I’ve heard it said that the word of God, which is represented by the sword in Eph. 6 is the only offensive weapon spoken of in the famous spiritual armor passage. I imagine you could use a shield to defend yourself as well, but it is the only truly offensive weapon. Of course, you also use a sword to defend yourself – to fight back. What we see in this passage is how the word of God is, in large part, the source for all the various pieces of armor. What would the belt of truth be apart from the word? What is the breastplate of righteousness except a living out of the word, of course the word points to the Gospel. The shield of faith – how do you get faith? One way for sure is “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” The helmet of salvation – how do we know about salvation apart from the word? No, salvation does not come through the word, but we learn of salvation there. And the sword of the spirit – well that is the word of God.
They called on God to direct the use of the sword.
“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 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. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
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 Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Eph. 6:10-20)
We should clarify one thing, the phrase “word of God” does mean the word which we also call the Bible. However, as we see from the life of Paul, the word of God can be more than than that. What we have as part of our word are words that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write. So, when Paul was writing this, he wouldn’t have necessarily been referencing his own writings as the word of God. But, another aspect of the word of God is also the words we speak into the lives of those who have not yet received Christ.
We must also be clear that Paul was a Pharisee and had a tremendous understanding of the Old Testament, he also had a first-hand encounter with Christ. Why is that important? Paul was speaking and preaching out of a deep knowledge of the truth, therefore when he was using the Sword of the Spirit, he was clearly operating within the confines of the truth he knew and had learned from Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in him. Why does that matter? We must make sure that when we are speaking for God and speaking the truth of God or the word of God to someone, we are speaking from the truth of scripture as it applies to life. We need to be in the word so the Holy Spirit can bring up those passages we need to share. We don’t need to come up with new ideas and new teachings, we need to do more with what we have. Trust me, there’s more there than we can handle.
We need God to direct us in our lives for how we proclaim his word, his truth. Notice that none of these are suggested attire. Every piece is required. We all must take up the whole armor of God. Even Paul uses that phrase – “put on the FULL armor of God.” That means we each have the responsibility of truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and sword of the spirit. We don’t get to choose to focus on one or two of them. They are all for us all.
So, we need to pray on all occasions for all the Lord’s people, the saints. We need to pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us as we speak the truth. Why do you think it’s called the Sword of the Spirit and not the Sword of the Word? It’s supposed to be the Spirit speaking to us and through us into the hearts and lives of those who need to hear it. Not our words, but God’s. That’s why we need to pray in the Spirit on all occasions. We need to pray that the right words will be given to us when we speak so that we can fearlessly make the mystery of the Gospel known.
And we need to pray for our leaders who teach, that they too, just as you will speak the words that are given to them, and will speak those words fearlessly. So pray for me every time I speak to you that God will speak through me His words for us. Pray for all our pastors in all the churches that God will speak through them His words and that they will do it fearlessly.
Are you starting to get a sense of just how important prayer is?
The Three for Morning, Afternoon and Evening.
“Now for Next” Prayer
What do we need to do now as a church to be ready for what God has for us next.
“What’s My Role” Prayer
Pray for God to show us the role we will play individually in accomplishing that mission.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.