Calvary Road Baptist Church


Ephesians 6.12


I speak this morning to mothers, to mothers to be, and to every woman who engages in any kind of maternal role in the lives of other human beings. Occupying the position of a watchman in God’s economy, I seek this morning to warn you and to prepare you for the conflict that threatens you.

What you see and hear and feel and smell is not all there is out there. In like manner, those with whom you have to do are not only those who ought to bathe and comb their hair and brush their teeth in the morning. There are others among us, enemies who you do not see. You have been most wonderfully equipped by God to live and move and function in this physical world we inhabit. He has given to you complex and intricate flesh and blood bodies that are marvelously attuned to interact with your material environment, where you can see and taste and touch and hear and smell. However, those of you who know Jesus Christ as your Savior are somewhat aware that your perceptions do not tell the whole story. There is more to reality and existence than what you can sense. And there are more beings that exist than those you can shake hands with or feel with your finger tips.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church he has already made reference to spirit beings, those creatures that are not limited to a physical existence that must be energized and rested and rejuvenated like us. In Ephesians 1.15-21 Paul declares that the Lord Jesus Christ has been exalted above such creatures:


15    Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16    Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17    That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18    The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19    And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20    Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21    Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:


In Ephesians 3.9-10 these same creatures are said to learn something of God’s manifold wisdom as they see the church’s ministry in action:


9      And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

10    To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.


Who are these creatures? They are the angels who were created before the formation of this physical universe in which we live and move and have our present existence. They are creatures of personality, in that sense like you and me, possessing intellect, sensibility, and will. Originally created in holiness and moral purity, they were designed to worship and serve Almighty God. However, as the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel and the Apostle John in his Revelation show us, Satan led one third of the heavenly host in rebellion against God.[1] So now, many of these beings are not the helpful and holy angels that God originally created, but have become malevolent and malicious enemies of God and of God’s people. It is particularly this portion of the spirit world the Apostle Paul warns us of in my text for this morning, Ephesians 6.12. To acquire the context, let’s stand with our Bibles in hand and read from Ephesians 6.10:


10    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11    Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


Be particularly alerted at this point, mothers, mothers to be, and any of you engaged in the preparation of others for living their lives as they ought to be lived. Having already directed remarks to husbands, wives, and children, there can be no doubt this passage (and especially verse 12) should be of particular concern to mothers, grandmothers, mothers to be, and anyone else seeking to equip loved ones for a successful life. In this verse the Apostle Paul more precisely defines for the children of God who our enemies are, which would include who your children’s enemies are. Have you ever seen someone walk up to a Christian and say something the Christian didn’t like, didn’t appreciate, or wasn’t in the mood to hear? You can tell, by the reaction of the believer whether or not he or she is spiritual and spiritually mature. You see, the spiritual and the spiritually mature child of God knows, and what mothers must teach their children, is that no human being is the enemy.


“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood.” - Paul begins by denying that the real adversaries of any human being are human. Recognizing that spiritual opposition is not human is absolutely critical for the child of God, because it means that we cannot “wrestle” with our enemies as we might with other people. We cannot wrestle with them physically and we cannot wrestle with them in a heated emotional exchange. Why not? Because our enemies are not people. When are Christians going to face up to the consequences of that? Thus, because your child’s enemies are not people who you or they can deal with the way they might deal with human beings, who you or they can confront, who you or they can challenge to step outside, who you or they can vent toward, you can bet your bottom dollar that every time your little boy or little girl gets mad at someone and deals with them as with an enemy your child is showing that he or she has been spiritually fooled . . . again. While you or your child are spitting and sputtering and pumping your blood pressure up to the ceiling in some poor deluded fool’s face, the real source of the problem being reacted against, which is some extremely intelligent demon (they’re all smarter than we are), is laughing to himself over your stupidity or your child’s ignorance and moving on to create another problem somewhere else.


“...but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” - In this portion of the verse Paul asserts who our enemies really are and the extent of their influence over the world in which we live. Take a look at these four phrases:

First, we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but against principalities. “Principalities” translates the Greek word for princes. Thus, Paul is here referring to the highest ranking evil spirits or demons under Satan himself. Think about this. A human being you can grab hold of. An evil spirit cannot be grasped, cannot be held, cannot be confronted, cannot be intimidated, or even out thought. Despite this, however, the conflict remains personal. The attacks are against you or your child, personally. And the purpose of the attacks is to do you or your child harm; to hurt you, or to harm your child, as an individual.

Next, your conflict is with demons described as “powers.” This refers to those who are invested with authority. We recognize that all Satanic and demonic authority is illegitimate authority, is usurped authority, is unlawful authority. The authority referred to here probably refers to the authority that fallen angels exercise over each other. Satan’s demons, after all, are highly organized.

Third, our conflict is with “the rulers of the darkness of this world.” This is not a third level of demonic authority, but a way of describing demons. A very wooden and literal translation of this Greek phrase would read this way: “the world-rulers of the darkness of this age.”[2] The Greek word translated “world-rulers” is an idiomatic expression that is used to describe someone of far reaching, virtually limitless, authority.[3] Those that we are up against in this spiritual conflict you mothers find yourselves in have far reaching impact and control over the spiritual darkness that overshadows the age we live in, profoundly influencing your beloved children. You see, then, Paul’s description of your enemies compliments the Apostle John’s description of reality in First John 5.19:


“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”


Are you a conspiracy theorist? Do you see conspiracy behind every bush, under every rock, standing in every shadow? Do you believe there is a plot that has been hatched and is being carried out to bring this whole world down and under the domination of one wicked ruler? Guess what? You’re right. Just keep in mind that the Word of God reveals the conspiracy to be a Satanic conspiracy, not a human one. It’s the devil and his minions who are doing all of this, not the Bilderburgers, or the Tri-Lateralists, or the Council On Foreign Relations, or the Illuminati. Humans, you see, are basically incompetent. And the more wicked they are the more incompetent they usually are. But your spiritual enemies are extraordinarily intelligent beings. Do not underestimate their capabilities.

Finally, your conflict is with “spiritual wickedness in high places.” This phrase refers to wicked spirits in high places, or wicked beings who rightly belong, not on earth, but in heaven. However, they are not in heaven. Why not? Because of sin, because of rebellion, because they tried to overthrow the rule of God. But they failed. Thank God they failed. However, even though they failed they have not given up. They still influence the affairs of men. They still influence whole governments. They still oppose the plan and purpose of God at every turn. They still seek the destruction of every single person, the damnation of every single soul, the demise of every single family, the abdication of every single parent, and the abduction of every single child.

Do you see, now, why you must be strong in the Lord and must put on the whole armor of God? It’s because you are in a fight like you’ve never imagined before, against a foe superior to you in every conceivable way, and evil beyond your understanding. If you are a Christian woman and a member of a strong church, and only if you are a believing mother who is a member of a strong church, will you have the resources to do battle against such as these and prevail against those who would steal your children from you. All others will be, must be, casualties.

In our text the Apostle Paul reveals to us the existence of a conflict between the church members Paul wrote to, which includes Christian moms fighting to prevent the spiritual seduction of their children, and spirit beings that we can tell from the context of the verse are the wicked angels, demons if you will, who followed Satan in his rebellion against God. Those familiar with scripture, however, recognize that Paul is describing to the Ephesians in this verse only that portion of the spiritual conflict that particularly pertains to them; who they will engage in battle. What I want to do for those of you who are not familiar with God’s Word, especially for those of you who are not believers in Jesus Christ, is to take a step back and look at the spiritual conflict as a unified whole picture. I want us to go strategic so you might see an overview of the warfare that threatens your child.

My goal in describing for you the two forces that clash in the spiritual warfare is to show you that you are on the wrong wide of this conflict, and that the only way to get on the right side of this conflict is to become one who has trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.




Let me describe them for you. By the way, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ these who I am about to describe are your allies, because you are (perhaps unwittingly) on their side of the conflict. How do I know? Because Paul, in Romans 5.10, reveals that every unsaved person is an enemy of God, and because in Ephesians 2.2 that same apostle of Jesus Christ describes all unsaved people as “the children of disobedience,” who “walk according to the prince of the power of the air.” So, it’s pretty obvious that any man or woman who is not a believer, despite their own opinions on the matter, is viewed from a scriptural perspective as being against God and in the enemy camp. That settled; let’s take a look at the camp you are in, my unsaved friend, the camp of Satan and his followers. Called in the Bible fallen angels, demons, and foul spirits. What are the soldiers in the army you are allied with like?

First, let us acknowledge that they are powerful. Anyone who would deny that Satan and his legions are extraordinarily powerful is simply ignorant. These are creatures, remember, who were formed prior to God’s bringing into existence the physical universe in which we live. Being thus, they are incorporeal beings, creatures without physical bodies and the limitations that accompany physical existence. These are beings who do not rest, who do not tire, who do not thirst, and who do not hunger. These are creatures that do not rely upon the metabolism of organic material to supply energy to live and breathe and function. At the same time we must recognize that they are immortal beings. Not immortal in the sense of having existed for all time, for that is not the case. These are beings that were created by God, Himself, one at a time, directly. But they will never die. Immortal in that sense. How, then, do we know that they are powerful? We know that they are powerful because, first, they are not natural, but supernatural beings. Second, we know they are powerful because of their abilities:


Ÿ  From the book of Daniel we understand that these beings can influence entire governments, Daniel 10.13 and 20.

Ÿ  From Genesis 6.4 we gather that until God’s intervention they were succeeding in contaminating the entire human race.[4]

Ÿ  From First Timothy 4.1 we see that they lead men astray by seducing them and teaching them false doctrines.

Ÿ  From the gospels we see that they possess the capability of completely overtaking and possessing unsaved people, controlling them at their will, and even destroying them.[5]

Ÿ  And from First Thessalonians 2.18 we see that when God allows them to do so they can completely stifle the good intentions of a servant of God.

Ÿ  So powerful are they that even the archangel Michael could defeat Satan only by employing God’s powerful Word, Jude 9.


Second, let us acknowledge that they are pervasive. When I say that Satan and his demons are pervasive I refer to the fact that scripture shows them to be everywhere. And why shouldn’t they be everywhere? There certainly are enough of them. Scripture suggests that God created tens of millions of angels, with one third of the heavenly host following Satan in his rebellion against God. Folks, that would put the number of Satanic spirit soldiers in the tens of millions! They are everywhere, from bars and taverns to play rooms and TV rooms. Paul shows us in First Corinthians that there is a corresponding demon for every false idol.[6] The gospel record of the maniac of Gadara shows that thousands of demons can inhabit one unsaved man.[7] So, while demons and fallen angels are not omnipresent as God is, and have the capacity to be only one place at a time, there are so many of them that they literally cover the populated earth, infecting and influencing and incapacitating lost souls, even while they oppose the plan and purpose of God, and the efforts of godly moms to properly raise their children at every single turn.

Which leads me to my third description of them. They are persuasive. It almost wouldn’t be so bad if the demons were powerful, but not persuasive. For if they were content to simply flex their supernatural muscle it would alarm people and frighten them into seeking refuge from them. But, relying upon their extraordinary intelligence, and playing to unsaved man’s pride of intellect and sophistication, the minions of Satan, no doubt implementing his subtle strategy against mankind, have been very careful in their dealings with anyone who has had exposure to the gospel message. Go to countries completely given over to idolatry and you will see great demonstrations of demonic power. But in the western world you don’t see that so much since the Reformation. Instead, just as Paul pointed out in First Timothy 4.1, we see the results of folks being seduced by these spirits and led astray by demonic doctrine. How have demons persuaded people? In a number of ways: First, they trivialize the supernatural by bombarding folks with weirdo experiences like Pentecostal nut cases, and other religious charlatans. They also control the entire agenda of most public school classrooms. Thank God for Christian school teachers in some classrooms. The smart and well educated people are persuaded another way, by convincing them that smart people don’t even believe in the supernatural. Smart people, you see, are atheists. Smart people believe in evolution. Smart people poo poo demons and spirits. This, then, is the army that wages war on your side, my unsaved friend. Satan and his unholy host, who lure people into thinking sin is okay, drunkenness is okay, fornication is okay, drugs are okay, pornography is okay, idolatry is okay, charlatan faith healers are okay, lying is okay, stealing is okay, and disobedience to you parents is okay. Whatever sin they commit against God is okay. They were tired. They were irritable. People have to understand. These are God’s enemies.

Here is a popular one you will have to deal with, mom. What is the difference to God between someone who has sex fifty consecutive times with one person he supposedly loves versus sex once with fifty different people, the kind of guy my own brother labeled to his face a slut. However, there is no difference at all between the two. Supposedly loving someone does not dignify the act of fornication at all. And anyone who thinks otherwise is proof positive of the persuasive power of the demons.

I could go on and on. But suffice it to say that God’s Word declares that these creatures are seducing spirits. That means they seduce people, trick people, fool people, and deceive people. Do you think they spare your children from their efforts? That is why you must be counter persuasive, mom. You must be a nonstop teacher of spiritual truths, a spokeswoman for God, and a teacher to your children of God’s Word.




This is the side the Christian woman, the Christian mother, and every believer is on. That said, the child of God’s role in this spiritual conflict needs to be understood in light of scripture. The believer in Christ is not powerful, not pervasive or persuasive. We Christians are admittedly physically, intellectually, and spiritually weak.[8] We cannot be described as pervasive since even where we happen to be our impact is limited by the requirements of eating, sleeping, working, etc. And we’re not even very persuasive, since the enemies of Christ are very quick to point out our inconsistencies, are successful in convincing people that unsaved religionists are Christians when they are not, and when so few truly saved people are like Paul who, knowing the terror of the Lord, persuaded men.[9] Therefore, our confidence must be in the Savior. Our strength rests in Him and in Him alone. Thus, can we truthfully say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” I, that is, who am a Christian. About our Savior:

While God’s enemies are powerful, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is infinitely powerful. Consider. While the angels were the first of God’s creation, brought into being even before the heavens and the earth were spoken into existence, notice what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, in Colossians 1.16-17:


16    For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.


Not only did Jesus Christ create everything and everyone, He sustains the existence of that which He created. In other words, but for the power of His might everything would disintegrate. How could one have such power as this? Simple. Jesus Christ is God. He was that member of the Trinity Who left heaven’s glory to become a man and to shed His Own precious blood for the remission of our sins. Being so perfectly God and so perfectly man, it can be said about Jesus Christ that which can be said of no other:


“For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”[10]


Admittedly, Satan and his angels are powerful. But is their power infinite? Is their power limitless? Did they create the universe? Could they create the universe? Did they create angels? Could they create angels? How, then, can the power and might of Satan and all his wicked host match up against the One Who created them all and endowed them all with whatever might and strength they have?

While God’s enemies are pervasive, Jesus Christ the Son Of God is infinitely more pervasive. Please do not think that I am standing here to tell you that Jesus Christ is everywhere, for that is not what the Word of God emphasizes at all. To the contrary, in His glorified human body, since His ascension after His glorious resurrection from the dead the glorified Jesus Christ sits at the Father’s right hand in heaven, Ephesians 6.9.[11] But be reminded of the Holy Spirit of God, also described as the Spirit of Christ.[12] The Holy Spirit is pervasive. The Holy Spirit, sent forth to magnify and draw men’s attention to the Lord Jesus Christ, is everywhere. Not only does the Holy Spirit of God indwell each and every blood bought and blood washed child of God, there is nowhere on this planet or in this universe where the Spirit of the living God is not. This far and away surpasses the pervasiveness of the demons. For no matter how numerous they might be they can only be in one place at a time. The Spirit of God, however, is omnipresent. By the way, He is also omnipotent.

Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ is persuasive. Demons persuade men to do wrong, to sin against God. And they do so by fooling and tricking and deceiving men concerning the consequences of sin. They convince men that sins aren’t really that bad, that God isn’t really that offended, that the consequences aren’t really that severe. But consider what God’s response to their sin is. For committing only one sin against God one time, God has created for the devil and his angels the lake of fire. All sins against God since that first sin only serve to store up wrath for the day of their judgment. An eternity in the lake of fire is the destiny of all fallen angels for sinning against God one, single, time. Does that convince you of the wrongness of sin? Does that bring you to understand the sensitivity of God to sins committed against Him? My friends, thanks to your own sinfulness and thanks to the persuasiveness of the demons, you most usually do not comprehend the wickedness, the vileness, the horror, the putrefaction, the stench, the meanness, the hatefulness of even a single sin you have committed against God. Think, then, about the persuasiveness of Jesus Christ. Not that He would ever seek to persuade you, for that is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. But Jesus Christ does persuade the Father, after a fashion. How so? By satisfying the Father. You see, Jesus Christ shed His blood on Calvary’s cross. That same blood He will use to cleanse each and every sinner who comes to Him by faith and trusts Him for salvation. Think about it. You already know that the Savior is more powerful than Satan and all his demons. And through the Holy Spirit’s ministry in this world, He is also more pervasive. Finally, we see that Jesus Christ is also more persuasive. Only He persuades the One Who will listen to nothing the demons say. God, Who will listen to not one word of the cries and wails of the demons when they suffer the torments of the damned in the lake of fire, is ready to hear His Own Son.[13]


Mom, you live in a battle zone. We all do, but you especially do. On one side of the war is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and all those who are saved by trusting Christ to cleanse their sins away in His blood. Then, here you are. From birth you have been born into the camp of the enemies of God, into a fallen race of sinners. It is into that fallen race that your child has also been born and from which your child must at all costs be rescued. Are you helping in that rescue of your child, or are you hindering? Eventually, when all is said and done, each and every demon, fallen angel, unsaved man and unsaved woman, will be cast into the lake of fire. That is proper justice for unforgiven sins against God. Those angels who did not sin, together with those sinners who turned to the Lord Jesus Christ and trusted Him and were saved, will enjoy the bliss of heaven with Him forever. Why don’t you come to the Lord Jesus by faith? Come to Him now and be saved from all your sins.

In this war for the souls of men you fight particular battles with the eternal and undying souls of your children at stake. Your only hope of victory lies in the condition of your own soul, so that you will be on the Lord’s side of this eternal conflict. I urge you once more. Come to Him now and be saved from all your sins. And how do you fight the battle for your children’s souls after you become a Christian? That is what Paul deals with in Ephesians 6.13-18, emphasizing at the end of his directive prayer and supplication:


“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”


You have to be a fighter, mom, a real warrior. But you also have to pray. Pray and trust God to answer your prayers and bless your consistent and obedient efforts and you will rejoice forever.

[1] Isaiah 14.12-15; Ezekiel 28.11-19; Revelation 12.3-4

[2] A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol IV, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1931), page 550.

[3] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 561.

[4] Genesis 6.4

[5] Mark 9.20-26; Luke 8.30

[6] 1 Corinthians 10.19-20

[7] Luke 8.30

[8] Romans 5.6; 6.19

[9] 2 Corinthians 5.11

[10] Colossians 2.9

[11] Psalm 16.11; 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; John 3.13; 13.1; 14.2-4; Acts 2.33, 34-35; 7.56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; Colossians 3.1; Second Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 9.24; 10.12-13; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 19.11

[12] Romans 8.9

[13] Romans 8.34; Hebrews 7.25; 1 John 2.1


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