The Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17)
11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Eph. 6:11) The command for the whole armor of God.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
A) Put on the full armor of God: The armor of God will be explained more fully in the next passage; but here the emphasis is on the full armor of God. God gives the believer a full set of equipment, and He sends us out into battle with everything we need at our disposal.
B) This ancient Greek word for armor is used in only one other place in the New Testament. In Luke11:21-22, Jesus speaks of the strong man who is fully armed, but is stripped of all his armor when a stronger one comes and defeats him. We know that Jesus disarmed all principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15).
C) This armor is of God both in the sense that it is from Him, and in the sense that it is His actual armor. In the Old Testament, it is the Lord who wears the armor (Isaiah 59:17). He now shares that armor with us. Equipped with God’s armor, no wonder we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).
D) ...that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes: We express the strength we have in God by standing against the schemes of the devil. Satan’s schemes against us come to nothing when we stand against them in the power of God.
(Eph. 6:12) The fact of spiritual warfare.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
A) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers: Paul did not call the believer to enter into spiritual warfare. He simply announced it as a fact: we do not struggle against flesh and blood, but we do struggle against rulers and so forth. We are in a spiritual battle. If we are ignorant or ignore that fact, we probably aren’t winning the battle.
B) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood: The fact that our real battle is not against flesh and blood is forgotten by many Christians, who put all their efforts in that direction. Paul’s idea here is much the same as in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
C) ...against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms: Paul used a variety of terms to refer to our spiritual enemies. We should regard them as being on many different levels and of many different ranks, yet they all have one goal: to knock the Christian down from their place of standing.
D) Ephesians 6:11 tells us that all of our warfare is combating the devil’s schemes. At the end of the day it is completely irrelevant if the particular opponent we face is a principality, a power, or a ruler of this dark world. Collectively, they are all members of spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. They are all part of a spiritual army that is organized and established into ranks and is under the headship of Satan who comes against us.
E) We learn more about these principalities and powers from other passages in the New Testament:
1) Romans 8:38 tells us that principalities cannot keep us from God’s love. Therefore, there is a "limit" to their power.
2) Ephesians 1:20-21 tells us that Jesus is enthroned in heaven, far above all principalities and powers.
3) Colossians 1:16 tells us that Jesus created principalities and powers. Colossians 2:10 tells us that Jesus is head over all principalities and power. Therefore, Jesus is not the "opposite" of Satan or principalities, Jesus is Sovereign over all.
4) Ephesians 3:10-11 tells us that the church makes known the wisdom of God to principalities and powers. 1 Corinthians 15:24 tells us that principalities and powers have an end; one day their purpose will be fulfilled and God will no longer "permit" them to work. Therefore, God has a purpose in allowing their work.
5) Colossians 2:15 tells us that Jesus disarmed principalities and powers at the cross. Therefore, our victory is rooted in what Jesus did, not in what we do. It isn’t that there is no doing on our part, but our doing is the appropriation and application of what Jesus did.
(Eph. 6:13) The proper response to the fact of spiritual warfare.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
A) Therefore put on the full armor of God: Paul introduced the idea of the full armor of God back in Ephesians 6:11. In the following passage he details the specific items related to the armor of God. In this verse, he simply states what the main purpose of spiritual warfare and the armor of God is.
B) you may be able: Without the strength of God and the protection of spiritual armor, it is impossible to stand against the attacks of spiritual enemies.
C) that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand: This describes the purpose for the strength of God and the armor of God; what we are to use them for.
D) God has given His people a call, a mission, a course to fulfill. Satan will do his best to stop it. When he attacks and intimidates, we are to stand. It is plain that this is Paul’s emphasis in Ephesians 6:11 and 6:13. We do the Lord’s work and stand against every hint of spiritual opposition.
E) God gives the Christian a glorious standing to maintain by faith and spiritual warfare:
· We stand in grace (Romans 5:2).
· We stand in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1).
· We stand in courage and strength (1 Corinthians 16:13).
· We stand in faith (2 Corinthians 1:24).
· We stand in Christian liberty (Galatians 5:1).
· We stand in Christian unity (Philippians 1:27).
· We stand in the Lord (Philippians 4:1).
· We should stand perfect and complete in the will of God (Colossians 4:12).
F) All in all, there is a lot indicated by that one word; "stand."
· It means that we are going to be attacked.
· It means that we must not be frightened.
· It means that we must stand, not slouch; nor be uncertain or half hearted; in the fight.
· It means that we are at our position and alert.
· It means that we do not give even a thought to retreat.
(Eph. 6:14-15) The spiritual armor to have.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
A) Stand firm then: We can only stand when we are equipped with the armor God has given us in Jesus Christ. Each aspect of this symbolic armor answers to a specific dynamic within the Christian life that enables us to stand against spiritual attack.
· Paul wrote this while in the custody of Roman soldiers. It was easy for him to look at the equipment of his guards and see how God has equipped the believer.
· The order in which the pieces of armor are described is the order in which the soldier would normally put them on.
B) ...with the belt of truth buckled around your waist: Truth is symbolically represented as a belt which both protects our abdomen and gathers up our garments so that we can fight effectively.
C) The belt of truth puts on the Biblical beliefs of the Christians as a whole, what other passages call "the faith." This is a foundation to live upon all the time, our understanding of, and confidence in, the basic doctrines of the faith.
D) ...with the breastplate of righteousness in place: Righteousness is represented as a breastplate which provides essential protection for the most vital organs. We can no sooner battle against spiritual enemies in our own righteousness than a soldier can effectively fight without his breastplate.
E) This is not our own earned righteousness, not a feeling of righteousness, but a righteousness received "by faith" in Jesus. It gives us a general sense of confidence, an awareness of our standing and position.
F) Thank God for experiences, but do not rely on them. You do not put on the "breastplate of experiences", you put on the breastplate of "righteousness."
G) with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace: The preparation of the gospel is represented as the protective shoes (or sandals) worn by Roman soldiers. No one can fight effectively or effectively go about his business without this equipment.
H) The idea of readiness means must be mobile, flexible, and ready with the truth. This is a place to have in the Christian life, to live in constant readiness and flexibility.
(Eph. 6:16-17) The spiritual armor to take.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
A) In addition to all this: It applies to each of the three pieces of armor that follow. It isn’t the idea, these parts of the armor are more important than the others.
B) ...take up the shield of faith: Ephesians 6:13-14 tells us of armor to have. Some of the armor we must wear all the time and have as a standing foundation. Therefore "having" comes first. We must be rooted in the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the “combat boots” of the gospel. Yet now Paul will deal with aspects of the armor we are to take at the necessary moments of spiritual warfare and opportunity.
C) ...take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one: Faith is represented as a shield, protecting us from the fiery arrows of the evil one, those persistent efforts of demonic foes to weaken us through fear and unbelief.
D) The shield Paul describes is not the small round one, but the large, oblong shield that could protect the whole body. In ancient warfare, these fiery arrows were launched in great numbers at the beginning of an attack. The idea was not only to injure the enemy, but to shoot at him at all sides with a massive number of arrows, and thus to confuse and panic the enemy.
E) Even when such a missile was caught by the shield and did not penetrate to the body, says Livy, it caused panic, because it was thrown when well alight and its motion through the air made it blaze most fiercely, so that the soldier was tempted to get rid of his burning shield and expose himself to the enemy’s spear thrusts. But the shield of faith not only catches the incendiary devices but extinguishes them.
F) Thoughts, feelings, imaginations, fears, and lies; all of these can be hurled at us by Satan as fiery darts. Faith turns them back.
G) Take the helmet of salvation: In the ancient world this usually was a leather cap studded with metal for extra strength. Often some kind of plume or decoration was added, perhaps to identify the solider to his regiment. Salvation is pictured as this kind of helmet, protecting an essential part of the body. A soldier would be foolish to go into battle without his helmet.
H) 1 Thessalonians 5:8 speaks of the helmet of salvation in connection to the hope of salvation. The helmet of salvation protects us against discouragement, against the desire to give up, giving us hope not only in knowing that we are saved, but that we will be saved. It is the assurance that God will triumph.
I) One of Satan’s most effective weapons against us is discouragement. When we are properly equipped with the helmet of salvation, it’s hard to stay discouraged.
J) ...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: The idea is that the Spirit provides a sword for you, and that sword is the word of God. To effectively use the sword of the Spirit, we can’t regard the Bible as a book of magic charms, or tie one around our neck the way that garlic is said to drive away vampires.
K) To effectively use the sword, we must regard it as the word of God, which is the word of God. If we are not confident in the inspiration of Scripture, that the sword really came from the Spirit, then we will not use it effectively at all.
L) But we must also take the sword of the Spirit in the sense of depending that He helps us to use it. Not only did the Spirit give us the Scriptures, but also He makes them alive to us, and He equips us with the right thrust of the sword at the right time.
M) Think of a soldier or a gladiator in training, practicing sword thrusts and moves and positions. Now, he must practice them ahead of time and if he is a superior fighter and has a great fighting instinct, at the time of battle he will instantly recall which thrust, which position suits the precise moment. He will never be able to use the thrust in the fight if he has not first practiced it; but he still needs to make the move at the moment.
N) Therefore, effectively using the sword of the Spirit takes practice. The great example of this was Jesus combating the temptation of Satan in the wilderness. We need to study the word, and understand how to apply it.
(Eph. 6:18-20) How to use spiritual strength and the armor 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.
A) Praying always with all prayer: The idea is "all kinds of prayer" or "prayer upon prayer." We should use every kind of prayer we can think of. Group prayer, individual prayer, silent prayer, shouting prayer, walking prayer, kneeling prayer, eloquent prayer, groaning prayer, constant prayer, fervent prayer. Just pray.
B) We can say that it is through prayer that spiritual strength and the armor of God go to work. In theory, the prayerless Christian can be strong and wearing all the armor; but never accomplishes anything because he fails to goes into battle through prayer.
C) Often we just don’t pray because we are simply overconfident in our own abilities. It is not us, so we don't rely upon ourselves; it is the power of the Holy Spirit, and to God the glory.
D) For all the saints: We can battle spiritually not only on our own behalf, but also on the behalf of others. The soldier isn’t only concerned for his or her own safety. He feels an instinct to protect and to battle on behalf of others.
E) And for me, that utterance may be given to me: After bringing up the idea that spiritual warfare can be waged on behalf of others, Paul asks his readers to pray for him.
F) Boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel: Paul could have asked prayer for many things, but he wanted his readers to pray for this. He probably had in mind his upcoming defense before Caesar.
G) We could imagine Paul asking for many things, such as relief from his imprisonment or for other comforts. But his heart and mind were fixed on his responsibility as an ambassador of the gospel.
H) That utterance may be given to me: The idea behind utterance is clear speaking. Added to boldly, Paul asked for prayer that he might proclaim the gospel both "clearly" and with a "fearless" power. It is easy to neglect one or the other.