You were born into a battle. You have an enemy. But you belong to a Kingdom. Jesus is King. Jesus has defeated the enemy. Now he wants you to enforce that victory. He has given you authority and every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. The Whole Armor of God is exactly that– your treasure that belongs to you, paid for by the blood of Jesus.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13 (emphasis mine)
Finally, my brethren, we're getting into the actual Armor of God verses! These actually came at the very end of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. These are his parting instructions.
Get in the power of His might
I want to highlight the exhortation to be strong. To be alert and strong is a core message in Paul's letters. It's a core message of the Holy Spirit to the church today.
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man
Be strong! But how? The verses above have clues. We become strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. We get strong with might through his Spirit in the inner man. Grace is a key message. So is living in the Spirit. We will cover those in the next 38 days because they are part of the Full Armor of God. In short, we put on God's strength and the power of His might when we put on the Full Armor of God! His word shows us how!
Remember that God is not calling us to be strong in our flesh. It is in our weakness that His strength is made perfect. That's the message of grace. That's the message of life in the Spirit, because we can't walk in both our flesh and in the Spirit. To walk in God's grace is to be led by His Spirit.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Our war is not with people
The other key message here is that we're not fighting people. Yes people can sometimes cooperate with evil, but our wrestle is "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age". Maybe you're in a battle right now and the battle has a face. It's a person. But the Lord wants to remind your fight is against the thing that drives people towards evil. The battle is against lies, darkness, bondage, culture, worldviews that stand against the Truth. We get ready for battle by equipping ourselves with Truth. By renewing our mind and not aligning with the darkness but standing against it.
We fight by standing
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand...
The word "withstand" there is the greek word "ANTI-STENAI". The word "stand" there is "STENAI". In other words, the call is to stand against. Jesus has defanged the enemy. All he has are lies. We need to stand against the lies. Behind every work of the enemy is some lie we've believed. We need to pursue the truth and stand against the enemy. Yesterday we reviewed a couple of verses that also had this word ANTI-STENAI.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
1 Peter 5:9
Guess what the word "Resist" is in those two verses? ANTI-STENAI. Stand against the enemy and he will flee. Stand against him steadfast in faith. You're not alone in this fight.
Jesus in every piece
So let's look at the Full Armor! I want you to see Jesus in every piece mentioned.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.
Ephesians 6:14-19 NKJV (Emphasis Mine)
- It begins with Truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
- Then Righteousness. The Lord is our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
- Then the Gospel of Peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. The Gospel is the Gospel of Grace and Peace. The Gospel of Christ.
- Faith. We are saved by the faith of Christ (Galatians 2:6). The life we live in him is a life of Faith.
- Salvation. It is literally Jesus' name. YAHUSHA means "The Lord is Salvation".
- Lastly the Sword of the Spirit. Arguably the only offensive part of the armor. In Revelations we see who wields this sword: Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword that with it He should strike the nations. (Revelations 19:15)
It is all Jesus. It begins and ends with Jesus. Each piece of armor is an important foundational truth if you want to live in the reality of the Cross and what Jesus has done. I believe this is a divinely inspired list, and that even the sequence matters and is not by accident. If you want to build a good foundation for your life and understanding of God, if you want to disciple your children, if you want to clothe yourself in the strength of the Lord and the power of his might, this is your list. One by one we will dive deep into each piece and uncover what the Word of God has to teach us about each thing.
Don't live out powerless Christianity
Let me end by telling you this. There is a way to be a believer, to love God, to attend church every Sunday... and still be lukewarm and complacent. There is a way to profess to be a follower of Jesus and still be living like everyone else who doesn't follow Jesus. I know because I've done it.
Let me tell you that the answer, the way out of that life, is not "try harder". It's not. The change is effortless if you get into the Word. The only thing you need to "try harder" the "lighter yoke" that Jesus promised is to sit at his feet and get into the Word. Here we have Paul's divinely inspired "syllabus" if you will – so you can walk with the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit. We need to obtain the ability to feed ourselves with the Word, not rely on a pastor every Sunday to do this for us. We can't rely on whether our pastor is having a good day or bad day on a pulpit, and live only on what he felt "led" to share. We need to build foundations.
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 1 Corinthians 3:10
We need to be mindful how we build. Paul was a master builder and this is how he built. We need to master core fundamentals. The "Armor of God" are subjects we cannot afford to know, understand, and live on.
So we will, over 38 more days– and we will be clothed in the power of his might. Are you with me?