up the Christian claim that Jesus had conquered the demonic forces on the cross, that he had come to bring salvation (Michael Green, Ph.D., Evangelism in the Early Church, Eerdmans, 2003, pp. 263, 264).

In our own time, Dr. J. Vernon McGee said,

The enemy is spiritual. It is Satan who heads up his demonic forces. Now we need to recognize where the battle is. I think the church has largely lost sight of the spiritual battle (ibid., p. 280; note on Ephesians 6:12).

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said the same thing. He said, “One of the main causes of the ill [bad] state of the Church today is the fact that the devil is being forgotten...The Church is drugged and deluded; she is not aware of the conflict at all” (The Christian Warfare, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1976, pp. 292, 106).

No wonder the Southern Baptists lost 200,000 people last year. And they are losing even more this year. Evangelicals are running away from the churches in a stampede. They are afraid of ISIS. They are afraid of the sexual revolution. They are afraid of Iran. They are afraid of the president. They are afraid of everything! But we do not need to be afraid if we are clothed in the power of Christ!

III. Third, the Apostle speaks of our armor.

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:13-17).

Notice that the Apostle says, “Take unto you the whole armour of God” – He does not say make, he says take. All of the armor is free for the taking. Dr. McGee said, “Every piece of the armor really speaks of Jesus.” Jesus is the truth (v. 14a). Jesus is our righteousness (v. 14b). Jesus guides our feet in paths of righteousness (v. 15). Jesus is our shield. Jesus is the helmet of our salvation (v. 16). All these are defences. This tells us Jesus is our defence. When you trust Him you are converted. Christ clothes you with these defences as you abide in His presence. Christ is our defence. When you trust Him you are converted, and Christ clothes you with these defences as you abide in His presence.

Then the Apostle says, to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (v. 17). That is why you must study the Bible and memorize as much of it as you can. There have been times in my life when a verse I had memorized long before came back to me, and helped me in prayer. Helped me through a difficult day. Helped me through spiritual conflict with Satan. The more Bible verses you memorize the more you will know that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. The story of our pastor is an example of this. His life verse is Philippians 4:13,

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

For more than fifty years that verse has been his sword against fear and weakness. The twenty-seventh Psalm has been his sword many times when he was in desperate situations, particularly the last two verses. Memorize verses of the Bible just as Dr. Hymers did. They will help you in the fight of faith.

IV. Fourth, the Apostle speaks, at last, of the warrior’s battle.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18, 19).

Dr. Leonard Ravenhill famously said, “Prayer is the battle.” It’s not that prayer prepares us for the battle. No prayer is not simply preparation. Prayer is the battle!

Dr. Merrill F. Unger was a long-time professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He wrote an outstanding book called, Biblical Demonology (Kregel Publications, 1994 reprint). Some preachers say it is a dangerous book. However it is not the book that is dangerous. What is dangerous is going into spiritual conflict without an awareness of the Devil. A preacher cannot seriously preach without being constantly aware of demons, the Holy Spirit, and the power of prayer. It is no surprise that most Christianity is powerless. Churches are closing their Sunday evening services! Churches are losing their members. Most churches lose 88% of their young people to the world! Preachers who do not think about demons, and the power of prayer, are not subscribed to living Christianity. Renowned Bible scholar Dr. Unger correctly said, “The provision of prayer [in Ephesians 6:18, 19] is not to be regarded as a part of the warrior’s resources...or another weapon...Prayer in Ephesians 6 is the actual conflict in which the foe [Satan] is vanquished [defeated] and the victory won, not only for ourselves, but also by intercession for others” (ibid., p. 223; comments on Ephesians 6:19, 20; emphasis mine).

A British pastor named Paul Cook wrote in Fire From Heaven (Evangelical Press Books, 2009). “We must pray again and again for fresh supplies of the Holy Spirit...This means that we have to keep praying and asking. The early church did this, and so must we. The whole work of God depends upon it...fresh [power] from the Holy Spirit...[we have] to keep seeking fresh supplies of the Spirit’s power” (Rev. Paul E. Cook, Fire From Heaven: Times of Extraordinary Revival, ibid., pp. 120, 121).

That is one of the main things you should pray for every day. It will not always be easy. Prayer is conflict. Prayer requires vigilance. Prayer is a fight.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

Prayer is the battle. Pray in detail for those who are lost. Pray for the Spirit of God to draw them into our church. Pray for God to enlighten their minds to the truth of the Gospel, to convict them of sin, to draw them to Christ for cleansing from sin by His precious Blood. Prayer is the battle. Pray for God to help our pastor. Pray for God to use the preaching in the hearts of the people. Pray that God would empower the time of fellowship. In public prayers, be sure to add your weight when someone is leading. Be sure to keep your mind on what the person is praying. Say “Amen” at the end of each petition. You are prayer warriors in the battle with Satan! You are God’s people. Jesus has promised to be with us even unto the end of the world. We are not alone. If God be for us, who can be against us? Go into the battle of prayer! Equipped with God’s power and armor. God bless you.

If you are not yet saved, pray that you will find Jesus. Pray that God will not only make you see that you are lost, but also feel that you are lost. Jesus died on the Cross to save lost sinners from God’s wrath. Jesus rose from the dead to give sinners the new birth and eternal life. But these things will not become real to you without the work of God’s Spirit. We are praying that God will work on you. We are praying that God will you show you your need for Jesus. We are praying that you will trust Jesus. Because Jesus will save you. Jesus will wash your sin away with his blood that he shed on the cross. Amen. Dr. Hymers, please come and close the service.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Ephesians 6:10-19.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“I Am Praying For You” (by S. O’Malley Clough, 1837-1910).



by Mr. John Samuel Cagan

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

I.    First, the Apostle speaks of spiritual warfare, Ephesians 6:10.

II.   Second, the Apostle speaks of our enemies, Ephesians 6:12.

III.  Third, the Apostle speaks of our armor, Ephesians 6:13-17;
Ephesians 1:6; Philippians 4:13.

IV.  Fourth, the Apostle speaks, at last, of the warrior’s battle,
Ephesians 6:18, 19; Luke 11:13.