The Armor of God
The Armour of God
Open your bible to Ephesians 6:10-24.
The book of Ephesians is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus while in prison in Rome. Paul, prior to becoming a believer in Christ, he persecuted, imprisoned and killed many Christians. His job was to enforce Judaism and to root out Christianity out of Israel. But one day the Spirit of God came upon him and was converted. As he was taught the word, Paul set out on journey to evangelize the then known world for Christ by establishing churches throughout the Roman Empire. Finally, he was sent to Rome to be sentenced by Cesar for proclaiming the Gospel. While waiting to speak to Cesar, Paul wrote many of the letters to the churches which today are part of our Bible.
Unlike other churches that Paul established, we learn from the book of Acts that this is the once church where he spent most time. Ephesus was the capital city of the Roman province of Asia. It was an important commercial, cultural and religious center, with a huge temple to the goddess Artemis considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Ephesus was "the" religious center of the province of Asia. Many tourists came daily from all over the Roman Empire to worship to the goddess Artemis, in addition, giant banks were located here where individuals could apply for loans. If we were to compare Ephesus to anything today, it would be like any major industrial city like New York, Chicago, Toronto, etc.
Underneath all this power and wealth and this institutionalized religion, was where Paul came and established the church. But the church was no institution; it is a body, a family, of believers of one faith or one mind.
The purpose of the letter is to proclaim God’s plan through Jesus Christ and help us understand our personal relationship with Christ, how we are to live with our fellow Christians as living expression of a Christ who still expresses His glory in human lives.
Let us look at our today’s reading again, verses 10-13
Most of us have hear one time or another the term “Spiritual Warfare”, but what does this term mean and how do we apply it our daily lives?
Often times this term is over used or misused by sensationalism and superstition by many religious television shows which only serve to misguide believers and drive the world away from the true message of the Gospel. Does Satan hold such great power that he can control and oppress the Christians? Well, my goal today is to take away the non-sense approach to examining what the scriptures say about spiritual warfare and how we are to equip ourselves for battle.
I would like to speak about three principles of spiritual warfare
- We have the power to stand against the Satan through the mighty power of God
- What are the powers of Satan and how he uses them?
- How are we stand?
1. We have the power to stand against Satan through the mighty power of God.
If we read verse 10. The key message from this verse is “be strong” which means two things, be and strength, receive strength, or endure. It is not our strength that helps us stand against the enemy; but when we submit ourselves to God, it is God’s strength invested in us that helps us stand. James 4:7 tells us Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Therefore the power or resisting the devil is not found in us but it is found through submitting to God. The devil does flee from us, but from God’s power within us that overcomes him and he flees.
We have a promise that as we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Therefore our resistance against the devil is not measured by our strength, but as we draw near to God, God will draw His spirit within us to fight against the devil and spiritual wickedness. For this reason James 4:8 says, “wash your hands, you sinners, and purify you heart, you double-minded” to be double minded means to have divided views. Means to be living in the world and living for Christ. When we live in both worlds, we will never experience the power of God until we allow God to cleanse us, purify us and renew us by making us Christ-centered.
During the final days of World War II, there was a significant battle in the Belgium called the Battle of the Bulge, where the German army, the final German Army, made a massive launch over the American Army in an effort to split the American army and the British Army in order to isolate them and destroy them.
It was the middle of winter and the order from General Paton was to stand against the enemy. For three weeks, the American army, fought in their fox holes, in one of the coldest and snowiest winter ever. This was the bloodiest war in the history of this war, were over a million men fought and died. 800 tanks were destroyed on both sides. The American army alone suffered 81,000 casualties. Most of the casualties happened in the first three days of the battle. History is always written by the victors, In this case, the outcome of this battle it left Germany without an army and the western front became wide open for the allied forces to enter Germany and destroy Hitler and his army.
Yesterday, my wife asked me. What shall we do with our Friday night program? We heard that a young man entered the program with a gun. Especially, since we have prayed against violence and guns. I told her, the following story. When you chase a lion, the lion will run until the lion fells cornered and fells he can no longer run. This is when the lion is the most dangerous, because he will turn against you with all of his might and power. As we pray against the devil and against the violence, this is when the enemy will show its ugly face and will try to fight against us to divide us, to discourage us, and to destroy us.
We are told to “Stand”, when the battle is getting ugly, we told to stand. When it seems we are becoming weak, we are told to stand. When it seems we have no power, we are told to stand. It is not by our power that the enemy is defeated, but by God’s power that is in us that we have the power to stand.
2. What are the powers of Satan and how he uses them?
Before we can understand Satan’s power, we need to look at his limitations. Many see Satan as being in the opposite side of God, or in par with God. Satan is NOT God, Satan is NOT an Evil God. Satan is merely a fallen angel. Satan was created by God and when he revelled against God, he was allowed to keep the powers invested in him for the simple purpose of fulfilling God’s will. In the book of Revelation, we are told that after the Great Tribulation, an angel was given a chain and key to bind Satan and cast him to the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. It did not take an army to cast Satan, but and angel of higher status than Satan to bind him.
The next misconception that we have is that demons are running wild creating havoc. Let me say this, ALL angels MUST submit and obey God regardless of their stature. Any angel that does not submit to God, receive swift judgement. 2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment. Means that angels who refuse to obey God are already bound and are awaiting judgement.
Satan knows that his time is limited, but to disobey God is to pronounce immediate judgement on himself. In Luke 8, Jesus comes up to a man that is possessed with a legion of demons who begged Jesus not to send them to the abyss but pleaded to enter a herd of pigs. In Matthew 8, we see demons crying out and asking Jesus if He has come to torment them before their time. Satan and the angels that fell with him know the limit to what they can do and the show time in which they have to do it. Satan might hate God, but he knows his boundaries. Before the creation of the world, there was a "war in heaven" where Satan and his angels revelled against God. This war is nothing more than the rounding-up in which Satan is cast out of heaven and is limited only to the earth as part of God’s final judgement.
Never the Bible refers to Satan as having powers beyond to the ability to deceive those who are willing to believe his lies and the limited power granted to him to perform a specific task that he has permission to do. In other words, Satan might have a plan, but that plan can only happen, if we believe his lies and we allow him to perform that lie through us.
Now, let us examine Satan’s powers – Let us take a closer look a Ephesians 6:11-12.
We are told to defend ourselves with God’s armour and stand by in His strength in order that we might stand "against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms".
in Verse 11 says "against the devil’s schemes" this means the devil lies, his tricks. It is very important that we understand that fact. Deceit, seduction and lies are the power of Satan. No more, no less. Satan has NO power to physically harm you. Satan cannot control your mind nor force his power over you, unless you allow him to work in you. Satan is a caged lion waiting to destroy anyone that he can convince to come into his territory by submitting to him.
“The Devil made me do it” is nothing but a lie and a cop out because a spiritual being cannot harm a physical being. Those who allow Satan to work in them, can endure personal physical damage. Satan only has the power that we allow or God allows them to have. That is why Satan is the master deceiver. We know when we are deceived when our own desires and hopes are met rather than God’s will.
Verse 12 says "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
The word “power”, means the power of choice or power of influence.
The word “ruler”, are the demons, the devil
The word “darkness”, means ignorance over divine things which leads us to immorality
The word “spiritual” means human’s spirit as belonging to God.
The word “heavenly places”, mean heavenly temple or sanctuary.
Let us remember that we are the temple of God. The temple of God resides in us. Therefore we are a spiritual war and are called and we are equipped to stand against an enemy that we cannot see. The war might be between heaven and hell, but this war is fought daily in each of our lives. Throughout scripture we are told over and over to equip ourselves for the battle and not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes.
Now, Satan can attach our feelings and our circumstances.
Our circumstances, we are told in the book of Job how God allows Satan to attack Job with circumstances to force Job to renounce God. But God knew the heart of Job and God knew that Job with his faith will endure the attacks of the devil.
We see the opposite with Judas Iscariot. His focus was not on God, but on the blessing he expected. When Jesus’ plan did not fall in line with those of Judas, he abandoned and betrayed Jesus. When Judas was paid a ransom of money for Jesus, he found himself unsatisfied that he committed suicide. Judas faith was not in Jesus but in his own greed.
Neither Judas nor Job understood God’s plan and they could not see the end results of that plan. Judas lost everything including his soul. Job inherited his heavenly reward. Job denied himself and sought God. Job never loved wealth or things, but his reward was God and in the end he found what he was looking for and obtained what Judas was looking for.
Faith that is dependent of feelings will always fail when our emotions take over. But faith that is based on the truth will stand strong regardless or circumstances.
The one that controls your desires controls you. You will have to submit to one or the other. If you trust God, you will submit in faith and the Bible says that when we do that we will encounter righteousness.
The Bible also says that we don’t trust God; we have an evil heart of unbelief. To disobey God is sin, but to have faith is being approved in righteousness.
The spiritual battle is won or lost at your desires. The question is who do you believe, and which way will you choose?
3. How are we stand?
Verse 13 says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
God does not give us a religion for us to pick and choose, but gives us a choice of lifestyle according to his will. You cannot arm yourself for battle with a weak armour or defence. Satan knows our weakness and knows that if we pray and our lives don’t represent the lifestyle that God has asked to do, we are praying in vain. But God prepares us ahead of time so that when the enemy comes we will be able stand. God will never allow more that what we are able to sustain, because he is preparing us, equipping us for much greater battles.
Therefore we are told in verses 14 - 17
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The Spiritual Equipment
Since we are fighting against the enemies of the spiritual world, God is giving us equipment in order that we can withstand the war.
Satan is always looking for ways to deceive and confuse us. If you ever watched a game of football, the game is played by two teams. The purpose of the game is to bring the ball to the end zone in order to score the touchdown. But before you can reach the end zone and score your six points, there is a series of events that take place. First you have the offensive team that primary job is to protect the quarterback and to allow for the ball to push forward. Then you have the defensive team that will try to attach you, will try to intimidate you, and will try to bring fear to you. Before you and stand on that field, you must be given a piece of gear to ensure you are protected against the defensive team, because they are there to hurt you. There is no love between these two teams. That defensive team will try to break your bones, crush your head and do whatever it is necessary to get the ball back. In the same way, God knows we are fighting a spiritual battle and we need to equip ourselves with the right gear to fight this battle and it is up to us to put on the gear before we enter the field. Otherwise the enemy will hurt us.
Therefore, Paul tells us the reader that we must put on our armour, take our weapons, and withstand Satan, and all that we do, we do by faith. We believe that Christ has already conquered Satan, and the spiritual armour and weapons are available to us, and by faith, we go out and meet the enemy. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?
The belt of truth
The first part of our gear is the belt of truth, the belt holds everything together and without this belt all our defences are compromised.
John 8:42-45 “Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
The believer that holds the truth of God will defeat the enemy. The belt of truth holds all the armour together, and the truth is the integral force in the life of the Christian.
The most important value for any Christian is integrity. Integrity gives us a clear conscience to defeat the enemy. Why, if I tell you that you must not steal, yet I steal. I have no integrity. If I tell you that you must abstain from sexual immorality but I live in sexual immorality, I have no integrity and the truth that I speak will be drowned by my actions. But if we are conscientious that our word is our bond, that our integrity is what makes us who we are, then the enemy will have no word to stand against us.
The belt also holds the sword. Unless we practice the truth, we cannot use the Word of truth, which is the word of God. Once a lie enters into the life of the believer, everything falls apart.
The bible tells us of King David, how he lied about his sin with Bathsheba, and nothing that he tried to do to cover the lie went right. Therefore, he had to pay a price.
The breastplate of righteousness
This is a piece of armour made of metal plates and chains, it cover the body from the neck to the waist in the front and back. As in football, the player wears shoulder pads; these pads help the player withstand hits from the enemy. The breastplate of righteousness symbolizes the believer’s righteousness in Christ as well as his righteous life in Christ.
Satan is the accuser, but Satan cannot accuse the believer who is living godly life in the power of the Spirit. Therefore, the life that we live fortify us against Satan’s attacks or, it makes it easier for Satan to defeat us. When Satan accuses the Christian, it is the righteousness of Christ that assures us of our salvation.
When we don’t have this armour of righteousness, we give Satan an inroad, or opportunity to attack us.
Why is it that so many Christians are defeated, why is it that so many churches split or don’t grow, it is because we the Christians don’t have a life of righteousness, therefore we allow the enemy, Satan, to attack us and defeat us.
Your feet fitted with the readiness,
If you remember last week, I told you about this battle when the German army attacked the allies and for three weeks, the Americans withstood the enemy. But on that battle, the Americans were fighting two enemies, the German army, and the weather. When you are exposed to the weather, you can withstand the cold until the cold hits your feet. These soldiers had problems with their feet freezing with hypothermia. Once the feet freeze, there is no turning back, because in a short time, a soldier will die.
I remember going up north with the Canadian armed forces and holding practices wars with other military units in the middle of winter. We lived in tents and you knew who the enemy was, but the cold was the silent enemy that attached with force. Therefore, our feet must be properly fitted with the proper shoes and be ready for battle.
If we are going to “Stand” and “withstand” the enemy, when we need the shoes of the Gospel.
Since we have the piece that comes from the Gospel, we need not fear the attack of Satan of rem. We must be at peace with God and with each other in order that we can defeat the devil.
The shoes have no other purpose. But, this insignificant piece of gear is so important and if ignored, then we give inroads to the enemy to defeat us. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves each day to share the Gospel with the lost.
If you were to travel to every church in the world, you will find that the most victorious Christians are witnessing Christians. If we wear the shoes of the Gospel, I become an ambassador of peace, and as such, we take the Gospel of peace wherever we go.
Take up the shield of faith
The shield was a large piece of metal about four feet by two feet. The soldier that held this shield, it protected him from the spears, arrows and fiery darts of the enemy. The shield was made in such a way that you could interlock shields side by side and the soldiers were able to build a wall. Soldiers held these shields together and walked towards the enemy and all the enemy saw was a wall coming towards them.
In football you have the line of scrimmage, that’s the wall, the offense teams put to protect the quarterback and the ball. The defence put up in order to try to prevent the ball from advancing.
Therefore, Christians are not in the battle alone. The word “faith” mentioned here is not our saving faith, but rather living faith, which is the trust that we have from the promises and the power of God.
Faith is the defensive weapon that we use to protect us against the fiery darts of Satan. Satan fires “fiery darts” at our hearts and minds through lies, evil thoughts, hateful thoughts of others, doubt, and a burning desire for us to sin.
If by faith we don’t extinguish these darts, they will light a fire within us and we will disobey God. We never know when Satan will shoot these darts at us, so we must always walk by faith and use the shield of faith.
The Helmet of salvation
Once again, in football, the football player wears a helmet. The helmet protects the player against the hits of the other team.
Satan wants to attack the mind, the same way he defeated Eve in the Garden. The helmet refers to the mind controlled by God. It is unfortunate that many Christians have no that our intellect is not very important, but in reality it plays a very important role in our lives, our growth and victory.
When God controls our mind, Satan cannot deceive us. When we study the word of God, the Bible, we learn the meaning of the Bible, and this truth will not lead the in the wrong path.
When allow ourselves to be exposed to evil things on a daily basis, evil thought, swearing, sexual immorality, you will find that we give the enemy a stronghold in our lives, and in time we find the enemy begin to take control of our lives.
If I listen some of the rap music and were women are ho’s before time, you will find that I will believe that lie. Most young men today not only believe that lie but are victims of the enemy because they have allowed Satan to speak into their lives and they have believed the enemy. They will not change until they begin to cover their minds with the word of God.
The word of God will cleanse and protect our minds against the lies of the enemy.
And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
This word is our offensive weapon which God as give us to fight against the enemy. We are told in Hebrews 4:12 that the word of God is our sword, because it is sharp, it is able to pierce the inner man.
When you and I were convicted by the Word of God, the word “cut to the heart” and convicted us of our sins.
When you use a real physical word, a weapon, in time it becomes dull. But the Word of God only gets sharper in our lives.
A physical sword requires the hand of the soldier, but the sword of the Spirit has its own power because it is living and powerful.
The spirit wrote the Word, and the Spirit uses the word as we take it by faith and use it.
A physical sword hurts, wounds and kills, while the sword of the Spirit wounds to heal and give hope and life to the lost. But when we use the sword of the Spirit against Satan, we can give him a blow than will cripple him and keep him from destroying God’s work.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, Christ used the sword of the Spirit and defeated the enemy. Three times Jesus said to Satan, “It is written”. But Satan also knows the word, Satan quoted the word by saying “For it is written”, but Satan did not quote the scriptures correctly. Satan tried to use the word, made a small change to deceive Jesus. Satan will try to use the Word of God to confuse us, for this reason, it is important that we know what the Word of God says.
You can prove anything in the Bible. But if someone takes a word out of context, by leaving or changing a word, then we can easily be confused if we are not grounded by the Word.
In conclusion, the “Whole armour of God’ is a picture of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Truth, and He is our righteousness and our peace. His faithfulness makes possible our faith, He is our salvation, and John 1:1,14 tells us that – He is the Word of God.
This means that when we trust God, we receive the armour.
Paul tells us in this scripture that like a Roman soldier, each day he puts on the armour. We therefore must each day, wake up, and put on the armour of God. We do this but putting on Jesus Christ.
By faith, put on the armour of God and trust God for the victory and stand.
Remember Stand, we are not alone, God is with us, and if God is for us no evil in hell and stand against us.