Summary: We are in a battle against spiritual forces and to not only defend ourselves but go on the offensive with the Gospel, we need to wear the full armour of God, not just one or two items, as if we do not need God for everything, but all six.
SERMON – The armour of God
In his Letter to the Christians living in Ephesus,
At that time the most important city in Western Asia Minor, now Turkey,
And at that time the headquarters or centre of the cult of the goodess Artemis,
Sometimes called Diana,
Paul, writing about AD60, gives words of exhortation and comfort
Who must have been suffering from persecution
Especially from those who made a living from making and selling
Souvenirs to people who came to worship the pagan goddess.
We can read in Acts 19 how the first Christians were nearly all killed
By a mob led by a silversmith called Demetrius
Before the City Clerk (or Mayor) calmed them down and warned them
That if they started a riot against the Christians
The Romans would use force against them to restore order.
Paul and his companions, Silas and Timothy, eventually moved on
And travelled to Macedonia and Greece
Before returning to Jerusalem,
But he did not forget the Ephesians and the dangers they faced;
And wrote this Letter to assure them of his love and prayers
And encouraged them to trust the Lord to look after them.
His words were not just for the Ephesians, but are for all God’s people
Living anywhere and at any time and in any situation
But especially dangerous ones.
So Paul’s words are as much for us today as for any other Christians.
His words should encourage us and comfort us
And assure us that God will defend and strengthen us
if we do what He requires of us.
Paul’s words are fine words: Be strong in the Lord – not your own strength,
which is limited; but in God’s, which is not.
‘Be strong’ is not a suggestion, it is a command!
Verse 11 – we should not let the FACT that WE are weak hold us back
From doing what Scripture tells us we should do,
But think of how STRONG God is.
God’s spiritual armour will protect us,
But only if we put it ALL on.
We can do so much, but only so much, with OUR strength and intellect,
Time and talents, experiences and common sense,
And it is probably true that ‘God helps those who help themselves’
But at the end of the day, God’s power is invincible and almighty and boundless
While ours is comparatively inadequate and weak.
So why try to face what the world and the flesh and the devil throw against us
In our own strength
When Almighty God, El Shaddai Himself, is willing and able to help us
Physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
That is what Paul is encouraging us to do, when he says;
‘Be strong IN THE LORD’.
He writes: ‘Put on the FULL armour of God, which means ‘don’t just pick and choose’.
‘don’t just trust God in SOME areas of your life, while keeping other areas to yourself’.
Put on the FULL armour of God
For to put on less than the full armour
Implies that you can get by with your own resources
And do not need His, for ALL, only SOME.
God wants us to be totally and completely dedicated and consecrated to Him
And wholly reliant on Him, giving our all to Him,
And taking all that He has to offer, because of His grace,
God is a generous and loving Father to His children;
He has much for us,
So let us take advantage of everything He has for us,
So we put on the WHOLE, the FULL armour of God, not just part of it.
It is important to notice that we are called to ‘put it on’;
For God will not force it on us.
He has given us free will and the ability to perform voluntary acts of will,
But He loves us and wants only what is best for us,
And we would be stupid not to go His way.
So, we can either learn from the Bible or learn from our own mistakes;
God gives us that freedom.
Verse.12 – We should not under-estimate the devil, he is a dangerous and formidable enemy,
And those who play with fire will inevitably get their fingers burned.
Those who ‘play’ with Ouija Boards, Tarot Cards, Palm Readers and Horoscopes,
May take these things as ‘fun’ and only ‘light-hearted amusements’
But they are not.
They can let in to our minds, our souls, the rulers, authorities,
powers and spiritual forces of evil which are allied with Satan.
Verse 12 reminds us – warns us – that our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
And this is a caution against seeing all non-Christians as opponents or enemies;
As if they were the real foe.
Those who are unsaved need to be prayed for and, if God wills it,