Summary: Breaking down each of the pieces of the armour fo God; a sermon I wrote and preached with a gr 11 student
The Armor of God
Youth Service - June 11, 1995
I have a hard time with things that I can’t physically sense. I’m a fairly concrete person - I like the tangible things in life - like a thick piece of chocolate cake, or the solid handshake of a friend. And it is because of this familiarity with concrete, tangible things that I have trouble with Ephesians 6:10-18. It’s not that I have trouble understanding the concepts involved, or the theology behind them, but its more that my North American upbringing wants to deny the existence and influence of the spiritual realm - I want to deny that Satan and his demons are still active and destroying people all around me. My theology believes it wholeheartedly, because it is prominent throughout the Word - and my experiences back it up unreservedly, because I’ve fought and won and seen Satan fleeing. But still sometimes - as Satan becomes more and more deceptive - I slip back into an ambivalence, almost a denial of what is going on in the spiritual realm. Perhaps that is one of Satan’s primary strategies- to keep us ignorant of his actions and influences...
As we are all well aware, we have a BIG battle on our hands. As it says in Eph. 6:10-13: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 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."
In order to defeat our foe, we must understand the different pieces of armor that are at our disposal, and we must learn how to use each piece correctly so as to protect ourselves. Just think of it this way, every year, militaries from across the globe go in search of the perfect recruits to round out their ranks so that they will have the most powerful armies. We as Christians are faced with a daily war against evil in the Spiritual realm. So why don’t we fight? And why don’t we prepare an action plan against Satanic rule? The Bible specifically explains how we are to wage war against the evil one and even gives us a time frame: starting now.
The apostle Paul has established the nature of the battle as a Spiritual one, and has given us our mandate: "STAND". It fascinates me that Paul tells us to stand three times in the space of twelve words - look at verses 13-14: "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. Stand firm". In this passage, we are not called to charge forward against Satan. We are not called to march valiantly against the gates of hell. But we are called to stand our ground. We are commanded to stand firm. We are called, after we have done everything, to stand.
It’s vitally important to notice that we are only called to "stand" in relation to Satan’s attacks on us. We are called to march valiantly against the gates of hell in terms of winning others to Christ - Our entire goal and purpose as Christians is to "Go, and make disciples". We are called to charge forward and rescue people from eternal death. But our goal when we personally are under attack from Satan is to stand. Hold onto that fact in the midst of difficult times - one of the ways Satan will try to discourage you and attack you is by pointing out the lack of progress you are making during his attacks - Satan comes and whispers "some Christian you are - you’re not gaining any ground at all! You’re just standing there, barely holding your ground. If you were a good Christian you’d be making progress..." All God expects of us, all He commands us to do is stand firm- just stand your ground and resist Satan.
As Joy and I were discussing this, she asked a very insightful question: "Isn’t that kind of passive?"
I remember a game we used to play in phys. ed., during the wrestling unit. There was a circle on the mat, and the object of the contest was to knock your opponent off balance and get some portion of his body to touch outside the designated circle - the goal was to stand your ground - and, as you can imagine, that was anything but passive! It works the same with Satan - he’s trying to get us off balance; make us step outside the realm of obedience to God and touch down in his realm of sin. The struggle is anything but passive.