Putting on the full Armor of God
Alright we are back in the series The Armor of God.
Would you open you Bibles with me to the book of Ephesians chapter 6, Ephesians 6 and let me know you are there by saying amen.
In the last few weeks we talked about how we are to be strong with the Lord’s mighty power, this refers to strength from God, not strength we humans can somehow obtain. The words “be strong” describe continual empowering of the Christian community. God’s strength and power are part of the Kingdom blessings available to God’s people. The power that raised Christ from the dead, that same power, empowers us, God’s people as we prepare for the spiritual battles we will face day to day in our lives.
Remember the theme through our series is “you cannot win the battle if you are not prepared for the fight”.
Scripture tells us that in our Christian life we will battle against rulers and authorities (the powerful evil forces of fallen angels headed by Satan.
Listen, To withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of HIS armor daily. Paul is not only giving this counsel just to the church, just to the body of Christ, but to all individuals within the church. The whole body needs to be armed. As we do battle against the “mighty powers of darkness,” we must fight in the strength of the church, whose power comes from the Holy Spirit. Paul tells the church at Ephesus, and us that we can have a winning life when we put on the “Full Armor of God”
IF you are there in Ephesians read with me beginning with verse 10:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. What Paul is saying is: if we only put on pieces of the armor of God we will not be able to withstand the schemes of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh 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 (You see here that Paul makes no error in what he says, to take up the whole armor of GOD, no just a some parts on the days you feel good, but put on all the parts, why… that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (listen to me, The Armor of God gives us strength to withstand the day and to stand firm in our faith of Jesus Christ)14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having 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, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
This morning I want to speak about our Big Idea;
Our Big Idea is=====
It takes the whole armor of God to have a winning life.
It takes the whole armor of God to stand out from the crowd.
It takes the whole armor of God to stand for the truth.
It takes the whole armor of God
Without the armor of God we are defenseless towards the enemy.
We found that the first piece of armor is the belt of truth and we learned that we must have the belt of truth firmly fastened around our waist, we just can’t have it as part of our arsenal, is must be in place each day of our lives.
We confirmed through scripture that Satan is a liar, and scripture tells us also that Jesus is the truth and we must know the truth, He must not only live inside of us, but we should live out HIS truth in our daily lives. The translation of that means: a person professing to everyone that he or she is a Christian, cannot go to church on Sunday and then live the rest of the week like there is no God. That is not having the belt of truth on.
The second piece of the Armor is the Breastplate of righteousness, and we learned that righteousness comes to us as a gift from God because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Remember the statement last week that the devil cares about the very same thing that Jesus does.
The devil cares about the same piece of real estate in us as the King of Kings does, as the Savior of the World does.
The Devil wants our hearts. The Breastplate of righteousness when worn protects the heart, the very thing the enemy is after.
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness helps us live out the righteousness in our lives. Remember what James the brother of Jesus said in James 2:18 he said “Show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works”. Another words it is because of my faith, what I believe in, what I live for, what I love,….is why I do the things I do.
The third piece to the armor is we are to be fitted with the right shoes,, some shoes are too small, they hurt our feet, others are too big and they cause blisters, and the fact is when our feet hurt it effects the rest of the body, So Paul is saying we must have the right shoe on,,, our Gospel shoes help us to take our stand, to stand our ground and to stand firm so that we can be ready to share our peace that we have with others. Listen to me
A HEART AT PEACE WITH GOD BOTH STANDS FIRM AND MOVES FORWARD, TRUSTING in God and PROCLAIMING Him.
This brings us to our fourth piece of Armor to be put on The Shield of Faith.
We find it in verse 16 in all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish, all the flaming darts of the evil one”.
God uses items that people are familiar with in the physical world as teaching tools for the Christian life. Of course, this full armor of God is for the spiritual battle every Christian is confronted with! And so again, in order to understand what these pieces of the armor are good for in the spiritual world, we need to first understand their purposes in the physical.
Paul looks at the Roman Soldier as an illustration or example for us to see. Two types of shields were commonly used by Roman soldiers. One was a small, lightweight, round shield that was strapped to the soldier’s left forearm and was used to take blows during hand-to-hand combat. How many of you have ever felt at the end of the day you’ve been in hand to hand combat with the enemy?
The other, which Paul refers to here, was a large shield measuring about four and a half feet high and two and a half feet wide. It was made of sturdy wood covered with metal and a thick layer of oil-treated leather. The metal deflected arrows, while the oily leather extinguished the fiery pitch with which arrows were commonly swabbed. That type of shield was ideal for full-body protection.
What The shield protects us with, is our faith in God. What is faith?
If we look at the original Greek word for faith, means a firm conviction of belief to give complete trust.
Hebrews 11.verse 1 tells us that: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”
Faith is a firm belief in something even if it is not seen!
The best way to illustrate this faith is oxygen, We must have oxygen to breath however we don’t actually see it. You cannot see the air we breathe, but you know that is there. You have faith that every time you take a breath there will be the unseen oxygen.
Ephesians 6:23(Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ) Verse 23 tells us that faith comes from God.
Romans 10:17 (So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ). this tells us, that, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Faith comes from God’s Word!
Now, is faith a strong belief on God’s Word?
What good is it if I say, I have faith in a shield to protect me, but I leave it lying on the floor? Or I leave it at home as I march off to the battle?
James 2:17-18 tells us, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. And look back again at Hebrews 11. After defining faith in verse 1, we read all the actions taken by godly people are BY faith!
Putting all of these truths together about faith, let me suggest a simple definition: Faith is taking action on what you believe!
Godly faith, which is the true faith that God wants us to have, is taking action in what we believe from God’s Word!
If a shield is designed to block attacks, then our Shield of Faith is to block the lies and the schemes of the devil. How can we have a winning life with the Shield of faith? How can we extinguish, all the flaming darts of the evil one?.
First, Our Shield of Faith is our response with God’s Truths to the Devil’s lies!
Remember how Jesus Christ Himself responded to the Devil’s lies when He was tempted in the Desert? He responded with Scripture. Each time He responded with “IT IS WRITTEN” He responded with scripture.
We are to respond with God’s truths when we are given lies.
Secondly, a shield is to be held by the arm and ready to be moved to where the attack is coming from. In other words, Christians must be alert to look out for the attacks of the devil.
We are to keep watch. Paul continues to tell us to keep watch, in fact when Jesus went to pray in the garden, Jesus wanted the disciples to keep watch…what are we keeping watch for? The Schemes of the devil.
And our Shields of Faith must not be tiny; we are to grow in faith by hearing and studying God’s Word more and more.
Are we reading and listening to God’s Word on a daily basis? If not, our shield of Faith will be tiny and we will find it difficult to block the flaming arrows of Satan.
1 John 5:4 tells For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--- our Faith.
Psalm 28:7 Says the Lord is my Strength and my shield.
First comes the belt of truth, then the breastplate of righteousness, then the gospel shoes, the shield of faith
The next piece of armor is the Helmet of Salvation
Verse 17 and take the helmet of salvation,
You know the head is a particularly vulnerable part of our bodies. All kinds of people wear helmets from construction workers, Nascar drivers, football players, motorcycle riders and soldiers even wear them.
A helmet protects the head from being injured when hit by something. The head must be protected because it holds the brain which is crucial for all thinking and actions! Our brains are so important that our heads must be protected if there is a chance of injury. You can go to the Internet and read stories after stories of people protected from major head injuries because they wore a helmet. According to a report by the United States Army, over half of the American Soldiers who fought in World War II, would have been killed if they didn’t wear their helmets!
A helmet is to protect the head because the head holds the brain which is crucial for all thinking and actions of our bodies!
So, What is this Helmet of Salvation?
The spiritual helmet protects our minds and salvation is about being saved from God’s eternal judgment because of sin.
Jesus in Hebrew means Salvation- Jesus is the Salvation.
The Helmet of Salvation is to protect our spiritual minds by knowing we are going to heaven! If you are a Christian you are a citizen of heaven! We belong to God! We are is children.
We need to understand that full armor of God is for Christians, those who already believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior! The Helmet of Salvation is not about becoming saved but, to remind Christians that we are already saved and our destination is heaven.
How can we have a winning life using the helmet of salvation? by being careful of what we put into our minds? Our sight, our smells, our taste, our touch and what we hear immediately go straight to our minds.
We must be careful of what we put into our minds
Romans 12:1 says: I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Living as a sacrifice for God is our spiritual worship, We cannot do these things in this first verse without the Armor of God
Verse 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Listen, The enemy wants to confuse us, making us think that what we see with our physical eyes is most important, what our smells, our taste, our touch and what we hear tell us is most important. If we can just make a little more money and buy a few more things, and have a little more comfort, then we will be winning the battle. But that lie shouldn’t get past our belt of truth. It is a distortion of reality!
-Our enemy wants to confuse us about who we are, about who God is, and even about who our enemy is. Just take a close look at the movies and television shows or how about the commercials, the music and the arts in today’s world. But take HEART! God has given us the reality and the mindset of salvation to clear up any confusion about what is at stake here. God will save us, but we must keep trusting in His promises and obeying from our hearts. God doesn’t want you to live IN A dazed and confused WORLD! He wants you to keep your head, know your resources, know your target, know the tactics of your opponent, and know that salvation is coming!
Put on the hope of salvation as a helmet. The promise that Jesus is coming back for us so that we can be with Him forever gives us hope. That is the helmet of salvation. Are you ready for His return? Not everyone is.
This brings us to the Sword of the Spirit,
I see the Sword of the Spirit as the Soldiers primary weapon. It varied in length from 6 to 18 inches. It was the common sword carried by Roman foot soldiers and was the main weapon in hand to hand combat. Carried in a sheath attached to their belts, it was always at hand and ready for use. The soldier made sure that this sword was sharp and ready for battle.
As Christians we are to take up our weapon, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Hebrews chapter 4 verse 12 tells us that “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.
Just like a soldier prepares his weapon for battle, we can prepare each day by first:
Owning a sword, we should have our own personal Bible and treasure it. Often you will hear people hold up their Bible and say I have my sword, or I don’t go anywhere without my weapon. If you do not own a Bible and you cannot purchase one there is a Bible in pew in front of you I want you to take it home with you. It is yours. Use it every day, read it every day, and strengthen yourself with it every day. Don’t take a bible for someone else if they want one tell them where you got it, and they can have one if they come to church.
First we are to have our own.
Second we are to know it. David said in Psalm 119:11
“I have stored up Your Word in my heart,
that I might not sin against You.”
In the same way, each we must store up God’s Word in own our hearts so we will avoid sinning against the Master, and so we will can have victory against the Satan.
Then we are to take care of God’s word by reading it the way God intended us to read it.
Next we need to put God’s word into practice. We must apply God’s word into our lives; the sword of the Spirit will not be powerful for us if we don’t.
We should memorize scripture and be prepared to use it, to rebuke Satan, and to give others the hope that we have.
That is why I send out BE encouraged messages so people will see the word of God and a short devotion… If you don’t receive that, place be encouraged on your connection card and I will add you to our list.
And finally while preparing to do Battle we are to be alert and always be praying verse 18 tells us the finishing touch of the Armor of God is prayer.
18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Praying is not one of the parts of the Armor, but it is certainly one of the key components to victory in the battle field. In the Old Testament to gain victory over an opponent there was prayer and seeking of God’s will.
If you want victory- prayer is an essential component.
Here in verse 18 of Ephesians it gives us some insight on prayer.
Here are three points about prayer:
First, is we should be praying all the time. Not just when we are in the battle but we should be always keep on praying. In The book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah was distressed from what happened in the city of Jerusalem, the king asked him what was it he wanted? And before he answered the King, Nehemiah prayed.
But you may be asking How can anyone pray at all time?
One way is to make quick, brief prayers your habitual response to every situation you meet throughout the day
Another way is to order your life around God’s desires and teachings so that your very life becomes a prayer. You don’t have to isolate yourself from other people and from daily work in order to pray constantly. You can make prayer your life and your life a prayer while living in a world that needs God’s powerful influence.
Second is the priority of prayer. Prayer is of such importance that Paul uses words like “all” and “always” to describe our use of it. Regardless of what the occasion is, Paul says at all times pray in the Spirit. One way of looking at this is to realize that any prayer that is not prayed in the Spirit is a lifeless prayer. So just because you are praying over a meal or saying your bedtime prayers (both being based on routines), don’t pray a lifeless prayer. This is hard because sometimes we are busy or the kids do a basic payer we taught them. We must let the Holy Spirit guide us in our prayers.
And third we should pray for spiritual victory of other saints. This does not mean that we should Gossip about other people, but we should earnestly pray for other brother and sisters. 1 Timothy 2:1 say’s I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. If you are looking for someone to pray for you don’t have to go very far… Let’s face it we all could use someone else praying for us.
Prayer does make a difference, in ourselves and in our world
Jesus sat on a colt that has never been ridden before and the large crowd laid the cloaks and palm branches on the road and shouted Hosanna,, Hosanna in the highest.. as Jesus rides into Jerusalem. The Pharisee intervened and told Jesus to stop the shouting of the crowd and Jesus replies that if they stop the rocks themselves will proclaim His name! Jesus was riding into victory with a hero’s welcome that even if man did not proclaim all creation would.
Essentially Jesus was taking His victory laps because He knew that the very people that shouted His Kingship would be mostly the very people that shouted for His crucifixion. His Hero’s welcome was because Jesus knew that His death was right around the corner.
There was so much evil in the world that God sent His one and Only Son to die for us, because God loves you just that much.
That Hero’s welcome into Jerusalem was for the salvation of you and me. It was for the opportunity to be given to us to choose between life and death. To choose to put on the Armor or not to put it on.
That hero’s welcome was for “victory in Jesus”
This Sunday you need to know that only the Christian can Armor UP!
The belt of truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the shoes of readiness, the shield of Faith, the helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit is only for Christians. Jesus took that victory lap so we would have it to battle the enemy in our lives.
It takes the whole armor of God to have a winning life.
It takes the whole armor of God to stand out from the crowd.
It takes the whole armor of God to stand for the truth.
Do you have the Armor of God?