The Bible study tonight will not be in Revelation. The Holy Spirit has been working in my heart for a few days on a topic I think is vital to all Christians right now: The Armor of God found in Ephesians 6. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit and His revelation, we’re going to look into that portion of Scripture.
It’s my belief that the Spirit of God wants to teach us about the armor because God wants us covered in these trying times. Israel and the Middle East are in constant conflict, true, but tensions are mounting, anger is glowing like red hot coals, and hatred is like a river running from the Arab states into Israel. Our own country is defying God by pressuring Israel to give up her lands. They made Israel give up Gaza where homes were bulldozed and graves were dug up to remove all Zionists from the area. Look at what God said in Zephaniah 2:4, 5 about how He will treat nations who chase Israel out of her land. “For Gaza shall be forsaken, And Ashkelon desolate; They shall drive out Ashdod at noonday, And Ekron shall be uprooted. Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, The nation of the Cherethites! The word of the Lord is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines: "I will destroy you; So there shall be no inhabitant."
When the United States Government pushed Israel to give up Gaza, it was working at odds with God while working with Israel’s enemies. Will this country suffer for her interference? I believe so. Seems we already are. We’re seeing crazy out of place weather patterns, numerous earthquakes in a day, out of control fires all over the place, and killings like never before.
I believe the rapture is at hand. I believe Scripture never lies and they tell us that the Lord is coming in a cloud to call the dead in Christ and the bride, the church, us Christians to meet Him in the air. We will all be renewed and changed in the twinkling of an eye to be clean enough to enter God’s presence in Heaven. But if the Lord waits another year or so, we need to be prepared to live as warriors for the Lord, and warriors use their armor. They don’t march out uncovered. Just as our military has bullet-proof body armor, so do we Christians have dart-proof shields to protect them. Matter of fact, we have available all the weapons needed for fighting in God’s army. We just have to learn what they are, what they are for, and how to put them on.
Paul’s first instruction about the armor is a favorite verse. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10). As with any soldier, it will take focus and courage to be soldiers in the kingdom of Heaven. But we have the power of God’s might in us. We can defeat the enemy at every attack. He’s already a defeated foe, but he loves to shoot those darts at us and lie to us to make us believe there is no God, or at the least, that God couldn’t care less about us or our suffering. He is now, as ever, WRONG!
His next instruction is that we, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (verse 11). To “put on” means to array ourselves. We are to apply each layer of armor to our bodies as we apply our clothing, one piece at a time. Paul knew all Christians would deal in warfare and would need both defensive and offensive weapons to win their battles. The “wiles” of the enemy are his tricks and deceit that causes Christians to fall into his traps.
Why do we need these weapons? “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. 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” (verses 12, 13). Our enemies are listed here in their order of power.
Principalities: Chief rulers over all.
Powers: Authority given a lesser by the chief rulers.
Rulers of the darkness of this world: The ones who rule over ignorance and sin.
Spiritual wickedness: That is those who rule over spiritual things of the world. They raise up the false prophets and teachers. They give powerful delusions so people will believe false doctrine.
In high places: In the second heaven.
Jesus wore some of these pieces of armor. Look at Isaiah 59:17, “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.”
Let’s see what the weapons God has given us are and how to use them properly.
The first part of the armor is the belt. Every man of those days wore a belt, or sash because if they had to climb or run, they would have to “girt” their robe, which was the attire of the day, into the belt to free their legs. Albert Barnes said, “The girdle was often highly ornamented, and was the place where they carried their money, their sword, their pipe, their writing instruments, etc.” And, he said, “The “girdle” seems sometimes to have been a cincture of iron or steel, and designed to keep every part of the armor in its place, and to gird the soldier on every side.”
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (the gospel), and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (verse 14). To begin the battle we are to stand, not run, not hide; but stand firmly before our enemies. We must not desert the Father or the church or our co-warriors. We are to “girt” ourselves, or wrap ourselves in the truth of the gospel.
The next piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness or coat of mail that covered both the chest and back areas of the body. It was made of brass plates upon each other resembling the scales of a fish. This breastplate protected all vital organs and the heart. If the liver or the spleen or any other organ is damaged, they can often be repaired to function again. But the heart, that’s the muscle that pumps life to every part of the body. If the heart is pierced with a spear, in all likelihood the person will die. The breastplate protects the wearer from all damage, but especially from destruction of the heart. Why is the heart so important? What we eat and drink goes into the mouth and passes out the elimination process. But what goes into the heart stays, and it’s out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. We have to protect our heart because that’s where love, faith and hope reside. If the devil’s darts or spears hit our heart, we could lose faith, give up hope and our first love for Jesus could die.
It was a spear thrust by a soldier that released the flow of blood and water from the Lord’s body. (John 19:34) Normally, they would break the legs of those hanged in case they were not fully dead. In Jesus’ case, God had spoken hundreds of years before through the psalmist, David, saying, “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.”
Wearing the breastplate of righteousness means we are to live a right lifestyle before God and man: a lifestyle of morality, justice, and integrity. We must never give anyone cause to question our faith. Yes, we all fall into sin, but we must always ask God to lift us out of it quickly. It’s those who wallow in sin that are found out publically and give a black eye to Christianity.
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (verse 15). During battle, the men would tie their sandals onto their feet so as not to lose them during the battle. If their feet or legs were injured, the men could not charge the enemy when winning, nor flee from him when losing. To shod or bind the feet had two part. First were the sandals that had spikes in them to grip the ground and not allow the soldier to slip and fall. Second were the brass shin pieces of mail that protected from the ankle to the knee.
We Christians have shoes to wear in our battles too. They are the shoes of peace. These shoes carry us into the world where there is strife, family discord, addicted people, angry or hurt people, and we need to bring some peace into their lives. That is the gospel of salvation. If we walk in the world like the unsaved do, we will never make strides in bringing anyone into the kingdom of light. We must prepare ourselves before going anywhere to walk in truth of the Word. Plant your feet firmly in truth and you will never fail.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (verse 16). “Above all” as a priority, but not more important than all the other parts of the armor, not to be forgotten, always to be worn is the “Shield of Faith.” Walvoord explains the shield the soldiers carried in this way. "It was made of wood, and was 2 1/2‘ wide X 4’ long. It was overlaid with linen and leather to absorb fiery arrows. The leather was watered down so that it would quench the fire. Thus the shield also protected the other pieces of armor.”
We need to water our shield because the darts are flying freely now that morality has flown the United States coop. Sin is rampant and the devil is firing at will now. In my study in Ephesians I said, “Why are the darts we shield ourselves against called fiery? Because they set the mind on fire. If we don’t quench the fire of temptation as soon as we see it coming, we fall into diverse temptations, and we sin (Mark 14:38).” I’ve seen it and read of it often. Someone gets sick, or loses a loved one, or their business fails and first thing they do is turn on God. Why don’t they turn on the destroyer, the devil, instead?
This shield is also spoken of in Psalms 5:12, “For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield,” and Proverbs 30:5, “Every word of God is pure; he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” The shield we have that protects us from the attacks of the devil is our faith. If we don’t feed our faith we lose it. We feed our faith with the Word and prayer. We enforce our faith with praise and worship.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (verse 17). In the ancient military soldiers wore a helmet that was very large and heavy. It was hot to wear and not used except during times of impending danger. Our soldiers now still wear bullet-proof helmets to protect their brains from harm. They are also hot and heavy to wear and only used during battle.
Guess what? We need to wear our helmet all the time. Why? We need it because the fiery darts of false doctrine from the many antichrists and false teachers keep coming at our minds. They water down the Word of God or just outright change it to suit their personal doctrines. They batter our minds with lies about hell and sin and expect us to believe them.
Paul said, in I Thessalonians 5:8, “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” Our basic hope is our salvation bought and paid for by Jesus on the cross.
Finally is “the sword of the Spirit.” “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 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” (Hebrews 4:12). This two-edged sword is sharp enough to enter the bone and divide the marrow from it without harming either. The only other thing harder to divide is man’s spirit from his soul. The sword is a spiritual weapon, and it wards off the devil. The antichrist will be destroyed by the Sword of the Spirit.
The most effective sword in our spiritual warfare is the Word of God.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (verse 18). All soldiers should bow their knees before the throne any time they are heading out to battle. We must pray a protection over ourselves and the Christians of the world who are on the front lines with us. We must plead the blood of Jesus over all. Pray with perseverance which is persistence and diligence. When we pray the Word of God, it causes the devil to flee.
A prayer I pray for me and others is something like this, “satan, you are defeated. The blood of Jesus covers me (or the person I’m praying for), and you cannot touch me (or him or her). I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and I know enough of the Word to fight you, therefore can resist your attack. I bind you, and cast you out, in Jesus’ name. Be gone! By the power of the almighty God, I command you to depart from me at once,”
Use the armor. Every day when you get out of bed, take each piece of the armor God provides for you and put it on with prayer. Don’t let the devil have any advantage over you. We are warriors in God’s army. Some of you might be scared to move out to battle. But, as Joyce Meyer says, “Do it afraid.” The blessings will abound.