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BOOK 1

BOOK 1

SPIRITUAL WEAPONS

FOR

SPIRITUAL WARFARE

 

A SYSTEMATIC AND EXPOSITORY STUDY ON

THE BELIEVER’S WARFARE AND SPIRITUAL WEAPONS

 MADE AVAILABLE BY GOD FOR VICTORY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BISHOP DR. JULIUS O.  SOYINKA

PREFACE

Behind the confusion and uncertainty that exists today on every hand lies the craft and power of the great spiritual being which Jesus called "the ruler of this world," the Devil. Despite the recent surge of interest in the occult and Satanism there is still a woeful ignorance on the part of Christians everywhere as to how to deal with the Devil and his wiles.

Much is being written today about dealing with demonic influence and possession, but the Christian world seems to know little or nothing about how to recognize the indirect control of believers through what the Bible calls the "the flesh" and even less about what to do with it.

It is the purpose of this book to give help where it is most needed: in the day-to-day conflict where the Devil's craft reaches us in terms of hostilities, worries, resentments, fears, disappointments and nameless depressions of spirit. Here is where the great spiritual issues are really won or lost, and where the eat resources of Christ are more needed than at any other time.

I gladly acknowledge my great debt to my wife and the pastoral team of Ultimate Power Gospel Assembly for their unfailing encouragement.

In a very real sense those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are engaged in a battle. But the forces we face are not clothed in flesh; they are not human agencies. Rather, they are the deadly pantheon of spiritual hosts of wickedness, invisible and dedicated to our destruction.

These forces are under the authority of the one who is the Father of Lies, the prince of darkness, the Devil himself. Only by recognizing him as real, as the Scriptures clearly do are, can we begin to understand the meaning of life as it really is. Only then can we comprehend the vital necessity of putting on the whole armor of God which, far from being merely a figure of speech, is, in fact, Christ himself, as he is to us.

In our helplessness, once fully realized, we have been given three specific steps to take which will enable us to be conquerors. First, we are to appropriate by thoughtful consideration the complete protection of Christ.

Then, fully armed, we are to pray. Prayer must be the result of our acceptance of the armor of God, the action which fulfills the thought.

Finally, in the face of whatever attacks God allows Satan to mount against us, we are to stand firm in our faith with the certain knowledge that the battle is the Lord's. Our faith in his victory, already accomplished, is what overcomes the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                      Table of Contents:

Preface

Chapters:

  1. Be Strong in the Lord
  2. Put on the Whole Armour
  3. The Belt of Truth
  4. The Breastplate of Righteousness
  5. The Boot of Peace
  6. The Shield of Faith
  7. The Helmet of Salvation
  8. The Sword of the Spirit
  9. Prayer in Warfare
  10.           Overcoming The Flesh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

BE STRONG IN THE LORD

Eph 6:10  Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Eph 6:12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Eph 6:13  Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Eph 6:14  Therefore stand, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness

Eph 6:15  and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Eph 6:16  Above all, take the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,

Eph 6:18  praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching to this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.  Ephesians 6:10-18

 “Finally!” The first word of verse 10 is a blessing, isn’t it? That word indicates that we have reached the last major section of the book of Ephesians. As Paul nears the end of this precious book, he closes with a final series of admonitions. He challenges his readers to open their eyes to the spiritual warfare in which they are engaged. He calls them to be sure they are on the right foundation, wearing the proper spiritual garments, fighting the right enemies, and trusting the right Lord. 

It is not certain that we always recognize it, but we are always engaged in spiritual warfare. The people of God face some very real, very powerful enemies in this world. There is a being called Satan, and he controls an evil kingdom of demonic forces. Satan and his demons are doing all they can to undermine the work of God in the world. They are doing all they can to defeat and discourage the people of God. They are doing all they can to hinder the church, the body of Christ. They are doing all they can to see that we, the people of God, fail in our mission to live for God and to bring Him glory.

 The enemies we face are powerful. The battles we fight are real. The costs of defeat are far higher than we realize. The glories of victory are far more wonderful than we can imagine. This Chapter tells us how to avoid failure, and how to achieve success, in the spiritual battles of life.

 This Chapter is about how we are to conduct ourselves in the spiritual warfare that rages around us, and sometimes within us. We need to know the warfare we fight and the Spiritual Power we need, if we are going to be victorious in our Christian walk.

 

  I.  V. 10  THE SOURCE OF OUR STRENGTH

If we are going to be victorious in the spiritual battles we face, we are going to have spiritual power. The problem is, none of us possess spiritual power within ourselves. We are weak, frail, fallible, foolish creatures, and we are often on the losing side of the battles of life. If we hope to achieve victory, we must have true spiritual power. This verse tells us where that power originates.

A.  Our Strength Comes From A Person

 “Be strong in the Lord” - The word “strong” means “to be empowered; to be strengthened.” It is the picture of someone who is “weak being made strong.” That sounds like what we need.

 We are weak creatures! We are weak emotionally. We are weak in the way we think. We are weak in our spirits. We are weak when it comes to temptation and sin. We are weak in our ability to control our own wills. We are simply weak and we need someone to help us. The strength we need to walk in victory in the battles of life will never come from within ourselves. The strength we need can only come from the Lord.

This verse says, “be strong in the Lord.” That means that any spiritual strength we can ever hope to possess must come from Him. Spiritual power can only be ours through a relationship with Jesus Christ. This means that just as we trust Jesus and His death and resurrection to save us, we must trust Him to give us the spiritual power we so desperately need. Just as we need His righteousness to enter into God’s Heaven, we need His power through which we are going to stand against the attacks we face in life. Just as we need His blood to take away our sins, we need His power to defeat Satan.

 

B.  Our Strength Comes From A Provision

 “In the power of His might” - The word “power” refers to “dominion.” It speaks of the power to “complete and perfect” something. The word “might” has the idea of “force and strength.” It speaks of someone who possesses “absolute ability.

 These two words describe the kind of power we need if we are going to experience victory in the spiritual battles we face.

 How do we get this power? We get it the same way we have our sins forgiven. We get it the same way are given His righteousness. We get it the same way we are saved. We get it simply by trusting Him, and not ourselves. If I try to stand against Satan and his forces in my own power, I will fail. If I can ever learn to lean on the Lord, confess my own weakness, and place my faith in His power alone, I become a candidate for victory.

 One of the truths Paul has been trying to teach us is that when we are saved, we are made one with Jesus. Thus, His life becomes our life. His truth becomes our truth. His way becomes our way. His power becomes our power. His strength becomes our strength.

Here is what we forget: When Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead, He defeated Satan and all his works. That means this war is already over, and Jesus has already won it! We are not fighting for victory; we are fighting from victory. If we can come to the place where we understand that our Lord has already defeated Satan, and that when we are in Jesus, we are partakers of His victory, it will help us walk in that victory in the day-to-day battles we face in life.

 So, again, I ask the question, where do we get this power? It comes from simply being “in” Jesus! When you are “in” Jesus by faith, saved by His grace, you become a partaker of His power, His strength and His ability!

 If there is to be any spiritual power, any spiritual victory, it must come from Him. It must be given to us by the Lord. True spiritual power will only come to those who are “in the Lord.” So The Source Of Spiritual Strength is Jesus Christ, and His power is only given to those who are in a faith relationship with Him.

This verse reminds us that we are foolish when we trust in ourselves, and in our own power. We are foolish when we think we can fight the devil, his demons, sin, temptation, the world, and the other enemies of life in our own strength. We are foolish when we think we can handle it on our own. We must realize that we cannot handle it. We must realize that we are weak. We must realize that, if we try to do it on our own, we will be defeated. We must trust not ourselves, but in Jesus Christ Who has promised His power and His victory to His people.

•  “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” Phil. 4:13.

•  “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ,” 2 Cor. 2:14.

•  “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” Rom. 8:37.

•  “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Cor. 15:57.

 

 II.  V. 11  THE SOURCE OF OUR STABILITY

This verse teaches us the glorious truth that it is possible for us to “stand” against the enemies who stand against God and against us.

A.  How We Are Embattled

 “the wiles of the devil” - This phrase both identifies our enemy and how he works. We are told that our enemy is “the devil.” He is the enemy of God. He stands against everything God stands for. He hates God, and wants nothing more than to destroy God and install himself as the Lord of all.

 According to the Bible, the devil is the source of evil. Sin first bared its fangs in the heart of the creature known as Lucifer. He determined that he would be God, and that he would exalt himself above the throne of the One and True God, Isa. 14:12-17.

Satan was defeated and cast out of heaven, along with one-third of the angels, Isa. 14:12; Heb. 12:22. Those fallen angels are demons, and Satan still does all he can to dethrone God and to rob God of His glory.

That is our enemy. He is ancient. He is powerful. He is deceptive. He is experienced. He has been attacking, deceiving, and defeating the people of God since he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He has had several years of practice, and he knows what he is doing. I am not giving him any glory, I am simply telling the truth about our enemy.

Paul says that God will give us “power” to cause us to “stand against the wiles of the devil.” The word “wiles” speaks of “scheming tricks.” It is the word that gives us the word “methods.” Satan’s “methods” are to use “tricks and schemes” to deceive the people of God. Satan has always been, and always will be a “scheming trickster.” Remember that he has a plan to trick you.

B.  How We Are Equipped

 “put on the whole armor of God” - God has equipped us for the spiritual battles we face by giving us His armour. This armour is listed for us in verses 14-17. Every piece of “the armor of God” is designed to protect the people of God from the attacks of the enemy. In this book we will talk about each piece of “the armor of God.” We will learn what it is and what it does in our lives.

 In this message, we shall consider the words “armour,” “whole,” and “put on.”

•  The word “armor” refers to the equipment that God has provided for us to wear in the day of battles. There is “truth” to wear as a belt. There is “righteousness” to protect the heart. There are “shoes” to protect the feet. There is a “shield” to deflect the arrows of the enemy. There is a “helmet” to protect the head. There is a “sword” to use to engage the enemy. All of this has been provided to every believer so that we might walk in victory.

•  The word “whole” suggests that every piece of “the armour of God” is essential to ensure our victory over the enemy. We can’t “put on” a few pieces and leave a few pieces off and expect to achieve success. We must wear every piece all the time. If we do not, we will be attacked, and we will be defeated.

•  The phrase “put on,” is in a tense that suggests that when we “put on” “the whole armour of God,” we put it on “once for all.” The idea is that “we dress for the battle and we never take off the uniform.” When we “put on” the “armour of God” we are to leave it on all the time. We are to be constantly dressed for spiritual warfare. There are no days off in this war. There are no vacations in this war. Every day is to be spent on the front lines of battle, engaging with the enemy in vital, spiritual combat.

 God has equipped us for the battles we face. He has given us everything we need to “stand” against the enemy and to enjoy His victory day by day. Still, it is up to us to wear the armour we have been given, it is up to us to put it on and leave it on. It is up to us to be sure that every piece is in place. If we don’t obey God’s command, and wear the armour He has provided, we have no one to blame but ourselves when we suffer defeat.

 

C.  How We Are Enabled

 “that ye may be able to stand” - Through the Lord, and what He provides us, makes us “able to stand.” The word “able” has the idea of “power, permission, ability.” We are “able to stand” not through our own power, but through the work of God in our lives. His power gives us the “ability” to “stand.” The word “stand” is a military term. It means “to hold a critical position during a time of enemy attack.” It is the image of “a soldier refusing to yield even one inch of ground to an attacking foe.” It is not the image of someone on the offensive, but rather, it is the picture of a soldier on the defensive, protecting the ground that has already been won.

 For us, this phrase suggests that our enemy, the devil, desires to take what we have been given.

•  He wants our truths.

•  He wants our doctrines.

•  He wants our testimonies.

•  He wants our churches.

•  He wants our families.

•  He wants our marriages.

•  He wants our children.

•  He wants our spiritual power.

•  He wants everything God has given us.

 God is able, through His power, to enable us to take our stand against the attacks of Satan. He can enable us to stand and protect everything we have been given. When Satan attacks, we are made “able to stand.” We do not have to give ground. We do not have to be defeated. We do not have to lose the battles of life.

This matter of standing is illustrated by the Lord Jesus when He was tempted by the devil, Matt. 4. In that passage, Satan was the one on the offensive. Jesus merely stood on the Word of God and refused to yield. He will enable us to do the same thing. The Lord Jesus said this to the church of Thyatira in Rev. 2:25, “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.” We can’t do that in our selves, but He makes it possible.

 

III.  V. 12  THE SOURCE OF OUR STRUGGLES

There are a couple of words in t his verse that demand special attention. One of the word is “wrestle”  and the other is the word “for.”

•  The word “wrestle” is a word used to describe “hand-to-hand combat.” It speaks of the ancient struggles that took place in the Roman arenas. When the combatants met on that field of battle, they were not wrestling to win a prize like modern athletes. They were fighting for their lives, because those ancient contests were a fight to the death. Thus, it really was “no holds barred” wrestling. The combatants used deception and trickery to defeat their opponents. They cheated, and did what they had to do to win.

•  The word “for” reminds us why we must wear the armor of God, if we are to be successful in the battles of life. The very nature of the enemies we face along the way require that we face them in God’s power and not in our own strength.

 We are in a literal fight for our lives. Our enemy will stop at nothing to destroy us. He will use any trick, any deception, any tactic at all to bring about our defeat. We need God’s power. We need God’s help. We need Him if we hope to stand against the relentless attacks of the enemy. Notice what this verse teaches us about our enemy and his identity.

 A.  Who The Enemy Isn’t

 “we wrestle not against flesh and blood” - The implications of that verse are crystal clear. Our enemy is never another human. People hurt us. People lie to us. People are mean to us. People do us wrong. But that does not make them the enemy. They may be doing the work of the enemy, but they are not the enemy. They may want to see our destruction, but they are not the enemy. They may hate us, but they are not the enemy.

When other humans act against us, we have two choices. We can become angry, hold a grudge and try to get even, or we can forgive them and move on. If we take the first option and seek our pound of flesh, we are really no different than the person who has wronged us. If we hate, hold grudges, and grow bitter toward others, damage our testimony and we dishonor the Lord we claim to love. However, if we forgive the offending party, we act like Jesus, because that is what He did when He was crucified, Luke 23:34. We act like Him, because that is what He did when we came to Him for salvation, and when we have returned for cleansing time after time. He does not hold our past against us. He forgives us and He restore us. That is the same kind of love and grace we are to extend to others.

 

So, the enemy is never another human. One of the greatest tricks of the devil is to focus our attention on other people and what they do to us. He uses them to distract us from walking with the Lord. When we take that bait and focus our attention on what people do, we lose sight of Jesus Christ and the will of God. When that happens, the enemy wins battle and we are defeated.

•  When we fight one another, Satan simply takes what he wants, because we are not in a position to stand against him.

•  When we fight one another, we give up the high ground of love and grace in action.

•  When we fight one another, we shed the armour of God and walk in the flesh.

•  When we fight one another, we tell everyone who sees it that the Gospel is a lie.

•  When we fight one another, we always lose and Satan always wins.

 

B.  Who The Enemy Is

 The enemy is Satan, and all the spiritual forces he controls. We don’t need to get hung up on the individual classifications and ranks mentioned here. What we need to know is that there is a real Devil. He hates God and is doing everything he can to steal God’s glory and undermine God’s kingdom. He commands a vast army of demonic spirits that are actively seeking to destroy, defeat, demolish, and dismantle the kingdom of God. Satan has power, but he does not have all power, 1 John 4:4. Satan is the “god of this world,” 2 Cor. 4:4, but he must bow before the God of the universe! Satan has a vast kingdom, but God’s kingdom is infinite.

 So, Satan is our enemy. He is out to destroy everything God is and everything God is doing in the world. One of the ways he does this is by attacking the children of God. Verse 11 talks about “the wiles of the devil.” As we have already mentioned, that phrase refers to “deceptive tricks.” Satan wants to defeat you, and one way he does that is through deception. Let me mention a few of the ways Satan deceives us.

1.   He deceives us by lying to us about the consequences of our sins. 

For instance, he will tell you that it’s OK to experiment with sex, but he doesn’t tell you about venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancies, broken homes, and broken hearts. He does this in any area where sin in involved. That’s what he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die,” Gen. 3:4.

2.   He deceives us by casting doubt on the Word of God. 

He will tell you that truth is a lie. He will also tell you that lies are truth. He will introduce you to false doctrine. He will cause you to believe good things and trust those good things to save your soul. That’s what he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden. “Yea, hath God said…,” Gen. 3:1. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die,” Gen. 3:4.

3.   He deceives us by causing us to doubt God’s goodness. 

He will tell us that there is a better way than serving the Lord. He will make you think that God is holding out on you. Again, that’s what he did to Eve in the Garden. “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil,” Gen. 3:5.

4.  He deceives us by causing us to think that we achieve salvation or victory on our own. 

He will cause you to try to be good enough to be saved. He will cause you to try and earn salvation through good works and self-righteousness.  Even after we are saved, he will deceive us into thinking that we don’t need God any longer. He will cause us to think that we can do it on our own. That’s what he did to Eve in the Garden. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat,” Gen. 3:6.

 Our enemy is deceptive. He is smart. He is powerful. He is after you, and he will destroy you if he gets an opportunity. Here is how the Bible describes him. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,” 1 Peter 5:8.

 Conclusion:

How do we defeat an enemy like that? Here’s how: “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” That’s the only way it can be done!

You are no match for the devil. You are no match for his demons. But, Jesus is! When we stand in Him, He will equip us to stand for Him.

So, two questions come to mind as we close this Chapter.

•  Are you “in Him?” If you are, you can stand. If you are not, you are already defeated, but you can get in “in Him,” if you will come to Him.

•  Are you standing in His power? Are you fighting the right enemies? Are you winning or losing in the battles of life?

If you need help in the spiritual battles of life, I invite you to come to Jesus Christ, call on Him for the help you need. He will enable you to stand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOUR

Eph 6:13  Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Eph 6:14  Therefore stand, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness

Eph 6:15  and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Eph 6:16  Above all, take the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,

Eph 6:18  praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching to this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Ephesians 6:13-18

 In our modern, relatively peaceful world it is easy to forget that we are a people at war. In verse 12, we are reminded that we have a very powerful and insistent enemy. Our enemy, Satan, is doing everything in his power to defeat, dismantle, and destroy the kingdom of God. We must fight him in God’s power, wearing God’s armour. Unfortunately, many believers do not see the need for the armour of God.

 We rejoice when we experience small victories here and there. When we make it through the month with enough money, we count that a spiritual victory. When there is no conflict in our lives, we think that is a victory as well. While those things are important in our day to day lives, they are really victories without battles. They are conflicts without enemies. They are moments enjoyed by people who are really not fighting a war. People who think such moments in life represent spiritual victory are not interested in armour, because they don’t recognize this truth: if they are saved, they are at war! There’s far more to spiritual warfare than being able to pay your bills on time.

 The truth is, every child of God is at war. In God’s army, there are no deferments, and no one is exempted from service. The saints are at war with Satan and his army, and we will be until the Lord calls us home to glory. Thus, we need to heed what the Spirit of God is saying to us in these verses.

 When Paul says “take unto you the whole armor of God,” it literally means “to take up the whole armour of God.” It is the image of a soldier being presented with everything he needs to wage the battle. The armour is arrayed about him, lying at his feet, All he need do is pick it up and put it on. Everything he needs has been provided, but it must be appropriated, if that soldier expects to fight well and if he expects to survive the conflict. Victory won’t come from within, only from without.

 If we expect to “withstand” the attacks of the enemy, that word speaks of “resisting,” then we must tap into a  reserve of power greater than ourselves. The phrase “evil day” refers to the days of our lives. That is, all the days we live in this world are “evil days,” because they are days when we come under attack by the enemy and his forces. There will be no rest in this war. There will be no cease fire. There will be no armistice. One day of battle will flow into the next, and it will continue until we die, or until the Lord comes to take us home. These are “evil days” because they are days of battle, conflict, warfare, and casualties.

 But, it is possible to stand against the devil. It is possible for the people of God to “withstand” his attacks. We will not “stand” until we “have done all to stand.” We will not “stand” until we have taken advantage of all the Lord has provided for us in Jesus. The way we ensure that we “have done all to stand” is to obey His command to “take up” and “put on the whole armor of God.” When we do that, God, by His power will cause us to be “able to withstand.”

The Lord told us about the Spiritual Power He has given us. In these verses, He will reveal the Spiritual Provisions we have been given, that have literally been placed at our feet. May the Lord help us to “take up” what He has provided for us so that we can “resist” the “wiles of the devil.”

 It should be the heart’s desire of every believer to “stand” faithfully for the Lord until He calls us home.

 Most of us know someone who failed to “stand.” For whatever reason, they succumbed to the “wiles of the devil” and fell into sin, and out of fellowship with the Lord. It happens far too frequently. Many have taught Sunday School, attended church, served the Lord, and even preached the Word of God faithfully for years, only to give up, turn their backs on the Lord and walk away in to the world.

 That was Paul’s fear, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway,” 1 Cor. 9:27. It was John’s fear, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward,” 2 John 8. It should be our fear too.

  We do not have to fall away. We do not have to be disqualified. The people in the church do not have to speak of us in the past tense. We can be faithful until the end. We can be like Paul, who at the end of the way, was able to say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” 2 Tim. 4:7.

 I want to be able to say that, don’t you? It is possible, but only if we fight the war God’s way, in the armour He has provided for us to wear. By the way, the command is for us to “put on the WHOLE armour.” A piece or two won’t suffice. A piece or two will leave parts of our lives vulnerable to attack. A piece or two of the armour will result in certain defeat. When we don the “whole armour of God,” we are guaranteed victory in the war with the devil.

 Let’s consider the pieces of the spiritual amour of the Spirit of God. The pieces of the armour we will study here will help us to “resist” the attacks of the enemy. They will help us to finish well for the glory of God.

 

 

 

 

 

                                      CHAPTER THREE

THE BELT OF TRUTH

Eph 6:14  Therefore stand, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.

The verses before us speak about spiritual warfare. They remind us that we are in the fight of our lives against a relentless, powerful enemy. We are engaged in battle with a spiritual being who is intent on our destruction. We are fighting against an enemy who hates our God, and who hates us too. He wants to devour our families, destroy our testimonies, devastate our church, and discredit our God. But, this enemy of whom I speak is not all-powerful. The God we serve is, 1 John 4:4.

 While Satan is intent on our defeat, the Lord is interested in giving us the victory. The Bible tells us very clearly that, in the end, God will have the last word, and Satan will be forever defeated and banished to the Lake of fire, Rev. 20:10-15. In the meantime, God has provided us with everything we need to “stand” for Him against everything the enemy can throw at us.

 In this Chapter, we will begin to consider the resources the Lord has given to us to help us “stand” for Him, and to enjoy victory in the spiritual battles of life. Let’s begin to study the pieces that comprise “the whole armour of God.” Ephesians 6:10 and 13 both tell us to utilize this armour in our daily warfare with  our enemy. The enemy is identified as Satan in verse 12. This passage teaches us that the only hope of victory we possess is for us to be adorned in “the whole armour of God.”

 Verse 13 tells us to “take unto you the whole armor of God.” This literally means “to take up.” It is the image of a soldier standing amid the pieces of the armor. He only has to appropriate what had been proved for him. When he “take it up”, verse 10 says that he is to “put it on.” Armour does no good in the armory, and armour does no good until it is put on the soldier’s body.  

This armour, if utilized properly, will enable us to do what verses 11, 13, and 14 say we are to do, and that is “stand.” This armour will also make it possible to “withstand,” or “resist,” the daily assaults that come our way from the enemy.

  I.  V. 14a  THE BELT OF TRUTH

The standard garment for the Roman soldier was a loose fitting tunic. It was really nothing more than a large, square piece of cloth with holes cut for the arms and head. It was usually worn loose, allowing it to drape over the body. When it is time for battle, that tunic would prove itself to be very dangerous for the soldier. 

Since most combat was hand-to-hand in ancient times, giving the enemy such an easy handhold would mean certain death. Not only that, but the tunic, if left loose, would hinder the soldier’s freedom of movement. So, before a battle began, the soldier would carefully gather the tunic around his body and hold it in place with a heavy leather belt. The phrase “girt about” literally means to “fasten one’s belt.” 

This practice was common among ordinary citizens as well. The people in that culture wore long, flowing robes. When he had to move fast, or do some sort of physical work, the robe would be tightened about the body so movement would be unhindered. 

When the Lord would bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, and gave them His instructions concerning the Passover, He told them to “eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover,” Ex. 12:11. They were to be ready to go. 

The Lord Jesus told His people to be ready to go as well. In Luke 12:35 He said, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning.” That is, we are to be ready to go all the time. Our spiritual loins are to be girded, as we are to be looking for the coming of the Lord.  

We don’t wear robes today, but we are to be “girded” up as well. Our “girding” is not physical, it is mental and it is spiritual. Here is how Peter said it: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,” 1 Pet. 1:13

The “belt” we wear in our spiritual battles is not a belt of leather, it is a belt of “truth.” The word refers to “the content of that which is true.” If we are to “stand” in the “evil day”, then we must “stand” in the “truth.”  

When Paul speaks of our being “girt about with truth,” he is referring to a couple of specific areas of truth. Let us consider them: 

A.          There is the “truth” found in the Word of God. Jesus said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth,” John 17:17. Without a working knowledge of the truths of Scripture, the child of God is easy prey for the enemy. Paul has already told us that there is a great danger if we do not know the truth. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive,” Eph. 4:14. That is why the Lord gave us His Word, and that is why He gave us preachers to explain it to us. He wants us to know His “truth” so that we might “stand” in the “evil day.” Without the truth, the saints of God have no foundation, and they are easily led astray.  

The only way to combat error is with the “truth.” It is the devil’s desire to defeat us, to destroy us, and to distract us. He does this by peddling lies. Like he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan is still seeking to alter the Word of God. He wants us to ignore the “truth” God gives us and embrace his lies that are designed to lead us away from the Lord. 

As  said earlier, the only way to combat error is with “truth.” The only way to know the “truth” is to be exposed to it. The Bible is the “truth.” The Bible is reliable. It is accurate. It is to be read, and it is to be believed. Those who read it and believe it soon discover that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works,” 2 Tim. 3:16–17

Those who don’t soon find that out are casualties in the war between God and Satan. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,” 1 Tim. 4:1. 

So, the Bible is truth.

1.     It teaches all we need to know about life and death, Heaven and Hell, God and Satan, and sin and salvation.

2.    It reveals our condition before God, Rom. 3:10-23.

3.      It reveals His solution to our problem, Jesus Christ the Son of God, John 3:16.

4.      It reveals the way of salvation, Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9.

5.     It reveals the final destiny of the saints of God, John 14:1-3.

6.      It reveals the final destiny of the lost, Psa. 9:17

The Bible is a book to be read, believed, obeyed, and loved. Those who do will be led into the path of life. Those who don’t will spend eternity in death. If you own a Bible, you should praise the Lord for it, and you should soak in the “truth” it contains daily. Let it shape your life, feed your soul, guide your steps, and lead you to Jesus Christ. It is “truth,” and in its pages are life everlasting. Make the Bible your foundation and stand on it! 

B.        Second, not only does “truth” refer to “the content of that which is true,” it also refers to “the very attitude of truthfulness.” This thought seems to get to the heart of what Paul is teaching us here. So, in this context, it speaks of an attitude of commitment and preparedness. It is the primary characteristic of a true believer, of one who serves God out of sincerity and not out of hypocrisy. For this believer shabby service is not tolerated, but they gather up the loose clothing of their lives, and bind it with total commitment to the will of the Lord. Thus, they are enabled to “stand.” 

Far too many in our day allow the loose folds of their lives to blow around them, hindering their walk with the Lord. Like the ancient soldier who’s loose tunic would allow the enemy to easily take them and pull them down in battle, many believers allow the cares of this world to enfold their lives. Their habits, cares, and interests entangle them prevent them from faithfully serving the Lord as they should. Half-hearted commitment is not true commitment at all! 

That is not to be the way believers live their lives. “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier,” 2 Tim. 2:4. Those who are “girt about with truth,” those who are true, committed believers, prepare themselves for the battle they are in, and they “stand” for His glory. 

When we are girded with “truth,” it means that we are walking with the Lord in total commitment and discipline. The committed Christian is prepared in the day of battle, because he has set his heart on the Lord in total commitment. He is true in his profession and he is disciplined in his walk. Thus, the enemy cannot easily trap him, or defeat him in the day of battle. 

Athletes demonstrate this kind of commitment and discipline. In Paul’s day they would train their bodies and sacrifice everything to win a perishable crown that would fade away and perish in no time at all. They train, they work, they endure, pain, suffering and deprivation, all for the hope of winning the praise of men. For an athlete, there is no guarantee that they will be successful. They must compete against every other athlete in the contest for the victory.  

Christians are fighting for something far greater than a perishable crown. We are fighting for the very glory of God. We are to “stand” for Him in the day of battle, because it is His will for our lives. Those who know Him will be committed to honoring Him with the lives they live and the battle they wage. At the end of the way, when the battle ends, and the noise of warfare is lost in the anthems of His praises, the faithful, “true” believer will receive a crown that will never fade away. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible,” 1 Cor. 9:25. Every saint of God can have this crown, not just one. It is guaranteed to the faithful saint.

If an athlete can give everything just for the hope of possibly winning a perishable crown, how much more should we, the redeemed saints of God sacrifice everything to stand for Him? How much more should we be faithful, committed, and true?

 To be “girt about with truth” is to be renewed in the mind and it is to be absolutely committed to God’s will for our lives. It is to be the faithful, true disciple Jesus mentioned when He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” Matt. 16:24

It is to be the “living sacrifice” Paul wrote about in Rom. 12:2. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,”. Thus, it makes the “truth” of God visible, by allowing others to see that “truth”. 

To be “girt about with truth” means that we embrace the “truth” as it is reveled in the Word of God, then it means that we live out that “truth” in our lives day by day. It means that we are real.  

     The belt around a Roman soldier’s midsection did more than just bind his clothes close to his body. The belt provided him with stability for his back and abdomen. It helped him to “stand” in the day of battle. When we embrace the objective “truth” of God’s Word, and when that “truth” becomes subjective by being lived out in our daily lives, we will be a hard target for the enemy to bring down. 

By the way, if a soldier failed to protect his loins, he would not be able to produce offspring when he returned home from the battle. If the church does not stand on the truth, guard the truth, and wear the truth as a belt, we will not have a credible witness before those lost in sin. 

Conclusion:

When our “loins” are “girt about with truth,” we will have taken up the first essential piece of the “whole armour of God.” It will mean that we will be “true” in our profession of Jesus Christ as our Savior and as our Lord. We will be enabled to live for the Lord day by day. 

In some ways, living for the Lord is harder than dying for Him. Many millions have given everything for the Lord. They were burned alive. They were fed to wild beasts. They were brutally slain in the name of religion and entertainment. Thank God that they remained faithful unto death! If you give your life for the Lord, the pain of death will last but a short time, and you will be in the presence of the Lord. However, if you live for Him, the battle against sin, evil, Satan, and the struggle to walk in obedience, and to render faithful service endure day after day. Living for the Lord can be painful in a world that hates Him and His “truth.”  

I’m not taking anything away from the faithful martyrs who have given their lives for the Lord over the centuries. I am saying that a faithful life, lived in obedience, over many long years is a wonder to behold. A life of “truth” that bears faithful witness to the life changing power of the Gospel, brings great glory to the name of God. 

That’s why many of God’s precious saints, people who were not known outside their church and local community, will hear Him say “well done” at the end of the way. They were faithful to live their lives for Him. They walked in “truth,” and God will honor them for it some day. 

•  Are your “loins girt about with truth?”

•  Are you a faithful, true servant of the Lord?

•  Does your daily walk bring glory and honor to Him? 

•  If you have never embraced the “truth” of the Gospel and you need to be saved, come to Him and He will implant “truth” in your soul and change your life.

•   If you are saved, come ask Him to help you “take up the whole armor of God, that you might be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

 

 

 

 

                                               

                                      CHAPTER FOUR

                             THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Eph 6:14  Therefore stand, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.

Ephesians 6:14

 We are studying pieces of “the whole armour of God.” The “armour or God” is a necessary tool in our fight against  our common  enemy, the devil. Without every piece of the amour in place, we are easy prey for the enemy. When the pieces of the armour are missing, Satan has little trouble defeating us. He has little trouble damaging our testimonies, infiltrating our churches, and devastating our church. When the armour is missing, we are easily defeated.

  Yet, when a saint of God is dressed in “the whole armour of God,” the enemy has a hard times dealing with them. When the armour is in place, he cannot penetrate their defenses, and he must watch helplessly as they “stand” for God’s glory day after victorious day. I want that to be my testimony, how about you?

  Let’s continue to examine the pieces of “the whole armor of God.” Knowing what they are and how to use them will help us to “stand” for the Lord in victory

  The first pieces of armor is mentioned in verse 14a. It is “the belt of truth.” This refers to a life of total commitment to the Lord. It refers to a life that is built upon faithfulness to the Word of God and to the God of the Word. It speaks of truth in testimony and truth in living. This “belt of truth” will provide the Christian soldier stability, and it also provides a place for the other pieces of the armor to rest. Without the “belt of truth” the soldier of God will find the other pieces of the armour useless.

As we continue to think about the matter of Spirit-Filled Warfare, let’s move further in our study of “the whole armor of God.” We are doing that by considering all the pieces of that armor. We have talked about The Belt Of Truth. In this Chapter, let’s consider The Breastplate Of Righteousness.

 V. 14b  THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

The “breastplate” was a sleeveless piece of armour that covered the full chest of the soldier. No Roman soldier would dare go into battle without the “breastplate” in place. There were several ways to make “breastplates” in that day.

Some were made of heavy pieces of leather. This leather was shaped to fit the upper body. The “breastplate” was then covered with overlapping slices of animal hooves, horns, or pieces of metal.

Some were made of very think pieces of linen cloth. This kind of “breastplate” was also covered with strips of hooves, horns, or metal.

The third kind, was made of large pieces of metal that were hammered to fit the body.

 Regardless of the kind of “breastplate” the soldier wore, the intent was the same. The “breastplate” was designed to the vital organs that are housed in the chest. The “breastplate” protected the heart, the lungs, the liver, the stomach, etc.  So, the soldier depended on the “breastplate” to protect him from injury and death.

 The spiritual significance of this piece of armour becomes clear when you stop to remember that the ancient world believed that the “heart” represented “the will and the mind” of a person. They also believed that the “bowels,” of what we would call the “internal organs,” the “guts”, represented “the seat of emotion or feelings.”

 Several verses in the New Testament bear this out.

Phil. 1:8, “For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.”

Phil. 2:1, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies.”

Col. 3:12, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.”

Also, Philemon 7, 12, 20; 1 John 3:17.

 We still use the same terminology regarding the “heart.” We say things like “I love you with all my heart.” Or, “I feel it in my heart.” What we actually mean is that we “have a feeling about something.” So, we understand the terminology.

 The reason I mention all this is that just as the “breastplate” of the ancient Roman soldier would protect his “heart” and “bowels,” the “breastplate” Paul mentions here is designed to do the very same thing for the child of God.

 The two areas of life where Satan most frequently attacks the people of God are in the “mind and emotions.”

•  Satan will fill our mind with false doctrines and false emotions.

•  Satan will use the wicked world around us to tempt us to think wrong thoughts and to follow wrong emotions.

•  Satan will use confusion to warp our thinking and feelings to cause to love the wrong things, follow the wrong priorities, have the wrong goals in life, dedicate ourselves to the wrong loyalties, and to over commit ourselves to the wrong things.

•  Satan wants to strip the truth from our minds, while filling it with his own perverted ideas.

•  Satan wants to stop us from living holy, pure lives, so he will lure us toward envy, hatred, greed, jealousy, immorality, and every other human vice.

•  Satan wants us to make light of our sins. He doesn’t want us to confess it and deal with it God’s way. He wants us to get desensitized to it, so that we come to look at wickedness as a way of life for us. He wants us to rationalize our sin, and not seek the Lord for forgiveness.

 To accomplish these and other goals, Satan attacks us in the way we think and the way we feel. If he can cause us to think about things the wrong way and follow feelings that are not pleasing to the Lord, he can defeat us and drag us away from the Lord. He can get us out of the fight, all by changing how we think and feel.

 The “breastplate of righteousness” offers protection against these attacks of the devil. When this piece of armor is in place, Satan will be unable to attack us in those realms. This “breastplate” sounds very important. So, let’s find out what it is. But, before we see what it is, let us first see what it isn’t.

•  It Isn’t Self-Righteousness - Self-righteousness is not true righteousness at all. It is the worst form of sin imaginable. The self-righteous person believes their character and legalistic behavior earns them favour with the Lord. They believe it is up to them to please the Lord and to earn Him reward, so they cloth themselves in a cloak of self-righteousness.

 The self-righteous person comes to believe that they are better than others because they possess standards for living that appear to be higher than those who live around them. The self-righteous person lives not to please the Lord, but to meet a standard of righteousness they have created in their own minds. They believe that if they can stop enough sin; if they can avoid enough evil; or if they can do enough good, God will be pleased with them and reward them accordingly.

 What they fail to realize is their self-righteousness provides the enemy with a powerful weapon he can use to strangle the life out of their service for the Lord. They lose their joy in the Lord. They have no real peace, because they can never do or be enough. They become judgmental because others are always failing to live up to their standards. They wreck churches because they are slaves to a law of their own making, and because they know nothing of love, forgiveness, and grace.

 The self-righteous person cannot grasp the truth that their righteousness is nothing more than “filthy rags,” Isa. 64:4. They can’t understand that their self-righteous activity closes the door to God’s blessings if they are saved, and to His salvation if they are lost, Matt. 5:20.

  •  It Isn’t The Imputed Righteousness Of Christ - When we trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior, His righteousness was “imputed” to us, Rom. 4:6; 11; 22-24. God “hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of Christ in Him,” 2 Cor. 5:21. It is impossible for us to “put on” that kind of righteousness, because it has already been given to us in its fullness and it is ours forever.

 This “imputed righteousness” is the very foundation of the Christian life. This righteousness allows us access to God. It opens the door of Heaven to us. It protects us against the eternal fires of Hell. But, it does not protect us from the attacks of the enemy. On the contrary, since the devil knows that he can’t have us because we belong to Christ, he redoubles his efforts to defeat us in an attempt to discredit the Saviour, the church, and the God of glory.

  •  It Is Practical Righteousness - The “breastplate of righteousness” Paul speaks about here is the practical righteousness of a life lived in simple obedience to the Word of God. The child of God is to walk in obedience to God’s Word everyday. This is in line with the new identity we received when we came to Jesus, 2 Cor. 5:17. When we walk in the newness of our life in Jesus, Satan will lack an opportunity to attack us, Eph. 4:24-27. Thus, we are to robe ourselves in righteous works for the glory of God, Col. 3:9-14.

 Paul showcases the difference between human self-righteousness and practical righteousness in Phil 3:4-12. He wants us to know that salvation is not based on what we have done, but on what we have been given in Jesus. When the Lord saves us and brings us out of sin and dead religion into a new life in Jesus, the imputed righteousness of Christ within is lived out in practical righteousness, or obedience to the Lord.

 When we live in obedience to the Lord and His Word, He is glorified and Satan has a difficult time with a believer who understands who he is in Jesus Christ. On the other hand, a believer who takes sin lightly and plays around the edges of evil, will find that lacking the “breastplate of righteousness” will result in some devastating consequences.

-   Lacking the “breastplate of righteousness” will rob you of your Spiritual Joy - Most of the relationship and emotional problems we have in life are not the fault of other people, but are the direct result of unconfessed, un-forsaken sin in our own lives. Many of the doubts, fears, and griefs we carry around with us are not related to what others do or don’t do. They are related to a failure in our own lives to live holy and clean before the Lord. When Satan finds a fault in our armour in this area, he exploits us to its fullest, and when he does, our joy, peace and sense of spiritual wellbeing are the first casualties. When David committed adultery with Bathsheba, killed Uriah, and covered it up with a mountain of lies, he lost his joy in the process, Psa. 51:12. Nothing takes the place of holiness!

-   Lacking the “breastplate of righteousness” will rob you of your Spiritual Fruit - If you are disobedient to the Word of God, you will be unfruitful in your work for the Lord. Here is the recipe for fruitfulness: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing,” John 15:5. When we serve the Lord out of a disobedient spirit, any achievements we seem to have will be nothing but empty skins with no fruit within.

-   Lacking the “breastplate of righteousness” will rob you of your Spiritual Rewards - Without holiness and righteous obedience to the Word of God, nothing we do is pleasing to the Lord. Thus, nothing we do in His name will be blessed. Everything we do while not wearing “the breastplate of righteousness” will burn up on the day of judgment, 1 Cor. 3:11-15.

-   Lacking the “breastplate of righteousness” dishonors God, and brings reproach upon His name and His glory - The worst part of our sin as believers is that our sins bring dishonor to the name of our Father in Heaven. Our sin hinders the spread of the Gospel. Our sin tells the world that we are no different than them.

 When we sin, we open the door for Satan to attack us and hinder our effectiveness for the Lord. That is why we must “take up” and “put on” “the breastplate of righteousness.” When we do, our thought life and our emotional life are protected from the attacks of the enemy.

 Consider the following verses:

•  “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Cor. 10:5.

•  “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you,” Phil. 4:6–9.

 Conclusion:

When we have on “the breastplate of righteousness” we will live lives that are clean, pure, and that bring glory to the Lord. When we live out practical righteousness day by day, the enemy will find that his temptations will have no power over us. The “belt of truth” and “the breastplate of righteousness” are essential pieces of “the whole armour of God.” When they are in place, we are on our way to becoming a believer who is “able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.”

 Here the word of Paul: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof,”Rom. 13:11–14.

  •  Are you wearing “the breastplate of righteousness?”

•  Are you living a clean, holy life for the glory of God?

  •  If there are sins to confess, bring them to God now, and He will forgive them, 1 John 1:9.

•  If you have been kicked around by the devil, do what you have to do to get clean, so the Lord can use your life for His glory.

•  If you are lost, come to Him now for salvation. He will not turn you away, John 6:37.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                CHAPTER FIVE

                                                THE BOOTS OF PEACE

Eph 6:15  and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

 As we continue to study “the whole armor of God,” we continually need to be reminded why this is such an important topic. Verses 10-13 introduce the subject of spiritual warfare. We are told that the saints of God are engaged in a great cosmic battle against a powerful, relentless enemy. Our enemy is called “the devil,”. Our enemy is said to employ “wiles,”. This word refers to “the tricks, schemes, and methods” the devil uses to undermine the faith of the saints, and to attack the glory of God.

 God’s command to His people is that they “stand” against the attacks of the enemy. The word “stand” is a military term. It means “to hold a critical position during a time of enemy attack.” It is the image of “a soldier refusing to yield even one inch of ground to an attacking foe.” It is not the image of someone on the offensive, but rather, it is the picture of a soldier on the defensive, protecting the ground that has already been won.

 God had given His people some very precious possessions. He has given us truth, His church,  His Word, His grace, His salvation, His blessing, etc. And, the devil wants all of it. He will stop at nothing to take everything we have been given by the Lord.

 If we are to keep what we have received from the Lord, we must “stand” and hold on to the critical ground we have received from the Lord. To do that, God says we must “put on the whole armour of God.” This passage tells us about the pieces which constitute this armour. We have already discussed The Belt Of Truth, and The Breastplate Of Righteousness.

 The Belt Of Truth refers to a life of total commitment to the Lord. It refers to a life that is built upon faithfulness to the Word of God and to the God of the Word. It speaks of truth in testimony and truth in living. This “belt of truth” will provide the Christian soldier stability, and it also provides a place for the other pieces of the armour to rest. Without the “belt of truth” the soldier of God will find the other pieces of the armour useless.

 The Breastplate Of Righteousness refers to power of a holy life. A holy life, that is, a life that is lived according to the teachings of God in His Word is a powerful defense against the attacks of the enemy. When we allow sin to dwell in our lives, we give Satan a “beachhead” from which he can attack us and exploit us, Eph. 4:27. Holiness closes the door to the devil, and it helps protect us from his attacks.

 In this Chapter, as we continue, we want to consider The Boots Of Peace. Let’s examine what Paul means when he says that we are to “stand” with our “feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.”

  V. 15  THE BOOTS OF PEACE

  I.  WHY THESE BOOTS ARE DESIRED

We take shoes for granted, but they are a very important part of our apparel. We have different shoes for nearly every kind of activity. We  have dress shoes, casual shoes, work shoes, and shoes that we  wear when we go walking.

We don’t often think about our shoes, but we should be grateful for them. They protect our feet from the dangers of walking around barefooted. They keep our feet warm, dry, and safe. Shoes are an important component of our wardrobe.

 Think about how important shoes are to certain professions. Construction workers would be crazy to try and do their job without proper footwear. Could you imagine a football player walking onto the field without his cleats. Could you see a baseball player doing that? What about a tennis player. No, it doesn’t happen because athletes understand just how important the right shoes are to what they do.

 As important as shoes are to an athlete, a construction worker, a business man, a housewife, or even a toddler, they are even more important to a soldier.

•  The soldier’s life could depend on his shoes.

•  Soldiers are required to march long distances, fight battles in all types of environments, walk through jungles, over rocks, cross stream beds filled with sharp, jagged rocks, slog through the snow, and cross burning deserts.

•  If a soldier’s feet become swollen, tender, cut, or blistered, that soldier would be greatly hindered in the day of battle.

•  That soldier might not be able to stand and fight.

•  He might not be able to march.

•  He might not be able to properly handle his weapons.

•  He certainly could not advance on the enemy.

•  Sore feet would undermine the soldier’s ability to stand firm.

 The Roman soldier, the image Paul is using to illustrate “the whole armour of God,” wore leather boots that protected the feet and ankles. These boots, called the “caliga”, were a half boot that allowed the soldier to advance toward the enemy undistracted about what they might step on. This piece of the armour was essential to the Roman soldier’s “preparation” for battle.

 These boots usually had hobnailed soles, which means they had bits of metal, or nails, driven through them. These hobnailed soles gave the Roman soldier great traction as he climbed hills, and fought on uneven terrain. The boots worn by the Roman soldier gave him great stability as he engaged the enemy.

 If we are going to stand against “the wiles of the devil,” we must have on the proper spiritual footwear. We can be “girt about with the truth,” and we can have on “the breastplate of righteousness,” but if we neglect to have our “feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace,” we are destined to stumble and fall.

  II.  WHAT THESE BOOTS DEPICT

The word “preparation” refers to “being ready.” This same word appears in Titus 3:1, which says, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.” A soldier’s boots allows him to be ready for whatever he faces. A good pair of boots makes him ready to march, to stand, to climb, to fight, or whatever else he may be called on to do. That same readiness should mark the people of God.

 To what does this kind of readiness refer? In one sense it means that the child of God must always be ready to be about the business of sharing the Gospel with a lost world. We are to be on move at the Lord’s command, going from place to place preaching the Gospel to the lost and telling them about Jesus. There is a sense in which all believers are to be actively engaged in the business of evangelism. Peter said it this way, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear,” 1 Pet. 3:15.

 When God saved us, He commanded us to tell others what He has done for us, and what He can do for them, Mark 16:15. He has given us His Spirit, and the Holy Spirit has equipped us for the work of evangelism, Acts 1:8. The very heart of our duty to the lost is that we “go and tell.” That is The Great Commission. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen,” Matt. 28:19–20.

 I believe that sharing the Gospel with the lost advances the kingdom of God.

III.  WHAT THESE BOOTS DELIVER

Paul’s primary emphasis in our text, is not on “going” but on “standing.” Paul is not talking about sharing the Gospel, he is talking about fighting Satan. The “Gospel of peace” refers to the glorious news that, through our relationship with Jesus Christ, we are at peace with God.

 It wasn’t always that way. Before we were saved, we were the enemies of God, Rom. 5:6-10. When God saved us, He reconciled us to Himself, v. 10-11. When He did, He declared us to be at peace with Him. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Rom. 5:1. Now, in Jesus, the saints of God are at peace with God. Col. 1:21-22 says, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”

 Beloved, “the Gospel of peace” Paul refers to here is the marvelous news that in Christ we are at peace with God. It is the glorious truth that we have been made one with the Lord. So, having our “feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace” means that we stand in the absolute confidence that God loves us, that He has forgiven us, that we are united with Him, that He fights for us, and that all is well with our souls. It is the confidence that we are saved. When we have that confidence, and when we possess the peace of God in our hearts, we are “ready” to “stand” against any enemy that comes against us.

 Example of this kind of peace abound in the Bible.

•  The children of Israel, under the leadership of Gideon, witnessed the Lord reduce the size of their army from 32,000 to 300. Those 300 men placed their confidence in the Lord and followed Him into battle. They saw the Lord defeat an immense Midianite army without the use of a single weapon. All those men did was break clay jars, allowing a lamp inside to shine, blow a trumpet, and cry “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” Their faith in the Lord’s promise gave them the confidence to stand, Judges 6.

•  In 2 Chron. 20 the people of Judah were about to be invaded by the powerful armies of the Ammonites and Moabites. They were afraid. But, the Lord spoke to King Jehoshaphat and said, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s,” 2 Chron. 20:15b.

 Verses 18-23 tells us what happened next, “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high. And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.”

 Judah experienced a great victory because they took God at His Word and stood in their confidence in Him.

  •  Simon Peter drew his sword against the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He did this because he had just seen the whole group fall to the ground when they asked Jesus if He was the one they sought. He replied, “I am He,” John 18:6. In that moment, Peter felt like he was invincible, and he was ready to take on the whole army.

 The redeemed child of God, who stands in the Lord’s power, and in full assurance of the Lord’s salvation, does not have to fear any enemy, even if that enemy is Satan  himself. When we are attacked, we stand on the firm, unchanging  ground of the Gospel of grace. The same Gospel that converted us from sinners into saints. The same Gospel that changed God from our enemy  into our protector. We who were one on the outside, are now the sons of God. He is our heavenly Father, and we are His children. Everything we need to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might,”  is at our disposal.

 Our confidence in the day of battle does not rest in our own power, but in the promises of God. Here is what He promises His children:

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:31–39.

 Those promises, those truths, are the shoes that give us the ability to stand in “the evil day.”

•  The truth that we are loved by the Lord gives us the confidence to stand.

•  The truth that we are saved by His grace, gives us the confidence to stand.

•  The truth that we are His children gives us the confidence to stand.

•  The truth that we are  in His tender care, and that He has promised to stand with us, to protect us, to keep us, and defend us, gives us confidence to stand.

 Conclusion:

So, the question here is this: Are you ready to stand? Do you have absolute confidence in your heart that God has saved your soul, forgive your sins, and adopted you into His family? If you have the kind of confidence, you can stand regardless of what the enemy throws at you. If you don’t have that deep, settled confidence in your heart, you will be unstable in all your battles. Unless you are grounded in absolute assurance of salvation, the enemy will have little trouble knocking you off your feet.

 You can be sure! You can have confidence that all is well. You can know Him, and His power to stand. You can be stable, strong and sure. To have that stability you need to be sure you are saved. When you are, the enemy will have a hard time with you, because you “will be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.”

 Do you have on the right shoes today? If the Lord has spoken to you about this matter, please come to Him and let Him have His way in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                      

 

 

                             CHAPTER SIX

                             THE SHIELD OF FAITH

Eph 6:16  Above all, take the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Ephesians 6:16

 We are continuing to examine the various pieces that constitute “the whole armour of God.”. The truth is, we need to know about and use the armour every day. We don’t always think about it, but it is vitally important in our spiritual lives.

 According to Verses 10-13 the saints of God are engaged in a great cosmic battle against a powerful, relentless enemy. Our enemy is “the devil,”  He attacks us by using his “wiles,” . He employs “tricks, schemes, and methods” to undermine our faith, and to attack the glory of God.

 God desires that we be able to “stand” against the attacks of the enemy. To “stand” means “to hold a critical position during a time of enemy attack.” Biblical standing is the image of “a soldier refusing to yield even one inch of ground to an attacking foe.” It is the image of a soldier on the defensive, protecting the ground that has already been taken from the enemy.

 God has blessed His people by giving us some very precious things.

•  We have truth.

•  We have His church.

•  We have His Word.

•  We have His grace.

•  We have His salvation.

•  We have His blessing.

•  We have so much more too.

 The problem is, our enemy, the devil, does not want us to have the things we have been given by the Lord. He will do everything in His power to strip all those things away from us. What he can’t take away from us, he will so everything in his power to nullify. If he can’t take it, he wants to strip it of its power in our lives.

 If we would keep what we have in the Lord, we are going to have to “stand” and hold the precious ground we have been given.

 If we are going to “stand,” we must “put on the whole armor of God.” We have already examined The Belt Of Truth, The Breastplate Of Righteousness, and The Boots Of Peace.

  •  The Belt Of Truth speaks of a life that is built upon faithfulness to the Word of God and to the God of the Word. It speaks of our being truth in both our testimony and in our living. This “belt of truth” gives the believer stability so that they are enabled to stand. The “belt of truth” also provides a place for the other pieces of the armor to rest. Without the “belt of truth” the soldier of God will find the other pieces of the armor useless. Unless our lives and testimonies are rooted in, and lived out in truth, we will not be able “to stand in the evil day.”

  •  The Breastplate Of Righteousness speaks of a holy life. It speaks of a life that is lived in conformity to the Word of God. A holy life is a powerful defense against the attacks of the enemy. When we allow sin to dwell in our lives, we give Satan a “beachhead” from which he can attack us and exploit us, Eph. 4:27. Sin give Satan the ammunition he needs to assail the glory of God, and to destroy and devastate our testimonies and reputations. Personal holiness closes the door to Satan, and it protects us from him when he attacks us.

  •  The Boots Of Peace speak about our foundation in Jesus. When our “feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace,” it means that we are saved by grace and we know it. Nothing can change our minds. Satan may try and cause us to doubt, but when we wear The Boots Of Peace, we are sure and secure in our salvation, and we cannot be moved. Thus, we become a hard target for the enemy and his attacks. Furthermore, The Boots Of Peace give us such confidence in what the Lord has done for us that we want others to know about it too. So, we share the good news of the Gospel with those who do not know the Lord in the hopes they will come to know Him too!

 The next piece of armor we want to discuss is The Shield Of Faith. The Bible says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Let’s see why this piece of the armour is so important that the Lord would say that we are to have it “above all.”

V. 16  THE SHIELD OF FAITH

  I.  HOW THE SHIELD OF FAITH IS DESIGNED

“Shields” were very important to the Roman soldier. There were several kinds of shields in use by the Romans during that time period. Two of those kinds were the most commonly used.

•  One was a small, round shield that was secured to the soldier’s arm by two leather straps. This shield was used to parry the trusts of an enemy blade in hand-to-hand combat. This small, lightweight shield is not the one referred to here.

•  The word used here is, “thureos.” It comes from the word “thura,” which means door. Thus, the “thureos” was a large, door shaped shield.

•  These shields were about four and a half feet high and two and a half feet wide. This shield was designed to cover the entire body of the soldier. This was possible because men in the First Century were much smaller than men are today.

•  The shield was usually made of a solid piece of wood, covered either with metal or heavy oiled leather. A man could put his entire body behind it as it absorbed the javelins and arrows of the enemy. In the case of flaming arrows, very often the arrow would snuff out as it buried itself in the thickness of the shield. During battles these great shields would often bristle with smoking arrows.

•  The shield was curved along its length to provide some protection to the soldier’s sides.

•  The shields were protected by a leather cover until they were needed for battle.

•  The shield was one of the most important pieces of armor possessed by the Roman soldier.

When Roman soldiers went into battle, those carrying the larger shields marched in the vanguard of the army. They marched side by side with their shield’s together. The Romans called this a “phalanx.”

Often, when the Romans faced their enemies, the ranks of soldiers which followed the first rank would raise their shields over their heads. They would butt their shields against those of the first rank. With the shields of the first rank soldiers held side by side and with the following rows holding their shields over their heads, the Romans presented their enemies with an impenetrable barrier.

 Arrows, swords, and spears were useless against the Roman phalanx. Any missiles thrown by the enemy would fall harmlessly to the ground. At times, the Romans phalanx was as much as a mile wide.

  II.  HOW THE SHIELD OF FAITH DESCRIBED

We are told here that believers need a shield. The shield we need is not to be one of iron or leather. It is not to be a manmade shield. The shield we are told to have is called a “shield of faith.”

 The “faith” Paul refers to here is not the “body of Christian belief.” He is not referring to the doctrines we believe. He is referring to simple “faith” in God. This “faith” refers to the belief in Jesus Christ that brings salvation. It also speaks of our daily faith in Jesus that leads to blessing, daily provision, and strength for the journey. This kind of “faith” is simple faith in Jesus. Simple trust in the Lord that saves us, grounds us, strengthens us, calms us, grows us, establishes us, etc.

 Faith is a necessary, non-negotiable component of the Christian life.

•  We can’t be saved apart from faith in God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” Eph. 2:8–9.

•  Our entire Christian life is built upon, and sustained by, a consistent believing that God is, and that He blesses those who place their faith in Him. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” Heb. 11:6.

 We all live by some form of faith every day we live. We cross bridges and we believe they will support us. We go through tunnels believing they will not collapse. We trust electricity, automobiles, airplanes, ships, and buses, believing they are safe. Our faith in those  things is well founded for they have proven themselves over and over.

 Faith in Jesus is far and above the everyday faith we practice when we climb into our car and head down the road, or when we drive over a bridge. Our faith is only as good as the object of that faith. When our faith is in Jesus Christ, and God the Father, our faith is in Someone Who cannot fail. Thus, the faith of the Christian has power, because the object of our faith is all-powerful. True Christian faith never fails because the object of our faith never fails!

We need to be sure that our faith is in the Lord. The Gospel will save the souls of all who trust its message. The Lord will be a Father to all who reach out to Him in faith. The Word of God will never fail. The faith of the believer in God is never misplaced, but our faith in Him is essential if we want to succeed in our walk with Him, and if we want to see our enemy defeated in his efforts to attack and destroy us.

 The “shield of faith” is necessary because it provides us with our connection to the Lord. It is also necessary because it protects us from the enemy who desires to slay us.

 III.  HOW THE SHIELD OF FAITH IS DEPLOYED

The Bible says that “the shield of faith” will enable us to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” In ancient times, the tips of arrows would be wrapped in pieces of cloth that had been soaked in pitch. This would then be set on fire and shot at the enemy. When the arrow hit its target, the flaming pitch would splatter in every direction, igniting everything flammable it touched. Arrows could cause damage by piercing bodies. The pitch could cause serious burns in their skin, and it could burn their equipment and gear.

 The Roman “thureus” shield would provide and adequate defense against these fiery missiles. If the shield was metal, the arrow and its fiery tip would be deflected. If the shield was leather, it would be soaked in water prior to the battle, and the wet leather would quench the fiery arrows and protect the soldier behind the shield.

 Every day the saints of God are assailed by the “fiery darts” of the devil. The arrows he launches against us are usually the arrows of temptation. The enemy assaults us with temptations to immorality, hatred, envy, anger, covetousness, envy, fear, despair, distrust, doubt, pride, and every other conceivable sin. Satan comes against us, continually attacking us, and tempting us to sin. The “fiery darts” of temptation have the potential to inflict great damage on our lives, but the “shield of faith” has the power to quench all the devil’s fiery darts!

 We all have lusts within us which are easy to ignite. All that is needed is the tiniest flame and we are a roaring fire. So we are assaulted with hot shafts of sensuality, foul, diseased arrows of degrading passions, smoking arrows of materialism.

 And we burn so easily! As the arrows fly toward us, our rationalizations come so naturally: “If God didn't want me to have this, then why did he make me with such a desire for this thing, this person, this pleasure? My neighbor has it. He does it. And he is doing so well…”

 We’re really good at justifying sin, aren’t we? We marry a lost person, and try to justify it by talking about how much we love the other person. We gossip, and we justify it by talking about how concerned we are about the person. We do ten thousand other things and try to justify them in countless ways. In the end, it all comes down to the same thing. When we sin, and try to justify that sin, we are guilty of doing Satan’s will over the Lord’s will. That is never anything but sin!

 But then comes God's Word:

•  “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s,” Ex. 20:17.

•  “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit,” 1 Thes. 4:3–8.

•  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things,” Phil. 4:8.

 As we believe God's Word, the shield flies up and the arrows fall to ashes. We must pray for the gift of Faith, for the power to go on believing in God and His power.

 Satan desires to defeat us, that is very clear. His primary means of accomplishing that is  getting us to sin. When we sin, we do so because we have come to believe that sin can provide something for us that God cannot provide. Sin is always rooted in doubt of the goodness of God’s character. When we sin, we doubt God. When we doubt God, we disbelieve God, 1 John 5:10, which in effect, says God is a liar and can’t be trusted to do what He said He would do.

 So, Satan causes us to doubt God by leading us to sin against God, and by causing us to justify our sin against God. When we fall into this trap, we are guilty of degrading God’s character and elevating the devil’s. No good can come from that.

 In the Garden of Eden Satan launched his first “fiery dart.” He tempted Eve to doubt God and to distrust the Word of the Lord. Since then, the devil has lit every arrow he fires at the people of God from the same fire. He tempts us in the same manner in which he tempted Eve then. He tempts us all according to the same pattern. That pattern is found in Gen 3:1-6. It is also found in 1 John 2:15, which says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

 Interestingly enough, the Lord Jesus, when He was tempted by the devil in Matt. 4, was attacked with the very same “fiery darts.” Jesus deflected the way Eve should have. The Lord Jesus deflected the devil’s darts the way we should deflect them. Jesus deflected them with the Word of God.

 If we would stand for the Lord against the attacks of “the wicked,” which refers to the devil, then we must stand against him holding up the “shield of faith.” We must lift the Word of God together and stand side-by-side creating an impenetrable wall that Satan cannot defeat with his scheming.

 The Word of God, the truth of God, is what we must have if we would see the “fiery darts” of the enemy quenched.

•  “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar,” Pro. 30:5–6.

•  “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him,” Psa. 18:30.

•  “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” 1 John 5:4.

 Conclusion:

 So, what is “the shield of faith?” “The shield of faith” is simple trust in God. It is taking Him at His Word, and believing Him in all things. It is putting Him and His will ahead of everything else in life. So that when Satan launches his “fiery darts” at us, we are able to hold up “the shield of faith,” and what them all fall harmlessly to the ground.

 When we trust God, we can stand against all the attacks of the enemy. “The shield of faith” is more than a piece of armour to be taken out for our protection when needed. “The shield of faith” is what makes the Christian life possible. The Lord says, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith,” Rom. 1:17. This kind of faith is the very lifeblood of the believer.

 “The shield of faith,” which is simple childlike faith and trust in the Lord, is a shield that the arrows of Satan cannot penetrate. That shield will protect you here. And, like the ancient Roman soldiers who were slain in battle, and carried off the field on their shields, the shield of faith will carry you home to glory and bring you into the presence of the Lord!

 Do you stand protected by “the shield of faith?” Are you rooted and rounded in the truth and ready for the attacks of the enemy? If there are needs in this area, why not come talk to the Lord about them now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                      CHAPTER SEVEN

                             THE HELMET OF SALVATION

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

 It’s God’s will that we “stand” against the attacks of the “devil”, When we “stand” we “hold a critical position against the attack of the enemy.” This speaks of “a soldier who refuses to yield even an inch of ground to an attacking foe.” It is the image of a soldier on the defensive, protecting the ground that has already been taken from the enemy. It is what God meant when He said, “Neither give place to the devil,” Eph. 4:27.

 God has given His people some very precious ground.

•  We have the truth of Who He is, and of how He loves us.

•  We have His church.

•  We have His Word.

•  We have His Spirit.

•  We have His grace.

•  We have His salvation.

•  We have His blessings.

•  We have much more besides all this.

 If we are going to “stand” and hold the precious ground we have been given, then we must “put on the whole armour of God.” We have already examined The Belt Of Truth, The Breastplate Of Righteousness, The Boots Of Peace, and The shield Of Faith.

 The piece of armor that has our attention in this Chapter is The Helmet Of Salvation. The Bible says, “And take the helmet of salvation.” In the days when men wore armour into battle, they referred to their “helmet” as a “bonnet”. Let’s examine this piece of the armour and consider what importance it has in our daily lives.

  V. 17a  THE HELMET OF SALVATION

The helmet worn by the ancient soldier was of the utmost importance. The helmet was either made of thick leather covered by plates of metal, or it was made of solid metal that was beaten into the shape of the human head. Most ancient helmets had metal extensions that covered the cheeks. These extensions were designed to protect the face.

 The purpose of the helmet is obvious. It was designed to protect the head.

The helmet helped to deflect the blow of the broadsword, and thus, it protected the foot soldier from injury.

 Our text says that the spiritual “helmet” we are to wear in our spiritual battles is the “helmet of salvation.” This indicates that Satan’s blows are aimed at our minds. He is intent on destroying our sense of security and  our assurance in Jesus Christ. If the devil can strike a blow against us that causes us to become discouraged and filled with doubt, he will have little trouble sidelining us and taking us out of the battle.

 Like the ancient broadsword, the sword wielded by our enemy the devil is a two-edged sword. One of those edges is discouragement, and the other is doubt. Let’s look at The Helmet Of Salvation, and learn how this piece of the armour can protect us from both discouragement and doubt.

   I.  THIS HELMET PROTECTS AGAINST DISCOURAGEMENT

If we are not properly protected, the devil will use the sword of discouragement to defeat us in our walk with the Lord. He will cause us to look at our sins, our failures, the problems in our lives, our health issues, or any other negative situation we face in life. When he gets our attention off the Lord, and on the negative issues we face in life, he knows we will begin to doubt the Heavenly Father’s love and care for us. This has the effect of causing us to be discouraged.

 Even those who have been in the battle along time, and have enjoyed much spiritual success, can find themselves the victims of discouragement and disillusionment.

 Consider, for instance, the prophet Elijah. Not many people have ever enjoyed such a string of great spiritual victories like those enjoyed by Elijah. Praying fire down from Heaven, slaying the 450 prophets of Baal, after three and one-half years, outrunning the chariot of King Ahab all the way from Mt. Carmel to Samaria. What a day!

 Then the next day there came word from Queen Jezebel. She was angry at Elijah and she said, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time,” 1 Kings 19:2. Elijah hears this and runs for his life. He travels to Beersheba and throws himself under a shrub and prays to die, 1 Kings 19:4. He was so discouraged that he was ready to quit on God, resign from his office as prophet, and go out into eternity.

 God showed up in that wilderness and rebuked the prophet. Here is what God asked him: “And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9.

 Elijah’s reply indicated the state of his heart. “And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away,” 1 Kings 19:10.

 God assures Elijah in a “still, small voice” that t here are still 7,000 in Israel that have remained faithful and that have not bowed to Baal, 1 Kings 19:18.

 Elijah learned the truth that spiritual victory does not insulate us against discouragement.  Satan has many tools, but  discouragement is the handle that fits them all.

 You may have been saved for years, but if the devil can get you discouraged in your walk with the Lord, he can get you out of the battle. If he can get you focused on your problems, on the failures in your life, on the shortcomings of others, or on any negative thing at all, he can overwhelm your defenses and cause you to doubt the Lord’s goodness.

 We don’t think about it like this, but it’s true: when we allow problems, pain, people, and other situations to make us discouraged to the point where we quit on God, the devil has won that battle. For a period of time, he has caused us to doubt the goodness and grace of God. Regardless of the reason we name, when we allow Satan to discourage to the point where we stop serving the Lord, we are, at that moment, looking God in the face and telling Him, “I don’t believe you are bigger than this!” That may sound farfetched, but it’s true nonetheless.

 The book of Job reveals a precious saint of God who’s helmet was in place. Satan unleashed the fury of Hell against Job, and still Job refused to doubt the goodness of God. Job didn’t understand why his children had to die, why his health had to be taken away, and why everything he had worked his whole life to amass was lost, but amid the pain and the problems, Job continued to trust the Lord. In Job 13:5, he says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Job’s helmet deflected every blow of the enemy and protected his fragile spirit from injury.

 Another man who wore the “helmet of salvation” to great benefit was the prophet Jeremiah. When the Lord called Jeremiah, the Lord told him that he would be rejected, persecuted, and attacked. Yet, Jeremiah said this, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts,” Jer. 15:16.

 Be sure “the helmet of salvation” is in place, and refuse to allow Satan to focus your attention on the events of life, or by the actions of people. If he can get your eyes off the Lord and on the difficulties of life, you will be easy prey for his slashing broadsword.

 It’s hard not to be discouraged when it seems like everything in life goes against you. It’s easy to be discouraged when the answers to your prayers are delayed. It’s easy to be discouraged when your preaching, teaching, and witnessing seem to be ineffective.

 Discouragement is our default setting most of the time. Satan knows this and he exploits this weakness in our lives. Even when we are discouraged by the events of life, we must never forget that our Father always has our situation well in hand. He can be trusted to do what is right, all the time, Rom. 8:29.

 Thus, we must not “be weary in well doing,” but we must carry on, knowing that “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,” Gal. 6:9. So, when we face the enemy in battle, and Satan aims the broadsword of discouragement at our heads, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world,” 1 Pet. 5:8–9.

  II.  THIS HELMET PROTECTS AGAINST DOUBT

The other edge of Satan’s broadsword is doubt. When we come to doubt our salvation, or when we come to doubt the Word of God, we are easily defeated by the enemy.

 When we doubt our salvation, we will be discouraged. When we come to doubt God’s faithfulness, we are easily discouraged. When we come to doubt the Word of God, we have the very foundations for our hope in the Lord undermined and  we have no ground upon which to stand.

 If Satan can convince you that you are not really saved, or that somehow, you have lost your salvation, you will be devastated spiritually. Such doubt paralyzes the believer and makes them unproductive and miserable. Nothing more quickly sidelines the child of God than having their peace and security in Jesus stripped away. When we forget this truth: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” John 14:27, we are easy prey for the enemy. Satan has an easy time defeating a believer who has lost the assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ.

 If Satan has been beating you with that sword, let me remind you that, if you are in Jesus, you are secure in Jesus.

•  “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day,” John 6:37–40.

•  “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand,” John 10:28–29.

•  “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Rom. 8:38–39.

•  “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,” Phil. 1:6.

•  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” 1 Pet. 1:3–5.

 When Paul says “take the helmet of salvation,” he is not referring to being saved. He is, after all, speaking to people who are already saved. What he means here is that we are to “stand” in the full assurance of the salvation we possess in the Lord. We are hold on to the truth that, if we are saved, the Lord has redeemed us and He has promised “everlasting life.” That knowledge will allow us to deflect the broadsword of doubt when the devil tries to attack us in the arena of our salvation.

 When Satan comes against you, and he will, stand your ground in the Lord, knowing that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.

•  He bought you with His precious blood, 1 Pet. 1:18-19.

•  You are His, 1 Cor. 6:19-20.

•  He will not abandon you, Heb. 13:5; Isa. 43:2.

•  He will give you grace sufficient for the attacks that come against you, 2 Cor. 12:9.

•  He will keep you through the battles of life, and He will deliver you safely home to glory when this life is over. “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day,” 2 Tim. 1:12.

 Here is the key: be sure you are saved!

•  Be sure you have more than just a church membership, or some vague religious experience.

•  Be sure that you are trusting nothing but Jesus for salvation.

•  Be sure that you are resting in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

•  Be sure you are “born again.”

•  Be sure you are believing the Gospel.

•  “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Cor. 13:5

•  “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall,” 2 Pet. 1:10.

•  The implication here is simple, don’t take what you think you have for granted. Don’t just assume that you are saved because you are a member of a local assembly.

•  There are several things that we need to examine to be sure where we stand with the Lord.

-   Look at your you life and see how you are living.

-   Look at your priorities.

-   Look at what you love, what you do, and what you live for.

-   Look at what you are trusting for salvation.

-   Look back and carefully examine your salvation experience.

‣  What happened in that moment you are trusting as the moment when you were saved?

‣  Was there an awareness of your lost, sinful condition before the Lord? In other words, was there conviction of sin, John 13:7-11?

‣  Were you compelled to come look to Jesus alone for salvation, John 6:44?

‣  Was there a moment when you looked away to Him by faith and instantly saw the truth of the Gospel, Isa. 45:22?

‣  Was there a change in your life, 2 Cor. 5:17?

 This is not trying to make anyone doubt their salvation today. This is simply trying to get you to examine your salvation experience. I want you to be sure you are saved. I do not want you to go to Hell trusting a false profession. I want you to be able to stand when the enemy comes against you and seeks to make you doubt. I fear that sometimes, we blame our doubts on the devil, when all the time it is the Lord Who is trying to show us that we need to be born again.

 Conclusion:

So, are you saved? Are you sure? Are you secure in your salvation?

 How about discouragement? Do you know anything about that? I do, and it can be devastating. However, the Lord is able to keep us even when we are discouraged. If you are discouraged today, you need to bring that discouragement to the Lord. He will help you with that.

 What about doubt? Has the devil been hacking at you with the broadsword of doubt? Why don’t you come before the Lord today and ask Him to help you to “take the helmet of salvation?” He can settle your spirit, and give you peace today.

 He can enable you to stand against everything the devil throws at you. You do not have to be defeated by the devil. You can withstand the withering assaults of discouragement and doubt. Bring those things to God and get some help.

 If you are settled in Him today, why not praise HIm for His grace in your life? Listen to His voice and do what He is telling you to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                      CHAPTER EIGHT

                             THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

In this ChapterT, we will consider the final piece of the “the whole armour of God.” But let us  spend a moment reminding ourselves of the other pieces of the armour and what they represent.

 The Belt Of Truth speaks of a life that is built upon faithfulness to the Word of God and to the God of the Word. It speaks of our being truth in both our testimony and in our living. This “belt of truth” gives the believer stability so that they are enabled to stand. The “belt of truth” also provides a place for the other pieces of the armor to rest. Without the “belt of truth” the soldier of God will find the other pieces of the armor useless. Unless our lives and testimonies are rooted in, and lived out in truth, we will not be able “to stand in the evil day.”

 The Breastplate Of Righteousness speaks of a holy life. It speaks of a life that is lived in conformity to the Word of God. A holy life is a powerful defense against the attacks of the enemy. When we allow sin to dwell in our lives, we give Satan a “beachhead” from which he can attack us and exploit us, Eph. 4:27. Sin give Satan the ammunition he needs to assail the glory of God, and to destroy and devastate our testimonies and reputations. Personal holiness closes the door to Satan, and it protects us from him when he attacks us.

 The Boots Of Peace speak about our foundation in Jesus. When our “feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace,” it means that we are saved by grace and that we stand firm in that knowledge. Satan may attempt to cause us to doubt, but when we wear The Boots Of Peace, we are sure and secure in our salvation, and we cannot be moved. Thus, we become a hard target for the enemy and his attacks. Furthermore, The Boots Of Peace give us such confidence in what the Lord has done for us that we want others to know about it too. So, we share the good news of the Gospel with those who do not know the Lord in the hopes they will come to know Him too!

 The Shield Of Faith speaks about simple faith in God that allows us to trust Him at all times, in all situations. When times are good, the “just shall live by faith,” Rom. 1:17. When times are bad, “the just shall live by faith.” Even when the “fiery darts” of the devil are raining down all around us, “the shield of faith” protects us, and allows us to stay in the fight for the glory of God. “The shield of faith” allows us to “stand, and having done all to stand.” When we live behind The Shield Of Faith, we become an impossible target for the devil to hit.

 The Helmet Of Salvation speaks of having full assurance in one’s salvation. The helmet of salvation protects the saint of God from the double-edges sword of discouragement and doubt. When we are insecure in our relationship with the Lord, we can become easy prey for the enemy. Yet, when we are confident that we are saved and secure in Jesus, we have the ability to stand for Him, even when Satan and his kingdom attack us.

 Our enemy, “the devil,” does not want us to have anything that we have been given by God. So, He does everything in His power to take away those blessings from us. While there are some things the devil can’t take away, he does everything in his power to diminish the influence of those things in our lives. He will attempt to nullify the blessings of God that he cannot steal!

 If we are going to “stand” and hold the precious ground we have been given, then we must “put on the whole armour of God.” We have already examined The Belt Of Truth, The Breastplate Of Righteousness, The Boots Of Peace, and The Shield Of Faith and the Helmet of Salvation.

 Now, we will consider the final piece of that armour: The Sword Of The Spirit. We are told that The Sword Of The Spirit is “the Word of God.” Let’s examine this last piece of the armour and discover how “the Word of God” can empower us and enable us to overcome our enemy the devil.

  V. 17b  THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

A.  THE IDENTITY OF THE SWORD - There are two words used for “sword” in the New Testament.

•  Rhomphaia - This word speaks of a long, broad sword. It is the image that come to mind when we think of a sword. We tend to picture a sword as being long, broad and double-edged. That is what this word refers to. This kind of sword was used in hand to hand combat for slashing at ones enemy.

•  Machaira -  This word refers to a knife, or more specifically, to the short sword carried by the Roman soldier. This sword varied in length from six to eighteen inches. This type of sword was used in hand to hand combat to stab the enemy. The typical strike would be in the abdominal area, since in that day, abdominal wounds were nearly always fatal. This sword was called the “gladius” by the Romans.

 The word Paul uses here is the second word. He is thinking of the short sword carried by every Roman foot soldier. It was the soldier’s principle weapon in hand to hand combat. This sword was carried in a scabbard, attacked to the soldier’s belt, so that it was always available and ready for use.

 It was this kind of sword that Peter used to cut off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest, when the soldier’s came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Matt. 26:47-51.

It was this type of sword that Herod’s executioners used to martyr James, Acts 12:2.

 The short sword was an indispensable component of the Roman soldier’s armour. He used it to defend himself, and to help him accomplish many day to day tasks around camp.

 The sword Paul has in mind is not a physical sword. Paul identifies this “sword” as “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” So, this “sword” is a spiritual weapon that is to be used by the believer in our spiritual conflict with Satan.

 This spiritual “sword” is “of the Spirit.” This refers to its origin. This reminds us that the Bible is not a manmade book. The Bible is a spiritual book, that came to us from the Spirit of God.

•  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works,” 2 Tim. 3:16–17.

•  “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” 2 Pet.1:21.

 I would remind you today that the Bible in your hand is no ordinary book.

•  It is the Word of God.

•  It is inspired by God.

•  It is infallible, and it is inerrant.

•  It can be trusted.

•  It can be believed.

 It’s words are the very words of God. In its pages we find:

•  The truth of Who God is.

•  The truth of who we are.

•  The very mind of God.

•  The identity of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

•  The way to be saved.

•  The source of all faith.

•  Help for every battle we face.

•  Hope for every road we travel.

•  Peace for the times of turmoil.

•  Joy to sustain us in times of sorrow.

•  Wise answers for all the questions of life.

•  Guidance and direction for all the paths we walk.

  The Bible is a book to be read, believed, loved, shared, enjoyed, and trusted. It is the Word of God! We must saturate our lives in its truths and soak in the glories it contains. There is no other book like it in the world. The Bible alone is a spiritual book. The Bible alone is the Word of God.

 So, when Paul speaks about the “sword of the Spirit,” he is referring to God’s Word.

 B.  THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BLADE

 Just as the short sword was essential to the work of the Roman soldier, the Word of God is essential to the Christian soldier. There is word in our text that we need to look at for a moment. The word “word” in verse 17, is the Greek word “rhema.” The word literally means “an utterance.”

 In other places in the New Testament, four Greek words are translated “word” in our English Bibles. Two of those words are used most often. One of those words is the word “logos”. The other is the word “rhema”. Let’s examine those word for a moment.

•  Logos - This word refers to something said. It also refers to the thought behind the words. This word is often used to speak about the entirety of the Word of God. So, the “logos” is the totality of the Word of God.

•  Rhema - This word refers to “an utterance.” When it is used of the Word of God, it does not speak of the whole Word of God, it speaks of smaller sections of individual words. When Paul uses the word “word” in verse 17, “rhema” in the word he uses. He is not referring to the whole Bible, but to shorter sections of the Bible, to individual “words”, if you will.

 Let me illustrate this truth. When Jesus was in the wilderness and faced Satan’s temptations, Matt. 4:1-11, Jesus responded to every attack of the devil by quoting Scripture, Matt. 4:4, 7, 10. In Matt. 4:4, Jesus said this, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” When Paul uses the word “word” here, it is the word “rhema.” When Jesus says “every word of God,” He is not referring to the whole Bible, but to specific, individual sections of the Bible.

 Think of the Bible as a vast armory. In that armory there are weapons of every size and description. Those weapons are designed for specific types of battle. You may have heard it said, “You don’t bring a gun to a knife fight.” That is the idea here. When times of temptation or Satanic attack come against you, it impossible and impractical to try and throw the entire Bible at the enemy. What you need is the specific Word of God that speaks to individual circumstance.

That is what Jesus did. Three times He was attacked by the enemy, and three times Jesus stepped into the armory of the Word of God to select the very weapon He needed for each encounter. Jesus did try to repel the enemy’s attacks with the whole Bible, He chose the precise weapons He needed for each attack. Notice:

•  Matt. 4:3-4 - In response to this attack, Jesus chose Deut. 8:3, which says, “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”

•  Matt. 4:5-7 - Here, Jesus chose Deut. 6:16, which says, “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.”

•  Matt. 4:8-11 - In this case, Jesus quoted Deut. 6:13, which says, “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.”

 Jesus was so familiar with the Word of God that He was able to select the proper “rhema” in each attack. His wise use of the “rhema” in the “logos” allowed Him to achieve victory over the devil. You will notice that Jesus did not rebuke Satan, He simply used the Word of God as His sword. Three times Jesus was attacked and three times Jesus used the “rhema” to repel the attack of the devil. Each “rhema”, or verse the Lord quoted, not only parried the devil’s thrust, but launched a withering attack that Satan could not endure. When the devil was faced with the truth of the Word of God, he had to abandon his attack and flee.

The lesson for us is clear, I think. We need to be so familiar with the armory, the Bible, that we know where all the swords are placed. Then, when the enemy attacks us, we are able to repel his attacks with the Word of God. This will enable us to stand against the assaults of the enemy.

The Bible is a defensive weapon, as we just discussed. But, it is also an offensive weapon. It allows us to take the battle to the enemy. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,” Heb. 4:12.

 •  When the Word of God is used against the devil, He will flee, James 4:7.

•  When the Word of God is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, it transforms lost sinners. It invades their darkness, and drags them into the light. It enters the tomb of their dead condition and breaths life into their spirits.

•  For the saints of God, the living Word changes sadness into joy, despair into hope, stagnation into growth, immaturity into maturity, and failure into success.

 The problem with many in the church today is that they are not familiar with what God has said in His Word. Thus, when they are attacked by the enemy, they resort to rebuking him,  or some other useless tactics. If they knew the Word of God, and the locations of the various weapons and where they are located, they would not be so helpless, nor would they be so often defeated.

 The only way to know the Bible and learn where the various weapons are located is for the Christian to read the Bible and learn its contents. That means we have to pick it up, open its pages, and learn what it has to teach us.

 Thomas Guthrie said, “The Bible is an armory of heavenly weapons, a laboratory of infallible medicines, a mine of exhaustless wealth. It is a guidebook for every road, a chart for every sea, a medicine for every malady, and a balm for every wound. Rob us of our Bible and our sky has lost its sun.”

 The Bible is the Word of God. It is the source of our faith and the only source we possess for learning about God, Jesus, salvation, sin, Heaven, and Hell. We must learn its truths, or we are helpless against our enemies. The Bible is our source for happiness, peace, spiritual growth, and power for living. The Bible is indispensable for the Christian who desires to be successful in his or her walk with the Lord.

 Conclusion:

 If you have a Bible, you are blessed with a precious treasure. Cherish it. Read it. Learn it. Love it. Live it. Do as the Psalmists said in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Make the Bible your “daily bread.” If you do, when the enemy comes against you, you will be ready to “stand, and having done all to stand.”

 Maybe the Word of God has cast a light in the darkness in your soul and you know you need to be saved. Come to Jesus.

Maybe the Word of God has reminded you that you need to deepen your commitment to its truths. Come to Jesus.

Maybe you are in a spiritual battle and you need help to fight the enemy. Come to Jesus.

 

 

                                      CHAPTER NINE

                                      PRAYER IN WARFARE

Eph 6:18  praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching to this very thing with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Eph 6:19  And pray for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Eph 6:20  for which I am an ambassador in bonds; so that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Eph 6:21  But, so that you also may know my affairs and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things,

Eph 6:22  whom I have sent to you for the same purpose, that you might know our affairs and that he might comfort your hearts.

Eph 6:23  Peace to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 6:24  Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Ephesians 6:18-24

 As we have moved through the final verses of the book of Ephesians, we have been dealing with the issue of spiritual warfare. I think most believers really don’t believe that we are engaged in battle with an unseen, yet very powerful enemy. It doesn’t change the fact that we are.

 Satan, the enemy of God, is also the enemy of the people of God. His desire for us is to defeat us, destroy us, and devour us. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8)

 Using what the Bible calls “wiles” (Ephesians 6:11), which speaks of “deceit and diabolical schemes”, he seeks to trick us.

•  James 1:14 reminds us, “every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”

•  The words “drawn away” are taken from the world of hunting and fishing, where the hunter and the fisherman use various means to lure their prey from a place of safety.

•  The word “enticed” means, “to catch by a bait.”

•  Satan is like a master hunter, or a master fisherman, he sets his traps, and baits his hooks. He lies in wait to capture and destroy the unsuspecting Christian.

•  If we are not “sober” and “vigilant” as the Bible tells us to be, we will be assaulted, or worse.

 We do not have to become victims of Satan’s traps and devices. God has equipped us with everything we need to stand against the devil and attacks. If we use the means God has given us, we will not become casualties in this spiritual war in which we are engaged. That is the promise of God, Ephesians 6:13.

 We have considered the pieces of the armour that are listed in Ephesians 6:14-17. Let us now move beyond the pieces of the armour to the final, and perhaps greatest, provision we have been given by the Lord, the provision of prayer.

 We shall consider the truths laid out in Ephesians 6:18-20 and discuss about prayer in warfare. These verses have a lot to say to us about the matter of prayer, and about how prayer should be utilized in our spiritual conflicts.

 Paul does not put forth prayer as a weapon, but as the means for utilizing the armour he has already talked about. Prayer is how we put on “the whole armour of God”.

We shall point out three truths from this text. The Concept Of Warfare Prayer; The Context Of Warfare Prayer; and The Content Of Warfare Prayer.

   I.  THE CONCEPT OFWARFARE PRAYER

As is clear from the context, this passage is about “prayer”. Specifically, it is about how we are to utilize prayer in our daily lives, and in the context of spiritual warfare.

 Let’s begin by defining prayer.

•  The dictionary defines prayer as “a request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God.”

•  The word used here speaks of “general requests made to God.”

•  So, if we take that definition, and I think they are pretty good, prayer is simply “talking to God.”

 I would define prayer as “the breath of a redeemed soul, exhaling its needs and its worship toward God.”

 This idea of prayer being the breath of the soul was in Martin Luther’s mind when he said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

 Thus, anytime we turn our attention toward God, and speak to Him, we are praying. Our praying can take many forms.

•  We pray in private, at other times we pray in public.

•  We pray in loud voices, other times we whisper our prayers, and sometimes we pray in silence.

•  We set aside times for prayer, and at other times prayer is a spontaneous occurrence.

•  We pray in all types of positions and postures: we sit, we stand, we kneel, lie down.

•  We pray when we walk, when we drive, and when we rest.

•  We pray at home, at church, at work, or on vacation.

•  We pray with our hands up and heads down, or with our heads down and our hands up.

•  We pray with our eyes open or closed.

•  The Bible talks about many forms of prayer, places of prayer, postures for prayer, and circumstances of prayer. Yet the Bible does not exalt any form, place, posture, or circumstance for prayer above another.

 Jesus prayed while He was here. He prayed standing, sitting, kneeling, and possibly in other positions as well.

 We can pray anywhere, at anytime, about anything, and in any posture.

 That is what prayer is, this passage also tells us when we should pray. Paul says, “praying always”. The word “always” carries the idea of “at all times, in all seasons, at every opportunity”.

 The Jews in Paul’s day had several set times per day when they prayed. The Muslims in our day have five specific times for prayer every day.

 Christianity also has a specific, set time for prayer. Our time for prayer is “always”. The Bible speaks of this in several places.

•  “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;”(Romans 12:12)

•  “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” (Colossians 4:2 )

•  “Pray without ceasing.”(1 Thessalonians 5:17 )

 •  There is no time when we do not need to pray.

•  There is no time when we cannot pray.

•  There is no time when God will not be listening and when He will not hear us.

 •  To pray “always” does not mean that we walk around in an attitude of formal prayer. Neither Jesus nor His disciples did that.

•  To pray “always” does not mean that we follow ritualistic prayers that are recited manually from books.

•  To pray “always” does not mean that we count beads or repeat memorized prayers and prayer phrases. That is what the pagans do, Matthew 6:7.

 •  To pray “always” does mean that we live in a constant awareness of God and His presence.

•  To pray “always” does mean that the soul is ever reaching up toward God.

•  To pray “always” does mean that we see everything and every experience as a kind of prayer to God.

•  When we are tempted we call on Him, asking for His help.

•  When we see sin and wickedness, we call on Him to work in the situation to make it right and to work it out for His glory.

•  When we see something beautiful, we give thanks to God for that.

•  When we enter a time of trouble, we look to God for help and deliverance.

•  When we weep, we lean on God for support.

•  When we are happy, we lift our hearts to God in thanksgiving.

•  When we meet a lost sinner, we ask the Lord to convict them and save them. We also ask for His help to witness to them.

 When life is lived in that way, it becomes an ever-ascending prayer to the Lord. There will be times when we get alone with God to pray. Most of the time, however, our lives should be a continual exhalation of  the soul breathing out its love for, and its dependence upon, God.

 That is the idea behind the phrase “watching thereunto with all perseverance”. This means that we are to be “on the alert, with our eyes open” to the needs around us. We are to be “steadfast, constant, and persistent” as our souls reach upward to God for the help we and others need.

 God honors the “always” prayers. God honors the “watchful” “persevering” prayers of His people.

 In two parables, Jesus addressed this matter.

•  In one parable a persistent man continued asking for bread from his neighbor in the middle of the night. He asked until his request was granted. At the end of that parable, Jesus said this, “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Luke 11:9 )

•  In the second parable, Jesus spoke about a widow who petitioned a judge about her need. She continued to aggravate the judge until he gave in and granted her request. At the end of that parable, Jesus said this: “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”(Luke 18:7–8)

 The point of both those parables is that God answers the specific, persistent prayers of His people. It is always too soon to stop praying. Ever let your soul release its breath toward the Father in Heaven.

  II.  THE CONTENT OF WARFARE PRAYER

This text tells us some of the things that should fill our prayers. Paul divides our prayer lives into two parts.

He mentions “prayers” - This refers to prayer that is general in scope. Paul calls this kind of praying “all prayer”. That literally means “all kinds of prayer.”

 It is the kind of praying we do that is sometimes non-specific. For instance, there are times when we will pray for faithful preachers and missionaries. We pray for our persecuted brethren around the world. We pray for our fellow churches. We pray for many other things in the same way.

 We don’t necessarily call out all the names, places, and needs involved, but we pray for those people and situations in a general way. I believe God hears those prayers, and I believe he answers them. He knows our hearts, and He knows the specific needs far better than we do.

 I don’t really know what you need. I sometimes don’t know what the church needs. I don’t know what the church down the road needs. I don’t know what the Pastor across town is going through. But, I know Who does. So, I go to Him with all the things I don’t know, and I look to Him to take care of those things as He sees fit.

 The fact that we care to pray for people we will never meet, and for needs that will never touch us, says something about the condition of our hearts. It says that we have a burden for the things God cares about. He honors that.

 •  He mentions “supplication” - This word refers to prayers that are very specific in nature. In these verses, Paul mentioned some specific areas that should occupy our praying.

-   “All saints” - Ephesians 6:18 - Remember “supplication” refers to “specific requests”. While I sometimes don’t know what you need, there are other times when I do.

-   If you have a sickness, I can pray specifically about that.

-   If you have lost people in your family, I can pray specifically about that.

-   If you have a financial need, I can pray specifically about that.

-   If you have a burden, I can pray specifically about that.

 When the need is known, the prayer should be specific. When we pray specifically, and God answers our prayer, it gives us confidence in our prayer lives, and assurance in the power of God to both hear and answer our prayers.

 •  “For me” - Ephesians 6:19-20 - Now, Paul makes some specific requests for himself. He reminds his friends in Ephesus that he is “in bonds”. He assures them that his imprisonment is for the glory of God by calling himself an “ambassador”. His request for prayer is that he might be given “utterance”, that he might “open” his “mouth” and “speak boldly”, and that he might “make known the mystery of the gospel”. He asks for prayer that he might preach as he “ought to speak”.

 Paul’s request for himself is that he might preach the Gospel in a way that God can use to draw the lost to Himself. His prayer is that God will bless his preaching and that God will use him and his imprisonment to bring others to Jesus. By praying for him in this way, the Ephesian believers would be allowed to share in Paul’s success in Rome.

 This passage highlights two great truths.

•  It highlights the needs for specific praying. Paul asks for some very specific prayers to be prayed. These requests were for tangible matters that could be verified.

 When all of our praying is general in nature, we will never know when or if the Lord answers. When we pray specifically, and the Lord answers, there will be no doubt that He is the One Who answered.

 Jesus repeatedly calls on us to pray specifically.

•  “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13)

•  “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

 •  It reminds us that it is okay to request prayer for oneself - There is no indication here that Paul prayed for himself, but he did ask others to do just that. When we have a need, we should call on the saints who know the Lord to pray for us and for our needs.

 There is a caution we should keep in mind here. Our primary focus should be on others. A healthy believer is more concerned with the needs of others than he is with his own needs. The root of all psychological and spiritual sickness is a preoccupation with self.

When our focus is on our needs, more than on the needs of others, it reveals a serious flaw in our character. That same preoccupation with self usually makes our own problems worse because it alienates the very people who could offer us the fellowship we need, and who could help us carry our burdens to the Lord in prayer.

We should pray for the needs of others and trust the Lord to care for our own needs. He has already committed Himself to take care of us, Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:25-34. We are to leave our concerns in His care, and trust Him to see to what we have need. He can be trusted.

Paul requested prayer for himself, but he did so for the glory of God. His primary concern was “the mystery of the gospel”. His primary passion centers on the need to make Christ known. Paul doesn’t request prayer for personal benefits. He doesn’t ask them to pray for his private needs. He wants them to pray that the lost will hear the Gospel and be saved.

 So, in short, the content of our prayers should be “supplication for all saints”.

 III.  THE CONTEXT OF WARFARE PRAYER

Paul says that all of our praying should be done “in the Spirit”. Just as the Christian life is to be lived in the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:16, all prayer is to be prayed “in the Spirit”.

 When we speak of living “in the Spirit” and “walking in the Spirit”, we are referring to a live that is “controlled” by the Spirit. When the Spirit controls of lives, He reveals His control of our lives by producing “the fruit of the Spirit” in our lives, Galatians 5:22-23.

 When we offer “prayer” and make “supplication” “in the Spirit”, He will make His control of our prayer lives evident as well. What does it mean to pray “in the Spirit”?

•  It means that we pray in the “name of Jesus”. That is how the Lord commanded us to pray. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13–14 ) that does not mean that we can attach a magical “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our prayers and that God has to answer every request prayed that way. When we pray “in Jesus’ name” means that we ask for the things He would ask for. Which means, we pray for things that would glorify the Father.

•  It means that we pray according to the will of God and the nature of God. We read what the Lord said about Himself in the Word of God, and we pray about the things He says He wants. In other words, we allow His Word to shape our prayers.

•  It means that we pray in cooperation with the Spirit of God within our hearts - “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”(Romans 8:26–27)

 The Spirit of God guides our praying by promoting us to pray about those things that bring glory to the Father. All true prayer begins with God. The Spirit in us knows what the Father wants. He moves us to pray about those things, helping us to conform our prayers to His will. The Father hears the prayer that had been shaped by the Holy Spirit, and that has been offered through a faith relationship in Jesus, and because the prayer honors the Father and is prayed according to His will, He hears it and He answers it. Thus, all prayer is circular. It begins with God and ends with God. It does not serve to alter the plan of God, it does serve to change the one who prays. So, pray “in the Spirit” about all everything He places on your heart, knowing that He has promised to hear you, and to answer you for His glory.

•  “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

•  “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)

•  “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

 Conclusion:

Prayer is a valuable resource. We should make it one of the top priorities of our lives. To be in contact with the Lord, and to know that He hears us, and answers our prayers is a blessing beyond belief.

 For centuries, one of the chief problems faced by armies had been battlefield communications. Soldiers in battle must be able to speak to their leaders, and leaders must be able to communicate strategies to their armies.

 For many years this was an almost insurmountable problem. Most armies depended on runners to carry messages back and forth. With the advent of the telegraph and telegram the problem was alleviated to some degree.

 Now, in modern times, armies communicate using satellite relays. At any time, soldiers in the field can make contact with their superiors, regardless of where they are located in the world. Nearly instant contact is now possible. Orders can be relayed, battlefield updates can be passed up the line, replacements and provisions can be requested, and decisions and change can be made that will have immediate impact on the outcome of battles.

 Christian soldiers have possessed this capacity for thousands of years. At any time, we can call on the name of the Lord, and we can request His help, share our burdens with Him, and address any situation that arises.

 This should give us great confidence as we serve the Lord in this world. Let’s commit ourselves to Him and seek His help to be the prayer warriors He would have us to be. Let us labor to make the most of prayer, at all times, in all things, that He might be glorified in this world and through His church.

 Paul closes this letter to the Ephesians with a prayer for grace, love, and peace for all the saints of God. I praise the Lord for what I have learned as I have studied and preached my way through this great book. Like Paul prayed in verse 22, God has truly “comforted my heart” by teaching about who I am, and what I possess, in Jesus Christ.

 Now, “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                CHAPTER TEN

                                      OVERCOMING THE FLESH

In this Chapter we will discover how to crucify the flesh in gaining victory over the devil!
Spiritual battles are fought in three distinctly different areas of a believer’s life – the world, the flesh and the devil.  Satan uses the world and the flesh to probe for signs of weakness in the believer’s armour.  Since we are tempted in our flesh, we can deny him access by crucifying our flesh or old nature (Galatians5:24, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”).  
 
In our study of the armour of God, we have focused on how to defend ourselves against the attacks of Satan.  However, there are three areas that the believer must defend himself against – the world, the flesh and the devil.  While the armour of God defends us against Satanic attacks, it is necessary to develop particular strategies to defeat him in the areas of the flesh and the world because the fleshly attacks are aimed at our innermost being and the worldly attacks focus on the material realm of our life.  To defeat Satan in these two areas, we must develop a special strategy for each one. They are to “crucify the flesh” and “walk in the Spirit.” 

As previously noted, we protect ourselves against Satan by putting on the whole armour of God.  To defeat the attacks of the flesh, we must learn to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. To defeat the world, we must walk in lockstep with Christ.  To wander away and rely on our human strength is to invite defeat and failure.  In the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), we read that self-control is part of it. Through Christ’s strength and grace, we can learn to deny the draw of the world and walk with Him constantly.

When we go to war with the flesh, we are dealing with a spiritual battle that rages between our sinful, depraved nature and our new, positionally-righteous nature that we received when we accepted Christ’s gift of salvation and began to walk with Him.  Biblically speaking, it is a war between the flesh and the spirit (Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh sets its desire against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”).  

There are two meanings for the word “flesh” in the Bible.  The first meaning simply refers to the human body, an amoral creation of God that is neither good nor bad.  It is simply an example of God’s created wisdom and creativity.  The human body became evil when, after the fall of Adam and Eve, it became subject to the fallen nature of man, and he chooses to use it for evil purposes.

The second definition for the word “flesh” is a metaphor used to describe the state of man, as in his fallen nature; he is separated from God. It is this fallen nature that can and will motivate and empower mankind to commit heinous acts of evil and sin, rebelling against the God who created him.  It is easy to understand then that it is against this fleshly nature that Satan aims his temptations and sinful attacks for he knows that our fleshly nature is weak.  If we were to use an airplane as an example, we would say that the flesh is the airstrip that Satan lands on to begin his attack.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they died spiritually, and then later, they died physically because God promised that they would if they ate of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.”  Ever since that day, all humans are born spiritually dead toward God.  We are dead in our trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:1, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,”)  When we are “born again” (John 3:3), our spirit comes alive toward God, but our old sinful nature remains.  While the Spirit is more powerful than the flesh (1 John 4:4, “…greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world.”), the two will always be in conflict as long as we live in this human body.

In Romans, Paul reveals five characteristics of the flesh with which every believer must deal.

In Romans 6:19, Paul reveals the weakness of the flesh, (“I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.  For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification (being set apart for service to Christ” ) which explains why humans are unable to keep the laws of God – our flesh is weak and undisciplined against the attacks of Satan. One of the reasons that Christ came was to reveal the Holy Spirit’s power to defeat Satan and allow humans to keep God’s commandments.  It is none other than this power that enables believers today to live in obedience to the Word of God.

Paul not only reveals that the flesh is weak, but in Romans 7:18, he tells us that the flesh is worthless (“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.”).  However, Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing…” (John 6:63).

Not only is the flesh weak and worthless, it is constantly warring against the Spirit of God, “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God’ for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so”.  We then can easily see where the spiritual warfare that we have been writing about comes from.  It is the constant battle between the new spiritual nature and the old fleshly nature that rages in the mind and inner being of the believer who is determined to serve the Lord no matter the consequences.

The fourth characteristic of the flesh is that is totally depraved and without righteousness, “and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:8)  No human since Adam has been able to please (obey) God, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)  The question Paul raises here is one that continues to be relevant to this very day.  The Galatian Christians were attempting to add to the Gospel by obeying the Jewish law and rituals.  Isn’t there a religion out there that continues to teach this heresy to this very day?  Paul is writing to the Galatian believers and telling them that there is absolutely nothing that they can contribute to the salvation process.  Isn’t it all about God’s “amazing” grace (Ephesians 2:8-10)?  Christ’s righteousness is all that any believer needs to be saved, and that is a gift from God (Philippians 3:7-9).

Finally, the flesh is mortally wounded, “knowing this that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” (Romans 6:6)  What believers need to see is that the power and chains of the flesh that enslaved them were broken, but not terminated.  It is like a water faucet.  When it is fully open a large stream of water powers out, but when it is shut almost off, only a trickle of water comes out.  There is much less power behind the trickle than the stream.  The same is true of the fleshly nature.  Its power is broken, but not totally eliminated.  Through the Spirit, we are able to achieve victory over the flesh even though the struggle continues on through our entire life.  Galatians 5:19-21 affirm the fact that this battle continues between the old and new nature.  Satan never quits.  He may shift his focus to a different area of our life, but he will never quit. However verse 21 contains a warning that all believers should heed: “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissentions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

Many will disagree with me and say that believers don’t engage in any of the above activities.  I beg to differ.  We all know professing believers who engage in more than one of the above.  Pastors and teachers are watering down the “message” of the Gospel because they are vying with all the other churches in the vicinity for the largest congregation.  What good is a “message” that doesn’t stir our hearts and make us aware that we need improvement in our level of obedience to the Lord?  The answer is none!  A quick self-evaluation will confirm that we can all improve in many of the above areas controlled by the flesh.

The major difference between the believer and the unbeliever in these areas is that the true believer is saddened and convicted in his “innermost being” (heart) and seeks to immediately repent and be restored to sweet fellowship with the Lord.  Paul confirms this fact in Romans 7:21-23, “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.  For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.”  These verses make it quite clear that a war rages in the mind and spirit of the believer for his obedience.  Had Paul stopped here, we would have very little reason to be encouraged.  However, he didn’t.  He continued on in Romans 5:24-25 to give us the victorious solution to our spiritual dilemma, “Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the laws of sin.”  Let me hasten to add that this is not Paul’s nor our license to sin.  He is simply acknowledging that this war exists and that we are not to get discouraged and quit when we fail.  We are rather to be encouraged that all believers are fighting the same battle.  So why don’t we get together more and share strategies for defeating Satan in these areas?  I believe that it is because we are all reluctant to admit to most other believers that we have these problems.  What a shame! James says that we are to confess our sins to each other so that we can effectively pray for each other (James 5:17).  It is pretty hard for anyone to pray for what we won’t acknowledge or confess. 

Paul concludes this message on spiritual warfare by assuring us that we are not to keep on sinning because of this war.  (Romans 6:12-22).

The final question to be answered is “How can we win the war against the flesh?  Galatians 5 gives us a two-fold plan of how to win the war against our fleshly desires and attitudes: 1) crucify the flesh and 2) walk in the spirit.

What does it mean to crucify the flesh?  It means to “die to self?”  Galatians 5:24 says, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passion and desires.”  This crucifixion is not connected to Christ’s death on the cross in our behalf.  That crucifixion was a passive act in which we had no active participation. The crucifixion referred to in Galatians 5:24 is something that we must do ourselves.  Paul is urging all believers to exercise the self-control that it takes to put an end to all the tendencies and desires of our old fleshly nature.  In Galatians 2:20, (“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”) we are reminded that positionally we were crucified with Christ so that the life we live today, we live by faith in Christ who died for us.  Since that must be the case, we must put to death the sinful practices of the flesh so that our lifestyle matches our position in Christ.  It is our responsibility to agree with the Lord on the daily choices that we must make every day in our lives, putting to death the evil deeds of the flesh.

John Stott makes three observations in his book on Galatians with which all believers must agree.  Number one is crucifixion is pitiless.  In other words, we can have no compassion on our flesh and its evil desires.  They must be ruthlessly dealt with and put to a quick and merciless death.  Number two is crucifixion is painful.  There will be nothing comfortable about ending the daily practices of our lives that we have come to take pleasure in for years.  However, if we are to experience the victory of Christ in our lives, it must be done.  Far too many believers are striving to walk with one foot in the world and one foot in obedience to the Lord.  This can’t be done.  We are either “all in or all out.”  If we are all in, the Lord’s admonition to us, when looking at our fleshly desires, is, “Crucify them.”  Number three is crucifixion is permanent.  The criminals nailed to the Roman cross came down only one way – dead.  Crucifixion was not like other forms of punishment like flogging or beating which brought pain but not death.  Since crucifixion brought an end to the life of a person so crucifixion of our fleshly deeds must end their existence – permanently.  The problem is that most believers attempt to crucify the flesh in times of an emotional crisis such as after a moving conference, a stirring sermon or at a time when we sense God’s anger toward us.  When the emotion has passed, we subtly, but quietly seek to revive, at least partially, the flesh that we intended to crucify. We do this for a variety of reasons, all of which have their roots in self and self-centered behavior.  Dead must be dead.  When it comes to our fleshly deeds that spawn temptation and evil behavior, we are not even allowed to visit the graves.

A great illustration of what it means to die to the flesh is – come to the understanding that Christ has set us free from the demands of the flesh.  We nailed the flesh to the cross and will, by His empowering Spirit, leave it there.

The second part of the two-fold plan for defeating our fleshly desires and attitudes is to “walk in the Spirit.”  Paul in three different references refers to “life in the Spirit.”  In Galatians 5:16, he says “walk by the Spirit”.  Then in Galatians 5:18, he says “led by the Spirit”, and finally in 5:25, he says “live by the Spirit.” We must conclude that to defeat the flesh, we must live in the spiritual realm.

There is nothing magical or mystical about “walking in the Spirit.”  It simply means that we are to walk closely with Him in step with His every desire for us on a moment by moment basis.  We used to say daily, but today since our enemy is so cunning we are no longer able to commit that large a segment of time to be on our own.  We must focus constantly and consistently on His will for us and walk in it.  When we are walking in the Spirit, we will exhibit His fruit which is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)  These characteristics of Jesus display hard evidence that the person is walking in the Spirit and that the life of Jesus is being manifested in them.  When believers return to their worldly/fleshly lifestyle it is usually because they were told what not to do but were never taught to walk in the Spirit. They were never taught to yield their lives over to the Holy Spirit’s control and follow Him instead of their fleshly desires.

When Paul says that we are to make no provision for the flesh. (Romans 13:14, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”), he is instructing us to stay out of situations where it may become increasingly difficult for us to remain in control.  Putting on Christ simply means that every day we ask Him to protect us, guide us and fill us with Holy Spirit power to be the people He needs for us to be, helping us to stay away from situations that may compromise our righteousness in Christ.

Satan will attack as sure as there are death and taxes.  However, if we remain in Christ and walk in His Spirit, Satan cannot hurt us.  James assures us in 4:7 that if we “submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee from us".  In conclusion, we must note that our submitting to God precedes the devils fleeing. If we fail to submit, he will not flee.

My prayer for everyone who reads this book  is that they will daily put on the “whole armour of God” which will enable them to engage in spiritual warfare and win!  Engaging in spiritual warfare is not our choice.  However, whether we win or lose is. 

                                                                                     

About the Author

 Julius Soyinka  is the Presiding Bishop of Ultimate Power Gospel Assembly (Covenant of Power Evangelical Ministries International). He graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University with Distinction in Pharmacy, and also holds MSc. And Ph. D. Degrees in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the same University, with several scientific publications in National and International  Journals to his credit. He was called into Ministry by God in 1995 with an apostolic grace to preach the total Gospel and plant Churches. His life and ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit has been a blessing to several souls all over Nigeria, African Countries and the United Kingdom. He holds a Doctor of Divinity Degree from The Missionary Chapel and Seminary, USA, and has published sermons at www.sermoncentral.com, www.sermons.logos.com  and www.wordpress.com He has been by the grace of God a faithful husband to his wife, a faithful father to his children, and a faithful mentor to many who believe in the grace of God upon his life.  

About The Book                                                   

The book is theological, accessible, and impactful. Many voices in our day present a version of spiritual warfare in which Satan seems to hold the position of prominence—even preeminence.  Christians are left to wonder what magic spell or formulaic expressions can be invoked to see their demons excised.  Yet, since Christ has triumphed over all the forces of darkness, His people should grow in hope and faith as they look to Christ.    This book makes much of Christ and what He has done without negating the reality of our adversary and the real danger he presents, as well as our call to faith, righteousness, prayer, and perseverance that flows directly from our Savior’s finished work. What a timely, refreshing, encouraging, convicting, and empowering book.  

 

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    Igniting the Fire of Apostolic Signs and Wonders to Reconcile Men to Their Destiny in God.

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