Thursday, July 05, 2012
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.
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.
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Shield – Greek word thureos – formerly meant “a stone for closing the entrance of a cave”; then, “a shield,” large and oblong, protecting every part of the soldier.
The shield of which Paul is speaking in regards to the armor of God is illustrated by the Roman soldier's shield that was rectangular in form and about 4 feet long and 2 ½ feet wide. It was made of thin sheets of wood glued together and over-layed with leather. It had a metal rim around it and the front side was covered with leather and had decorative plates on it. Often the enemy would cover the tips of their spears with tar or pitch and light them on fire and shoot them at the Roman soldier. The leather shield when soaked in water would put the fire out when the fiery dart hit it. Many times the soldiers would line up side by side, linking their shields together to make a wall for protection. Some would gather around behind the first line of soldiers placing their shields side by side at an angle that was similar to a roof over the other soldiers. They could stand off an enemy attack in that manner.
God is telling us in Ephesians 6:16 that we should “above all” take up that shield of faith that protects us in every area of our lives.
By using the term “above all” God is showing the importance of using our shield of faith to ward off the fiery darts of the enemy; to quench his attacks. Faith as a shield stops the negative, destruction plans of the enemy with the confidence and reliance in all that God is and says.
Faith – Greek word “pistis” means conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, and persuasion. In the New Testament setting, pistis is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust, and reliance in God and all that He says.
Hebrews 11:1 AMP NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
When you have a title deed to property it is the proof that it is yours. There can be no mistaking who the owner is when your name is on the deed and you have it in hand. Faith goes to the extreme to say that what God has promised in His word is mine, even before it is seen. Faith declares that title deed as already being in existence before you see it. A simple definition of faith would be “faith is the acceptance of a fact which already exists but which has not yet been manifested to the senses”.
Faith and the word of God go hand in hand. Faith is being firmly persuaded that what you've seen in the word of God is true and then acting on that knowledge regardless of what you see in the natural.
Why is faith a shield to us? When the enemy shoots his fiery darts of lies, accusation, condemnation, discouragement, defeat and failure at us we must be able to stop those darts with the truth of God's word. If we don't believe it is truth we have no shield of faith to hold up to stop the darts of the enemy. Thus we are left wide open to his attack.
1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
God has already established the victory for us. The enforcement of it is ours to do. The victory is won through our faith in God and His faithfulness to keep His promises to us. We must have faith to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
When you come to God you need faith to believe that He is who He says He is; that His promises are “yes and amen” in Christ Jesus, and that He will reward you if you diligently seek Him about something.
If you are under attack from the enemy regarding your health you need the shield of faith that believes that God has provided healing for your physical body through the covenant that you have with Christ Jesus. If you are under attack in your finances you need your shield of faith that believes that God will provide for your financial needs. If you are under attack in your mind you need the shield of faith that believes that God has provided deliverance from oppression. In whatever area of attack you are under God's word has the power in it that you need to provide the shield of faith to stop the fiery darts of the evil one.
Faith comes to us as we hear the word of God regarding the promises and provision that He has made to us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
If you don't know what God's covenant provides you can't believe for it's provision in your life. Whatever area you are under attack in you must know what God's word promises as the antidote for the attack. Faith is the assurance that what God has said, He will do regardless of what you see in the natural.
Colossians 2:6,7 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding it it with thanksgiving.
How did you receive Christ Jesus the Lord? Ephesians 2:8 says that you received Him by grace, through your faith.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
You exercised your faith to bring God's grace of salvation into your life.
Romans 10:6-10 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “'Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Faith speaks what the heart believes and that doesn't always line up with what the eyes see in the natural. Faith believes God's word over physical, emotional or mental knowledge. This principle of faith applies in every area of need that we have. God has provided in salvation for every need a believer has. It is brought from the spiritual into the natural by His grace through our faith; by believing and speaking what we know is true from God's word. If you don't know God's word on the subject of your need, you have no shield of faith to use in quenching the fiery darts of the evil one. As a Roman soldier prepares for the battle by going out to fight in practice battles every day so we must be prepared for the battle before the enemy comes with his attack by finding out what God's word says and speaking it out of our mouths in preparation for the attack that will certainly come at some point in our lives. Saturate yourself in the word of God so you will be ready for the attack. Get the word down deep into your heart so you are prepared when the enemy comes trying to knock you off your center in Christ Jesus. Be ready!
Father, I thank You for the covenant that You provided for us in Christ Jesus. Thank You, Lord, for giving Your very own life that we might live an abundant life in You. Father, I pray that we will understand the importance of the shield of faith in fighting off the attacks of the enemy. I pray that we will prepare ourselves with Your word to be ready to hold up our shield of faith in the time of battle. Help us to feast on Your word so we can have a ready shield when the attack comes. Thank You, Father, for equipping us to win the war! To You be the glory and honor! In Jesus' name. Amen.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Ephesians 6:14, 15 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
We've been looking at God's word on spiritual warfare. Yesterday we talked about being able to “stand therefore”, and today we will begin looking at the actual armor, it's purpose and reason of use.
Paul wrote the book of Ephesians as well as Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon while he was imprisoned in Rome, confined and awaiting trial. Many times Paul was chained to a Roman soldier and during those times he got a very up close and personal view of the armor of that soldier. God used his surroundings to give him an analogy of the armor of God. God's word is inspired of God, written to us for our profit, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness and God used Paul's time in a Roman prison to give us a description of what a believer's armor should resemble.
2 Timothy 3:16,17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God wants us to be complete in Him, perfectly suited to fight the enemy and win. It is as we put on His armor that we will be properly equipped for battle.
Ephesians 6:14 “....having girded your waist with truth.....”.
The Roman soldier had a belt around his waist that bound all of the armor together and gave him freedom of movement. He fought every day regardless of whether there was an actual battle or not because he had to be ready to fight and win when he was up against his enemy.
The belt that is the piece of the armor of God that holds all our other pieces of armor together is the belt of truth. Jesus said in John 17:17, when He was praying for His disciples and those of us who would follow after them, that God's word is truth.
John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Sanctify – Greek word “hagiazo” in John 17:17 means “the separation of the believer from the world in his behavior—by the Father through the Word”. To sanctify is to set apart from something unto something else; to separate from something so you can draw close to another.
Jesus said God's Word separates the believer from the world in his behavior. The belt of truth, or God's word in the life of a believer while in battle, separates him from acting in a worldly fashion that would deter him from his focus of standing strong in the Lord to win the battle. The world would have us fight a spiritual battle with worldly weapons, but we've already ascertained that the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but they are mighty in God and are powerful to pull down strongholds and bring thoughts and arguments into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
The truth of God's word is what the believer uses to secure all the other parts of the armor. Jesus said in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” When we look at how Jesus handled the attack of the devil while He was in the wilderness we see that He spoke the Word to the devil and it stopped the attack. God's word is powerful!
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The center of our armor is truth. Everything that we hear is to be judged by the word of God. If it doesn't line up with the word, pitch it out! God's word is truth; Jesus is the Living Word and the Word of God when spoken by the Holy Spirit is the Sword of the Spirit which we will discuss in an upcoming blog. The word of God when taken into our spirits prepares us to fight and win. We must be ready for the actual battle when it comes by daily feasting on the word of God. To wait until the enemy is in front of you to start preparing for the battle is too late.
Ephesians 6:14 “....having put on the breastplate of righteousness....”
The breastplate of the Roman soldier protected his heart and other vital organs. The righteousness of God worn as a breastplate is what protects our hearts.
1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
If we stand in God's righteousness we have a heart that believes that what we ask of God we will receive because we stand not based on our own efforts but the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 59:17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
God Himself wears a breastplate of righteousness. When we look at the definition of righteousness we will be able to see it's purpose as our protection and the reason why He wants us to wear it.
Righteousness – Greek word “dikaiosyne”- the character or quality of being right or just. It is spoken of as being “right with God” and is the position that we believers have in Christ Jesus. This righteousness is unattainable by obedience to any law, or by any merit of man's own, or any other condition than that of faith in Christ Jesus.
We are right with God because we are in Christ Jesus according to 2 Corinthians 5:21:
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
So when we stand, ready for battle, with the righteousness of God as our breastplate, the enemy cannot throw any fiery darts at our hearts that will knock us off balance because we are right or just not because of anything we have done, but because of what Jesus has done! We stand based on God's righteousness, not our own. The enemy might try to say things that would convince us that we can't stand and fight because we are not worthy in our own works of righteousness, but the truth is that we are righteous because of Jesus! It is then that we can rightfully say, “Get thee behind me, Satan; I am worthy because of Jesus!”.
Ephesians 6:14 “..... and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;"
The Roman soldier's boots were more like heavy leather-layered sandals. They had hollow-headed nails imbedded in the soles so when the soldier took a stand the nails in the soles of his shoes enabled him to stand firmly planted on the ground. His feet didn't slip because the nails gripped into the ground and strengthened his stance.
The word “gospel” simply means “good news”. The peace of God is the good news on which we as believers firmly plant our feet. Ephesians 2:14 says that Jesus Himself is our peace.
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
We stand firmly in the midst of the battle because Jesus is our peace. He, through His sacrifice, united us with the Father and made it possible for us to be “one” with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We stand in peace, with no strife or enmity between us and the Father. It is our right as His children to stand firmly planted, ready to fight, secure in who we are in Christ Jesus!
My friends, every piece of armor that God has given us is effective for us to use in spiritual warfare because it is based on the covenant of peace that we have with God through Christ Jesus. It is given by God's grace and received through our faith. When we stand in His righteousness and use the weapons of His warfare and armor, we can be assured that the victory is ours!
Thank You, Father, for providing all that we need to fight the good fight of faith! Thank You for the armor that protects us and provides success for us in spiritual warfare. Thank You for Your righteousness that gives us the authority to fight as a believer in Christ Jesus. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for securing our peace with the Father, breaking down that wall of separation that sin caused between us. Thank You, Lord, for Your gospel of peace; Your good news to us. And thank You, Lord, for Your word of truth. Truth that supersedes fact. The truth of Your word that when wielded as the Sword of the Spirit pierces the enemy and stops him in his attacks against us. Thank You, Lord, for equipping us to fight and win! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, July 02, 2012
Ephesians 6:14-20 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 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; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—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, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Stand therefore! I've counted three times in the portion of scripture from Ephesians 6:10-20 where God instructs His people in battle to STAND! And one other time where He says “withstand”. We are the army of God and as such He intends for us to stand and fight, not turn and run!
Stand – Greek word “histemi” meaning “to cause to stand”; to “stand firm”; to “stand steadfastly”.
We see a perfect example of this type of stance in the Lord Jesus when He was getting ready to go to the cross. Isaiah 50:7 says that He set His face like a flint.
Isaiah 50:7 “For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.”
Later Luke talks about this prophetic picture of Jesus getting ready to go to the cross in Luke 9:51-53:
Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
Jesus knew the battle that was ahead of Him and He purposed to steadfastly do what God had called Him to do. He set His face like a flint to carry out the will of God that mankind might be saved. It's the diligence and determination to fight that we see in Jesus that we want to pattern our lives after in spiritual warfare to defeat the enemy in our lives and those of others for which we are praying. We can understand His determination when we look at the description of a flint.
Flint – As a stone, is a sub-species of quartz, of a yellowish or bluish gray, or grayish black color. It is very hard, strikes fire with steel, and is an ingredient in glass. When said to be as flint, it would be very hard, not impressionable. A piece of flint-stone is described as being used in firearms to strike fire. (definition from the 1828 Webster's dictionary of the English language.)
So when Jesus set His face as flint to go to the cross there was no person or demonic entity that was going to stop Him. He knew what He had to do and He did it! When Ephesians 6:14 says to “stand therefore” we can ascertain that God intends for us to be determined to win and to take our stance against the enemy in such a way as to understand that the only option we have is to WIN!
We see the picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane taking His stance for victory on His knees. That is where the battle really takes place. We draw strength for the battle and fight the thoughts that come against us, the actions and fiery darts of the wicked one through prayer. It is a spiritual battle, not a physical one.
Luke 26:36-46 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying. “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. “Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
Have you ever felt like you were going crazy; that you just couldn't stand to take the pressure of what was coming against you one more day? Jesus was under such pressure when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane that it is said that His sweat was as great drops of blood.
Luke 22:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Jesus knew the intensity of the battle in His mind. He was pressured to the point of death, even the death of the cross. And yet He won that battle on His knees before He ever walked it out through the crucifixion. He gave us the reason prayer is so important in fighting spiritually in Matthew 26:41:
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
We, as believers, have every intention of fighting the good fight of faith and winning.....until we are in the midst of the battle. Then we sometimes waver. Our faith weakens as we see the weaknesses of our flesh. Jesus said to “watch and pray”.
Watch – Greek word – gregoreo – Strong's #1213: to watch; keeping awake; as of “spiritual alertness”.
Jesus described the enemy in John 10 as being like a thief. A thief often works under the cover of darkness. Hence, the need to “stand therefore”, being spiritually alert, watching for his secret attack, with the determination of a bulldog, feet planted, immoveable, ready to fight, determined to win with your face set like a flint, knowing that you've got the armor of God and His weapons securely in place and victory is yours through Him!
Watch and pray....not, look for the enemy and when you see him run for your life. Watch; be spiritually alert; pray!
Pray – Greek word “proseuchomai” - this word for prayer is always used of “prayer to God”, and is the most frequent word in this respect.
Jesus is saying when faced with a temptation, a battle between you and the evil one, be spiritually alert, watching for his wiles, his strategy in coming against you, and pray to the Father that you will be spiritually fit and able to defeat him because your flesh will want to cave in, give up, relax, run away; your flesh is weak, but your spirit needs to be strong enough to “stand therefore”!
In the strength of the Lord you will be able to fight the attacks of the enemy and win.
Father, I thank You for giving us the strength to stand. I thank You that I can come to You and draw from Your grace for the ability to fight and win the battle. I pray for my friends, Father, that they, too, will learn how to fight and win through prayer and standing firm against the enemy. Thank You for the victory that we have in Christ Jesus. Help us, Lord, to not give up, cave in or run and hide when the battle ensues. For it's time for us to stand firm and resist the evil one knowing that You always lead us to triumph in Christ Jesus! Thank You, Father! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, July 01, 2012
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, 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.
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