Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free ebooks designed to help you grow in your faith. Many believers have all their armor in place, but they never use their sword. Pastor Greg Laurie explains how our sword can defend against the lies and attacks from our enemy. So Satan comes to you and he says, God will not forgive you. Now it's time to pull out the sword.
It is written, 1 John 1 9, if I confess my sin, he's faithful and just to forgive me my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. That's how it works. Some professions have specialty clothing and it saves lives. Firefighters have turnout pants and jackets to protect against heat. Police officers wear Kevlar vests. Soldiers have vests and helmets and boots. And as we'll learn today, Christian soldiers have specialty clothing as well.
But too many of us don't know much about it. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us get to know our six pieces of spiritual armor and how we can use them in spiritual battle. Alright. Well let's grab our Bibles and turn to Ephesians chapter 6. Ephesians chapter 6.
And the title of my message is, How to Fight the Spiritual Battle. Look at verse 14. Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and above all taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. So six pieces of armor are mentioned. Six pieces. The first three, the belt, the breastplate, and the shoes were attached to the body, never to be removed.
The second three, the shield, the helmet, and the sword were for specific purposes in methods of attack. So it starts by saying, gird your waist with truth. Let me just use a more modern translation. Put on the utility belt of truth.
Ok. The Roman soldier had a belt. And on his belt he had a sheath, which was for the sword obviously. And also the breastplate was attached to the belt. And the belt also pulled his, well it pulled his little skirt up. Ok. Because he wore a toga.
A toga is basically just like a skirt. And so it would be down over his knees. So when he is going into battle he pulls it up above his knees and he cinches in the belt so it stays above the knees giving him freedom of movement. Now he pulls his sword out. You have got to have the belt on because if someone pulls your belt off off comes your breastplate. There goes your sword.
And your dress just fell to the ground. You are looking stupid right. So what does this even mean? Put on the belt of truth. Basically it is just saying bottom line if you are not walking truthfully before God none of the rest of this really matters. You know if you are living a hypocritical life.
If you are saying one thing and doing another then this is not going to work for you. So you start with a truthful right relationship with God. Then you have the breastplate of righteousness.
What does that mean? The breastplate of righteousness. What it is is a representation of your stand before God.
We talked about how we are justified. Which means when you become a Christian God forgive you of all of your sin and then He puts the righteousness of Christ into your spiritual bank account so to speak. And you stand positionally right before God. I am a righteous man. You are a righteous man. You are a righteous woman. So I stand in this special relationship with the Lord. And I bring this up because one of the devil's primary tactics is accusation. You know he comes up to you.
He tempts you to think an impure thought and then you sort of ticket for a test drive and he attacks you. What a hypocrite you are. You are not even a Christian. You don't believe in Jesus. Boom.
You know blows against the breastplate. But this is righteousness where I am not standing in my good works or what I have done for God. I am standing in what God has done for me. Very important.
Number three. We are to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. This is the footwear of the soldier.
It gave him firm-footedness and mobility on the field of battle. It speaks of standing firm and gaining ground. And how do I gain ground?
Very simple answer. By proclaiming the gospel. That is how we advance in the spiritual battle. Romans 10 14 says, How can they call on Him unless they believe in Him? How can they believe in Him unless they have heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?
And how will anyone go and tell them unless they are sent? And that is why the Scripture said, How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news. So the way we gain ground in the spiritual battle is by sharing our faith.
Now look at this. Verse 16. Above all. Underline those two words.
Above all. So Paul is now distinguishing this piece of armor from the rest. Above all he says, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. So the Romans you know the Roman army was amazing. And that is why they defeated so many of their enemies because they worked together. And they would march into battle with these shields for the first part of combat. And when the initial barrage of flaming arrows came they would all get them up and lock their shields from the front, from the side, and on top too. And all those arrows would land on top of the shield. So they knew the arrows were coming and they were ready for them when they came. So the way it works in real life is the devil will fire his arrows at us. You never know when it is going to happen.
Satan's flaming arrows are swift and silent. There is no advance warning of their arrival. You can wake up in the morning and the enemy can hit you with a flaming arrow or a fiery dart before your feet even hit the floor. It can happen in the middle of the night. Maybe a thought of complete despair. You might be gripped with a thought of intense fear and terror. What if this happens to me? What if that happens to my family?
What if this other thing happens? It can be a thought of hatred towards somebody. It can even be a blasphemous thought.
It is so crazy. And from left field you are thinking how could that thought even come to me? Remember it is not a sin to be tempted. And just because the devil fires a flaming arrow at you that doesn't mean you have done anything wrong. You are not the twisted one.
He is the twisted one. You put up your shield and identify the source of it. That is from Satan. I reject it. I am not going to even entertain it for a moment.
I didn't think of it. And I am not going to play around with it. And that is how you resist it. Know where these things are coming from. Because the devil is clever.
As I already said. He will tempt you and then he will attack you for being tempted. How could you be so twisted to think that? I didn't even think it. It is like worshiping. And this stinking thought. Where did that come from? It came from hell. It came from Satan.
It is a flaming arrow. So say I reject that. That is not from God. Just let it go. Resist the devil and what will happen?
He will flee from you. So understand the source of these things. So the helmet of salvation. This is so very important.
Because obviously the helmet protects your head. And you know that most temptations come in the form of your thoughts. Right? They always start with a thought. Take any temptation you have ever given into and I bet you in every instance it started right here.
And you know you entertained it. So you have to wear a helmet. I ride a motorcycle and I have to wear a helmet. And I hate helmets by the way.
But I know that they are good and they protect your brain which is a nice thing to keep intact if possible. So in the same way in the spiritual battle you are going to get hit in the realm of your thinking. So you want to protect your mind. So there is one last weapon in our spiritual arsenal. And that is the sword of the Spirit. This is the only weapon that is offensive. In other words if I am going against my enemy I am not going to throw my helmet at him.
Ok here I come. Throw a helmet. That is not going to work very effectively. I am not going to beat him to death with my breastplate. That is not practical. I am not going to attack him with my shield or you know throw my gospel shoe at him or something.
Right? These are not effective weapons. These are not weapons.
These are defensive tools that the soldier uses. But this sword this is how I attack. And of course it says the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. See many believers have all their armor in place but they never use their sword. They leave it in the sheath. They talk about it. They study it but they never actually utilize the sword in spiritual battle.
Listen to this. The devil knows the authority of the Word of God. And that is why as I mentioned earlier he will try to keep you from it at all costs. He will do everything he can to see that we either keep our sword sheathed or that we don't even put them on in the first place.
That is why he attacks God's Word in your life because he knows the power of Scripture. You know there is nothing like hearing the Word of God and worshiping the Lord together. I want to encourage you to join us for something we call Harvest at Home. It happens every Saturday and Sunday at Harvest.org. You can join Christians literally from around the world as we worship and we study the Word of God together.
So join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is presenting the final message in his series The Afterlife and the Eternal. Good insight on emerging victorious in spiritual battle.
Let's continue. One of the greatest things you can apply your mind to is the memorization of the Bible. The memorization of the Bible. I can't do it.
I can't remember Bible verses. Yeah you can. Well I can't.
Ok let's start with one. Jesus wept. Say that. Jesus wept. Now you know a Bible verse. That is one.
Now we have got to move on. I still remember Bible verses that I learned when I was 17 years old. And verses that I just committed to memory. And you know you can do it because you have all kinds of stupid song lyrics in your head. You have lines from movies that you can quote at will in your head. You have stats and scores of games that have been you know played over the years in your head.
You have other information that you put in there. You can make time for the Bible. It is a commitment. It is a discipline. But memorize Scripture.
You say well why do I need to do that. Because memorized Scripture is a weapon against sin. Psalm 119 and 11 says, Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Then Psalm 37 and 31 says, The word of God is in his heart.
His steps do not slip. See here is how it works. So Satan comes to you and he says, You have just sinned. And let's say you have sinned. And he says, God will not forgive you. You have no relationship with God. Now it is time to pull out the sword and use it.
Oh that is not true. Because it is written, 1 John 1 9, If I confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive me my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Just like that.
That is how you use a sword. Remember Jesus when He was tested in the wilderness. He was hit with three primary attacks from the devil. One of them was when after He had not eaten for 40 days and 40 nights. Can you imagine how hungry He would have been.
So what does the devil do? He comes up and says, He wanted to turn a rock into a piece of bread. And what does Jesus say? It is written, You shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Now Jesus could have just said, Look I am Jesus.
You are not. Get out of here. Jesus could have banished the devil. Driven him away with just a word. But Christ gave us an example of how to deal with temptation by quoting Scripture.
So we do the same thing. The devil whispers in your ear, God will not hear your prayers. God will not hear what you are saying. God is not listening to you. I come back with the Word of God. 1 John 5 14.
This is the confidence we have in Him. If we ask anything according to His will He hears us. So I quote the Scripture. Sometimes I quote it out loud.
I quote it out loud. The devil can hear it and I can hear it. So I am reminded of what the Word of God says. Maybe the devil says, You should be afraid.
You know I am going to destroy you. And we quote Scripture. Psalm 27 1. The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom then shall I be afraid?
And then 2 Timothy 1 7. God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. The devil says, Well you need to worry.
Worry right now. No actually I don't because I am told over in Philippians 4 6, Don't worry about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication. With thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
That is how it works. You know the Word of God. You memorize the Word of God. You quote the Word of God. And it will help you when you are being tempted. But if you don't know God's Word clever little things you read on Instagram are not going to help.
Ok. There are all kinds of clever little things you can read and nice little sayings. But you need the Word of God. That is what the devil is afraid of. And that is what he responds to. And that is why it is called the sword of the Spirit.
Ok. One last thing and then I am going to close. The final ingredient to winning this spiritual battle in addition to putting on the armor of God and you know the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit, and having your feet shot at the preparation of the gospel of peace. This is really important. Prayer. Prayer.
Look at verse 17. The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Supplication is when you are praying for someone else. Worship is when you are bringing glory to God. Intercession.
You are standing in the gap. Supplication. You are praying for someone.
Petition. You are asking the Lord to help you. But the Word of God and prayer are inseparable. Listen to this. The Word of God enlightens us and prayer enables us.
Let me say that again. The Word of God enlightens us but prayer enables us. The Word of God reveals the will of God.
Prayer enables me to do that will. There is an excellent illustration of this in Exodus chapter 17 showing how God's Word and prayer work together. So the nation Israel is facing off with the Amalekites on the battlefield.
And Moses told Joshua to send men to fight the Amalekites. And he would stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hand interceding for them. So when he held that staff up they knew Moses is praying. So he is praying.
And when the staff is up they are winning. And then Moses is old and his arms are getting tired. So he is going to pull his arms down. They start losing. No.
And then he puts them back up and they start winning again. So two guys say we have got to help poor old Mo. Right. One is named Aaron.
The other is named her. They grab each end of his staff and they hold it up and Moses is kind of hanging on with his arms. And so the soldiers saw Moses with his staff up praying and they prevailed in the battle. So it shows how prayer and the Word of God go together. And that is why we need to proclaim the Word of God and then we need to be praying. The power in the spiritual battle does not come from what we know.
It comes from who we know. It is all about Jesus. And it is all about a relationship with Jesus. And so let me just close by asking do you know Jesus.
Let me say something that you need to understand. If you are not a Christian you are no match for Satan. He can pretty much wreck a lot of havoc in your life. But if you are a follower of Christ you are under his protection.
His ID tag is attached to you. And so you have that guarantee of protection. But a non-Christian they have nothing. And you think you are going to keep the devil away with a crucifix. I have a crucifix. He hates crucifix. He can care less about crucifixes. Well I have holy water. There is no holy water. Oh well yeah you need Jesus. That is the only thing Satan fears.
Let me restate that. That is the only one Satan fears. Because of the power of Christ. And when Jesus comes and lives in the life you are under his protection. You know sometimes people say that Christians can be demon possessed.
How absurd. Do you think God is going to do a timeshare program? I have Jesus here and sometimes demons live over here. No no this is like if Christ is in this house He is the sole occupant of the house.
And He drives everything out. So when He comes in all that demon power that was maybe in me in some way shape or form is gone. And I am protected.
Someone new is in the house. And when the devil comes knocking I just say Lord would you mind getting that. And when Jesus answers the door trust me the devil is not coming in. But if Christ is not living in your house in your life you are vulnerable.
You need Jesus. Jesus Christ the Son of God who came to this earth and lived a perfect life. And then He went and died on the cross for your sin and paid the price for every wrong you have ever done.
And then He rose again from the dead. Now He stands at the door of your life and He knocks and says if you will hear His voice and open the door He will come in. Have you asked Jesus to come into your life yet? There might be some of you here that man you are just worried and you are full of anguish and you have a lot of problems you are facing and you are just thinking this is so hard.
Well there is someone who said that we should cast all of our care upon Him because He cares for us. God is saying let me take your troubles. Let me take your cares. Let me take your anxieties. Let me carry it for you.
Come here. Let me put my arms around you. You are safe with me. You need to come to Jesus. You don't want to be out there for one day without Him.
You don't want to be out there for one hour without Him. He will forgive you and you will enter into a relationship with Him. And if you don't have that relationship with Jesus let me extend an invitation to you now to believe in Him because He is ready to come into your life. But you have to say, Lord save me.
Lord forgive me. And I don't know what mess you are in right now or what troubles you are facing or whatever they are. God is greater than whatever you are facing.
And He will come into your life tonight. To not say yes to Jesus is to say no to Jesus. Jesus said you are for me or against me. So this is an either or proposition. If you don't say yes I want Jesus you are effectively saying I don't want Jesus in my life. And you have that ability to make that choice. Though it is the wrong one. Don't make it.
Say yes to Him. You will not regret it. Let's pray. Father I pray now that Your Holy Spirit will convict and convince every person that is listening or watching wherever they may be. Show them their need for You and help them to come to You and believe in You. Right here.
Right now. So we ask for Your Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of those that need to take this next step. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
of a new beginning wraps up. You know Pastor Greg I really enjoy those fixer upper kind of programs on TV. You know they'll take an old home and renovate it.
Maybe it's because I'm a frustrated non-carpenter myself and I'd love to be involved in a project like that. But it's always a big deal when they have a problem with the foundation. You know when there's a foundation problem everything stops until they get it corrected. Yeah true. And you know with our spiritual lives when there's a problem with the foundation of our faith it can bring our spiritual growth to a stop. Yeah. But we have a special resource that can help with that.
Yes we do. It's called the New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living. You know Dave I'm just like you. I love the idea of doing home repair but I'm not very good at it. If my wife sees me walking through the house with a hammer she's alarmed where are you going what are you trying to fix because I will inevitably make whatever I'm trying to fix worse.
Though I love to go to the hardware store and look at all the cool stuff hey maybe I'll try this. Not very good in that area but I'll tell you what. One area that I think I can help you in is in rebuilding your spiritual foundation and you got to keep that strong because if you don't have your electrical and plumbing and actual foundation right all the rest is really of no consequence and that's true spiritually too. Sometimes we forget the basics. Basics like regular bible study, having a prayer life, being an active part of the church, sharing our faith. Basics like how to know God's will, how to resist temptation, how to share your faith. I deal with all of this and more in this resource that's simply called the New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living. It's a very understandable readable book. You can keep it in your back pocket. You might even have a few extras on hand to give out to someone that could use some encouragement but I think that you will be encouraged by this book as well.
This is for the person that's new in their faith and it's also for the person that might find themselves stuck spiritually. Again it's called the New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living and we have a copy with your name on it. Yeah that's right and we hope you'll get in touch today so we can get it on its way to you. We're sending this helpful resource to thank you for partnering with us so these studies can continue to come your way. We're so thankful for listener support.
Candidly it's the only way we can cover the costs of making these studies available. So thank you so much for your generosity and when you contact us today with your donation be sure to ask for the New Believers Guide to Effective Christian Living. You can call 1-800-821-3300.
That's a 24-7 phone number 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg you mentioned our need to come to Christ for forgiveness of sin in today's study. Yeah. Maybe there's somebody listening who would like to do that. They'd like to take that step.
Maybe you could help them with that right now. I'd be delighted to. Listen if you would like to accept Jesus Christ into your life right now by that I mean if you would like your sin forgiven and have the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die would you pray this prayer with me. Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I thank you for dying on the cross for my sin and rising again from the dead. I'm sorry for my sin Lord and I turn from it now and I put my faith in you to be my Savior my Lord my God and my friend. Thank you for loving me and calling me and accepting me. In Jesus name I pray.
Amen. Listen if you just prayed that prayer in a minute I want you to know on the authority of God's Word that Jesus Christ has just come to take residence in your heart. The Bible says these things we write to you the belief in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. Listen we want to send you some resources that will help you grow spiritually. So here's Dave with some details and let me say God bless you and welcome to the family of God. Yeah and those resources Pastor Greg mentioned are all included in something we call our New Believers Growth Packet.
It'll help you get started living your life for the Lord. Can we send it your way? Just ask for the New Believers Growth Packet.
You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime around the clock that's 1-800-821-3300 or go online to harvest.org and click the two words know God. Well next time join us for some powerful insight as Pastor Greg helps us focus our perspective on eternity. Join us here on A New Beginning with Pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
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