Friday, July 20, 2012

The Whole Armor – Part 3

Ephesians 6:17-18  “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

There are some important things to consider as we look at the final part of the whole armor of God.  We referred to some of it, but didn’t go into detail.  So, let’s jump right in.

The helmet of salvation is pretty clear.  But, like everything else from God, there’s more.  Consider that our being is broken up into components – body, soul, spirit, etc.  One part is the mind, which isn’t so much a spiritual component of our being as a filter for outside information, along with being a filing system.  If the mind is damaged in any way, information isn’t filtered properly and it becomes mislabeled in the mental filing system. 

You might recall what we’ve shared before about how a different starting thought will lead to a different conclusion.  Salvation from God acts to protect the mind, like a soldier’s helmet.  Which means that input isn’t distorted by the world’s view, categories of thought are properly labeled and matched with like thought.  We get to make right decisions and come to right conclusions.

The next part of verse 17 gives us a great picture.  The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  Look at Hebrews 4:12, “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.”.  In modern terms, a spiritual scalpel, cutting out the garbage so that we have healthy spiritual tissue.

There’s something else here, too.  The Greek word for spirit also can be defined as breath.  If we stop breathing, we die.  So too with our spiritual existence.  If our spiritual life doesn’t have the spiritual breath of God, we become spiritually dead.  But, as verse 17 shows us, we have the Word to cut through the wounds of the enemy, to cut out dead spiritual tissue, to bring healing and new life.

That’s where most studies of the armor of God end.  But our missions director, Pastor Scibelli, said something when he discussed this chapter.  He suggested that there is a seventh piece to the armor – prayer.  Maybe that’s technically incorrect.  But, when you think about it, the Biblical armies always had soldiers whose only job was to carry messages between the battlefront and the general or king for further orders.  And in modern armies, at least one soldier in every group carries the radio equipment to communicate with the commanders planning the strategy.

If we consider prayer as part of the armor, we see a very special spiritual dynamic.  God, like any good ruler or general, gave us His Word to give us our marching orders, direction and support info.  With prayer as part of our armory, we get to report back on battle conditions, how they effect the troops, what supplies we want to requisition, our assessment of the battle.  Prayer is pretty handy stuff to have in our arsenal of weapons.

There’s one other point that’s important here, too.  Pastor Scibelli pointed out that the whole book of Ephesians was written to the Body of Christ.  And he made a statement that you don’t fully get the protection of the armor outside of being closely associated with the Body.  The armor protects the Body.  Before I started this study, I made it a point to quickly go through the whole book, just to verify that idea.  And it gets interesting.  There’s really little in Ephesians that’s worded in a way to make it applicable individually, unless you’re rightly related to the entire Body of Christ.

There have been those who have said that going to church is not an essential.  But, in fact, it’s our spiritual armory.  God gives us the Word to build up our armor.  And Romans 10:17 tells us that our faith comes from hearing that Word.  So, we’re shielded by it.  And it’s our sword against the enemy.  It might be said that all of that could be done by reading and listening to audio files.  But that misses the other part of the equation – the Body of Christ.

As we saw in “Can you See Me Now”, we exist in a state of spiritual warfare.  It’s only in the vain imaginations of comic books and adventure fiction that the lone ranger approach ever wins the war.  In reality we need each other for edification and support.  Hebrews 10:22-25 speaks very clearly about that.  And let’s not forget Jesus’ command to Peter, “Feed My sheep.”.  Feed the rest of the Body of Christ so they might be properly armed against the wiles of the devil.

How are you drawing nigh to build up the Body and put on your armor?

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