PURPOSE: Seeing how we are constantly bombarded with evil in society, which comes from the “evil one’; we Christians must be as soldiers, prepared for the battle of good against evil, the flesh against the Spirit, pride against humility, love against hate, and be equipped by the strength of the Lord, the power of His might and learning to put on, and keeping on the armor of God.
THE FINAL EVIDENCE OF THE FILLING OF THE SPIRIT IN THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE (vv. 5:18, 6:10). “Finally” concludes the evidences of the filling of the Spirit which the apostle gives from verse eighteen of chapter five and runs through verse eighteen of chapter six. I am saying that to put on the armor which we are commanded to put on, and the keeping on of that armor are evidences of the “Filling”
Let’s recap what has already been said of the “Filling of the Spirit”. When you are filled with the Spirit of God:
1. You are controlled by the Spirit of God (v. 5:18);
2. Your life is a musical; your life is filled with song and thanksgiving (vv. 5:19-20);
3. You are submissive to others, or to one another (v. 5:21);
4. The Spirit filled wife is submissive to her husband (vv. 5:22-24);
5. The Spirit filled husband loves his wife sacrificially as “Christ died for the church” (vv. 5:25-31)
6. Spirit filled children will honor their parents (vv. 6:1-3);
7. Spirit filled parents will lovingly teach, discipline, and direct their children in the Lord (v. 4);
8. The Spirit filled laborer/worker/employee will be a diligent, faithful, hard working, unselfish, having high integrity, in the work for Christ sake (vv. 5-8);
9. The Spirit filled boss/manager/supervisor/owner will be well behaved toward his laborers/workers/employees: paying a better than average wage required by government; and see to it that all workers are treated fairly and equally.
The final three chapters of Ephesians are the practical aspects of what the apostle is teaching in the first three chapters. These are surely practical, and show us how we ought to live personally, toward others, and this final one in the spiritual world as well; which many times, if not all the time; is manifest in the flesh and blood of humanity.
We live in a desperately wicked world, and as Christians if we are not diligent and vigilant we can find ourselves living a life of defeat. Paul encourages us with these great words, Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. This reminds me of the prophet Zechariah’s inspired words, “Not by might nor by power; but by My Spirit, says the LORD” (Zechariah 4:6). The only way for us to “be strong” effectively is in the Lord, and that happens as we obey Him and His Word. The Spirit of God can only work in us for godly living as we obey the Word of God. The disobedient child of God is not in the will of God, and out of fellowship, out of tune with the leading of the Spirit of God. No disobedient Christian can faithfully follow the will of God, nor can the disobedient Christian be strong in the Lord, and the power of His might.
The only answer for that is seeking God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9), receiving that forgiveness; then, living faithfully to God, His Word and the direction of His Spirit. Be strong… in the power of His might.
The Spirit filled Christian will be a good soldier of Christ.
THE COMMAND, THE EQUIPMENT AND THE BATTLE (vv. 11-13). Imagine if you will you can see the apostle, possibly chained to a Roman soldier, as he is imprisoned in a cold, wet, dark, cell. He has occassionally caught the look of the armor the soldiers wear, and God has given him this illustration of the Christian’s armor. You can tell where Paul’s heart is. It is on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the people who have and who are coming to Christ as their Lord and Savior. The apostle wants, even desires that his brethren be made strong, protected, powerful, and sturdy in the fight of the faith, and for the faith.
In these verses Paul gives us the command to put on the whole armor of God. He also gives us the equipment of the armor; which consist of, the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, battle shoes, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and for a weapon, the Sword of the Spirit. Could there be one more weapon? I believe there is and it is the weapon of prayer. It is more powerful than an ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missle), or any other missile for that matter, because it is faster, and hits with much more impact, and only damages evil.
We are told that the battle is not against flesh and blood, but against forces which we cannot see. Evil is a force (within politics, religion, etc.) of our enemy [the devil] which works deceptively; destroying individuals, marriages, families, towns and cities, State and Federal governments, and the whole world; which the devil uses to try and overthrow the reign of God. We can see God’s view on this in the Second Psalm:
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalms 2:1-3 (KJV)
The battle rages everyday of our lives. We cannot back down, nor lose hope. Though the enemy has already been defeated on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ; he is still a foe that we must deal with in the Spirit of God. His doom is sure. His teeth have been shattered, and all he can really do is roar, and make a big stink. However, the Christian must daily be filled with the Spirit, putting on the whole armor of God to stand, and stand firm against the onslaughts of Satan, that others may come to faith, grow more into the image of Christ our Lord, and be eternally with Him in glory.
The evil day is any time Satan’s attacks are worsening. It seems to me that they are worsening everyday now. It is actually speaking of when things in the world are at their worst. With the economy crumbling and especially with many people’s investments in Wall Street, there is much fear, worry and dread. May the Spirit filled Christian and her resting in Christ be the cause of peace in many more. Whent he attacks seem unbearable, even in this can the Christian – Spirit filled – and fully armored, stand. Praise God!
STANDING, FIGHTING WITH THE ARMOR IN THE STRENGTH AND MIGHT OF OUR LORD (vv. 14-17). Some years ago there was a song I heard several times with the words, “We are walking into the enemies camp, and laying our weapons down; shedding our armor as we go, and leaving it on the ground.” I believe this was the chorus of the song. It did, however, catch my attention. I think you can see what the writer of that song was saying.
This is not the time for Christians to be laying our armor, nor our weapons down at the feet of the enemy. This is the time for us to gird up our loins with the belt of truth, taking all those things which hinder us and tucking them away so we can fight. Why is it that some “Christian” hymnals have taken songs such as “Onward Christian Soldiers” out of the hymnal? Some have changed to wording of songs so as not to offend the world. Has any one figured out yet that the gospel message of Jesus Christ, the cross, burial and resurrection offends this world!? (I guess it would be alright to view the previous sentence as an exclamation or a question). To put on the belt of truth requires that the Christian spend time daily in the Word of God, hearing God through those things written by the prophets, lawgivers, singers, and historical writers.
The belt of truth is used as the means to hold other pieces of equipment in place. With it you had a place to carry the Sword. The “belt of truth” for the Christian is the “truthfulness” continued, abiding living a committed, dedicated life to the battle for Christ, without hypocrisy, and devoted to victory.
The breastplate of righteousness described by the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE,
“The breastplate was usually a tough, sleeveless piece of leather or heavy material with animal horn or hoof pieces sewn on, covering th soldier’s full torso, protecting his heart and other vital organs. Because righteousness, or holiness, is such a distinctive characteristic of God Himself, it is not hard to understand why that is the Christian’s chief protection against Satan and his schemes. As believers faithfully live in obedience to and communion with Jesus Christ, His own righteousness produces in them the practical, daily righteousness that becomes the spiritual breastplate. Lack of holiness, on the other hand, leaves them vulnerable to the great enemy of their souls (cf. Is. 59:17; 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thess. 5:8).
THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, p. 1815.
Righteousness has been put to our account, because of Jesus’s death on the cross, and in our place. This breastplate protects the Christian from the frontal assaults of Satan as he bombards with accusation which has been forgiven, insults, defamation and lies. When we are clothed in the righteousness and armored in the breastplate of righteousness we can rest assured in Christ Jesus and enter the battle with confidence that, “No weapon that is formed against us shall prosper” (Isaiah54:17a).
A good soldier will have on the proper shoe or boot for the journey, and the battles that will be faced. The shoe will provide good traction, stable footing, a steady foundation. The feet are our foundation for travelling. The means of going, and carrying out the mission to which every soldier has been called. The feet of the Christian soldier is to be ready to share the gospel wherever we may go. The Christian soldier is assured of eternal salvation, and knows how to share his personal testimony, and give a clear presentation of the message of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:15). His feet are “shod” and, ready to go at a moments notice.
Though most modern troops/soldiers do not carry shields, each soldier knows the value of a shield. If we have been watching some news clips on television news we have seen some of our soldiers walking beside the hum-vees using them as a shield from the enemy bullets. We see them hunkered down behind walls as shields as well. In many cases it would be foolish not to seek a shield for protection. For the Christian we cannot exist without the shield of faith.
When the enemy come swinging his sword of evil, and shooting his “fiery darts” of hatred; the shield of faith is raised to turn them away. Sometimes the blows of evil and darts of hate can be felt, but they fall harmlessly to the ground yielding to the raised “shield of faith”;
“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19 (KJV)
The enemy will stop at nothing in order to make us stumble in our faith. The “shield of faith” can only be effective when the “loins are girt about with truth”; when the “breastplate of righteousness” is in place, and our feet are “shod”, and prepared to preach the “foolishness” of the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18).
The helmet of salvation is protection for the head; for if you lose the head you lose your life. The Roman soldier’s helmet protected him from a simple blow to the head, and from being knocked unconscious from a seemingly minor blow, disabling him from the battle. When an individual is born again they receive this salvation, as though awakened out of sleep or from death with this helmet. It is from our head that we have our senses of sight, smell, hearing and taste; and without the head we would have no sense of touch. The total body is ruled by the head.
It is with salvation one’s eyes are opened to the things of God; that one can begin to tell a spiritual stench from spiritual fragrance; that one begins to hear God’s commands and do what He says, that one can taste the Word of God, and that it is good, in fact DELICIOUS.
The apostle now proceeds to the offensive equipment/weapons. The first item is the Sword of the Spirit. The Roman soldier’s main offensive weapon was his sword. Once trained in its use he could wield his sword with great accuracy and power.
Notice, by the text that this Sword is the “Word of God”. The power of God’s Spirit in our lives is in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit of God, who resides, dwells in every believer speaks to and through the one who is familiar with the Word of God. The Sword would literally be the Word of God present, and at work in the spirit filled soldier of Jesus Christ; not just words on onion paper, and bound in leather; but written in our hearts. The writer of Hebrews likened the Word to a “two edged sword,” and as “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The sword of God’s Word is not only powerful to its handler, but also to anyone within its thrust.
The preacher of God’s Word can stand confidently knowing God’s Word and God’s Spirit work together in power, doing the work for which God intends it. He can stand with that Bible in his hands and know, that no matter what portion of Scripture he uses; a message from God is being proclaimed. The “rightly divided” Word.
STANDING WITH GOD IN PRAYER (vv. 18-20). Not too many see it, but it seems to me that prayer must be the second offensive weapon that we have in Christ. I wrote earlier that it is more powerful and an ICBM and accomplishes far more in God’s glory. What could be more important for the soldier of Christ than to kneel before His presence, tell him our hearts fears concerning the battle, receive His encouragements, corrections and rebukes, and also receive His instruction for fighting the battle ahead?
A lot of spiritual warfare is fought on our knees. As a matter of fact no victory will be secured if prayer is not practiced. In prayer we find and receive power to do the will of God; we are strengthened and encouraged for the battle(s) ahead. In prayer we are made alert to the things that are hated by God. The Christian soldier, when he spends time with his Commander-In-Chief Jesus Christ learns to become like Him.
We pray for others, one another, all saints. Remember saints are simply called by God out of sin unto faith in Christ Jesus. We pray “in the Spirit” by praying according to the Spirit and not our own desires. The Spirit prays in us which glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14).
In this text Paul request prayer for himself as well. We ought always pray for our pastors, teachers, and all who have spiritual authority in the church. Paul’s request was threefold:
1. That he might experience freedom in his preaching;
2. That he might speak boldly;
3. That he might clearly present the “mystery of the gospel”.
If you want to know how to pray for your pastor, and others who are in authority, biblically, and in the Spirit; here is the answer.
We are all “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20a), therefore, we all need prayer to be bold in our witness, and preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Be a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3). “Put on the whole armor of God,” and wield the “sword of the Spirit” in power; trusting the Lord Jesus Christ to accomplish His work in you; and in His word. His word will not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11).
-Tim A. Blankenship