Put On The Armor
By Sandy Simpson
Eph. 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Eph. 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Eph. 6:12 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.
Eph. 6:13 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.
Eph. 6:14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
Eph. 6:15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Eph. 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Eph. 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Eph. 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Satan will tempt you and defeat you if you don't accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and then follow that up by putting on armor of God. Our fight is not against flesh but against the devil and his fallen angels.
Who is thedevil?
(1) Satan's existence is mentioned in 19 of the 27 New Testament books; in the gospels 29 references are given to Satan, 25 of these by Christ.
(2) Satan's origin is found in Ezekiel Ch. 28 and he is referred to as "the anointed cherub" and his rebellion is found in Isaiah Ch. 14 in the five "I will's" and according to Rev. 12:4 a third of the angels in heaven followed him at that time, Satan is mighty, but not almighty, wise but not all knowing. Satan is not equal with God or Jesus Christ; he is a created angel of the highest rank.
(3) There are as many as 40 different titles given to him in Scripture; i.e. -Devil means "accuser," because he accuses God's people day and night before the throne of God (Rev. 12:7-11). Satan means "adversary," because he is the enemy of God. He is also called the tempter (Matt. 4:3), and the murderer and the liar (John 8:44). He is compared to a lion (1 Peter 5:8), a serpent (Gen. 3:1; Rev. 12:9), and an angel of light (2Cor. 11:13-15), as well as "the god of this age" (2 Cor. 4:4). God has already dealt some of the fallen angels.
2 Peter 2:4-5 For God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to he/I and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment, and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
Jude 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
A.E. Dickason writes about Satan's wiles or strategies:
"God is light, Satan is darkness and desires to keep light from others. God is love and promotes love, Satan is hateful and promotes hate. God is life and creates life, whereas Satan operates in the realm of death. Satan's counterfeit system may be irreligious. He may deny the existence of God or His control. To explain the world, he substitutes evolution for creation, uniformitarianism (the theory that all geologic phenomena may be explained as the result of existing forces having operated uniformly from the origin of the earth to the present time. = evolution) for (God’s) providence (creation), human progress for divine salvation, and man's utopia for God's Kingdom on earth. Atheism, agnosticism, pragmatism, existentialism, and relativism are his substitutes for truth."
Satan also promotes counterfeit religions through doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1); and false teachers (2 Cor. 11:13-15) with twisted scripture.
In verse 12 we also learn that Satan's army is described in various terms. We don’t know for sure how the enemy arranges his angels, but the Bible does seem to give us some clues.
(1) Principalities – perhaps demons who have the oversight of nations.
(2) Powers - perhaps the privates who are the demons wanting to possess human beings
(3) Rulers of darkness of this world - perhaps demons who have charge of Satan's worldly business.
(4) Spiritual wickedness in high places - perhaps demons in the heavenlies who have charge of religion.
False spiritual warfare teachers teach that we can bind Satan, cast down territorial spirits and spiritually replace them in the heavenlies, and do spiritual mapping to discover the names of demons so they can be commanded and cast out. None of these ideas are from the Bible, and in fact these concepts are from the world of the occult and witchcraft. Stay away from “Christians” who claim we should do spiritual warfare in those ways. They need to read what the Bible actually teaches about spiritual warfare. We are told to pray for boldness to proclaim the Gospel and for protection from the evil one, but we do not command God or claim we can get rid of demons. They are there till God judges them at the great white throne judgment.
Let me tell you a little story about real protection of God, just because people were living in obedience to Him. In the Bible there is a story about Elisha and his servant. A huge army surrounded the city they were in. The servant was very afraid. He came running to Elisha but Elisha said that the armies of the Lord would protect them. The servant said, "Where are the armies of the Lord?" So Elisha prayed and the servant’s eyes were opened and he could see that the mountains surrounding the armies of Syria were full of the armies of God with chariots of fire. This is an amazing story.
But let me tell you a story that relates to this one from my own life. My father was a missionary in Palau and there was also a man who had worked for the mission for a long time. But this worker had a severe drinking problem and he beat his wife and children all the time and threatened everyone. So my father asked him to clean up his act or he would not be able to work for the mission any longer. Well, the man did not clean up his act but kept right on doing the same things. So my father called him in before the other workers and missionaries and fired him, as he had said he would. From then on until my father died this man was very angry at my father and tried to kill him many times. My father, mother and those in Bethania spent many nights in prayer that this man would not harm the girls or his family or our family. One night, while the school was watching a film strip about the story of Elisha and his servant and the armies of the Lord, this former worker got very drunk and decided he was going to finally and truly kill my father and burn the school down. He set off from his village many miles away and told people along the path that he was going to kill my father and burn the school down. As it happens, there is a little bridge over a small creek right before the school campus in Ngaraard. This creek is only about 5 feet wide. It was there that this man stopped and would go no further. The magistrate from the village had heard that this man was going to kill my father and was coming down the path from the opposite direction of the school to stop him. When he got across the small bridge, he noticed that the man had stopped and had a terrified look on his face. The magistrate asked him what was wrong. The man said "Look, can't you see? The whole school is covered in water. It is all ocean now." Well, guess what? When the magistrate looked back he saw it too. The whole campus no longer existed. It was covered in water. So they both ran back to the village, very afraid.
This story is true and really happened. The Lord was protecting my family and everyone at the school, and this was not the only time. It is very likely that we could not have protected ourselves that night. But Jesus was protecting us with unseen miracles simply because He protects those who are faithful to Him.
I would like to briefly go through each piece of armor the Lord tells us to wear in this chapter. First in verse 14 it mentions the BELT OF TRUTH. This needs to be buckled around our waist. You know, the waist is usually very close to the middle of our body, and in biblical times it was thought of as the seat of the emotions. Some waists are bigger than others as you may have noticed. Usually our pants (or skirts) are held up by our belt and our shirt (or blouse) is tucked in and held in by it. Without a belt our pants would fall down and our shirt would fly in the wind. There are even belts to protect our insides. In Germany they make a belt that is supposed to keep the kidneys and spleen warm during the winter. So belts hold together and they also protect. And this is what truth does. Truth holds things together in harmony. Lies tend to break things apart eventually and everything falls down.
One time I remember when we were little kids, my sister decided to color on the table in my room. When my parents saw the marks, they immediately suspected me, since I was usually the culprit, and asked me if I had done it. I told them I didn't do it. When they asked my sister she said no. Well, there were only 4 people who could have done it and 2 of them were my parents so that left only my sister and I. And I was somewhat beyond the writing on tabletops phase and was not in the room at the time of the crime so that left only one possible suspect. But my sister continued to claim that she didn't do it. It took a whole afternoon to get the truth out of my sister. It was such an ordeal that I think it taught my sister a lesson she never forgot. To this day she is one of the more truthful and honest people I know.
Lies eventually get found out, but truth eventually wins out. The BELT OF TRUTH allows us to keep our lives together. It gives us what they call integrity. If you have the Holy Spirit living in you, the Spirit of truth, then He will convict you when you lie and you will confess it and once more put on the BELT OF TRUTH. Where can you find the truth? Go to the Word of God.
John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
If you profess to be a Christian but are either denying the voice of the Spirit through God's Word or you are not a true believer, then you will continue to live a life of lies and deceit, deceiving and being deceived. Those who have the Spirit of truth will live in the truth. What is one of the most important truths?
John 3:16-21 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
Next is the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. This is located around the chest and protects one of our most vital organs ... the heart. The heart can be broken or pierced through if we don't have this protection on, if we are following our old sinful nature. When we follow our own nature and are sinful, this weakens our heart. We lose the desire to accomplish great things for Christ and instead choose to compromise. We lose the desire to live within the law. And this makes us hurt inside. And when we are hurting inside, we do things on the outside that are hurtful to others.
I remember many times in my life before I gave my life to Jesus where I was doing things outwardly because of the hurt I was feeling in my heart. I got into many fights because of this. I would even go looking for fights, both physical and emotional, to somehow make that awful pain go away. I thought if I hurt other people and made them feel my pain, that somehow my own pain would be a little less. But it never worked that way. It just got worse. One of my oldest friends I grew up with in Palau went out and killed a police detective one night. I was asleep in my house and woke up to hear his awful drunken screaming coming from his house. I thought that I should go over and see what was wrong but then I thought he was just drunk and would soon go to sleep. But those screams come back to haunt me sometimes because they were screams of pain. And hurt. Heart hurt. The next morning I woke up to find policemen taking him away to prison. I learned a lesson because of this and other events that what we were created for, what our conscience desires but can never attain, and what God wants for us is righteousness, justice. Something down deep inside of us is empty and hurting and yearns to be healed, but we don't know how on our own. We don't want the pain. But through Jesus Christ that yearning for things to be made right in our hearts can come to life, abundant life. There is only one way to be righteous. That is to be found IN Christ by the Father. To be found IN Christ we must believe in Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
2 Cor. 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The next armor is called FEET FITTED TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL OF PEACE. Are your feet quick to spread peace? There are two gospels: the gospel of peace and the gospel of conflict, contention, fighting, anger and hostility. Do we run to conflict and gossip or run to peace? Feet that run to conflict are always getting into trouble. Gossiping, talking about people behind their backs, putting people down, trying to start fights...will all help us to run away from Christ. Peacemaking, on the other hand, leads us and others closer to Christ.
I think of one man when I talk about this. If you have seen the movie about Nicky Cruz I'm sure you would agree that David Wilkerson was a very brave man. His feet carried him into a battle zone. But his feet were fitted with the gospel of peace. He introduced peace to those gang members probably for the fist time in their lives and they found the freedom that Jesus gives through the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that he bravely brought. David Wilkerson was a great peacemaker. It takes real brave person to be a peacemaker like that. The Gospel message preached as it should be preached is the ONLY thing that will bring peace to a world of conflict and hate.
Paul and Silas in prison could have been angry, contentious, and ready to lay blame. They could have stood there with a cup in their hands banging it across the bars demanding that they were innocent. Instead, they were at peace, and they remembered that every situation gives us an opportunity to spread the Gospel of peace.
Acts 16:25-34 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!" The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved— you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God— he and his whole family.
The next defense is the SHIELD OF FAITH. If we have faith to protect us we can deflect aside all the lies and ugly things that Satan throws at us everyday to try to make us not believe in Christ anymore, to cause us to go back to our sinful nature. So we need to use this shield of faith and keep it strong with no holes or rust, with no chink in the armor. To do this we need to do things like read our Bibles everyday and pray. This keeps us in close contact with the Lord and Bible reading helps us to see, understand and carry out God's plan for the world. It helps us learn about Him and teaches us what we need to know to follow and obey Him. You know, even though I am a preacher and missionary kid and heard many things in the Bible all my life, there are many truths that I am still discovering today. And this will never end. This is because we worship a God who is greater than we can ever be. And if we continue to build up the shield of faith, it will become strong and tall enough to even cover our whole body.
I remember seeing a movie about Alexander the Great once. An army many times greater than his surrounded him. They had many horses and also foot soldiers. Alexander knew that his men on foot would be killed by the soldiers on horses before they could even fight with the men on foot. So he devised a plan. His men had full body length shields. They got in a square and put their shields side by side. When the army charged them and the men on horseback tried to kill them, they found that they couldn't penetrate the wall of shields. This gave enough time for Alexander's army of foot soldiers to get there an caused the opposing soldiers on horseback to give up trying to assault his foot soldiers. Then Alexander had his men break out of the square and fight the soldiers on foot. The men on horseback couldn't get in to kill them anymore because there were too many people fighting. Alexander won this war because of this clever use of his men's shields.
We need to build up our shield of faith and then use it against the enemy when he tries to sling his arrows at us. We must remain in the faith, keep the faith, and Christ has told us that we will live with Him forever.
Rom. 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
There are three more pieces of armor we need to complete the full array. The HELMET OF SALVATION. Without this, of course you are dead. The head is one of the first things a soldier will go for if he wants to kill his adversary. It is very vulnerable to many things. Our mind is a main battlefield of the enemy. If he can corrupt what we believe, he has won the battle. If he can get us to sin in our minds, the next step will be outward sin. The first thing we must do is to be saved and put on the helmet before we can expect to survive against Satan and sin.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This is the first item of armor a Christian warrior puts on. Otherwise, the rest of the armor is useless.
I remember hearing about an actor in the States who was very much against wearing a motorcycle helmet until he had a crash himself and hit his head and was in the hospital for a long time. Now most States have a law that you have to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Without a helmet, an accident can happen anytime.
Satan can rob you of your joy, your sanity, your family, your job, and your life if you do not have the HELMET OF SALVATION on your head. We must be sure we believe the truth about Jesus Christ and salvation with our minds. What you believe is the most important thing about you, and Satan will try to attack your belief system every chance he gets, because he knows that if he can get you believing in another Jesus, another Spirit, another Gospel he has made you believe in vain. Be careful that false teachers and false prophets do not deceive you. Protect your belief system, your mind, with the HELMET OF SALVATION. Remember that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Eph. 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Next is the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT. This is the Word of God, the Bible. We need to know God's word to ward off Satan's attacks. It would be good to commit to memory passages from the Bible to have them in mind when Satan tempts you. Even Jesus used Scripture to ward off Satan's attacks (Matt. 4:1-11).When He was tempted in the desert after fasting for 40 days, he used verses from the Bible each time to answer Satan's attacks. It is written, it is written, it is written. Why did he do this? Because the Bible is the eternal Word of God, the all powerful Word of God the Father, that is completely true and cuts down to the bone. Christ was showing us that the written Word of God is eternal and powerful. Remember what God has promised and claim those promises when Satan attacks. Satan cannot stand against the Word Of God. The words of the Bible are not magic against Satan. It is the content of what they mean, the promises of God, the protection of God. Jesus Christ won the battle with Satan on the cross. We simply need to claim His protection and promises.
And last, but not least, we are asked to complete this armor by PRAYING ALWAYS. Prayer is keeping in contact with God. If the team is not in contact with the coach, if the army is not in contact with the general, then they will surely be defeated. We need to keep in contact with our leader.
Matt. 26:41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
1 Timothy 2:8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
Prayer also protects. I try to pray for my children every night. I have found that sometimes, when I forget to pray for them for awhile, they may begin to have nightmares and wake up screaming or crying at night, or they begin to drift away from the Lord in their lives. Prayers cover them and protect them.
John 17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
So put on armor of God. Be a soldier for God. Sometimes being a soldier is hard. We have to be brave. To stand up for what you believe is very hard. It takes work and discipline. It takes having your armor in place and ready at all times. It also takes submitting to God. To tell Him that we will be His servants no matter what happens. And if we serve Him, God has promised that He will be faithful to give us the reward of eternal life and a crown of glory.
Eph. 6:19 ¶ Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
Eph. 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
This is a good prayer to pray. Many people pray all kinds of unbiblical prayers today to bind Satan, cast down territorial spirits, and all such things. But here we have a true spiritual warfare prayer in the context of one of the premiere teachings on spiritual warfare. We know that the true power to change people is in the Gospel message:
Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
So a very important prayer for other Christians is that they will have the boldness to proclaim the Gospel. Witnessing is not easy. It takes guts, supernatural guts. God can give you the supernatural guts to proclaim the Gospel if you really desire it as Paul did. Paul was in prison simply for preaching the Gospel. This could have made him fearful to continue. But because people were praying for him he continued until he was finally put to death. Because of Paul we have the Gentile church today and countless Christians through the ages are products of his witness among other foundational Apostles. We owe him a great debt, but we also owe that debt to Christians who did spiritual warfare by praying that Paul would be fearless in his proclamation of the Gospel message.
Eph. 6:21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing.
Eph. 6:22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
Eph. 6:23 Peace to the brothers, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph. 6:24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love
Paul sends his personal greetings to the church he is writing to. Tychicus will explain more to them when he delivers the letter. One of the ministries of Christians is encouragement. We don’t see enough of that in the churches today.
We are to encourage by preaching the Word and holding to sound doctrine.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage— with great patience and careful instruction.
Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
We are to encourage young men to be self-controlled.
Titus 2:6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.
We need to encourage people to be busy about the things of the Lord and to help the timid and the weak.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
Leadership in the church is to teach the Word to encourage and rebuke.
Titus 2:15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
We are to encourage one another to live holy lives so that we will not be caught in sin.
Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
We should not give up meeting together, but continue to do so as an encouragement to each other as we wait for the return of Christ.
Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another— and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Notice one other thing in the wonderful salutation at the end of this chapter. Paul says: “Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” This is important. There are those who claim to love the Lord but only do so when it is convenient or for a little while. There are those who fall back into worldly things and attitudes because of the worries of the world. Paul says that the grace of the Lord is poured out on those who love Him, and keep on loving Him. As I have stated before, most of the time when the Bible says, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” it is really translated “be believing on the Lord Jesus Christ”. Believe (pisteuo) is an active verb meaning to be believing, to commit. It is not a one-time belief, but a lasting commitment, a growing thing. To experience the grace of God and eternal life we need an “undying love” for the Lord.