THE CHRISTIAN WARRIOR AND HIS ARMOUR
“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” (Ephesians 6:12).
I The Need for a Spiritual Armour
1. The Christian soldier’s strength and power is in the Lord, [Ephesians:6:10].
2. Paul explains the necessity of obtaining the whole armour because of the power of the enemy, [Ephesians:6:11-12].
II An Exhortation to Take the Whole Armour of God
1. The armour will enable one to resist temptation and to stand, [Ephesians:6:13].
2. The armour of God is a spiritual protection from head to foot, [Ephesians:6:14-17]; [2 Corinthians:10:4-5]; [1 Thessalonians:5:8]; [Isaiah:11:5]; [Isaiah:59:17].
III Prayer Enjoined
1. Prayer is to be continual and in the Spirit, [Ephesians:6:18].
2. Paul asks for prayer that he may boldly preach the Gospel, [Ephesians:6:19-20]; [Colossians:4:3-4].
3. Tychicus is sent to Ephesus to inform and to comfort them, [Ephesians:6:21-22].
4. Paul invokes a blessing and prays for the Ephesians, [Ephesians:6:23-24].
Paul the Apostle knew very well that every Christian soldier would need the full armour. His experience had proved that the battle was real and the adversary would do everything in his power to penetrate the defence of the Christian. The need for the armour was not only for defence, but it was needed to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Paul had instructed these Ephesians as to their attitudes toward one another. He had taught the husband and the wife; the employer and the employee; the children and the parents; and now he tells them that to keep these instructions and to benefit by all the privileges that God has promised them, they will need the whole armour of God.
He states expressly that this armour is to be put on. It is not enough that it is available. After all, the armoury full of equipment never meets its true purpose until the equipment is issued to the soldier and put to its intended use in battle. How could the soldier who is without armour stand against the one who comes in full battle dress? He tells these Christians that if they are to stand, it will be because they have put on the armour that they may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The devil is able to beguile and overcome the unsuspecting soul in many ways. He comes as he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden with enticing words and lying insinuations.
The Power of the Enemy
The power of the devil is real and awful, but God sets the limit as to how far he can go. Man is made a free moral agent and it is within his power to choose to withstand these fierce powers of darkness or to let them overcome him. When God provides the armour to withstand the devil, He gives man his means of victory. The battle is not against a foe who can be seen, but is against spiritual wickedness in high places. Systems of religion, which deny the divinity of Jesus, and many other basic teachings of the Bible, have many followers. These systems are wicked in that the devil uses them to thwart God’s plan for the salvation of man. The arguments of these systems may be persuasive and cunning, but the power is of the devil nonetheless. The saints of God are warned against them and told to put on the whole armour of God that they may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
The armour of God has many parts, but we notice that the first part that we are exhorted to put on is the girdle of truth. The Word of God is Truth, and as we gird our heart with the Word, we equip ourselves to fight the good fight of faith. The breastplate of righteousness is in evidence because of the Truth being in the heart. Jesus Christ is our righteousness, and as we put on Christ we adorn the doctrines of Christ. We obey Him and His Word. The outward life shines for Christ because He is in our heart. We have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel. We read the Word of God, we pray, we learn, and then follow Jesus in the way. We prepare our heart to seek the Lord by shunning every appearance of evil and by the daily searching of our heart. We have left all sin and worldliness to follow Him as our Lord and Master all the days of our life. The shield of faith is mentioned as one part of the armour and we are taught in the Bible that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” [Romans:10:17]). So the basic part of our armour is the Word of God. If the devil can rob us of that part of the armour, all is lost.
We quench the fiery darts of the wicked with the shield of faith. We have faith in God. We believe His promises and stand for His Word. Faith counts the things that God has promised as already accomplished. It is no wonder that this is called the shield of faith. The Bible would be a dead book without faith. We have faith in the Bible; we call it God’s Book. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God. We are justified by faith. We stand guiltless before God through our faith in the shed Blood of Jesus. If the devil can rob us of our faith we stand in doubt of everything, and all hope is gone. But so long as we walk in the light and keep ourselves in a condition to stand in faith on the promises of God, we will never know defeat.
The armour that God has provided for us includes justification by faith. It includes the second definite work of grace wrought in the heart, sanctification. It includes the promise of the Father, the Comforter, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, upon a clean, sanctified life. Christ told the early Christians that they were not to depart from Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on High. They obeyed and waited and prayed until the Holy Ghost was sent upon them on the Day of Pentecost. They did not go out without the whole armour, but waited for this cap sheaf of Christian experiences upon their life.
The Christian equipped with the armour then takes the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and engages in battle. The enemy is defeated when he is confronted with the Word. A good example of this is the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. When Satan came with a temptation Jesus said, “It is written,” and proceeded to quote the Word that applied to the particular temptation. Satan was defeated every time, and he is today if the Word of God, which is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, is used against him.
Prayer is a most essential part of the Christian armour. Without it, all the other parts become useless. The Word of God becomes alive as we appropriate the promises of God through faith. We have this faith as we draw near to God through prayer and His Word. Prevailing prayer moves the hand of God. The forces of the devil are kept back by the prayers of God’s people. Every revival and moving of God’s Spirit in the hearts of people is brought about through prayer. Groups of people have agreed to pray and intercede and have prevailed with God. Great revivals have come because someone or some group has believed that God meant what He said when He promised to answer prayer.
Paul’s Desire for Prayer
Paul asked these Ephesian Christians to pray always for him. He was an ambassador in bonds, but his desire was not for physical liberty but for liberty in the Spirit. He wanted them to pray that he would have utterance to preach the very Gospel for which he had been imprisoned. He wanted the boldness that would make his preaching effective in persuading people of the reality of the Gospel. He asked them to pray in the Spirit. This agrees with the teachings and example of Jesus, that our prayers are always to be in accordance with the will of God. It is always within the will of God for us to pray for them who are giving their very lives to preach the Gospel. Every true missionary of the Lord desires the prayers of God’s people. Material help is necessary, but all that will avail nothing unless the efforts of the servant of God are carried on the hearts of God’s people by prayer.
Armour for Each One
Everyone must be fitted with the armour that God has for him. You will not be expected to do the job that another is called to do. God does not expect you to do the impossible, but you are expected to put on the armour that God provides to enable you to do the things that are yours to do. Of him to whom much is given, much will be required.
When David was going out against the giant, Goliath, he refused to wear the armour of King Saul. Saul offered it to him, but when David tried it on he felt he could never go out to fight against this enemy of the armies of Israel in that armour. He had not proved it. So he came out to fight with a shepherd’s sling and five smooth stones. He said to Goliath: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” [1 Samuel:17:45]). He came without physical armour but in the name of the Lord and in the power of His might. There was an unseen hand that guided the stone. God directed it to its mark -– the forehead of Goliath – and Goliath fell down dead.
One can imagine what the outcome might have been had he gone out in the king’s amour, trusting in his own power. But with his trust in the living God and wearing the unseen armour, he won the victory. Goliath was slain and the reproach against the armies of Israel was removed. They who put their trust in God will never know defeat!
1. What is the reason for putting on the whole armour of God?
2. What do we wrestle against in this spiritual battle?
3. What parts of this armour can you name?
4. For what did Paul ask in his request that he be remembered in prayer?
5. How and how often were the saints enjoined to pray?
6. Give an example of a young lad preferring the spiritual armour to the physical.