Faithlife Sermons

The Armor of God

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Ephesians 6:10–20 ESV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Have you noticed that, as soon as we see progress in furthering God’s kingdom, we suddenly find ourselves under a greater attack?
You are trying so hard to be godly, but the attack seems constant.
You get pushed down so far that you just want to push back.
Someone has been unfair and unkind, and you want to put them in their place.
It makes sense.
You want to see justice.
You want payback.
But that is your flesh talking.
You see that horrible person or situation—and you think that is the problem.
But that is not the real problem.
They are not your battle.
The real battle is a spiritual one.
And it is a battle we have to face.
You can’t be neutral.
You have to fight.
If you try to ignore it or deny it, you’ve already lost.
So how do you fight this spiritual battle going on?
In this passage we read, Paul shows us the tools we need and the way that we must fight to win this spiritual warfare.

The Armor of God

The Belt of Truth
Breastplate of Righteousness
Shoes of Readiness of the Gospel of Peace
Shield of Faith
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit
So many preachers try to figure out why each of these things were assigned as they were.
I don’t think it actually matters, except in the case of the sword. I’ll explain more in a bit.
The point is this:
Just as a soldier’s armor covers every part of their body, we need to be completely covered with all these elements.
You can’t just walk around with a helmet.
A shield is useful, but it can only do so much.
Each element listed is an added layer of protection against the devil’s attacks.
It starts with salvation.
Salvation is knowing that we were once God’s enemies, but he loved us and sent his son to die for us.
Salvation is turning away from our sinful ways and submitting ourselves to God’s will, walking in his forgiveness.
Salvation is the first gift we receive from our heavenly Father.
Without salvation, we don’t have access to any of the other armor pieces.
But because of salvation, we know that God is with us.
Isaiah 43:1–2 ESV
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
As Christians, we need to live in truth and integrity.
That can be so hard when others start telling lies about you.
You can feel trapped by the lies of others.
It’s affecting your reputation, questioning your integrity, besmirching your character.
And you will be tempted to fight fire with fire.
You want to destroy the reputation of the one hurting you.
And if you’re not careful, you will fall into a trap of petty fighting, reacting with your flesh and using the world’s tactics.
In the process, you are destroying your Christian testimony and putting distance between you and your Creator.
To walk in truth, you have to know the truth.
John 8:31–32 ESV
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
That’s why you must prepare yourself by getting the Word of God—the gospel of peace—deep into your heart.
When Satan tried tempting Jesus in the wilderness, how did Jesus fight back?
By knowing the Word.
Psalm 119:11 ESV
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
The Word of God tells us who God really is, how much he loves us, and who he created us to be.
It teaches us the reality of sin and its consequences.
It teaches us the high price that was paid for our salvation and the power that we now have because of Jesus.
Once you have that word in your heart, you have to apply it, living righteously.
I know you want to drop to their level and make them pay.
Romans 12:17–21 ESV
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
But to be able to do this, you have to have faith in the unseen.
Hebrews 11:1 ESV
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
You have to trust that God has this under control, and he WILL work things out.
When we take matters in our own hands, we are denying God the opportunity to move.
Proverbs 25:21–22 ESV
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.
Now that mention of burning coals is not intended to be a punishment.
Isaiah 6:5–7 ESV
And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
So when Proverbs talks about heaping burning coals on the head of your enemy, it is talking about providing an opportunity for them to repent of their wickedness and be purified.
I want to point out again that, in your battles, you must remember that the awful person you are dealing with is NOT your real enemy. They are just a pawn of our great adversary the devil.
They are trapped in Satan’s lies and schemes.
They need deliverance.
If you want to fight your enemy, then go after the real enemy.
Fight for the soul of that pawn.
Fight to see that bully, that awful wretch, become a beloved brother or sister.
Earlier I said that I don’t think the symbols of each armor piece is very significant except for the sword.
You see, all the other pieces are defensive pieces, designed to protect us and help us stand strong.
They are all qualities that we need to have in our lives
But the sword is the Spirit of God.
This is God being at work in our lives.
Faith, truth, salvation, righteousness, preparation are all defense against the enemy.
But while a sword can be used in defense, it is also for fighting.
We are in this fight, but it is God who fights for us.
We cannot forget this!
He will fight through us, but we have to let him do the fighting.
Revelation 19:15 ESV
From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
God is going to strike down all the fallen kingdoms of this world.
Through His word and through His Spirit, God will have the victory!
If his spirit can strike down nations, then surely his spirit can win your battle right now.
In 2 Timothy, Paul recounts how he was attacked by a certain individual.
2 Timothy 4:14–15 ESV
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.
Note that Paul did not badmouth Alexander or try to get personal revenge.
He put Alexander in God’s hands.
And he warned other Christians to be cautious around Alexander.
What you have to do is stand your ground.
Not in anger or revenge.
But in faith, living as someone who has been saved by grace and will extend that grace to your enemies.
Keep your armor on and ready at all times.
Part of the reason Gideon won his battle was because God had him attack at night, when the enemy camp was sleeping and defenseless. Their armor was off.
Satan will give you a false sense of security, so that you will drop your guard and open the way for an attack.
This is a spiritual war, and Satan will attack at any time he thinks you are weak.
You have to have the Word of God in you to hold you up.
You have to be filled with faith, walking in truth and righteousness at all times.
You must never forget that you are saved by grace, and you need that your own actions do nothing to save you. Walk humbly before your God.
Let the Holy Spirit fight the battle.
If you let him lead you, he will show you what to do, what to say.
He will give you a new perspective on the situation.
He won’t just help you stand, he will help you move forward to victory!
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