During the past several weeks we have been studying our adversary and the armor of God. Next week we will finish the study by looking specifically at prayer in verse 18; this will tie everything together. We looked at the devil: who he is, his limitations, his plots and plans against people and against the world. We looked at what Paul had to say in Ephesians 6 as he was chained to a Roman soldier and converted his armor to the spiritual armor of God's people.
Eph 6:10-18 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--
Paul taught us the armor, one piece at a time. The first three you always ear. They introduced the word "having", beginning in verse 13. The last three have the word "taking". Those pieces of armor you do not wear all the time, but you pick up and wear them as needed in the battle you are facing. It all has to do with our battle with the devil and his plan to destroy and keep us from God's best. Everything we have looked at so far is for protection.
1. This is our last piece of armor. [Eph 6:17 NKJV] 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
The sword found here is not the same sword we spoke about when we studied the shield of faith. Remember the shield of faith was designed to protect you when someone came at you with what the Greeks called a rhomphaia, a huge sword that was swung like a baseball bat; one blow to your head and you're dead. It was a heavy sword. That is not the word for sword here. The word for sword speaks of a dagger. 6 to 18 inches long and always carried in a sheath; typical in hand-to-hand and face-to-face combat. It is a precise weapon that requires training to use well.
In our list of armor, it is the only piece designed for offensive use, other than prayer. All of the other pieces are strictly for defensive purposes. Because it is an offensive weapon, we do need to learn to use it well. As a Christian, we do not just want to hold ground we want to gain ground.
2. Rightfully dividing the scriptures and better applying the scripture to our own life and applying it correctly and in context has a lot to do with growing up spiritually. What did Paul tell Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15?
[2Ti 2:15 NKJV] 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
God's Word is powerful. He blesses it. He honors it. He stands behind every word. Paul says above all things take the sword of the spirit, he is saying take the Word of God to battle with you.
2. Yet if the truth be known, many saints are poor swordsmen. Why is that? Are we complacent because we have so much good Bible teachings available to us? Do we fail to learn the Bible because of the quick access we have to "looking it up" if we need it? Have we replaced learning with simply reading? Do you identify yourself with any of the questions?
Paul was convinced of the value of knowing God's Word (2 Timothy 3:15-17) and so was Job (Job 23:12) and so must we, for by it we can defend ourselves and also go on the offensive reclaiming the places Satan seeks to keep from us.
[2Ti 3:15-17 NKJV] 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
[Job 23:12 NKJV] 12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary [food].
4. Why do we give our all to many earthy pursuits yet give a casual nod to learning to use this sword of the Spirit?
5. What is your view of the Bible? How do you feel about what the Bible stands for?
There are some absolutes that you should be convinced of if you are going to be a swordsman for the Lord.
Infallible: without error or flaw in its totality. God has never had a second thought or regret about something He has taught or declared. His Word is like the Author Himself: unchanging and constant.
6. [Jas 1:17 NKJV] 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
[Psa 19:7 NKJV] 7 The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple;
The Bible will make simple people wise. We do not need to read the Bible and then question, challenge, or doubt God. We only have to get in line with Him. If we can learn to rightfully divide the Word, and be wise and fill ourselves with the treasures of His knowledge, then we
The Bible will be good in our sword skills and the enemy will not get much room to take you out. You will not be easily moved, you are able to stand.
Inerrant: Having no flaw in its individual parts. Every part of the Bible standing on its own is dependable. There are some verses in your Bible that we did not have any copies of until the fourteenth century. Some wonder if they belong in the scriptures or not. There are other verses that quote numbers differently from one passage to a corresponding one that seemed almost to be a copyist error.
Nonetheless, you should know if you took all of those verses out your understanding of God, His promises would not change at all. Those are reportable verses, they are not promises made by God. They add and they subtract nothing to the doctrines of the scriptures or change the content or the context of God's Word to us. This is the sword that He wants us to use. We are warned repeatedly not to add or remove anything from this book God, who created the world, will watch over the integrity of His Word.
7. How do you interpret Revelation 22:18-19?
[Rev 22:18-19 NKJV] 18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.
[Pro 30:5-6 NKJV] 5 Every word of God [is] pure; He [is] a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 6 Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
Complete: (Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19) His warnings to those who would seek to edit, change, add to, or subtract from His Word are sobering and serious. Many cults are distinguished by what they add to the revealed Word of God. The cults believe you need more verses, and describe them of equal to or greater value than the Bible. God does not explain everything in the scriptures, but what He has given to us is exactly what He wants us to know. That should be enough for you to seek and live for Him.
Authoritative: When God speaks, all men should listen. His authority and judgement is final and there is no appeals process. (Psalm 19:9). His Word will indeed be the final word for each of us. The people of Jesus' day recognized that He spoke with authority and not as the scribes and Pharisees.
[Psa 19:9 NKJV] 9 The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether.
Sufficient: We should not have to go looking everywhere else for how to live our life as a believer in Christ. Though the Bible does not address every issue of life: medicine, environment, etc, it does not provide all the answers we need to live godly lives filled with His blessings (2 Peter 1:3).
[2Pe 1:3 NKJV] 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that [pertain] to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
Effective: When God speaks, things happen - reread Genesis 1! No wonder Isaiah recorded the Lord as declaring that very truth (Isaiah 55:11). God is going to accomplish what He wants in your heart. If you are open to hear, God is willing to work. That is just the way He is. If you're not convinced that the Bible is effective, you're not going to share with people nor will you be comforted when you read it. We must follow the "manufacturer's handbook" guidelines if we truly desire to see His work in us.
[Isa 55:11 NKJV] 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper [in the thing] for which I sent it.
Divine: It is God's book and not man's work. He used over 40 authors from all walks of life over a 1500 year period, written in three different languages and led by the Holy Spirit to record it all (2 Peter 2:20-21). It is God breathed, God inspired, and God backed!
[2Pe 2:20-21 NKJV] 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
Determinative: What you believe about the Bible reveals both your relationship with God presently and determines your eternal destiny eventually. Your obedience and your faith in God's Word will change you. Jesus said in John 8, "If you hear God's Word and you do it then you belong to Him, but if you hear it and do it not then you don't belong to Him." Many people in church history have died so that we can have a Bible in our hands and language in print.
God gave to us as believers this last piece of armor by which we are to stand. If you are a soldier and you're wounded in battle because you didn't know how to use the sword, you really can't blame the sword. The benefits and protections the sword provides are all found in the pages of the Bible. We must know it well; cover to cover.
Read Romans 12:1-2. That is what we want; we want the Bible to get in our hearts. We want to react to the world not with emotional response or anger but with what is the Lord saying about what I am seeing or what I am going through or what I am doing. The greatest danger for the church in America is lack of knowing the Bible.
[Rom 12:1-2 NKJV] 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We must know it and follow it. To simply know it but ignore it or find reasons to set it aside will provide no protection for us but actually assure our defeat.
8. Heeding His Word will make us wise and victorious. Know it well! Learn it by book and chapter...what is the topic of 1 Corinthians 13, John 17, Genesis 1, Matthew 5-7, Revelation 2-3?
Charles Spurgeon once said: "If you wish to know God you must know His word; if you wish to perceive His power you must see how He worketh by His word; if you wish to know His purpose before it is actually brought to pass you can only discover it by His word."
Never be afraid of your Bible!