Summary: God has given us the equipment for spiritual battle. **Special service for soldier deploying to Afghanistan. He brought his US Army body armor as object lesson.
Focus Passage: Ephesians 6:10-19
Introduction: Personal remarks about spiritual battle experience. Note how, in the physical, world, the enemy doesn’t tell you when he’s going to attack. Same in the spiritual world. We must always be ready.
I. Belt of Truth
a. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth of God; unless this be known and conscientiously believed no man can enter the spiritual warfare with any advantage or prospect of success. By this alone we discover who our enemies are, and how they come on to attack us; and by this we know where our strength lies; and, as the truth is great, and must prevail, we are to gird ourselves with this against all false religion, and the various winds of doctrine by which cunning men and insidious devils lie in wait to deceive. (Clarke)
II. Breastplate of Righteousness
a. As the breast-plate defends the heart and lungs, and all those vital functionaries that are contained in what is called the region of the thorax; so this righteousness, this life of God in the soul of man, defends every thing on which the man’s spiritual existence depends. (Clarke)
III. Shoes of “Prepared to Share the Gospel”
a. The principles of the gospel were to do for them what the greaves and iron-spiked sandals did for the soldier - to make them ready for the march, to make them firm in their foot-tread, and to be a part of their defense against their foes. (Barnes)
IV. Shield of Faith
a. Faith is the grace by which all others are preserved and rendered active, so it is properly represented here under the notion of a shield, by which the whole body is covered and protected. (Clarke) It is by faith in the knowledge that our sins are blotted out and we are called God’s children that can extinguish the fiery darts of the devil.
V. Helmet of Salvation
a. The hope of conquering every adversary and surmounting every difficulty, through the blood of the Lamb, is as a helmet that protects the head; an impenetrable one, that the blow of the battle-axe cannot cleave. The hope of continual safety and protection, built on the promises of God, to which the upright follower of Christ feels he has a Divine right, protects the understanding from being darkened, and the judgment from being confused by any temptations of Satan, or subtle arguments of the sophistical ungodly. (Clarke)
VI. Sword of the Spirit
a. An ability to quote this on proper occasions, and especially in times of temptation and trial, has a wonderful tendency to cut in pieces the snares of the adversary. In God’s word a genuine Christian may have unlimited confidence, and to every purpose to which it is applicable it may be brought with the greatest effect. (Clarke)
b. A great example of this is the Temptation of Christ in the wilderness.
VII. (Extra Instruction) Pray and Be Alert
a. All kinds of prayer – private, group, public, etc
Conclude service with prayer for soldier and family, with congregation gathering around.