Summary: We know Who is our strength, and who the enemy is, now it’s time to put on the armor of God and go to battle.
September 18, 2005
Text: Ephesians 6: 14-16
Subject: Part 3 in the Spiritual Warfare Series
Title: Preparing for the Fight
As we continue our Spiritual Warfare series I would like to begin by recapping what we have talked about in previous weeks, because what we have said before will have great bearing on what I say today. Two weeks ago I shared with you about how your strength is not in your own ability, but it is in the power of God’s might. Last week I told you about who our enemy is and how we can recognize him and his tactics. Both of those messages come together so we can begin to prepare ourselves for spiritual warfare.
Part of the preparation is being convinced that we have spiritual armor to protect us in the fight. That’s where we are today. We are going to share with you about the armor of God, its purpose and its application.
As Paul wrote this part of the letter to the Ephesians, you have to understand that he probably saw Roman soldiers every day. He was familiar with their armor and how efficient they were in battle. In fact, Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome. His Roman guards were not just soldiers. They were the Praetorian guard. They were the green beret, special forces, Navy Seals of the Roman army; The top men in warfare. So as Paul relates their armor to us, he is telling us that we should be God’s special forces.
I want to get right into the message today. Listen, take notes, and let the word of God settle into your hearts today.
I. The Belt of Truth. The first thing Paul tells us to do is put on the belt (girdle) of truth. Gird yourselves. That literally means to fasten the belt. This was not actually part of the armor. However it was probably the most important part. It was the belt to which all the rest of the armor is attached. It was a wide leather strap that was fastened around the waist. It supported the stomach muscles. It gave extra strength to the back. It added stability. Before the belt was fastened, all the long tails of the soldier’s tunic were tucked into it to enable them to move about more freely. They had no extra baggage to carry around. Often when we study the armor we place so much emphasis on the armor pieces that we forget whose armor it is. It’s the armor of God. So our emphasis changes from the imagery of the pieces themselves, to the attribute attached to it. It is the belt of truth. The word translated “truth” means “to speak the truth”. I’ve heard it taught before that with the armor of God that the only offensive weapon in the armor is the sword. I want to challenge that today. If all the other armor pieces are defensive, then that means waiting for the enemy to come and attack you. Previously I had told you that I would rather set the stage for battle on my terms rather than his. The way I look at it is that speaking the truth is an offensive move. We use the truth of the gospel as a weapon to take back what the enemy has stolen. We use the truth to win souls, heal brokenness, heal bodies, restore relationships, and deliver people from addictions. Putting on the belt is what we do. Truth is what Jesus did and who God is. It’s the truth of the gospel message. It’s the reality of the very nature of God. It’s the power we have to speak God’s word and not doubt. It’s also truth in your own life that gets rid of the excess baggage that you have carried in the past. There are times when we will have to use truth in a defensive manner to uphold our faith. But to use God’s truth in the way He intended is to take it into battle. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…” You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. In John 17:17 Jesus says, “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your Word is truth.”
II. The Breastplate of Righteousness. The breastplate was made of lightweight metal and fastened to the belt. Often it was molded to fit each individual soldier. It covered both front and back so the soldier was protected from both sides. It covers the vital organs, especially the heart. What makes this so important is that it protects us from the accusations of the enemy. The attacks on our emotions. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” God’s righteousness in you is your protection. How many times, when you are in a fight with the devil, has he simply said to you, “Who do you think you are? You aren’t even saved.” Do you remember when John the Baptist was in prison? He sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He were the Messiah or not. He was questioning his salvation. Even though Jesus said in Luke 13:28 that all the prophets would be in heaven, John doubted. The righteousness of God says otherwise. We are not anyone in our own right. But we’ve been saved by the blood of the sinless Lamb. He has stood before the Father and pleaded our case, and even though we are guilty of sin and deserving of death, we are declared not guilty because of our association with the Son. We have the breastplate of righteousness to protect our hearts from deceit.