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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

XCIX. The Full Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-17

  • 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might
  • 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
  • 12  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.
  • 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 firm.
  • 14  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having to put on the breastplate of righteousness,
  • 15  and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
  • 16  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
  • 17  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
This thought has been used by many over the years but something I heard the other day made me realize something very special about this passage.  Each piece not only has a specific job to do; that is common sense.  None of these can stand alone.  This is why Paul writes we need to put on the full armor of God.  This is not to say that God has a weakness.  It is to say man has a weakness.  Any “armor” we put on that is of flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).  Any opening we give to the enemy is vulnerable.  God wants us to completely trust in Him.  Without trust in God our faith is weak.  Without using all of the armor we show lack of trust or even worse, self pride.  But what does each piece mean?
Helmet of Salvation.  Why do we wear a helmet?  To protect our head of course.  Our eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.  Four out of our five senses are located in the head.  It gives us direction and collects our bearings.  They think, guide, and reason.  So we have to protect these things if we want to protect our lives against the evils of this world.  But there is a deeper meaning to this.  Salvation!  A helmet covers us.  God’s salvation covers us.  Our sins are covered.  It starts at the top.  It is the beginning.  We all wash from head to toe.  When our heads are covered, the rest follows.  Since our sins are covered, the rest of salvation and the fight can begin.
Shield of Faith.  Believing in our cause.  When things of this world try and break us and tear us apart we have something that can block the attack.  Our faith can get us through the worst of times.  Paul tells us that when all things have passed away faith, hope, and love will remain.  It is eternal.  It is always here for us to use.  But there is the catch.  We have to use it!  And the larger the shield, the better.  Many of us have small amounts of faith.  We can take small attacks in our lives but the more battered the less we feel safe with that shield.  The larger the shield, the more we can defend with.  The stronger the material, the more battering it can take.  We need to build our faith each day so that nothing can break it or batter it.  And we get a stronger faith by reading the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Sword of the Spirit.  Paul specifically tells us this is the word of God, scripture.  It is our greatest weapon.  With the Word in our hands we can stand against the enemy.  Notice one major thing here; Paul writes about many defenses we have but we have one offense---SCRIPTURE!  Everywhere in the Bible when the word “scripture” itself is used it means something that has been written down by God, etched in stone.  What God has said nothing can overrule it.  God’s word is final.  When satan tries to tempt you and you want to fight back then quote scripture.
Shoes of Readiness.  Sometimes we have to be mobile.  Sometimes the path we have to take is rocky and hurts.  Paul tells us to put on shoes that can protect our feet from the path we have to take.
Breastplate of Righteousness.  Your most vital organ is your heart.  Many times we are told we have to protect our heart.  God judges us by our hearts.  If we love, forgive, show compassion, and trust then we have righteousness.  This righteousness protects our hearts.
But after all of this the most important thought is still to come.  Think of a soldier (from Paul’s time).  He can put on a helmet but nothing else is protected.  He can carry a sword but has to defend twice as hard.  He can put on shoes and run if he needs to.  He can carry a shield and wear a breastplate for better protection.  But there is one thing that allows the armor to be fully connected.  It connects offense with defense.  The Belt of Truth!  It attaches the upper and lower extremities.  It keeps you from falling over your cloak.  IT CARRIES YOUR SWORD!  Without truth, nothing matters!  If you do not have the truth, then what are you defending?  Why would you need an offense?  The truth of God is what the cause of Christ is all about.  Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life.  Because Jesus died (truth) and because He was the Son of God (truth) and because He rose again (truth) we have life.  He showed the way by living the truth.
We need to live the truth.  We need to wear the full armor of God.  And above all remember our struggle is not against flesh but against the spiritual forces that hate you.

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