Suiting Up For Battle
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
As you all know, this is the story in the Bible titled “The whole Armor Of God”. Mentioned here are the, “belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith” and so on. This afternoon, I want us to look at these passages of the Bible that will give us 4 reasons that will encourage us to fight in God’s army in spite of our fear. “Suiting Up For Battle”.
1: We Have a commander-in-Chief that we can trust…because He is committed to us!
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.
A sergeant and his lieutenant were doing some survival training in the hills of Tennessee. Suddenly, they came upon a hungry grizzly bear. The lieutenant asked the sergeant what they should do. Without answering, the sergeant quickly sat down, got his running shoes out of the backpack, and proceeded to put them on. The lieutenant couldn’t believe that his sergeant would be so stupid. “Sarge”, he said, “this is a grizzly! He can run faster than either of us can. There’s no way that you can outrun him!” To which the sergeant replied, “I don’t need to run faster than the bear. I just need to run faster than you.”
Whenever armed forces enter into a war situation, they need to have absolute confidence in the fact that they can depend on their superior officers, especially their commander-in-chief to support them with no reservations. They need someone who is going to make sure that they have all the resources that they need to get the job done. They need someone who will not sacrifice them simply for his own political well-being. And they need someone who will go all the way for them.
As Christians, you and I have a Commander that we can count on because He is committed to us. His name is Jesus. To His disciples, Jesus said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”, We can claim that same promise today. In Isaiah 43:2…
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Jesus is the kind of Commander that will never dessert us no matter who the enemy is. His last words before he returned into heaven were…
“and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
Jesus is faithful. He is committed to you. Jesus was committed enough to you to sacrifice His life. Because He has already proven himself in battle. Our Commander has proven Himself in battle all the way to the very end. As Jesus began His earthly ministry, He and Satan faced off for battle in the desert. Satan used every weapon he has, even used the word of God to deceive Jesus, but Jesus effectively countered each time the enemy spoke.
When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood up to all the forces of evil that were against them, they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Their enemy thought that he had defeated them until he looked into the furnace and saw that reinforcements had been called in. They threw three men into the furnace, but the team was astonished to see four men walking around. He saw that they were not screaming in anguish as he had expected. They were not dying. They were walking around, untied, unburned, and talking with someone that Nebuchadnezzar described as looking “like the Son of God.” (Dan. 3:25)
25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
“When you pass through the fire, I will be with you…” (Is. 43:2) Jesus was there with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the middle of the flames. He saw them through the flames so that when Nebuchadnezzar called for them to come out… not a hair on their bodies was singed, and they didn’t even smell like smoke.
Do you know why God included this story and other stories of biblical characters in the Bible? Was it simply to teach us moral guidelines so we can learn from their failures and successes? Was it to give us principles to live by? The main reason that God included stories about Abraham, Ruth, Noah, Esther, David, Paul, Mary, Elizabeth, Peter and so many more in the Bible… so that we can examine what God has done in their lives, we can have confidence that God can do the same in our life. We can… with confidence say, “He has done it before, He can do it again.”
The sad thing about generals and armies, is that there is no guarantee of repeat performance. Their leaders can lose their edge and their competitiveness…loose the war! This is not true with Jesus, for He…
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He also says in…
“For I am the Lord, I do not change”.
When Joshua was getting ready to invade the land of Canaan, God told him…
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.
Our commander has proven Himself able to defeat the enemies of His people in the past, and since He does not change, He is should be worthy of our trust to enable us to defeat the enemies of today. When Paul says, “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might”, he is saying, “put your trust in Jesus to lead you to victory, He is totally committed to you, and He has proven Himself in battle countless times in the past.”
It is a good thing that we have a Commander like that… One who is totally committed to us and One who has proven Himself in battle. Our enemy is stronger and more destructive than any enemy in this world. On our own, we would not have a chance against this enemy. But we are not on our own. And we have a distinct advantage over our opponent. Our opponent has already been defeated.
2. We have an opponent who has already been defeated.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
In verse 12 of this passage, Paul describes our opponent. He says first… that our struggle is not with flesh and blood. [read 12a] We are not fighting against other human beings. After Paul clarifies that our enemy is not, other human beings, he then specifies who our enemy actually is.
When Paul speaks of our enemy being principalities and powers, he’s not talking about the principal at the local high school or the political powers that be, although at one time or another, you have probably considered one or both of these as your enemy.
“Principalities and powers are heavenly or spiritual. So, from these two verses, we can gather that principalities and powers are spiritual beings that are the opposite of angels. That would leave only one category – demons. Demons are the angels that chose to follow and serve Satan when he was kicked out of heaven. In the rest of verse 12 of Eph. 6, Paul continues to refer to demons when he speaks of “rulers of the darkness” and “spiritual hosts of wickedness”.
The number one demon in the whole bunch is Satan himself. A few chapters earlier in Ephesians, Paul calls Satan “the Prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). Then in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul calls Satan “the god of this world”, and he says that Satan’s job is to blind men so that they cannot see the truth. He creates darkness in men’s lives so that they cannot see the light of God’s truth.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world”, and Satan’s goal is to keep men in the darkness. In this battle that we face, our enemy is not one another. Our enemy is not even unsaved men and women. We should treat unsaved men and women as innocent civilians who have been brainwashed by the enemy. Our job is not to condemn or destroy them. Our job is to help free them from their capture and help them to see what a tyrant he really is. Our enemy is Satan and his forces. Our enemy is spiritual not physical.
It is no accident that Paul described Satan and his demons as principalities and powers. They are very powerful. There are just as powerful as the angels who fight on our behalf. In 1 Peter 5:8, Satan is described as “a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” He wants to destroy you. Just before Jesus died, he told Peter, “Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31) And as much as Hollywood would have you believe that Satan and his demons are just characters on a movie screen, they are very real. Our enemy is unseen, and he is powerful.
Our enemy is a powerful and dangerous foe. We dare not treat him lightly. We dare not play around with him or anything that is associated with him. But when we are about the Lord’s business, do we need to fear what Satan and his forces can do to us? No!!! The reason is that Satan and his forces are a defeated. Look at….
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 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 goes on to say that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Nothing is more powerful than God’s love! We truly have victory in Jesus! When Satan incited Judas to betray Jesus and put it in the heart of the enemies of Jesus to crucify him, Satan thought he was getting the victory. In reality… Satan sealed his own defeat. When Jesus died on the cross, he brought victory for you and for me. He broke the chains that Satan had used to hold us captive. Satan no longer has the authority to command or control us. Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, He gained the victory for you and for me!
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
3. We have a defense that is impenetrable.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which, you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
God has given us some awesome armor that will protect us against every attack of the enemy. I’m sure that you have heard many sermons on this armor and many explanations of each piece. For a moment though, I want you to forget the image of being in a battle. Just concentrate on what this armor represents… hope, truth, righteousness, peace and faith. When you are armed with these things, Scripture records that you will be able to stop every dart that Satan throws at you. He didn’t just say some… He said all. Your defense is impenetrable.
In order for us to be able to take the attacks of Satan and still remain standing, we’ve got to have on armor. Very rarely does Satan come at us with a frontal attack. He is a terrorist. He waits until the darkness is all around us. He hits below the belt. He comes at us from behind and when we least expect it. Then look at vs 13 [read]. He says, “takes up the whole armor”.
This is not a buffet where you can pick and choose which pieces of the armor you want. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition. Each piece of armor is inter-connected with the rest. “to withstand in the evil day,” (V13) The evil day is the day of Satan’s attack. You and I do not know when the attack is to begin. We don’t know when exactly…when we will be tempted. We have to be prepared at all times. The evil day, the day of temptation is coming. That is not in doubt. The timing is the only thing we don’t know about.
As Christians, we have a defense that is impenetrable. The armor can only protect us though… if we remember to put it on. So… put it on, as an act of faith and preparation every day as you get out of bed. The armor…The Full Armor, is necessary for our protection.
As a part of God’s army, the greatest army in the universe, we are not just interested in holding our own…protecting the homeland. We want to attack evil wherever it is and destroy it. That’s where our offensive weapons comes in.
4: We have an offense that is unstoppable.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints, 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Our greatest weapons are the Words of God and prayer. Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18) We have an offense that is unstoppable – not even Satan and all his forces can stop the advance of God and his army.
This afternoon, we have looked at 4 reasons that we can fight as a part of God’s army in spite of our fear.
1. We have a commander that we can trust – Jesus.
2. We have an opponent who has already been defeated – Satan.
3. We have a defense that is an impenetrable – truth, righteousness, salvation, peace, and faith.
4. We have an offense that is unstoppable – God’s Word and prayer.
“take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit”. Do you have this helmet? Are you…without a single doubt, know that you are saved, and that the Commander has a hold on you? If you are then that’s good!!! Which will also mean that, you have the “sword of the Spirit”, which is the word of God, that is living in you! With the word of God active and living inside you, no man, angels, demons…not even satan himself can destroy! Nothing can stop the most powerful weapon in this world and the next…that is the words of God!
“praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”. Prayer is one more offensive weapon that the believers carry. No one…not even satan himself can defeat the power of the one who is praying in the Spirit. Paul’s dependent on prayer is evident on all the books that he has written. It shows humility, surrender and trust in the One that He is praying to!
Praying for yourself, and also for the saints. Your brothers and sisters. When the whole body of believers prays, no enemy can win! No saint will ever be defeated. All will persevere to the end, because they follow their Commander who has gone before them in battle!
“for which I am an ambassador in chains” This need to be true for every believer. We represent Christ. The same way our soldiers represent this great country of ours. We are connected, chained to Christ if you will. Where we can never be separated! From birth, to death…to Eternity, we are in Christ!
(V19) and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
The Apostle Paul, asked for prayer to continue. This is Paul here that we are reading. He was asking for prayers. That man that wrote many letters in the Bible. One who has faced many trials and difficulties in his life. He was asking for prayers. We can never be like Paul. Or even face the same trials that he faced. But one thing we all have in common, like Paul…we can all use a little prayer!!! A little prayer for faith, strength, trust, persevere, healing, guidance, you name it. We all need prayers!!!
Pastor Richard Santos
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