The idea of the Journey is series is to grow as disciples towards spiritual maturity in each of our spheres of life.
1. THERE IS A ___________ SPHERE.
• The Lord gives us intel to understand and navigate this spiritual battle within our spiritual sphere.
• He tells us who our adversary is and how he works.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV) 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, 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. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
2. WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A _____________.
The battle has two fronts: internal and external.
Our internal battle is between our sinful nature and the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Galatians 5:16-17 (NIV) 16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Our external battle is the pressure from our culture and the world where Satan pulls the strings.
Ephesians 2:1–2 (NIV) 1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
We once walked under the authority of Satan and his worldly, deceptive tactics.
John 8:44 (NIV) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
o Satan still wages war against us, seeking to destroy us through lies, deception and trickery.
Reality: We fight an invisible war which cannot be won with physical weapons.
● Our real struggle is not against people, circumstances, organizations, nor government, but against a hierarchy of demonic forces doing battle in the spiritual realm.
2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
o We see the results of blinded minds in our culture today.
3. WE ARE CALLED TO ____________ .
• Ephesians 6:14 uses the imperative verb tense of stand firm—it’s an urgent issue in the Greek.1
God enables us to stand firm. Notice the spiritual weapons He supplies:
• The belt of truth
• Breast plate of righteousness
• The gospel, like cleats that hold us firm
• The shield of faith
• The Helmet of Salvation
• The Sword of the Spirit, The Word of God
4. THE CHURCH IS A _____________
• When Ephesians was written, a soldier couldn’t put on armor alone. Rome use interlocking shields to form an army.
• We are to hold each other accountable and fight this battle together.
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV) 8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
• Praying together and supporting each other is vital—huddle together, let’s keep our eyes on God.
• Through prayer, we see God’s perspective.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV) 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
• Remember, the war is already won by Jesus, but there are still many battles to fight together.
• How will you overcome your flesh’s desires that pull you away from spending time abiding?
• How will you be part of the solution, not the problem, when you’re tempted to criticize the family of God, the Church?
• How will you encourage and build up your spouse, kids, parents, and grandkids when you’re tempted to be critical?
• What does the Bible say about how you are to treat the non-believer—even those who are mean to you?
QUESTIONS TO REFLECT AND DISCUSS:
Passages to consider: Ephesians 6:10-20; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Icebreaker: Choose which one you prefer of the different pairs:
Batman or Ironman; sports or video games; treadmill or trail; saving or spending; eating in or eating out; sweet or salty; fruits or vegetables; playing the game or being a spectator.
• What, from the sermon, would you like to discuss or have a question about?
1. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and Ephesians 6:10-20. What do each of these passages say about the spiritual realm?
2. What helps you remember or recognize the unseen over the seen things? A) In what ways is abiding with Jesus impacting your awareness of a spiritual realm and battle?
3. What piece of the armor are you relying on these days? A) Which one do you need?
4. What can isolate you from others? A) How does isolation work as a weapon against you, especially spiritually?
5. How can you, your family, your group, and your friends help each other to be strong in the Lord?
6. As we conclude the Journey series, what has been the insight you hold on to about the discipleship journey of following Jesus and the five spheres of every area of life?