Helmet and Sword

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

As we continue to look at the Soldier’s Attire I want to focus today on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. These two essential parts of the Soldier’s attire are often misunderstood because of lack of knowledge regarding what is included in the covenant that we have with God through Jesus.

God said in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,….”

It is of utmost importance that you get into God’s word and find out for yourself what belongs to you as a child of God. The covenant that Jesus died to give us is a “better covenant, which was established on better promises” according to Hebrews 8:6.

The Roman soldier’s helmet had a chinstrap and a visor, and came down to cover the back and sides of the neck. It was designed so that it covered the head and neck from attacks from all angles. Officers’ helmets had a ridge on top on which was mounted some sort of plumage depending on the rank.

The helmet of salvation is the part of the armor of God that protects our minds. Many times when we think of salvation, we think of forgiveness of sin, which, of course, is included in salvation. But salvation includes so much more than just having our sins forgiven. Let’s look at the actual definition of the Greek words for salvation:

Salvation: Soteria, soterion and soterios. All three have similar definitions which define salvation as being an all-inclusive word signifying forgiveness, healing, prosperity, deliverance, safety, rescue, liberation, and restoration. Christ’s salvation is total in scope of the total man: spirit, soul, and body.

When we renew our minds to the truth of God’s word regarding salvation we come to understand that to be saved is to be forgiven, healed, cured, preserved, kept safe and sound, rescued from danger or destruction and delivered. To save, the Greek word is sozo, means that we are saved from physical death by healing and from spiritual death by forgiveness of sin and it’s effects. Sozo, or saved, in primitive cultures is translated simply, “to give new life” and “to cause to have a new heart”.

Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Abundantly – perissos – Superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.

Jesus died that we might have a covenant with God that is superabundant, excessive, overflowing, more than enough and more than sufficient. Salvation is all-inclusive; whatever you need is supplied through the covenant that you have with God through the blood of Jesus!

By looking at the helmet of salvation and understanding the broad definition of salvation, we see that it simply means to be saved from whatever danger you are in. To a person who doesn’t know Jesus as Savior, salvation would mean forgiveness of sin. That would be the gospel or “good news” to him; that Jesus came to save him from his sins and when he receives the personal revelation of that and believes in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confesses him as Lord, he becomes “saved”. To the person who is struggling with an illness, salvation would mean physical healing. To the person that needs provision in their finances that salvation would mean deliverance from debt and the ability to meet their financial obligations with an abundance for every good work. For the person who is oppressed that salvation would mean deliverance from mental and emotional distresses.

When we place the helmet of salvation on our heads we are covering our minds with the truth of God’s total work of redemption; spirit, soul and body. Then when the enemy comes with tormenting thoughts of fear that we’re going to die and be eternally separated from God we can say, “oh no, devil, my salvation was purchased by the blood of Jesus and I am in Him and He is in me.” Or when he comes with his dirty baggage of sickness we can assuredly say, “No, no, I’ll not receive that package. I was healed by the stripes of Jesus. He is my Healer.” Or when the bank account is running short we can safely say that “My God supplies all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” We counter the devil’s attacks with the truth of God’s word. It may be a fact that you have a certain illness, but truth supersedes facts. We don’t deny the fact, but we simply state the truth of what God says about our situation so that we can in time see the manifestation of it. God never asks us to deny what we are currently experiencing, He just asks us to believe Him for the provision for it and speak the answer and not the problem.

Now, to look at the second part of Ephesians 6:17 “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”

Sword – An offensive weapon worn at the side, and used by hand either for thrusting or cutting.  (Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.)

The sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon of the believer’s armor. It is said of Jesus when He comes again in Revelation 19:13-16:

 

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

The word of God when spoken out of our mouths becomes a sharp sword that pierces the enemy. Our words are containers of power either of life or death.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

When we fill our mouths with the word of God it becomes as a sharp sword filled with living power. Our speech needs to reflect what God says about our situations, not what we think, feel or see.

There are two different Greek words to define “the word of God”.

Word – logos – A transmission of thought, communication, a word of explanation, an utterance, discourse, divine revelation, talk, statement, instruction, an oracle, divine promise, divine doctrine, divine declaration. Jesus is the living logos, the Bible is the written logos; and the Holy Spirit utters the spoken logos.

Word – rhema – That which is said or spoken, an utterance, in contrast to the logs, which is the expression of a thought; a message, a discourse.

Logos is the message; rhema is the communication of the message. In reference to the Bible, logos is the Bible in its entirety; rhema is a verse from the Bible.

The Greek word for “word” used in Ephesians 6:17 is rhema, the spoken word of God. This is a portion of the Bible that the Holy Spirit speaks to you to give you the sword that you need to use to defeat the enemy in the attack that he is bringing against you. It needs to be spoken out of your mouth. Jesus spoke to the devil when he was attacked in the wilderness with “it is written” and then He followed it with the portion of Scripture that applied to the specific attack that He was under. (Matthew 4:1-10) The Holy Spirit will speak just the right scripture to you, making it a rhema word which is the sword that you can use to defeat the enemy right then. It becomes the sword of the Spirit to you! You speak it and continue to speak it until the attack ends. It is important that you have a good working knowledge of the Bible before the attack comes so you can have the word inside of you for the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance when it is needed. Many people are unprepared when the attack comes because they have not put the word into their hearts so they have nothing for the Holy Spirit to bring back to their remembrance.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He brings back out of our hearts the word that we have feasted on at just the right time; when we need it to counter an attack from the enemy. With His help we are sure to win if we follow His directions and obey what He tells us to do!

Father, I thank You for the salvation that You have so freely bestowed upon us. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for purchasing our salvation with Your very life. I know that no one took it from You, Lord, but You laid it down for us. Thank You for dying that we might live! Father, I also thank You for Your word that becomes a sword for us when the Holy Spirit brings it back to our remembrance when we are in a fight with the enemy. Thank You for empowering us to win! Father, help us to feast on Your word so we can be ready when the enemy comes with an attack. Thank You for giving us the victory in Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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The Wrestling Match

Ephesians 6:11-13 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. 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.

 

We talked about the armor of God yesterday and today I want to talk about the battle that we encounter with the devil. The first word I want to explore is the word “wiles” in verse 11.

 

Wiles – schemings; methodology; plans

 

The devil has a plan for your life. Jesus calls him a thief who comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  (John 10:10)  Satan’s plan for your life is to steal from you, kill you and destroy your effectiveness for the kingdom of God.

 

The next word that I want to discuss is the word “wrestle” in verse 12.

 

Wrestle – Webster’s 1828 dictionary, which often lists definitions with reference to scriptures, lists the definition of “wrestle” as to strive with arms extended, as two men, who seize each other by the collar and arms, each endeavoring to throw the other by tripping up his heels and twitching him off his center. To struggle; to strive; to contend.

 

The picture that we ascertain from this definition of “wrestle” is that of a match between two opponents, up close and personal, with no more than an arm’s length between them, each trying to knock the other one off balance so as to win the match against him. A wrestler strives or contends against his opponent. So, to wrestle means to engage actively in one-on-one combat. The word says that our opponent in this wrestling match is principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Does that sound like people to you? No, we are told in the first part of that scripture that it is not flesh and blood, or human beings that we strive against. Satan has a hierarchy of demonic hosts that are strategically placed in his army just like we have different levels of military offices in our armed forces. The battle that we fight against with these spiritual entities is not a physical battle; it is referred to as a wrestling match to give us an illustration of the type of warfare that it is in the spirit realm. Jesus often spoke to people in parables which where earthly stores that had a spiritual meaning. The Bible continues that type of illustration here as we look at the warfare we become involved with as we wrestle with Satan’s army of demons.

 

The next word I want to discuss here is the word “withstand”. The Greek word for “withstand” is anthistemi. Strong’s #436: From anti, “against”, and histemi, “to cause to stand”. The verb suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, standing your ground. Just as an antihistamine puts a block on histamine, anthistemi tells us that with the authority and spiritual weapons granted to us we can withstand evil forces.

 

What the word is saying in Ephesians 6:13 is that when we are suited up in the armor of God we will be able to vigorously oppose and bravely resist the up close and personal attack that comes to us from the enemy. We will be able to stand our ground, blocking his every move. To stand against means to hold at bay aggressively or to stand in front of and oppose. “Having done all, to stand” means that we will be found standing after an active battle and taking our stance for the next battle. From this illustration I get a clear understanding that God intends for us to fight and win!

 

The Old Testament stories of physical encounters with the enemies of Israel are a type and shadow of the spiritual battles that we, as believers, encounter with our adversary, the devil. In looking at the battle between David and Goliath we see how David suited up with the weapons that he had tried and tested, and found to be effective. His weapons were a slingshot and five smooth stones. He told Saul that it wasn’t the weapons per say that brought the victory between the lion and the bear while he was caring for his father’s sheep, but the Lord was the one who had delivered him in his battles and that His God would deliver him from the hand of the Philistine as well. (1 Samuel 17:37) It is our God that is backing the armor that He provides for us and when we apply the weapons as instructed by the Lord we can know that He is fighting the enemy through us. Just as Goliath started fighting against David by challenging him through words of disdain, trying to cause him to fear, so Satan comes against the believer through thoughts of doubt, unbelief, discouragement, discontent, fear and accusation.

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

 

The battle that we fight against the devil is in our thought processes. God calls them thoughts, arguments, strongholds, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. A stronghold is a fortified place that Satan builds to exalt himself against the knowledge and plans of God in a person’s life. Strongholds often leave the person feeling that their situation is hopeless and there is no way out. A stronghold begins as a thought and as you mull that thought over and over in your mind it reinforces it every time it is thought until it eventually becomes “reality” to you. It is an up close and personal encounter with Satanic forces because many times he is so convincing that you receive the thought as your own, when in actuality, anything that is in opposition to God’s word is a lie, regardless of how good it sounds. Satan is a deceiver, and is described in John 8:44 as a liar and the father of it.

 

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is o truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

 

Satan cannot read a person’s mind, but he can interject thoughts into a person’s mind. He usually begins his attack by speaking to your mind thoughts that counter what God’s word says. Take for example the serpent speaking to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

 

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

 

Remember that we said earlier that the stories in the Old Testament of physical battles or encounters are types and shadows of the spiritual encounters that we as believers have with the enemy. So, in this instance, notice that the serpent, or to us the devil, in conversation with Eve, questioned what God had instructed them to do about eating of the trees of the garden. He started with causing her to doubt God’s word. Satan will come with a thought placed in your mind that God’s word really doesn’t apply to your situation and that there really isn’t any hope for you; you will have to take control of this situation yourself and figure out how to overcome on your own. It is at this point that we must stand against, or wrestle with the thought bringing it into captivity to God’s word. Many times in years past I have had a thought and had to stop myself and say, “wait a minute; what does God’s word say about this situation?”. I would have to stop and get the proper perspective through knowing the word of God to be able to stand against the wiles, or strategy of the devil at that point in my life. Just as Jesus battled the devil with the word of God when he tempted Him in the wilderness, so you will have to speak the word of God to the enemy when he brings those thoughts and temptations to your mind.

 

God gives us some instructions in Philippians 4:8 about what we are to think about or meditate on to keep our thought processes in line with His word.

 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

 

God is a positive God; He is not negative in His thoughts and He doesn’t want us to dwell on the negative and feel as if there is no hope for us in our warfare against the enemy. Nothing is impossible for God according to Luke 1:37: “For with God nothing will be impossible.” God is for us; He has equipped us to win, to be more than conquerors through Him.

 

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

 

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

 

Strongholds can be brought down through changing what we think about, speak about and act on. Every action begins with a thought and is followed by what we say and then acted out. It is in the beginning thought that we need to bring it to a stop! It is at that point that the wrestling is the most effective. The longer we go dwelling on it the more intense the battle becomes and the more fortified is the stronghold.

 

Father, I thank You for giving us the weapons that we need to defeat the enemy. Thank You for causing us to be over-comers through Christ Jesus. Please show us the fortified areas in our minds that need to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Help us to fight a good warfare; one that wins every time. Father, I pray for my friends that You will show them the areas that Satan has used as thoughts that exalt him in their minds instead of Your word. Father, grant them the victory over the enemy. Lord, strengthen their spirits to do battle. Empower them to win and show them that You are right there with them, fighting through them. Thank You, Father, for leading us to triumph in Christ Jesus. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

The Armor!

Ephesians 6:11-13 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, 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. 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.

We’ve been looking at spiritual warfare, the weapons that God has given us to fight spiritual battles and today I want to talk with you about the soldier’s armor. God has armor that fits every believer. He has a tailor made suit of armor that will cover you for the battle depending on what type of battle it is. His armor covers you, is the right size and fit for you as an individual. The general description of His armor is found in Ephesians 6:14-18, but before we look at that portion of scripture let’s look at Ephesians 6:11-13.

The first thing I see about the armor is that it is the armor of God; not our own armor or what we think we need to wear to go out to the battle. God’s armor is the only thing that will work. This reminds me of when David went out to fight Goliath and Saul wanted him to wear his armor.

1 Samuel 17:38, 39 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.

Saul wanted David to wear his own personal armor, but it didn’t fit David properly. He hadn’t used it or tested it to see if he could fight in it. Our armor that is God’s is a perfect fit, designed for exactly what we need it to do. But we must test it. The way that we test the armor is by understanding the specifics of each piece, how it applies to our lives and the way we receive it through our relationship with Christ Jesus and then applying that knowledge to our lives. If we are not living close to Him how can we hear His voice to follow His commands in using the armor of God? The armor is not a physical suit that we put on, it is a spiritual garment that covers us, since we are not in a fight with flesh and blood but with spiritual forces of wickedness.

I experienced an encounter with the Lord one morning at the altar time at my church where I was slain in the Spirit, or as some say, overcome by the Spirit. During that time I had a vision of me standing behind the pulpit at my church delivering a message to the congregation. I saw Jesus standing behind me and as I was expounding on the word of God He moved forward closer to me to where He finally just walked into me. I saw Him fade into my very being. He reminded me of this scripture about Gideon:

Judges 6:34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him.

 

The Hebrew meaning of the phrase “the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon” literally means “The Spirit of the LORD clothed Himself with Gideon”. This is what I saw in my vision; the Lord clothed Himself with me.

It is said of Saul in 1 Samuel 10:6, 7 “Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. “And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.”

The armor of God is a spiritual clothing that He establishes within us as we yield to Him to go into the battle. It is as understand that we are “one” with Him that we are suited up to win against the enemy in spiritual warfare. We become more like him, or as He comes upon us we are turned into a different person; we are clothed to fight and win the battles. Jesus prayed for his disciples and those who would follow after them in John 17. Here’s what He said in prayer for us as believers:

John 17:20-23 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; “That they all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. “And the glory which You gave me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

Jesus’ prayer for us was that we would be “One” with Him and the Father; that He would be in us and us in Him just as He and the Father are “One”. It is through this union with God that the realization of how the armor of God works becomes a reality to us. As we look at the general description of the armor in detail we will see how each particular piece is fitted to us to equip us to win.

Jesus prayed also for us in John 17:15: “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

 

We live in this world where there is constant evil going on around us. As long as we are in the world we will have trouble, but God has provided all that we need to fight the good fight of faith and win!

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Peace is a by-product of our union with Christ Jesus and flows to us as we suit up in Him and walk in the power and anointing that He places within us through our union with Him.

It is as we grow in our knowledge of who we are “in Him” that we are equipped with His armor for battle. He doesn’t deny the fact that we are going to have to go into the battle, but the key to winning is being in Him because He has already defeated the evil one. Satan was defeated on the cross of Calvary when Jesus was crucified for our sin, sickness and disease and poverty. Jesus said in Luke 10:19: “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” That word for “hurt” in Luke 10:19 means “to act criminally against you; to take illegal action against you to mistreat you”. The only ground that Satan can take from us is the ground that we give up to him. He has no legal right in the life of the believer to hurt us. But we still have to fight him off. He has to be convinced that he doesn’t have the right to afflict or steal, kill and destroy the life of a believer in Christ Jesus.

The victory is ours, but we must enforce what Jesus has died to give us. 2 Corinthians 2:14: Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

We, as born again believers in Jesus Christ, have our place “in Him”, and He will lead us to triumph over the devil in our lives. It is through our relationship with Him that we understand that we have already won the battle. We learn how to enforce the victory through fighting in the armor that He places on us as we draw near to Him.

Ephesians 6:13 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.

Father, I thank You that You have already made us the victors in the battles that we fight against the evil one. Thank You for equipping us with Your armor that fits perfectly and protects us when we war against the devil. Lord, to You be the glory for the victory as You have already defeated Satan on the cross of Calvary. Thank You for giving us, Your church, the authority over all the power of the enemy. I thank You that Satan cannot legally inflict pain against Your children. It is only through lies and deception that he works his evil powers. Help us to be aware of his schemes; the wiles that he uses to stand against us. Thank You, Father, for the victory in Christ Jesus! Thank You for hearing and answering the prayers that I offer up to You in the name of Jesus! Amen.

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