God’s Armor Part 2
Last week, we spoke about the full armor of God. We will refocus on this armor, with a brief summary of the helmet of salvation. But our main focus will be on the Sword of the Spirit being the Word of God, and finally the lance of prayer used in our everyday situations.
The Helmet of Salvation
And take the helmet of salvation…
In this final chapter of Ephesians, Paul deals extensively with the subject of spiritual armor. By the time we come to verse 17, he has already talked about the loin belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, and the shield of faith. Now Paul speaks to us about the helmet of salvation, using the illustration of a Roman soldier’s helmet to make his point. Let’s see what we can know about the helmet of a Roman soldier.
The Roman soldier’s helmet was a fascinating and flamboyant piece of armor, very ornate and intricate. Highly decorated with all kinds of engravings and etchings, the helmet looked more like a beautiful piece of artwork than a simple piece of metal formed to fit the head of a soldier.
The helmet was made of bronze and was equipped with pieces of armor that were specifically designed to protect the cheeks and jaws. It was extremely heavy; therefore, the interior of the helmet was lined with sponge in order to soften its weight on the soldier’s head. This piece of armor was so strong, so massive, and so heavy that nothing could pierce it – not even a hammer or a battle-ax. When I look at this, I think about our minds concerning what we believe about our salvation.
Nothing should cause us to doubt our salvation, NOTHING!
1) Nothing should be able to pierce your helmet of salvation.
1a) Salvation is God’s most precious gift to human beings —– Other than eternal life, there is nothing more serious than us understanding that Christ has purchased our salvation with his own blood. We are acquitted in a legal sense. Jesus is the righteous judge who says we are not guilty! You must win the battle for your mind by constantly studying scriptures that refer to salvation.
1b) Win the battle for your mind by renewing your mind —– You renew your mind by giving it fresh doses, fresh injections, and fresh sips of living water every day. That living water is a description of the Holy Scriptures, and of studying the Bible.
Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Ephesians 4:22-24 Colossians 1:21-22
As you can see, all of these scriptures refer to the mind of the Christian, and how it must constantly be reinforced. But back to the helmet, why is the helmet used to describe salvation?
Because your salvation is the most gorgeous, most intricate, most elaborate, most ornate gift God ever gave to you!
If the Roman soldier didn’t have a helmet on when he went out to fight, he could be absolutely sure that he would lose his head.
1c) don’t lose your head over your surroundings —- Don’t lose your head. Remember that salvation has to do with both your soul and your peace of mind.
If God provided for your soul, he will provide for your health, help your children to listen, and he’ll help your bank account, as long as you do your part as well by being a good steward over your income. .
God is telling us through Paul that the knowledge of salvation becomes a helmet for our minds. Now, have you ever wondered if God gives you an offensive weapon? HE DOES! He gives you the Sword of the Spirit.
2) God gives a sword to believers ——
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God. — Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)
2a) the devil is playing for keeps and so should we. I want you to look at the word “sword” in this verse. It is the Greek word machaira — a word that exacted fear in the minds of those who heard it! There were two or three different kinds of swords used by the ancient Roman army — a gigantic training sword, a long sword, and the vicious combat sword. As we are referring to the sword used in Ephesians 6:17, this sword was an exceptionally brutal weapon. Although it could be up to nineteen inches in length, most often it was shorter and shaped like a dagger-type sword. The tip of the sword was often turned upward. And if it had a cork-screw tip, the attacker could shred the insides of a victim by twisting the sword. All these characteristics made the machaira a very deadly and frightful weapon. This two-edged, dagger-type sword inflicted a wound far worse than any other sword that was available to the Roman soldier at that time. Although the other swords were deadly, this one was a terror to the imagination!
2b) this is a fight to the death — Why is this weapon so horrific to the kingdom of darkness? Because it has the razor-sharp power to slash our demonic foes to shreds!
2c) the sword is only used in close combat —- the “sword of the Spirit” is a weapon that is normally employed in closer combat. Let’s take this one step further, so we can understand why this is so.
3) God’s own promises are his weapon of choice —- Notice that this verse calls it “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The term “word” is taken from the Greek word rhema, which describes something that is spoken clearly and vividly, in unmistakable terms and in undeniable language.
There are many examples of God giving someone this kind of quickened word in the Bible, but the best one is found in Luke 4, where Jesus is being tempted by the devil in the wilderness.
3a) you need certain scriptures for certain situations —- Over and over again, the devil tempted and tested Jesus. But with each temptation, a scripture was quickened inside Jesus, and He would speak forth that scripture to the devil, brandishing it like a sword against His enemy. Each time Jesus used a verse that the Spirit had quickened to Him, the sword of the Word dealt a serious blow to the enemy — causing the devil to eventually flee in defeat. No wonder the writer of Hebrews makes this statement about the Word of God:
Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
This scripture gives the idea that the word of God is so powerful that it cuts us completely to our core, and strips us bare. It tears away at our excuses, our doubts, our struggles and insecurities. But if we commit to submit to the scriptures, we will find that God is good.
Joel 2:13 (NIV) Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
3b) Commit to submit to scripture — What is the situation or sin that you are struggling with? Take a specific scripture that challenges you, and apply that to your situation. Read it, memorize it, and recite it, out loud, even. Listen to it. Highlight it in your Bible. Put it on a flash card, put the flashcards everywhere. The point though is to have the scriptures imbedded so firmly into your minds that they become a natural part of your thought processes. Jesus quoted the scriptures from memory and using them was as natural to him as eating and sleeping.
Think about this— Jesus was the Son of God. He could’ve zapped Satan with lighting from his hands. He could’ve called down a ton of angels and had an epic, colossal angel battle!! Jesus could’ve spoken to the ground Satan was standing on and caused it to cave in. But he didn’t do any of these things. Jesus used the power of the Word. The living Word used the written word. This is our formula for defeating temptation. Deuteronomy 11:18-21(NIV)
You might be wondering about what people will think if you do all these things. You might wonder if people will judge you if you wear Christian t-shirts and all this kind of stuff. You don’t HAVE to do all these things, just pray and let God lead you. However, you must determine that you fear God more than you fear people. *And actually, a lot of people are surprisingly open to the gospel nowadays. You may be surprised, but your “Jesus gear” might start a conversation that could lead someone to Christ.
3a) Choose to be foolish rather than being defeated —- We have to decide what is more important to us in life—-God’s approval or the approval of people? If God’s approval makes us look foolish, then so be it.
3b) Jesus was tempted in every potential category of sin —-
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
What does that mean that Jesus was tempted in every way? First off, Jesus wasn’t tempted to get road rage like we do!! He didn’t have a car! Jesus didn’t get tempted to use the company computer to play online card games or fantasy football at work!! He didn’t have a computer!! What that passage of scripture means is that all sin falls into a few basic categories, and Jesus was tempted in each of these categories.
1 John 2:16 (NIV)
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
3c) Lust of the flesh —- Basic human needs and desires. The desire to find a suitable mate, the desire to have children, food, clothing, shelter, and social groups all fall into this category.
3d) Lust of the eyes — Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. Covetousness and envy are very grave sins. They fall into the category of lust of the eyes. Greed, keeping up with the Joneses, selfish ambition, this all falls into lust of the eyes.
3e) Pride of life —- When Satan took Jesus to Jerusalem to the highest point of the temple and told him to cast himself down, that temptation fell into the category of the pride of life. The pride of life is the mindset that we can do whatever we want with our lives, and we owe God no allegiances. However, what greater purpose is there in life other than to follow, serve and pursue the author of Life? Human pride tells us that we can and should make it in this life and in this world on our own. We should be our own gods. Adam and Eve got hit with all of these temptations in the Garden of Eden!! Genesis 3:6-7 (NIV)
Each of these temptations hit Adam once he saw his wife with the fruit as well. He could’ve told her no, but what if he offended her? Lust of the flesh was in effect. Plus Adam probably wanted the fruit for himself, right? Lust of the eyes. Finally, Adam forgot that he was accountable to God almost right away and blamed Eve for his own failure—-pride of life
The point is….when you feel like you can’t hear from God, you have his written Word. Go back to the last thing he told you, and stay there in a holding pattern. Normally the fans in our house will rotate back in forth across the entire living room. But I was so hot; I kept the fan focused right on my face the whole day!! Keep the fan of God’s Word focused on your heart and mind
2 Tim 3:16-17 (NIV)
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Search all over the Bible for challenging, life-transforming, uplifting, inspiring, and hope giving scriptures. Don’t forget to wear your helmet of salvation, and use your sword, the Word of God.