The Soldier’s Charge – Part III

Ephesians 6:10-20

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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 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, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

In this passage of Scripture there is another way to look at the same picture.  When a person begins his Christian Walk he is now a solider in combat and therefore a combatant in a continual conflict.  Foes to his spirituality reside within and without.  From the beginning of our Christian life to the end, we are in a fight.

In the spiritual warfare of the believer it is the believer, with God’s help, that needs to be in control, not the elements of this world.  There is absolutely no way the believer can survive spiritually if he does not heed the charge and the guiding message of this passage.  Otherwise he will cave in to the temptation and sin and begin aimlessly foundering.  Unless this battle is fought, the Christian will not experience the joy and abundance available in life nor the power and deliverance, the care, concern, love and fellowship with God’s daily presence.  He will forever be uncertain and unsure about the future; nor will he have the confidence that He is accepted by God or has an eternal home.

He must determine in his own heart, mind and soul a long-range plan – eternity with the Lord.  He must decide now – today.  The Word says “Now is the day of salvation.” He may put off his decision for a more convenient time, or just decide “later” or “I’ll wait.”  But listen to this:  The road marked “Tomorrow” will reach the destination called “Never.”

If the believer is to survive, is to be victorious and conquer the enemies that confront him, he must do what God says to him in this passage.  The believer must be strong, not in his own power and might, but “in the Lord and the power of His might.”

In verse 10 the word “strong” means “power, might and strength” which the believer must possess.  “The Lord’s power” simply means “His sovereign, unlimited power and dominion over all things”.  How much power does He have?  It is at the believer’s disposal.  Use His power to be victorious.  Use His power to be overcoming.  Use His power for life itself.  Use His power for without it you will fail.  Use His power to be successful.  Use His power.  Do not be a spiritual wimp…be a man or woman of God and stand up for what is right, do right, live right, and be right.  “The Lord’s might” means “His strength, force and ability.”

Ephesians 6:10 (Amplified Bible)

“In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].”

Ephesians 6:10-12 (The Message) – A Fight to the Finish

“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”

Simply put, the believer is to be strong in the sovereign and unlimited power of the Lord, in the power of His might, in His ability to use His power exactly as it should be used.  This might and power is not fleshly power or strength for it is a living, dynamic relationship with Almighty God who is the source of his strength.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

The believer must be clothed with God’s power and might before attempting to take up the battle.  Remember the story in the Book of Acts about the seven sons of Sceva who tried to imitate Paul’s preaching and when they tried to cast out devils…the devils turned on them and stripped them and beat them.  Without God’s power the believer is hopelessly without a chance. Only when armed with the power and might of God can he wage war effectively against the spiritual wickedness of this world.  One critical point must be that he take “the whole” armor of God, leaving out nothing.  Otherwise he exposes himself to his enemies, Satan and his host.  .

Luke 1:37 – : For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Ephesians 3:16 – “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.”

Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

Colossians 1:11 – “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.”

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

2 Samuel 22:40 – “For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose against me.”

The Soldier’s Charge – Part II

Ephesians 6:10-20

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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 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, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

THE SOLDIER’S ARMOR

  • When we go into the military service of our country there is a basic instruction period so that we will be able to grasp all the “do” and “do not” rules of our training.  If we are to be successful in our service to our country we must follow the rules.  So it is with serving our God.  There must be a basic understanding of the rules if we are to be successful Christians.
  • Our rule book is none other than the Word of God, the Bible.  It is our source.  It is our guide.  There are other books and helps that we may find beneficial along the way but there is only one book that will give us the direct, unbiased, distinct, truthful message that we need. 

2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

  • Some questions to be asked during your reading of your Bible are as follows.  
  • Is there an example for me to follow?
  • Is there a sin for me to avoid?
  • Is there a command for me to obey?
  • Is there a promise for me to claim?
  • What does this passage tell me about the Holy Spirit, about Jesus, about God?
  • What prayer should I pray in light of this Scripture?
  • What action do I need to take to avoid, to correct, to ensure my obedience to this Scripture?
  • Other practical commitments and spiritual disciplines must also be adhered to as we put on the armor of God.  Just reading the Bible will not change our lives.  We must study it; we must absorb it into our very being.  Then we must make some practical commitments and spiritually discipline ourselves in the way we conduct our lives.  All the armor in the world will not help us if we deliberately and carelessly walk right into the enemy’s camp.  We must be “street smart” to the tactics of our foe.  Some of the things we need to do are as follows.
  • We need to learn to depend on God. 

James 5:13-16 – “Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Matthew 6:15-15 – “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.   Amen.”

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Luke 11:5-8 – And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’?  I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”

  • We need to learn submission. 

1 Peter 3:8-9 – “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 

Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

James 4:7-10 – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.   Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

  • We need to confess our sins.

John 1:9-10 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

1 John 2:1-1 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

  • We need instruction.

Joshua 1:8-9 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” 

2 Timothy 2:23-26 – “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.   And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

Psalm 1:1-2 –  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

The Soldier’s Charge – Part I

Ephesians 6:10-20

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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 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, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

“BE STRONG” IN THE LORD (IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT)

Ephesians 4:16 – “That He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His spirit in the inner man.” 

Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) shall change and renew their strength and power;    they shall lift their wings and mount up (close to God) as eagles (mount up to the sun); they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” The Amplified Version                 

Ephesians 4:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

Colossians 1:11 – “We pray that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory (to exercise) every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy.” The Amplified Version

“PUT ON” THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

  • Why are we, the soldiers in Christ’s army, instructed to put on the whole armor of God?  Because we are in a spiritual battle.  We are not fighting a physical battle.  We don’t need knives, guns, tanks, bombs, planes and so on to fight this battle.  We need spiritual armament. 
  • Here in this command we are to “put on the armor of God” and the very next command we are to “take up the whole armor of God.”  What is meant? Let us read this same passage from the Amplified Version

Ephesians 6: 11-13 – “Put on God’s whole armor (the armor) of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies), that you may be able successfully to stand up against (all) the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood (contending only with physical opponents), but against despotism, against the powers, against (the master spirits who are) the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere, therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day (of danger), and, having done all (the crisis demands), to stand, (firmly in your place).”  The Amplified Version

“TAKE UP”  THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

  • “Stand” with a girdle of truth.
  • “Stand” with breastplate of righteousness.
  • “Put on shoes” (your foundation) of the Gospel.
  • “Take” the shield of faith.
  • “Take” the helmet of salvation.
  • “Take” the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
  • “Praying always” with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
  • “Be watchful” with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
  • Many sermons have been preached from this passage and there are many different thoughts about what each of the different pieces of armament mean.  Without going into great detail I believe what the Bible is trying to tell us is that we must have the whole armor of God.  The shoes won’t help if we forgot the breastplate and that is where we receive an attack.  Likewise the helmet left off and everything else in place will not keep us from sustaining a head injury.  We must have all the armament that God demands for us to be a successful soldier.
  • Truth, righteousness (or right living before God), a basic under-standing (the foundation) of the Word of God, faith, salvation, the Word of God (the meat of the Word where it spells out in detail our privilege in Christ), all covered with prayer and supplication and watchfulness with perseverance and supplication for our brother and sister soldiers will sustain us.  

1 Peter 5:8 – “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring (in fierce hunger), seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” 

Psalm 3:3-4 – “But you, O lord, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter of my head.  I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of His holy hill.” 

Romans 8:37 – “In all things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.” 

Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me says the Lord.” 

THE COMMANDS

  • Everyone of the commands tells us something to do.  Put on, take up, stand, stand, put on, take, take, praying always, be watchful are all commands of action.  Many Christians come to know the Lord and do nothing except warm a pew and soak in the worship and message.  A sponge does the same thing.  However if the sponge soaks it all up and is not put to work, it does one of two things.  It either dries up and is not good for anything, or it becomes soured and begins to stink.  The reason for the action commands is evident.  We are in a war and you must act.  No soldier came back from the front lines of the battle without having performed some type of action. 
  • You, the Christian, must be a man or woman of action.  You must remember to get involved in the battle.  There are no desk soldiers in God’s army.  There are only soldiers of action. 
  • Notice the particular type of action in these action commands. 
  • “Take up”  the whole armor of God indicates we must not leave any of God’s armor off.  We must put it all on.  We must take all of God’s instructions.  Pick and choose and you will lose. 
  • Twice we are told to “stand.”  Why?  We must stand for the truth.  We must stand for right living before God and man.   If it is against God’s Word, then it is wrong.  I don’t care how much we try to justify what we are doing.  It doesn’t matter what everybody else is doing.  If God’s Word says do not, we better listen to what it says.  Society, or the signs of the time, should not dictate to us morality and right and wrong.  God’s Word is our only rule of law.
  • “Put on” indicates we are to clothe ourselves with something.  Since we are to “put off” the old life style, then we must “put on” the new life style. We can only do that with a basic understanding of the Word of God.
  • Three times we are told to “take” which indicates that we must reach out for, we must grasp, we must exert energy to obtain.  No soldier ever won a fight without taking charge of the situation.  That is exactly what you must do.  You must take charge of the situation and defeat the enemy through the power that God has given you.
  • There is no way we can over emphasize the power of prayer.  The passage says here that we should be “praying always” with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.  Prayer is spiritual warfare.  A soldier enters the conflict fully dressed and armed for battle.  Something else is needed, is essential.  Confidence, assurance and courage are needed in the battle and they only come by way of prayer.

Romans 13:12 – “The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light.” 

2 Corinthians 10:4 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”  

1 Timothy 6:12 – “Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life, to which you were summoned and (for which) you confessed the good confession (of faith) before many witnesses.” 

2 Timothy 2:4 – “No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of (civilian) life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.” 

Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” 

Colossians 4:2 – “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” 

1 Chronicles 16:11 – “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” 

  • We are told after all these varying commands to “be watchful.”   All the armor in the world will not help us if we do not watch.  Further, we are to watch in “perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  Why?  Because they are going through the same battles you are going through.
  • W – Watch your WORDS
  • A – Watch your ACTIONS
  • T – Watch your THOUGHTS
  • C – Watch your CHARACTER
  • H – Watch your HEART   

Living Holy

Jude1:20-25

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.  Amen.

Jude 1:1-3 – Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:  Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.  Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

  • We who have been called by God, sanctified in holiness, must continually fight the fight of faith.  We must preserve lest we fall away from the truth into apostasy.  We have been given armor from God for this fight.

Ephesians 6:10-20 – 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 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, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  • We must be careful to never alter the message of Christ’s redemption, changing the Word of God to fit into our own desires.  We must be on guard against false teachers who might lead us astray.

Jude 1:4 – For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 24:24 – For false Christ’s and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

  • We must be careful that we do not allow the desires of our flesh to lead us astray.  Obey those who have taught you the truth and do not mistake their love for you when they preach correctness and godly purpose in your life. 

Jude 1:8 – Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.

  • We must be careful not to constantly be a critic of those who are trying to show us the way to really live.  We are not the sole authority on God’s Word.  We need to listen to what we are being taught from teachers who are teaching the truth. 

Jude 1:9-10 – Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”  But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.

  • We must not be divisive, pitting one of our fellow Christians against another.  We must avoid those who cause divisions and make sure that we are seeking and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Jude 1:19 – how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.  These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.