Heavenly Father, we pray for transformation, renewal, new insights, revelation, and anointing. We pray for understanding, insight, and application of difficult and controversial passages. We pray for spiritual eyes of faith to see into the spiritual world, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-2, 1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
Paul was bold when he wrote letters to his audience but was meek, gentle, and lowly when he confronted them face to face.
But Paul was bold when he confronted the false apostles because he was not afraid of them .
VV 3-6, 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Our battle is not physical but spiritual. Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places, Ephesians 6:12. Since our battle is spiritual, our weapons of warfare are also spiritual. These are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:14-17. The first five are weapons of defend. The sixth, the sword of the Spirit, is a weapon of defend and attack. The sword of the spirit is the word of God and prayer. We defend ourselves with the word of God. We attack the enemy with prayer.
Ephesians 6:12, “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.”
Ephesians 6:14-17, “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.”
VV 7-11, 7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed, 9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.
Paul asked 1 rhetorical question. Paul urged his audience not to judge him by outward appearance. Paul boasted about his apostolic authority from Christ. The false apostles criticised Paul’s unremarkable oratory skills and unimpressive outward appearance although they acknowledged his exemplary writing skills.
VV 12-13, 12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us, a sphere which especially includes you.
Paul and his co-workers dared not judge or praise themselves. The false apostles however, did not hesitate to judge, praise, and elevate themselves excessively.
VV 14-18, 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ, 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, 16 to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. 17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the
Lord.” 18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
Paul and his co-workers imposed limits to their boastings and authority. Paul preached the gospel to places where no other apostles visited so as not to encroach into other apostle’s sphere of influence. Paul quoted Jeremiah 9:24.
Jeremiah 9:24, “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord.”
Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places, Ephesians 6:12. The spiritual weapons of our warfare are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:14-17. In order to win this battle, we must identify and know our enemy and we must use the correct spiritual weapons.
Heavenly Father, help us to understand that we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, thrones, rulers, authorities, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Help us to protect and fight this battle using Your full spiritual armour, in Jesus’ name, Amen.