Take up the Armor of God

[The following article is an edited transcription of our audio teaching, Take up the Armor of God by John W. Schoenheit.]


I am John Schoenheit, and I welcome you to this months Spirit & Truth Fellowship teaching.

We are going to be covering the spiritual armor that is in Ephesians 6. I am sure that we are all aware of the spiritual armor: the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit, and the shield of faith. These pieces of armor seem so intriguing and so attractive. They seem to have so much inherent power that a lot of times we get kind of side-tracked by the armor that we do not pay attention to what is the used for.

Why did God give us the armor?

What is in the context that God really wants us to see?

Ephesians 6:10
(10) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(11) Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
(12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(13) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(14) Stand firm then…

Did you notice that the word stand occurs four times in four verses? We need to take this to heart because God wants us to be able to stand day after day after day after day for the Lord Jesus Christ. God wants us to be able to stand without being discouraged. He wants us to be able to stand without being hurt. I do not know how it is with you, but I know in my life that times occur when I just want to pack it in, throw in the towel and say, “Nobody is listening out there. Nobody really cares out there.” The fight around you can get so intense that you seem to lose all your joy and your focus. Sometimes you even wonder why you are standing; of course, pastors around the world know that this happens. Practically, for as many people as walk in the front door of a church, as many people get tired and walk out the back door.

God has given us the spiritual armor so that we will stand day after day. He says it here in verses 11-13. Stand, stand, stand, and stand, four times in four verses. Now two different Greek words are used. Three times it is the word histemi {his’-tay-mee}, which means to stand, and one time it is the word anthistemi {anth-is’-tay-mee} which is to stand against, but it is all standing. That is what God wants us to do. When the trumpet blows and the role is called up yonder, if you are still standing with God, you have done the right thing. We are never going to beat the Devil. It is not like we are going to kill him. You are not going to get a gun and get rid of the Devil, not on your life. You do know that you and I can stand against the Devil, day after day after day.

What does it take to do that? Okay, that is what this teaching is about. What does it take to stand day after day after day to beat that discouragement, to beat those feelings of emptiness, to beat those feelings of loneliness, to beat those feelings of nothing good is coming of this anyway, and just stand day after day with a vision?

How do we do that?

Ephesians 6:10
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

The first thing that we will see here is that it is in the Lord. If you and I are going to stand day after day, it is going to be because of our connection with the Lord. I do not and you do not have the strength within ourselves to stand day after day against the Devil. We have got to tap in to the power of the Lord. That brings me to the next point. Scripture says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord.” I do not really think that is how it should to be translated or understood. I want to go into a little bit of English grammar with you. A lot of times I try to avoid grammar but sometimes the meaning of the verse is inherent in the grammar, and this is one of those cases.

In English, verbs have two primary voices: active and passive voice. In Greek, verbs have three primary voices: active, passive, and middle voice. A verb is functioning in the Active Voice when the subject of the sentence does the action—I hit the ball. I am the subject of that sentence, and I am doing the action of hitting. The verb here is functioning in the Active Voice. A verb is functioning in the Passive Voice when the object of the verb does the action—I was hit by the ball. In this example, the ball, being the object of the sentence, did the action of hitting me, being the subject of the sentence.

In Greek, the middle voice is most often reflexive. An example of this would be “I hit myself.” The action comes back upon the person. [The subject is the receiver of the action.] Now, in Ephesians 6:10 where it says, “Be strong,” the verb in the Greek can be either in the passive voice or in the middle voice. If it is in the middle voice, then it is upon me to be strong. I have to take that upon myself. That does not sit right in my soul. As I have checked scholars and checked the commentaries, they are pretty much in general agreement that the power is resident in Jesus Christ. You and I do not have the power. There is not a lot of reservoir of power that exists in me, but a lot of power is there in Jesus Christ. This verb then, I believe, should be in the passive voice and thus be translated as this: Be empowered in the Lord. You see, when my reservoir runs dry, and I am sitting there where life is beating me up to the point that I am thinking, “I do not even know why I am a Christian. I do not know why I stand. I do not know why I am here.” A lot more things are out there that are more fun than being a Christian; and yet, I know that so many great rewards are there in standing. What does it take? The key is for us to be empowered by the Lord. Do not try to reach in to that inner reservoir, “If I could just come out with a little more strength.” The strength is not in us. The strength is in the Lord. Relax and tap into Christ’s power. God gave him all authority in heaven and on earth. Christ is the Lord, and he has great power.

I think that this text is saying literally, “Finally, be empowered in the Lord.” Let the power of the Lord flow into you. Do not try to suck it up, and say, “I am just going to be strong.” Relax and get a vision of the Lord pouring his power into you. Get a vision of the power, the love, and the grace flowing from the Lord into you. Let me tell you that verse 10 is packed with power.

Three different Greek words can be found for the word power in this verse. It says, “be empowered and in his mighty power.” What are those three different Greek words? Be strong, typically translated “be empowered,” is the Greek word dunamus. That is our inherent ability. Let your ability flow from Jesus Christ. Next part of the verse: his mighty power would be his mighty kratos. The word kratos in the Greek is “the ability to express or exhibit resident strength.” Normally, this is used of nations. Typically, you would not talk about a person as being mighty. Well, occasionally you might, but typically, you think of a nation as being mighty because of its resident strength. The Greek word for might is the word ischus, which means “strength: the capability or capacity to exert force or power.”

Look at the strength in this verse. It has dunamus, kratos, and ischus. It has strength, power, and might. Wow, it is all there, and it is in Jesus Christ. You and I, if we are going to stand day after day after day after day, are going to have to tap into the power of Jesus Christ. This is not for us to just suck it up ourselves and be strong in the Lord, but we are to be empowered by Jesus Christ. Let the power of the one who sits on the right hand of God flow into your life and stand in that power.

I will also say that when it says, “Be empowered in the Lord and in his mighty power.” The word “and” in Greek can be translated as the word “even.” It should be here. It is not meaning two things. It is not meaning to be empowered in the Lord and in his mighty power. It would read more like this, “Finally, be empowered in the Lord that is in the might of his strength.” You see, the power that we have, the empowerment, is in the strength of the Lord, not two things: being strong in the Lord and being strong in his power. Being strong in the Lord is being strong in his power.

Let’s look at verse 11:

Ephesians 6:11
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

The Bible tells us in verses 11 and 13 that we need to put on the full armor of God. It is a travesty to enter into the battle or into the contest without the full armor of God. We have to have it. Can you imagine soldiers back in the time of Jesus Christ walking down the road, and one soldier looks over to another soldier and says, “Hey, what happened to your helmet.” The other soldier says, “Oh, I did not bring it today. It is pretty hot, and I didn’t want to sweat. I just thought that I’d leave my helmet home for this battle.” That would never happen. No one would ever do that. If you and I are going to stand day after day after day, we have got to have the full armor of God. Why do we have it? We have it so that we can take our stand against the Devil’s schemes. I like the New International Version’s translation here—“Against the Devil’s schemes.” The Devil does scheme. The Devil is a thinking and planning being. He sets people up for failure. If you think about it, evil does not just happen. I am sure that some accidental evil in the world does happen, but for the most part the Devil orchestrates evil all over the world. He is constantly scheming. That is one of the reasons that sometimes things seem to go so wrong, and it takes the wind out of your sails. You get those feelings, “Why am I even here? A life has got to be out there that is easier than Christianity?” The Devil is scheming and we have got to tap into the Lord’s power if we are going to stand day after day after day.

I also want to address the opening of verse 11 when it says, “put on the full armor of God.” I just said that we are going to be able to stand by tapping into the Lord’s power; however, we have got to put on the armor of God. What is going on here? A difference exists between the preparation and the strength. Ladies and gentlemen, we have got to prepare. We are not going to be able to enter into the battle and stand if we are not prepared. We have got to put the armor on us. We have got to prepare. Once it is on, the strength will come from the Lord. This is a team effort. We are working together with the Lord for the success in our life. It is the Lord and us. It is not all the Lord, but it is definitely not all on us either. The Lord is providing that power that allows us to stand. We want to stand against the Devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Here, we learn whom we are fighting against. In verse 11, it said that it was the Devil’s schemes. In verse 12, we learn that it is the Devil’s schemes—it is against rulers, authorities, powers of the world, and spiritual forces in the heavenly realms. You and I do not fight people. Sure, the Devil can use people. It is important that as a culture and civilization we learn how to stop ungodly people, but the force behind it is spiritual. We need to make sure that we keep our eyes on the spiritual nature of the battle because it is the Lord who will supply us with the power to fight in that spiritual realm. To make sure that we understand that we are fighting against spiritual things, God could have just said, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against demons.” Look at the emphasis here. It is not against flesh and blood, but it is against rulers, authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil.” God hits it over and over again. Why does He? He does this because we forget. The flesh around us is so real that we get discouraged. How many times have you come home and thought to yourself, “I am really discouraged by demons today!” Now really, we do not typically go there. We say, “I am discouraged because of my friends or my neighbors or my co-workers or the people that go to church with me.” We focus on people, but it is the spiritual forces that work behind the scenes that are the real cause. God is trying to get us to bring our focus into the true reality of the spiritual forces, so He says that we are not struggling against flesh and blood; it is not really against people, but it is against spiritual forces.

A really powerful word is in here that we need to pay attention to. It is not translated very well in the NIV when it says, “The powers of this dark world.” The word “dark” is the Greek word kosmokrator {kos-mok-fat’-ore}. We saw kratos in verse 10. The kratos was that resident power. It is the Devil who has resident power over the world. These are very powerful and spiritual things against which we are fighting. That is one of the reasons why it is so easy to become discouraged and quit. How many people do you know that have quit? How many times have you felt like quitting? Why is it so easy to have that feeling like you want to quit? We are fighting the “big boys” (evil spirits). This is not a little tiny match. This is life and death, against strong spiritual forces.

As verse 12 opens up, I want to focus on another thing.

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh…

If you are reading the King James Version [KJV], it is a better translation.

Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,

The Greek word pale {pal’-ay} is wrestle. I know that the Greek word pale was occasionally used in a larger sense like struggling, but here I think that it is very important that we understand that the Apostle Paul would have used by revelation the word “wrestle” for a number of important reasons. First of all, it would make a tremendous impact to the people he was writing at Ephesus, and in the New Testament world in general. This is because the Olympic Games, Pythian Games, Nebian Games, and the Isthmian Games that occurred made the people very familiar with wrestling. Even though we have not excavated everything in Ephesus, we have at least found three gymnasiums and a theater where the gladiator games were sometimes held. An important truth about wrestling is that the enemy never died. When you wrestled, it was sweat, it was effort, it was hard work. The opponent would go away, but it was not over. Sometimes you hear Christians, and they have great bravado and they have a demonic deliverance of casting out a demon and they say, “I cast you to hell.” Now, even Jesus Christ did not do that. You cannot get rid of demons. It is like a wrestling match. I wrestled in high school for three years. I knew that when I saw an opponent from another high school that I was going to see him next year, and I was going to see him again the year after that. If the wrestling match was on Monday afternoon, on Wednesday, I had another one. If it were on Tuesday, on Friday, I had another one. Why does it say wrestle? Because, the opponent is not going to go away. It is tough; it is a challenge. Life is a challenge, and we need to be aware of that. God is giving us this spiritual armor so we can stand. We are not going to beat (kill) the Devil. He is not going to go away. We have to make up our mind to stand. Take a weekend off, take a vacation, go to a silent retreat, whatever, but fix it in your heart and mind that you are going to stand. If you are only standing for Christianity because things are easy, then you are in the wrong place. Things are not going to be easy.

Scott Peck is a psychiatrist, and I like his book, The Road Less Traveled. He opens on page one, paragraph one, and the first line reads, “Life is difficult.” Amen to that. I am going to quote a little bit of it, for there is some great truth in his words.

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth. This is a great truth because once we see the truth we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult. Once we truly understand and accept it then life is no longer difficult.”

I disagree with him there. I think life is still difficult; it is just less difficult.

“Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult; instead, they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them?”

Amen, Scott Peck and thank you very much. That is correct. Life is a series of problems. We have to make up our mind to stand. It is a wrestling match. We are not going to kill the opponent. He is not going to go away. He is going to be back next week. We need to make up our minds to stand, and we stand by tapping into the power of the Lord and allowing ourselves to be empowered by the Lord.

Ephesians 6:13
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Again, when it says, “put on the full armor of God,” that is the same full armor that was in verse 11. We cannot leave off a piece of the armor. It takes the full armor of God to stand in today’s world. In verse 13, it says, “put on the full armor of God” even as verse 11 said, “put on the full armor of God.” I do not like that because the Greek word is not the same. In verse 13, when it says “put on” the full armor of God, the Greek word is literally “take up.” The Bible is telling us to “take up” the full armor of God. What is going on here? Picture in your mind a Roman soldier standing there in his tunic. He has not put on any of the armor yet. He is just standing there, but the armor is lying at his feet. That is the situation in which we as Christians can find ourselves. God has placed this armor at our feet. It is up to us to take it up, and we want to be able to take up each and every piece. Do not leave the armor of God at your feet! Take it up and put it on your body. If you will do that preparation and then tap into the power of God, you will be able to stand in the evil day. I am going to focus on the phrase, “when the day of evil comes.” Literally, in the Greek, “in the evil day.”

Ephesians 6:13
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

The NIV gets the heart of it, “when the day of evil comes.” The day of evil is the day of an attack. I know that Galatians 1:4 says that we live in the present evil age.

Galatians 1:4
who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

Not every day of your life is an evil day. Later on when it talks about the shield of faith, it is going to talk about the shield of faith stopping the fiery darts of the evil one. The fiery darts are not 24/7 (all the time). Have you ever had a good day? Sure you have had a good day. I have had good days. Thankfully, I have had a whole lot of good days in my life. I have been very blessed in my life and have had many more good days than many of the people that I know; however, people with good days do have evil days. The point is that this is saying that you stand in the evil day. When the evil day comes, then you are able to stand. Remember, the Devil is a scheming-thinking being. He is waiting for when people have their guard down, for when they are not ready.

Now, let’s take a look at Jesus Christ in the wilderness.

What I first want to do is to see if we can get a picture of this evil day. For most of us we have a kind of back and forth of some good days and some bad days. We will have three or four good days in a row and then we will have a day where we just seem to get hit. A lot of times as Christians, we take a look at this armor almost backwards.

Now you might be saying, “John, what do you mean by that?” Let me explain. The average Christian’s life is kind of just going along and things are okay. They get into a pattern where maybe they pray with their family and read their Bible. Maybe they try to evangelize by wearing a T-shirt with a Christian message or talk to somebody through the day. It is a good day. Life is doing okay and is pretty good. They are doing the Christian thing and living the Christian lifestyle. Things seem to be working. What happens is that we feel pretty good about our Christian walk and ourselves. Next, a problem comes along. The Devil, who has been sitting on the sidelines scheming, all of a sudden dreams up a problem and “pow” he just hits us with it. What happens? We are now upset and everything is messed up in our life. Bible reading goes out the window, prayer goes out the window, no evangelism occurs, and probably a few expletives happen and all of a sudden, our Christian life kind of folds (falls apart). We look at things backwards in that we say, “Well, I really do the Christian thing really well except under these times of really intense attack and then I cut myself some slack.” I want you to understand that is exactly the opposite of the picture of what is being drawn for us in Ephesians. The spiritual armor is not for the good days. You do not need armor on a good day. The Roman soldiers did not just on a regular day off go around wearing their full armor. Why are they wearing armor? Was it because they were sitting in the barracks playing cards and talking to fellow soldiers? No. That was not it. The armor was for the battle, the evil day. We as Christians need to not cut ourselves any slack on the evil days. The armor is for the evil day. The armor is for when the Adversary really attacks us, that is when we are supposed to really shine as Christians. That is when the shield of faith, breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation really make a difference. We can pray in the tough times. We can read our Bible in the tough times. We can evangelize in the tough times. We can fellowship in the tough times because we have got the armor. Gosh, if all we are going to do is be Christians in the good times then we do not need any armor. What does it say right there in verse 13? “Put on the whole armor of God so that when the evil day comes,” so that in the evil day you can stand.

Now let’s look at Luke 4 where Jesus has been out in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. He is hungry. He is tired. He is dirty. He has endured cold nights and hot days. The Adversary has been there pounding on him. For 40 days, Jesus has been standing his ground, “It is written. It is written. It is written.” That is the evil day. Jesus Christ stood in the evil day. Then we have verse 12.

Luke 4:12 and 13
(12) Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
(13) When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

That is precisely what the Devil did to Jesus Christ and what the Devil does to us. He is a scheming being. He waits until an opportune time. “He walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour,” says 1 Peter 5:8. He is waiting for those times when he thinks that your guard might be down, and then he is going to move in with the haymaker (a hard punch from an opponent). The point of the spiritual armor is that it is during those times that we shine as Christians. We stand out as Christians because we are able to use our armor in the evil day. Do you see what I am saying here? Spiritual armor is not for being a Christian on the “good days.” It is for being a Christian in the evil day.

The Spiritual Armor

The spiritual armor is used metaphorically. Obviously, we do not have pieces of spiritual armor. We do not have a helmet that is made out of spirit. God is using the armor metaphorically to make a point about how these things work and how they protect us. By the way, if you are into technical figures of speech, it is not a metaphor. It is a hypocatastasis, but we in general just say that these pieces of armor are used metaphorically.

The Belt of Truth

Ephesians 6:14
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

The Greek text it is not technically the belt of truth. It is actually belted or girded with truth. Actually, belted around or girded around the waist with truth. The belt of the Roman soldier was not very glamorous; in fact, you could not necessarily see it because it would have been covered up by the breastplate, sword, and shield. However, the belt was an essential piece of armor that allowed the rest of the armor to function. What do I mean by that?

When a soldier put on his belt, the breastplate would then attach to it. Why was that? It was this way because otherwise when he was walking down the road, the breastplate would move around. I have had backpacks that did that. You get a backpack that does not have a waist belt, and when you are walking, it will move up and down on your back with every step. It is pretty annoying. Believe me, you want the breastplate to stay down. You do not want somebody to be able to come up and grab onto it, pull it out, and stab you underneath it. It is not going to function appropriately unless it is anchored to the belt. Also, the shield and the sword is going to hang from the belt. If you do not have that then a soldier who is walking to the battlefield is going to be so tired that he cannot move his arms to fight.

The belt was essential to anchor the whole system, and God says, “truth is the belt.” That is so important. The truth of God’s Word is foundational for the Christian, and it anchors all the rest of the Christian’s life. The Devil knows this and he wages a constant and aggressive campaign against truth. He promulgates (makes known) lies. Lies that say that no absolute truth exists. If we are going to defeat those lies then we have to remember that God is true, and He does not lie; and what comes from God is truth, and that truth will lead us back to God. When a person says that no absolute truth exists, he misses the point that everything in existence originated from God, who had a divine and loving purpose for everything that He did.

God exists and the Devil exists. The fact that God exists means that a correct way exists. The fact that the Devil exists means that a wrong way exists. Why is there truth and lies? No lies would exist if truth did not exist. God gives us the truth so that we can stand for Him. If we neglect the truth, then it will really hurt us. Sadly, a lot of people have been talked out of truth, and they will find out at the Judgment Seat, far too late, that truth really mattered. A reason is there for why God compares truth to a soldier’s belt. It sits on the inner core. It is the foundation for the armor. You may not see it, and it may not be pretty, but it is there. It anchors the whole system.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

The breastplate protects the vital organs. Now, I am particularly intrigued by the fact that God talks about the breastplate of righteousness because righteousness has two definitions in the New Testament, and we need to be aware of that. The first definition is the right standing that we have before God because of the work of Jesus Christ. This is a free gift for us. I did not die for you, and you did not die for me. I did not die for myself; Jesus Christ died for me. His blood washed away my sin. I stand righteous before God because of Jesus’ work, and I have to know that. If I doubt that, I am mentally tormented. The second definition of righteousness is the right standing we have before God because of our right actions. Both of these definitions occur in the New Testament.

Romans 5:17
For if, by the trespass of the one man [that would be Adam], death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

In this verse, righteousness is said to be a gift. This is our right standing before God, and if you do not know this then your vital organs are open to attack. Your heart, the core of your being, is open to demonic attack because the Devil will try to make you feel guilty in the eyes of God. The Devil would be like, “God does not care about you. God does not love you. God does not think much of you. God has not made you righteous. You are a nothing.” What happens is that people become down trodden, guilt ridden, and their internal organs are exposed to the attacks of the Devil. They do not know that Jesus Christ made them righteous. The breastplate of righteousness protects our heart before God.

The second definition of righteousness in the New Testament is in:

1 Timothy 6:11 and 12
(11) But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
(12) Fight the good fight of the faith.

When it says here, “pursue righteousness,” that is not the righteousness that we have in Christ. This righteousness is right living. You and I as Christians need to pursue right living. This is the same kind of righteousness that shows up in 2 Timothy 3:16, “training in righteousness”—in right living.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,…

If you and I live wrongly before God, if we go out and sin, if we break God’s Word, I do not know about you, but I feel very convicted about that. When you get people who live an unrighteous life style, it just opens up their hearts and their organs to an attack. Times occur where I will say something wrong or do something wrong, and I will feel bad for hours and sometimes longer than that. We can avoid that kind of exposure to our heart if we will maintain a righteous lifestyle, so Scripture says that we are supposed to have the breastplate of righteousness.

The Gospel of Peace

Ephesians 6:15
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

This verse has three elements for us to understand. The first is having our feet fitted, the second is the readiness or preparation, and the third is the gospel of peace. First, the gospel of peace. I know that Romans has a verse that says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who spread the gospel of peace.” This verse in Ephesians is not speaking of evangelism. It is talking about the peace that we are to have in our life on a day-to-day basis. It is talking about the kind of peace that we have with God. This is talking about the fruit of the spirit peace, the peace of God that is supposed to rule in our hearts.

When Scripture says, “your feet fitted,” this is kind of funny because it is hard to translate from the Greco Roman culture to the English culture. Feet fitted is the Greek word meaning “to bind on” or “to tie on,” but if we said “have your feet tied” or “firmly tied,” it does not make any sense to us. We tie our shoes, but we do not tie our feet. The thesis of what is going on here in the Greek text is that we are supposed to take this gospel of peace, the good news of peace, and tie it on. We are to bind it on tight.

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God is such an incredibly vital part of a Christian’s life. If I have peace in my life, a lot can be going on around me that I can handle; however, if I allow myself to become un-peaceful, the Christian life is hard. If you think about the times when you have been hurt, when you have been discouraged, when you have thought about giving up on God, just think back and ask yourself, “Where was the peace of God in those times?” Remember, this is the spiritual armor. God is telling us how to stand day after day after day. He says, “I will tell you what you are going to do. If you are going to stand day after day after day, you have got to understand peace. You have got to understand that the peace of God which guards your heart has to be tied tightly into your life—not loose and flopping around you. It also has to go everywhere that you go.”

Think about it as your contact with the earth. Do you get that? The peace there is bound tightly on the bottom of your foot. A layer of peace has to be there between you and the world if you are going to make it. The Devil is going to definitely go after that peace. If we can stay peaceful, we can then tap into the Lord Jesus. That then leads to the readiness part that we have our feet firmly tied with that gospel of peace. It is a readiness—having our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Remember, the evil day is not every day, but when the evil day comes, we had better be prepared to be peaceful. This reminds me of one of the camps that we had. One of the teenagers was being a pill about life (meaning difficult or bad-tempered). I talked to that teenager about it, and the teenager said, “I am only like this when I am tired and hungry.” To say the teenager was not peaceful is the truth. We need the peace when we are under attack. If you are having a good day, you are probably already peaceful. It is when the evil day comes that we need to be able to reach deep and get to that peace. The Christian who has not prepared himself to be peaceful is going to have a difficult life because every day brings new challenges.

Psalm 119:165
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Amen to that. We need the peace of God if we are going to be able to stand in the evil day. If we do not have it in the evil day, we will probably have a very hard time standing for God.

The Sheild of Faith

Ephesians 6:16
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

The shield of faith is what we call a genitive of apposition. This means that the “shield is to say faith.” Faith is the shield. Notice, even from the verse, the shield does not keep the blows from coming. This is very important because when you are living your life and things are getting thrown at you, and you are getting hit by the Devil, some well meaning Christian might come along and say, “Well, if you had more faith that would not happen.” Scripture does not say that. Scripture says, “The shield of faith helps you to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Anybody in a war knows that the shield does not keep the blows from coming. The blows come anyway, absolutely they do; in fact, the blows can come so strong and so hard that the blows knock you down. Maybe you have seen some of those movies where two men were fighting with a shield and one man hits another one so hard that he falls down. The blows come anyway, but do you know what the shield of faith does? The shield of faith stops that blow from being fatal. It is important that you know that this is about standing over the long haul, month after month and week after week. The shield of faith keeps those blows from being fatal. If you and I have faith in God, we will be able to stand, and when the blows come, we will be able to pick ourselves back up off the ground. We will also be able to extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one. They will go out. We need to have faith. Jesus Christ talked about faith all the time. When the evil day comes with those fiery darts, the faith will stop those fiery darts from being fatal.

The Helmet of Salvation

Ephesians 6:17
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The helmet of salvation is for what? 1 Thessalonians 5:8 has a better elucidation / illumination of this helmet of salvation.

1 Thessalonians 5:8
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

This then can make more sense with “the hope of salvation as a helmet.” What does the helmet protect? It protects the head. The head is where we think. I am not talking about where you might say, “Well, I am saved. I do not understand why you are talking about the helmet of salvation?” This is not talking about personal salvation. This is referring to the fact that you are sealed with holy spirit. This is talking about the time when we will all be delivered. This is using salvation in its much more global sense—the sense of the rescuing of the world, including us. Why do we need the armor? We need it precisely because we are not saved yet. Yes, we have the promise of salvation. Salvation is coming. We have the guarantee of salvation, our salvation is coming, we have holy spirit, and we are sealed with it, but the day of salvation is not yet. This is why we are under attack in the first place. What is our hope? Our hope is the appearing of Christ (the Rapture). What is the hope of the world? It is the hope of Jesus Christ coming and conquering the world and settings up paradise on earth. That is salvation. I tell you what, if it was not for the Hope, I would go crazy.

Let’s look at Romans 8:18 to see if we can figure out what this means for us.

Romans 8:18
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

The present suffering is what we are experiencing now. The glory that will be revealed is our salvation. If you have a hope for the glory that will be revealed in you, then you can have the proper attitude toward the present sufferings. You see, you have that hope in a helmet of salvation. That is what protects your brain from going insane; so that when the blows come you do not lose your faith. You do not lose your focus. You do not walk out on Christianity. Yes, I know that we suffer. Romans 8:18 is right on the money with “our present sufferings.” If we do not have the right attitude and read on to where it says, “are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed,” then, when we are in the midst of our present sufferings, we will give up. Our present sufferings will become too great. We will focus on our sufferings. We will focus on the pain that we are in and the problems that we are having. We will lose sight of the hope of salvation. What did God do for us? God gave us the hope of salvation as a helmet and said, “Look, this will protect your head. This will keep you from going crazy when the Devil is really pounding on you.” It is not just us; it is the whole Creation.

Romans 8:19-23
(19) The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
(20) For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
(21) that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
(22) We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
(23) Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is salvation: The redemption of our bodies and the redemption of the world. What we have right now is the hope of salvation and a guarantee that we are going to be part of it. If we will keep focused on that hope and tap into the Lord Jesus’ power and let the Lord Jesus’ power flow into us, we will be able to stand and stand and stand, day after day after day. If we lose sight of that hope, then what is going to happen to us is that the Adversary will be able to get to our minds and cause discouragement and doubt. We will then not only have the problems that the Adversary (and this fallen world) is throwing at us, but we will also have the internal torments and the problems that we are causing ourselves.

God is saying that you need the hope of salvation as a helmet. You need that hope to protect your mind, so that you stay firm in your mind day after day after day. Along with the helmet of salvation, He says, “you need the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.”

The Sword of the Spirit

The sword of the spirit is our only offensive weapon. I am sure that is not lost on you. The helmet, breastplate, belt, and the feet are not offensive weapons, but the sword of the spirit is an offensive weapon. It goes on the offensive.

Psalm 107:20
He sent forth his word and healed them;…

Amen, the Word of God is healing. When I read about the sword of the spirit, I think about all of the healing that occurs when the Word of God gets spoken.

In Luke 4:18 is the ministry of Jesus Christ. He is reading from the scroll of Isaiah in a Synagogue in Nazareth.

Luke 4:18 and 19
(18) “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,
(19) to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

How is Jesus going to do this? How is he going to preach? What vehicle is he going to use? How is he going to get the prisoners free? How is he going to give sight to the blind? How is he going to release the oppressed? He is going to do it by teaching them the Word. Do you know what? I have been there. I have had the Word taught to me. I know what it is like to have the chains fall off your heart. I know what it is like to be blind and then see and the joy that comes along with that. The Devil has got the world in darkness, in pain, in despair, and we have the Word of God to cut through the darkness and break those chains and really, genuinely, set people free.

Of course, the other aspect of the sword of the spirit is also present. This has to do with the spiritual fight. This can be seen in places such as Acts 16:16 where the Word of God is the sword of the spirit being affective in the spiritual fight. Paul is in Philippi and there is a woman possessed with an evil spirit.

Acts 16:16-18
(16) Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.
(17) This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”
(18) She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is another aspect of the sword of the spirit. It can give sight to the blind. It can break the chains of the captive. It can set the heart of the heartbroken completely free. It also has the power to move things in the spiritual world. Demons will listen to the Word of God when they would not listen to you or me. I can say, “In the name of John Schoenheit,” until I am blue in the face, and it would not make any difference. You use the name of Jesus Christ and speak the Word of God, and you have spiritual power. The Word of God is our sword. Let us use it like God did. He sent His Word and healed them. Let us think in terms of the people that we can heal and bless and deliver with the Word of God because it will certainly do it.

In summary, taking a look at the spiritual armor that we have, it is given to us so that we can stand against the wiles of the Devil, day after day after day. When things are tough in the evil day, we can stand for God, and we can stand in an exemplary manor. Not just survive, but stand! If we are going to do that then we need the armor that God provides.

Let’s take up the armor, put it on, be filled with the power of Jesus Christ, and move forward doing the things of God.

God bless you!

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