Equipping the Soldiers of Christ for Battle
By Jeffery Barron
October 29, 2004
Our country is at war. We are fighting an enemy unlike any one that our country has ever faced before. Our troops are equipped with weapons such as guns, ammunition, and explosives designed specifically to fight the enemy. They have protective clothing (boots, helmets, and bulletproof vests), provisions of food, and communication devices.
Now consider our nation’s enemies. Do these enemies use guns, swords, and explosives? Their resources may not match up to the quality of the United States, but that doesn’t say that they are not dangerous.
Consider a historical example of sword duals. Here’s the scenario: two men have a disagreement about a private issue. They agree to settle the matter with a sword dual. The weapons used in the dual must be swords that are identical in length, strength, sharpness, and design. The winner will be determined by who uses the sword most effectively and thereby wounding his opponent. The resources of this battle go beyond the sword. The man with the greatest skill (not necessarily strength) will win the fight.
What does this mean to us? The enemy that we must fight is not new. This enemy has been the enemy of God since the beginning of time. Do we know our enemy? How can we prepare? Do we have the right weapons and equipment, and more importantly, do we know how to use them. We will consider our enemy Satan, our weapon the Bible, and how to be completely equipped as a soldier of Christ.
2 The Bible
Let’s consider the Bible for a moment, God’s precious Word. We know that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
2 Timothy 3
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
How well do we know the Bible and do we trust what it says?
What would you say if I told you that the Bible says that there is no God? In fact, I can prove to you that it says exactly “there is no God” twelve times in the Bible. Let’s just look at one of them in Psalm 14:1. The rest you can look up for yourself.
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Take a look at these other verses to see what the Bible says about there not being a God.
- Deuteronomy 32:39
- 1 Kings 8:23
- 2 Kings 1:16
- 2 Kings 5:15
- 2 Chronicles 6:14
- Psalm 53:1
- Isaiah 44:6
- Isaiah 44:8
- Isaiah 45:5
There are twelve verses in the Bible that specifically say “there is no God.” However, the Bible does NOT teach that there is no God. On the contrary, the Bible teaches God is real, everlasting, and true.
10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.
The point of this example of “there is no God” is to show you that people can take verses of the Bible out of context and teach things that are untrue. For an example of taking scripture out of context that may not be as obvious, consider the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11. Satan uses verses from the Old Testament to try to convince Jesus to do certain things.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Now take a look at the verse that Satan was quoting. Do we notice any problems by the way Satan used the verse?
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Satan left out the phrase “to keep thee in all thy ways.” How does that change the meaning of the verse?
In short, our greatest foe is Satan. He is known by many names: Lucifer (day star), the Devil, that old serpent, the dragon, the god of this world, and many others. The world pictures him with horns on his head, a pointed tail, and always carrying a pitchfork. Now what would you do if you saw a giant red beast with horns on his head and a pitchfork with your name on it? I don’t know about you, but I’d be interested in finding someplace else to be. Let’s be honest, we’d all run like crazy! However, this depiction of Satan is not accurate. If it were true, then temptation to sin would not be an issue.
Let’s take a look at the following verses that describe the appearances of Satan.
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
2 Corinthians 11
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
We can easily describe Satan as something that is beautiful and desirable. Satan is described as the “son of the morning” and “an angel of light.” Does that sound like something that we should be running away from? There is no way that Satan could be successful in tempting us to commit sin if our fleshly nature did not have that desire. The fact is, we should be afraid of him because he is dangerous and has every intention to lead us away from God.
There is no doubt that Satan is pure evil, but he has some characteristics that we should be aware of. Satan believes in God, but does he trust Jesus Christ as Savior? In a word, NO!
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Believing in God is not enough. We must trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. There is no life without Jesus. Satan intends to confuse and mislead in everything that he does. His goal is to hide the true message of Jesus Christ from all people. We must be mindful of the evil “god of this world.”
2 Corinthians 4
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
4 Putting on the Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
We are reading the closing words of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. Paul is reminding the members of the church at Ephesus that God is strong; God is powerful; there is none other that can compare to the Lord’s might. And we are encouraged to “be strong in the Lord.”
Church comes from the Greek word ekklesia (ek-klay-see'-ah) - a calling out, assembly, church.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
The armor of God is not the same in the physical sense of putting on armor. This is spiritual armor. Understand that we are not merely fighting against flesh and blood (verse 12). That is to say that our battle is not just against this world. We are fighting against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.
Principalities refer to rulers or leaders that are influenced by evil and receive direction from Satan.
Principalities comes from the Greek word arche (ar-khay') - (properly abstract) a commencement, or (concretely) chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank):--beginning, corner, (at the, the) first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule.
Powers refer to angles or demons that intend to influence and harm people. The rulers of the darkness of this world could be disguised as spiritual leaders that are actually acting on the will of their master Satan.
Powers comes from the Greek word exousia (ex-oo-see'-ah) - (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence:--authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.
The spiritual wickedness again emphasizes to us that this is more than a physical battle. This battle extends beyond the realm of this world into the high or heavenly places.
Spiritual comes from the Greek word pneumatikos (pnyoo-mat-ik-os') - non-carnal, i.e. (humanly) ethereal (as opposed to gross), or (daemoniacally) a spirit (concretely), or (divinely) supernatural, regenerate, religious:--spiritual.
Wickedness comes from the Greek word poneria (pon-ay-ree'-ah) - depravity, i.e. (specially), malice; plural (concretely) plots, sins:--iniquity, wickedness.
High comes from the Greek word epouranios (ep-oo-ran'-ee-os) - above the sky:--celestial, (in) heaven(-ly), high.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
4.1 Loins Girt About with Truth
Loins comes from the Greek word osphus (os-foos') - of uncertain affinity; the loin (externally), i.e. the hip; internally (by extension) procreative power:--loin.
Truth comes from the Greek word aletheia (al-ay'-thi-a) - truth:--true, truly, truth, verity.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
When Jesus prays to the Father in the garden prior to being taken prisoner, he prays that God sanctifies his church through God’s truth.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
4.2 Breastplate of Righteousness
Breastplate comes from the Greek word thorax (tho'-rax) - of uncertain affinity; the chest ("thorax"), i.e. (by implication) a corslet:--breast-plate.
Righteousness comes from the Greek word dikaiosune (dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay) - equity (of character or act); specially (Christian) justification:--righteousness.
- Morally upright; without guilt or sin
- In accordance with virtue or morality: a righteous judgment
- Morally justifiable: righteous anger
Righteousness is everything that is morally and spiritually right. Can we be completely righteous on our own? Every use of righteousness in the New Testament refers to God’s righteousness. The only way for us to be part of the righteousness of God is through Jesus Christ.
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Satan and all that follow him are the enemies of righteousness, and therefore, the enemies of God.
10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
4.3 Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace
Peace comes from the Greek word eirene (i-ray'-nay) - prosperity:--one, peace, quietness, rest, + set at one again.
Now apply that to the “Gospel of Peace,” which literally means the “Good News of Peace.” First, the bad news: this world can never have peace...without Jesus Christ. So maybe that’s the Good News, too! We can obtain peace on this earth by trusting Jesus as Savior.
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
We are told to use the Gospel of Peace to protect our feet. This message of peace is Jesus Christ, and understanding will help us find our way through this dark world.
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
4.4 Shield of Faith
Faith comes from the Greek word pistis (pis'-tis) - assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
We will use Hebrews 11 to define faith completely.
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
We must take faith above all the other items on the Armor of God checklist. Let’s say we never miss a church service, we sing every song, we listen to every word, and we say the most eloquent prayers. If we don’t have faith, nothing else matters.
1 John 5
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Faith is essentially our belief. Satan will often introduce doubt into our minds in order to confuse us. If our faith is strong, we will be able to block those temptations of doubt, just like a shield.
4.5 Helmet of Salvation
Salvation comes from the Greek word soterion (so-tay'-ree-on) - salvation.
Understand that this helmet does not give us salvation. Simply putting on this helmet does not save us from Hell. It is exactly what is says it is: the helmet of salvation. We wear this helmet as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. Show the world that the Lord saved you.
4.6 Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God
Notice that we put on the helmet before we pick up the sword. The soldier must be fully protected before a weapon is raised.
This verse in Hebrews serves as a reference for the Word of God being like a two-edged sword.
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 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.
Recall our earlier discussion about the Bible. The Word does play a very important role in the life of the soldier for Christ.
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Recall that we are preparing for spiritual warfare. Praying on a regular basis is vital.
You can learn how to pray (using the model prayer as a guide) in Matthew 6:5-15. You can read the Lord’s Prayer in John 17.
Jesus Christ knows what we are going through because he’s been there. He came to this earth, was tempted as we are, but he lived his earthly life without sin.
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
There is no greater commander and chief than Jesus Christ.