“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”G.K. Chesterton
As we close our study of Ephesians we find this charge from God to not simply allow evil to permeate our world, but to fight against it. This is why we must be armed for battle; but not in our own strength. King David knew our battle was only won through God.
1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
2 He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.Psalm 144:1-2
God trains our hands for war and our fingers for battle. King David was looking at the physical enemies he had in front of him with the knowledge that those behind him trusted in him. Today we are still in a battle, but we find it is not a battle a physical battle. However, it is just as real that King David’s battles.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 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. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And 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. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.Ephesians 6:10-20
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil. Ephesians makes it very clear that we must be ready for battle. There is a war going on all around us and it is up to us; the church to stand against those spiritual forces. Throughout the rest of the book of Ephesians God has been speaking to the church instructing her to follow Christ as she was designed to. Now as the book ends it becomes clear that part of following Christ is to stand firm against the spiritual forces of evil.
We must recognize this war is raging all around and inside us all the time.
In order to win a war we must know who and where our enemy is. We must know what we are fighting for. Just like what Chesterton said; it’s less about the enemy in front of us and more about those who we are protecting. If we are not armed for battle then we will allow the spiritual forces to influence us and those around us. This can be a terrifying task. The reason many ignore or forget about the spiritual forces of evil is because of the fear they instill in people. The powerful thing about this war is we have already won! Jesus is the victor and we get to share in that victory, but there is still a battle ever day that we need to be ready for. Paul wrote
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.Ephesians 6:13-15
We have the spiritual armor to stand our ground in the battle; the armor of God. When the evil in the world is weighing you down (not people, but the evil forces); we can STAND FIRM THEN.
The armor of God is a powerful set of tools we can use to protect ourselves and to help those around us stand firm in the presents of evil. As we have been looking at what it means to follow Christ through the book of Ephesians; I believe Jesus Christ is our best example of using the armor of God to combat the rulers, authorities, powers and other spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
This week we will look at the first three pieces of the armor of God. Then next week we will conclude.
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.Matthew 4:1-11
This account of Jesus facing spiritual forces is a powerful example of our battle we are facing each and every day and how the armor of God gives us the power to stand firm. We will look at how Jesus used the shoes of peace, the belt of truth, and the breastplate of righteousness.
1. Shoes of the Readiness of Peace
The armor of God is not physical armor. It is figurative and the shoes of peace has to do with the journey of life you are on. It is important that we walk in the Spirit. Wherever He is leading you if you are willing to be ready to walk that journey He will give you peace in all situations. We find this with Jesus.
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.Matthew 4:1-2
Jesus had His feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace. Knowing that no matter where His journey took Him if He is walking in the Spirit He would have peace. Jesus was filled with peace on this journey, but physically He was hungry. We must not allow our physical to sway us from walking in the Spirit.
What does it mean to Walk by the Spirit so that our feet are fitted with peace?
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.Galatians 5:15
- Not gratifying the desires of the flesh
- Jesus was hungry, but He was focused on walking by the Spirit not His physical needs.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.John 16:13
- Understanding Truth
- Jesus understood that is may not have been the easiest place to be, but He Knew that is where the Spirit needed Him to be.
When your feet are ready to follow the Spirit you will always have peace knowing the truth; so that when the temptations of the enemy to satisfy the desires of the sin nature; comes you will be able to stand firm.
…he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.Matthew 4:2b-4
2. Belt of Truth
The belt of truth needs to be in the center of who you are. This is your identity. The truth of your identity who you are in God. This is an import part of the armor. The spiritual forces of evil want to attack you at your core your identity. In the account of Jesus’ Spiritual battle we find the Satan said two times…
If you are the Son of God…Matthew 4:3 & 6
Satan was attempting to attack Jesus’ identity. “Do you really believe you are the Son of God?” The core of who we are is so important to standing. We must not allow the enemy trick us into loosing our identity in Christ. The truth of your identity lies in Jesus Christ.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!2 Corinthians 5:17
- You are a NEW CREATION
- In Christ, you are NEW! The old things are gone. Do not live in guilt or shame. Live in freedom and newness…Your TRUE Identity!
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—John 1:12
- You are a child of God
- When you become a new creation you are born into God’s family. You are an heir with Jesus of all the good things God has planned for the future. The Satan said, “If you are a Son of God…”
- The spiritual forces are still asking that question today to each of us.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.1 Peter 2:9
- You are a Chosen, Royal, holy, and special people to God
- No matter what your past or future looks like; God chose you and made you holy and royal.
- Your identity in God is one of letting go and letting God do the work. Jesus knew that He had been chosen and He had a special place in God’s family.
Putting on the belt of truth means your identity is firmly grounded in who God says you are. The truth is you are forgiven, set free, and new in what Jesus Christ has done.
Do not let the spiritual evil forces steal your identity, but stand firm as Jesus did in the wilderness.
3. Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate of righteousness protects your heart from the lies toward your feelings. It is easy for our feelings to push us around. We must put on the breastplate of righteousness in order to protect our feelings from becoming swayed by our enemy. Jesus was hungry and Jesus wanted to see the whole world come to God. These feelings could have led Him to fall, but He was firmly established.
3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”Matthew 4:3 &8-9
His desire at the time was for these things, but He didn’t allow the feelings of selfishness, pride, greed, envy to cloud His judgement.
The righteousness that we have through the breastplate is not from ourselves, but it is through God.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10
- Righteousness is from God
- Our righteousness is found in Him; we have the ability to control our feelings because of His righteous right hand.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.James 1:19-21
- Keeping our feelings in check through the power of the Holy Spirit will produce what God desires. We must humbly follow God.
- Putting on the breastplate of righteousness is about humbling ourselves under God’s righteous right hand and allowing Him to be our everything.
Jesus is a great example of how to use the armor of God. But how do you put it on?
Everyday you must do three things…
- Ask the Holy Spirit to lead every step (readiness of shoes of peace)
- Remind yourself that God has made you a new creation…the old is Gone the new has Come (Belt of Truth)
- Thank God for everything you have and what He has done and release it all back to Him (breastplate of Righteousness)