Calling Day 15 Undying Love: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) It sounds like verse 12 is talking about spiritual warfare. Is that a real thing?

2) The helmet of salvation seems like the vital part of this armor. Do all the other pieces really matter?

3) What does Paul mean when he says he is “an ambassador in chains”? (verse 20)

Ephesians 6:10-24

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.  For this reason, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.  Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.  In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God.  Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer request and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.  Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.  For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should.  Tychicus, our dearly loved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me so that you may be informed.  I am sending him to you for this very reason, to let you know how we are and to encourage your hearts.  Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Original Intent

1) It sounds like verse 12 is talking about spiritual warfare. Is that a real thing?
Yes, spiritual warfare is exactly what verse 12 is speaking about and yes, it was, and is, a real thing. Notice how Paul begins verse 10 with the word “finally”? This is a good reminder that we are reading a letter that starts back in Chapter 1. Paul is beginning to summarize all he has written before with a warning and call to action to be prepared for battle. Part of what he is getting at here is that these new Christian believers need to understand who their real enemy is, and what he is like. We must pay attention to the word choices used and their original meaning. In our text we read in verse 12, “For our struggle”, while in ESV the word used is “wrestle”. The original meaning signifies “crafty ways”. These readers would understand wrestling as an Olympic sport of that day where one needed to be aware of his opponent and the tricks he might use to gain an advantage. In the same way, Paul wants his readers to understand the devil is crafty, sneaky, and cunning, looking to intentionally trip us up as they follow Jesus. Therefore, they must be watching and ready for his coming attacks. The enemy also knows this is an eternal battle; one in which the souls of believers are at stake. He is a vicious, unrelenting enemy who desires to steal, kill, and destroy at all costs. (John 10:10)

2) The helmet of salvation seems like the vital part of this armor. Do all the other pieces really matter?
Helmets are obviously a vital piece of armor since they protect the head. We all know that a blow or injury to the head is likely to kill, or permanently disable, a soldier. Here the helmet represents salvation, specifically the saving knowledge of knowing who Jesus is and what He has done on our behalf as He took our punishment on Himself as He died on the cross. Knowing, and believing whole-heartedly, this truth will protect against the sneaky devil and his seeds of doubt, worry, fear, discontent, and the like. Protecting the head is important, but we need to look at the entire text and the fact that Paul says to put on the “full armor” (verse 11) and then proceeds to mention several key pieces of armor (again using the analogy of armor his readers familiar with Roman soldiers would easily understand). Each piece plays a key role in preparation for battle. These readers would not have gone into battle with only a helmet, but would have suited themselves in “full armor”, which includes both defensive and offensive weaponry.

3) What does Paul mean when he says he is “an ambassador in chains”? (verse 20)
Let’s look at two key words, “ambassador” and “chains”. First, ambassador refers to a diplomatic agent sent to represent another; they are a messenger authorized to deliver important news or information to others. Here, Paul is an ambassador for Jesus, sent to deliver His message (the gospel of freedom from sin found only in Jesus Christ), to the church in Ephesus. We also know he was in prison, hence Paul’s reference to chains. While he may not have been physically in chains the entire time of his imprisonment, it does speak to his inability to travel at will. Paul, not willing to allow his current situation to deter him from his role as a messenger for God, is asking his friends, his community of brothers and sisters in Christ, to pray for his continued boldness in sharing the truth of Jesus and His gospel. Paul was literally God’s messenger while in the chains of physical imprisonment. His body may have been confined, but the message of Jesus was free!

Everyday Application

1) It sounds like verse 12 is talking about spiritual warfare. Is that a real thing?
Spiritual warfare is not a new thing. It goes back to the very beginning in the Garden of Eden with Eve and the serpent (Satan). Take a look at Genesis 3 where it says, “The serpent was the most cunning…”. He didn’t attack head on, but through a twisting of words just enough to catch Eve off guard. Jumping to the New Testament, we see the same is true in Matthew 4 as Jesus is tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Satan attempts to twist words and promises of worldly greatness as a means to trick Christ. Thankfully, Jesus is God, and knows this enemy and his tactics well, and is prepared to fight. Our current application is not that different from these original believers in Ephesus. As Christ followers, we must be aware of and alert to the schemes and attacks of our enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us our “adversary, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for anyone he can devour”. Attacks, temptations, and spiritual battles will come our way as long as we live differently than the world in pursuit of obedience to Christ. This war for our souls will continue to rage until Jesus returns. We have an enemy because our Savior has an enemy, but we can take confidence in the fact that in the end Jesus is Victorious, which means so are we! (John 15:18-25, 1 John 5:4)

2) The helmet of salvation seems like the vital part of this armor. Do all the other pieces really matter?
As discussed in the original intent section, salvation is indeed vitally important. However, I wonder if today we fully understand the importance of armor in battle. Warfare and battles have drastically changed over the years. There is very little hand to hand, up close and personal fighting done these days. The wars we have experienced have been fought with guns, missiles, and bombs. While our soldiers still wear protective gear and clothing, it’s not something most of us have in our homes which makes me wonder if we really get Paul’s point. Do we, especially in western culture, buy into the false idea that once I am “saved” (having the helmet of salvation), I can just go on with my life knowing my eternity is taken care of? Do we really understand that all the pieces matter? Can we say we know God’s word, not just that we read it, but know it so well it’s like a belt fastened around our waist? Or do we fully understand the only reason you are righteous is because Jesus has made us righteous, so we wear that blessing as a breastplate, protecting our heart and soul? Do we have  firm footing, and an urgency to share hope, because of the gospel? Then you have the shield of faith and sword of the Spirit. Shields are something we pick up and carry with us for protection against that scheming and sneaky enemy. Our shield is knowledge and confidence in Jesus, His power and authority; our shield is our faith in Him. The sword is the only offensive piece of armor. Even so, it isn’t on us to use in our power, it’s the sword of the Spirit, the very presence of God in us, fighting for us, day in and day out, in battles both seen and unseen. As Paul urges, “put on the full armor of God!”

3) What does Paul mean when he says he is “an ambassador in chains”? (verse 20)
When thinking about modern application, we need to ask ourselves some honest questions. Are we, you and me, true ambassadors for Christ? If you call yourself a Christian, the answer should be yes. Because every believer is called to share the gospel. Matthew 28:19 tells us to go and make disciples, meaning we are called as ambassadors for Jesus just as much as Paul. How about chains? What chains are you wearing today? While we may not be in physical chains, many of us are in fact in chains that keep us from doing the work to which we’ve been called. They are chains of addiction, greed, judgement, pride and entitlement, just to name a few. There is, however, a difference between us and Paul. The chains most of us find ourselves in, are chains that can be broken. Not by us alone, but with the help of our powerful Savior. All we need to do is admit our sin and ask Him to break them for us. The amazingly cool thing is, more often than not, these chains we find ourselves in today, may be the very chains God will use to share His message with others who need to hear His good news when we are willing to transparently share our story of how God rescued us!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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