Man The Battle Stations

Bible Book: Ephesians  6 : 10-18
Subject: Christian Warfare; Christian Living
Series: How To Meet And Defeat The Enemy
[Editor's Note: Please see the information regarding this sermon and all those in the series entitled: How To Meet And Defeat The Enemy, at the end of this message.]

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

"Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints..." (Ephesians 6:10-18, NKJV).

If you are a part of the armed forces, especially the Navy, you will be familiar with the command "Man Your Battle Stations!" Each time a service officer hears this, he knows to get to his post, lock and load, and make sure the safety is off, the trigger is pulled back, and he is ready to shoot and equipped to do battle.

I explained to you earlier that every born-again believer on this planet is at war. We are born at war with God because we are born in sin. However, when we lay aside our arms at the cross of Jesus Christ in total surrender, God declares peace with us. Moreover, when God declares peace with us, the devil declares war on us and we have to be continuously at our battle stations from earth to heaven. Understand that it is one thing to be willing to wage a war, but it is another thing to realize how to win it.

You can have the right weaponry, and you can be in the right position; but if you don't have the right strategy, you will always lose the battle. The Apostle Paul has expressed to us who our enemy is. He has told us what our weapons are, but now he shares with us exactly how to win the war. He teaches us how to unmistakably defeat the enemy.

I. Commence Through God's Strength

Paul tells us to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Eph. 6:10, NKJV). Now notice he didn't tell us just to be strong, but rather to "be strong in the Lord." This is not a matter of becoming physically fit. In other words, it is not physical exercise but spiritual discipline that matters if we are going to be equipped and eager soldiers of Jesus Christ. Thus, we are not to fight in our own strength, we are to fight in God's strength.

So often I have tried to win people to Christ, and perhaps the number one reason people give me as to why they refuse to accept Christ is something to this effect: "There's no need for me to invite Jesus Christ into my heart because I could never live up to His standards. I could never stay faithful to God; it is just too hard to live the Christian life."

Let me give you some fascinating news. The Word of God never teaches it is hard to live the Christian life. The Word of God teaches it is impossible. However, that is the whole purpose of being saved; because the moment you get saved, God gives you the strength to live the Christian life. If I could accomplish what God wanted me to on my own, I wouldn't need Him. If I could live the Christian life by my own strength, I wouldn't need God's strength. But the fact is, when you give your heart to Jesus Christ, He fills you with His Spirit; He gives you His strength; and it is only through that strength, and in that strength, and by that strength, and with that strength, that you are able to live the life that God has called you to live.

Now let me give you some bad news and some good news. The bad news is you cannot win this  war in your own strength. You cannot beat Satan in your own strength. The good news is you don't have to because this war is not to be fought in your strength, in your own power. In fact, you cannot fight Satan in your strength, and that is part of the problem that many Christians are having these days. I honestly believe most Christians who even try to put up a fight against Satan, do so in the power of their flesh-do so in the might of their own strength. They try to outwit him. They try to outsmart him. They try to outmaneuver him. And the fact of the matter is, you cannot outwit a serpent, and you cannot outfight a lion. You can only meet Satan and defeat Satan in the strength and power of God. If you are living more in defeat than you are in victory, it is essentially because of two reasons.

On the one hand, we neglect to recognize our shortcomings. The reason many of us don't pray is that in our heart we don't really believe we need to pray. We think because we're saved and we've got a good job, a stable income, a healthy family, and things are going well at work, we really don't need God. We regard God as someone you call on only in case of an emergency. Sometimes we have the attitude: "God, if I need you, I'll let you know!" However, isn't it interesting that when you get to the point in your Christian life where you think you are the strongest, you are actually the weakest?

Now please understand that there is plenty of room for self-assurance in the Christian life, but there is no room for self-dignity. The Lord Jesus said to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." But then Paul added in verse 10, "For when I am weak, then I am strong." It was when Paul realized his weakness that he apprehended his strength.

As you examine the lives of the great men of God throughout history, you will find they were men who recognized their shortcomings. They recognized that without the Lord Jesus Christ, they could do absolutely nothing. Someone has well said, "Trying to live without God is a burden too heavy for man to bear."

On the contrary, we not only fail to realize our shortcomings; we then fail to depend on God's sufficiency. In and of ourselves, we do not have the strength, the power, or even the fortitude to fight this war and win it. But God does. There is a great question in God's Word that says, "Who is sufficient for these things?" Well, God is. We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 3:5, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God." The dilemma so often is that God is our last resort, rather than being our first resource. I have to be honest; sometimes in my own life, I will try everything before I'll try prayer. We will coordinate, demonstrate, regulate, activate, and scratch the bottom of the barrel of our human resources. When we try to do these things, we get what men can do; but when you try prayer, you get what God can do.

A young boy traveling by airplane to visit his grandparents sat beside a man who happened to be a seminary professor. The boy was reading a Sunday school take-home paper when the professor thought he would have some fun with him. "Young man," said the professor, "if you can tell me something God can do, I'll give you a big, shiny apple." The boy thought for a moment and then replied, "Mister, if you can tell me something God can't do, I'll give you a whole barrel of apples!"[1]

Today, most Christians are losing the war because they have never sought God. Now without God you cannot win the war, and with God you cannot lose the war. But many of you are losing because you have never equipped yourself in His strength and in His might.

Notice once more in verse 10 that we are instructed to fight Satan "in the power of His might"-not the power of our might, not the power of our church's might, not the power of our pastor's might. We are to fight Satan in the power of His might. So that raises a question: How do you get this power? How do you get this might? How do you gain this strength in the Lord?

There is only one way you can have power with God: you must know God. Daniel 11:32 says, "The people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits." It doesn't matter how hard you try, how righteous you live, how much you do, how vigilant you are; if you do not know the Lord, and I mean genuinely know the Lord, you are a 97-pound weakling in a 1,000-pound war.

There is only one way that you can get to know God, and it's the same way you get to know anybody: you have to spend time with them. You must have that quiet time. You have got to have a devotional life where every day you just get alone and have heartfelt fellowship with God. Because your quiet time, your devotional life, is not only where you get strength for the battle, it is where you succeed in battle.

Now I want to warn you of something. The devil will do everything he can to keep you from having that quiet time, because that is the secret to winning. That is the secret to happiness. That is the secret to peace. That is why you must indeed make that quiet time a priority-in fact, the priority in your Christian life. That is the ultimate source of being strengthened in His power and might.

Andrew Bonar, a great man of faith, had three rules for his successful life: Not to speak to any man before speaking to Jesus; Not to do anything with his hands until he had been on his knees; Not to read the papers until he had read his Bible.[2]

That is why Andrew Bonar was such an incredible soldier of the cross and was triumphant in his war.

II. Commune In God's Spirit

In Ephesians 6:18, Paul states that we are to be "...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...." Now be aware that what comes last is certainly not least. The reason that Paul is going to end this passage on spiritual warfare by calling God's people to prayer is because prayer is the battle.

Therefore, you are not getting geared up to do battle when you commune with God in prayer. Prayer is the battle. It is on the battlefield of prayer that the war will either be won or lost.

If you will allow your mind to go back to the garden of Gethsemane, you will remember that it was there that Jesus faced one of the greatest battles of his life. In fact, it was there that he told his disciples that they had to stop and pray. And although Jesus won the battle for sin on the cross, He won His battle for the cross on His knees in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.

The real aim concerning the war that we are fighting is this: The battlefield is prayer. The war is not fought on your feet; it's fought on your knees. That is why if you are a Christian who never prays, seldom prays, or halfheartedly prays, you have "given up" in your war without even firing the first shot. It will be a wonderful day when we understand that the devil is not afraid of our sermons, our singing, our services, or our stewardship; but he is afraid of our prayers. If the devil can do only one thing in  the church, he will keep the church from praying. He does not fear buildings, budgets, or baptisms. It is prayer that Satan disputes; it is prayer that Satan despises; and it is prayer that Satan dodges. The armor of God is worthless unless it is invigorated by the power of prayer. In truth, it is better to have a strong soldier in weak armor, than a weak soldier in strong armor.

Do you know what the awful tragedy is about prayer? It is not unanswered prayer; it is unasked prayer. Now think about this for a moment. When we pray, the devil cannot keep God from answering, so he tries to keep us from asking.

Perhaps many of you still may not realize why prayer is a battle. However, if you will think for just a minute, you will understand why prayer is the battle. Who is Satan's war with? His war is not with you or me; it's with God.

In Revelation 12 we are told about a war that once occurred in heaven. It was a war that was waged between Satan and God. Furthermore, it was God who cast Satan and one-third of the heavenly hosts into the pits of hell. It was God that eternally damned Satan and his army. Therefore, Satan's war is not essentially with us; it is with God. However, Satan knows that he cannot harm God. But if you want to harm someone, and you know you cannot reach them, the very next thing you try to do is to harm someone that the person loves. That is the reason Satan engages in war with us and attempts to do us harm, because he is trying to harm God in the process. That is the wonderful thing about communing with God in prayer; because when we continue in a spirit of prayer, we take the battle that Satan is taking to us, and we hurl it back where it belongs, into the hands of an omnipotent God.

When it looked as though Israel was going to be conquered by the Assyrian army, King Hezekiah stood before the people and declared, "With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles" (2 Chron. 32:8, NKJV). God is not interested in your battling for Him; He wants to do battle through you. When you commune with Him in prayer, you unleash the power of God in the fight.

III. Comply With God's Strategy

Three times in Ephesians 6 we are charged to stand: in verse 11 we are told to "stand against the wiles of the devil", in verse 13 "having done all to stand", and in verse 14 Paul begins by saying, "Stand therefore". Now that's a very odd request, because here you are equipped from head to toe with the armor. You are now out on the battlefield of prayer, you are marching back and forth, and you can scarcely wait to go on the attack. You are ready to strike and you are just waiting on the command. Finally, your orders are delivered. You excitedly open up the envelope and find that you are commanded to simply "Stand Firm !" We are not ordered to attack, we are just ordered to stand firm. Now why is that? Well, when you take a stand for God, you won't have to go to war; the devil will bring the war to you.

Do you recall in Daniel 3 the glorious story of those three brave young men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego who wholeheartedly loved the Lord Jesus? Do you remember how a law was passed that everyone in the country would have to bow down and worship the golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar? Now these three men did not initiate a violent demonstration. They didn't carry out an intense protest. Yet, when everyone else bowed down, all they simply did was stand up. Just because they took a stand for God, war was waged against them.

One of the primary reasons America is in the shape she's in today is because God's people have been bowing down before the gods of this world, instead of taking a firm stand for the cause of Jesus Christ. For way too long God's people have been sitting calmly on the sidelines, instead of standing courageously for the Savior.

Please realize that God is not looking for Christians who can do spiritual cartwheels, jump pews, swing from chandeliers, speak in tongues, perform miracles, or do any number of other things. God is merely looking for people who will stand firm and stand up for the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, God is not looking for Christians who can run fast; He is looking for Christians who can stand fast. He is looking for those who can stand true and remain faithful even when the battle is over and the smoke has cleared.

I know that some of you might have the mentality, "Well, if I stand for the Lord, I'll make enemies." And that is certainly true. Nevertheless, the friends you make by taking a daring stand will have more admiration for you than the friends you make by straddling the fence. Now there is only one of two things a soldier can do when the fight becomes intense. They can advance or retreat.

The only reason a soldier ever retreats is out of fear. However, "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7, NKJV). If you will go back and look over this armor, you will find there is not one piece of armor for the back of a Christian. Now why is that? Because God's soldiers are never to run from the devil; they are to resist the devil.

After the tragic bombing of a marine base in Beirut in October 1983, the steadfastness of one young soldier moved and heartened the American people back home. He had been critically wounded in the explosion of the revamped hotel where he and his fellow marines had been staying. Many of his buddies had been killed. He was covered with bandages and a jungle of tubes was attached to his body. He could not speak. Yet when he was visited by General Paul Kelly, Commandant of the Marine Corps, he indicated he wanted to write something. Painfully he wrote the words "Semper Fi," a shortened form of the U. S. Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis. It means, "Always faithful."

May we man our battle stations, stand firm against the devil, and fight him in the power of God's might, while always remaining faithful so that we can defeat the enemy and have inevitable victory in Christ Jesus.


[1] "Today in the Word, April 1989," p. 43.

[2] Keith L. Brooks, "Essential Themes," (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974), p. 6.

(PastorLife is pleased to offer you this important series of messages entitled "How To Meet and Defeat The Enemy: The Keys To Victory In Spiritual Warfare." We are grateful to Dr. Blake Carroll, President of Christ-Pointe Ministries, for his faithfulness to preaching God's word and for sharing this manuscript with PastorLife. We will include the forward to Dr. Carroll's "How To Meet and Defeat The Enemy," written by Dr. James T. (Jimmy) Draper, Jr. It is our prayer that will continue to bless you in your sermon preparation and in your ministry.


It has been my privilege to know Blake Carroll for several years now. I have spent time with him,  been in his home and preached in his church. I have found him to be a young man of impeccable integrity, with a passionate love for the Word of God, a deep determination to see Christians grow in their faith, and a driving desire to see the lost come to faith in Christ. His preaching is solidly founded upon the Word of God. His warmth and genuine love for people comes across in his ministry.

This book that he has written deals with the battle that every Christian must engage in. We may not recognize it, but we are at war with Satan and his forces. Ephesians 6 gives us our battle plan and strategies. Blake Carroll has done a splendid job in opening this passage up for us to see the reality of the battle and the weapons of our engagement.

I commend these pages to you. Read them and you will be challenged and blessed. You will become equipped for the warfare that rages against us in our world today. And pass this on to others, as that is the specific command for us from God's Word: "What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2)

Jimmy Draper)