Heavy snow and ice greatly hindered our regular attenders from getting out this week. Rather than push forward with the Jonah Series, I looked to a study I have been preparing for a while on the Armor of God from Ephesians 6.
When I was first saved, I came into the Church to find what I would call an obsession with the concept of Spiritual Warfare. Books were being written about it, Bible Studies were dedicated to it and and everyone seemed to be concerned about the “principalities and powers” that were at work in the world around us. Discussions of oppression and possession, generational curses and breaking spiritual bondage were frequent. However, as I came to study the passages that were most often cited in the Scriptures regarding these things, I found that they had generally been taken way out of their historical and grammatical contexts and perverted into some sort of a Stephen King novel for Christians.
As I read passages like 1 John 4:1-6 I saw that it was properly applied to false teachers. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 was doctrinal correction. And Ephesians 6:10-18 was the application of all that went before it with regard to our response to God’s great work of Redemption accomplished for and applied to His elect. If God has sent His Son into the World and accomplished my redemption, applied it to me (even though I was His enemy) by regenerating me by His Holy Spirit and then commanded me to begin to live radically differently, then there are some things that I need to know in order to respond to His grace and mercy properly.
Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–
These verses are not slid in behind five chapters of very practical teaching on the Gospel and the life of the Believer in order to obscure our understanding of what it means to live for Christ with ethereal concepts that we cannot quite understand. They are the very practical application of this truth. As the Apostle wrote this letter he was likely chained to or at least in close quarters with a Roman Soldier because he wrote this from prison. He had just given the Ephesians all that they needed to understand the Gospel and the right response to it. Now he is summing it up and letting them know that in order to win this battle of living for Christ in the midst of a world that is dominated by people who are walking according to “Prince of the Power of the Air” they need to be prepared. God has given us the tools or “weapons” of this warfare and if we use them aright, we will be able to stand against the “wiles of the devil.”
As with the text in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 the weapons of our warfare are truths that make us think correctly about our relationship to God through Jesus Christ.
Thus it is truth that holds us all together, God’s truth, Ephesians 6:14a “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth.”
It is His righteousness deposited in our account that protects our hearts, Ephesians 6:14b “having put on the breastplate of righteousness,.”
It is walking at peace with the God who was formerly our enemy but has made us sons that guides our way, Ephesians 6:15 “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
It is trusting God to keep His Word faithfully that preempts the attacks of our adversary the devil, Ephesians 6:16 “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
It is the fact that God saved us while we were yet sinners and that in saving us He keeps us that protects our minds from fear and worry, Ephesians 6:17a “And take the helmet of salvation.”
And it is the use of His Word that allows us to go on the offensive as we take the Gospel to that world that is under the devil’s power. Ephesians 6:17b “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Finally, it is relying on God and communing with Him through prayer that we are encouraged for the battle, Ephesians 6:18 “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
I will be posting up the audio as I preach through each piece of the armor, filling in between the other series. I encourage you to listen to the message on The Gospel of Peace by clicking on the link below. If you have been exposed to some of the popular teaching on this subject over the past 15 years or so, I would love to dialogue with you about what you have heard here.
The Gospel of Peace Ephesians 6:15
Knowing Our Enemy Ephesians 6:10-13 / Genesis 3:1-6
The Weapons of Our Warfare 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
Dressed For Battle Ephesians 6:10-18
P.S. The complete series is on the 1in1000.org website. Some of the audio is pretty low quality. I am working on developing the material into a book and am presently going back through it. I will be updating the audio as I get the chance to preach it.