Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
EPHESIANS 6:17 TO WIN THE BATTLE YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE HELMET AND THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
SALVATION, which is like a helmet
A Roman soldier wouldn't go to battle without a helmet, he'd be foolish. A Roman soldier would be very careful to get his helmet on. Now helmets were made out of basically two things, leather with some patches of metal on it, pieces of metal or else those molded solid cast helmets, you know you've seen with the plumes depending on what regiment, what function, what period of time you were involved in. But, but a helmet was very important to protect the head from arrows flying around for one thing but primarily from what was known as a broad sword. There was not only the machaira, the little dagger that he uses in verse 17 but there was in the midst of a battle those who carried the broad sword which was from three to four feet long, longer than your yard stick, and it had a huge massive handle that you held with both hands like a baseball bat. And you just lifted it over your head and went around flailing away at some footmen down there. The broad sword was a tremendous weapon and you wanted to have a helmet to deflect a blow from a broad sword, because it would deal a heavy, splitting blow to the skull.
He's not talking about past element of salvation or the present feature but he is talking about the fullness of it. We are waiting in hope, we are holding onto hope that someday the battle will be over and someday we won't have to struggle with sin and the flesh and the devil and the world and demons. Someday we'll know the hope of a full righteousness. Look at 1Peter 1:3 and here is a great benediction, Peter says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." In other words he says we have been saved to a hope, to hope for an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you." Our hope is heaven. "We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." A salvation "ready to be revealed in the last time."
In other words in case you get weary and you think maybe there's never going to be an end to it, He'll be back. There will be an end, there will be a goal, and there is a finish line. And that's exactly what the helmet of salvation is; it's the hope of ultimate salvation. 1Thessalonians chapter 5:8, "But let us "who are of the day," that is we're not of the night that's Satan's dominion, we're of the day that's sons of light in God's Kingdom, "let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love," now watch, "and, for an helmet, the hope of salvation. There is still an element of salvation to obtain, God has appointed us to obtain that finally, and it is the helmet of salvation. The writer of Hebrews says Heb 6:16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Summing it up, the helmet of salvation is confidence in a full, final, total salvation to come. It's confidence that someday the battle will be over. I couldn't fight if I didn't think there was a finish somewhere, could you? There's got to be an end.
That big broad sword that the Roman soldier would have to face had two sides? Do you know what Satan's big broad sword is; it's got two sides to it? One side is discouragement and the other side's doubt. You know what Satan wants to do? He wants to belt you right in the head with discouragement and doubt, get you discouraged, you're sure giving a lot and not getting much in return, you're living this Christian life, setting yourself apart from the world you're living it, and what happens? You just lost your job. Great blessing, huh? You've been reading your Bible every day and your wife is as cranky as she was before and nothing has had an effect on her at all. What's God doing in your life? You've been going to church for so many years, look at your kids, they don't respect you now any more than they ever did. And you begin to get discouraged. I've been teaching a class so long and I wonder whether anybody gets anything out of it, you say. And you get real discouraged, that's one of the things.
The other thing Satan wants to hit you in the head with is doubt. How do you know you're really a Christian? Are you sure you're really saved? You don't deserve it look what you just did. Do you think that's a manifestation of being a Christian? And people suffer from doubt and discouragement, and that's what he uses. And the helmet of salvation is a protection.
Let's talk about the area of discouragement, look in 1Kings 19, great story of Elijah. Elijah is kind of the Peter of the Old Testament he's up and down a lot But Elijah at this point has just had a great victory, I mean a victory like no other prophet of God ever had, he just took out a sword and slaughtered four hundred and fifty priests of Baal.
God said, Elijah you have no business being discouraged, now you get yourself up here in Mount Horeb. Elijah gave Him some song and dance about I'm the only one left Lord, I'm the only one left, I'm the only faithful person You have. And the Lord says in chapter 19:18, “Yes, I have seven thousand others beside you, it's not just one, it's seven thousand and one Elijah, now get back there and get busy.” It's so easy to become discouraged, and I can vouch for that even at the moment of some of your greatest triumphs you go back to reality and you go wow, how did I get here? It's easy to be discouraged.
And you hang in there because you know that day when you're going to be like Jesus is coming.
Dr. Richter of Johns Hopkins Medical School carried out an experiment that attempted to measure the motivational effect of having a goal. The experiments involved placing rats into cylinders of water that were thirty inches deep by eight inches wide. After a short time, half of the rats were momentarily rescued by being lifted out of the cylinder for a few seconds, then put right back into the water. The other half were not. The group that was given hope swam for more than three days. The other rats drowned almost immediately.
The rats that knew there was a chance of being rescued again had a goal - to stay alive until the next rescue. The other group had no goal, so they just gave up.
* There's a second thing, and that is that Satan has another edge on his sword. It isn't discouragement it's doubt. And maybe doubt is the ultimate discouragement. Do you know that Satan wants you to doubt your salvation? Oh he is really good at that. Most people suffer from that at some point in their Christian life.
Ro 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is the "hope" that salvation provides that can protect our minds against things like despair and fear Is 59:17; Ro 5:10
We have the mind of Christ 1Co 2:16; Ro 12:2; 1Pe 1:3-5; John 10:28; Ro 8:31-39; Phil 1:6
THE WORD OF GOD, which is the "sword of the Spirit"
Finally, to the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. The previous armor has been primarily defensive but now we come to a piece of armor that is both defensive and offensive. I've heard people say that this is offensive. It is more than that it is defensive as well.
The word of God is similar to this short sword for the Christian. "Word" (Gr. rhema) refers to the utterance of God rather than to the written Word or the living Word of God (Gr. logos). It seems most likely
to refer to the words of Scripture that we use to counteract the particular temptation we face. It is the appropriate Scripture spoken or put to use by the Christian in a given instance of temptation that is in view (e.g., Matt.4:4, 6, 10).
"As Jesus used the words of Scripture to repulse the tempter, so must the Christian know and use the words the Spirit has inspired to drive away Satan."
a. Here is the "offensive" weapon that Christians must use in their battles, and it is a powerful one! - He 4:12; 2Co 10:3-5; Luke 4
b. With this "sword" it is possible for the Spirit to "cut to the heart" those who hear the Word - cf. Ac 2:36-37; 7:54
It is the sword of the Spirit in the sense that the Spirit has given it. But if you put both together you get this idea, our sword is spiritual because it was given to us by the Holy Spirit. 2Ti 3:14.
The Scottish pastor and writer Dr. Guthrie said, "The Bible is an armory of heavenly weapons, a laboratory of infallible medicines, a mine of exhaustless wealth, it is a guidebook for every road, a chart for every sea, a medicine for every malady and a balm for every wound. Rob us of our Bible and our sky has lost its sun."
One writer said the authorship of the Bible is so wonderful. "There are words written by kings, by emperors, by princes, by poets, by sages, by philosophers, by fishermen, by statesmen, by men learned in the wisdom of Egypt, educated in the schools of Babylon and trained at the feet of rabbis in Jerusalem. It was written by men in exile, in the desert, in shepherd's tents, in green pastures and beside still waters. Among its authors we find a tax-gatherer, a herdsman, a gatherer of sycamore fruit. We find poor men, rich men, statesmen, preachers, captains, legislators, judges and exiles. The Bible is a library full of history, genealogy, ethnology, law, ethics, prophecy, poetry, eloquence, medicine, sanitary science, political economy and the perfect rules for personal and social life. And behind every word is the divine author God Himself."
First of all, the Bible claims that it is infallible. That means that it is without error in total. That the sum of it all makes no mistakes. That it is faultless, flawless, without blemish. In Psalm 19:7 it says; "The law of the Lord is perfect.” In its total, it is reliable.
Secondly, in its parts it is inerrant and that means that there is no error in it. In Proverbs 30:5 it says, "Every word of God is pure," Every word. "Pr 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, Lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." And so His word is infallible in total, inerrant in part.
Thirdly, it is complete. Revelation 22:18-19 says, "If any man shall add unto these things God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book and if any man shall take away the words of this book God shall take away his part from the tree of life." In other words, you can't add to it and you can't take away from it and that means it is complete.
Fourthly, the Bible is authoritative. In Isaiah 1:2 we read; "Hear oh heavens and give ear oh earth for the Lord hath spoken." When God speaks everybody better listen; that's what it means when it says it's authoritative.
Fifth, the Bible is sufficient. In 2Timothy chapter 3 it says: "That it is sufficient to make you wise unto salvation, it is sufficient to make you perfect thoroughly furnished to all good works". This book can bring you to salvation and bring you to perfection. There is nothing other than that that is needful. So the Bible is infallible in total, inerrant in part, complete, authoritative and sufficient.
Sixth, it is effective. When it speaks things happen. The Bible changes things. The word of God works transformation. In Isaiah 55; "So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth, it shall not return void but shall accomplish what I please." It is effective. The reason I preach it is because I believe it will do what it says it will do.
Seventh, it is divine. 2Peter 1:21, it says; "That the scripture did not come from any private interpretation, it came not from the will of man but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." It's God's book. Now listen, a book that is infallible, inerrant, complete, authoritative, sufficient, effective and divine is a book that ought to be cherished.
Lastly, it is also determinative. What a person does with a Bible reveals his relationship to God. Jesus said; "John 8:47 He that is of God hears the words of God: for this cause ye hear them not, because ye are not of God". If you listen to the Bible it shows you belong to God. If you don't, it shows you don't The Bible, then, becomes a determiner in the sense of a man's eternal destiny and his relationship with God. What an incredible book. There is no book in existence in the universe that can make these claims and substantiate them, only the Bible.
What does the Bible do for you? What does the Bible offer you? What resources does it bring to you?
First of all, it's the source of truth. John 17:17 says, "Thy word is truth." It's the truth about life, death, time, eternity. The truth about heaven and hell, the truth about right and wrong, the truth about men and women, the truth about old people and young people, the truth about children, the truth about society, the truth about every relationship between God and man, every relationship between man and man and every relationship between man and creation. The truth about everything that's needful.
Secondly, the Bible is a source of happiness. We see the world around us chasing happiness like mad, just furiously chasing happiness and the simplicity of scripture is this, Proverbs 8:34; "Happy is the man who hears Me." The simplicity of the statement of Jesus in Luke 11:28, "Happy are they who hear the word of God and obey it." That's happiness, no man is happier then he who discovers truth.
Third, the Bible is the source of growth. Life is all about growing but not growing in the way that they think. We are to grow in the knowledge of the word of God, because Peter says, "Grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ." How do you do that? Again, the word is the source of growth. In Peter he says, 1Peter 2:2, "As babes desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby."
Also, the Bible is the source of power. We're really impotent in our lives if we don't use God's word. The Bible is the source of our power. "The word is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword."
The Bible is the source of guidance, Psalm 119:105, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
The Bible is a source of comfort, Romans 15:4 talks about the comfort of the scripture. The Bible is the source of perfection, 2Timothy 3:16, "That the man of God may be perfect!" The Bible is the source of so many things. This incredible book that never has an error, never makes a mistake is always sufficient and complete and authoritative and effective and determinative can bring to your life truth and happiness and growth and power and guidance and comfort and perfection.
And one other thing, the Bible is the source of victory over the enemy. And with that we arrive at Ephesians 6:17. It is the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God that gives us the weapon against our enemy. That's why I preach the word of God. That's why we systematically teach the word of God. Because, it wouldn't even matter if all of those other things I said about were true if you never learned it. You would have at your disposal a resource never used.
Now the word sword here is a very interesting term. It is the word in the Greek “machaira”. This is the more normal sword carried by the soldiers, anywhere from six inch long daggers to 18 inch swords or so. They were put into a sheath or a scabbard by the side of the soldier and were used in hand-to-hand combat.
Paul said to the Corinthians in 2Cor. 10:4 that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual. That's his implication there. And so we are using a spiritual sword. The fact that verse 12 says we are fighting spiritual wickedness; he's talking here about a spiritual sword. Of course, all of this is spiritual. We have really a spiritual belt and a spiritual breastplate and spiritual shoes and spiritual shield and a spiritual helmet.
The Bible in your life is a weapon. It's only a matter of whether you know how to use it. And learning how to use it is dependent upon how diligently you get involved in studying the word of God. That's why the apostle Paul spent three years in Ephesus and said, "in Ac 20:27 For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God." Why? He wanted to teach them how to use the sword. He wanted to give them the whole thing so that they would be able to use it effectively.
The word then is our weapon, and it's powerful. It's powerful in Romans 1:16 it says, "So powerful", he says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation". You wield this sword and people will get saved. You will literally use the sword as it were to tear away souls from the kingdom of darkness. With the sword you can cut a path through Satan's dominion.
It can be used in judgment. In Hebrews chapter 4:12 where it says the word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even the dividing asunder of soul and spirit of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The word discerner means to judge by sifting out the evidence. The word of God becomes that which judges people. You preach the word and it brings to bear on their life the judgment of God. And it sits and weighs their life in the balance of the authority of the word of God to show them the fact or reality of their sinfulness.
The next verse he says that's why, Hebrews 4:13, "no creature can hide himself but everyone is made naked before God's word." God's word comes like a sword taking souls from the kingdom of darkness. God's word comes like a sword piercing into the hearts of men, sifting the evidence and showing them their own sin and guilt before a holy God. This is a powerful weapon. It is so powerful it can bring truth into error. It is so powerful it can bring happiness into sadness. It is so powerful it brings light to darkness and shows you the way. It is so powerful it changes sorrow into joy. It is so powerful that it changes stagnation into growth. It is so powerful it takes an infantile person and makes them mature. This is a powerful thing. This is what we hold in our hands; the sword of the Spirit.
Let's talk about its defensive capability. If you've ever seen anybody use a sword you know that a sword is used as much to block a blow as it is to inflict one. And a person who uses a sword uses it along with that part which covers his hand to defend himself against the blows of his enemy. And the way you use the word of God defensively is really critical. Satan comes to attack you with his temptations. He comes to attack you with his assaults and you can literally block his blows with the proper use of the word of God.
For example, we see our Lord, in Matthew chapter 4 and in Luke chapter 4 and Satan comes to Him three times and Satan attacks Him with three direct temptations. Number one is to don't trust God, make stones into bread, don't wait for God to supply your needs, grab it on your own. And Jesus comes back and quotes scripture exactly related to that temptation out of Deuteronomy. Satan comes a second time and says, “Furthermore I'm going to tempt you now to trust God where you have no business trusting God, dive off the temple and let Him catch you.” And He uses another scripture from Deuteronomy exactly dealing with that temptation, third time, bow down to me. And He uses another scripture exactly dealing with that temptation.
In other words, precisely He uses the “machaira” of the word, He doesn't flail It around indiscriminately He uses it precisely to deal with exactly the temptation that Satan shot at Him. Listen, you have to be able to defend yourself at whatever angle the temptation comes from. And there are Christians who own Bibles and they've sat in churches and they've been in classes and they've even read it but they don't really know the principles and so they can't stop the attack at one point or another.
Satan will find out where you don't have that information and that's where he'll start hitting.
You must learn the principles of the word of God and that's why 2Ti 2:15 says you have to study to show yourself approved unto God.
* Secondly, it's an offensive weapon.
This word is powerful, so powerful the Bible says it converts the soul. No word of man can route the spiritual hosts of wickedness, only the Word of God. So it is defensive as we know it to defend ourselves, it is offensive as we go out and conquer Satan's dark kingdom. And again may I remind you that when you use the word of God offensively it has to be specific?
But, if you're going to be effective at communicating you've got to know the word so you can be instant in season and out of season. As 1Pe 3:15 says but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; So that you have an answer, Peter said. We need to know the word of God.
Walter Martin says the tragedy of Christianity is that a ninety day wonder out of Jehovah's Witnesses can take apart a Christian in thirty minutes. And in many cases that's true. We just really don't know the word like we should. Because we don't know it like we should we can't defend ourselves and we can't use it as an offensive weapon. Oh, the more you know the word the more you're going to march through Satan's kingdom because God's Word has answers that cut right into the core of his lies. And so we need to know the word.
He not only gave you the book, He planted in your heart the resident truth teacher and He'll teach it to you if you'll submit to His teachings. Nobody's going to be able to plead ignorance. I don't understand those big words. You can understand God will enable you to understand as much as you need to understand to win the victory. It isn't that tough, I understand it.If anything is ever good, it indicates that somebody's put a lot of effort into it. That's the way it is in your life. Just because you own a Bible doesn't mean you have a sword. You can own a Bible warehouse and not have a sword, if you don't know how to use it defensively and offensively. Jesus gave us the pattern, He said, "What does the scripture say?" That's how to live life, that's how to approach temptation, that's how to approach ministry. In Acts 17 it says “The Bereans were more noble then the others because they searched the scriptures.” That's true Christianity.
It is Free