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Apr 02, 2023

For in this darkness love will show the way

For in this darkness love will show the way

Passage: Ephesians 6:10-20

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Song & Dance - The Gospel Melody that Moves in Ephesians

Keywords: truth, prayer, faith, righteousness, salvation, peace, spirit, armor, boldness, alert

If we will face opposition, and the opposition is more than meets the eye, and therefore our capacity to withstand it is beyond us (as we learned from the front half of this passage), what do we have for our wrestling match with what is not flesh and blood? What is this “armor” Paul speaks of, and how do we get past the metaphors he uses to understand what it means to face opposition with what we’ve been furnished?

Readings & Scripture

PREPARATION: Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 14-15, 26
LEADER: Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

PEOPLE: The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
Glad songs of salvation
are in the tents of the righteous:

LEADER: The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,

ALL: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
We bless you from the house of the LORD.


Heidelberg Catechism, Question 1

LEADER: What is your only comfort–in life and in death?

ALL: My only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own,
but belong—
body and soul,
in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:
In fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

CENTRAL TEXT: Ephesians 6:10-20
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 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 firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

BENEDICTION: Revelation 12:10-11a
LEADER: And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony
ALL: Amen!


  • Mark 1:12-13 / Matthew 4:1-11 / Luke 4:1-13
  • Mark 14:33-39
  • Romans 8:1-4
  • Romans 8:26-27
  • 2 Corinthians 2:11
  • Hebrews 4:15
  • I John 3:18


  1. Name something difficult you face, or have had to face in the past (whether ordinary or remarkable). How have you prepared for the challenge? What steps or measures do you take that help?
  2. Make it a group effort to put verse 12 in your own words. Tease out the main claims he is making in that verse. What reasons might people have to dismiss his characterization as old, obsolete thinking? What reason might people have to nod in approval their head, if quietly, about how it may explain the world we see around us?
  3. How might integrity and a love for God’s wisdom be its own defense against the terrors and seductions of satanic influence? How might the belief in having been given the righteousness of Jesus as our own serve the same end?
  4. What do you think Peter means by having a ready defense of the hope that is in you, should anyone ask you for it? (2 Peter 3:15-16) How would composing that simple, straightforward explanation be a kind of assistance–even like a piece of armor as Paul puts it?
  5. Paul portrays faith as a shield to protect against the flaming darts of the evil one. We spoke of those darts in the sermon. What might you add to our collective understanding of them? If the shield of faith is a metaphor for applying faith to an experience with an assault against faith, what forms might that application take–in yourself and from others you’re in community with?
  6. Why might Paul have associated God’s salvation with a helmet? How is the knowledge of what God has done in salvation as vital to our steadfastness as a helmet is to a head?
  7. Paul associates God’s words with the only offensive weapon mentioned as part of this whole armor. Has a text of scripture ever been for you a kind of offensive weapon against anything opposing you? In what sense or circumstance? How did it shift from being a mere word of information to a weapon of protection?
    1. What meaning does Paul intend by calling the word of God the sword of the Spirit? How is that modifier meant to nuance our sense of the word?
  8. Paul doesn’t associate prayer with the other pieces of armor. Yet he makes prayer the most prominent feature of the last half of the passage. Why the prominence? Why might it matter to treat prayer as equally a part of the armor as anything else? Have you had any experience when you turned to prayer as a means of confronting what was opposing you?



  • The New Testament imagery places us on a field of battle. . . .the gospel is a message of deliverance from the grip of evil and Death. Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ
  • Their conflict is not against human beings. It is against the spiritual power that is–how shall we say it?--behind, within, and above human beings. . . .They meet us as embodied in visible and tangible realities–people, nations, and institutions. And they are powerful. Lesslie Newbigin
  • Evangelism which is politically and ideologically naive, and social action which does not recognize the need for conversion from false gods to the living God, both fall short of what is required. Lesslie Newbigin
  • For the faithful believer, prayer isn’t a substitute for action, it’s a prerequisite for action. It grounds us before we move to serve others. It grounds us before we speak in the public square. . . .I do not for a moment think that prayer is the only response to tragedy. But for me and millions of others it is a necessary response. David French
  • Look
    If someone wrote a play
    To just to glorify what's stronger than hate
    Would they not arrange the stage
    To look as if the hero came too late?
    He's almost in defeat
    It's looking like the evil side will when
    So on the edge of every seat
    From the moment that the whole thing begins

    It is love who mixed the mortar
    And it's love who stacked these stones
    And it's love who made the stage here
    Although it looks like we're alone
    In this scene, set in shadows,
    Like the night is here to stay
    There is evil cast around us
    But it's love that wrote the play
    For in this darkness love can show the way
    -“Show the Way,” David Wilcox