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The Armor of God - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2023 12:00 am

The Armor of God - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 23, 2023 12:00 am

Did you know you are in constant spiritual warfare?

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, May 23rd. No one can successfully withstand the devil on their own, but God has provided the right equipment for believers to stand firm. Here's a lesson in how to get dressed in the armor of God. Every command that God gives us in His Word has a divine purpose behind it. He doesn't just give commands just to be forgiving them.

He gives them for a specific reason. It is always for our good. Well, that is especially true when you and I come to face the whole issue of our warfare. Because our warfare is daily, oftentimes moment by moment, God has given us some very clear commands, some very clear instruction in the Word of God as to how to prepare for that, how to be ready to face the conflict, how to be ready to face evil spirits and Satan and all the things that are involved in that warfare. Well, in the sixth chapter of Ephesians, if you'll turn there, you'll find a very clear command that our Lord gives us here in this sixth chapter, because here the Apostle Paul is dealing with what you and I have to deal with every day, and that is spiritual warfare. And you'll notice in this passage that he uses some terminology and describes some things that physically you and I could never do, but spiritually we can, and because this is a spiritual battle, we can expect to look at it from that perspective. So let's begin reading in this tenth verse, remembering that in these first three chapters, he's talked about how wealthy we are as believers.

In the fourth and fifth and half of this sixth chapter, he's talked about how we're to live and on the basis of what God has given to us. And now he says, but watch out because you have an adversary and he's out to defeat you, but you can be victorious if you'll do exactly, he says, what I'm going to share with you. So he says, beginning in verse 10, finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might, put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Then he says, therefore, because these are our enemies, take up the full armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything to stand firm. Then he says, stand firm, therefore, having girded your launch with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, he says, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

Then most people stop there. But then he says, with all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the spirit and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all saints. And then Paul says, and also on pray on my behalf that utterance may be given to me in this opening of my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in proclaiming it, I may speak boldly as I ought to speak. And so he begins here in this 13th verse saying, therefore, on the basis of the kind of enemy we have, he says, this is the kind of armor and this is the kind of weapons we're to have. Since we're talking about spiritual warfare, we're also talking about spiritual armor. So he says, verse 13, therefore, take up the full armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything to stand firm. We saw before that he said we have to be strong in the Lord, standing firm and standing against the schemes, the strategy, the cunning efforts of Satan. Then he describes this armor. So I want us to look at it from the Roman soldier's point of view of what it means. And then practically, how do I apply what the apostle Paul said on a daily basis?

Because, you see, he's not just writing to be writing a story. Here's what he says. He says, we are to put on the full armor of God. Now, if he said it, he meant it. So the question is, how is it that I can arm myself?

How can I defend myself on a daily basis with some kind of spiritual armor? So let's look to see what he says. First of all, he says, stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth. What is he saying?

Simply this. He names truth first because I believe that is absolutely essential for victory in the life of a believer. If you and I do not know the truth about God, if we don't know the truth about Jesus Christ, if we don't know the truth about the Holy Spirit, and if we don't know the truth about ourselves and our position as believers, that we are in Christ Jesus still by the Holy Spirit of the day of redemption, if we don't understand what our position is and we don't know the truth about ourselves, we don't know the truth about our relationship to Him, we don't know the truth about our assurance and our standing with Him, then when Satan attacks us the first thing that we're going to do is we're going to be fearful because we will doubt, listen, we will begin to doubt our position, doubt our relationship, and when you and I begin to doubt and fear comes upon us, we are already headed for a major defeat. He says the first piece of armor we're to place upon ourselves to defend ourselves against satanic attacks is we need to know the truth, to walk in the truth, to live by the truth, and let truth be certainly characteristic of our life. So therefore when he was describing this soldier, what did he do? He looked at his armor and he began with that very important piece when he said the girdle of truth.

Then you'll notice what he said. He said having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Now that breastplate was made oftentimes of leather and it completely surrounded the body and oftentimes covered with metal or sometimes they would slice the hoofs of the horses and cover their breastplates with that because this was a very vulnerable spot and oftentimes they would be showered with flaming arrows from the enemy.

And so this was a very vital part and of course as they were in hand-to-hand combat, the protection of their heart, that part of their body was extremely important. So when he says the breastplate of righteousness, he's not talking about the righteousness which you and I have as a result of being saved. What he's talking about here is practical righteousness, that is living out what you and I know to be true day by day. And that is that our life is a life of righteousness, right doing, right thinking, right relationships. When I think about the breastplate of righteousness, I think also about the fact that here is that piece of armor that protects us in our emotions as we think about our heart and as we think about our feelings. God does not want you and me responding to life on the basis of our emotions. He doesn't want us making decisions just out of an emotional feeling, but rather out of truth, the girdle of truth.

What is the truth that you and I would live out what we know to be true, that our life would be characterized by righteous living? Then if you'll notice what he says, he says, Now standing firm, therefore having your loins girdled about with truth and the breastplate of righteousness, having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. And more than likely, Paul noticing these Roman soldiers, they wore these very thick sandals. And so the type of shoes they had were extremely important for their type of battle.

Very, very close hand to hand combat. They could not afford to lose their footing. One chance of losing that footing.

They could also lose their life. Now what does Paul mean here when he says, Have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace? Well, I think primarily what he's speaking of here is this, that you and I are to stand upon the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the gospel of peace. That is the foundation we're to stand upon. You and I know what we believe. We've been saved by the grace of God. And so we stand on a very firm foundation.

What is it? It is the gospel. It is the truth of the gospel, which God has given to us through his son, Jesus Christ. And therefore, you and I don't have to be worrying about whether we have assurance, not assurance, or whether what we believe is true or not. We stand firmly entrenched upon the gospel. He says, You and I should be ready to defend what we believe.

We should also be ready to share. When somebody says, Well, why are you so sure? What does he say? He says, We should be ready to make a defense to everyone who asked to give an account for it. And so he says, In the readiness that we have as believers and as soldiers of Jesus Christ, firmly rooted in the gospel, ready to give an account, ready to proclaim the gospel, ready to share our faith, ready in any time we are attacked by the devil, we stand on the absolute firm security of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then if you'll notice, he says, not only now having our loins girded about with truth, and he says the breastplate of righteousness, he says, Now we also have our feet. We are ready to move, ready to go, ready to stand firm against the onslaught of the devil, he says, in addition to all taking up the shield of faith.

Now watch this. The Romans had two kinds of shields. One of them was around shield and these shields they placed upon their hand and hand to hand combat. That shield was extremely important. And so oftentimes we think about shields.

That's the one we think about. The truth is that word for shield in the Greek is the same word for door. And the Roman shield that the Apostle Paul is referring to here is a shield that was about two and a half feet wide, four feet high.

Now the Romans in those days, for example, were not all that tall. And so what they would do, they would carry these shields. And when, for example, they were being attacked by flaming arrows, those flaming missiles that Paul mentions here, what the enemy would do, or even what the Romans would do, they take those arrows, hit them in pitch, light them afire, and then what they would do, a whole barrage of them, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them would be flying through the air at the same time. Now we're not talking about little arrows that have rubber stoppers on them. We're talking about arrows that had very, very sharp points that were coming at a high speed, dipped in pitch and were aflame. And so we have a shield that protected the whole man because the man could get down behind a four-foot shield, simply angle that shield. And what happens is when the arrow hit it, those shields were made of wood, oftentimes covered with a leather, and then oftentimes covered even with that with metal. And so it was a heavy shield and it would, as he says, quench the fiery darts of the devil.

That is, it would ricochet off of them. Or if it were wood or covered with leather, for example, sometimes they would soak them in water before they went to battle. They had something to protect them. Listen, just having a helmet and a breastplate and loins girt about and sandals and all that, that wouldn't do it because those arrows came hundreds at a time and they came with such force and such speed. And oftentimes people don't realize the kind of force that a simple bow and arrow has.

You can take a bow and arrow with the right kind of poundage and you can drive one through a bucket of sand. And so you can imagine what would happen if they were to hit in some vulnerable spot. And so therefore the shield, when he says, above all, taken the shield of faith, that shield was an absolute essential part of a Roman's armor. He wouldn't think about going out to war without that shield. Sometime what they would do when they were getting ready for battle, they'd line up in a row, shield to shield. And when men stood shield to shield, it was like an absolute wall. So when the enemy came either walking or running with their arrows or with their bows and also with their javelins and their swords, but when they came for hand to hand combat, they faced the whole wall of Roman soldiers. Behind those shields, there they stood. Sometime when they were facing chariots, those chariots would come. What those Romans would do, they would just kneel down. They would angle off those shields, man to man, shoulder to shoulder, and those chariots would come right over them. They were protected. They knew how to carry on warfare in such a fashion that they were absolutely and totally protected. The shield was probably one of the most valuable, if not the most valuable piece of armor they had.

All of them is important. If you'll notice what Paul said, he didn't say just take up some of it. He said, put on the whole armor of God. And Paul was looking at those Roman soldiers and knowing that every single piece had a very special purpose for protecting them and therefore any one of them would cause them great harm if they lost it or if they went to battle without it.

What is he saying to us? He's simply saying this, that our defense against the devil, a very important part of that defense is our faith. For example, when he says stand firm in the strength of the Lord, how am I going to be able to do that? By simply believing. By believing that when I ask the Lord Jesus Christ to strengthen me for this battle, strengthen me in this temptation, strengthen me in this trial, I have the right to expect Him to do that.

Why? Because that is my faith. I'm exercising faith. I'm believing that in spite of what Satan may be throwing at me, that God is my shield. And as I trust Him, as I believe Him, as I hold up the shield of faith, as I place my trust in Him, God is our defender. He is our shield.

He is the one who diverts Satan's attack upon us. And so when we think in terms of our faith, every single thing you and I have from God, we get it by faith. We get it as a result of believing Him, trusting Him. What did Paul say? He said the just should live by faith. And so you show me someone who is strong in the Lord, I'll show you someone who has strong faith.

Show me someone who is drawn closer to the Lord and intimate with Him, I'll show you someone who's strong in their faith. What does God want to do? He wants to build our faith, strengthen our faith because the stronger we are, the more we believe Him. Listen, the greater our defense and the thicker shall we say it, the larger our shield is, the greater our faith is.

And so what Paul is saying is this, in order for us to be able to ward off what Satan will try to do and come at us in every direction, he says above all, taking the shield of faith, therefore being able to quench, ward off the fiery darts of the devil. And so when you and I read the scriptures, what are we doing? We are strengthening our faith. We are seeing what God says, and then we are watching what God does.

And this is why it's so very important to keep a diary in your life. Because if you keep a diary of what you asked God for, and then what God does, what does that do? But it simply increases your faith. The greatest asset you and I have as a believer apart from the presence of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit living on the inside of us is our faith. Every single believer ought to be doing everything possible to strengthen our faith. How do we strengthen our faith? We get in the battle. How does our faith strengthen? Sometimes we falter and we fall. How is our faith strengthened?

When we attested, when we had tried. Now listen, when you and I go to battle, we're to go to battle ready and prepared and dressed properly. And so part of that is the shield of faith. Then if you'll notice what he says, he says in taking the helmet of salvation, the helmet of salvation, for example, those Roman helmets, interesting what they did. A Roman helmet was so strong, it would take something like a battle ax in order to break it.

That's how strong it was. A Roman soldier would never go to battle without a helmet. And what is the Apostle Paul saying?

He's simply saying this. He's saying one of the valuable, absolute essential parts of a Christian's armor is the helmet that protects our thinking. While the breastplate may protect my emotional life and protect me from just responding in the wrong fashion, the helmet of salvation, he does not clarify. And so I'm not going to give you some simple explanation about what he means by the helmet of salvation, except to say it certainly protects us from doubting our salvation. He doesn't make it clear what he means by the helmet of salvation. But simply this, when you and I understand the truth, we do not want anybody tampering with our minds about what we believe. And so I think it's very important when a person gets up in the morning, they put on the helmet of salvation simply saying, God, I want you to protect my mind today. Protect what I think. I want to think your thoughts.

I want to think them your way. When the Apostle Paul looked at that helmet, he knew how absolutely essential it was for to protect that Roman soldier's head. And so he says the helmet of salvation for all of us, not that a helmet makes us safe. He's not talking about getting saved because he's talking about believers who are already saved.

But it is to protect our thinking. Therefore, the helmet of salvation. Then if you'll notice what he says, he says, and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Now, those Romans knew how to use that short sword.

They were trained for quick use of that sword, close combat. He says, above all, taking the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Now, I can imagine that as Paul thought about that, he also thought about oftentimes how he had used the Word of God and how it had worked in his own life. And so more than likely, when you and I think about that sword and think about what the Bible says in the fourth chapter of Hebrews, he says, for the Word of God is what?

Living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of the soul and the spirit of both joints and marrow and able to judge the thoughts and the intentions of the heart. Now, what you and I have in this book is we have the Word of God. This is the Word of God. This is the book that tells me what God's all about.

This is the book, the instruction book that tells us how to live. He says, taking the sword of the Spirit. Now, we've been talking about defensive armor up until now. And while we have, now all of a sudden we come to something that is both defensive and offensive. The Word of God is indeed our defense against satanic attacks. And as we've seen that this is exactly what Jesus said, when Satan attacked him, he says, it is written, it is written, it is written. And so when you and I come to face satanic battles and satanic attacks, what are we to do? We're not to argue with the devil, debate with him. We're to say, here's what God says. And no matter what else is said, here's what God says. All Paul is saying here is this, in order to defend ourselves adequately, we need to be aware of our own protection. And God has provided for our protection in these pieces of armor that he's spoken of here.

It's spiritual, yes, because this is a spiritual warfare. And I want to challenge you, I challenge you that tomorrow morning before you get up, while you're lying there, you just put it on piece by piece. And you know what happened? Somewhere tomorrow, Satan will throw one at you, he'll fire one off at you. And the first thing you'll think about, shield of faith, I don't have to accept that, zing, right by you.

Why? Because what you did is you exercise your faith. You trusted God to protect you. I challenge you before you get out of the bed, put it on piece by piece, by faith, and see what God does in your life in a given week. Thank you for listening to today's podcast, The Armor of God. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-23 05:50:16 / 2023-05-23 05:58:51 / 9

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