PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD. Eph. 6:10-20
1. The Christian's fight against spiritual foes calls for spiritual weapons.
2. In this study, we want to take note of both the defensive and offensive weapons to be used in the Christian's warfare against Satan.
3. In the first century the Romans ruled the world.
4. They accomplished this feat by producing the best soldiers and the best armor that any nation had ever had.
5. They used the short sword and protected their fighting men by designing a covering for every part of their body.
6. Paul knew all this, for he was reared in Tarsus of Cilicia under Roman rule.
7. The soldiers of the empire were common sights everywhere.
8. They were both feared and admired, as the case might be, by all.
9. So, it is to this familiar example that Paul turns to teach his lesson to Christian soldiers, in the army of the Lord.
I. OUR STRENGTH FOR THE CONFLICT. Eph. 6:10.
A. First of all, we are to "be strong in the Lord".
1. This is accomplished by using, to the fullest, "the power of His might."
a. This suggests two things:
1) To be courageous in His cause.
2) And to know that He is our strength.
a.) "I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me." Phil. 4:13.
2. We become strong in the Lord by drawing near to God in a more faithful and trusting obedience to Him, a closer walk in the footsteps of Jesus. 1 Pet. 2:21.
3. Christians should never be weaklings, for they are joined to the Lord, to Almighty Power.
a. Even though Christians may be weak in the flesh, the strength of Christ succors them. 2 Cor. 12:9,10.
B. MacKnight's translation of Eph. 6:10 reads: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the performance of your relative duties, through the assistance of the Lord Christ, and through His mighty power exercised in the government of the world, for the purpose of defending you from our enemies, and enabling you to overcome them."
II. THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD. Eph. 6:11-17.
A. It is interesting to note that at the very time of Paul's writing he may have been chained to a Roman soldier who was wearing the very type of armor that he writes about. v. 20.
B. God doesn't clothe Christians with this strength and power without earnest effort on their part.
1. They must make such efforts by doing just what He commands.
C. The spiritual or inner man becomes strong only by experience. 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Heb. 5:13,14.
D. The whole armor of God is so designed, not only to ward off the blows of the enemy, but to also step into the fray and deliver offensive blows to conquer others for Christ. 1 Tim. 6:11,12.
E. An effective soldier in battle is one that remains upright, on his feet, standing.
1. The wiles of the Devil, his treacherous methods of warfare, his cunning acts of deception, must be withstood and thwarted.
F. In wrestling, one must stay on his feet, and stay within the confines of the ring of battle, this is the way one wins out over his apponent.
1. Especially, is this true, in Summo wrestling.
G. The struggle is against the very leaders of all sin and wickedness in this present sinful world.
1. Satan is the general of the host of wickedness, but he has those that are his underlings in leading his army.
a. Let us take note of some scriptures along this line: Eph. 2:1,2; 1 Pet. 5:8; Job 1: 7; 1 Jno. 2:15-17; 4:4-6; 5:4,5.
2. Note how that Satan is depicted as the head of the ranks of the wicked: Note the names by which he is called:
a. Evil One, Matt. 13:19; Enemy, Matt. 13:39; Beelzebub, Mk. 3:22; Prince of Devils, Mk. 3:22; Strong One, Lk. 11:21; Murderer, Jno. 8:44; Liar, Jno. 8:44; Father of Lies, Jno. 8:44; Prince of this world, Jno. 12:31; Satan, Acts 5:3; God of this World, 2 Cor. 4:4; Belial, 2 Cor. 6::15; Serpent, 2 Cor. 11:3; Spirit of Evil, Eph. 2:2; Tempter, 1 Thes. 3:5; Adversary, 1 Pet. 5:;8; Angel of the Abyss, Rev. 9:11; Apollyon, Rev. 9:11; Abaddon, Rev. 9:11; Great Red Dragon, Rev. 12:3; The Dragon, Rev. 12:7; Great Dragon, Rev. 12:9, The Old Serpent, Rev. 12;9; Devil and Satan, Rev. 12:9; Deceiver of the Whole World, Rev. 12:9; Accuser, Rev. 12:9.
H. The whole context of this lesson has as its central idea preparedness.
1. The scene is filled with the marshalled hosts of the evil one, bent upon dislodging the Christian from his vantage point of communion with the Lord.
2. The "evil days" are always with us, for Satan never ceases the battle with the children of God.
III. THE ELEMENTS OF THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD. Eph. 6:13-17.
A. The "girdle of truth."
1. The girdle or belt was always important in the dress of the soldier. It served three purposes for the soldier.
a. It bound his garments together which might otherwise become loose and hinder his actions.
b. It gave support to his loins.
c. It served as a defence against piercing blows from beneath that might penetrate the heart.
2. The truth is the basic garment of a Christian.
a. The truth of God taken into the heart is as a girdle to give strength to the loins.
3. This girding with truth is the responsibility of each individual soldier.
a. This is a wonderful source of strength, and requires much attention, careful thought, prayful reading, and meditation, to arm ourselves with truth.
4. Those who are alien to the house of God, may guess and grope; but Christians move freely and quickly, due to the fact that in any situation he knows the truth.
a. This grasp of truth gives on boundless confidence in conflict with error.
1) "For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." 2 Cor. 13:8.
2) "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim. 2:3,4.
3) "Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently." 1 Pet. 1:22.
4) "The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but also all they that know the truth; for the truth's sake which abideth in us, and it shall be with us for ever." 2 Jno. 1,2.
B. The "breastplate of righteousness." v. 14.
1. The breastplate was a coat of mail or armor which covered the body from the neck to the thigh.
a. It was often made of metal rings or scales overlapping like fish scales.
b. Goliath's breastplate or coat of mail weighed 5,000 shekels (about 160 pounds).
2. This breastplate was the most noticeable part of the armor.
a. Righteousness in a Christian is to be witnessed or readily seen by all.
b. It is most advantageous to wear the breastplate of righteousness into combat against the spiritual hosts of wickedness.
c. Righteousness is gained by doing the will of God.
d. The righteousness of God is that plan of obedience to Him, whereby He has ordained to save man. Read: Rom. 8:1-11.
e. Man clothes himself with that righteousness of God by walking in the way God has marked out for him to walk.
1) "My little children, let no man lead you astray: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous." 1 Jno. 3:7.
f. Jesus did the will of God and for that reason was righteous. All who do God's will are righteous.
1) "If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one also that doeth righteousness is begotten of Him." 1 Jno. 2:29.
g. Then to put on the breastplate of righteousness, is to obey God.
h. Righteousness, as translated from the Greek, means "quality of being right or just."
i. Jesus taught that righteousness is conformity to revealed law, Matt. 5:6, 10,20.
1) Whatever God requires for obedience, Matt. 3:15; 21:32.
2) It is the sum total of what God requires, Matt. 6:33; Psa. 119:172.
j. To be righteous one must conform to Divine Law, and as the law is holy, just and good, so righteousness is purity, justice and goodness. 1 thes. 5:8; Isa. 51:4-8.
1) The fruits of righteousness are: Yielding supreme homage, veneration, love and obedience to God. Matt. 22:37-40.
k. When a man is clothed in righteousness, he is impregnable.
1) Words are no defense against accusations, but a good life is.
l. Let us note the protection it affords:
1) When exposed to the accusation of Satan. Zech. 3:1,2; Rev. 12;10,11.
2) Yields peace of mind by removing the condemnation of the conscience. 1 Jno. 3:19-21.
C. Having "your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." v. 15.
1. Since the Christian warrior is told to stand, he is to have no unprotected or uncertain foothold.
a. Preparedness is again the thought.
2. As his fighting is done mainly in hand-to-hand combat, a firm footing was exceedingly important.
a. His sandals were bound firmly to his feet and ankles, they were studded with hobnails for sure footing.
3. It seems a paradox to mention the shodding of a soldier with the preparation of the "gospel of peace."
a. But it is a peaceful feeling to any soldier to know that for which he is fighting is right.
b. That the foundation upon which he stands to fight against the foes is a sure foundation. 2 Tim. 2:19; Psa. 11; Prov. 10:25.
c. Such tends to bring peace to ones heart. 2 Tim. 1:12.
4. The feet are mentioned as instruments of taking the gospel to a lost and dying world. Rom. 10:15.
5. Messengers go to and fro spreading the good news of peace and joy. Isa. 52: 1- 10.
a. they are not allowed to add thereto nor to subtract therefrom.
6. Christians must be ready to move here and there "telling souls in darkness of salvation free."
D. "Above all, taking the shield of faith." v. l6.
1. The word that Paul uses here does not refer to the small round shield that we see depicted so often, but it means the great oblong shield which the heavily armed soldier wore.
2. "Fiery darts" were fired from bows toward the advancing soldiers.
a. These darts were dipped in tar or some other flammable substance, set afire, and fired at the enemy.
b. If the penetrated the clothing of a soldier they were very painful and caused many casualties.
c. But the large shields were very efficient in keeping the fiery darts from reaching their marks.
1) A phalanx of closely ranked, heavily armed, well shielded soldiers, had great defense as the forged their way into the enemy area.
d. So, the "shield of faith" can be a formidable defence against the fiery darts of the evil one.
e. The word of God, implanted in our hearts, increases our faith.
1) Therefore, the more we study, accept, and obey the word of God, the larger and more proctective will be our shield of faith against the missiles of the evil one.
3. But in order that our faith may be strengthened and fixed as a part of our being, it is necessary that we give expression to our convictions in our daily lives. Jas. 2:14-26.
a. No thought or feeling enters into the formation of our characters or becomes permanent until it controls the actions of our bodies and becomes a part of our being.
b. Faith itself is accepted by God only when it has molded the actions of the body and made the body subject to its control.
c. The conviction of the heart becomes a part of our being and enters into our character only when it prompts the body to action. Gal. 5:5,6.
4. The fiery darts signify the malignant hate with which Satan hurls his slander and threats against the people of God through his human instruments.
E. "And take the helmet of salvation." vs. 17.
1. To the Christian soldier, the assurance of salvation is very important for the following reasons:
a. To be firm and steadfast in the faith, he must have scriptural assurance of pardon or salvation from past sins. Acts 2:38; Heb. 5:8,9.
b. He must also have a well-grounded hope of the future and final salvation. Rev. 2:10.
2. These things have been assured him of the Lord Himself. 1 Pet. 1:3-9.
3. The helmet of salvation keeps one alert to the hope of salvation. 1 Thes. 5:8.
a. This suggests salvation in the future, yet it rests in the assurance of the present salvation. Heb. 11:6; 10:39; 1 Pet. 2:6; 2 Pet. 1:9.
4. The origin of hope is God, 2 Thes. 2:16,17; Rom. 15:13. Its basis is threefold:
a. Promises of the Father. Titus 1:2.
b. Work of Jesus. Col. 1:27.
c. Earnest of the Spirit. Rom. 8:16; Eph. 1:13,14; 2 Cor. 1:22.
5. Advantages derived from this hope:
a. It animates and encourages for warfare. Rom. 8:31.
b. It supports in suffering. 2 Thes. 2:16,17.
c. It promises possession of victory and reward. 2 Tim. 4:6-8.
6. All Christians, young or old, as they face the fiery aspects and problems and temptations of life, need the very finest of helmets to wear into the fray.
a. What better one can be obtained than that of the full knowledge that we have done and are doing the will of God, therefore, we have salvation of past sins now and hope of eternal salvation after this live is over.
F. "And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." vs. 17.
1. All other pieces of armor mentioned were defensive in nature, but the sword of the Spirit is offensive.
2. Every child of God should be trained extensively and accurately in its use.
a. An armored Roman soldier, with the short sword in his hand, could strike terror in the heart of his enemy, because he was so well trained in its use.
b. A Christian soldier, with the sword of the Spirit in his hand and heart can strike terror in Satan's heart. 2 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 4:12.
3. It is the sword of the Spirit tht pricked the hearts of those thousands on Pentecost Acts 2:37.
4. This is the only weapon we have to take ground for Christ today. Rev. 1:16; Rom. 1:16.
a. No man-made implimentation is to be used in its stead.
5. The sword of the Spirit, if rightfully used, can put to flight all the enemies of God. Jas. 4:7.
6. It is tht which cuts away the dross from the heart, builds one up, and gives one a place among the sanctified. Acts 20:32.
7. Christian Soldiers are not to depend upon their own reasonings in their warfare against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places. Jer. 10:23; Prov. 3:1-8.
8. A ready and accurate use of the sword of the Spirit must be the first and only weapon in ones arsenal. 2 Tim. 3:16,17.
1. God's armor is all-sufficient to defend and to conquer. Rom. 8:37.
2. Do you have on the whole armor of God? If so, take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and press the battle for truth and right.
By Jim Sasser
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