Put on All of God’s Armor-Part 1
In 1 Samuel 17, we read the story of David killing Goliath, but I want to look specifically at verses 38-40. They say, “38 Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. ’I can’t go in these,’ he protested to Saul. ‘I’m not used to them.’ So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.” There were a couple of problems with Saul’s armor. First of all, it was the wrong armor, Saul’s armor was made for Saul, a man who stood head and shoulders above everyone else. Secondly, David didn’t know how to put it on or how to wear it. David was just a shepherd boy; he didn’t have any idea how to put on armor.
I have read a lot of commentaries on Ephesians 6:10-20 and heard many different pastors preach on it, but I have never heard anyone talk about where to get the armor. So today I want to look at the importance of wearing the right armor and how to put it on.
In Ephesians chapter 6, starting at verse 10, the Bible tells us to put on ALL of God’s armor:
“10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”
In these first three verses, the Apostle Paul tells us twice to put on all of God’s armor. He doesn’t say to put on some of God’s armor, or just to put on what feels good, he emphasizes ALL, so this is the first thing we must understand. The Church today feels entitled. we think we can pick and choose what we want to believe and what we want to obey. If we are to be effective for Christ we have to completely surrender to Him. We must quit picking and choosing and start obeying. I know in our privileged and entitled society this is not a popular statement, but it is the truth. Matthew 4:4 says, “4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”” Did you get that? Every word, that means we can’t pick and choose, we can’t decide which parts we want to believe, we must believe and live by the entire Bible…every word.
So, once we have surrendered ourselves to His will and realized that putting on all of God’s armor is a prerequisite, the next question is, where do I get it?
Let’s see what Paul tells us in verse 14 “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.” So, in this verse, he first tells us to stand our ground. So, we can’t waver, we can’t be wishy-washy, we must stand firm, and in order to stand firm, we have to know what it says…all of it. Then it gives us the first two pieces of the armor. He says to put on the Belt of Truth. In armor, the belt wasn’t just there to hold your pants up or to hang your cell phone on, it was to protect your gut. It was usually made of thick leather and covered your stomach and bowels. And in God’s armor, your gut is covered by the belt of truth. Have you ever had a gut feeling that something was wrong? We know the truth in our gut. So, where does this belt of truth come from? John 17:17 says, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” and Psalm 119:160 says, “ The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever.” So clearly, the belt of truth comes from reading and knowing God’s Word, because His Word IS truth. Notice it doesn’t say that His word teaches the truth, or that His word tells the truth, it says that His Word IS truth. The word of God is, by its very nature, truth itself. It embodies truth, it doesn’t merely speak the truth.
The second part of verse 14 says to put on the body armor, or breastplate, of God’s righteousness. So, we are to have God’s righteousness covering and protecting our heart. This is extremely important in every aspect of the Christian life. Proverbs 4:23 tells us “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” The profit Malachi tells men twice to guard our hearts to stay loyal to our wives. And in Philippians 4:7 it says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” So, this body armor of righteousness is obviously important. His righteousness guards our heart, which keeps us loyal and determines the course of our lives. So, without it we are lost, but where do we get it? 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” So, all scripture is profitable for training in righteousness. So many believers think that once they have accepted Christ they are righteous. This could not be further from the truth. We need to be trained in righteousness and that training only comes from reading, memorizing, meditating on, studying and living the word of God. Psalm 119:11 “ I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
This takes us to verse 15, which says, “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” So, the next thing is to cover our feet. Our feet do the work, they take us where God sends us. This one is pretty clear cut. It says to cover our feet with the peace that comes from the Good News. The definition of the word Gospel is Good News. In fact, some translations say it, cover your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. We are to go in peace, but be ready for war. And, to prepare for going in peace, we must know the Gospel…we have to be well versed in the Good News that we are taking. In 1 Peter 3:15, the Apostle Peter tells us, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” So how can we always be ready to give an answer? We have to know the Gospel; we have to know the word of God. Are we seeing a trend here? So far we have learned that, in order to have the belt of truth, the body armor of righteousness and the shoes of peace, we have to know what the Word of God says. We’ll pick up in verse 16 in our next installment and see what else we need to do.
Put on God’s Armor-Part 2
In our last blog, we looked at the first three pieces of armor. The next verse goes on to say, Verse 16 “ In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” The devil is constantly shooting flaming arrows at us, so we had better have a shield to stop them. Sometimes when we think of shields, we think of a small shield that straps to the soldier’s arm, but that shield is to defend yourself against a strike from a sword. The shield that stops arrows, especially flaming ones, is a large shield that you can crouch down behind and it covers your whole body. This shield is the shield of faith. Now, faith is something we need to talk about because faith is paramount in the Christian life. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please God without faith, but many in the Church today have started worshiping the faith itself instead of the one we are to have faith in. As my wife often says, “faith does not move mountains, God moves mountains, but we must have faith that he can do it.” Quite frankly, God can move mountains whether we have faith or not. But to ward off the fiery arrows of Satan, God tells us to use the Shield of Faith. So, where does this Shield of Faith come from? I thought you’d never ask. Romans 10:17 says, “ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Okay, so faith comes from hearing the word of Christ, and where do we hear the word of Christ? The Gospel, the Good News, The Bible. So, to have the Shield of Faith, we must hide the word of Christ in our hearts. We must crouch down behind our faith and trust God to protect us from those fiery darts. Matthew 23:37 says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me”. God wants to protect us under His wing just like a chicken protects her chicks. The only way we can let Him is to have a relationship with Him and have true faith that He will be there.
Verse 17 goes on to say, “ Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This verse gives us 2 more. The first one is to put on Salvation as our Helmet. Without the Helmet of Salvation, the rest is completely useless. Without salvation, all the faith in the world won’t help you. There are more verses on salvation than I can list, but here are a few:
- Hebrews 2:3 “So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?”
- 2 Samuel 22:47 “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted!”
- Psalm 18:46 “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!”
- Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?”
- Jonah 2:9 “But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”
- When John the Baptizer’s father, Zechariah prophesied over him, he said, Luke 1:76-78 “76And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. 77 You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. 78 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us.”
As with every other piece of the armor, we cannot get salvation without the Word of God. In Romans 10:14 we read, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Also in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” And in 1 Corinthians 1:21, “Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.” So, the Helmet of Salvation comes from the preaching of the Word. Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of salvation. Notice it is the helmet, it is the top thing, the most important, it protects our head. Without the Helmet of Salvation, the rest of the armor doesn’t matter. Acts 4:11-12 says, “11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ 12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” In today’s world, I constantly hear people say, “it doesn’t matter what you believe in as long as you believe in something.” That is nothing but a lie from the Devil. It is exactly what Satan wants us to believe, but the Bible makes it perfectly clear that salvation is only through Jesus, the Christ.
So, what is salvation?
- Admit that you are a sinner and in need of salvation.
- Romans 3:23 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
- Romans 3:10 “As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one.”
- Romans 5:12 “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”
- Realize just what that means.
- Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- I’m not worthy! That’s right, none of us are.
- Romans 5:8 “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
- What do I need to do?
- Romans 10:9-10 “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”
- How do I know if it worked?
- Romans 10:13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
- Now What? Live it!
- Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
I’m going to let you chew on that, and we’ll finish this up in our next blog. See you then.
All of God’s Armor-Part 3
Up to this point, we’ve looked at the Belt of Truth, the Body Armor of Righteousness, the Shoes of Peace, the Shield of Faith, and the Helmet of Salvation.
The next piece, in the second half of verse 17, is the Sword of the Spirit, and he gives this one away because he says, “which is the Word of God”…pretty cut and dried, right? In Hebrews 4:12 it says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Our weapon is the Word of God. Everything listed up to this point is defensive, it is all for protection, and it all comes from the Word of God, but our weapon is the Word itself. Have you ever watched one of those “swashbuckler” movies where a guy picks up a sword but doesn’t know how to use it? It never ends well, does it? So again, we have to be well versed in our weapon, it has to become an extension of our arm, we have to become one with it. But this verse doesn’t end with the Word of God is a sword, it goes on to say, it divides the soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and it exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. The Word of God cuts deep it exposes who we really are, it strips away any pretense.
Sadly, there are so many phonies in the church today. People that make it all about them, they constantly talk about the “gifts” they have and the miracles they have performed. If they truly got into the Word, it would divide their soul and spirit. It would expose their innermost thoughts and desires, and then…and only then…could they be used.
So, to recap, we are to put on all of God’s armor:
- The Belt of Truth = The Word of God
- The Body Armor of Righteousness = The Word of God
- The Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel = The Word of God
- The Shield of Faith = The Word of God
- The Helmet of Salvation = The Word of God
- The Sword of the Spirit = The Word of God
But it doesn’t stop there. Verses 18-20 go on to say, “18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. 19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.” So, he says to pray in the Spirit at all times, be persistent in your prayers for all believers. Then Paul says, pray for me that God will give me the right words to say. Then he ends it by saying, pray that I will keep on speaking boldly.
Paul starts out by telling us to put on all of God’s armor, which, as we have seen, means stay in the word, then he says to pray, and pray, and pray, and keep on praying. So the formula for protecting ourselves from Satan’s fiery darts is to study, memorize and meditate on the word of God, and then pray. Pray for each other, pray for our spiritual leaders and pray for ourselves. We’ll go more into prayer soon.
This passage is one of many examples that show us how Christianity is not about showing up at church every Sunday. It is not about having your “quiet time” every day. It is not about religion! If you study the New Testament, you will see that every time religion is mentioned, with the exception of one verse, it is mentioned in a negative light. Paul kept saying how he left the religion of his father to follow Christ. The people that Jesus had problems with were the religious leaders. The only time that religion is mentioned in a positive light is in James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” So, what God sees as true Religion is caring for widows and orphans and keeping yourself pure from the world. It’s not about where you “go to church”, or the organ, or the stained glass windows. It is about a relationship with God. Relationships only work when we put work into them. If I spent one hour a week with my wife, our marriage wouldn’t have lasted a year, and yet so many people who call themselves Christians do just that with God, they give him one hour a week. God doesn’t want our leftovers, He wants everything, and the only way we can cultivate that relationship is to spend time with Him. Spend time studying and memorizing His word, spend time talking to Him and listening to His voice.
So, put on ALL of God’s Armor, and be ready…the enemy is out there. 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”