THE HELMET OF SALVATION AND THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

Ephesians 6:17 – Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Paul says that we must “take” both the helmet and the sword. They are not placed in our hands; rather we must take responsibility for picking them up. The helmet of salvation covers our head. Salvation is holistic in its nature and is intended to minister daily to our souls. The soul has three main areas that need to experience God’s salvation daily: the will, the emotions, and the mind. All three areas need to be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. The mind has at least five areas which the Lord wants to bring into conformity to the mind of Christ. Satan has his designs on each of these areas as well.

The five areas of the mind are described by Paul. We read in Colossians 3:2 about the affections of the mind. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Paul mentions our imaginations in 2 Corinthians 10:3, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” He writes about the conscience in 1Timothy 1:19. “Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.” Paul describes the use of the memory in 1 Corinthians 15:2. “Keep in memory what I preached unto you.” Finally, Scripture illustrates our ability to reason in Acts 19:8-9 when Paul “entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.”

We must “take up the sword of the Spirit.” The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. It is two-edged and can be dangerous if mishandled. One edge cuts away the fleshly nature of my own heart. The word of God is essential in changing my perspective and helping me see from God’s point of view. The other edge is the side of the blade for helping free others. When the sword is handled properly, bondages can be cut off those to whom you are ministering. It is important to read, study, memorize, and meditate upon the word of God. When we give ourselves to these four areas, it will cause us to become skillful with the sword of the Spirit.

Father, I thank You for these two important pieces of armor. Help me to put on the helmet of salvation daily, and to take up the sword of the Spirit. I ask You to make me a skillful warrior in Your army. I want to walk in the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ every day.  

WEARING THE ARMOR OF GOD

Ephesians 6:14b -16 Put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 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.

The breastplate of righteousness covers your heart region. Righteousness is a heart issue. The enemy shoots his arrows at our hearts to try and kill the life of God. Many have received arrows from others, from childhood through adulthood. Believers can have great difficulty in their Christian growth because of wounds to their heart from the past. The Lord wants to heal us from the inside out. As we are healed, it is important to put on the breastplate of righteousness to stay well in one’s heart.

Putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace is for our daily walk. We are to walk in peace and bring peace wherever we go. Just as we take time to prepare our natural feet for walking, we must take time to prepare for our walk in Christ. It begins with intimacy with our heavenly Father. As we experience peace in the morning with the Lord, we are readied for the day and our experience with others.

Paul says, “Taking up the shield of faith.” It takes effort to put on the armor, but it is a necessary daily activity. We are called to walk in faith. It is the person of faith that overcomes the world. It is the person of faith that advances the kingdom of God. It is faith that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). The devil hates people of faith because they cause his kingdom great problems. Only through faith do we “extinguish” his flaming arrows. The picture Paul is illustrating is that of a Roman soldier. The Roman soldiers would stand together with their shields interlocked. As believers we are to interlock with other believers against the enemies attacks. We do not have to go into the battle alone.

The “evil one” has a very ordered kingdom; he rules his domain with control and oppression. His purpose is to cause chaos for God’s plans. Satan is ruthless in his attack on God’s kingdom purposes and God’s covenant people. Paul outlines what we are up against in this battle. Many Christians try to meet the challenges they face through their own natural reasoning. The wisdom of man is not sufficient to deal with the kingdom of darkness. It is important for the believers to understand the warfare in which they are engaged. The armor is very important to our success in the battle.

It cannot be emphasized enough how important righteous living and a life of faith becomes as it relates to the subject of “spiritual warfare.” Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart daily and expose any area that has not been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and surrendered to His kingdom rule. Invite the Holy Spirit to establish your life habits in an atmosphere of faith. Repent of any areas He reveals that are not motivated by faith. Paul reminds us, “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

Father, I thank You for both the breastplate of righteousness and the shield of faith. Grant me grace to put on both these essential parts of the armor that You have supplied. Strengthen me in the battle of advancing Your kingdom on earth.

WE ARE IN A BATTLE

Ephesians 6:12 – 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.

At times, it takes a number of English words to adequately communicate the meaning of the one Greek word. Words such as: deliverance, healing, safety, and wholeness bring a larger view of the salvation our God has provided. They also give us a larger view of the areas of attack from the enemy, areas such as demonic strongholds, sickness, disease, and persecution. Each one of these represents areas of battle in which the believer engages. Then there are the daily challenges of the flesh and dealing with temptation.

The armor must be put on daily. The practical application of God’s armor is to help His warring church conquer evil. Our verse today clearly identifies the forces behind the battle. Do I believe the word of God concerning the battle? The proof of my belief is found in obedience through application. “Put on the whole armor of God.” This is not a suggestion, but a command.

“Take up the full armor of God,” (are you?) so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13). Have we done everything? “Stand firm therefore having girded your loins with truth” (Ephesians 6:14). The armor begins with truth. The belt of truth holds all the armor together.

Consider what Jesus said about truth. “Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed on Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’. They answered Him, We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, you will become free?” (John 8:31-33).   

Deception can be ruthless. Throughout Jewish history, they were in bondage to the nations around them. For seventy years, the Israelites were captive to the Assyrians. Presently, they were captive to Rome. They really were slaves and the one speaking to them was “the Son of the house.” “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever’” (John 8:34-35). We are no longer slaves, but sons. We must put on the truth every day, exercising our position in Christ against the enemies of our soul. Gird yourself with truth every day. All truth is eternal. In this case, truth is a man. Paul said, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14).

Five elements of entering into truth are: honesty, confession, repentance, receiving and giving forgiveness. Releasing others who have sinned against us opens the prison door and sets the captive free!

Father, I thank You for the freedom You have made possible in Christ. I choose to put on the “full armor of God.” Thank You for the girdle of truth I wear which holds all Your provisions together in my life.

TAKE UP THE FULL ARMOR

Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God.

Paul uses the word “finally” as he wraps up his teachings to the church at Ephesus. He was not correcting any error in this letter as he does in many of his writings. He gives the saints strong foundational teaching with redemption in the first chapter. Paul lays out eight themes in his letter:

The blessing of redemption
We are alive in Christ
Stewardship relating to God’s Grace
Unity of the Spirit
The Christian walk
Be imitators of God
Marriage and family relationship
The armor of God
Paul teaches that our battle is not in the natural realm, but in the supernatural. His message is an important message for believers today. Many come to a church service for the wrong motivations. Let’s consider three so we might search our own hearts concerning our motivation. If necessary, repent and come into alignment with God’s Eternal purpose.

First, many go to a church service to receive a “pep talk,” something to help get them through the week. There are those who need to be encouraged. That is not wrong. It is part of the reason Christians gather. God’s purpose and desire goes much deeper than pep-talks.

Second, some come as a sense of duty. Their heart is not fully engaged. They attend from a need to have religious activity. Many feel a need to “appease God” by their attendance. God is not looking for appeasement, but obedience to His calling.

Third, there are those which attend a church service when their soul moves them on special occasions or when other activities don’t interfere. You could say it is obeying God on their terms. 

The purpose of our gathering is primarily for corporate worship, equipping, and instruction. Of course, this includes receiving the Lord’s Supper. Within these areas, the Spirit of God wants to manifest His presence among the body and minister His gifts to meet needs in the lives of God’s people.

“Put on the whole armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). When Paul writes, “put on the whole armor of God,” it is a clue there will be warfare. The armor of the Lord provides for both offense and defense in the battle. This armor is intended to be worn by those who have received God’s salvation. His salvation is greater than most realize. Tomorrow, we will enlarge on this thought.

Father, thank You for the armor You supply for Your saints. Please give me wisdom and understanding for the spiritual battle in which we are engaged.  Cause me to be strong in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Teach me how to effectively wear the armor and be effective both offensively and defensively in the battle against the enemy.

DOING THE WILL OF GOD

Matthew 7:21 – Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

This is a very clear word from our Lord about entering into the kingdom of heaven. The subject which Jesus is addressing can be found in verse 23, “You who practice lawlessness.” The lawlessness which Jesus is addressing is that of the religious leaders and their followers. They claimed to be followers of God and part of His kingdom, but they had established their own rules and were lawless and not submitting to the Law of God.

Jesus fulfilled God’s Law and was the only means to a right standing before His heavenly Father. Faith in the work of Christ gives us access to the Father and acceptance in His kingdom. Those who have trusted Christ are in varying degrees of development in terms of their daily obedience. “When the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5).

God richly poured out His Spirit through Jesus. He justified us by His grace so we would be made heirs in our hope of eternal life. Through belief in what God has done by justification we should be careful to engage in good deeds. It is to our profit to be fruitful in good works and obedience to our great God and Savior.

It is vital to understand that no one person can obtain access into God’s kingdom except through Jesus Christ. It is He, and He alone, who justifies every believer. It is equally true that He did not save us simply to go to heaven, but as “heirs according to the hope of eternal life . . . we should be careful to engage in good deeds.” There is the great tension of the Scriptures regarding salvation. It is not by works which we have done that we trust, but by His work alone. The expected result of the Father is through the power of the Holy Spirit, we do the work of God by engaging in good deeds.

Paul says to Titus, “I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds” (Titus 3:8). It is with confidence I speak as well. God has secured your salvation, believe Him for what He has done on your behalf and do good works. Each day, ask for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit to do God’s works. In order to do those works, we must have God’s power.

Father, I thank You for Your kindness and love for mankind. Thank You for saving me not based on my deeds, but Your mercy. Now Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, that by Your power I might do deeds of righteousness.