10. Standing Together In Victory, Pt. 2: The Preparation For Spiritual Battles (Eph. 6:14-17)Related Media
This article is a continuation of our series on “Living Together in Community”, a sermonic exposition of Ephesians 4 to 6.
We are in a spiritual war, not with human enemies but demonic; not with visible forces but invisible; not with physical enemies but spiritual. The theme of my last article on Eph. 6:10-13 was: “We are in a spiritual battle for which we need God’s strength and protection.” And we noticed that (1) our power for spiritual battles is the Lord (10) and (2) our protection for spiritual battles is God’s armour (11-12).
We are to be ready for spiritual battle by putting on God’s whole armour, armour that enables us to “stand” firm in the battle. We aren’t called upon to “fight” but to “stand”; to take the stance of the soldier in combat; to stand firm, to resist the enemy, to never retreat or back up.
We cannot stand in our own strength. Those who think they can stand on their own, better take heed lest they fall (1 Cor. 10:12). We stand only in God’s power and protection. We are to stand in the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1); stand firm in the faith (1 Cor. 16:13); stand in grace (Rom. 5:2); stand firm in one spirit (Phil. 1:27-28); stand firm in the Lord (Phil. 4:1); stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God (Col. 4:12); stand strong and fully protected in God’s armour (Eph. 6).
So, we experience spiritual victory in our Christian lives through spiritual power (10) and protection (11-12). In addition, we need spiritual preparation (14-17). In this article we will examine spiritual preparation by understanding what the six pieces of the Christian armour are, their functions, their qualities, and the actions you must take in order to “withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand” (Eph. 6:13).
Our theme for this passage is: “In order to stand for God, we must be prepared with all the armour of God.”
Just as armour is essential for success in physical battle, so spiritual armour is essential for success in spiritual battles. Armour is no good if you don’t know what it is, how to wear it, and what it is for. All of this is described for us in Eph. 6:14-17, where the pieces of armour are described in the order of how actual armour would be put on. First…
I. The Armor Of Truth
Stand, therefore…having girded your waist with truth (14a).
Roman soldiers wore a loose outer tunic, a large square piece of material with holes cut out for the head and arms. To move around quickly and avoid getting all tangled up in the tunic, it needed to be girded around the waist by tucking it into a belt. A girded waist was the mark of one who was prepared for vigorous activity, for service with nothing to hinder or trip them up.
In order to have victory in battle, we must be prepared. We must be like the Israelites who were to eat the Passover with their belt around their waist, sandals on their feet, and staff in their hand (Ex. 12:11).
Don’t be caught unawares, undressed, hindered by things that reduce your spiritual vitality and preparedness. Don’t let the tunic of daily responsibilities and cares entangle your feet, interfere with your service for the Lord, or distract you from the war. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Remove every weight of sin which so easily ensnares us (trips us up, takes us captive).”
Don’t be distracted or held back by the affairs of this world. Don’t let them absorb you so that the things of God take second place. “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life so that he may please the one who enlisted him to be a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4).
The belt or girdle represents truth. It’s the first piece of spiritual armour to put on. It is, in fact, part of your undergarments. The truth of God makes us ready for the onslaught of evil. Without the knowledge of God’s truth revealed in his Word we may be “carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14); we may give heed to “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1); we may be seduced by the doctrines of the “rulers of the darkness of this age” (Eph. 6:12).
Jesus said: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make your free” (Jn. 8:32). It’s God’s truth that frees you from the snares of the devil and releases you into the glorious liberty of Christ.
Furthermore, truth is the characteristic of the new self, the new creature in Christ. To stand in this war against wickedness, as ambassadors of Christ we must be people of honesty, integrity, sincerity. The world is full of lies and deceit because the world is like their father, the devil, who is the father of lies. The only way to counteract lies is with truth. We can only be effective in battle if the enemy recognizes that we are different from them. If they see hypocrisy and deceit in us they will consider us one of them!
Are you known as someone who stands for truth? When people look at you do they see the truth of God in your life? Is that what keeps you on an even keel when everyone else is panicking or depressed? Do unbelievers identify you with uprightness, absolute trustworthiness? Are you the person about whom they say: “I would trust him / her with my life”? If not, then what power do you have in the battle?
Kim Duk-Soo will never forget November 20, 1950. That was the day Communist troops found him hiding with his father in a root cellar. Along with hundreds of thousands of other Christians, Kim made up the human wave escaping from the oppressive communist regime of North Korea for the free South. “When we heard the soldiers coming, I was sure we would be killed,” says Kim, his eyes filling with tears. “My Daddy told me we could not tell a lie to save our lives.”
Kim’s father had pastored the same church for 42 years. He had helped his wife hide their children by covering them with rice bags and dirt. But after two days of hiding, Kim uncovered himself. Just then, Communist troops approached the house. Kim and his father ran to the back yard and hid in the root cellar. “I told God I would serve him all my life if I got out of the root cellar alive,” he said. The soldiers found Kim and his father and took them off to a makeshift prison to be executed the next morning.
That evening, a captain approached Kim. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. For a fleeting moment, life for a lie seemed the only logical way to go. But the young boy remembered his father’s instruction. “I am a Christian,” Kim said. The captain drew closer and whispered, “I am a Christian too. I used to be a Sunday school teacher before the war. You must escape tonight. I will help you.”
Kim fled that night, having to leave his father under heavy guard awaiting his eventual death. Young Kim reached an American army base, where he taught himself to play the organ in the chapel at the base. Now for 30 years, he has played the organ at First Presbyterian in Taegu where 2,000 Koreans worship. 1
That’s the result of faithfulness to the truth, having no gaps in your armour, standing firm for God in the face of conflict. So, to stand firm for God, you need to be prepared with the armour of truth. The second action we must take is to be prepared with…
II. The Armour Of Righteousness
Stand therefore…having put on the breastplate of righteousness (14b).
The breastplate is the piece of armour that protects the body on every side. If you’ve ever studied some of the outstanding works of poetry in school, you will know Alfred Lord Tennyson’s well known poem about the Balaclava charge of the British to certain death called “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!’ he said:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’ Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew someone had blunder’d:
Their’s not to make reply, their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die:
Into the Valley of Death rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them, volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell, boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death, rode the six hundred.”
That’s the bravery and confidence with which we can stand in battle despite the cannons of Satan’s artillery on every side.
We are protected by the breastplate of righteousness. Righteousness is the character of God himself. God is righteous because he is perfectly upright, just. He always does what is right, never acting contrary to his own standard and character, nor to what he has said or promised. That’s what righteousness is - perfect consistency with God’s character, being just, taking right action, thinking right thoughts.
The righteousness with which we are to be prepared is practical righteousness. Not the imputed righteousness that we received from God at conversion (all Christians have that righteousness), but the ethical righteousness of an upright and holy walk before God. This is the righteousness that stems from a life lived in obedience to the Word of God, in holiness before God, in the fullness of the Spirit of God.
This righteousness covers our spiritual body so that nothing can penetrate. It’s “the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left”, Paul says in 2 Cor. 6:7. It protects us against attack from all sides, front and back.
Is your life characterized by practical righteousness? There is much unrighteous living among Christians through conformity to the world, compromise with the world’s system and standards, sinful habits, un-Christlike behaviour, thinking, and attitudes.
Strive to live righteously! Stand firm in the godly armour of holy living, a devout life, moral integrity. Confess sin when it occurs, keep short accounts with God. Live in the conscious presence of God every moment of every day. Put into practice righteous conduct that you have learned from Christ. Don’t let Christianity be a charade or a ritual of going to church and giving to charity. But let your Christianity spring from the roots of conviction about the horror of sin, about repentance, about God’s holiness, about the kind of life that’s necessary to engage in conflict with evil.
Stand firm with the breastplate of righteousness. Don’t leave home without it or you may be hit with a lethal blow. “Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:13).
Only by holy living are we protected against Satan’s attacks. Be sure of this, his entire occupation is attacking you. That’s why he is called by various names or titles. He is Satan, our adversary, our opposer. He is the adversary of God and Christ. He is the adversary of God’s people. He is the adversary of the whole human race. We can expect opposition every time we make a move toward God. 1 Pet. 5:8 says, “…your adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”
He is the Devil (diabolos), the accuser, a slanderer. If you’re a Christian, the devil is your accuser. He accuses you to God (Job 1). He is called the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10). He says, “Look at him / her! Look what they’ve done. How bad is that! They can’t possibly be a Christian. They can’t possibly go to heaven.” That’s Satan accusing you to God.
And he accuses God to you (Gen 3). He says, “Has God really said, you will not die? Is God really all-loving and all–powerful? If he is so good, how come he allows sorrow and death? If he is omnipotent, how come he doesn’t stop all the sin going on in the world?”
In addition, he accuses you to others; he accuses others to you; and he accuses you to yourself: “I’m no good. God can’t use me. In fact, God doesn’t love me. I might as well give up.”
Remember, Satan is the tempter. He tempted the Lord Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11). He tempts Christians into sin and away from God, trying to get them to fail, be weak.
He is the deceiver, the father of lies (Jn 8:44). He deceived Adam and Eve and he continues to deceive human beings the same way today. But John 8 says that the truth shall set you free!
He is the destroyer (Apollyon). Notice a number of ways in which Satan destroys:
1. He destroys through distraction. Someone has said, he loves weapons of mass distraction. Perhaps it’s your job, your hobby etc. There is a whole lot of distraction going on - worries, cares, riches, pleasures of this life. Distractions that keep us from being fruitful for God.
2. He destroys also through division. It’s so easy to divide the people of God and rob us of our power for God.
3. He destroys through discouragement. Discouragement is one of his primary tools in his arsenal, causing Christians to give up, stop fighting, concede to the enemy.
Christians can live in victory over our enemy, the devil, but we need to be spiritually prepared with all the armour of God. Jesus said: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. But I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (Jn.10:9-10).
What a contrast between their missions! Jesus saves; the devil destroys. Jesus imparts life; the devil kills. Jesus gives; the devil steals. Jesus said of the devil that “he was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44). But Jesus said of himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (Jn. 14:6). That’s the gospel!
What a contrast between their characters! Jesus is the truth; Satan is a liar, no truth in him. Jesus is the life; Satan is a murderer. Jesus is the way to God; Satan is the barrier to God.
Satan loves to attack you in the area of righteousness. That’s his primary method of taking Christians out of the battle. By distracting them from holy living he neutralizes them, stops them dead in their tracks. You can’t battle against evil powers if you tolerate evil in your own life. Make sure you have on your breastplate of righteousness.
To stand firm for God you must be prepared with the armour of truth, the armour of righteousness, and, thirdly, to stand firm for God you need to be prepared with…
III. The Armor Of The Gospel
Stand therefore…having shod your feet w/the preparation of the gospel of peace (15).
Good footwear protects your feet, especially when you stand on hard ground or step on something sharp. Thick-soled boots protect the soles of your feet against weariness, cuts, and blisters. Today you can buy footwear for all kinds of activity - tennis shoes, golf shoes, hiking shoes, steel-toed work boots etc. Each type of footwear is designed to help your feet in a particular activity.
Christians need to wear spiritual footwear for spiritual warfare. Don’t be caught barefoot! You won’t be ready for attack. You’ll be unprepared and vulnerable. You won’t be able to stand for long. It takes good footwear to stand in one place for a long time. If you don’t have your spiritual footwear on, you may stumble, your feet and legs will get tired, and all your other armour will be useless.
Our spiritual footwear is the preparation of the gospel of peace. Notice it isn’t the proclamation of the gospel of peace but the preparation. It’s a matter of readiness - readiness to stand firm in the day of battle, a readiness which is derived from the gospel of peace. We can stand against the onslaught of the devil because the gospel of peace provides a firm footing for us. That’s our eternal security - we have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1), which nothing can shake, not even the powers of hell.
Peace generates security and confidence in the face of any enemy. No matter what may transpire, the most important relationship is secure. No matter what may transpire, our eternal destiny is promised. We stand in the security of our relationship with God, that we are one with him and he with us. That’s peace!
The burden of sin has been removed and we stand in complete unity with God himself because the gospel of peace has reconciled us to God. That’s peace!
He has “reconciled us to God in one body through the cross” (2:16). The gospel of peace is a gospel of reconciliation by removing the sin-barrier between us and God in the death of Christ. That’s the gospel we preach: “We are ambassadors for Christ… (so) we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).
The gospel of peace assures us that God is for us, “And if God be for us, who can be against us?…In all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us…Nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:31…)
Just as God fought for Gideon (Judges 7), so he fights for us. We can stand against the onslaught of the devil because peace delivers us from the great burden of sin. The weight has been removed, we are prepared for conflict, nothing is holding us back.
In order to stand firm in battle you have to be prepared. And Christians prepare by knowing their armour and by taking certain actions. As we have already noticed, you need to be prepared firstly by the armour of truth; secondly, by the armour of righteousness; thirdly, by the armour of the gospel, and, fourthly, we need to be prepared to stand firm for God with…
IV. The Armour Of Faith
Stand therefore…having taken up the shield of faith (16a).
This kind of shield was a large shield, 4’ wide x 2’ long, generally made of wood covered with leather soaked in water. The enemy would often attack with arrows whose tips had been dipped in pitch and set on fire. The shield not only protected against the sharp points of the arrows but the wet leather extinguished the flames.
The shield protected the vital organs of the body, particularly the heart, lungs, and intestines. In the ancient world the heart was equated with the mind, the place where decisions and choices were made. And the bowels (intestines) were considered to be the seat of the emotions.
These are two areas Satan regularly and viciously attacks - the mind and the heart. He fills your mind with wrong thoughts, false doctrines, confusion about issues, the cares of this life that choke you, and with moral filth that defiles you. And all of this is designed to confuse you, to generate more questions than answers so that you doubt your faith.
Satan also attacks your heart with perverted feelings, immoral choices, and defiling lusts. His object is to replace upright living with immoral living, contentment with greed, and love with hate. He tries to lower the standard of holiness and make us more and more comfortable with sin.
Our faith is the shield with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (16b). The shield of faith will protect your vital organs in the day of battle - your heart is protected and your intestines are shielded. When the fiery darts of Satan’s attacks are hurled at you, you can extinguish them with the shield of faith.
So, take up your shield of faith in God! Trust God for daily protection in battle: “He is a shield to all who trust in him” (Ps. 18:30). Trust the faithful promises of God’s Word. Trust God’s resources for standing in the day of battle - his faithfulness, strength, protection, trustworthiness.
Take up your shield of faith in Christ! Trust Christ to preserve you in the joy of your salvation. Trust Christ’s power to protect you, body, soul, and spirit. Trust Him with such deep, abiding conviction that it extinguishes anything the enemy throws at you. “Who is he that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 Jn. 5:5). When fiery darts / missiles come from the enemy, pick up your shield of faith.
Satan attacks you through the problems of life. You don’t know where to turn. You don’t how you’re going to deal with financial stresses, health worries, marriage difficulties, and the like. You find yourself entertaining sinful thoughts, selfish desires, immoral passions, impure conduct.
Satan attacks you through your trust in God. He questions the existence of God and his reliability. He generates doubt about what you believe - your faith in Christ, your eternal security. He encourages you to despair of God, to give up on him. He infiltrates your mind with false teachings and fills you with fear.
In May 1995, Randy Reid, a 34-year-old construction worker, was welding on top of a nearly completed water tower outside Chicago. According to writer Melissa Ramsdell, Reid unhooked his safety gear to reach for some pipes when a metal cage slipped and bumped the scaffolding he stood on. The scaffolding tipped, and Reid lost his balance. He fell 110 feet, landing face down on a pile of dirt, just missing rocks and construction debris. A fellow worker called 911. When paramedics arrived, they found Reid conscious, moving, and complaining of a sore back. Apparently the fall didn’t cost Reid his sense of humor! As paramedics carried him on a backboard to the ambulance, Reid had one request: “Don’t drop me.” Doctors later said Reid came away from the accident with just a bruised lung. 2
Sometimes we resemble that construction worker. God protects us from harm in a 110-foot fall, but we’re still nervous about three-foot heights. Satan fills us with irrational fears but faith in God will preserve us. He never changes. He saved us from hell and death and he protects us from the smaller dangers we face each day. We need to trust his protective care by being prepared with the shield of faith that he has provided.
When Satan attacks, you can’t deal with it alone. So, take up the shield of faith which can blunt Satan’s attacks and quench those fiery missiles. No wonder it says: …above all else, taking the shield of faith. This is the primary piece of armour. There is protection in the shield of faith like no other: “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world” (1 Jn. 5:4).
What do Christians most frequently seem to give up when Satan’s attacks are vicious and prolonged? Their faith! That’s where you are most vulnerable. You think that by giving up, Satan’s attacks will stop, but that’s not the solution. The solution is to “resist (the devil) steadfast in faith” (1 Pet. 5:9). That’s our greatest protection, for “he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him… and we know that we are of God and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 Jn. 5:18-19).
David took refuge behind the shield of faith. With five smooth stones and a sling, he approached the giant and said: “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a shield; but I come to you, in the name of the Lord” (1 Sam. 17:45). That’s the shield of faith! That’s trust in the Lord!
So, be prepared for battle with the armour of faith. And then the fifth action is to be prepared with…
V. The Armour Of Salvation
And take… the helmet of salvation (17a).
The commanding officer gave each soldier his helmet. All the Roman soldier had to do was accept it and wear it. The helmet protected the head from the blows of the enemy’s swords. The Christian’s helmet is our salvation. It is God’s gift to those who receive it through faith in Christ. The helmet of salvation performs two primary functions.
First, the helmet of salvation proclaims our identity. It is a banner on our heads for all to see. It identifies us as belonging to God, that we’re fighting in God’s army, we are on God’s side in this spiritual war. It identifies us as Christians - we’re born-again people; we’re saved by the blood of Christ; we’re on our way to heaven; we’re waiting for the return of Christ at any moment.
Second, the helmet of salvation protects our minds. It protects our minds from Satan’s attacks; attacks that generate doubt, uncertainty, and scepticism; attacks that question our security in Christ; attacks against the foundations of our faith. The helmet of salvation protects our minds concerning what we know to be true. We know that God has rescued us from the tyranny of Satan and given us liberty in Christ. We know that we’re forgiven. We know that God loves us with an unchanging love. We know that Jesus Christ is God manifest in flesh. We know that the Bible is God’s Word and that it is completely trustworthy. We know that the Holy Spirit indwells us and has sealed our salvation for eternity.
The helmet of salvation is worn on the head to proclaim who we are (our identity) and to protect what we know. Satan is obsessed with dealing us blows to the head. He strikes at the very foundation of our faith by challenging our knowledge of God’s Word; by casting doubt on our eternal security in Christ; by plaguing us with discouragement and doubt; by pointing out our failures and sins. There is never a day when Satan’s attacks stop. That’s why we need to always wear “the whole armour of God” until the end of the battle (2 Tim. 4:7). Satan attacks us when we are on a spiritual high as he did Elijah - right after his great victory at Mt. Carmel – and made him suicidal. And he attacks us when we are in the spiritual gutter as he did Job. But Job stood firm: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15),
The helmet of salvation gives us confidence, confidence concerning the outcome of the battle, confidence that that victory is ours in Christ. It protects us from giving up the fight. It strengthens us to continue on no matter what. It assures us that the good work that God has begun in us he will complete (Phil 1:6).
That’s why we need to wear the helmet of salvation because in the heat of the battle we need to be strong and of good courage; because in the heat of battle we need to stand firm – not back up or retreat; because in the heat of battle we need to be able to “endure affliction as a good soldier” (2 Tim. 2:3). That’s when we need to make sure the whole armour of God is strapped on tight.
MSNBC.com reported on John McCain’s return to where he was imprisoned as a POW in Vietnam. During his captivity, McCain twice tried to hang himself, using his shirt as a noose, but was caught both times by the guards, who then beat him. “I couldn’t control my despair,” McCain wrote in his autobiography. “All my pride was lost, and I doubted I would ever stand up to any man again. Nothing could save me.” 3
Sometimes you may feel like that in your spiritual battles. But the helmet of your salvation will preserve you from discouragement and despair and doubt . The helmet of salvation will preserve you in moments of doubt, even when things look hopeless, when Satan casts doubt on the truth of God; when he questions your salvation, suggesting it is misplaced trust; when He undermines God’s goodness, power, trustworthiness; when he whispers that life is hopeless.
That’s when you need the helmet of salvation. That’s when you need to boldly display your unswerving faith in God. That’s when you need to quote those confidence verses that you memorized in Sunday school. “These things I have written to you…that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:13).”I give to them eternal life and they shall never perish” (Jn. 10:28-29). “Nothing can separate us from the love of God…” (Rom. 8:38-39).
So, boldly wear the helmet of “salvation”, a salvation that was secured in the past; a salvation that is being worked out in the present; and a salvation that will be completed in the future. Our helmet is the “hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:8), that hope that motivates us to press on when the going gets tough.
Be prepared for spiritual battle with the armour of truth, the armour of righteousness, the armour of the gospel, the armour of faith, the armour of salvation, and, lastly, by be prepared with…
VI. The Armour Of God’s Word
And take…the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (17b).
This type of sword was short and sharp. It hung from the Roman soldiers belt in a sheath and was used in close combat. The believer’s spiritual sword is the Word of God, the Word which God spoke through his holy prophets and apostles and which we now speak through the gospel. The sword is the Word of God that is made effective by the Spirit and derives its character and origin from the Spirit of God. The Spirit gives the Word its power, its sharpness, its penetration, its application.
“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance,” Paul says in 1 Thess. 1:5. The Spirit of God reveals the message that issues from God, a message that separates all people, a message of salvation and judgement - salvation to those who receive it and judgement to those who reject it.
The Word of God is a sharp sword that divides “soul from spirit…and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). It cuts to the quick of the conscience and it exposes the hidden recesses of our sinful hearts.
The sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon. It is offensive when we use it against Satan. We use it against him when we preach the gospel for the conviction of those who are lost, for “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). “In him you also trusted after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (1:13). “The word of the Lord endures forever. This is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (1 Pet. 1:25).
It is also a defensive weapon when Satan attacks us. Jesus used it to defend himself against Satan’s temptations by quoting it. If you don’t know the Word of God you can’t use it to defend yourself. If you’ve never read it or memorized it you will never be able to recall it when you need it. You have no excuse for not knowing the Scriptures.
Victory is assured when we wield the sword of God’s Word in the power of God’s Spirit. God still speaks powerfully through his Word revealing the truth of the human condition, persuading people to receive Christ for salvation, warning people of the horrors of hell.
When God speaks, Satan cringes in fear and is put to flight. When we speak the Word of God, Satan also cringes because we announce that he was defeated at the cross and we have been set free. Be armed with the sword of Scripture! Martin Luther once said: “A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or cardinal without it.” 4
The theme of this article is: “In order to stand for God, we must be prepared with all the armour of God.” Is there anything stopping from you standing firm for God? Have you put on the whole armour of God? It’s up to you. God has provided it but you have to be prepared by putting it on. If you don’t put the armour on you’re vulnerable! This is a war of hand-to-hand combat against a deadly, powerful, spiritual enemy, an enemy who operates in heavenly realms.
Make sure you have all the armour on! You need it. Gird yourself with the belt of truth. Put on the breastplate of righteousness. Prepare your feet with the gospel of peace. Take up the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Make sure there are no gaps in your armour. If any pieces are missing, it’s not God’s fault: it’s because you haven’t taken the action required to wear it. If anything is missing, you’ve got a gap in your armour which may expose a vital organ.
Will you make sure first of all, that you know the peace of God and that you’re covered with the righteousness of Christ? Second, will you make sure that you are immersed in God’s truth, that you are known as a person of truth, protected front, back, and sides with practical righteousness (holiness of life), and that you stand on the firm foundation of the gospel of peace. That’s how you can stand firm for God in the evil day and having done all, to stand.
When I used to teach at the Stephen Olford Centre for Biblical Preaching, I got to know a beloved brother who worked there. As I understand the story, a mother used to watch her girls play ball after school at a certain ball field. After a while, she noticed that a man was always there. Finally she discovered that he was homeless – he lived at the concession stand in the ball field. Eventually he came to the Olford Centre where he ran errands, picked people up at the airport etc. He would do anything for you without being asked. He gave me little tokens of his care and affection – like a pen, or an insulated lunch bag to hold the snacks he bought for me to eat on the plane ride home. If you called him to ask for something, he would usually say: “I’ve got you covered pard’ner.”
Make sure you’re covered with the whole armour of God! Are your spiritual organs protected against Satan’s fiery darts by the shield of faith? Is your head (mind) protected against the sharp sword of the enemy? Are you confident in the knowledge of your security in Christ? Are you strong in your motivation for the cause of Christ? Do you hold tightly in your hand the sharp sword of the Spirit? Are you using it to defend your beliefs and to convict unbelievers?
If you can’t answer “yes” to these questions, aren’t you afraid? Don’t you tremble to think that you are so vulnerable?
Colin Chapman, in The Case for Christianity, quotes Ugandan bishop Festo Kivengere’s account of the 1973 execution by firing squad of three men from his diocese:
“February 10 began as a sad day for us in Kabale. People were commanded to come to the stadium and witness the execution. Death permeated the atmosphere. A silent crowd of about three thousand was there to watch. I had permission from the authorities to speak to the men before they died, and two of my fellow ministers were with me. They brought the men in a truck and unloaded them. They were handcuffed and their feet were chained. The firing squad stood at attention. As we walked into the center of the stadium, I was wondering what to say. How do you give the gospel to doomed men who are probably seething with rage?
“We approached them from behind, and as they turned to look at us, what a sight! Their faces were all alight with an unmistakable glow and radiance. Before we could say anything, one of them burst out: ‘Bishop, thank you for coming! I wanted to tell you. The day I was arrested, in my prison cell, I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart. He came in and forgave me all my sins! Heaven is now open, and there is nothing between me and my God! Please tell my wife and children that I am going to be with Jesus. Ask them to accept him into their lives as I did.’
“The other two men told similar stories, excitedly raising their hands which rattled their handcuffs. I felt that what I needed to do was to talk to the soldiers, not to the condemned. So I translated what the men had said into a language the soldiers understood. The military men were standing there with guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces. They were so dumbfounded that they forgot to put the hoods over the men’s faces!
“The three faced the firing squad standing close together. They looked toward the people and began to wave, handcuffs and all. The people waved back. Then shots were fired, and the three were with Jesus.
“We stood in front of them, our own hearts throbbing with joy, mingled with tears. It was a day never to be forgotten. Though dead, the men spoke loudly to all of Kigezi District and beyond, so that there was an upsurge of life in Christ, which challenges death and defeats it.”
Those men, though new believers in Christ, were wearing the whole armor of God. Their waists were girded with the belt of truth. Their chests were covered with the breastplate of righteousness. Their feet were shod with the gospel of peace. Their hearts were shielded by their faith. On their heads they proudly wore the helmet of salvation, the truth of which beamed from their faces and out of their mouths. And, even in death, they tightly grasped the sword of God’s word. That’s the kind of protection we can enjoy too!5
If your faith is weak, read the faithful promises of God’s Word. Get plugged into a Bible study where your faith can be nourished. If you’re not sure about your salvation, talk to any of the leaders in your church. Let them explain it to you simply and clearly. If you aren’t regularly reading your Bible, start a daily program right now. Discipline yourself to read it, study it, and memorize it.
Don’t be left unprotected in the hour of battle or you may be seriously wounded. You may join the casualties in the spiritual battle and be no good for God. Don’t try standing on your own, it won’t work. We can’t stand on our own. We need the protection of God’s armour. So, let’s put it on now and be fully prepared for battle.
1 Citation: Lyn Cryderman, Christianity Today, Nov. 20, 1987, submitted by Don Maddox, Corona, CA.
2 Citation: Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 4, in Christianity Today
3 Citation: “McCain Struggles with the Past,” MSNBC.com (4-28-00), in Christianity Today
4 Citation: Martin Luther, “Martin Luther--The Early Years,” Christian History, no. 34, in Christianity Today.
5 Citation: Ray Stamps, Los Gatos, California. Leadership, Vol. 6, no. 1, in Christianity Today
Related Topics: Christian Life