Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
In our last study, our focus was on the “helmet of salvation.” This time we will consider the second part of verse 17, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The metaphor of a sword is a great choice for an illustration of what the “Word of God” does when wheeled or used skillfully by the son or daughter of God. Consider Hebrews 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. NKJV
Ephesians 6:17 instructs us to take the sword of the Spirit and the book of Hebrews speaks of that sword as two-edged or two-sided. Allow me to share what I believe the Lord gave to me years ago about the Hebrew passage. The sword of the Spirit first is wheeled to deal with our own heart condition. By the “Word of God” we can discern every thought and intent of our own heart, by asking do my thoughts and my intent align with God’s thoughts and intents. How could I know, except by the teaching of God’s Word? Through the discipline of memorizing and meditating on God’s word, His word becomes established in my heart.
An illustration from the book of Proverbs helps us to understand how God’s word can be used to “discern” our hearts. Look at NKJV Proverbs 11:1 the biblical teaching of scales or balances. Consider “dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.” Is our heart right when it comes to commerce? Do we do business with this principle in mind? Verse 2 “When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.” Do we think of our self-first or another maintaining an attitude of humility?
Verse 3 “The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” Is there integrity in all I do? One more, verse 4 “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death.” Is righteousness the foundation of all our motivations? Where does money fit into our value system?
So we see how the “Word of God” is the sword of the Spirit in dealing with one’s own heart. Now we turn our thinking toward the sword of the Spirit in dealing with the hearts of others. We have used 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 before, but it is powerful to make our point here.
Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” NKJV.
How is this done? It is done by the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Consider Paul as he preached, taught, and debated God’s Word. In Acts 17 Paul and his team preached and taught in Thessalonica by reasoning with the Jews from the scriptures. They did this for 3 Sabbaths. Some of the Greek Proselytes were persuaded, but the Jews were not. This caused a great division in Thessalonica. Many times the scriptures divide by cutting through unbelief and by establishing the true believers.
It was different in Berea. They received the word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Later in Acts 17, Paul and his team share with some of the philosophers of his day, there on Mars Hill in Athens Greece, as recorded in Acts 17:29-34. There were 3 responses to Paul’s preaching the resurrection from the dead: the mockers, others who said we want to hear more, and those who believed the word of God.
The word of God can be viewed 3 ways: It is a written word, “the scriptures.” It is a living word “the logos” and it is the spoken word the “the Rhema.”
THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD (RECORDED)
All scripture is given by inspiration 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reroof, for correction in righteousness.”
Holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit 2 Peter 1:20. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.” For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (NKJV).
The completed Canon of Scripture is “God’s written word to the whole world.” At Vision International University our motto is “Taking the Whole Word to the Whole World.” If you have thought about on line biblical courses take a look at WWW.VIU.EDU.
The phrase “the word of the Lord,” i. e., the revealed will of God (very frequent in the OT), is used of a direct revelation given by Christ, 1 Thess 4:15; of the gospel, Acts 8:25; 13:49; 15:35,36; 16:32; 19:10; 1 Thess 1:8; 2 Thess 3:1; in this respect, it is the message from the Lord, delivered with His authority and made effective by His power (cf. Acts 10:36). Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father, but by Me (John 14:6). Jesus is the Logos!
Personal Word: Rhema (r(h=ma, NT:4487) denotes “that which is spoken, what is uttered in speech or writing”; in the singular, “a word,”
The significance of rhema (as distinct from logos) is exemplified in the injunction to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Ephesians 6:17; here the reference is not to the whole Bible as such, but to the individual scripture which the Spirit brings to our remembrance for use in time of need, a prerequisite being the regular storing of scripture in the memory. Remember in the last lesson how we dealt with the memory. Not only can we be healed of hurtful past memories, but we can be fortified with a memory-filled with God’s goodness as revealed in His Eternal Word, the sword of the Spirit.
THE PROPHETIC SIDE OF THINGS:
Revelation 1:16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
As we read further the seven stars mentioned in verse 12 are revealed as the angels of the seven churches. And the seven lampstands are revealed as the seven churches in verse 20. That study is for another time. For right, now let’s focus on the sharp two-edged sword coming out of His mouth. In Revelation 19:10 we discover that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” The word of God is prophetic. God spoke to Adam and Eve that her seed would crush the head of the serpent. There are over 800 scriptures in the Old Testament that speak of Jesus coming and of His kingdom that He would establish here on earth. Prophesy’s that speak of the time of His birth, the place of His birth, being rejected by His own people, His death, His burial and His resurrection. Prophecy’s which speak of the coming of the Holy Spirit, the redeemed people of Israel and the adding of the Gentiles and so much more. It is a very large sword that is coming out of His mouth. That sword cuts the captives free, but also brings judgment to those who reject His word.
In Revelation, the sword represents Christ’s word to the seven churches to repent or suffer judgment. That sword honored the faithful believers but warned the unfaithful members of the body. It also represented the judgment soon to happen to Israel and to Jerusalem, in fact judgment on the whole Jewish system. Judgment because they rejected God’s Anointed one who now reigns from heaven. All this was what Jesus spoke in Matthew 24 and was now soon to come to pass.
Revelation 19:11-21 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His heads were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the Armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
“The sword of the Spirit.” Notice that Paul says, “the sword of the Spirit,” it is the Spirit of the Lord in us which gives life to the word of God that comes through us as we speak God’s Word to others.