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THE BLADE OF THE SPIRIT
Intro: Today, we will consider the final piece of the the whole armor of God. Allow me to spend a moment reminding us of the other pieces of the armor and what they represent.
The Belt Of Truth speaks of a life that is built upon faithfulness to the Word of God and to the God of the Word. It speaks of our being truth in both our testimony and in our living. This belt of truth gives the believer stability so that they are enabled to stand. The belt of truth also provides a place for the other pieces of the armor to rest. Without the belt of truth the soldier of God will find the other pieces of the armor useless. Unless our lives and testimonies are rooted in, and lived out in truth, we will not be able to stand in the evil day.
The Breastplate Of Righteousness speaks of a holy life. It speaks of a life that is lived in conformity to the Word of God. A holy life is a powerful defense against the attacks of the enemy. When we allow sin to dwell in our lives, we give Satan a beachhead from which he can attack us and exploit us, Eph. 4:27. Sin give Satan the ammunition he needs to assail the glory of God, and to destroy and devastate our testimonies and reputations. Personal holiness closes the door to Satan, and it protects us from him when he attacks us.
The Boots Of Peace speak about our foundation in Jesus. When our feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, it means that we are saved by grace and that we stand firm in that knowledge. Satan may attempt to cause us to doubt, but when we wear The Boots Of Peace, we are sure and secure in our salvation, and we cannot be moved. Thus, we become a hard target for the enemy and his attacks. Furthermore, The Boots Of Peace give us such confidence in what the Lord has done for us that we want others to know about it too. So, we share the good news of the Gospel with those who do not know the Lord in the hopes they will come to know Him too!
The Buckler Of Faith speaks about simple faith in God that allows us to trust Him at all times, in all situations. When times are good, the just shall live by faith, Rom. 1:17. When times are bad, the just shall live by faith. Even when the fiery darts of the devil are raining down all around us, the shield of faith protects us, and allows us to stay in the fight for the glory of God. The shield of faith allows us to stand, and having done all to stand. When we live behind The Buckler Of Faith, we become an impossible target for the devil to hit.
The Bonnet Of Salvation speaks of having full assurance in ones salvation. The helmet of salvation protects the saint if God from the double-edges sword of discouragement and doubt. When we are insecure in our relationship with the Lord, we can become easy prey for the enemy. Yet, when we are confident that we are saved and secure in Jesus, we have the ability to stand for Him, even when Satan and his kingdom attack us.
The redeemed are engaged in spiritual warfare. Our enemy, the devil, is powerful, determined, relentless, Verses 10-13. The devil comes against the people of God with various wiles, v. 11. Satan does everything in his power to destroy our faith and to draw attention away from the God of glory. It is Gods will that we stand against the attacks of the devil, vvs. 11, 13, 14.
When we stand we hold a critical position against the attack of the enemy. This speaks of a soldier who refuses to yield even an inch of ground to an attacking foe. It is the image of a soldier defending and protecting precious ground that has already been taken from the enemy. It is what God meant when He said, Neither give place to the devil, Eph. 4:27.
God has given His people some very precious ground.
We have the truth of Who He is, and of how He loves us.
We have His church.
We have His Word.
We have His Spirit.
We have His grace.
We have His salvation.
We have His blessings.
We have much more besides all this.
Our enemy, the devil, does not want us to have anything that we have been given by God. So, He does everything in His power to take away those blessings from us. While there are some things the devil cant take away, he does everything in his power to diminish the influence of those things in our lives. He will attempt to nullify the blessings of God that he cannot steal!
If we are going to stand and hold the precious ground we have been given, then we must put on the whole armor of God. We have already examined The Belt Of Truth, The Breastplate Of Righteousness, The Boots Of Peace, and The Buckler Of Faith.
Today, we will consider the final piece of that armor: The Blade Of The Spirit. We are told that The Blade Of The Spirit is the Word of God. Lets examine this last piece of the armor and discover how the Word of God can empower us and enable us to overcome our enemy the devil.
VI. V. 17b THE BLADE OF THE SPIRIT
A. THE IDENTITY OF THE BLADE - There are two words used for sword in the New Testament.
Rhomphaia - (pronounced - hrom-fah΄-yah) - This word speaks of a long, broad sword. It is the image that come to mind when we think of a sword. We tend to picture a sword as being long, broad and double-edged. That is what this word refers to. This kind of sword was used in hand to hand combat for slashing at ones enemy.
Machaira - (pronounced - makh-ahee-rah) - This word refers to a knife, or more specifically, to the short sword carried by the Roman soldier. This sword varied in length from six to eighteen inches. This type of sword was used in hand to hand combat to stab the enemy. The typical strike would be in the abdominal area, since in that day, abdominal wounds were nearly always fatal. This sword was called the gladius by the Romans.
The word Paul uses here in the second word. He is thinking of the short sword carried by every Roman foot soldier. It was the soldiers principle weapon in hand to hand combat. This bald was carried in a scabbard, attacked to the soldiers belt, so that it was always available and ready for use.
It was this kind of sword that Peter used to cut off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest, when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Matt. 26:47-51.
It was this type of sword that Herods executioners used to martyr James, Acts 12:2.
The short sword was an indispensable component of the Roman soldiers amour. He used it to defend himself, and to help him accomplish many day to day tasks around camp.
The sword Paul has in mind is not a physical sword. Paul identifies this sword as the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. So, this sword is a spiritual weapon that is to be used by the believer in out spiritual conflict with Satan.
This spiritual sword is of the Spirit. This refers to its origin. This reminds us that the Bible is not a manmade book. The Bible is a spiritual book, that came to us from the Spirit of God.
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 perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works, 2 Tim. 3:16–17.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, 2 Pet.1:21.
I would remind you today that the Bible in your hand is no ordinary book.
It is the Word of God.
It is inspired by God.
It is infallible, and it is inerrant.
It can be trusted.
It can be believed.
Its words are the very words of God. In its pages we find:
The truth of Who God is.
The truth of who we are.
The very mind of God.
The identity of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The way to be saved.
The source of all faith.
Help for every battle we face.
Hope for every road we travel.
Peace for the times of turmoil.
Joy to sustain us in times of sorrow.
Wise answers for all the questions of life.
Guidance and direction for all the paths we walk.
On the divine authorship of Scripture John Wesley said, The Bible must have been written by God or good men or bad men or good angels or bad angels. But bad men and bad angels would not write it because it condemns bad men and bad angels. And good men and good angels would not deceive by lying about its authority and claiming that God wrote it. And so the Bible must have been written as it claims to have been written—by God who by His Holy Spirit inspired men to record His words using the human instrument to communicate His truth.
The Bible is a book to be read, believed, loved, shared, enjoyed, and trusted. It is the Word of God! We must saturate our lives in its truths and soak in the glories it contains. There is no other book like it in the world. The Bible alone is a spiritual book. The Bible alone is the Word of God.
So, when Paul speaks about the sword of the Spirit, he is referring to Gods Word.
A. The Identity Of The Blade
B. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BLADE - Just as the short sword was essential to the work of the Roman soldier, the Word of God is essential to the Christian soldier. There is word in our text that we need to look at for a moment. The word word in verse 17, is the Greek word rhema. The word literally means an utterance.
In other places in the New Testament, four Greek words are translated word in our English Bibles. Two of those words are used most often. One of those words is the word logos. The other is the word rhema. Lets examine those word for a moment.
Logos - This word refers to something said. It also refers to the thought behind the words. This word is often used to speak about the entirety of the Word of God. So, the logos is the totality of the Word of God.
Rhema - This word refers to an utterance. When it is used of the Word of God, it does not speak of the whole Word of God, it speaks of smaller sections of individual words. When Paul uses the word word in verse 17, rhema in the word he uses. He is not referring to the whole Bible, but to shorter sections of the Bible, to individual words, if you will.
Let me illustrate this truth. When Jesus was in the wilderness and faced Satans temptations, Matt. 4:1-11, Jesus responded to every attack of the devil by quoting Scripture, Matt. 4:4, 7, 10. In Matt. 4:4, Jesus said this, But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. When Paul uses the word word here, it is the word rhema. When Jesus says every word of God, He is not referring to the whole Bible, but to specific, individual sections of the Bible.
Think of the Bible as a vast armory. In that armory there are weapons of every size and description. Those weapons are designed for specific types of battle. You may have heard it said, You dont bring a gun to a knife fight. That is the idea here. When times of temptation or Satanic attack come against you, it impossible and impractical to try and throw the entire Bible at the enemy. What you need is the specific Word of God that speaks to individual circumstance.
That is what Jesus did. Three times He was attacked by the enemy, and three times Jesus stepped into the armory of the Word of God to select the very weapon He needed for each encounter. Jesus did try to repel the enemys attacks with the whole Bible, He chose the precise weapons He needed for each attack. Notice:
Matt. 4:3-4 - In response to this attack, Jesus chose Deut. 8:3, which says, And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
Matt. 4:5-7 - Here, Jesus chose Deut. 6:16, which says, Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
Matt. 4:8-11 - In this case, Jesus quoted Deut. 6:13, which says, Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
Jesus was so familiar with the Word of God that He was able to select the proper rhema in each attack. His wise use of the rhema in the logos allowed Him to achieve victory over the devil. You will notice that Jesus did not rebuke Satan, He simple used the Word of God as His sword. Three times Jesus was attacked and three times Jesus used the rhema to repel the attack of the devil. Each rhema, or verse the Lord quoted, not only parried the devils thrust, but launched a withering attack that Satan could not endure. When the devil was faced with the truth of the Word of God, he had to abandon his attack and flee.
The lesson for us is clear, I think. We need to be so familiar with the armory, the Bible, that we know where all the swords are placed. Then, when the enemy attacks us, we are able to repel his attacks with the Word of God. This will enable us to stand against the assaults of the enemy.
The Bible is a defensive weapon, as we just discussed. But, it is also an offensive weapon. It allows us to take the battle to the enemy. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Heb. 4:12.
When the Word of God is used against the devil, He will flee, James 4:7.
When the Word of God is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, it transforms lost sinners. It invades their darkness, and drags them into the light. It enters the tomb of their dead condition and breaths life into their spirits.
For the saints of God, the living Word changes sadness into joy, despair into hope, stagnation into growth, immaturity into maturity, and failure into success.
The problem with many in the church today is that they are not familiar with what God has said in His Word. Thus, when they are attacked by the enemy, they resort to rebuking him, or pleading the blood, or some other useless tactics. If they knew the Word of God, and the locations of the various weapons and where they are located, they would not be so helpless, nor would they be so often defeated.
The only way to know the Bible and learn where the various weapons are located is for the Christian to read the Bible and learn its contents. That means we have to pick it up, open its pages, and learn what it has to teach us.
Thomas Guthrie said, The Bible is an armory of heavenly weapons, a laboratory of infallible medicines, a mine of exhaustless wealth. It is a guidebook for every road, a chart for every sea, a medicine for every malady, and a balm for every wound. Rob us of our Bible and our sky has lost its sun.
The Bible is the Word of God. It is the source of our faith and the only source we possess for learning about God, Jesus, salvation, sin, Heaven, and Hell. We must learn its truths, or we are helpless against our enemies. The Bible is our source for happiness, peace, spiritual growth, and power for living. The Bible is indispensable for the Christian who desires to be successful in his or her walk with the Lord.
John MacArthur shares the following quote from H.P. Barber.
As I looked out into the garden one day, I saw three things. First, I saw a butterfly. The butterfly was beautiful, and it would alight on a flower and then it would flutter to another flower and then to another, and only for a second or two it would sit and it would move on. It would touch as many lovely blossoms as it could, but derived absolutely no benefit from it.
Then I watched a little longer out my window and there came a botanist. And the botanist had a big notebook under his arm and a great big magnifying glass. The botanist would lean over a certain flower and he would look for a long time and then he would write notes in his notebook. He was there for hours writing notes, closed them, stuck them under his arm, tucked his magnifying glass in his pocket and walked away.
The third thing I noticed was a bee, just a little bee. But the bee would light on a flower and it would sink down deep into the flower and it would extract all the nectar and pollen that it could carry. It went in empty every time and came out full.
Then, Dr. MacArthur adds this commentary, Some Christians, like that butterfly, flit from Bible study to Bible study, from sermon to sermon, and from commentary to commentary, while gaining little more than a nice feeling and some good ideas. Others, like the botanist, study Scripture carefully and take copious notes. They gain much information but little truth. Others, like the bee, go to the Bible to be taught by God and to grow in knowledge of Him. Also like the bee, they never go away empty.
Conc: An anonymous pen has given us the following thoughts about the Bible. There are words written by kings, by emperors, by princes, by poets, by sages, by philosophers, by fishermen, by statesmen, by men learned in the wisdom of Egypt, educated in the schools of Babylon, and trained at the feet of rabbis in Jerusalem. It was written by men in exile, in the desert, in shepherds tents, in green pastures, and beside still waters. Among its authors we find a tax-gatherer, a herdsman, a gatherer of sycamore fruit. We find poor men, rich men, statesmen, preachers, captains, legislators, judges, and exiles. The Bible is a library full of history, genealogy, ethnology, law, ethics, prophecy, poetry, eloquence, medicine, sanitary science, political economy, and the perfect rules for personal and social life. And behind every word is the divine author, God Himself.
If you have a Bible, you are blessed with a precious treasure. Cherish it. Read it. Learn it. Love it. Live it. Do as the Psalmists said in Psalm 119:11, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Make the Bible your daily bread. If you do, when the enemy comes against you, you will be ready to stand, and having done all to stand.
Maybe the Word of God has cast a light in the darkness in your soul and you know you need to be saved. Come to Jesus.
Maybe the Word of God has reminded you that you need to deepen your commitment to its truths. Come to Jesus.
Maybe you are in a spiritual battle and you need help to fight the enemy. Come to Jesus.
I. The Belt Of Truth
II. The Breastplate Of Righteousness
III. The Boots Of Peace
IV. The Buckler Of Faith
V. The Bonnet Of Salvation
VI. The Blade Of The Spirit