Summary: The supreme weapon we have to successfully fight in our spiritual battles is the Sword of the Spirit - the Word of God.
Christian Warfare - Pt. 6
Today, we consider the sixth installment of this series on the Christian Warfare. I trust that we have firmly engrained within our hearts and minds that we are truly engaged in a war. This war is between the Lord’s army and that of Satan We are constantly on the front line in this war and will be until the day our bodies lie asleep in the grave or when we hear the Archangel blow the trumpet of victory as the Lord returns in the air. I trust that we have also come to understand the absolute necessity of taking-up the armor of God… daily. I hope that you have taken this study seriously enough to have already begun learning to suit-up in the armor
The bulk of the pieces of the armor which we have examined, thus far, are defensive in nature. The breastplate, helmet and shield are meant to protect from enemy assaults and attacks. Today, we are going to examine a piece that is certainly defensive but is also offensive. It is a weapon - the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God
I. The Sword.
Every Roman soldier had a sword, the gladius. It was a double-edged blade of a length between 12 and 20 inches long. That is was not a long sword tells us that it was designed for close combat. The gladius was not the only Roman soldier’s weapon, but it was the weapon of choice. Using it effectively was a matter of life or death.
II. The Word of God.
The Spirit of God has given the Christian a marvelous weapon in the word of God. However, I need to clarify what is meant by the "word of God". This is extremely important.
The Apostle Paul is not referring to the entire Bible, as such. For, the Greek word we have translated "word" is not logos but rhema. Rhema refers to just a specific portion of the Scriptures pertaining to a specific subject or applicable to a specific situation. It is a particular passage that is relevant to the particular need at hand.
III. The Word of God as the Sword.
With that clarification in our minds, we can see how a word of the Lord compares wonderfully with a sword. For, whether used defensively or offensively, a single verse or passage, well understood and rightly applied is an extremely powerful weapon in our spiritual warfare.
A. Defensive Weapon.
A relevant Scripture can challenge and deflect a sharp temptation or block the thrust of a false teaching. We have several examples in the Bible of the inspired Word doing both.
The best example that we have of the use of Scripture to beat back temptation is the occasion of Satan’s attack on Jesus, recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, `man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’’ Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, `He will command His angels concerning you’; and `on their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’’ Jesus said to him, ‘On the other hand, it is written, `you shall not put the Lord your God to the test’’ Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, `you shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’’ Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him."
Note that every time Satan tempted Jesus to satisfy his fleshly desires, fleshly pride, and fleshly ego, Jesus countered the enticement with a "It is written…" Jesus brought to the battle a specific passage of Scripture that dealt with the specific nature of the temptation. With the chosen Scripture occupying His mind, Satan and the temptation no longer could gain a foothold within
When temptation comes our way, whether it be a temptation to lose one’s temper, a temptation to be greedy, a temptation to become discouraged, a temptation to indulge in sexual immorality, a temptation to be selfish, a temptation to wallow in self-pity, a temptation to choose entertainment over worship, a temptation to gossip, a temptation to cheat, a temptation to drive over the speed limit, a temptation to complain, a temptation to worry about matters, a temptation to get high or to get drunk, a temptation to be envious or jealous, a temptation to speak a lie, or whatever else the temptation may be, we need to be able to blunt the temptation with a Scripture that speaks to the issue and meditate on it. If we are thinking on and speaking forth the Scripture, Satan and the temptation no longer can gain a foothold within us. We are on our way to enduring and triumphing over it.