Summary: The third sermon in a series on spiritual battle. Including the last three pieces of spiritual armor and walk through of Matthew 4 and how Jesus acts in battle.
Good Morning! Thank you so much for being here today to conclude the spiritual battle portion of the summer series. Last week we talked about the first three pieces of armor, the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, and readiness of the gospel of peace. This leaves us with the remaining 3 pieces of armor; the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit. To start with lets read the whole passage from Ephesians.
Let’s jump into the shield of faith. Historically the shield was a huge piece of wood covered in leather. This was more of a portable bunker than a one-arm shield we often see. The shield was large enough to hide behind and had hooks on the side so you could connect them to other and create a great wall. The Romans would create something called the turtle that could protect an entire regiment. Because sometimes you need the help of your friends to shield you. The leather covering was used to extinguish the flaming paste that was commonly found on arrows of that time period. 1 Peter 1:3-5 gives us a picture of the spiritual shield. “Shielded by God’s power.”
Our faith in God’s power is our shield. Our faith must be an active faith and not a one-time prayer faith. Our faith is lived out in our everyday lives. It grows with us as we learn more about God and is lived out through our actions with other believers, not-yet-Christians and the world we are called to love. Our faith is a faith in God’s power and promises. The Bible contains over 1200 promises from God to his people. This faith protects us from the flaming arrows of the evil one. The flaming arrows are lies of the Devil that challenge God’s promises. The shield is not there to protect us from physical harm like skinning our knees or other troubles like bad money management. The shield is there to protect us from falling prey to the devil’s lies.
The next part of armor is the helmet of salvation. Back when I was living in Canada one of my responsibilities was to take people climbing. Part of there equipment was a helmet. This was in case rocks fell from up above. If you heard someone yelling “Rock!” You had to get as small as you could and get under the helmet. The helmet would deflect rocks away from your body. It would make noise but as long as it hit the helmet you were going to be ok. The helmets primary purpose is to protect your head. So much of spiritual battle is waged in your thoughts. Romans 12:2 and Philippians 4:8 tell us of the importance of what we think and how it controls us. We need to be thinking about the things of God. As we drive in our cars walk between classes we should be thinking about the promises of God and the things we can be doing to better glorify God. A second aspect to the helmet is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:8. This verse tells us that the helmet is the hope of our salvation. When it comes time for battle our thoughts should be focused on positive things, scripture, ways to love. Then the things of this world that tempt us will not seem as attractive. Things of this world will all turn to dust. My uncle was trying to calm his wife down before surgery one day and he said, “Relax, the worst that can happen is I end up in heaven.” He came through just fine but he showed my family a mentality that the things of today pail in comparison to the eternal things in store for us as believers.
The final part of the armor is the sword of the spirit. So far we have five pieces of armor that are all defensive in nature, unless we are about to bum rush and tackle the enemy like a tank, the sword is the only offensive weapon we have. Both offensive and offensive. It is offensive in that we can attack with it and offensive in that we can offend with it. Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us that the sword is sharper than any real sword and can cut soul from body. Let’s compare a sword of steel with the sword of the spirit. First of all, a sword of steel gets damaged and dull as you use it. However the more you use the sword of the spirit, the sharper it gets. You get faster and it be comes a more powerful tool in your hands. The second point of contrast is that a sword of steel cuts flesh, whereas the sword of the Spirit pierces the heart. This is the offending part of the sword. When people come to church the Sword of the Spirit is what cuts inside and calls people to change and makes people uncomfortable.