"Weapons of Mass Destruction"
Last week we centered upon "who is our enemy" and that we can only fight a spiritual enemy with spiritual weapons. Today we want to consider how to use the weapons Paul mentions to the church in Ephesus.
**NO AUDIO OF THIS SERMON, SORRY**
Weapons of Mass Destruction!
A. I would not like to be in a battle where arrows are a big part of the battle. But if I knew that someone was going to be shooting at me with an arrow, I would want something to protect myself. The shield that a Roman soldier would use is something he could actually protect his whole body with. It is said that they were about 2 ½ feet wide and 4 ½ feet tall. In a line of soldiers they could literally wrap a group of men in shields as some carried them in front, others on the side and those in the middle over their heads. It must have been like a walking tank. The arrows of the enemy would have a much more difficult time attacking.
B. Some arrows from the enemy had the tips wrapped in a cloth with pitch and then lit so that the arrow was a flaming dart catching anything it touched on fire. Some of the shield would catch fire and it is reported that when a solider threw down his shield because of the fire the enemy would volley another round of arrows designed to kill the unprotected soldier. Some soldiers would soak their shield in water before going into battle because they knew the tactics of their enemy.
C. READ Eph. 6:13. So we come to a passage that tells us to “put on the WHOLE armor OF GOD. This morning we will look at two main points: (1) The armor is God’s and is given to us and (2) if you don’t put on the whole armor you will be more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.
I. God’s Gospel Armor
A. Every day everyone who able to comprehend what it means to be a Christian is in battle. God knows that you would face temptation. God knows that you will face every day the choice of the narrow road or the broad. But God also has an objective for you and me. Look at the last words of verse 13 “STAND FIRM.” God want you to stand. God wants to empower YOU and ME to STAND against EVIL.
B. Our confidence in this battle is that we are protected by God with the armor of God. So we put on the armor OF GOD. I want that clear. God does not leave you to fight the darts of the devil alone or without the equipment you need. What Paul wants you to have is confidence in the spiritual battle.
C. Each day you and I are out there serving, loving, forgiving, sharing, testifying about Jesus – is a day in which the devil has to work harder to stop God from using you. Satan wants you to quit, slow down, take it easy. God want you to “Stand! Fight! And keep on Standing!
D. Satan does not want you to be in relationship with God. Satan does not like a church that want to be in service in the Kingdom instead of being satisfied with just existing.
E. So in order to hurt God, Satan brings his darts against us individually and collectively. The story of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah is one such occasion. Nehemiah believes he is led by God to go back and lead in the rebuilding. But at each step of the way problems happen. First from the outside – people making fun of them, taunting them, and even threatening them. Then from the inside, arguing among the Jews. But Nehemiah does not stop. Empowered by God the walls are rebuilt. Now listen (READ Neh. 6:15-16).
F. Let me assure you. When God empowers you, when you and I put on His armor; when this church collectively clothes itself in God; no power on earth and no enemy above can stand. Do you believe that? Do you believe that with God you can face the Goliaths, the enemies who taunt and ridicule your faith, the temptations that weigh on you like an anvil? Do you? Because God says, “When you have fought the fight, I want you still standing.”
II. The Whole Armor
A. That brings us to part 2 – putting it on. Let’s go back to our text. READ Eph. 6:14-17. Here we have the look of a Roman soldier’s battle uniform. Remember Paul is in prison when he writes this. Maybe even looking at one.
B. I can almost see Paul in prison, looking at a soldier who is dressed and standing before him. I can see Paul smirk as he thinks to himself, this man doesn’t understand the real battle. But the battles he must face, he knows and has prepared for them by putting on his Roman armor. How does this young man begin to dress for battle – ah yes, he puts on the belt or girdle. It would be to this belt that most of the outfit and sword would be attached. This belt was more important than most common people would understand. It was what held everything in place. In his smile Paul realizes that for the Christian, this belt that holds it all together is truth. Then Paul keeps describing each aspect. Thinking about how important it is for the Christian to get dress intentionally in the armor of God.
C. God empowers you, protects you, but you are personally called to put it on. I got dressed this morning and thought about my day when I was figuring out what to wear. I thought about the weather, the things I was going to be doing and then dressed accordingly. But as I read through my sermon, I realized I don’t get “dressed in the armor of God” nearly as thoughtfully as I do the clothes I wear each day. I don’t think about my battle with evil and how I need to prepare. I just get up and go. Then I wonder why I fail God and behave in some sinful action or attitude. It’s time I think more about “putting on the armor of GOD” so that I can STAND against the evil each day.
A. Satan has his “weapons of mass destruction” but so does God. When God give us the “sword of the Spirit” and prayer, we can tear down the strongholds of Satan. Listen to 2 Cor. 10:3-5. Our weapons are given to us by God and we can fight as well as defend. So put on the gospel armor and watching unto prayer. Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there!
B. If we can encourage your spiritual walk with the Lord, if we can help you to put on that gospel armor, then come as we stand and sing.