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We are going to move to
(command to do this now! Don't delay! It's urgent!)
study on panoplia)
(term of conclusion)
you will be
will be able (word
study on dunamai) (PPN)
stand firm (AAN)
study on methodeia)
word study on diabolos).
We need to understand
that we, as believers, live in a spiritually hostile world. The book of
Ephesians tells us what a believer is.
Ephesians 1:13 (see notes). Paul says,
Him [Christ], you also, after
listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation."
They had heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Word containing the gospel.
Someone’s testimony does not save us. It is the Word of God that is the
seed that must fall in the man’s heart.
bade light and as I walk as a
child of light, wearing the garment of light, I begin to irritate the
darkness that is around me. This whole world system is the product largely
of the influence of darkness. It is hostile to the Lord. It is hostile to
the people of God. Everything and every place have been influenced by
darkness. The economic systems of our world have been influenced by
darkness. The political systems of our world have been influenced and
infected by darkness. The educational systems of our world have been
influenced by darkness. The social mores and values have been influenced
First John 5:19 says
know that we are of God, and the
whole world lies in the power of the evil one."
John says that the whole world lies in the arms of the evil one. They are
not even cognizant of the fact that they have
been affected and infected by DARKNESS. They do not understand.
17 This I say therefore, and affirm together with
the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the
futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded
from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of
the hardness of their heart;19 and they, having become callous, have given
themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity
with greediness. (See notes
we are told that the whole world, their
minds are darkened, therefore, their morality is depraved. They are
infected and influenced by darkness. Now here we are. We have been made
light, living in a world infected by darkness. The main instigator of all
that darkness is the prince of darkness himself, Satan.
we are introduced to him.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in
which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according
to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working
in the sons of disobedience" (See notes
In John 8:44
are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your
father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the
truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he
speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies.
The devil was once an angel in heaven, the most beautiful angel
in heaven. He led a rebellion against God and, as a result, was cast into
the lower heavens. He walks on this earth, but he still has access into
heaven to accuse the brethren both day and night.
Genesis 3 we read that
the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the
field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has
God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'? (see Ge 3:1, 2,
3, 4, 5)
deceived the woman and caused the man to sin.
By getting Adam to sin, sin entered the world and something else happened.
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into
the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because
As a result of the sin of
Adam, the depravity of man, the authority of this earth, its inhabitants
and its lower atmosphere became Satan’s legally in the just system of God.
When man sinned, it was like the world was turned over to the authority
= now Satan had the right and might)
darkness, legally, because man chose to disobey his God. Death, the result
of the curse of sin, was his weapon. His kingdom is a kingdom of darkness
and deceit. Every person is born into his kingdom.
People are always saying,
"That little baby
could not be born a sinner."
Well, if you could give that little baby the intelligence to know what we
know and the words to say what we know to say at three in the morning when
it wants milk and you want to sleep, you will find out how affected by
darkness that little child is. Nobody ever taught that child that. It was
passed down from Adam from generation to generation
(see Romans 5:12-note). Every person, every
man, is born into the kingdom of darkness. Thank God for His provision of
young ones when they don’t understand that.
David said when his son died,
come to me. I can go to him." (2Sa 12:23)
There appears to be an age of accountability with children, but we don’t
know when that age stops because it is different for every individual when
they come to realize that what they are doing is sin.
After the fall, God raised up Abel and immediately Satan infected Cain to
kill his brother. Once Satan had gotten the authority of the people on
this earth, once he was the prince of the power of the air, God would do
something in a man. Then Satan would infect another man to come against
him. It appears to be a chess game all through the Old Testament until you
come to the book of Malachi. When you come to the book of Malachi we
realize that God backs off. He withdrew the fire from the temple and there
is nothing done on either part it seems for a period of about 400 years.
Then God broke the silence by revealing His plan that had been before the
foundation of this world. Instead of raising up a man, God became a man
and Satan said,
"I am in deep trouble! Now
Jesus is on the scene."
The whole world is surrounded by darkness. Demonic control is all over the
whole earth. The whole world is infected and influenced by darkness. But
Jesus is the Light. No one turned Him on, and no one can ever turn Him
off. He is the Light. He is not like light. He is not a light. He is
Light. (cf Jn 8:12) He came through the darkness to this earth. He
walked on this earth as the God-man, took our sin upon Himself, died on
the cross, resurrected, ascended, is glorified and now man for the first
time man has the hope of being delivered out from underneath the captivity
that he has been held by Satan. Now Jesus is here. He offers man the
opportunity to be transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom
of His dear Son.
Before the cross and the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross, man
lived in fear of the devil and death. But Jesus conquered them both. In
it says that He, Jesus, was seated far above all
principality and powers. As a matter of fact, look at verse 20:
which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him
from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21
far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name
that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. (See
He didn’t say He seated Him above, he said He seated Him "far
above". Let me
explain to you what that means. If you could take the power of Satan and
put it on a scale next to the power of God, his doesn’t even show up.
God’s is far above all principalities and powers. I want you to know that
warfare is not a struggle against power. It is a struggle to maintain
truth. We will see that as we walk through this. Satan is no equal to God.
He is a creation. God is the Creator!
is not a struggle against
It is a struggle to maintain
Well, the believer needs to be aware that Satan is around. We are told
that by Peter in his epistle. We need to be aware of the demonic. We need
to be aware of darkness. We need to be aware that it has infected a world
system and is in our face daily. We need to be aware of that, however, our
focus is not to be on that. Our focus is to be on the resurrected,
ascended, glorified Lord Jesus Christ and on His resurrection power in
each individual life.
FOCUS ON THE LIGHT
Our FOCUS is to be on the resurrected,
ascended, glorified Lord Jesus Christ and on His resurrection power in
each individual life.
That is our focus. We do not focus on darkness. We
focus on light. The Prince and the power of light is the Lord Jesus
Each one of the words in verse 10 shows us something different about the
strength of the God who wants to empower our lives.
ischus means inherent power. He doesn’t have to do anything. You can just be in
His midst and be overwhelmed. I imagine that is the power that overwhelmed
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they said,
"Our God is able. But even
if He doesn’t.…" (Da 3:17)
He doesn’t have to do anything folks. The word
is the one Paul takes us deep into understanding in the book of Ephesians.
You see, when you want to know about power, you have to go deeper than the
outside plug on a wall. If you want to know about the power of
electricity, you have to go somewhere where the power is manufactured. You
have to go deep down inside the dam and see all the generators and the
power and the strength. Paul takes us deep down into Ephesians and helps
us see who it is that we serve and who it is that lives in our lives.
So he says in Ephesians 6:10,
strong in the Lord and in the
strength of His might."
He wraps up the whole book in one phrase. Then he begins to
extend and explain what he is talking about and that is what I want us to
see. Verse 11 is another command, but it extends what he has already said.
He begins to explain what he has been saying for six chapters. Now watch
this. The tense is
aorist middle imperative.
He says in verse 11,
"Put on the
full armor of God"
What does aorist middle imperative mean? Aorist imperative means "do it."
Do it now. It's urgent. Put it on. Make sure this happens. Middle voice
means it is by your own choice. It is not going to just jump on you.
You’ve got to make your choice. Imperative means it is a command.
Now he says in verse 10,
"be strong in the Lord and in the
strength of His might."
Then he turns right around and says,
"Put on the full armor
THE GARMENT OF EPHESIANS 4
THE ARMOR OF EPHESIANS 6
enduo) there is referring to putting on a garment. It is the same word used in
Ephesians 4:24 where he says,
"put on the new man" (see notes
I have a difficult time
believing that the ARMOR of chapter 6 is different from the GARMENT
of chapter 4. If you look at the context of Ephesians, Paul is putting the
garment of chapter 4 in a different light in chapter 6. It is almost like
he is saying,
"Finally brethren, I want you
to see the urgency of what I have been telling you. Put on [like putting
on a garment] the whole armor of God."
I believe that the garment of chapter 4 is the
armor of chapter 6 when understood in light of the context of Ephesians.
Let me explain. If you take the view that the armor is something else
you put on top of what has already been taught in Ephesians, then here is
what you are saying. You are saying that being strengthened in the inner
man by the Spirit of God, allowing Christ to rule in every area of our
hearts, understanding and experiencing for ourselves the love of Christ in
us and through us, wearing the brand new garment of a new lifestyle,
refuting, reproving and removing the deeds of darkness around us by
wearing this garment, being constantly moment by moment filled with the
Spirit of God, allowing Christ’s love to permeate our homes and our work
place, surrendered to Christ, letting Jesus be Jesus, living a righteous
life which is your garment, is not enough. You are saying you need to put
something on top of that if you are ever going to defeat the devil. I do
not believe that is what Ephesians is teaching.
TRUTH NOT POWER
We get caught up in the fact that it is a POWER against a POWER. That is
not the picture. The picture is we are dealing with TRUTH. We are dealing
with OUR MINDS. We are dealing with lives that are surrendered so that we
don’t get caught off guard by the schemes, by the trickery of the devil.
So I beg to disagree with the statement that we need to add something to
what Paul has beautifully brought out is a life strengthened in the inner
man with an outer garment which is a life of righteousness from head to
toe, minds being renewed, hearts being stirred to righteousness. All these
things to me are our weapon. It is our armor against the adversary.
Listen, folks, if you say you deal with the devil, remember he is only in
one place at one time. He moves fast, but he is a spirit. He is only in
one place at a time. What we are dealing with is a SYSTEM he has infected
into this world and is in every area that we look at. It is in our face
when we turn the television set on. It is in our face when we walk out
into the humanistic society that we live in.
The only way to combat him is
to be filled with the Spirit, empowered in the inner man, wearing the
garment of righteousness, letting the Word richly dwell in your hearts
Then you have your armor on and that armor will shut down the wiles of the
Let me walk through it with you. In verse 11 it says to put on the full
armor of God. This is another clue. Paul shows us that the garment, which
is now armor, is made up of several things. He is going to mention them
later on. But he says if you have only one of them on it is useless. You
have to have them all on. The armor then is like a garment. It is one
unit. You can’t have a piece of it on and another piece not on. You have
to have the "full armor". The word
panoplia, refers to the totality
of armor worn by a soldier. Now we must realize Paul has in his
mind the Roman soldier his readers saw on the street day by day.
Two things are important in that verse. One is the full armor. It is
a garment. It is one fabric, which to me again points back to
You put on Christ. You don’t put on a piece at a time. You put on Christ.
That putting Him on involves the mind, the breast plate, the feet, all
Secondly, it is the "armor of God". It is not the armor of man. He says,
on the full armor of God." (Ed note: "put on" is
imperative which often conveys the sense of an urgent action
needed ~ "Just do it & do it now" is the idea)
Do you remember when David took lunch over
to his brothers who were fighting against Goliath? David gets over there
and sees that it is Goliath they are fighting. David said, "Let me fight
him." Of course, everybody thought he was crazy. He said,
delivered me from the bear and the lion. Let me go over and fight him."
(See discussion of this warfare on
Sabaoth, LORD of hosts)
Saul wanted to help him out. Saul takes his armor and tries to put it on
David. It is a good picture here of what I am talking about. You see, this
doesn’t fit. You don’t come against the wiles of the devil, who is a
master of deceit, a liar from the very beginning, in this world that is
his territory, that he has infected, that he has influenced. You don’t
come against him in the power of man. You come against him in the armor of
God. It is God’s armor. Put on the full armor of God. To me what he is
"Don’t take this garment lightly. It is armor. When you put it on remember
that is the only way you can stand against the wiles of the devil."
You don’t come against the wiles of the devil, who is a master of
deceit...in the power of man. You come against him in the armor of
Now, this righteous garment, which is our armor, has a purpose. He says,
that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil".
The word "stand"
there has the idea not of a casual standing but of a digging in.
tell me that the sandals of the Roman soldiers had spikes on them so they
could dig in and hold their ground and not be knocked off course.
Click picture to enlarge figure of the spiked soldier shoes
That is sort of the idea of standing. It is not just a casual standing up.
It has the idea of standing firm and holding the ground that you are on,
not being knocked off course. Now folks, you need to understand something.
Satan is in this world. Satan wants to come in your face and put deceit in
your mind. Friend, if you are not being strengthened in the inner man,
your mind being affected by truth, letting the Lord Jesus Christ motivate
you and live His life through you, you are a dead duck. If you are not in
the Word of God, you are not consistently seeking to let Him control your
SPIRITUALITY IS NOT
IT IS CONSISTENCY!
Remember spirituality is not perfection, it is consistency. I come back
continually to repent. It is being dressed and undressed constantly. As I
continue to do that, then I will be protected against the deceit that
Satan wants to put in my face. If your life is sort of a haphazard life as
far as your Christianity is concerned, you are already deceived and you
don’t even know it. Apply that to your own life. Apply that to your
thinking about the church. Apply it to your thinking about your family. If
you are not being affected and consistently seeking Him and letting His
Word radically change your mind, you have already been deceived and you
don’t even know it. That is how good Satan is, folks. He talked Eve into
talking Adam into sinning and the depravity of man resulted. (Ro 5:12-note)
That is how good he is. He knows what he is doing. This world is his
territory right now. He is the prince of the power of the air. He has
legal authority over this earth. However, we are transferred out of his
kingdom into the kingdom of God at salvation (Col 1:13-note). Therefore, we have to have on our garment which is going to be our armor
against him. You don’t stand with your back to him. You stand with your
face to him. Friend, he is in your face. Folks, this is his world. He
knows what he is doing. If you are not putting the Word in your mind,
letting truth affect your life, then you have missed the whole point of
what this conflict is over. It is not power against power. God can
sneeze and put him down. It is the battle of truth. That is why it
is so important for us to understand that we need to be strengthened in
the inner man at all times because that affects the way we think
and that affects the way we live.
Then Paul says,
"the schemes of the devil".
(Ed note: the Greek =
methodeia > English "method" -
see note below on "schemes")
refer to the trickery of the devil. He is the old deceiver. The word "devil"
is an interesting word. He has other names like
Satan (meaning "Adversary"). But Paul
uses the word "devil"
here again. He has used it twice. The word "devil"
word study on
diabolos) here is the word that means
diabolical. He is the slanderer. It means the one who tries to get in and
separate you in any relationship. He will separate you in your walk with
God and your fellowship with Him. He will separate you in your work with
others, simply because you are holding on to something that has not been
affected by what the Word of God has to say.
So he is good at what he is doing. He is constantly trying to deceive us.
He tries to trick us, but we are to stand and hold our ground. It is a
command. He says, "You do it. Be strong
present passive imperative
~ command to
continually allow yourself to be strengthened)
in the Lord. That is where your
strength to stand comes from. But you have to make up your mind to put on
the armor, to wear the garment which is a righteous lifestyle of Jesus
being Jesus in your life.
My proposal to you to think about is this
Jesus Christ in His life being released through us, spiritually empowering
us in the inner man by His garment of a righteous lifestyle is our armor
against the tricks of the devil as we stand in a spiritual war zone and he
tries to knock us off balance. Our armor is the Lord Jesus manifesting His
life in and through us.
Look at Isaiah 59:17 which is
speaking of Jesus...
"He put on righteousness like a breastplate and a helmet of
salvation on His head and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And
wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle "
Paul is quoting this passage here in Ephesians 6. We are to put these
things on, but we put them on by putting on Christ, just like we put on
the garment. He and His Spirit affects our minds, affects our righteous
living, which brings peace in our life. He gives us the helmet of
says almost the same
thing, talking about the different pieces of armor that Paul has referred
I want to refer you to a hymn we sing quite often in our church.
(Ed note: Play
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
note alternative translation)
I want to
read it for you. This comes right out of the truth we have just studied.
A mighty fortress is our
God, A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he, amid the flood of mortal ills
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
and power are great, &, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his
There is not one person down here who can stand up against him.
Did we in our own
strength confide, Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on
our side, The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that might be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name, From age to age the same,
& he must win the battle.
He must win the battle because of Who He is.
And tho this world, with
devils filled, Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath
willed His truth to triumph thro’ us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, We
tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure. For lo, his doom is sure, One
little word will fail him.
That word above all
earthly pow’rs, No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are
ours Thro’ him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindreds go, This mortal
The body they may kill: God’s truth abidest still, His kingdom
That is exactly what I believe Paul is saying. He is simply putting the
armor into the context of a spiritual war zone. He is saying,
"Listen, this garment is more important than you think. If you don’t have
it on, then you have no defense against the master deceiver who wants to
lead you off the path and knock you from your standing on truth, the Lord
To me he is saying,
"Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might."
By the way, that garment is your armor and that is how you are going to be
defended, by Jesus being Jesus in your life.
that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant
of his schemes. (Greek = noema = thoughts, devices,
contrivances, that which he thinks)
But I am afraid, lest as the
serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led
astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
Note that the enemy seeks to establish his major base of operations
in our mind, which is another reason we are to "eat the Word" and
meditate on it night and day
so that our minds might be continually renewed.
from methodeuo = to work by method in turn from meta =
with, after + hodos = a way)
refers to an orderly, logical, effective arrangement, usually in steps
followed to achieve an end.
It describes deliberate planning or a systematic approach and
can have a positive or negative connotation. The negative meaning of
methodeia implies the use
of clever methods or strategies to attain the desired end. The Scripture
always uses methodeia with a negative connotation.
Think about this
simple definition in the context of spiritual warfare. Satan is orderly
and logical in his steps employed against you to achieve his nefarious
purposes. This realization should prompt each of us to be even more
appreciative of the fact that we cannot stand against our invisible
enemy in our own intelligence, our own strength or our own human
"methods" or "schemes". We must put on the full armor that God supplies
alluded to above,
the negative connotation of
methodeia implies the use of cleverness, craftiness, cunning and
deception. The "deceiver" uses
specific, subtle, stealthy plans to target each
individual, his goal being to
defeat, discourage and dishearten.
Stated another way, Satan's attacks are "tailor made"
("the schemes"), carefully and
methodically selected to attack each person's specific weaknesses and
vulnerabilities. His wiles and methods are usually attractive, always
deceptive, and often ensnaring. Stay sober and alert!
There is only one other use of methodeia in
Ephesians 4:14 (note)
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by
waves, and carried about by
every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in
deceitful scheming; (methodeia)
translated with a number of words as shown in the list below with
each word followed by a definition. As you
read through this list think about how each describes your mortal
foe, the devil.
Craftiness - adept in the use of subtlety and cunning. No
place in Scripture reveals Satan’s schemes better than Genesis 3,
which records Satan’s
initial contact with man.
Cunning - characterized by wiliness and
It describes the faculty of executing well what one has devised.
Scheming - given to making plots; shrewdly devious and
intriguing. Synonyms include artful, calculating, conniving, cunning,
duplicitous, foxy, Machiavellian, slippery, sly, tricky, underhand, wily.
Strategies - careful
plans or methods.
Strategy can also refer to the art or science of the planning and
conduct of a war. The Columbia Encyclopedia notes that "strategy
and tactics, in warfare are related terms referring, respectively,
to large-scale and small-scale planning to achieve military success.
Strategy may be defined as the general scheme of the conduct of a
war, tactics as the planning of means to achieve strategic
objectives. Synonyms for strategy
include: blueprint, design, game plan, project, scheme.
Stratagems - an artifice or trick in war for deceiving and
outwitting the enemy. A cleverly contrived trick or scheme for
gaining an end. Stratagem implies a ruse used to entrap, outwit,
circumvent, or surprise an opponent or enemy.
Tactics - The derivation
of the word tactic is very interesting and gives us some insight
into the meaning of the devil's methods. The word "tactics" is from
the Greek word taktikos which means "of order, of tactics, fit for
arranging" and which in turn is derived from "tassein" which means
to arrange or place in battle formation. Tactics is defined then as
the science and art of disposing and maneuvering forces in combat.
It refers to the art or skill of employing available means to
accomplish an end. In short, the tactics of the devil are calculated
plans specifically designed to bring the downfall of God’s people
and His kingdom.
Trickery - the practice of
crafty underhanded ingenuity to deceive or cheat. It implies
ingenious acts intended to dupe or cheat.
- tricks or strategy carried out with the intent to entice, ensnare or
deceive. Wiles suggests an attempt to entrap or deceive with false
Friberg states that
methodeia can have a neutral or positive meaning referring
simply to a...
"method or procedure (but) in the
NT (is used) in a bad sense, (and refers to) scheming to deceive, craftiness,
cunning, deception (see notes
plural (as used in Ephesians 6:11) methodeia can refer to stratagems,
cunning attacks, tricks" (Adapted from Friberg, T. Analytical
lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker
writes that methodeia ("wiles") conveys...
the idea of cleverness, crafty
methods, cunning, and deception. Satan’s schemes are propagated through
the evil world system over which he
rules, and are carried
out by his demon hosts. “Wiles” is all-inclusive, encompassing
every sin, immoral practice, false theology, false religion, and worldly
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)
Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament has the following note on methodeia specifically
commenting on its use in Ephesians 6:11...
reference is to machinations or (in military terms) attacks against
which one must be armed. The nature of the attacks (the plural suggests
that they are constantly repeated or are of incalculable variety)
constitutes their great danger, against
which the armour of God is the only defence. They are distinguished not
so much by technique or strategy as by refinement and insidiousness
(Vulgate translates insidiae, Luther “cunning attacks,” A.V. “wiles”)"
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
The only other use
of methodeia is in
Ephesians 4:14 where as a result
of being equipped and growing in maturity, the saints...
longer to be children, tossed
here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by
the trickery of men, by craftiness (methodeia) in deceitful
The KJV has a picturesque
Ephesians 4:14 stating that
"they lie in
(methodeia) to deceive."
Kenneth Wuest writes that "methodeia"
"from the verbal
form methodeuo “to follow up or investigate by method and settled
plan, to follow craftily, frame devices, deceive.”
was used to describe a wild animal who cunningly stalked and
unexpectedly pounced on its prey, a vivid depiction of the Adversary's
"methods" against believers.
are propagated through the evil world system over which he rules, and
are carried out by his demon hosts. “Wiles” is all-inclusive,
encompassing every sin, immoral practice, false theology, false
religion, and worldly enticement. Methodeia is a Greek word that denotes
a path or roadway that is traveled over. This is because the devil
continuously attempts to secure a foothold so that he may begin
construction of a roadway to your mind."
Marvin Vincent adds that
methodeia means a
deliberate planning or system.
Albert Barnes writes that
"methodeia means properly that
which is traced out with “method;” that which is “methodized;” and then
that which is well laid - art, skill,
cunning." (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible)
Stedman in his excellent book "Spiritual Warfare" has
this note regarding "methodeia":
"What are the tactics the devil
employs? He destroys by deceiving, by lying, by distorting, by
counterfeiting, by masquerading, by clouding human minds with illusion
and fantasy. This is what Paul calls "the devil's schemes," or as
some translations put it, "the wiles of the devil" Read through the
Bible and see how many times the work of the devil is referred to in
that manner - the snares and the traps of the devil, the lies and
illusions, the stratagems and the wiles. That is why we must look
closely at the tactics the devil uses against us so that we can be
strong and well-defended when he comes to us to defeat us, weaken us,
and ruin our lives....By far, the majority of attacks of the devil
against Christians are not direct but indirect. That is why they are
called the "schemes" of the devil. Schemes suggest
deviousness or acting in a way that is subtle, secretive, and
treacherous. We need to examine this more thoroughly, for the major
attack of the devil and his powers against human life is not by direct
means, but indirectly by satanic suggestions through the natural and
commonplace situations of life
for more in depth discussion)...So
we have an enormous responsibility before God and before the entire
world to give ourselves, body and soul, to this great battle against the
schemes of the evil one. We have a responsibility to battle the
schemes of the devil in this world, and to point the way to the
peace and security that lies ahead of us in the world to come...most
often the devil comes in disguise, through the channel of "the flesh"
our inner selves with silken, subtle, suggestive schemes. That is
the avenue of satanic attack the apostle Paul warns us most strenuously
about: the subtle schemes of the devil." (Stedman,
Ray. Spiritual Warfare. Revised edition, 1999
-- highly recommended) (Bolding added)
on to write
"Friend, in Christ there is nothing that more clearly indicates that we
have succumbed to the schemes of the devil than to complain about
our lot in life. Again and again, the Word of God shows that the mark of
a Christian who has learned how to be a Christian is that he rejoices in
everything and gives thanks in all things." (Ed note: Only possible
for one continually filled with the Spirit - see notes
Ephesians 5:18) (Ibid) (Bolding added)
Murphy writes that...
"The idea behind
methodeia is deception. The apostle is warning us that the devil’s
entire system of warfare against us is based on deception. He fights not
on a pitched field, but by sudden assault and secret and cunning
onslaught." (Murphy, E. F. Handbook for Spiritual Warfare. Nashville:
Eadie in his classic commentary
on Ephesians adds that...
The great enemy
of man, a veteran fierce and malignant, has a method of warfare peculiar
to himself, for it consists of “wiles.” His battles are the rush of a
sudden ambuscade (ambush). He fights not on a pitched field, but by
sudden assault and secret and cunning onslaught. Vigilance,
self-possession, and promptitude are therefore indispensable to meet
him: and as his aim is to throw his opponents off their guard and then
to surprise them, so there is need to be ever clothed in this complete
armour of God. His “wiles” are seen in unsettling the mind of Eve by
representing God as jealous of the first man and woman; in stirring up
the warlike aspirations of David to take a military census and force a
conscription as the basis of a standing army; in inflaming the
avaricious and sordid spirit of Judas; and in his assaults on our Lord
by an appeal to appetite, piety, and ambition. (John
Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians)
has a good word about the methodeia of the devil writing
We cannot stand against the wiles
of the devil by our wits. The devil only comes along the line
that God understands, not along the lines we understand, and the only
way we can be prepared for him is to do what God tells us, stand
complete in his armor, indwelt by His Spirit, in complete obedience to
Him." (Oswald Chambers 1874–1917)
Jonathan Edwards wrote that...
the best protection one can have from the devil
and his schemes is a humble heart.
James Burns writes that...
danger of listening to the voice of the Tempter, and the subtlety
by which he accomplishes his wiles, is illustrated by R. Spencer
Stanhope in a picture in the Manchester Art Gallery, entitled “Eve.”
In it he represents the Serpent whispering in her
ear while she listening, plays with the sin within her mind. At the same
time, unseen by her, he bends a branch of the tree with a coil of his
body, and lo! as she dallies with the sin in her mind, an apple drops
into her open hand. When the temptation has once been permitted to
enter, the means of gratifying it is at hand." (Tan, P. L. Encyclopedia
of 7700 illustrations)
devil has various stratagems—discouragement,
frustration, confusion, moral failure and doctrinal error. He knows our
weakest point and aims for it. If he cannot disable us by one method, he
will try for another." (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
Open Bible defines our Adversary's
craftiness, capable of drawing careless Christians into sin."
Warren Wiersbe writes that...
The danger on the
battlefield is that we do not take the enemy seriously and therefore
fail to put on all of the armor. By faith, you put on the armor through
prayer, which must be done at the beginning of every day. Never
underestimate the strategy and strength of the devil."
(Wiersbe, W. W.
With the Word : The
Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Handbook
Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Seldom does Satan ever attack openly
with an overt frontal assault (and by the way most of us will probably
never be attacked by Satan himself as he is a finite not omnipresent
being. But he does command a host of fallen angels who share his evil
design for mankind). In contrast, Satan's Schemes are nearly
always unseen, shrewd, and perfectly tailored to ensnare his victim like
a fowler camouflaging his net to trap a bird ("methodical").
"Schemes, wiles and methods"
speak of the trickery and subterfuge by which evil and temptation
present themselves in our lives. Evil rarely looks evil until it
accomplishes its goal. It gains entrance by appearing attractive,
desirable, and perfectly legitimate. But to reiterate it is a baited and
camouflaged trap. As Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 11:14, Satan
masquerades as an angel of light.
Below is a brief
Scriptural survey of some of the "methods" of our adversary.
God's Word teaches that the
1) Accuses - Job1:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; Job 2:1, 2, 3,
4; Zech 3:1; Rev 12:10
2) Afflicts - Job1:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19;
Job 2:6, 7; Luke 13:16; Rev 2:10
3) Conquers - Acts 10:38; Eph 6:16; 2Ti 2:26
4) Deceives - Ge 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,13; Jn 8:44; Ac
13:10; 2Co 4:4; 11:13, 14, 15; 2Th 2:9, 10; Rev 2:9; 3:9
5) Hinders - 1Th 2:18
6) Murders - John 8:44
7) Perverts - Acts 13:10; 2Th 2:9, 10
8) Prompts - 1Chr 21:1; John 13:2,27; Acts 5:3
9) Schemes - 2Cor 2:11; Eph 6:11; 1Ti 3:7
10) Stalks - 1Pe 5:8
11) Steals - Mt 13:19; Luke 8:12
12) Tempts - Mt 6:13; Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13; 1Cor 7:5; 1Th 3:5
13) Threatens - Heb 2:14, 15
This list of the
"wiles of the devil" should thoroughly convince each of us of our need
to be totally dependent on the full of armor of God and not hesitate to
put on the whole armor! What are you waiting for dear Christian
friend? Are any of the "pieces" missing or in disrepair. Then return and
confess and repent and go forth into battle as more than a conqueror
through Him Who loved us.
A. T. Robertson warns that the
"...is a crafty
foe and knows
the weak spots in the Christian’s armor."
of the Devil’s most effectual schemes, stratagems or wiles is to instill
doubts about God’s goodness. These seeds of "doubts" can grow into an
ungrateful spirit that refuses to thank God at all times for all
Doubts about God
one of Satan's greatest tools against Martin Luther. After the frightful
Anfechtung (Contestation) of 1527 Luther wrote that "For more than a
week I was close to the gates of death and hell." It is therefore no
surprise that Luther's great hymn
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
has such great stanzas on "spiritual warfare.
Roland Bainton, Luther’s biographer, writes:
content of his depressions was
always the same, the loss of faith that God is good and that He is good
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
“Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
You dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger,
Be never wanting there.”