As I prepare to teach during children’s church this Sunday, I want to wrap up the full armor of God with the last piece that is presented in the text.
- belt of truth
- breastplate of righteousness
- the shoes of the Gospel of peace
- the shield of faith
- the helmet of salvation
For this lesson, we are going to focus on the only offensive weapon that we have, the sword of the Spirit, which the text tells us is the Word of God. If you have been with us from the beginning, the armor begins with the Word of God and ends with the Word of God. Also, the Word of God is the theme that we see running all the way through the idea of the weapons that the Lord has given to us to defeat our sin nature and the enemy who tries to entice it.
I. We are on offense
The way that the armor is described, Paul seems to imply that we are to be moving forward, or attacking the enemy’s territory. Where did Paul get this idea from? I believe that Paul got the idea from Jesus, Himself. Paul was taught by the resurrected Jesus and not by man. I would like to take a look at what Jesus said about the Church (composed of believers) and the enemy. Jesus implies that the Church is on the offensive and that the enemy is playing defense.
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” (Matthew 16:18)
The gates of Hades will not be able to overpower the church. The church seems to be on offense and the enemy on defense because Hades has the gates. Gates are for defense and not for offense. The gates of Hades cannot stop the offensive power of the church. The only thing that it can do is try to trip us up or distract us from the task at hand. We have been given all the weapons that we need to take enemy ground and be victorious. Do you see yourself as a conquering soldier, attack enemy territory? Do you realize that the only way that a person can be stopped is if he gets tangled up in sin?
II. All the weapons protect us as we attack
The belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, and helmet protect us as we attack. We defend with them as we attack the enemy’s territory. The only weapon that we have is the Word of God. We need to be very familiar with our offensive weapon so that we will be victorious. If we do not practice with the sword on a daily basis then we sell ourselves short. What does it look like to use the Word of God as our offensive weapon? Is there an example in the Bible of someone who did something like that? Let’s take a look and see.
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ “ 5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’ ” 7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’ “ 8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’ “ 11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. (Matthew 4)
III. Jesus’ example of doing battle
In the passage above, did you notice how Jesus did battle with the enemy? Satan wanted Jesus to doubt the Word of God. This sounds very similar to the ordeal between Satan and Eve. In Genesis 3, Satan asks, “Did God really say . . . ?”. God had already spoken clearly on the subject but the enemy tries to cast doubt. Look at his challenge to Jesus, “if you really are the Son of God . . . “. Jesus’ response is awesome, “it is written”. It is in God’s Word. Jesus quotes from the Old Testament. Satan pick up on this and responds with, “it is also written”. Satan’s quote from the Bible is twisted and taken out of context. God does say that He will protect His people but it is when they are being attacked and not when they are trying to harm themselves. Jesus responds with the Word used correctly to counter act Satan’s misuse. Finally, Satan wants Jesus to worship him instead of God. Satan wanted Adam and Eve to worship him instead of God. They failed the test. Jesus passed by quoting what God’s Word says. In order to do battle with the enemy, we must know the Word of God and know It properly so that we can use It in every circumstance. Are you spending adequate time in the Word to prepare for battle? Can you tell immediatley when someone is trying to twist the meaning of the Bible to their own desires? The only way to be able to do that is to know the genuine things so well that the false will be immediately obvious to you. This takes time and effort in God’s Word. May the Lord help us train well so that when the actual battle comes, we are ready for victory.