Standing Firm in the Armour of God – Ephesians 6:10 -24

Being a Christian is not easy.  It’s fantastic! But, not easy.  Every Christian enters a spiritual battle and the enemy, Satan, wants to bring us down.  God in his love and provision for us, gives us spiritual armour to wear that we might stand firm, even as Satan and his evil spirits tries to make us fall.

 

Transcript

Our Heavenly Father, we’re so grateful to you for the gift of your word. And we thank you for the book of Ephesians that we’ve been reading over the past few weeks. Lord God, I thank you for the truth contained in this book of the Bible and the way it is just so powerful in speaking truth into our lives and changing our hearts. And, and so Lord, I praise you for the sermon series and all the work that you’ve done so far, I thank you for the instructions and the commands and the ways we are to live in the second half of the book. And I pray as we come to finish this sermon series in Ephesians 6, Lord, may You speak to us again by your Holy Spirit. Lord, I pray that it wouldn’t be my words but it would be your words, coming through in this sermon. That you would be honoured and glorified, and lifted high and each of us would lift our eyes to see the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour during this time.  Come, Holy Spirit, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

 

Sit, Walk & Stand

Today is the final part of our sermon series in the book of Ephesians. And it has been said that you can summarise the whole book of Ephesians in three words. I don’t know whether any of you ever heard this before. The words are “sit”, “walk”, and “stand”. In chapters 1, 2 and 3 of Ephesians, for Christians, it is all about sitting, because in Ephesians 1, 2 & 3, God does all of the work. God moves mightily in salvation. God blesses the Christians.  God calls them from being far away to being very, very near.  God rescues Christians. And so all the Christians have to do in reading Ephesians 1, 2 & 3 is sit and receive the salvation, that God has won for us, by believing in Jesus Christ. So chapters 1, 2 & 3 are actually not about doing very much at all if you’re a Christian, but just knowing how powerful and mighty God is, in salvation.

Then in chapters four to five, Paul starts writing to the Christians and starts speaking to us Christians here in Fareham and tells us to walk. In Ephesians 4:1 Paul writes this, “I therefore a prisoner of the Lord urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”.  In 4:17, Paul says, “You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do”. In chapter five, verse two, Paul says, “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us”. In chapter five, verse 15, Paul writes, “look carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise”.

So after sitting (and only after sitting), and receiving the salvation of God… Only once we’ve put our faith in Jesus Christ and received all the blessings that God pours out, out upon us… Only then does Paul start writing to us and giving us instructions and how we should walk and live our lives. Once you’re a child of God, then the Bible gives you instructions. This is how you should walk says Paul in chapters four to five – in love and wisdom, in submission, in purity, in ways that are pleasing to God. So we’ve got, we’re sitting in chapters 1, 2 & 3,receiving God’s salvation.  In chapter 4 & 5, we’re walking and living out the salvation that Jesus Christ has won for us.

And then in chapter six, we’re called to stand. So, if you’ve got a Bible turn to Ephesians 6. And I’m going to finish off the whole book of Ephesians by reading verses 10, to the end of the book, so 10 to 24.  And it should appear on the screen behind me.

 

Ephesians 6:10-24

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour 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 armour 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 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.

21 So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

 

Satan wants to take you down

I want to start this morning by giving you some sobering news from that passage that I’ve just read to you. Some sobering truth about the Christian life from Ephesians 6.

  • From verse 12, if you’re a Christian here this morning, I want to tell you, you are in a battle. You are in a wrestling match, you are in a fight, not against human beings. Your fight isn’t against your annoying neighbour, your battle is not against people in the workplace who you don’t quite get on with. No, your battle, your fight, your wrestling match is against the Spiritual forces of evil.
  • From verse 11. If you’re a Christian here this morning, the Devil, Satan is scheming against you.
  • From verse 16, the evil one, Satan, the devil, the leader of the Spiritual forces of evil, is aiming flaming darts at you. That’s obviously a metaphor, for the way Satan likes to send accusations and lies at us and seeks to influence us in negative ways. He seeks to take us down. That’s what this passage is saying. Satan with his army of demons, and evil forces, wants to take you down.

If you’re not a Christian, and you’re so welcome here this morning, I don’t know what you’ve heard about becoming a Christian. Sometimes Christians can paint this wonderful, amazing picture of what it is to be a Christian. And let me tell you is wonderful to know Jesus Christ, who is God himself who resides in heaven. It’s is a wonderful, wonderful thing. It’s amazing to be a Christian. In knowing God, there are deep rivers of joy and love and purpose and truth. It’s truly glorious, to be a Christian.

But let me tell you this, it is not easy to be a Christian. It is not easy. To be a Christian, to be invited to become a Christian is an invitation to enter into a battlefield. As soon as anyone becomes a Christian, you instantly have a determined and powerful enemy in Satan. This Spiritual being who seeks to undo the work of God, he who seeks to oppose God in all things.

And Satan works subtly. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church decided to give Satan horns and goats legs and make him bright red and paint really scary pictures of him and plaster them all over the world. They wanted to scare people into becoming Christians. But the problem with that is it made Satan out to look a complete fool.  He appears to be really, really obvious and blatantly evil and terrible. Well, that’s actually not how Satan works in the Bible.  In the Bible, Satan works and very subtly. He schemes, he plots, he fires accusations and lies against us as Christians. And his goal is to take Christians down, to cause them to fall.

You remember in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and they’re enjoying the presence of God. They’re walking with Him in the garden.  And the serpent comes.  Satan, in serpent form comes and tricks Adam and Eve, speaks lies to Adam and Eve, twisting God’s word in the Garden of Eden, so that Eve and then Adam eat the fruit which God has commanded them not to eat. That moment in history is called “The Fall”. The moment when humanity disobeyed God, they moved from joyful obedience of walking with God in the Garden of Eden, to disobey and God and rebelling against him.  And that was called “The Fall”. And that’s what Satan wants to do to you Christians. He wants you to fall. He wants you to turn from believing in Jesus Christ, to disobeying and rebelling against God. He wants you to turn from life to death. He wants you to turn from light to darkness. And he’s going to do whatever he can to make that happen in your life.

This passage in Ephesians 6 is full of quite sobering, serious truth.

 

Be Strong & Put on the Whole Armour of God

So Paul writes to the Ephesian Christians, and he says to them, “Be strong”. In verse 10. He says, “Stand against the schemes of the devil”. He says, “Make sure you withstand in the evil day”. He says, “Stand firm”. He says, “Stand therefore”. So, this morning sermon is all about answering this question – How can we stand firm as Christians, when we are engaged in Spiritual warfare, against the evil powers, including Satan, who want us to fall, he want us he wants to take us down? How can we stand firm through that? The answer is given in verse 11. And then in verse 13.

Put on the whole armour of God”. And then in verse 13, he writes, “Take up the whole armour of God”. I like the wording of verse 13, because it gives us impression that God has laid out this full set armour for us as Christians. He’s given us a helmet, he’s given us a breastplate, he’s given us a belt, he’s given us the right shoes, he’s given us a shield, he’s given us a sword. God has crafted and laid out a full set of armour. And all we need to do is take it up, pick it up and put it on.  Yet, sometimes we’re up and out the door before we put on the armour that God has given us. And honestly, we leave it lying in place, instead of taking up, we just leave it behind. That’s not what God wants us to do. God wants us to put on the armour of God so we can stand firm.

Now before I get into the details of the armour and what God has given us, I want I just want to throw a few things that I’ve seen in the text and, and a few things that are in the Old Testament that help us understand what was going on in Ephesians 6

So, the first thing I want us to see as Christians is this: strength does not come from within us. The strength to stand is not me going, “Oh, I really need to try really hard to stand firm”. It’s not an inner resolve in my heart that’s going to keep me standing when Satan tries to bring me down. Rather, the call in Ephesians 6 is to look externally, and to know that our strength comes from armour that God has given us.

Sometimes we can talk about strength coming from within. Well, actually, in this passage, the strength comes from armour which is external, that is given to us by God. And yet at the same time, the armour is things like truth and righteousness and faith.  So, God crafts this external armour, so we’re looking to God for strength, not within ourselves. And yet this armour that God gives us not only covers up on the outside, but starts to change us on the inside as well.

If you feel weak this morning, in and of yourself, me too. Every single one of us in this room is weak. This is how I feel this morning – there’s no way I can withstand Satan’s attacks. That’s how I feel in some ways. How am I supposed to do it? I’m so weak, I get tired easily. I’m just a weak human being.

But, the key is not finding strength in and of yourself. It’s about finding and seeing the strength that God provides. And when you look externally to God for your strength, suddenly he clothes you in this amazing armour. And this concept is just brilliant, is so strong, and mighty. Am I weak? Absolutely, I’m weak, but my god is strong. My God is mighty, and he has given me a set of Spiritual armour so strong, that even weak little me can stand under Satan’s attacks. So, look externally at God and Christ for strength. Do not find your strength inwardly.

In fact, and this is amazing. This is amazing. And as I’ve studied this passage, I’ve started to see this beautiful truth.  When you start to place the armour that Paul describes in Ephesians 6 in it’s Old Testament context, you start to see that in the Old Testament, it’s God and God’s Messiah, who wears the very same armour that God gives to us.

So in Isaiah 11:5, there’s a verse that says it’s the Messiah, who’s wearing a belt of faithfulness around his loins.  Now, the Hebrew word for faithfulness, when it was translated into Greek was translated as alletheia. And alletheia is the Greek word for truth. So in Ephesians 6 where Paul says you want to put on the belt of truth, he’s saying, you want to put on the same belt of faithfulness that the Messiah wore in Isaiah chapter 11.

In Isaiah 59:17, God Himself, puts on as righteousness a breastplate, and puts on his head, a helmet of salvation. In Isaiah 52:7, it says this, “how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news, who publishes salvation, who says to Israel our God reigns”.  Isaiah 52 is a messianic passage of scripture. And verse seven, along with a verse in Nahum, where it’s quoted, and the Ephesians 6 – they’re the only three places in the Bible where you see feet, and good news and peace all together in one verse. And so Ephesians 6 Paul says put on the shoes with a readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, he’s alluding to Isaiah 52:7, where the Messiah, who has beautiful feet and brings good news and publishes salvation, and says to Israel your God reigns.

The sword of the Spirit comes from Isaiah 49:2, when God’s servant, the Messiah, speaks and says, “The Lord has made my mouth like a sharp sword”. And we also know, if we’ve been a Christian for a long time, we know the story of Jesus in the wilderness, where Satan tempts Jesus three times, on each occasion, Jesus quotes scripture back at Satan to turn back his lies. And so you see in that chapter of Scripture, how Jesus wields the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God to defend himself against Satan’s lies.

Here in Ephesians when Paul says, “Put on the armour of God”, he’s calling us to put on the armour that God himself has already worn. Imagine this picture. Imagine this picture God’s saying, “Here, I’ve worn this helmet. I’ve won salvation. Here, take the helmet of salvation. I’ve worn this breastplate. Here, let me give you my breastplate of righteousness which I have worn for the salvation of my people. I’ve gone out to battle and I’ve won salvation. Now, here, take my shoes, that fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, I want you to wear them now. Hey, I’m taking off my belt. Wear the belt of truth as you go Christian. My armour becomes your armour. Christian, my beloved son or daughter.”

The effectiveness of the armour listed in Ephesians 6 comes from God’s own strength. He has worn this armour and proved it to be effective. No one defeated God when he put on the armour of God, he went out for the salvation of the world.  Jesus Christ, wearing this very armour, won the salvation of all Christians everywhere. He defeated the greatest enemies and he defeated death, he defeated sin upon the cross. So, Jesus has worn this armour.  The Messiah, God has worn this armour and he gives it to us. Christians do not find their strength internally in their own inner resolve. Rather they are given strength by God who gives us this armour who lays out this armour that he has crafted, that he has worn, for us also to put on.

 

So now let us consider those pieces of armour in a little more detail.

The Belt of Truth

So firstly, in verse 14, we’re told to fasten on the belt of truth. One of Satan’s schemes is to feed us lies. Satan says things like this to Christians. “God doesn’t really love you”, “The Holy Spirit isn’t going to help you if you do that”, “God doesn’t mind it if you do a little sin over here or tell a little lie”. Satan loves to feed little lies to us that aren’t true. And so it’s very, very important as Christians we are protected by the belt of truth. We need to cling to truth into thoughts and in our lives. What is true. Because Satan is going to lie to us and we need to be able to keep him at bay to keep him back by holding on and fastening on truth.

Jesus Himself describes himself as the truth Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life”. So, in some sense, when we’re putting on the belt of truth, we’re putting on Christ Himself. He is the truth. He is the greatest truth in all of history. And in Ephesians 4:21, Paul writes this, “you have heard about Christ, and we’re taught in him as the truth is in Jesus.” So, to put on the belt of truth is to remember that the truth is in Jesus Christ, the truth of the good news, the gospel, the truth of the gospel – that all who believe in Jesus Christ can have their sins forgiven and can have eternal life – the truth of that gospel is in Jesus Christ. We need to know the truth of Jesus’s words that all he spoke is true for Jesus can only speak truth, that he is God and God is true. We need to remember all that he said, when he walked the earth, we need to remember the truth of his existence, the truth of his death, the truth of his resurrection. And we need to bind, fasten up all these truths in our lives, and wear this belt of truth to protect us against Satan’s lies. To know Christ’s truth is to wear and remember those truths, but also to make a decision to live honestly, and to be truthful in all that you do.

So are you wearing the belt of truth this morning?

 

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Secondly, also in verse 14, Paul talks to us about the breastplate of righteousness.

Now, the opposite of righteousness in the Bible is guilt and wickedness.  So when a person when a Christian is declared righteous, they are declared in the sight of God, to be good and innocent.

You know, every single Christian has taken part in a great exchange.  Every single Christian has taken part in this wonderful, great exchange. Christians give Jesus their sin. Jesus takes upon himself our sin. And in return, every Christian receives Christ’s righteousness. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life. He was completely blameless in all that he did. He was always good, always kind, always caring, everything Jesus did was good.  And so in this great exchange, Jesus says “I’ll take your sin and you receive my righteousness”, so that you now stand before God in Christ’s righteousness. You are blameless, you are good in God’s sight, whereas Christ takes upon himself all our sins and all the things that were done wrong and dies on the cross a criminal’s death.

We give Jesus our dirty, torn, ruined garment of sin. And Jesus gives us a breastplate of righteousness to wear instead. Let each of us put on this breastplate, each and every morning. And as we put on this breastplate, let us remember we have imputed righteousness.  In God’s eyes, we are righteous, we are innocent, we are good. We are his beloved children. You know, when we, when we mess up, and we do mess up as Christians, we’re tempted to think… Well, at least I am. Sometimes I’m tempted to kind of wallow in despair and misery and go “Wow, I’m such a wretched human being”. After I’ve done some truly awful thing, I’m just so selfish and, and just terrible, terrible human being, you’ve been in that place of just despairing your own sinfulness and wretchedness.

When that Christian is despairing and in that place, he is actually not really equipped for battle. In that moment, they’re in a vulnerable place, when they’re thinking in that way.

Without Christ, that’s true. I am a wretched human being, I am proud, I am selfish. I am a terrible person in so many different ways. And yet, because of the great exchange that has taken place in God’s sight, I’m not a wretched human being. I’m not another terrible person. Rather, I’m clothed in the breastplate of righteousness. And when God looks at me, all he sees is Jesus’ righteousness. And so, in terms of the way I think about my identity and in terms of the way I should get up and go and do my day, I should think “I’m wearing the breastplate of righteousness”. Yeah, I mess up. And I need to admit to God and confess my sins to God and say, Sorry for the things I’ve done wrong. But I shouldn’t wallow in despair. Let’s say “Thank you for your goodness, thank you that Jesus died on the cross. Now I wear the breastplate of righteousness. And in God’s sight, I’m his child, righteous and I’m good and blameless in His sight. That gives me tremendous confidence,to know that I’m wearing that breastplate of righteousness.” What can Satan say to me? If God sees me as righteous? What can he say to me, if God thinks of me as his child, innocent and good in His sight?  So let each of us put on the belt of truth, but also the breastplate of righteousness as we go about our lives.

 

The Shoes of Readiness, given by the Gospel of Peace

Thirdly, in verse 15, were given shoes of readiness, given by the gospel of peace.

This is the gospel of peace.  We were once enemies of God. Every single one of us in this room, once enemies of God, maybe some of us still are enemies of God.  We rebelled against his kingdom.   We rebelled against his authority, we disobeyed His commands, and in doing so we made ourselves enemies of God.  Now, in Jesus Christ, the punishment for treason, the penalty of treason has been paid by Jesus Christ upon the cross. We were guilty of the sin of treason because we were rebelling against the king, enemies of the king. But Christ died on the cross, taking our punishment upon himself. So, all of us who believe in Jesus Christ, many of us in this room already believe in Jesus Christ, we are no longer enemies, but rather, friends of God. And so we are once at war with God, fighting against him, rebelling against him, now have peace with God.

He’s my friend, I can say “Jesus is my friend, God is my friend.” That’s an amazing sentence, to say, Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace, has won our peace as Christians. That’s the gospel of peace. That’s the good news of peace.

And so Paul says this good news about peace, this good news of peace should give us a readiness. Primarily, he’s speaking about a readiness to share the gospel, to share this gospel of peace with others. If you know enemies of God in your life: co workers, friends, neighbours, family members. If you know people who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, they are currently set as enemies of God. Our role is to put on the shoes of readiness that say, I’m going to share the good news of peace with as many people as I possibly can. Do so in a wise way, in a gentle, loving, caring way, but not to shrink back. But always be ready.  God gives us opportunities in our daily lives to share the gospel. And sometimes we’re not ready. Sometimes we’re not ready to take those opportunities.

I think I’ve said this before, but I used to be part of an organisation called Christians in Sport. And I used to play hockey for my university hockey team. And the leaders of Christian in Sport said, “Every time you put on your astroturfs to play hockey, I want you to think of those shoes as the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace.”  And so every time I got ready in the changing room with my teammates, and I put on those astroturfs, I thought, I’m putting on shoes of readiness to share the gospel. I’m a Christian in this team, I want to share the gospel with my teammates. And so every time put on those shoes, yes, I am ready now to share the gospel. And, and actually, I probably should have done it at the beginning of the day, and but of all my shoes, the shoes of readiness, but I just have this particular association with these astroturfs being shoes of readiness, because I wanted to share the gospel with my teammates. And I encourage each of you to do the same. To think of the shoes that you put on in the morning as the shoes of readiness of the gospel of peace.

Even if you don’t put on your shoes, you can still think of your bare feet as shoes of readiness to share the gospel of peace. Please be ready to share the gospel.

 

The Shield of Faith

In verse 16, Paul talks about the shield of faith.  And he says faith has the power to extinguish the fiery darts from the evil one. Those sharp piercing accusations that Satan sends to bring us down and to set our lives on fire can be rendered useless by faith. Faith in Christ is a fireproof shield.

I want to tell you that it is not the size of your faith that matters. It Matthew 17:20, Jesus says, “if you have faith, the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains”. And the reason he’s able to say that is because it’s not the size of your faith that matters. It’s rather the person or the thing your faith is put in. So though my faith may be very small, the size of a mustard seed, I put my faith in Jesus Christ, one who is very mighty and glorious and big. And as a consequence, though, my faith is small, because my faith is put in someone who has all power and all authority, Jesus in me can do mighty things like move mountains.  It’s not the size of the faith that matters. And that’s the same with this shield of faith. The Shield isn’t the size your faith. If you have a faith the size of a mustard seed, and you like have a shield like the size of a mustard seed, you’re not going to be able to deflect many, many arrows. But I’m telling you, this is not the size of your faith that matters. The power of the shield, the strength of the shield to defend you does not come from how big your faith is, it comes from who you put your faith in. And if you have your faith in Jesus Christ, then you’re putting your faith in the one who has all power and authority. And so that builds and constructs a shield of enormous proportions. Because Jesus Christ has all power, authority, he can deflect anything.

Our faith is placed in Jesus Christ who is mighty in creation. He’s mighty to conquer sin, he is mighty to destroy death.  He is mighty to rule over all. And because of that, we have an all conquering shield.

And we just need to take up that shield by putting our faith in Jesus Christ.

 

The Helmet of Salvation

Paul talks about the helmet of salvation in verse 17. Now when we look to Isaiah, when God puts on the helmet of salvation, he goes out in wrath and anger to rescue his people Israel. So he goes out to destroy the nations who have come against Israel, he goes out as his mighty warrior to defeat those who rebelled against God and the enemies of him to rescue the nation of Israel.

But in the New Testament, Christ wears the helmet of salvation, to face and conquer the greatest foes of all – sin and death. And now in Ephesians 6, Jesus, who has conquered sin and death, hands over his helmet, and Christians wear the helmet of salvation with huge confidence for our salvation has already been won by Jesus. We have been freed from shame into glory. We’ve been rescued from dark to light, we’ve been redeemed from death to life.  That has already been accomplished by Jesus Christ. And so we wear this helmet of salvation not because we’re going out to win our own salvation but because we know salvation has already been won for us by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And knowledge of that salvation, grants us huge protection from the schemes of the evil one.

 

The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God

Finally, in verse 17, Paul talks about the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  We’re given a sword, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Sometimes Christians can talk about word and Spirit, as if there are two ends of the spectrum. I don’t know whether you’ve ever heard that in churches, like people say, “Oh, I’m a Spiritual person. I prophesy, I experience the Holy Spirit. But I don’t really read the Bible. That’s not my gifting. That’s not my calling. That’s not who I am.” And then at the other end of the spectrum of guys who go, “I’m the word guy, I’m the word person. I love the Bible, read the word all the time, I want long sermons.” (Sometimes people call me a word guy,) “I like reading the Bible, and I’m just a word person.” And yet, in studying and reading the Word, there’s no understanding that the Holy Spirit is the author of the word. And when you read the word, you are encountering the Holy Spirit, He himself meets with you and changes you. It’s the Holy Spirit, who helps you understand and apply the Bible as you read it.

And so I think this spectrum, you’ve got Spiritual people at one and the word people, the other and I think it’s a nonsense. It’s an absolute nonsense. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. The Holy Spirit wrote this book, he is the primary author of this book. And so if you’re a word person, you are a Spiritual person. And if your word person who reads this without encountering and, and knowing the Holy Spirit, you’re not a word person, you’re not really submitting to this book, if you don’t have the Holy Spirit. And if you’re a Spiritual person, and you move been in prophecies, and tongues and all these amazing Spiritual gifts, but you don’t have the word, then you’re not a Spiritual person, to be a Spiritual person is to love the word and Spirit because the Spirit is the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. He is the author of this book.

So I want us as a church, I want me as a Christian, I want each of us individually to be word and Spirit people. When we read the word we know the Spirit makes with us. And when we prophesied, we do that in accordance with how the Bible tells us to do to use those gifts. Let’s be Spiritual people who encounter God in prayer and be filled with the Holy Spirit and experience God in amazing ways. Let’s be word people, as well. You read this book, you take it seriously, you submit to it. I tell you, my most powerful times of meeting with God, have not been separate from the word. It’s not like I close my Bible and go over here and then God meets with me powerfully.  No! When I’ve got my Bible open and I’m reading God’s word and praying and being filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s where I encounter God most powerfully. The Holy Spirit often works with the word, uses the word to speak to us. Are you a word and Spirit person? Are you wielding the sword of the Spirit, in defence? against Satan? Are you reading God’s Word? Are you meditating on it? Are you memorising it?

Do not neglect this wonderful gift of God, but read it with the Spirit.

There’s a there’s a Casting Crowns song all about Satan’s schemes. And there’s a line that says, “the truth lies dusty on your shelf, and the sword that you could slay him with has become an ornament and nothing else.” There are some of us, potentially, in this room, who the Bible is just an ornament on your shelf in your house. It’s become dusty, and you haven’t picked it up for a very long time. And I tell you, if you’re if you’re living like that you are giving Satan a way into your life. Because this is a sword that you can use to defend yourself.

And so don’t just rely on Sunday mornings. Yes, we prioritise the word on our Sunday morning, but let each of us be people who daily pick up the Bible and read it. That’s a challenge. That’s a challenge to you this morning, I pray the Holy Spirit will convict you and give you a renewed vigour and energy to read the word. We need to read our Bibles. If you want, if you want to come to me, and we can work out a Bible reading plan, I’ll be happy to do that. But we need to be people who take our Bibles who learn it, you memorise it, who read it, that we can take down Satan when he tries to take us down.

 

Pray

So fasten on the belt of truth. Take up the breastplate of righteousness, put on the shoes of readiness given by the gospel of peace. Take up the shield of faith in Jesus Christ, put on the helmet of salvation, and take up the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  Clothe yourself with these things, and you will stand firm against Satan and all his allies. Then in verse 18, Paul says this, “praying at all times in the Spirit”.

You know, I’ve kind of expressed these pieces of armour like it’s about knowing things. You need to know the truth and remember the truth. You need to know that you’re righteous enough, to know that you have salvation. You need to know that you have faith in Jesus Christ, you have to know the word. That’s true to some extent. But if you want to truly put on these pieces of armour, you need to pray these things on. You need to pray in the Holy Spirit.

And so my main piece of application this morning is this. We need to be people who pray over ourselves daily. If you feel like you can’t do daily, I would say Monday morning every Monday morning you have to pray over these pieces of Spiritual armour that God gives to us. Pray prayers like this.

“Lord, thank you for the belt of truth. I thank you that Christ is the truth. I thank you that his gospel is true. I thank you he that his life was true. Thank you that his death was true. I thank you his resurrection was true. Lord, may I fasten that around my life today? Now I fasten the belt of truth over mistake.

Keep praying like this. “Lord, I thank you for the breastplate of righteousness. I was once a sinner who was who was wicked in your sight. But now you’ve given me Christ’s righteousness. I wear that breastplate today, may it protect me from any lies that are thrown at me.

Keep praying like this “I’m putting on shoes of readiness. I thank you for the gospel of peace. I pray today I would be ready to share with as many people as possible. Well thank you for the shield of faith that you have given to me. My faith is in Jesus Christ and He is an all conquering person. He is an conquering shield about me. Well, I put on the helmet of salvation Lord, you have won salvation for me, I know you, I’ve relationship with you, I’m going to heaven. I have a wonderful, glorious inheritance. Because of the salvation you have won. I’m going to wear that as a helmet today, may it protect me, protect my mind, protect all about me, as I go into the world. And I thank you for your word. I’m going to read it this morning, I’m going to spend some time reading your word, I pray as I read it, you would enable me to remember it and to hold on to it and to wield it as truth against any who would seek to persuade me that it isn’t true. Lord, clothe me in all your armour.”

That’s the application today. Go out from here and pray often and regularly, daily in an ideal world, that God would clothe you in the Spiritual armour. Because if you do that, if you live that way, you will be protected from Satan. God will uphold you.  God has given you this mighty wonderful armour that cannot be defeated. If we’re active in praying, and wearing that in our minds, because it’s a Spiritual battle that we’re being called into, we will go into that Spiritual battle well equipped to fight for God, not against flesh and blood, but against the Spiritual powers and authorities.

 

God clothes his servants and disarms his enemies

I want to I want to finish with one final thought. In Ephesians 6, God provides and clothes his servants with Spiritual armour and weaponry. Now will you compare with me Colossians 2:15. Paul is describing what Christ has achieved on the cross and He says this, “God has disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in Christ”. So in Ephesians 6, God is preparing his army, he is clothing his people, each of us in his armour.  And in Colossians 2, God is disarming and taking away all the weapons and the armour of the enemy.

Jesus Christ on the cross defeated Satan.  Though he is powerful, and he is determined to take us down. He has already been defeated by Jesus Christ upon the cross. Jesus defeated Satan. So we don’t need to fear Satan. We don’t need to be worried about him. Jesus has already defeated him. We just need to take up this armour and know that in Christ we have the victory.

God has disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in Christ.

As we finish the sermon series in Ephesians, I want us to claim to this amazing truth. Satan has been defeated. He is no threat to us so long as we’re wearing our Spiritual armour. Jesus Christ is the victor. He has disarmed the rulers and authorities He is the king over all.  We have the ultimate victory. One day we’ll know that victory in its fullness when Jesus returns and establishes the new heaven and a new earth.  But in the meantime, let’s make sure we’re well equipped. We’re Spiritually putting on this armour, praying over others as well.

Did you notice that the end of the book that Paul asks them to pray for him. So in the same way we need to equip ourselves with the Spiritual armour and then pray for the others in the room. That all of us might go out and live lives, walk in love, living lives, glorifying God, wearing the breastplate of righteousness wearing the belt of truth taking up the shield of faith wearing the helmet of salvation with our shoes fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace and taking up the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. The Christian who lives like that is going to do heroic deeds for the name of Jesus Christ.  Do you want to do heroic deeds for Jesus Christ? Well, let’s live out Ephesians 6, let’s stand firm. Through all things, when the wind rages, when the storms come, we stand in the armour of God, that he himself has worn, and God has now crafted and given to us.

Heavenly Father, we thank you once again for the book of Ephesians. And right now, would you Spiritually clothe us in your armour that you yourself have worn that you yourself have worn to victory in salvation.  Lord, I pray you would help us fasten ourselves up with the belt of truth and cling to truth in all things, especially when Satan brings lies against us. Lord, I pray you would once again clothe us in the breastplate of righteousness. Thank you for Jesus Christ in His death on the cross gave us that breastplate. I pray for our shoes. May we be ready to share the gospel of peace with as many people as possible. I pray we will take up the shield of faith may our faith always be in Jesus Christ. Thank you that he is an all conquering shield. Lord, give us the helmet of salvation. Thank you for salvation in Jesus Christ, we wear it today. We thank you for the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Lord teach us to be excellent sword masters with our Word. May we use this word effectively, may we understand it and memorise it, and wield it in a way that honours you and protects ourselves.

Lord, we know that no one can stand against you. Your purposes will never be twarted. And yet we also know that we’re attempting to do a very great thing in this town. We want to see thousands, hundreds of people in this town saved and believing in Jesus Christ. And we’ve stepped out in faith.  We are small in number. We’re like Gideons army, and there are many who seek to oppose us in this town, and Satan would definitely oppose us with all his evil forces. So Lord, would you clothe us in your armour and protect us and help us that we might fight a winning battle in Fareham.  Lord, may many people come to know you. We know that it is you who does it, Lord. And we just ask that you would help us would you use us we want to do heroic deeds not for our own glory, but for Your glory, that many people would praise the name of Jesus Christ.  May people say, “Wow, where are you getting that piece from? Where are you getting that joy from? Where are you getting that drive from?” And we would say “it’s from God. He’s given me his armour. He’s given me his breastplate of righteousness. He’s given me peace. He’s given me shoes fitted with readiness. He’s given me a faith in Jesus Christ.” Lift your name in this town.  I’m going to glorify you today. We pray all this in Jesus name. Amen.

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