The Christian Armor
Introduction: Protection. We all like to be protected against bad things. When it is cold outside, we protect ourselves with warm clothes. When it is hot outside, we protect ourselves with sun block and insect repellant. Our cars have all sorts of devices to protect us from errors. At work, we hope our boss protects us from superiors and the boss hopes the same from us. Last week we learned that Satan has this huge, organized force of demons - and they are not a peaceful bunch. It would seem like that bunch is something against which we need extraordinary protection. Let's charge into our study and find out more about securing protection!
- The Evil Day
- Read Ephesians 6:13. Who provides us with armor? (God.)
- Is it possible for us to be half-hearted about putting on our armor? (The text refers to the "full" armor of God. This implies that we should be sure we have all the available armor.)
- What is the "day of evil?" (Trials. Attacks from the forces of Satan.)
- What comfort do you take from the phrase "when the day of evil comes?" (It is a problem that has a limit on the time of the attack - at least the worst of the attack.)
- What discomfort do you take from the phrase "when the day of evil comes?" (It is certain to come. Paul does not say, "if the day of evil comes.")
- What duty do we have to prepare for the day of evil? (Paul warns us to "do everything." We are not just standing around until the attack. It is only when the attack comes that we are told to "stand.")
- Last week we discussed whether our battle goals were primarily defensive or offensive. Have they changed? (Paul seems to be emphasizing the defensive nature of our fight. He repeats that our goal is to "stand.")
- The Full Armor
- Read Ephesians 6:14. What does your belt do for you? What do you think it did for soldiers in Paul's day? (If you were wearing a long robe, it was a bit difficult to move quickly. You could "hike up" your robe using your belt, giving you better freedom of movement. (Compare Exodus 12:11.) Your belt was a place to hang weapons and it helped to hold all of your armor together.)
- Why would the belt be equated with "truth?" (Having the truth helps to keep all of your armor together. It helps you to hold on to your weapons. It allows you to move with boldness. If you find you are wrong, then things just seem to fall apart.)
- How does God give us the belt of truth? (You have a large role to play in this. Studying the gift from God - the Bible - is essential to knowing the truth. Asking for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth in the Bible to us is critical. John 15:26.)
- How important is truth, as opposed to sincerity? (Jesus tells us in John 8:44 that Satan is "the father of lies." Truth is important to winning this battle. Being sincere, but wrong, promoting lies, puts you on the wrong side of things. I think we are required to dig deep into God's word to be sure we know what is true.)
- What role does the breastplate fulfill? (It protects the heart and the vital organs.)
- In what way does "righteousness" protect your heart and your vital organs? (The heart and the vital organs are necessary for life. The righteousness given to us by Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:21) allows us to enter into eternal life. The righteous life which we are expected to live (see Ephesians 4:24)is the new life in God. The Bible Exposition Commentary says, "The life we live either fortifies us against Satan's attacks or makes it easier for him to defeat us.")
- Read Ephesians 6:15. Have you ever thought about getting into a fight with bare feet? If you normally wear shoes, what would be going through your mind if you were called on to fight without them? (When I am by myself, I have a habit of making a running "battle assessment." For example, when I take the dog out at night, I look around and consider what I should do if faced with an intruder. When I am not wearing shoes, bare feet are one of my first concerns. So far, being alert has only kept my mind occupied because I live in a safe area and never have had to face an intruder.)
- Would wearing shoes give you "peace?" (You don't need to be worried about your feet. You don't need to worry about your toes being stepped on and you do not need to worry about what you might step on. It would allow a soldier to concentrate on the battle.)
- If you agree, "yes, shoes give me peace" then what do you think Paul means when he writes "your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace?" (I think he means knowing the gospel is like wearing shoes - it gives us peace in difficult times. You know where to stand. You know where you should go. It eliminates certain areas of worry.)
- Read Ephesians 6:16. What kind of "flaming arrows" would Satan or his demons shoot at us? What do you think those could be? (Trials and troubles would seem to be some. But, others might not obviously be "shot" from a distance. Those would be hateful thoughts, lies, covetousness, impure thoughts, gossip, etc.)
- How does faith put out the fire of these arrows? (First, faith gives us trust in God in times of trouble. Second, faith gives us the way to resist evil thoughts and actions so that we do not disobey God.)
- A number of commentaries give a similar description of the shields used by Roman soldiers. They were about four feet by two and a half feet, covered with linen and leather, with edges that allowed them to interlock. Thus, the Bible Exposition Commentary tells us "soldiers could interlock shields and march into the enemy like a solid wall." Picture your church in your mind. Would it match this description: Christians with locked shields of faith showing the Devil a solid wall?
- If not, what can you do to "form up" with your shields?
- Read Ephesians 6:17. The helmet protects the head. Why would Paul refer to salvation being a helmet? What is the logical link? (This points to the importance of our mind. If you have confidence that Jesus won the victory over Satan at the cross, if you believe that Jesus will ultimately make all things right, then that protects your mind and emotions when you get into battle.)
- In your Christian walk, do you focus more on what you do than on what you take into your mind? If so, have you ( Ephesians 6:17)"taken" the helmet of salvation? (This points to another aspect of the helmet of salvation. Some Christians will armor their body, but leave their head unprotected by a helmet. They do this by taking in all sorts of evil influences.)
- Friend, have you do all that is necessary to have your spiritual armor in place? Have you gone to God the armorer? Have you the confidence in trouble that comes from having your God-given armor in place? If not, why not commit today to putting on that armor?
- Next week: The Christian Communion and Conduct.