*For the sermon series, please go to the “Sermons and Studies” page for the audio.*
Ephesians 6:13-17 “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”
The Armor of God protects us in the spiritual war we are in …
Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Verse 14 (belt of truth) Being wrapped in the truth protects us from giving in to the world’s beliefs. Compare your beliefs, thoughts, and actions with the Bible.
1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Think of all the scoffers you have encountered while attempting to bring them the truth. It is easy to falter and be swayed to their side if the truth of God’s Word is not deeply entrenched in our hearts. There are many Christians out there who are easily swayed by what their friends and strangers say. They may act like Christians, more or less, but in their hearts, they believe in lies and crave to live outside of God’s will. In the Bible, have you noticed what Israel did every time a righteous leader died?
Judges 2:8-12 “And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.”
Judges 3:9-12 “And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim. And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died. And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.”
These are just two examples from the OT, but there are many others. As far as the NT is concerned, we were also warned about what happens when a strong leader dies.
Acts 20:29-30 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
Those whose hearts are not truly after the Lord will always see the “rules and regulations” of the Lord as burdensome and oppressive. This happens because those souls do not really care about the truth … the care only about what they think, feel, and perceive. They also happen to be those who will say we are wrong and call us unloving Christians, but never do any studies to prove to us that we are wrong. They prefer only to declare we are wrong.
You actually see this in the political climate of today. Notice that the conservative side always brings facts to the debate. But those on the left will use feeling, preference, personal belief, opinion, and hatred to the debate. Those on the left do not care about the facts, just like the one who does not have a heart toward God does not care about the facts. Both people, the leftist, and the lukewarm Christian, do not show any desire for truth. If they did, they would diligently study the Scriptural topics which they believe in order to see if what they believe is true or false.
And so, though the people feel “oppressed” by the “rules and regulations”, they still toe the line because a leader who is strong in the faith will keep them in check. He not only teaches the proper ways of God but enforces them. But when that strong and faithful man dies, the people have no one to keep them in check any longer, nor do they possess the inner strength of will to keep themselves in on a righteous path. So, the lost souls see a false freedom wherein they can sin to their hearts content. They actually think these chains are freedom.
Now do you see why over 75% of children who leave their parents homes leave the faith? They never had it in the first place! They always felt oppressed but could never prove that what they learned was incorrect because they didn’t study. All of us are guilty of this, by the way. For if we had studied back then, we would have had the faith we have today. But praise the Lord for His perfect timing.
Unless the belt of truth is bound tightly upon us, we will feel like Christianity is a restrictive cage which keeps us from doing those sinful things we love so much. We see Christianity are restrictive, rather than protective. Satan wants us to see the faith this way … he does not want us to see the protection the Lord offers … he only wants us to see that true faith is oppressive.
Yes, in the beginning of our faith, when we were babes in Christ, we were only able to see the Lord’s commands as a list dos and don’ts. But as He draws us closer to His side, our perspective changes. We no longer see His commands as dos, and don’ts, nor do we see His commands as a list of rules and regulations … rather, we see His commands as the very things we need in order to walk safely in this sin-sick world where it is far too easy to fall for the tricks of Satan. Until we are able to see what the Lord says as the loving instructions they are … they will always just seem like an oppressive list of rules and regulations.
Verse 14 (breastplate of righteousness) “Righteousness”: integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting. The condition of being which is acceptable to God.
Part of righteousness is being good, honest, and humble. Being covered in righteousness protects us because we become unwilling to lie, cheat, steal, or place ourselves above anybody else for any reason. Resentment and bitterness fade away when the righteousness of God is upon us.
Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
1 Timothy 2:1-3 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;”
Notice also what a breastplate covers … your heart. With the righteousness of God acting as the armor upon your chest, the enemy cannot penetrate your heart to lead you astray.
Genesis 15:6 “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
Romans 4:3 “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
Notice that? Believing God and having faith in Him is counted as righteousness. When we believe the Lord, we will abide in truth … which means even the lies of Satan will have no place in our lives. To believe and trust in God will act as armor against the unrighteousness of the enemy. All the attacks will fail to penetrate our hearts because our hearts will be well protected against those attacks.
A breastplate also protects your lungs … which is important.
James 2:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
“Spirit” (pneuma) – breath, air
In our lungs we have the breath of life from the Lord. Without His loving grace in our lungs, not only is it impossible to live, but we would have no ability to speak.
Psalm 150:6 “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.”
To refuse to wear the breastplate of righteousness will keep our lungs unguarded. What is the end result of this? The enemy’s attacks will penetrate us. and we will be willing to drop what faith we have and speak those unrighteous things the enemy has taught us. Typically, he will use fear to convince us to drop our faith. Think of the soon-to-come MOTB.
All of us will be offered a choice during that time. In some way, shape, or form we will be asked if we accept the Mark of the Vatican beast. With our mouths, with our voices, with the breath of our lungs, we will be required to either stand with God and refuse the Vatican’s Sunday Mark or stand with the Vatican in rejection of the Seal of God. Because there will be no helmet of salvation protecting the minds and thoughts of the unrighteous, they will still think they are serving the Lord in truth during that time, even though they have just made the choice to reject Him.
Matthew 15:8 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”
Bear in mind that each of us will be held accountable for every unrepented word of unrighteousness we have spoken. By the same token, every righteous word will justify us.
Matthew 12:36-37 “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
And so, without the breastplate of righteousness protecting our hearts and lungs, we are susceptible to attacks focused upon our hearts and lungs (breath). Of course, such a piece of armor protects all our other vital organs, but the main parts the enemy wants to attack are our hearts and lungs … in a spiritual sense.
Matthew 12:35 “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
Faith without works is dead.
Verse 15 (shoes of the Gospel of peace) Walking in the Gospel of peace ensures that our steps in life are determined by God and not ourselves.
Proverbs 4:26 “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”
Proverbs 5:1-5 “My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.”
Proverbs 6:18 “An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,”
“Mischief” – bad, disagreeable, unpleasant, evil, misery, displeasing, distress, wrong
Psalm 119:101 “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.”
Leviticus 26:3-13 “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.”
Revelation 16:15 “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
Do you remember when we spoke about garments in our sermon about Proverbs 31? The consequence of not walking with the Lord is that our shameful behaviour will be seen by others. Failure to walk with the Lord means we walk in life as a drunk man who lacks inhibition. Without God taking the reins of our lives, we will perform evil works, say evil things, and generally have an unsanctified personality. Which just means having an attitude of negativity and pessimism.
Psalm 119:1 “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.”
Like the verse we just went through in Revelation, the consequence of not walking as Jesus walked is that we will be disobedient, which causes us to become defiled with sin. We’re not just speaking of sins born from ignorance. No, the Lord winks at those. What we are talking about is becoming defiled with iniquity. The problem is this: if we do not make effort to be obedient to God, then we won’t make effort to stay away from sin. Or, the efforts will be minimal. Rather, we will be in danger of making excuses for sin.
Proverbs 19:2 “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.”
When there is no real knowledge of the Lord in our hearts, we run into the danger of making rash decisions which tend to be solely based upon our emotional condition at the time. These overly emotional times cause us to be hasty in decision making. And these hasty decisions tend to move us toward sin because, in those times, the knowledge of the Lord is not guiding us … our hearts are.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
This verse in Matthew must be understood to work in both directions. If our hearts are strictly and obediently focused on the Kingdom of God, then our treasure will be there. If our hearts are focused on the things of the world, then our hearts will be bound to this world.
Jeremiah 10:23 “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”
Basically, even though we have free will, it is not our place to establish our own path or course in life. Yes, our Father will allow us to make any decision and walk any path we want … but only the path of Jesus Christ will lead us to Heaven.
Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
Romans 10:15 “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
We automatically desire to walk as our Lord walked when we have on the shoes of the Gospel of peace.
1 John 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
Walking in the ways of Christ will have us seeking peace with others.
Romans 12:9-21 (Marks of the true Christian) “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
1 Corinthians 9:26 “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:”
1 Samuel 2:9 “He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.”
Verse 16 (shield of faith)
Psalm 3:3 “But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”
Psalm 5:12 “For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”
Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”
Faith is being certain that wherever God takes us in life, that is the best place for us to be. Faith is having confidence that, what the Lord has said, He will accomplish. A shield, when wielded properly, protects the whole of the body. But again, it must be utilized with skill and strength. To lower your shield would leave your body open and vulnerable not just to attack and injury, but attacks that lead to death.
In the military, we trusted in the armor we wore because it acted as a shield of sorts. When confidence is placed in the protective equipment, the soldier is then granted extra bravery to go and perform tasks which are more dangerous. In like manner, the shield of faith allows us to step onto the spiritual battlefield with greater endurance, courage, and selflessness. With the shield of faith kept close to our bodies, there is nothing the devil can hurl at us that can take us out of the fight.
*Get definitions for “fiery” and “darts” *
1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:”
Make no mistake, the fiery darts of the enemy WILL be in your direction. Every instance of temptation is proof of that fact, along with every instance of doubt, discontentment, and all other things which are designed to take us away from God. Having on the whole armor of God, but lacking the shield of faith, will ensure that we won’t make it very far in this fight against an unrelenting enemy. Why?
Matthew 13:20-21 “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
Satan knows that the trials and tribulations he brings will cause those who do not have the shield of faith to fall. Yes, they may have a good knowledge of the Bible, but he doesn’t care so much about that. He cares more about if we have faith or not. All the knowledge of the Bible does not mean we have faith in what it says. And that lack of faith is his opening to corrupt our understanding.
Think of it like this. It is good to read the Word, correct? It is especially good to read the Word when searching for an answer, right? But if we go into reading, study, or prayer with the mindset of already knowing the answer, then we are not going into those activities with the intention of finding truth … we have already shown God that we do not care about what is true or false … we only care about confirming what we already believe to be true. And THAT is where decision making is done by way of
Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
Faith is living life in contentment, knowing that God will always keep His promises. Most especially during the trials and hardships of life. Yes, tough, EXTREMELY tough decisions lie just around the corner.
2 Corinthians 5:7 “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”
In the soon to come future, we will need to make many decisions that have far reaching consequences. If we do not rest our faith in the Word of God, then our decisions will be made according to outside factors such and family, friends, and opinions.
Matthew 10:34-36 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
But God is faithful. He has given us countless examples of what happens when we make decisions that contradict His will. At the same time, He has shown how things are blessed when we follow His will. Even if those blessings are not immediately apparent, there are so many blessings for obeying Him.
Standing fast to the will of God will always cause others to speak and act in a hate filled manner toward us. All those fiery darts of Satan being thrown at you through their mouth, are stopped by the shield of faith. A faith which rests upon trust that the Lord knows what He is doing.
Not too long ago, and several times during this mission I am on, I have been cussed at for even bringing up the Bible. And there are several times when simply asking someone where their claim can be found in the Bible has resulted in them responding with hate filled words or actions. No matter. As our Father has taught us many times before, the blessings of giving them truth have been planted. “How so if they just end up cussing at you or threatening you when you ask where the Bible supports their claims?” Well, the blessing for them is that they may be determined to search the Scriptures from that point forward because they do not want to be in a place where they cannot answer again. The blessing for them then, is shame. The same shame that I had when I was stumped many years ago by one man is the shame which the Lord used to motivate me to study even harder. And I pray for all those who have only stood in hateful opposition to the Lord.
Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The person who is spewing hateful things at you is not your enemy. They are being used by Satan and his demons like a puppet. They are being manipulated and deceived. Those demons in them and around them are the true enemies.
By carrying the shield of faith, the attacks of those who have chosen to follow evil spirits will bounce right off of us. And because of that faith, the sorrow we have because of their attacks will not be because they hurt our feelings, but because it is so heartbreaking to witness someone succumb to such demonic influence. The sorrow we feel and the tears we shed are for their sakes … not because those fiery darts penetrated our shield. Even for those who do not believe as we do, it is exceedingly painful and heartbreaking to watch someone they care about fall into bad influence and evil.
Galatians 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
Psalm 118:8-9 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”
Carrying the shield of faith ensures that we are not doing this work to please other people. If they are pleased and accept the things we speak, then it is well. If they are not pleased, then we ought to continue to stand with the Lord. When Paul says, “… for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”, he is giving us an extremely potent warning that we need to pay attention to. The enemy of souls will always use those closest to us to sway us away from the things we know we need to do. And when that shield of faith is lowered even a little, we become susceptible to doing things just to please them. In attempting to please those around us, we lose sight of the fact that our Father is the one our focus needs to be centered upon.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Let’s look at some examples of an abiding faith.
Hebrews 11:3 “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
Regardless of the ridicule from the majority of people, we rest in the certainty that all things came into existence by the word of Jesus Christ. I used to have this shirt that said, “Yeah I believe in the Big Bang … God spoke and BANG it was created!” I stopped wearing things which draw attention to myself a long time ago, but when I was wearing those types of shirts, this one was one of my favorites.
In the most desperate and heart wrenching of circumstances, it can be difficult and stressful to serve our Father. Our Saviour showed us what it is to remain in faith and trust even when His situation was exceedingly trying.
Luke 22:41-44 “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
“… Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE, BE DONE.” What a tremendous faith! What a perfect example of abiding by the Father! Jesus absolutely knew and perfectly well understood that He was about to suffer worse than any man can suffer. He knew He was going to die. And still, all that mattered to Him was the will of His Father.
There is a condition called Hematidrosis. What happens is that extreme stress can cause capillaries to burst and blood then comes out of the skin like sweat. In all of the stress we have ever experienced in life, NONE of us have stressed to the point of sweating blood! And now we can witness how much more our dear Saviour suffered in that, “… his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” In all the various circumstances surrounding His death, He suffered greatly.
He didn’t just have blood coming out of His pores … He had so much blood coming out that , “… GREAT drops of blood …” fell down to the ground! As stressed as we have ever been, none have had a greater amount than Jesus Christ.
And look at how He carried His faith. Of utmost concern was the will of His Father … nothing else mattered. And rest assured that if Jesus had called upon His Father for rescue, it would have happened. When rebuking Peter for using violence, Jesus said the following …
Matthew 26:52-53 “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”
But there is more to say about what happened when Jesus was praying. Notice that after He declared that His Father’s will must be done, “… there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” This is the faithfulness of God. Though the sufferings of life can bog us down and consequences of decisions can weigh heavy on us, our Father will always send help. Will He take us out of the situation in which we currently suffer? Maybe, maybe not … it’s up to Him and His perfect will for the situation at hand. But faith allows us to fully recognize that whatever He decides it will be a blessing. The angels He sends to strengthen us are meant to help us stay in the faith … not abandon it.
Isaiah 53:10 “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
Also notice that our Father did not, in fact, stop the suffering and murder of His dear Son. And because of that, the world now has the opportunity to be saved. Imagine if our Father had the same mentality that the world does when it is declared, “family above all”. It ought to be declared, “God above all”.
Keep it well within your hearts that Jesus never prayed to keep us away from suffering, but rather, that His Father would make us strong through it.
John 17:15 “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”
Carrying the shield of faith will also have us understanding that we will still suffer. What matters is how we react to that suffering. As Jesus is our perfect example of all things, we see that the proper reaction to stress and suffering is to remain faithful and obedient to God. And we rest in the assurance that all will be well, so long as we maintain our faith.
As we have been learning in our Proverbs 31 series about the virtuous woman who represents the obedient church of God, we see that her faith is strengthened in trusting and obeying her husband. This runs true even into the NT … in both a literal and spiritual sense just like in Proverbs 31. Notice how Paul was moved by the Holy Spirit to bring clarity of understanding about the virtuous woman and the literal wife.
Ephesians 5:22-24 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
1 Peter 3:5-6 “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
The virtuous woman has a heartfelt love for Jesus Christ and that love leads her to be obedient to her husband. The Godly women, as Peter says, will be in subjection to their husbands just as the God’s people will be in subjection to their spiritual spouse. Just as we obey our Lord even when we may have objections to the path He leads us down, we do as He says simply because we have faith that He is right, and it is our duty to follow Him. And just as our shield of faith is made stronger through trust and obedience in Him, our shield of faith begins to lower when we choose to disobey Him. Let’s take a look at Gideon for the lesson here.
Judges 7:4-7 “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.”
When God was choosing who it would be that should fight in His name, He first tested them. Of thousands, only 300 found themselves worthy to go to war, while the rest were sent home. But why were so many sent home even though they were eager to fight for the Lord? Look at the tests the Lord gave them. The first one was this one.
Judges 7:3 “Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.”
Those who were too afraid to fight could not be part of the Lord’s army. Their fearfulness would lead them to give up the fight which would not only cost them their own lives, but the lives of the men around them. Trust me … this happens all the time in war. Though the men who were left over may experience a bit of fear in the battle, the Lord knew that they would not become slaves to the fear and fail to perform their duties. Still, not all were worthy to be soldiers of God. But what made the rest of them unworthy? Take a look at the second test again.
The 300 drank water by cupping it into their hand and bringing that water to their mouths. The ones who kneeled down to drink directly out of the water were sent home. But again, why? Try to create a visual in your mind of this scene. The 300 satiated their thirst while never allowing their eyes to depart from their surroundings. In other words, they maintained the awareness of their surroundings … which is important when in war. We called it “keeping your head on a swivel”. But those who bent over to drink lost their awareness of their surroundings because their focus was on the water.
Here is the most important part though. The 300 kept their weapons and shields at the ready while drinking the water … all the others had to lay down their weapons and shields to drink! Though all of them were ready to fight for the Lord, He knew that any man that is ready to drop his shield for any reason is not truly prepared to fight for God. Even in the case of accomplishing something needful (like satiating thirst), God’s people CANNOT ever drop their shields!
For those who would drop their shields for the sake of anything, even needful things, what other excuses would they use to give up the fight? What other “needful” things would they use as excuses to reject obedience to the Lord?
Though those men openly declared their love for the Lord and were willing to head into battle, they were not ready. In like manner, God’s people need to keep their shield of faith always at the ready. We need to always be prepared to defend the faith in the face of all opposition, no matter how fiery or venomous their words and actions might be.
Matthew 15:8 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”
In the end, the only reason we are able to carry the shield of faith is because of our heartfelt and steadfast relationship with Jesus Christ. If He is not our primary focus in ALL things, then all things fall apart. If He is not our number one love, then our hearts are not with Him. Only through a love-filled relationship with Jesus Christ will we be able to stand fast against Satan, quenching his fiery attacks by the faith of Jesus Christ. Without Him, the shields we think we carry will prove to be nothing more than gasoline-soaked rags in the face of Satan’s fiery hatred.
The Lord be praised. For He has promised to be our shield in this spiritual warfare we find ourselves in, as we saw in the first three verses presented. And in case you don’t know it … part of holding the shield of faith is having faith in, and trusting, in all His promises.
Verse 17 (helmet of salvation) Being protected by the helmet of salvation means resting confidently in the full assurance of faith that Jesus took all our sins upon Himself to deliver us from evil and death.
Galatians 1:3-4 “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”
Wearing the helmet of salvation protects us from doubt and helps us to remember that, though it is impossible to save ourselves, all things are possible with God.
Matthew 19:24-26 “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
The helmet of salvation protects our thoughts from those things which would otherwise move us away from salvation.
1 Corinthians 2:10-14 “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
The deep things of God are known by the Holy Spirit. When we walk in the free gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit is with us, teaching us those deep things which only God knows. Discernment grows, faith grows, trust grows. We receive a renewed mind which craves the knowledge of God. Upon true salvation which brings about a change in affection, the Lord blesses us with the Holy Spirit … transformation happens, and we then walk in those ways which are pleasing to God … because those are the ways of Christ.
Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Being born again transforms us from the inside out. Our thoughts change, our affections change, our desires change, our wants change, and our goals change. We literally have been blessed with a renewing of our minds. That saving grace which has brought us to a new life is the helmet of salvation.
The helmet of salvation will also bring us to a place of understanding that we must protect our brain as well. Through the salvation given to us, we will have a new heart to take care of these bodies which we have been blessed to have. We especially will no longer have a desire to do those things which can harm or damage our ability think. To that end, we will not use substances which impair our ability to think, concentrate, or reason. We will place a strong priority on sleep and healthy eating. We will not perform those activities which needlessly place our brains and bodies at risk.
The helmet of salvation is also assurance. When doubt, questioning, and second-guessing enter our minds, the Lord helps us to remember all that He has done in our lives, just like He did with John the Baptist when he fell into despair while in prison. Doubt is a killer of faith. Doubt leads to compromise, and spiritual death happens one small compromise at a time.
Ultimately, the helmet of salvation gives us the assurance of the promise of eternal life. It is often said that none of us can confidently state that we are Heaven bound. But look at what Paul said as he was close to dying.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
According to the testimony of the apostle Paul, yes, we can have assurance of going to Heaven. So long as we maintain and grow in the faith and hold fast to the light of truth revealed to us by the Lord Himself, we rest in the confidence that we will be with our Lord forever.
The point, however, is that we cannot take off any piece of the Armor of God until the moment He either allows us to sleep or allows us to be partakers of the 144,000 and we are translated after the 7th Plague. No matter what His will may be, we cannot afford to take off the helmet of salvation or any other piece of the armor until this war is over.
Verse 17 (sword of the Spirit [Word of God]) The Word of God is our offensive weapon which we use to fight back against the enemy and his agents. When we tell people what the Bible says, we are cutting their hearts and with the Holy Spirit leading the way, the hearer may be moved toward repentance.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Just like any other weapon, we must keep the sword’s we wield sharp, clean, and well maintained. We must also keep our skills with this weapon superior. We accomplish all this through study.
Proverbs 15:28 “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”
We also maintain our swords through holy conversation.
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
And we also maintain our swords through prayer.
James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
*** How you treat the Bible is how your faith will be. If you have a shallow and quick reading life, essentially trying to get your reading out of the way, you will have a shallow and weak faith. If you lack in study and are not searching for the deep things of God in His Word, you will have an uninformed, opinionated faith. ***
Notice how David lifted up the truth of God’s Word when He confronted Goliath.
1 Samuel 17:45-47 “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.”
All glory, praise, and credit belong to God Almighty. David neither lifted up himself in his skills, nor did he degrade Goliath. Rather, he simply spoke what was true, lifting up the name of God. Lifting up the name of God in truth is the only response to give His enemies. Though Goliath had to die, every man of the Philistines and Israel were blessed to witness the mighty hand of God. Through that, many lives were saved. Goliath placed himself as the towering enemy of God’s people. But David didn’t need to know the size of the enemy in front of him … he only needed to know the power of the God who stood in front of him, behind him, and by him. And as David so worshipfully said later on in …
2 Samuel 22:47-51 “The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation. It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me, And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name. He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.”
Psalm 139:5 “Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.”
Psalm 18:32 “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.”
Psalm 18:47 “It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.”
Studying the Scriptures will keep us from a multitude of sins. Studying will make sure that when the enemy of souls tempts us, we will be ready to fight him. Being a watchman on the walls is important so that we may be given the ability to warn others of approaching dangers, but it is also important so that we may be able to fight against the cruelty of Satan.
If we are not well versed in the Bible, we will not be able to fight the enemy when he attacks us. He will present temptations to us that seem Godly but are really just twisted interpretations of God’s Word. We must fight corrupted Scripture with Holy Scripture because we know that the devil will use God’s Word against us in the same way that both sides of an army will use swords to fight each other.
Studying the Bible before temptation strikes will ensure that we are well prepared to reject the cunning craftiness of Satan. But without the Word being believed and obeyed, any temptation will seem as if it is holy and good. Or at the very least, acceptable. Like in the examples of someone stealing food to feed their starving family or murdering someone to protect their loved ones. Having a well-maintained sword will tell us that stealing, and murder are sins and are not acceptable under any circumstances.
It is only by the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, that we are blessed to walk this world with any light at all.
Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
It is walking in spiritual darkness to not walk according to the truth of the Bible. Without it, it is like walking through a forest in utter darkness; every branch hits us in the face, every root causing us to fall, every hole can break our ankles or legs, sharp things will cut and pierce us, wild animals will attack us, the cold will bite our skin, and sorrow will overtake us.
But with the Sword of God’s Word being our light, nothing can cause us to fall. Those branches are cut down, the roots are stepped over, the holes are side-stepped, the sharp things are avoided, wild animals will cower in their dark places, the cold will not touch us, and sorrow will have no place in us. In other words, the attacks of the enemy will not defeat us because they are destroyed by the Sword we carry.
Proverbs 22:3 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”
The only way to foresee evil is to know where it comes from. And the only way to know where it comes from is to know what is written in the Bible. In essence, to know what evil is, is to know Christ because everything evil is always the direct opposite of Him. Evil is everything that is a contradiction to Jesus Christ. To know Jesus and to be in a heartfelt relationship with Him is the only way to identify evil. When we know Him and His goodness, we will know the devil and his evil. The closer we draw to Christ; the more obvious evil will become to us.
So, in reality, to wield the Sword of the Spirit is simply knowing our Saviour. Knowing, loving, and obeying Him will ensure that temptations are quenched, and all evil will be rejected.