Ephesians chapter 6 is our text tonight and we're looking at the believer's armor. There are so many things that have come and gone in my life time in terms of Christian emphases. It's good that some of them are fading away and have almost disappeared. It's sort of like the offshoot of the Amish many years ago. It was a quirky kind of cult and they believed that marriage was...and cohabitation sinful. It didn't last very long. They all died and there was nobody left to carry it on. That was a good thing.
There are other things that have come and tried to have a life and sometimes lasted quite a while before they died. One of them, basically, was inimitable to the Quaker Movement and I guess you could call it sort of historic quietism. That's a label that really does define the Quaker approach to spiritual life which was to say what you need to do is surrender yourself. They had phrases like "hand it over to the Lord," "let Him do it." Or their most famous one, "Let go and let God." Stop struggling. Stop striving. Abide. Rest. And all that kind of benign quiet language. They said, one writer, it's like a man in a room, there's brilliant sunshine outside but the room is in darkness, that's because the blinds are drawn and the man is fumbling around in the darkness. All he needs to do is open the blind and the light will flood him. This is the quietistic view. It took a firm footing in England and America in a movement called Keswick. KeswickMovement was this kind of movement, die to self, self-crucifixion. Books were written by people like Major Ian Thomas and others. And the whole idea was that if you want to live a successful Christian life, you simply surrender. They would say things like, "Holiness is by faith in Jesus, not by any effort of my own." We supply the surrender, God supplies the power. Not I, but Christ. Another famous book along that line was The Christian Secret to a Happy Life by Hannah Smith, a book that isn't nearly as popular as it once was, but shows up now and then.
But this Movement has died away, thankfully, because it does not reflect a biblical approach to spiritual life. It is not benign. It doesn't call for you to surrender and to yield and to sit back and to rest and to abide and to feel you're responsible for nothing but some kind of self-surrender. That is really opposite what Scripture teaches. Particularly what we're learning in the passage before us which says, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." Verse 10, "Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil for our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm."...