Summary: After encouraging believers with different defensive weapons for "spiritual warfare", Paul gives two weapons that together give the believer weapons for "hand to hand" combat. Both however, only work through the power and connection of the Spirit.
A. Quote: Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote this about our spiritual battle:
A man who does not understand the nature of the problem he is confronting is a man who is already doomed to failure. Christian people are like first-year college students—they think at first that every subject is quite simple, there is no difficulty. Well, we know what is likely to happen to such when they face an examination! The first thing you have to do is to understand the nature and character of your problem. So we have to realize that we are called, in the Christian life, to a battle, NOT to a life of ease; to a battle, to a warfare, to a wrestle, to a struggle.
B. So far, ... Defensive Weapons of The ARMOR OF GOD for the Believer:
Belt of Truth - The believer's foundation.
Righteousness - Satan and his forces do everything to make us doubt our salvation but through...
Firmly Fitted with Gospel of Peace - helping us stand firm against the enemy and his tactics
Shield of Faith - to extinguish the enemies darts and arrows
Helmet of Salvation - With the assurance of salvation protecting their minds, Christians can stand...
All DEFENSIVE WEAPONS
Beginning at the end of Verse 17 the believer has Two OFFENSIVE Weapons: "SWORD OF THE SPIRIT" AND "PRAYER IN THE SPIRIT".
READ VERSE 17b-18
(remember Paul was under house arrest and under the constant guard of a ROMAN SOLDIER. Maybe this is why he used the soldier's uniform for his illustration!
1. the Sword of the Spirit - a "Short Sword" for the Roman soldier that was used for close hand to hand combat
One of Rome's great military innovations which made the army became famous of this 'Short Sword' - Became known as 'The Short Sword Army'
-Had Short double sided edges - ideal for the soldier's cut and thrust strategy
ILLUS: Is the cartoon "POWER RANGER'S" still on? Michael as a youngster would run around the house with a homemade cape and Power Ranger's Sword cutting and thrusting saying "Hyii!"
The Christian's Sword used for cutting and thrusting is the WORD OF GOD but only when used in conjunction with God's SPIRIT!
Do you remember how Jesus used this same "Sword" to combat against Satan?
Matt 4 shares He was "Led by the spirit into the desert" for battle against the devil
As Satan would throw down different temptations, Jesus called on the sword of the Spirit- the Word of God quoting verses from the Law.
2. Vs. 18 ties in "Praying in the Spirit" giving us our 2nd Offensive Weapon using the same continued thought...
TWO OFFENSIVE weapons USED TOGETHER to help battle the mind games Satan's uses to bring the believer to a point of confusion and defeat.
3. Think about the battles of deception that you've gone through at different times...
-pains that go on to the point of wearing you down
-disappointments & failures that goes on and on until you begin to think those ugly, judgmental, angry, even hateful thoughts.
-you watch family members, friends, even children, strong Christians suffer horrible deaths and disease - sometimes you want to shake our fist at God.
ILLUS: I talked with a strong Christian Friday night regarding a cancer condition she was fighting and she talked about how her mind at times was so tired of trying to be positive and it made her have the wrong thoughts - even thoughts of anger against God.
ALL OF THESE are tactics that the devil uses to go after the MIND to make you feel inadequate and even afraid you've lost your salvation. This is exactly what he wants you to think!
4. What about the battle that SIN Wages Against the MIND!
-Have you ever said something that made you feel so bad you couldn't pray?
-or treated someone you love so horribly you couldn't believe your actions even while fighting to do the right thing?
-You find yourself thinking judgments or horrendous thoughts against one you love - Even to the point of questioning your own love?
-You get so mad you don't want to pray - you can't pray
THESE ARE THE GAMES OF SATAN that teach the importance of being in the Spirit. BATTLES AGAINST THE MIND that cause so much confusion - even to the point that you question your salvation.
Let's hear this from the mouth of Paul himself.
Our sufferings will not compare to day of redemption
The creation - the earth - also waits for God's redemtion (follow...)
two verses setup what is to follow in 20-26
When Adam sinned, God sentenced all mankind & all creation
Genesis 3:17 (NIV)
17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.