TEXT: Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
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, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
The Armor God Supplies for the Christian, Part 9 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #23)
In Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, the main character, Christian, receives a suit of armor to put on as he prepares to continue his journey to the Celestial City. He needs this armor because He will meet with enemies and danger along the way, and he will often have to fight to proceed on his journey. We, too, face enemies and danger in our walk with Christ, and God has given us armor to put on. So far, in this series on the armor that God has supplied, we have looked at five pieces of that armor:
1. The belt of truth — the truth of God’s Word is the foundation to any successful spiritual warfare.
2. The breastplate of righteousness — we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ and we must determine to live in obedience to God if we are to be victorious in spiritual warfare.
3. The shoes of the Gospel of peace — part of our job as Christians is to faithfully carry the message of the Gospel wherever we go.
4. The shield of faith — our faith in God and in His Word will enable us to deflect and extinguish Satan’s fiery darts.
5. The helmet of salvation — this crucial piece of armor protects our minds against the insidious attacks of the enemy on our assurance of salvation.
Today, we are going to look at the sixth piece of armor — the sword of the spirit. The Bible leaves no mystery as to what this piece of armor does. It says take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
As we noticed on last week, this command is preceded by the action verb “take.” Our spiritual warfare is not like what you see in Star Wars where a lightsaber that is lost in battle automatically floats back into the hands of a fighter. We must physically take up the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.
Now, the sword is the only offensive weapon which the Christian is given as part of his armor. If we are going to attack the enemy, nothing else will be effective against him. Our words will not work. The words of a popular preacher or a motivational speaker will not work. The words you find in some book on spirituality — no matter how good of a book it is — will not work. The only words that are effective against Satan and the kingdom of darkness are the words of God found in the Bible.
How does the Word of God translate into our use of it as a sword? Think of a real soldier using a real sword. He is not just given a sword and sent into battle. No, first he is trained to use his sword. At first he may be trained with a wooden stick, then he may begin using a blunt sword, and finally he is given a real sword. He is instructed on how to thrust, parry, and deflect the blows of his enemy. He goes through many hours of training on the use of the sword until his training becomes reflexes and his reflexes become instincts. And, then, he is ready for battle.
It is the same way with the Christian who would use the Bible as his weapon against the enemy. We must read the Bible, study the Bible, memorize the Bible, and hide it in our hearts so that when Satan attacks we can raise our sword to fend him off. This requires hours of diligent, consistent study. Harry Ironside said, “The sayings of God must be received into the heart where they are to be stored. The whole being is thus devoted to the search for the truth. The earnest seeker must dig into the Word of God as a man searching for silver or hidden treasure.” He goes on to say, “Diligent Bible study is on the decline… Reading books about the Bible is very different from searching the Word for oneself. Notes and expositions may be helpful. But these works of men must not be permitted to take the place of the sure Word of God. Such one-sided study will cause men to draw their thoughts from one another instead of from God. This will result in dry intellectuality rather than fresh, vigorous spirituality.”
It is okay if you have a daily devotional book that you are going through in your time with the Lord. However, nothing can substitute the Bible itself. When Jesus Christ, weakened by 40 days of fasting, was attacked by Satan in the wilderness, He defeated him by using the Word of God. Three times he said, “It is written,” “It is written,” “It is written.” Nothing else can take the place of what has been written in the Word of God.
The Greek word used for “word” in this verse is “rhema.” This word refers to specific portions of Scripture as opposed to the word “logos” which refers to all of Scripture. Thus, you ought to have specific verses or passages of Scripture stored up in your heart and mind so that you are ready to use them when attacked by the enemy or by false teaching. The reason why our sword is the “sword of the Spirit” is because we are not to rely on our own mental capacity to remind us of the right “rhema” word that we need at a particular time. We are to rely on the Holy Spirit for that. When we are in a situation where we are being tempted, where the devil is attacking us with doubt and disbelief, or where someone is trying to convince us of something that is not true, in that moment, the Holy Spirit will speak to us and remind us of a particular Scripture that will deflect the enemy’s attack.
This is similar to what Jesus told His disciples would happen to them when they were arrested and dragged before governmental authorities for preaching the Gospel. He said, “When they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.”
“Who wrote the Bible?” God wrote the Bible through men by the power of the Holy Spirit. So when you use Scripture to defeat the devil, it is not you defeating the devil, but God defeating the devil. It is not your sword, but the sword of the Spirit.
Now some might look at the words “take no thought” and say, ‘Well, that means I really don’t have to study the Bible. God will just give me the words to say when I need them.’ Not so fast. The words, “take no thought”, simply mean do not worry, do not fret, or do not be concerned about a matter.
Think of the use of the Word of God in warfare like taking an exam in college. If you paid attention in class, and if you studied hard and long for the test, then you will face the test with a certain level of confidence that you would not have if you skipped classes, did not study, and stayed up all night cramming. If you studied well, then you can be certain that the answers will come back to you when faced with the questions on the exam. It is the same way with studying the Word of God. The Holy Spirit cannot remind you of something that you do not already have knowledge of. So, you still must study the Word of God and hide it in your heart. Then, when the time comes, you can rely on the Holy Spirit to drop the right verse or passage of Scripture in your heart and mind so that you can use it against the enemy.
Throughout this part of the Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible series, we have returned again and again to the way in which the pieces of our armor are tied to the truth of God’s Word. When we put on the belt of truth, we are putting on the truth of God’s Word. When we put on the breastplate of righteousness, we are clothing ourselves in the righteousness of Christ and by obeying the word of God. When we put on the shoes of the Gospel peace, we are preparing ourselves to share the good news contained in the Bible with all whom we come in contact with. When we arm ourselves with the shield of faith, we are able to thwart and deflect the schemes of the enemy because of our firm belief in God’s Word. When we put on the helmet of salvation, we take comfort in the assurance of our rebirth and in the hope of Christ’s second coming — both of which are spoken of in Scripture. And, finally, when we take up the sword of the Spirit, we actively use the Word of God to attack and defeat Satan, the flesh, and the world. Why? Because the “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword…” The only weapon you will ever need to be successful in spiritual warfare is the Word of God.
The Scottish preacher Thomas Guthrie said, “The Bible is an armory of heavenly weapons, a laboratory of infallible medicines, a mine of exhaustless wealth. It is a guidebook for every road, a chart for every sea, a medicine for every malady, and a balm for every wound. Rob us of our Bible and our sky has lost its sun.”
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If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.
First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.
But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.