Bethel CRC Lacombe

February 11, 2024 The Armor of God | Ephesians 6: 10-20

February 13, 2024 Pastor Jake Boer Season 1 Episode 6
Bethel CRC Lacombe
February 11, 2024 The Armor of God | Ephesians 6: 10-20
Show Notes Transcript

Today is Friendship Ministry Sunday. We will celebrate this ministry with our Friends and their mentors.  To wrap our series on Ephesians, we will reflect on Ephesians 6:10-20, The Armor of God. When we put on the armor of God, we are able to be brave, have courage, and stand firm in our faith against the devil’s schemes. Paul calls us to be strong, to stand firm, and to pray in the Spirit. All these acts fill us with the courage to trust in God and be his people. It’s important to remember that Paul is writing this from a prison cell and wants people to experience the same courage that he’s received from Jesus.

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-20


Thank you, Friendship Group, for leading us in worshipping God this morning, it’s so special! Paul writes this letter while he is prison. Prison is a place where it gets easy to be afraid, especially afraid that God doesn’t care anymore. Paul wants to help the church in the city of Ephesus have courage because one day they might also be put in prison because many people there hated the new Christians because they taught that idols were not real. Satan used the people who sold idols to get the people angry against the Christians. Paul later left to go to other cities, but he wants to help them stay strong for Jesus and not be afraid of what Satan was doing. Paul takes Satan seriously, while also giving us courage by reminding us that Jesus has already defeated Satan and our call is to just stand strong against Satan’s lies and tricks. 

I often ask people, “Where do you see God working in your life.” It helps us to have courage when we learn how to see where God is in our lives. God also gives us armor to help us be brave. Paul uses the image of a Roman soldier dressing himself for battle to show us how to stand against Satan. For Paul, Satan is no joke and we need to be aware of how he works against us and how the armor that God provides us helps us stand strong. He encourages them to “Be strong in the Lord and his mighty power.” Paul reminds them that they are filled with the Spirit and their strength comes from the Lord. If we’re going to be strong and brave as we stand against Satan’s schemes, we need Jesus. Our battle is not a physical battle against other people, it’s a spiritual battle for our hearts and souls and it’s being fought against “the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Paul prays that we will “stand our ground, and after we have done everything, to stand.” 

The Jews saw the area between heaven and earth as the place where Satan and other evil spiritual powers were in control. This is why Jesus hanging on the cross between heaven and earth is such a powerful picture of the battle between Jesus and Satan, because Jesus was in the realm of Satan and these spiritual forces when he dies. When Jesus dies for our sins, he defeats Satan and his forces. Paul reminds us in Colossians 2:15, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Satan has no power over us, but he can still tempt us by lying to us and this is what the armor of God protects us from. 

We’re not called to go looking for a fight, instead God gives us armor to protect ourselves. The armor is also called the armor of light in Romans 13:12, reminding us of Jesus as the light of the world. Putting on the armor of light is like putting on Jesus. Paul writes, “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” We’re called to clothe ourselves with Jesus and to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can stand strong against Satan’s tricks, and live the way Jesus wants us to live. 

Paul calls us “to stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around our waist.” All the armor Paul talks about is given to help defend us, not to go into battle with. Jesus and the Holy Spirit battle for us, we’re called to stand strong for Jesus, to keep believing and trusting in him and his plans for us. Paul keeps pointing us to Jesus who tells us that he’s “the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus’ truth helps us to have courage and stand strong because we know the truth of his love for us, his salvation for us, and the truth that he is with us always. The truth is that Jesus is God and is more powerful than anybody else and he defends us.

Next, we put on the breastplate of righteousness, which sits over your heart. Righteousness is about right living, it’s about how we live with God, each other, ourselves and creation. Loving God and our neighbours is at the heart of righteousness, but it’s also about responsibility: about helping others develop the potential in them, about justice and protecting those who are vulnerable, providing for those who are unable to provide for themselves. We put the gospel of peace on our feet. Gospel means good news, and peace for the Jews is all about shalom, about healthy relationships with God and others; it’s about wise living within the community for God. The church is all about people being together so we don’t have to go through life alone, we’re supposed to be there for each other. Righteous lives supported by the gospel of peace that Jesus brings, helps us live wonderful lives together as followers of Jesus. It gives us the strength and courage to constantly stand for Jesus, even when it’s hard.

Paul then calls us to “take up the shield of faith so that we can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.” When Paul talks about a shield of faith, he’s thinking of the big shields the Roman soldiers carried. They were huge, 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide and allowed the soldiers to duck behind then when enemy archers would send volleys of arrows at them. Often these arrows would be tipped in tar and lit to create more damage and fear. When you trust in Jesus and follow him, this puts out the arrows of doubt and temptation that Satan loves throwing at you. Adam and Eve fell to those arrows, doubting God when Satan asked them if God was holding out on them, so Jesus comes and defeats Satan, first in the wilderness when Satan tries to create doubt in Jesus’ mind about his Father’s plan, but Jesus chooses to trust his Father and places his faith in his Father’s plan and sends Satan packing. 

The next piece of armor is the helmet of salvation. A helmet protects our heads, our minds, the place where we do our thinking. Trusting that our salvation comes from what Jesus has done for us in our place on the cross, bringing back into a right relationship with God, helps us stand strong against Satan’s lies that we need to earn our salvation, or that we’re not worthy, or loved by God enough to save us. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul tells us, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” Knowing that when Jesus returns, we’ll be with him, gives us strength to face the hard and confusing times of life when things don’t seem to make sense and everything gets hard. 

Finally, there’s “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” We saw how the shield of faith protected Jesus against Satan’s temptation in the wilderness, but Jesus defeated Satan by using God’s word, words from the Old Testament to remind Satan that we live on every word that comes from the mouth of God, that we don’t test God, and that we are created to worship and serve God. The better we know God’s word, the more we let it shape our lives, our ways of thinking and seeing the world, the stronger we are. 

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. But Satan, even though he knows he can’t win, keeps trying to separate as many followers of Jesus as he can from God’s love through lies, whispering in our hearts that we can’t really trust God, and we can make our own salvation and heaven. This is why we put on the armour of God, so we can stand strong against Satan and his followers who want to keep us from knowing and experiencing the love of God, especially though Jesus. We don’t do this alone; God gives us this armour to protect us, and it’s for all of us to wear together as the body of Christ. 

We need to always pray, staying close to God and Jesus. Talking regularly with God is one of the ways the Holy Spirit keeps us strong. Life and faith are not always easy, but by praying regularly to our Father, you know that Satan will have no power to lead you down paths and roads that might lead you away from Jesus. Nothing can separate us from the love of God because we have the armor of God protecting our minds and heart to keep us strong in the Lord.