Let us start by looking at 2 Peter 3:9-15………
Soon and very soon, Jesus Christ who is the Lord will return to earth and judge the living and the dead. God is not slow in His promise and He will judge you and me. But, because God is love, He doesn’t want anyone to perish!
Jesus Christ Himself said in John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life! For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
If you are not a Believer of Jesus Christ, if you have doubts about going to heaven, today is the day to believe and receive Jesus Christ as your only Savior and God! Jesus Christ can return to earth today! Let us pause for a moment to pray. If you have never prayed to receive Jesus Christ as your only Savior and God, please do it right now. If you are already a Believer of Christ, pray to understand what God wants you to do as you wait for His return……….
May Jesus Christ be glorified in our lives! Amen.
While Christians are still here on earth, waiting for the return of Jesus Christ, what are we to do? God tells us what we are to do through the written Word from God, as indicated by Peter in 2 Peter 3:15. Open your Bibles now to Ephesians Chapter 6. Ephesians is a letter written by God through the Apostle Paul for all Believers of Jesus Christ.
Let us read Ephesians 6:10-18…
Till Jesus Christ returns to earth, God in His Holy wisdom is allowing the devil loose. This might not sound like a loving God, but look again at Ephesians 6:10; God wants every Christian to be strong in His mighty power! God loves and always provides! Every Christian has the power of God available with the full armor of God. The devil will attack every Christian but every Christian can be victorious!
Did you notice how the devil attacks? The devil attacks with his schemes! Have you ever seen a trick play in a football game? If a trick play works, it usually results in a big gain, doesn’t it? A trick play in a football game is a scheme set up by the coach and the team. Schemes are planned, tricky, subtle actions which can result in big damages! The devil and his demons are always scheming to hurt Christians. The Devil will attack directly but most of the time the devil will attack with his schemes.
Schemes are planned, tricky, subtle actions which can result in big damages! All Christians are in a spiritual battle and must always be alert and have on the full armor of God.
How are you doing with the first 4 pieces of the armor? Do you understand what they are and more importantly, are you putting them on everyday? What is the first piece of the armor we are to put on as Christians??
Buckle the Belt of Truth, which is Jesus Christ Himself!
After the Belt of Truth, what are we to have in place?? – The Breastplate of Righteousness! Is my heart cleansed of all sins?
And what are we to do with our feet??
Put on the Shoes of the Gospel! Always remember how and why you became a Christian and be ready to tell someone about it! And we are to defend ourselves from the lies of the devil by taking up what?? Take up the Shield of Faith!
If you have access to the Internet (www.sermoncentral.com), I encourage you to review the previous messages about the armor of God. If you would like printed copies of these messages, I would be happy to give them to you. Once we are finished with this series, I will put together a CD with all the messages.
Today, we are to learn about and take up The Sword of the Spirit – The Word of God! Next week we will talk about the Helmet of Salvation. God uses familiar things in the physical world which illustrate what happens in the spiritual world. And so, let us first talk about the sword in the physical realm.
In general, what does a sword do for a soldier??
- provides protection
- can be used for defense
- is mainly used for offense
When does a soldier use a sword for offense??
A sword is used for offense by a soldier when told to do so!
Now, what does a good soldier do to be prepared with a sword??
- own it!
- get to know it
- take care of it
- practice with it
We’ll come back to these physical aspects of a sword in our applications at the end of the message.
In the spiritual world, what is this Sword of the Spirit?
Christians are to take the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Kind of a silly question to ask (kind of like the question, what color is George Washington’s white horse?), Where does the Word of God come from?
Okay, George Washington’s white horse is white; but do you know it’s name?............ Nelson, Blueskin, Lexington
The Word of God of course is from God, but what is His Name? We read in Revelation 1:16-18, In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Jesus Christ is the First and the Last, the Living One, the One who died but is now alive forever and ever, who holds the keys to death and hell, out of His mouth comes the double-edged sword which is the Word of God!
God the Father, God Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit is One! Therefore, what Jesus says is the Word of God!
We Christians are to take the Sword of the Spirit, which is what Jesus says. And what Jesus says is the whole Bible! All Scripture is God breathed!
Now, what are we to do with what Jesus says?
Just like a good soldier who prepares for battle,
we Christians are to:
1. Personally own God’s Word!
You should have your own personal Bible and you are to treasure it with your life! Please, if you can not afford to buy one, take one of our red church Bibles and own it for yourself! Personally own and treasure a Bible!
Secondly, like a good soldier who gets familiar with his sword, we Christians are to,
2. Get to know the Bible!
We are to know our Bibles as much as possible.
Of course we need to read the Bible daily but we must also be able to defend the Bible! How did we get our Bibles? Why is it God’s Word? Why the Old and the New Testaments? Which book should be in the Bible? Why is it reliable? You may want to review the message a few weeks back titled “Why Believe The Bible As God’s Word?”
Thirdly, like a good soldier takes care of his sword, we are to
3. take care of our Bibles!
How does a good soldier take care of his sword to make sure it is ready for the battle??
Here’s the main point, I’d like to get across: A good sword needs to stay sharp! Do we need to sharpen the Bible??
The Bible does not need sharpening; what God says is a sharp double edged sword. You know what we need to watch out for? We need to make sure we ourselves do not dull God’s Word! We dull God’s Word when we take it out of context! Here’s a simple example, how many of you have heard the saying “money is the root of all evil”?
Sounds good and many people believe that, but here’s what the Bible actually states, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil!” One can easily “dull” the Bible!
Christians are to take care of their Bibles by reading it the way God intentionally wrote it. Jesus said it, that settles it!
4. Christians are to put into practice what God says!
If we don’t apply God’s Word into our lives, this Sword of the Spirit will not be a powerful weapon for us! The more we apply God’s Word into our lives, the more effective our Sword of the Spirit becomes for its use!
Let us close with what the Sword of the Spirit does for us.
Remember what we noted earlier about what a sword does for a soldier. And so in a similar way for our spiritual battles, the Bible: 1. will protect you from evil attacks! Are you sensing that you just can’t seem to win against evil things?
The first thing we must do is,
1. Claim that the Bible is the Word of God and it is the only guide for our lives!
Be warned! If you are trusting other books, other philosophies, other theologies outside the Bible, you will not be protected from the devil.
Secondly, God’s Word can be used for defense!
2. Counter attack the lies of the devil with the Truths from the Bible!
Memorize Scriptures! Have your Bible handy as you have a discussion with someone. Always cite and depend on God’s Word with your conversations. God’s Word is the only thing that has power which gives us confidence!
And finally, use God’s Word for offense! But remember, a good soldier will only use his sword as commanded by his leader.
3. Use God’s Word for offense only as commanded by Jesus Christ!
Of course there are many for us to learn and obey. Let me suggest one to start with: Mark 16:15, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation!”
God is love!
Make sure you have buckled around you the Belt of Truth who is Jesus Christ. Make sure you have the Breastplate of Righteousness by confessing your sins! Make sure you are walking with the Shoes of the Gospel, which is your conversion story. Make sure you take up the Shield of Faith, a complete trust in God’s Word.
Then, Yield to God the Holy Spirit and use His Sword as He guides you and watch the devil flee from you and experience the expansion and reality of Christ Kingdom!