Don’t Ignore the Last Words!February 4, 2017
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
— Ephesians 6:10
In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, the apostle Paul writes his great text about spiritual warfare and spiritual weapons. But before Paul goes into a detailed explanation of our spiritual armor, he first passionately beseeches us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord….”
The word “finally” is one of the most important words in this text. It is taken from the Greek phrase tou loipou and would be better translated for the rest of the matter; in conclusion; or in summation. The phrase tou loipou is used in other Greek manuscripts of that same period to depict something so extremely important that it is placed at the very end of the letter. This way if the reader remembers nothing else in the letter, he will be more likely to remember this one thing.
With this in mind, the word “finally” in Ephesians 6:10 carries this idea:
“In conclusion, I have saved the most important issue of this epistle until the end of the letter, so if you remember nothing else I have said, you will remember this. I want this to stand out in your mind!…”
This is a remarkable statement! The book of Ephesians contains some of the deepest theological teaching in the New Testament. Let me mention just a few of these theological points. Paul writes about:
- The election of the saints (Ephesians 1:4)
- The predestination work of God (Ephesians 1:5)
- The adoption of the sons of God (Ephesians 1:5)
- The dispensation of the fullness of times (Ephesians 1:10)
- The sealing of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)
- The earnest of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:14)
- The power of God that is available to every believer (Ephesians 1:19)
- The grace of God (Ephesians 2:1-10)
- The eternal plan of God (Ephesians 3:10-11)
- The fivefold ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11-13)
- The infilling with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19)
And the list goes on and on.
But in addition to these important theological points, the book of Ephesians also includes some of the most practical instructions in the New Testament regarding such issues as:
- The relationship between believers (Ephesians 4:25-5:2)
- The relationship between believers and the world (Ephesians 5:3-16)
- The relationship between husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:22-33)
- The relationship between parents and children (Ephesians 6:1-4)
- The relationship between employers and employees (Ephesians 6:5-9)
Yet when you come to the end of this epistle that is so jam-packed with theological and practical truths, Paul says, “Finally…” and then begins to speak to us about spiritual warfare!
Why is this? Because like so many in the Church world today, the Ephesian believers had gathered together a vast accumulation of spiritual knowledge, information, and facts; nevertheless, this alone was not enough to keep the devil under their feet where he belonged! As we read through chapter 4, we can see that the devil was apparently attacking the Ephesian church and was having some success!
That’s why Paul had to instruct these believers to put away lying, steal no more, let no corrupt communication out of their mouths, grieve not the Holy Spirit, and put aside all anger and malice (Ephesians 4:25-31). Does this sound like a church full of victorious people to you? The Ephesian believers were members of the largest church of that day, yet they were not fully experiencing the overcoming, abundant life that Jesus Christ had come to offer them.
Consider your own life. Are you experiencing victory in most areas of your life, or are you suffering defeat in key areas? Have you ignored the fact that spiritual warfare is real? Have you gathered lots of spiritual information, knowledge, and facts, yet forgotten to put on the whole armor of God?
Praise God for all the knowledge you’ve gained, but now it’s time to turn your intellectual knowledge of God’s Word into the sword of the Spirit. Then you must raise it high and brandish it against the onslaughts the enemy has been trying to bring against you. It’s also time for you to turn your knowledge about faith into a shield that withstands every demonic attack! That’s why Paul said, “Finally.…” In case the Ephesian believers didn’t remember anything else, he wanted them to remember that they had to have spiritual weapons to keep the devil under their feet.
How about you? Are you dressed in the whole armor of God today?
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I ask You to forgive me for the times I have allowed strife to get into my heart. Also, please forgive me for those occasions when I have been the origin of strife and fighting. Help me grow in discernment so I can quickly recognize when the devil is trying to create division. Show me how to be a peacekeeper and a source of harmony rather than a player in the midst of others’ wrong attitudes.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I do not yield to envy and strife! When the opportunity for strife arises, I beat Satan at his own game by choosing to respectfully make room for the ideas, thoughts, and opinions of others. Even if I don’t agree with what they say, I let them know that I value their right to have a differing opinion. I maintain an attitude of staying on the same side with my fellow believers; therefore, I put the devil on the run and keep him OUT of my relationships!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Do your coworkers, friends, and family members find you open-hearted to their suggestions, or do they find it difficult to express themselves honestly in front of you?
2. When the opportunity for strife arises, what can you do to circumvent it and promote peace?
3. Can you recall moments when you were so sure you were right, only to discover that someone else’s idea was really much better than yours?