Small Group Lesson
Read Ephesians 6:10-13
10 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.
Christians must always remember that we are in a spiritual battle against unseen, evil forces. The good news is that God provides us with the proper defense for this battle. However, “spiritual warfare” does not always take the form that we might expect. When we say, “spiritual warfare,” people could start to think of images from horror films. While demonic manifestations can happen, the vast majority of spiritual warfare is an attack on our Christian thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and lifestyle. The battlefield of spiritual warfare is most often your head, heart, and choices. This will become apparent when we read about the armor given to us in the following verses.
Read Ephesians 6:14-20
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.
By looking at the armor of God, we can discern the enemy’s method of attack against which God is protectis us. Look at each piece of armor:
Belt of truth (v.14) -- Because God gives us truth as a piece of armor, we know that the enemy must attack us with lies (Genesis 3; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9). Often lies are put into our heads concerning God’s love for us, God’s character, other people, or the attractiveness of sin.
Q: What are some examples of lies that Christians might “hear” from the enemy? What truth from God’s Word can defend against those lies?
Breastplate of righteousness (v.14) -- This is not speaking of the righteousness we receive from Christ when we become Christians. That righteousness or “justification” has more to do with salvation. This is the righteousness of right living. This piece of armor is meant to protect us from sin and temptation.
Q: If a sin doesn’t hurt anyone else, could it still damage the person’s Christian walk? How?
Gospel-ready boots (v.15) -- We must always be ready to share the gospel. The enemy tries to make us nervous and quiet. When you have an opportunity to share the gospel or invite someone to church and feel hesitant, you are experiencing spiritual warfare.
Q: Has anyone ever felt this kind of hesitation? How can we defeat it?
Shield of faith (v.16) -- We are attacked with doubt. If the enemy can get us to doubt the gospel, the Bible, the usefulness of the church or prayer, then we will fall.
Helmet of salvation (v.17) -- The devil’s goal is to get you to give up on Jesus. He wants you to lose faith and walk away from Christ. He wants you to not be saved.
Read 1 Peter 5:8-9
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
The devil wants to devour faith. When lions hunt, they often try to separate a animal away from the safety of the herd. A lion cannot defeat a herd of water buffalos or wildebeests. But if it can separate one from the herd, that animal can easily be attacked and eaten. In the same way, the devil wants to separate you from your church. A solitary Christian is an easy target for the enemy.
TASK: Is there someone who was a part of the church or your small group whom you have not seen for a while? Right now, have one person write them a message encouraging them to come to church. Let them know you care about them. Pray for them as a group right now.
Sword of the Spirit (v.17) -- This is the only offensive weapon on the list of armor. Our weapon is the Word of God. We must commit ourselves to the Word of God.
Q: What is your current Bible reading plan? Have everyone answer. If you don’t have one, make a plan right now with the help of your group.
Q: Have you ever memorized a piece of scripture? Tell everyone about that experience and how memorizing scripture helped your Christian walk.
PRAY -- Pray according to v.18. “Make supplication for all the saints.” Pray for your small group and for the whole church in this battle.
Encourage One Another:
What opportunities has God provided to lead others closer toward knowing Christ?
How have you seen God working in the lives of those you want to lead to Christ?
Pray for One Another:
Share at least one name of someone you want to win to Christ. If you know, share your next action step in leading them closer to knowing Christ (for example: invite them to church, take them out to dinner and share your testimony, study First Steps together, give them a Bible or Christian resources, etc.).
Commit to praying for one another everyday: (1) For boldness and wisdom, (2) for opportunities, (3) for other’s open hearts.
Other Prayer Requests:
How can we pray for you?
Pray together about God’s Mission and other requests and thanksgivings.