Summary: one more piece of spiritual armor that gives you all the authority – all the power – all the protection you will ever need in the battles you are going to encounter in this life.
“The Sword of the Spirit”
Eph. 6:17 March 7, 2010
OPEN: Ill – being invited to speak at a church. I had never been to the area before and arrived just a little early so that we might get a feel for the layout of the land and what the area was like. We decided to take a ride down through the middle of the city. The town was laid out very nicely with one way streets laying parallel to each other one block between them. One street ran north, the other ran south – and the rest of the city was laid out with the other roads leading to these main avenues. Just as we got to the middle of the downtown area, we were rather surprised to see several police cars converge around us rather quickly. At first we kind of thought they were converging on us (did I forget my seatbelt?) We soon realized they were after the occupants in the car directly in front of us. Several policemen jumped out of their cars with weapons drawn and started shouting at the occupants to get out of the car and put their hands on their head. Now this was all kind of interesting to us – kind of like watching live TV show going on around you. But what was even more interesting was watching the two guys get out of the car – fairly big guys – you know the kind that you find in the gym with all the tattoos lifting the heavy weights. What made it even more interesting was the fact that one of the policemen wasn’t a man. It was a woman – in fact a rather small framed female officer who normally wouldn’t stand a chance at taking on either one of these guys. It was rather interesting to watch her in operation as she gave orders and these two big burly guys obeyed everything she said. They got down on the ground – face down in the dirt and put their hands behind their backs and waited to be handcuffed. Why on earth would these two guys listen to a very small woman? In any other situation, that confrontation would have been disastrous. That little gal wouldn’t stand a chance against these guys. But this situation had nothing to do with size and strength. The police officer had authority - she had the backup of the other officers with her and besides all that she had a .45 caliber pistol in her hand. Which I had every reason to believe she knew how to use effectively. Having the right weapon in her hand at the right time and knowing how to use it correctly made all the difference in that situation. And that’s what we want to focus on as we come to the end of this series on the armor of God.
We want to look at the one piece of spiritual armor that gives you all the authority – all the power – all the protection you will ever need in the battles you are going to encounter in this life.
This morning we are going to examine the last piece of the Christian's armor. Verse 17, finally, as Paul expresses what is needed for the believer to overcome Satan and his hosts he says take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. We’ve discussed the belt of truthfulness in verse 14 which is commitment to truth. And we’ve discussed the breastplate of righteousness which is holiness. And we've discussed the shoes of the gospel which is experiencing the peace of God. We’ve discussed the shield of faith which is believing God. We've discussed the helmet of salvation which is the rock solid hope we have in our future.. And now we come, finally, to the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Now listen, the previous armor has been primarily defensive but now we come to a piece of armor which is both defensive and offensive. I've heard people say that this is offensive. It is more than that it is defensive as well.
The word sword here is a very interesting term. It is the word in the Greek makaira and it’s a very common word in Greek, a very common word even in the New Testament. The other word for sword, romphaia, refers to a large broad sword. It could be as long as forty inches plus, longer than a yardstick, a great, broad, two-edged sword that was wielded with two hands. That is not what’s being talked about here. This is the more normal sword carried by the soldiers, the makaira, anywhere from six inch long daggers to 18 inch swords or so. They were put into a sheath or a scabbard by the side of the soldier and were used in hand-to-hand combat. This sword was the only strategic weapon that could be used when the enemy was close, so warriors spent hours upon hours with it in their hands – working on their dexterity, getting used to the feel, and letting it become second nature, as familiar as their own limbs. Their lives depended on their diligence in keeping the skills honed and ready for battle at any moment.