10-13-19 Armor of God
Armor of God Pastor Lila Clay When Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians it was slightly different from the other letters he wrote. It was less personal and more formal in nature. The first three chapters go in depth on what it means to be a Christian and is very theological. The last part of his letter explains what all that doctrine he just explained looks like lived out in a real world. Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter and unlike other letters he had sent out to the churches, he wasn’t trying to solve a specific moral or ethical issue within the church in this letter. No Paul was simply trying to help the young church members understand what they were doing and how to be a Christian? That is why the last half of the letter just deals with life application issues. It is practical real life. One of the things Paul explains to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus in the need to put their armor on. Let us read the passage together. Ephesians 6:10-20, NIV 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. This passage reminds us that our struggle is not with each other. That the real source of conflict is coming from Principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this age, that we are at war with spiritual hosts of wickedness. Now the scripture tells us that we are not to wage war as the world does. 2 Corinthians 10:3 In fact, we are told to put on spiritual armor as we prepare for battle. The first thing we are to put on is the belt of truth. This is because His truth is going to be needed if we are going to counteract the lies of the enemy. Often when we are overwhelmed emotionally it is because we often hold negative thoughts, beliefs, or untruths within our minds and hearts after a stressful or traumatic experience. This can alter our worldview and cause us to see things with a negative viewpoint. Negative perceptions are caused by negative thoughts, beliefs, or untruthsthat we hold on to following a traumatic or stressful experience. These perceptions can limitmy and your ability to even function normally or in a healthy way. In order to heal we must replace these negative perceptions or lies with Gods truth. See John 8:32. After we put on the belt of truth, the next thing we put on is the breastplate of righteousness. This breastplate protects our vital organs in particular the heart. Not that it says that we are to put on his breastplate of righteousness. That means we are to cover ourselves with Him. That is because we do not have any righteousness within ourselves. All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6a We cannot clothe ourselves in anything but filthy rags, we need the clothes of the groom to be covered. His breastplate keeps our hearts safe. Next, we place peace on our feet. These shoes are essential for our testimony. Not only do they protect our feet they protect our testimony. See John 13:35. This where unity brings us together. The next item we are to put on is the Shield of faith. Notice that it quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one. I did a little research on this. Let me share what I discovered. The "fiery darts" we read about in this passage were made from a hollow reed (something like bamboo). One end was stopped up then the reed was filled with a flammable liquid, probably a mixture of alcohol or Sulphur. A loosely fitting stopper holding a wick was slipped into the other end of the tube and lit. It was then shot like an arrow, not a bundle of straw or some other flammable substances, but at the soldier himself. Since the missile had it's own fuel source and the wick was protected by the tube, the missile kept burning until it hit something. When it hit a soldier, the wick popped out, the liquid spilled over the soldier' s armor and ignited, cooking him in his own armor. How appropriate that Paul should use this imagery concerning the Enemy's attack on the people of God. When the enemy’s spiritual dart strikes it spreads its destruction throughout our spiritual man engulfing us in his sulfuric flames. Thus, a person suffering from depression can only think thoughts which see negative images of the present or the future. Some of these thought patterns can be easily explained in terms of family influences, life experiences or other psychological factors. However, the researchers admit that many of these thoughts seem to have no obvious origin. Likewise, a man who is angry can only think about his rage, thought patterns emerge that speak of revenge and destruction. What is our defense? When the enemy shoots a well-armed dart at us in our area of weakness. And our enemy isn’t dumb. He knows where the chinks are in our armor, where we are weak. He will not waste a dart; he will cast it at us when we are weary. And when it hits it will splash its oil over us, and the fire will penetrate our thoughts, desires and consciousness. It will seer and burn.Left unchecked these darts will not only pierce, they will penetrate and torment your soul. They can set a soul on fire and kindle them with the worst of passions, or create fear so strong as to bring on such anxiety that one cannot do what is needed. What is our defense to this attack? The shield of faith can protect us. Let me explain. The Roman shield was as large as a door. It was made of wood. The surface of the wood was charred with a flame and then covered with leather. A soldier could hide his whole body behind this shield. The missile would hit and the liquid spread out, but the charred wood of the shield wouldn't catch fire so the soldier was safe beneath his shield. The only way to stop the dart is with the shield. Your shield is designed for you. It matches your purpose and gifting. For example, a Roman Shield was as large as a door. It was heavy. It was used not only to protect yourself with but others near you. It could be used to push with. While a Greek shield could be round and light weight. Its job was to allow the soldier more flexibility in movement. It protected, but it could also be used to strike with. So, it is with your shield. Your shield is designed for you and your giftings. Yet the shield is not yours. It belongs to the King. He issues it out. It bears his insignia. It declares who you are fighting for. The Psalms tells us what are shield is, Psalm 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I will thank Him with my song.” AND Psalm 3:3, “But You, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.” God is our shield. We are not the shield. Our faith is not the shield. God is our shield and He is what we use to stop the darts. Psalm 18:30 (CEV)says: “Your way is perfect, Lord, and your word is correct. You are a shield for those who run to you for help.” In order to wield our shield we must run and hide under Him. This means we have to shift our focus to Him. Call on Him for our protection. One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 wolves. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins? "The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed." [source unknown] Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says,“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” There is nothing more noble, true, right pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy than our Lord. To quench the darts we must replace the lies or the enemy with His truth. And what is God’s Truth. We have the ability to do more than we realize when we put or trust in God. Matthew 17:19-20: (When) Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." The reality is the warfare is for the Lord. The real battle then becomes not with the enemy but in trusting the Lord. We must battle ourselves not to pick up the struggle once we give it to Him. We then are waging a war of unbelief. The more we struggle, the less God does, because we hinder His work. This is why we take on the helmet of salvation. The helmet protects our thoughts, our minds. When we put it on we come under His authority. We are saved by faith in Jesus, not by our works. In order to have authority a man comes under authority. It is the authority over Him that gives him authority. For example, a police officer has no authority until he comes under the authority of the sheriffs Department. It is the Sheriff’s Departments authority that gives him authority, without that He has no authority. He is just another civilian like you and me. When we accept the Salvation that Jesus Christ is offering us. We come under His authority. Finally, we pick up the Sword of the Spirit. Which is the word of God. Remember our weapons are not like the worlds. We do not wage war like the world does. 2 Corinthians 10:3. We speak the word of God in order to wage battle. Conclusion – I know this passage has been preached a hundred times and I just made it 101, but the Lord wanted me to go over it with you again, because He wanted you to know how to fight the enemy. He wants you to understand that all that burning and chaos within your spirit, heart and mind is not from Him. Those are fiery darts. You cannot quench them without Him. You need Him. He also wants us to know that we are not supposed to fight alone. We are to fight together. When we feel disorder or uncomfortable. We have to stand and protect each other. We do this when we focus on Him and ask Him to do what needs to be done. Otherwise we will focus on each other and not even on the true enemy.