The Full Armor of God (3) Word and Prayer
1. For a couple of weeks now, we have been looking at a famous section in the book of Ephesians (6:10-24).
2. In our first message, we concentrated on Ephesians 6:10-12 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
3. We outlined the passage as follows. Paul tells us at least four things: 1. We are in a war zone (and need to realize it!) 10 Finally, be strong . . . . 11 Put on the full armor of God, . . . . 12 For our struggle . . . .; 2. We need the Lord’s strength to win in this war (because our strength is inadequate) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.; 3. Indeed, we will need God’s armor to stand against the Devil (because we need divinely supplied spiritual protection from a spiritual enemy) 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.; and 4. We need to understand that our opposition isn’t ultimately human (and realize who we’re up against) 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
4. Last Sunday evening, we looked at Ephesians 6:13-17a 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, . . .
5. Paul here details six main pieces of a Roman soldier’s equipment: belt, breastplate, shoes/boots, shield, helmet and sword, and uses them as pictures of the importance of truth, righteousness, the good news of reconciliation, faith, salvation and the word of God.
6. Paul’s main point is: Arm yourself spiritually for what you are up against, with divinely forged and supplied weaponry (13) “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
7. Looking at five of Paul’s six pieces of armament, we said that, if we are to stand firm in the day of evil, then – 1. We must have “truth in the inner parts” (14a). Doctrine has to have worked right down to our bones. To resist the devil the truth must have taken hold of us inside and out, so that what we are inwardly is what we are outwardly. 2. We must have a life characterized by holiness (14b). The devout and holy life, moral rectitude or uprightness is essential for the battle. A clean conscience is a powerful weapon. To resist the devil we must have grasped the justifying work of Christ that accepts us as righteous and be engaged in the life of sanctification in which, by the Spirit, we are being made more and more righteousness.
3. We must have a readiness which flows from the Gospel (15). Our ability to march for God is wholly dependent upon our having experienced the reconciling effect of the Gospel. To resist the devil we must have experienced that peace with God and our brethren that only the Gospel can effect. This peace in turn prepares and motivates us to share the Gospel with others so that they might enjoy peace. 4. We must have a living trust in God (16). To resist the devil we must have faith in God – our trust and entire confidence must be in him. And 5. We must have a vital hope of salvation (17). The knowledge that we are saved is vital to the whole project of the Christian life. To resist the devil we must be assured of our salvation, present and future.
I. If we are to engage the spirit of this age we must be people of the word (17b)
17 . . . and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
II. If we are to engage the spirit of this age we must be people of prayer (18)
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,