- Sermon Notes
Time for the Full Armor of God
Illus. Kneeded Armor!
In The book of Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul while he was in a Roman prison. It is a book that speaks to us about the church, those in Christ. And at the end of the book, Paul says, “finally.” And his word, “finally,” represents the final words that He was giving after writing about his spiritual perspective for God’s people living in the midst of an environment and world that believed much differently than God’s people.
One writer summarized the book of Ephesians with these words, “sit, walk, and stand.”
Regarding sitting…Paul had spent a great deal of time reminding the church who they were in Christ, the forgiveness of sin and redemption in Him. That we are seated with Christ in heavenly places to the forgiveness of the sin that is according to the riches of God’s grace and the grace He gave when we were dead in our sin.
Regarding walking…In chapter 4 Paul wrote about the walk of those in Christ, that those who are in Christ are to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. He continued in verses 17 to 20 to underline the fact that the church is no longer to walk as those who don’t know the Lord walk, but we are walk in accordance with truth, speak truth to our neighbors, and live lives consistent with the truth of God’s words and ways. In chapter 5 he wrote it plainly, as children of God, we are to be imitators of Him…This is to shape our conduct not only in the church, but in our personal lives, our marriages, our families, and our jobs.
When you understand who you are in Christ, where you are seated in Christ, and you begin to walk in this world as imitators of Christ, there is going to be opposition, schemes, and struggles that come in your life and Paul wrote about this to not only to equip the church at Ephesus but for you and I.
So Paul wrote to the church regarding their stand. And he repeats these words: “stand firm, stand firm, stand firm.” To “stand firm,” means just what it says, to stay put, don’t move! To “stand firm” is to refuse to change a decision or position…to remain determined, stalwart, and unyielding, as in one’s position or opinion. In other words, do not be shaken up, thrown off course, or out of sorts due to whatever you might be seeing, or the strategies and schemes of the enemy.
Illus. A glimpse into Ephesus (Acts 19).
These verses start out with the encouragement, “be strong in the Lord.” Since there is a battle going on, a war being waged, we need not only know where our strength comes from, but where to find it. Paul does not simply say, “be strong,” He points us to the place to find our strength in the face of what we face. He tells us to “be strong in the Lord.”
- See the Realities of the Struggle
- In verses 11 and 12, Paul references a couple of realities that many overlook in their lives, choose to avoid, or simply do not believe.
- First he wrote about schemes of the devil…And it is certainly important for us to see that the devil himself and the schemes of the devil are a reality.
Illus. Survey: A living being?
1 Peter 5:8-9, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 John 4:4, …Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
- Though real, it is important to note that satan is not omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), not is he omnipresent (everywhere present).
- In verse 12, Paul spoke about “our struggle.” The word for struggle is a Greek word that depicts a wrestling match, a struggle for power, one which the victor is made victorious by pinning the other down.
- Paul wants us to know that everything visible and physical is preceded by something spiritual. Without identifying the roots, we will be thrown off by the visible fruits…
- He first makes us aware of this truth, because if we are not aware, then we won’t take up and put on the gear he tells us is imperative here.
Illus. No problem?
- Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, “but (verse 12) against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
- We recognize then that there are things we wrestle and struggle against, and most often we put people at the center of the struggle…But Paul is saying that is not where the struggle is situated.
- Without understanding the biggest issue, and the fact that there is a spiritual battle behind all we come up against presently, we will continue to fight the wrong battle and apply our struggle against another person personally.
- There is an enemy against us, who has schemes and plans in place to take us out.
John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
- The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy your life. But Jesus came to bring life and have that life to the full!
- It is important that we see the realities of the struggle, that there is a real enemy, with real schemes, and a real pursuit by the enemy to bring struggles into and upon our lives.
- It is also important to realize who our Lord is and who we are in Him!
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
- If you are striving and fighting against flesh, you are fighting the wrong battle. If what you are wrestling against is a person, or people, you are in the wrong battle.
- Paul tells us that the real struggle is situated in “heavenly places.”
- Of the “heavenly places,” the spiritual realm, Paul had already told some things that are important to recognize:
- Our blessings are there (Eph. 1:3), Jesus is seated there 1:20), He reigns there (1:21), and we are seated with Him there (2:6)
- Heavenly places is where the battle is. And it is our ability or inability to address the unseen realm, that will determine our success in the seen realm.
- Regarding the seen real, there are some schemes and some struggles, and the struggles are real, but so is our God. And so we are told to “stand firm,” and the way we can stand firm is by taking up and putting on the armor of God.
- Stand Firm in the Full Armor of God
Ephesians 6:13, Take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day…
- When Paul wrote “take up” it literally means to pick it up, carry it, and use it. It depicts something that is available, it just needs to be picked up and taken for oneself.
- This means it is not theoretical equipment, it is what we can actually take up and carry to stand firm.
- For me and for you, there is armor available so that we can withstand the evil day, or days, but we must take up and put on the armor.
- So, Paul writes this while in the custody of Romans soldiers, likely looking at what protected that guard physically. He then details out for you and for me, the way in which we are to guard our lives spiritually.
Ephesians 6:13(b)-14, Having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with…
- The list of equipment begins with the belt of truth, which is put around the waist.
- The soldier in that day wore a tunic of loose-fitting cloth. Since ancient combat was hand to hand, and a loose tunic was a potential hindrance and danger. A belt was then used to cinch up the loose material.
- Girding was a matter of pulling up the loose ends in preparation for battle.
- For us then, the belt of truth pulls in all the spiritual loose ends. That which hinders is tucked away so that it will not be a hindrance.
- Truth is defined by an absolute standard by which reality is measured. Truth is God’s view on any subject.
- To be equipped for the battle, we must recognize where truth lies.
John 14:6, I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
John 17:17, Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.
- Truth is what holds our lives together. It is what should surround all of the “loose ends of life.”
- NASB 95’ reads, “gird your loins with truth.” Loins are regarded as the seat of physical strength and power.
John 8:32, You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Illus. What is that noise?
Genesis 3:1, Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Ephesians 6:14, Stand firm… with the breastplate or righteousness in place.
- The next piece of armor Paul tells us to put on is the breastplate of righteousness.
- This was a tough, sleeveless piece of leather, bronze, or other heavy material that protected a person from their neck to their thighs.
- It would protect the soldier’s vital organs, their heart, and their lungs.
- Regarding our armor spiritually, Paul says that righteousness is to be our breastplate.
- There are different ways that the breastplate is applied as armor in our lives.
- The first has to do with our righteousness in Christ, being made right. The day you asked Jesus into your heart you were made right with God. And righteousness gives us the evidence that we have been made right with God.
2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Romans 3:22, This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
- The righteousness has been given; we have become the righteousness of God in Christ. But that righteousness plays an essential role in protecting our lives, particularly our heart.
- The enemy will do all he can to cause you to question the reality that you have been made right with God.
- That is why we must start with the truth, be set free, and then surround our lives with the reality of righteousness “being made right” presently.
- Righteousness is what happens when we draw near to God and receive what He has given. Wickedness is when we are far from God.
- Additionally, the breastplate of righteousness is something we can “take up” by the pursuit of righteous living.
- We know from Scripture that none is righteous apart from Christ, at the same time the Scriptures tell us to pursue righteousness.
Proverbs 15:9, The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
- 1 John 3 points to the differentiation between the one who makes righteousness their practice and pursuit versus the one who make sin their practice and pursuit. That the devil has been sinning since the beginning, but Jesus came to destroy those works.
- Paul wrote these words to Timothy and for you and me, “Pursue righteousness.” So, I am going to put on Christ, and His righteousness, but I am also going to seek to live in accordance with what He tells me is right.
Ephesians 6:14(a), 15, Stand firm… with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (NIV)
- The Roman soldier had shoes that protected his feet without slowing him down. They also had spikes that ensured solid footing.
- If you do not have shoes for the rough terrain and rocky places, you will not get very far. The shoes then, help you to stand firm in defense, but also allow you go forward no matter what terrain you find yourself in.
- We must fit our feet with the gospel of peace, that is the foundation of our steps, and that which we stand on and upon as we proceed forward.
- We strap the Gospel to our feet and carry it into our world.
Romans 5:1, Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- We are to fit our feet with the Gospel, which is the good news, the good news that brings peace.
- We can stand firm with peace, even in the battle, because we know we are on the right side and our biggest battle has already been won.
- When you see the struggle, rather than give people a piece of your mind, live in such a way that you display the peace you have come to find.
- The world is stirred up, worried about defeat, but your feet are firmly planted in truth and righteousness. So take peace with you.
Isaiah 52:7, How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! (NLT)
Ephesians 6:16, In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
- Faith is what is necessary after we put on the shoes and begin moving. Biblical faith is living, moving, walking in a particular direction because you are convinced God is telling the truth.
2 Corinthians 5:7, We walk by faith, not by sight.
- Catch this, the flaming arrows and fiery darts come when you begin to share the Gospel, the good news.
- For the soldier in a battle, the flaming arrows come as the soldier begins to gain ground. The Lord knows that the arrows will come when you gain ground for His kingdom.
- Roman soldiers in the first century would use a shield made of wood and covered with leather held together with metal bands for strength.
- The shield was about 4 ½ feet by 2 ½ feet in size and would protect them from flaming arrows, or fiery darts coming from the enemy.
- Roman soldiers were known to soak their shields in water to help extinguish the flaming arrows.
- Here Paul connects the shield to our faith, it is the armor that protects when the enemy sends flaming arrows your way.
- The faith here is referring to the trust in God during tribulation. It is our complete reliance on God. Our total dependence on and willingness to do God’s will.
- It means believing in the promises God has given, even when they have yet to materialize.
- Fiery darts come in many forms, and they are fiery, they are sent to set your life on fire, to fire you up and try to burn you: thoughts, feelings, imaginations, fears, and lies can all be hurled at us from the enemy, but faith turns them back.
- If you are walking by faith, you will extinguish the fiery lies sent your way.
1 John 5:4, For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
- Faith is active and we see how necessary it is when we begin to move forward.
Ephesians 6:17, Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- The helmet covers the head which is a major target in battle.
- And it is Satan who seeks to destroy a believer’s assurance of Salvation with weapons of doubt and discouragement.
- In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul defines the helmet we put on as the “hope of salvation.”
- Satan wants believers to doubt the reality and promise of salvation. The enemy will attack your mind, but your mind has to be in line with the reality of salvation.
- “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” Proverbs 23:7.
Illus. Who are they?
Lamentations 3:21-23, this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
- The Lord is my portion, my inheritance, what has done is enough for me, for now and throughout all eternity. Therefore, I have hope.
Colossians 3:2-3, Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
- Lastly, take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
- The sword of the Spirit, while it can be used defensively, can also be offensive. It is the only weapon noted in the armor. Meaning if everything else is in place, it is all you need to fight back.
- It is called the sword of the Spirit, because it is the only weapon the Spirit uses.
- So when we ask for the Spirit to fight with other weapons, we are asking Him to fight with weapons he simply does not use.
- The Word here is being used in battle.
2 Corinthians 10:4, The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
Matthew 4:4,7, 10, He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”… “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test”… “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”
- Paul tells us to stand firm, stand firm, stand firm…and the way we will do so, is by taking up, putting on, and applying the armor of God to our lives.
Ephesians 6:18, Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
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