We Christians forget there is an invisible war between God and Satan going on around us. Richards says it is vital we understand the message of Ephesians as in it Paul reveals the strategies of Satan and the armor God has provided. “Ephesians is Paul's 'freedom workshop,' instructing how to break free, and remain free, from the influence of evil spirits that are eager to infiltrate believers' lives.” (22)
The first part of the book is dedicated to understanding spiritual forces. Richards compares the first century view of the spirit world with that of today. Paul would find that most Americans have no idea the impact the spirit world has on their lives – good and bad. Few now take demons seriously.
In the next part of the book, Richards examines each piece of armor in the sequence Paul presented them. He explains the applicable schemes of Satan, examines the relevant piece of armor, then show how this truth in Ephesians is put into practice.
Richards includes a section for Christian counselors at the end of his book. He examines the role of Christian counseling in dealing with demonization and healing the hurt from evil.
This book contains much of what Richards teaches in his Freedom Workshops. He includes exercises at the end of each section to help the reader personally apply the information. For example, at the end of the study on the breastplate, the reader is given an exercise in self examination. Detailed suggestions follow explaining what to do with what God has revealed.
Richards has also included “Live Free Support Group” lesson plans so several can study this book together. Additional lesson plans are available on his blog.
I was impressed with this study. I've never seen the schemes of Satan directly correlated with the pieces of armor. That was very enlightening. Richards is a scholar and uses his knowledge of Greek to fully explain the armor, as well as clear up a misconception or two.
Every Christian should be aware of the efforts of Satan to make our life empty and unfulfilled. We need to understand the role of demons too. Richards is convinced that using the armor in Ephesians will lead to more freedom and joy than we have ever experienced before.
Richards should know. He writes, “I am now eighty years old, and I can say that God has been faithful every step of the way.” (62)
This is an excellent work. I highly recommend it for laypeople, clergy, and especially those doing Christian counseling.
It's time we put on our armor and took a stand against the devil.
Larry Richards is a retired graduate school professor who has written some 250 books. He currently lives in North Carolina and his wife, Sue. Larry also conducts Freedom Workshops, teaching on the concepts in this book, and writes the blog www.demondope.com.
Chosen Books (a division of Baker Publishing Group), 192 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from Chosen Books for the purpose of this review.