The Full Armor of God (2) Spiritually Armed
1. Last week, we began a new section of Ephesians—a very important and famous section of the book (6:10-24, esp. 10-18).
2. 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. There we observed that there are a number of challenges we face in living the Christian life? 1.Our own sinfulness. 2.The sinfulness of others, and its effect on us. 3. The church’s sinfulness and imperfection. 4.The opposition and/or allurements of the world. But we said that in this passage, Paul especially wants to draw our attention to the opposition of Satan (5), as a hugely important factor in living the Christian life in this fallen world.
4. We quoted the great Puritan, Thomas Brooks, who said: "Christ, the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan’s devices, are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched. If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, nor happy hereafter. It is my work as a Christian, but much more as I am a Watchman, to do my best to discover the fullness of Christ, the emptiness of the creature, and the snares of the great deceiver." (Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 15).
5. We outlined the passage as follows. Paul tells us: I. You are in a war zone (Realize that you are at war) 10 Finally, be strong . . . . 11 Put on the full armor of God, . . . . 12 For our struggle . . . .; II. You need the Lord’s strength to win in this war (Your strength is inadequate) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.; III. You will need God’s armor to stand against the Devil (Your need protection from this enemy) 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.; IV. You need to understand that your opposition isn’t ultimately human (Know your enemy) 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.
Ephesians 6:13-17 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, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
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.
Note: Gurnall's treatment of these eleven verses is called: The Christian in Complete Armour: The saints’ war against the devil, wherein a discovery is made of that grand enemy of God and his people, in his policies, power, seat of his empire, wickedness, and chief design he hath against the saints; a magazine opened, from whence the Christian is furnished with spiritual arms for the battle, helped on with his armour, and taught the use of his weapons; together with a happy issue of the whole war. It consist of 261 chapters, 1472 pages of exposition of these eleven verses!
Paul's point is: Arm yourself spiritually for what you are up against, with divinely forged and supplied weaponry (13)
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.
1. Resist/stand firm – "Wobbly Christians who have no firm foothold in Christ are easy prey for the devil." (John Stott)
2. Paul wants to see Christians strong and stable.
3. Full armor = the outfitting of a heavily armed soldier, with the emphasis on the fact that this armor is supplied by God.
4. Only spiritual weaponry will avail in resisting Satan, the world and the flesh "in the evil day" (13).
If we are to stand firm in the day of evil –
I. We must have "truth in the inner parts" (14a) [Truth/Intergity]
14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH,
A. We must have sincerity of mind and heart, whole-heartedness. Authenticity.
B. A fixed desire – WSC 1. With this we may face death unafraid.
C. Doctrine has worked right down to our bones.
Application: 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.
II. We must have a life characterized by holiness (14b) [Righteousness/Holiness]
and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,
A. The devout and holy life, moral rectitude or uprightness is essential for the battle.
B. A clean conscience is a powerful weapon.
Application: 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.
III. We must have a readiness which flows from the Gospel (15) [Gospel experience/motivation]
15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;
A. Our ability to march for God is wholly dependent upon our having experienced the effect of the Gospel.
B. The great effect is peace with God, and peace with out brethren.
C. This in turn impels us to spread the news of that piece.
Application: 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.
IV. We must have a living trust in God (16) [Faith]
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.
A. Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress; Polycarp
Application: To resist the devil we must have faith in God, or trust and entire confidence must be in him.
V. We must have a vital hope of salvation (17) [Assurance of salvation]
17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION,
A. The knowledge that we are saved is vital to the whole project of the Christian life
Application: To resist the devil we must be assured of our salvation, present and future.