August 23, 2022
The Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-20
Listen to last week’s sermon entitled : The Armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-20
As Pastor Eric began his sermon on August 21, 2022, he compared conversion to Christianity to a luxurious ocean cruise. It is a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere where laughter and smiles abound. It is not uncommon to be spoken to and treated with kindness by nearly everyone. The early stages of Pastor Eric’s Christian journey were likened to such a cruise. However, as he read the Bible and deepened his relationship with the Lord, he gradually realized that a cruise is not an accurate representation of a Christian’s spiritual walk.
Read John 10:10
As we journey through our Christian life, we experience moments reminiscent of cruises, and others that resemble being aboard a battleship. In many ways, the spiritual journey of a Christian is better described as an experience aboard a battleship, because when we, as believers, accept Christ as our personal Saviour, we automatically enlist in the camp of the faithful. In so doing, God’s opponents become our enemies.
Satan abhors God and is therefore determined to destroy everything that He cherishes. Since the Lord loves us, it is not surprising that the devil hates us as well. There is no doubt that the enemy will do everything in his power to weaken us and if he is able, he will attempt to ultimately destroy us and the Church. As Jesus stated in John 10:10, “He comes to steal, kill, and destroy.” While Satan’s mission is to destroy us, Jesus came not only to give us life but also so that our lives would be filled with meaning and purpose. In one, life is given and in the other, life is taken. One involves abundance and generosity, and the other, thievery and destruction. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are waging a spiritual war that can also adversely affect our physical lives.
Read 1 John 4:4
Pastor Eric, however, shared some wonderful news with us today. Our God has not called us to sink like a battleship, but rather to rise like a victor. The Holy Spirit resides within every believer and according to the Bible, “…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world”. We are on the winning team since Christ’s death and resurrection secured our victory two thousand years ago. God has already ordained that Satan, the god of this world, will be judged and thrown into the lake of fire where he will remain forever.
Every now and then, Pastor Eric’s children enjoy watching the Super Bowl.
He recounted the time when he and his sons watched the news and learned who had won the game, but they chose to watch the recorded event regardless. It was a bit strange since they already knew the outcome. Every time the opposing team scored, when an interception was made, when a fumble occurred, or when a penalty was called, they were not nervous because they already knew what team would win. The Bible has a similar effect on us when we know how it ends. Regardless of what happens in our lives, we know the outcome. The way we respond to problems and challenges in our daily lives is changed as a result.
Read 1 Peter 5:8
Despite the fact that the devil was defeated at the cross, God has allowed him to retain limited access and limited power until he is eternally judged. Thus, he continues to prowl the earth like a roaring lion in search of prey causing chaos and confusion in people’s lives.
In the course of his ministry, Pastor Eric heard a minister claim that dead rattlesnakes are capable of turning around and biting people. He verified the validity of the minister’s statement before sharing this information with us. It is reported that people have hit rattlesnakes on the head with shovels or have found dead rattlesnakes when, all of a sudden, as they were going to pick them up, the rattlesnake’s head turned around and bit them. This is a wonderful depiction of the devil. Today, Satan is attempting to bite believers like a dead snake. Although his head has been crushed at the cross, he still attempts to bite.
Read Romans 8:37
Through the use of Scriptures, Pastor Eric demonstrated how we can experience victory from a triumphant position. Despite the fact that Christ has already granted us victory, we must also strive to be victorious.
Read Ephesians 6:10 and Philippians 4:13
In the last chapter of the book of Ephesians, Paul appears to encourage the believers once again to rely on God’s great strength. According to Paul, we should draw our strength solely from Christ and not from our own efforts. It is stated in Philippians 4:13 that Christ strengthens us to accomplish all things. Christian soldiers rely on God and his mighty power for all their resources.
Read 2 Corinthians 11:30 and Matthew 5:5
As Paul travelled to Damascus, he encountered Christ in a vision and heard His voice clearly. This event was the pivotal point in Paul’s conversion to Christianity. His writings comprise 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament (14 if he also wrote Hebrews). As part of his ministry, he planted churches, trained pastors, shared the gospel, and suffered for Christ to an extent we could never fathom. It was also forbidden for him to share certain revelations. Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 11:30 that if he had to boast, he would boast about his shortcomings. There is no meekness in weakness. In fact, kindness and humility are signs of strength. And choosing forgiveness over revenge and bitterness as a course of action does not constitute weakness; rather, it is an indication of strength. The world labels meekness as weakness, but God declares that the person who walks in meekness is strong.
Read Galatians 5:19-21
Acting contrary to the works of the flesh outlined in Galatians 5 is a sign of strength. It is essential that we be strengthened in and by God, and by the power of his might. In addition to enabling us to be witnesses of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit also enables us to live as one. It is one thing to claim to be a Christian, but quite another to demonstrate it.
A wise person once said, “Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.” Pastor Eric believes that the proclamation of the gospel through words and Scripture is another powerful means of bringing salvation to all those who seek it.
Read 1 Corinthians 1:21, Romans 10:13-14, and 2 Peter 1:3
According to 1 Corinthians 1:21, God delivers salvation to those who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection through the preaching of the gospel.
Romans 10:13-14 states that one must believe in the Lord before turning to Him, and one must hear about Him before placing trust in Him. Therefore, the gospel must be preached. When we proclaim the gospel or share our faith as a witness, but fail to live as Christians should, we negatively impact our ability to share the Good News. As Christians, we want to share the message of Jesus, but we also want to live it, so that our actions reflect the message we proclaim. In order for the Fruit of the Spirit to be evident in our lives, we must walk in step with the Spirit.
Read Ephesians 6:11
We are instructed by Paul in the passage above to put on the full armour of God. Put on is an action verb. It’s a responsibility. No one else can assist us in equipping ourselves with God’s armour. It is a task we must perform on our own.
Why does Paul give such a strong warning in Ephesians 6:11? Why must we put on the full armour of God? Paul stresses the importance of wearing this assemblage in order to safeguard ourselves against the manipulations of the devil. In light of the fact that numerous people, including Christians, fall victim to his deception, it is imperative that we remain vigilant.
Read Ephesians 6:12
In spite of the enemy’s evil tactics, we have a promise that assures us we can stand strong against him. Since we are not engaged in combat with other human beings, our only defence against Satan’s clever tricks is to put on the full armour of God. The battle we wage is against rulers, authorities, and the forces of darkness that rule the world. There is no denying that spiritual warfare exists, no matter what we might think, feel, or perceive.
Read 1 Peter 5:8 and James 4:7
The author of The Art of War, Sun Tzu, said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” The apostle Paul expressed his viewpoint differently in 2 Corinthians 2:11. He said, “We forgive so that we will not be outsmarted by Satan, for we know what he is trying to do.” It is essential that we be aware and remain vigilant. A failure to exercise caution may allow the evil one to take advantage of our unfortunate circumstances and exploit them for his own gain. We are not to embark on a witch hunt, but we should be aware and watchful so that we are not complicit in evil things that occur in our lives.
Read Hosea 4:6 and James 4:7
Hosea 4:6 states, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge…” Pastor Eric hopes we hear the battle cry today. In order to withstand the devil and his evil schemes, we must overcome ignorance and put on the full protective armour of God.
In the above passage, Paul says, “So use every piece of God’s armour to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing. So stand strong with the belt of truth tied around your waist and the breastplate of righteousness on your chest.”
1 – The belt of truth
Paul refers to the belt of truth as the first component of the armour of God.
Around the Roman soldier’s waist was a belt that contained his sword. In tying the belt around his waist, the soldier indicated his readiness to engage in combat. As one scholar stated, “To slacken the belt, was to go off duty.” Thus, the belt was tied around the waist in preparation for duty. This first piece of the full protective armour of God ensured everything remained in place. As such, it played a vital role.
Read John 14:6
What is truth? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He did not say, “I am a truth.” Nor did he say, “I am one truth among many.” He said, “I am the truth.” Truth cannot exist apart from Jesus. He is the embodiment of truth. The foundation of authentic and truthful living is Jesus Christ. It all begins with Him.
Read John 8:44 and 8:31-32
Jesus is the antithesis of Satan, who is devoid of all truth. In view of the fact that he is a liar and the father of lies, the devil’s speech is characterized by falsehood. Does the truth of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection constitute the foundation of our lives? We will be set free by the truth, Jesus said. However, if we attempt to combat the enemy without the belt of truth, we will suffer defeat, since it maintains the integrity of the entire armour. For believers, it is crucial that the belt of truth is properly fastened so as not to be snared by Satan’s evil blows.
Someone stated, “The way Paul wrote the pieces of the armour is also in the order that the soldiers would dress up.” The belt would be placed first, followed by the breastplate. According to Paul, the belt is the first component of the armour of God, because, without truth, we will lose our way and be conquered by the schemes of devil. Thus, if those who attend New Beginning Church found religion, then our mission has failed since this church is not about religion. It’s about a relationship. Christianity does not consist of a set of rules or regulations. Rather, it is about a person who guides us and assists us in living a godly life and achieving our full spiritual potential. It all begins with Christ.
2 – The breastplate of righteousness
Read 2 Corinthians 5:21
The second piece of armour listed in Ephesians 6 is the breastplate of righteousness.
The breastplate made of bronze, the second line of protection, covered the upper body from the neck to the thighs. Some believe that it may have also served as a heart protector. Front armour consisted primarily of a breastplate, with a back plate commonly worn as well. The breastplate of righteousness symbolizes character, integrity, and righteousness. As stated in the above verse, our righteousness is a gift from God. Although the gift of righteousness has been bestowed upon us, we are still required to walk in integrity, holiness, and righteousness.
As we strive to live a righteous life, we are bound to slip and fall. It is important to note, however, that there is a difference between slipping, falling, and continuing to live in sin. When we err, we must immediately seek forgiveness and endeavour to walk in righteousness. It is imperative that we repent until we have overcome the sin in question. If we require assistance, it is our responsibility to seek it out. Our trusted friends and family members may be willing to assist us in prayer. Seeking the assistance of an accountability partner is also an option.
The presence of sin in the life of a serious believer is troublesome; therefore, it is not tolerated, accepted, or justified. The breastplate of righteousness must be worn if we wish to live a life of righteousness and integrity.
3 – The shoes of the gospel of peace
Read Ephesians 6:15
In the above verse, Paul speaks of fitting our feet with the preparation that comes from the gospel of peace.
After securing the breastplate, the soldier would lace up his army boots.
According to Flavius Josephus, a Jewish non-believer, historian, scholar, and military leader, it was customary for soldiers to wear cleats under their boots as they would provide traction. They were well-shod and capable of undertaking long marches at impressive speeds over rough terrain, which gave them an edge over their opponents. This contributed substantially to their success.
Read John 9:25 and Acts 26:29
Paul instructs us to equip our feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. The believer who has put on the shoes of the gospel of peace is prepared to share with others the reason for his hope. The story of how he came to know Christ can now be shared. To effectively share our hope, we must be ready to do so at all times: in season and out of season; when we are confident and when we are not; and when we feel like it and when we do not. It is imperative that we be ready.
4 – The shield of faith
Read Ephesians 6:16
The fourth measure of protection against the fiery arrows of the enemy is the shield of faith.
The devil loves to shoot flaming arrows in our direction; therefore, we must take up the shield of faith to protect ourselves from them.
Someone said, “Worry is a conversation you have with yourself about things you cannot change. Prayer, which involves faith, is a conversation you have with God about things He can change.”
Read Genesis 3:1-6
As faith is dependent upon the Word of God, we rely on God’s Word to sustain our faith and to protect ourselves against Satan’s wicked schemes. Satan, the enemy of mankind, is both powerful and stealthy. Consider what he did to Adam and Eve, the first couple in history. In the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; otherwise, they would die. They were soon misled by a cunning serpent who planted doubt in Eve’s mind, leading them to disobey their Creator.
Read Matthew 4:4
How should we respond to the devil’s attempts to sow doubt in our minds? We rely on the Word of God! When the enemy’s fiery blows strike, we rely on Scripture, our shield of faith, which withstands the impact of his attacks.
A doubt planted in Eve’s mind by the devil led her to be deceived. As a result, her perception, speech, and actions were affected. Likewise, if we fail to address the doubts and falsehoods the devil plants in our lives, we may also begin to call good what is evil and evil what is good. Defending ourselves against the flaming darts of the enemy requires the shield of faith.
5 – The helmet of salvation
Among the six pieces of armour we need to safeguard ourselves from the evil one, the helmet of salvation is the fifth.
Read Ephesians 6:17 and Romans 12:2
Paul instructs us in Ephesians 6:17, to take God’s salvation as our helmet. This speaks of the certainty of our salvation. It confirms our stand with the Lord. It also speaks of protecting our head, which subsequently protects our mind and thoughts. As Scripture states in Romans 12, we must allow God to rewire our minds.
6 – The sword of the Spirit
Read Ephesians 6:18-20
The sword of the Spirit is the final piece of armour we need to protect ourselves from the devil’s evil assaults.
The Word of God must be shared, preached, declared, taught, written, and prayed. We must also meditate on God’s Word, study it, and memorize it in order to counter the forces of darkness.