Standing Firm Against Satan
How To Put On the Armor of God
Class Session 4
By Pastor Ron Jones, www.titusinstitute.com
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
We have been studying what the Bible says about how we as Christians can stand firm against the attacks of Satan which is given in Eph.6:10-17. Turn there with me.
This passage is divided into five points.
I. The preparation
II. The enemy
III. The battle
IV. The victory
V. The way to victory
We have previously looked at the first three points in depth and this morning we come to the last two points.
We have seen that our enemy is the devil and his demons who continually slander God by spreading lies about him.
They do this through the world, that is, fallen human beings whom they dominate and direct.
We saw that Satan attacks believers in four ways:
1. He incites our fleshly desires within us through the unbelieving world
2. He attempts to deceive us with lies through the beliefs and values of the unbelieving world around us.
3. He attempts to deceive us with a false Jesus and a false gospel through false Christians.
4. Satan can physically afflict us or ones that we love with illness, crimes, disasters, persecution and the like.
This morning we come to the last two points.
IV. The victory
Now we come to the victory.
What does God expect from us when we face temptations from Satan?
What kind of victory can we have?
Look at v. 11
v. 11 “so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”
“Take your stand” is best understood as “stand firm”
“Stand firm” means just that, we are to stand firm and we can stand firm.
The purpose of depending on the Lord’s power and wearing the armor of God is so that we might be able to stand firm against Satan’s attacks.
The opposite of standing firm is falling down. It is not running. You can’t run from Satan. You have to stand firm against him.
Satan cannot take away our salvation so Paul is not talking about falling out of the grace of God. You cannot fall out of God’s grace if you are a child of God. Paul is talking about not falling down in our testimony for God, not allowing our light to shine before men for the glory of God.
We are to stand firm for Jesus Christ. He says this in v.11 and again in v.13, he repeats this and adds a few details.
After describing the demonic hosts, Paul gives the purpose of putting on the armor of God in v. 13.
v.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.”
V.13 says, “to stand your ground” and “to stand”
This word or a form of this word Paul uses several times in this passage - emphasizing what our victory over Satan is all about.
6:11 “take your stand” [Grk = stenai]
6:13 “stand your ground” [Grk = compound antistenai]
“to stand” [Grk = stenai]
6:14 “Stand firm” [Grk = stenai]
What does stand firm mean?
To keep doing what you know is right. It is to know what is right and to do what is right. It is to follow the Lord. Satan is trying to keep you from doing that.
If we put on and keep on the armor of God and depend on God’s strength this will be our victory. We will be able to resist Satan and stand firm.
The victory God desires of us is that we resist Satan, that we withstand his attack.
Example from Ancient Warfare:
In ancient times, they had walled cities and outside the walls many homes and farms; people lived both inside the city and outside in the surrounding countryside. When an enemy would attack, all the people in the countryside would gather behind the walls of the city
The enemy would then lay siege to the city, using all the weapons at its disposal. Hopefully, the city would be able to resist or withstand the enemy’s attack and the enemy would depart defeated.
That’s what Paul’s talking about here – when Satan attacks, we are to resist him, withstand him so that he is forced to leave in defeat.
That’s our victory.
v.13 says “the day of evil.” That refers to a particular time that Satan is attacking us through the four ways that we have discussed.
It is a time when Satan has stirred up our fleshly desires, or we have been tempted to believe some lie of Satan’s that some sin is justified when it is not, or we have been tempted to believe some false statement about God or Jesus, or when we have been physically afflicted or persecuted.
What will we do? Will we resist him and stand firm or will we fall into sin and error?
Notice, God does not say we are to beat Satan up; we are not to win demons to Christ; we are not to attack Satan directly. We are not to hunt for Demonic strongholds that do not exist and tear them down.
This is our victory; we can defeat Satan.
Example from real life:
Someone is creating trouble for you at work. Maybe you are a manager and one of your employees is going around you to your boss to get something you won’t give them. Maybe someone at work is spreading rumors about you.
When you find out about it, you are tempted by the flesh to retaliate and take revenge by trashing them to whoever will listen or giving them a difficult assignment.
At this time you are in an evil day when you are being tempted to sin against them.
The Holy Spirit is prompting you to “love your enemies” that is, not to retaliate, not to trash them behind their backs, but continue to honor the Lord.
Satan will tempt you through his lies implanted in the world. He will tempt you through pride. You may think, “Who is this person that would want to go against me? They will be sorry they ever tried to outsmart me or attack me. I will show them.” Satan doesn’t need to implant that in your mind, it is already been implanted there through all the things you have heard unbelievers say and do over the years.
The desires of the flesh will also kick up and you will be filled with emotion and a desire to retaliate and seek revenge.
At this time, Paul says, “stand firm” in what you know God
wants you to do and don’t succumb to that temptation. That’s
the evil day and that’s the victory.
If we are going to do that, we need to commit ourselves before these “evil days” occur to put on the full armor of God.
So, in order to stand firm, God has provided us with armor to wear. Wearing it is the way to victory.
Let’s look at the armor of God.
V. The way to victory – armor explained in v. 13-17.
There are six pieces of armor. Paul is speaking figuratively.
Each piece of armor is a way of describing a particular quality we need to possess in our lives if we are to have victory over Satan.
In other words, the breastplate of righteousness is a way to describe that we need to be righteous in our lives.
To “put on” means that we need to commit ourselves to living out these characteristics in our lives.
We need to develop certain characteristics in our lives that keep us prepared at all times for Satanic attack.
v. 11 “the full armor of God” and v.13 “the full armor of God”
“Full” means “all of it.”
Every one of these characteristics must be a part of our lives if we are to defeat Satan. If you are missing any part, Satan will hit you there.
Example from Sports.
If you were on a basketball team and one of the players came out without shoes on, wouldn’t you want to step on his feet if you were on the opposing team? I would.
What is the armor? What are these characteristics?
1. Belt of truth
2. Breastplate of righteousness
3. Shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace
4. Shield of faith
5. Helmet of salvation
6. Sword of the spirit
The first characteristic needed to prepare for Satan’s attacks is
the belt of truth.
1. The Belt of Truth
v. 14 “with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…”
To buckle the belt of truth around your waist means to commit yourself to know, understand, and live out the truth in your life as God has revealed it in the Scriptures.
The first piece of armor to put on is the belt of truth.
In ancient times, Roman soldiers wore tunics. A tunic looked like a short dress or long skirt, like a man’s nightshirt. It came down to just above the knees. The Roman soldier wore this under his armor.
Before he put on all his armor, he would put on this belt and gather up the loose parts of his tunic and stuff it under the belt. This would keep the tunic from flapping freely. This process was called “girding up your loins”. This was crucial to fighting a battle.
If the soldier did not gird up his loins, put on the belt and gather up his tunic, his tunic would flap all around and his sword would get mixed up in it. The expression “gird up your loins” is an expression that occurs several times in N.T.
So what is the belt of truth?
Truth is reality. “Truth” states what is real, what actually exists. A “lie” states what is false, what actually does not exist, what is fantasy.
We know that Mickey Mouse is fantasy. We know that we are not going to get up in the morning and put a red, blue and yellow suit on and fly around like Superman. We know that is fantasy.
When we talk about God’s truth, a lot of people think of God’s truth as something separate from themselves that exists in heaven and has to be brought into their lives. That is not what it is at all.
What God reveals is actually what happened and what is happening and what will happen. God created the world. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Gen.1:1 says. That actually happened. That’s a true statement. It doesn’t matter if people say that the earth was created by a big bang and then there was an amoeba that formed on the earth and then everything developed from there. That is not real. It is not true. God deals with reality and tells us what actually happened because he did it.
The word “truth” refers to God’s objective truth, what God has told us is reality. It is the opposite of “lies”.
So truth and lies are opposites and are directly opposed to each other by their very nature.
Putting on (buckling around) the belt of truth means that we need to commit ourselves to what is reality which is what God says is reality.
We are to be committed to the truth wherever it takes us even if we don’t like it. There are a lot of Christians who have not fully submitted to the truth. They have only submitted as far as they want to. Putting on the belt of truth means fully submitting to it.
We live in world and a universe that is bigger than us. It is so complex we can only observe what is happening and make conclusions based on what we observe. But we cannot see all the inner workings of the universe or even the human body and certainly not the spiritual realm and therefore we can think something is true and real when it is not.
How we will know if something is true or not?
We know because the God of the universe who created all of it knows what it is all about has revealed that to us.
God has revealed to us what is truth or reality in His Word. The Word is also the way we can judge the reality of what is around us.
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
The Word gives to us the truth about God, His character and nature, the origin and fall of man, the need for redemption, and many other facts.
The Word also gives us a grid by which we can evaluate what is real around us and what is false. All truth is not necessarily mentioned in the Word, but the Word tells us how to evaluate what we perceive so we can know what is false and what is real.
If you think about it, God deals with reality even the reality of evil. Satan deals with falsehood, he hides from the truth even about himself. He desires for people to believe that man is inherently good and that all the problems of the world are merely the results of political issues, prejudice, oppression of alternative lifestyles, lack of education or anything else other than what God says which is it is the result of man’s sinful heart.
God desires for us to know what is true about everything and deal with it according to His will. Satan wants us to believe all kinds of wrong views so we will not follow God’s will.
We need to ask ourselves, “Are we committed to the Word and willingly to follow it no matter what?”
“All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”
The Psalmist is an OT believer committed to the Word and he demonstrates the characteristics of someone committed to the Scriptures.
He praises the Lord that all of the Lord’s words in the Scriptures are true. He recognizes and confesses what God’s Word is – the truth.
Earlier in v.30 he share his commitment to God’s Word of truth.
“I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.”
This is an expression of how a believer can put on the belt of truth whether he is in the OT period or NT period.
These are parallel statements. This OT believer says that he has committed himself to the way of truth, which is the same as setting his heart on God’s laws, on God’s revelation.
To buckle the belt of truth around our waist means to commit ourselves to know, understand, and live out the truth in our lives as God has revealed it in the Scriptures.
This is a commitment of life – the believer must be committed to the truth, knowing it, understanding it, and living it out in one’s life.
We must be people of the truth. We are committed to discerning what is happening in, around, and through us by the truth. If we do this we can recognize Satan’s lies.
The believer must have a clear grasp of what is true and what is false if he is to defeat Satan and he must be committed to live by that truth.
If we don’t know the truth, we can’t recognize lies.
How do we defeat Satan when we are committed to the truth?
Our commitment to and knowledge of the truth
1) guards us from believing Satan’s lies that indulging the lusts
of the flesh is not that bad and is beneficial to us,
2) guards us from believing other lies of the world, and
3) guards us from believing a false Jesus and false gospel from false Christians
4) guards us from doubting God, His love and care for us, and His sovereignty over our lives.
The second characteristic we need to have in our lives is righteousness.
2. The Breastplate of Righteousness
v. 14 “with the breastplate of righteousness in place…”
To put on the breastplate of righteousness means to commit yourself to following God’s commandments (His way of living) as revealed in the Scriptures as the regular pattern of your life.
The second piece of armor the Roman soldier wore was the breastplate. The breastplate was made of heavy linen to which were attached overlapping pieces of horn or metal discs or it was made of metal woven chain, inter-linked rings of metal or solid metal.
It was used to cover the most vital area of the soldier’s body, the chest and abdomen. So it was extremely important. Paul calls the breastplate, the breastplate of righteousness.
There is no indication that there is any significance to the differences between the belt and the breastplate, each just provides a metaphor for a different characteristic. As there are different parts to a soldier’s armor, each being important, so too are there different characteristics to the believer’s defense against Satan’s attacks. Each is important.
What is the breastplate of righteousness?
What he’s talking about here is the personal daily righteousness in our lives. Righteousness is not a bunch of God’s do’s and don’ts. It is God’s way of living.
God’s way of living is conforming to God’s ethical and moral standards and following his commandments in all areas of life he has given them no matter what anybody does around them.
Satan will use people around you who will not live righteously to turn you away from living righteously. People might lie about you or gossip about you and you will want to retaliate. Satan wants you to retaliate to destroy your testimony with those around you. To stand firm, we need to be committed to righteousness no matter what happens around us. That is putting on the breastplate of righteousness.
1 Tim.6:11 (not in sermon, but added in outline)
“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
Paul is saying here, commit yourself to these characteristics which includes righteousness.
God has clearly revealed his will in the Scriptures and when we commit ourselves to following his will as he has revealed it we are putting on the breastplate of righteousness.
Another way of saying this is we need to commit ourselves to obedience as the regular pattern of our lives.
This is not talking about non-moral areas of our lives, such as what college to go to, what car to buy, what job to apply for, but it is talking about everything the Lord has clearly revealed to us in the Scriptures is his will.
When a Christian is not committed to following God’s clearly revealed will in whatever area of his life, he is wide open to the influences of Satan who opposes God and His commandments.
Why do we need to be committed to daily righteousness to stand firm against Satan?
Our commitment to righteousness
1) guards us from indulging the lusts of the flesh when we are tempted through the world
2) guards us from believing lies of the world that righteousness is irrelevant to people and many other ungodly priorities are relevant
3) guards us from believing a false righteousness which comes from a false gospel
4) guards us from turning away from the Lord for escape or pleasure when
we are suffering because Satan is physically afflicting us
3. The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
v. 15 “ and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace…”
The “readiness that comes” is preparation again. It is a repeat of the overall theme, which he gives for emphasis. We need to prepare by putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace.
To put on the shoes of the gospel of peace is to continually hold onto the confidence that you have peace with God through Jesus Christ, that God is always with you working for your blessing, and that you may approach him for help at anytime.
In the Roman world, Romans wore lightweight sandals, which consisted primarily of a leather sole tied to the feet with leather thongs. But when the Roman donned his armor to go to war, he layed aside these lightweight sandals and put on a pair of heavy thick-soled boot type sandals.
The bottoms were very thick and had little nails coming out the bottom similar to baseball cleats or golf shoes. This gave the soldier a firm footing when fighting the enemy.
To a Roman soldier, he depended his life on his shoes. They not only gave him a firm footing, but they also protected his feet.
A warfare tactic in ancient times was to plant razor sharp stakes in the ground, which could not be seen to pierce the foot of the enemy and literally render the enemy helpless. If the soldier did not have these boots, he would have been debilitated. He could have all of his other armor on, but if he did not have firm footing with protected feet, he would be easily defeated.
The shoes represent “readiness or preparation to stand against Satan”
which comes from
a firm spiritual footing, which comes from “the gospel of peace.”
Where does this preparation or readiness come from? It comes from the gospel of peace.
v. 15 “…the gospel of peace.”
This is the source of our readiness or preparedness to stand against Satan. We are ready because of the gospel of peace in our lives.
What is the gospel of peace?
The gospel of peace is the good news that we can have peace with God through Christ’s death on the cross.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…”
We have been “justified through faith” and have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a description of our salvation. As believers we have peace with God. He is on our side in this war with Satan.
Our peace with God means that God is at peace with us. He is not in conflict with us. Even when we sin, God still is not at war with us. He calmly and loving disciplines or trains us to teach us to turn away from sin. But that is never in anger or wrath. All of God’s wrath and anger toward us was spent at the cross. That’s peace with God.
That peace gives us a very important assurance that we need to continually hold onto if we are to stand against Satan.
As humans in a fallen world, we have big problems. We have conflict with our flesh and with the world and with Satan. We are going to need the Lord to help us. And when we do we need to know he is going to be there to help us.
Our peace with God means that the Lord is always with us to help us in our time of need.
v.14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
v.15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.
v.16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
In v.15 the “weaknesses” are the weaknesses of the flesh.” It refers to our struggle with temptation and sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy (assumes we are struggling with problems which we have probably gotten ourselves into) and find grace (there is God’s free favor again – no earning, no merit) in time of need.
In what kind of “need” will Christ help us? It is the need that comes from being tempted and being weak in temptation.
This means we are never alone. Jesus is always with us to help us. All we need to do is ask.
One of Satan’s greatest weapons is to get us to believe that we are alone in our struggles and trials. No one is there to help us or be concerned about us. Nobody truly loves us and cares for us. We’re trapped between a rock and hard place and no one cares.
If we are struggling with some attitude or emotional issue in our lives, if we feel that we are alone, on our own. We will quickly become discouraged. This causes us to despair and give in to the temptations of the world. “If I am alone and need to survive whatever I do must be okay whether it is the Lord’s way of doing things or not.”
How do you trust the Lord and follow him in every circumstance and every situation if you are not sure he is there to love you and care for you? You must continually hold onto the truth that God is with us every moment of every day in every situation we are in.
Life is bigger than any of us. The fallenness of the world, the sins of others and our own sins, the evil forces of darkness are greater than any of us can cope with.
Do you ever feel like you are on the verge of being overtaken by all these things? The complexity of life, the pain and hurt others, our own sins and inadequacies, financial and physical problems can feel overwhelming, but we have the Lord! He is our rock!
We have to know that that someone who is sovereign, powerful, and loving is in control of all our circumstances. God is. Jesus is.
When we are struggling, we need to know that we have help. That there is no circumstance that can come into our lives that we have to handle on our own.
If you are in difficult circumstances and are feeling discouraged and despairing, you need to put on the shoes of the gospel of peace and remember that the Lord is there to help you in your time of need.
You never have to fear approaching God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
The confidence we have peace with God through Jesus Christ
1) guards us from indulging the flesh because we are doubting that God is always with us working on our behalf by his love and sovereignty and can be always approached for help
2) guards us from believing lies of the world that we are alone and have no one who loves us and cares for us and no one who can help us
3) guards us from believing that we have to work for our salvation and gain peace through works
4) guards us from turning away from the Lord when we are being physically
afflicted by the realization that God cares for us and will help us in our
time of need.
4. The Shield of Faith
v. 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.”
The shield of faith is wielded when you trust God that what he has revealed in his Word is true and you live according to his Word.
Paul says to “take up the shield.”
v.16 “Taking up”
You don’t put on the shield, you take it up. However, it is the same metaphor. It means “to commit ourselves” just like “putting on” means.
In the Roman army, there were two basic kinds of shields.
1) a small light one that was easy to carry, used to ward off dagger blows in hand-to hand combat
2) a large oval or oblong door-like shield used to hide behind when the arrows were shot at the soldier
The Greek word here refers to the second shield, the large one about 2 ½ feet high made of wood covered with leather.
The Roman soldiers would line up in rows facing the enemy army. Then the front line would hold their shields in front of their bodies and hide behind it. This would form a shield for the entire army while the other soldiers behind the front line would shoot arrows at the enemy.
If you saw the movie, Gladiator, you saw the Roman army with these shields at the battle in the beginning of the film. The enemy army would shoot regular arrows or flaming arrows at them. The arrows would either bounce off them or lodge themselves in the leather, thus, protecting the soldier from bodily harm. The shield formed a double protection for the soldier. Not only did he have his armor, he had his shield as well.
The shield is called by Paul, the shield of faith, that is, it represents faith.
v. 16 “the shield of faith”
What is faith?
“Faith” is trust and confidence in God that all he has revealed in His Word is true. It is relying on God and what he says in his Word.
The shield of faith is wielded when we trust God that what he has revealed in his Word is true and live our lives according to his Word.
If you do not believe that God will do something he promised he would do, you are not wielding the shield of faith.
We come to Christ by faith and we need to live by faith.
Here, Paul is not talking about salvation faith, the trust a believer has which has brought him to salvation, but the faith and confidence in God and his Word a believer must have everyday of his life.
In Prov.3:5-6, the Holy Spirit reveals to us what trusting God is all about for believers of all ages.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
This passage teaches four important truths about faith:
(1) Trusting the Lord involves your whole heart, total trust, not partial
(2) Trusting the Lord involves leaning on God’s perceptions of reality not your own
(3) Trusting the Lord involves acknowledging God and His ways as first priority
(4) If you do this, God will make your paths straight.
What is a straight path?
Is it a life of riches? It is a life of fame? Is it a life where you will have a nice house and a nice car? Is it a life where you will have the perfect job? Is it a life with perfect people in it? No. It has nothing to do with those things.
It is a path of rigthteousness. It is a life of God’s blessing. It is a life that reflects Christ. It is a path filled with God’s mercy and grace. It is a life where the fruit of the Spirit will be displayed in your life, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the like.
Then, Paul tells us why we need to take up the shield of faith.
v. 16 “with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
In ancient times, armies would take arrows and dip them in pitch – light them on fire and shoot them at their enemies. Whatever the arrows hit, the flaming pitch would splatter spreading little fires all over.
When their opponent’s soldiers had their shields up, the arrow would either bounce off and extinguish or lodge itself in the leather part of the shield and be extinguished.
This is a metaphor of the spiritual reality of Satan and his demons attacking us with spiritual flaming arrows and us standing behind our shields to extinguish them.
“Fiery arrow” – a lie or other temptation from Satan in any of the four ways he attacks us.
Paul says, “To defend ourselves against these temptations we need to trust God.”
How does trusting God and His Word help us to turn away sinning when we are tempted?
If you do not believe that God truly loves you and that following Jesus will bring the greatest benefit to your life you will not be able to wield the shield of faith.
One of the things that we need to realize as Christians is that sin is not wrong because it is against God’s moral standards. It is wrong because it destroys and therefore it is against God’s moral standards.
God didn’t sit down one day and decide what will be right and wrong arbitrarily. Because God is love he knows what will hurt his creatures, human beings and angels and what will be good for us. Evil hurts and destroys. Evil is sin.
You can sit down and list every sin that is defined in the Bible and you
will find that every sin hurts the person doing it or the person it is being
done to or both.
Why do parents generally have rules? It is to protect their children from hurting themselves. It is an expression of their love.
Why do kids need to go to bed at a certain time? So they will get enough sleep to be healthy. Why are kids supposed to look both ways before they cross the street? To keep themselves from being hit by a car.
Why do parents give their teenagers curfew? Because the later they are out at night the greater the possibility something bad will happen to them
Until you become convinced in your minds that sin destroys and that God’s righteous way are for your benefit and protection, you will not fully give your self to trusting the Lord.
Remember the Lord’s goal for your life while you are on this earth is not to make you happy. He knows that you will be happier than you ever could imagine when you are in his presence forever. His goal is to make you a better person, to conform you to the image of his Son.
If you are to fully trust the Lord, you need to give up the goal in your life to be personally happy and replace it with the goal of becoming like Christ. Then you will experience the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace and the rest of the characteristics of Christ.
Our commitment to trusting God that what he has revealed in his Word is true and live our lives according to his Word:
1) guards us from indulging the lusts of the flesh by trusting God that
his way is the best way
2) guards us from believing the lies of the world because we are trusting in what God has revealed not in what the world says
3) guards us from trusting in a false Christ, a false gospel, and false Scriptures
4) guards us from turning away from the Lord for escape or pleasure when we are suffering because we are trusting God to work in our lives as he has promised in his Word
5. The Helmet of Salvation
v. 17 “Take the helmet of salvation…”
To take up the helmet of salvation is to continually hold onto the precious truths, that you are saved, that you cannot lose your salvation, and that your salvation will bring a future of eternal blessing.
Paul says to take up the helmet.
“Take up” is equivalent to “put on” paralleling the “take up” of the shield and sword.
They mean the same thing – to commit yourself to and make this characteristic a regular pattern of your life.
v.17 “the helmet”
Like soldiers of today, the helmet protected the Roman soldier’s head. It was made of iron or bronze with leather inside it.
It protected the soldier’s head against arrows. Arrows in the head are a pain! It protected them against being attacked with the sword from Cavalry on horseback. Like the other pieces of armor it was vital to a soldier’s defense.
It represents a spiritual characteristic that we need to have in our lives if we are to stand against Satan’s temptations.
“Taking up the helmet of salvation” is referring to the assurance of salvation.
v.17 “of salvation”
We know he is not talking about being saved, because he is talking to Christians who are already saved. The idea here is “assurance of salvation.”
And in Scripture “assurance of salvation” has three aspects:
1) Assurance that we are saved
2) Assurance that we cannot lose our salvation
3) Assurance that salvation will bring eternal blessing in God’s presence forever
Taking up the helmet of salvation is holding on to these precious truths that we are saved, that we cannot lose our salvation, and that our salvation will bring a future of eternal blessing.
I want to look at each of these aspects because Satan attacks in each of these areas and the helmet defends against his attacks.
a) It is an assurance that we are, right now, saved.
A believer must have the personal confidence that he or she is saved and thus a child of God. This is God’s desire for his children, that there is no doubt in our minds that we are saved.
1 Jn. 5:11-13
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son…”
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
The apostle John writes to believers in the churches of Asia Minor who were doubting their salvation even though they had repented of sin and turned to Christ for salvation. People had arisen who were calling themselves true Christians, but were not. They had rejected what the apostles said about Jesus Christ, that he was both God and man.
They were not true Christians. However, they were so strong and so committed that they shook up the true believers in Jesus Christ and caused them to doubt their salvation. John writes the letter of 1 John to assure these believers of their salvation because they were the ones who believe the apostolic doctrine of Christ and had trusted him to save them.
In this passage, he shows how our assurance is based solidly on the Word of God. John says we can “know” (v.13) that we have eternal life. This is a knowledge not by experience but reflection. If we have trusted in Christ and him alone for salvation, then we can know that we are saved. We don’t have to feel saved to know we are saved.
This is not an emotional knowledge or experiential knowledge, but an intellectual knowledge based on God’s truth. Our assurance of our present salvation is based upon the authority of the Word of God.
This is the first aspect of the helmet of salvation. There is a second.
b) It is the assurance that we cannot lose our salvation.
This is the truth of eternal security. A believer, cannot in any way, lose his salvation once he has been saved.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.”
The Greek word “never” means “never.” A Christian will never perish. It is a direct and powerful statement by Christ about his sheep. This gives us believers powerful spiritual security in our lives.
Satan wants us to doubt our salvation or make just feel that we can lose our salvation so we want to give up, so we will give into his lies.
It is also a powerful motivation to honor the Lord in our lives out of gratefulness to the Lord for what he has done for us.
c) It is the assurance that salvation will bring eternal blessing in God’s presence forever
It also refers to the hope of our future salvation in Christ.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Jesus promised us that one day he would come back for us and bring us to live with him forever. This refers to the rapture where the Lord brings us into the fullness of our redemption which is the resurrection of our bodies and that we will be with him forever in this wonderful glorified state.
This is our future inheritance as children of God, the joys and blessings
of resurrected life with Christ forever. It is ours, but we have not yet
This hope causes us to give up focusing on pleasure in this life. This hope causes us to sacrifice ourselves for Christ and His kingdom in this life. This hope causes us to rejoice in the midst of trials.
How can this assurance help us turn away from Satan’s temptations?
Our assurance of salvation
1) guards us against indulging our fleshly lust because we know we do not have to pursue the sinful pleasures of this life because we will experience the eternal pleasures of heaven
2) guards us when Satan attempts to deceive us with lies that we are not saved or we can lose our salvation or that there is no hope of a blessed life after death
3) guards us from depending on our own works to earn heaven rather than on Christ alone
4) guards us from doubt and despair when Satan physically afflicts us because
we have a confident hope that we will experience great joy in the presence
of God forever
6. The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God
v. 17 “Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The regular sword of the Roman foot soldier army was a short two-edged sword. This sword was about 1 ½ feet long. It was put into a sheath or scabbard by the side of the soldier. This sword was used in hand-to-hand combat. The soldier, shield in one hand sword in the other, would thrust the sword at his opponent and use the sword to ward off his enemy’s thrusts.
What is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God”?
This “sword” is called by Paul “the sword of the Spirit”, that is it is the sword which belongs to the Holy Spirit.
This sword which belongs to the Holy Spirit is “the word of God.” The sword represents the word of God.
When we wield the sword, the Word of God, it is the Holy Spirit, which works through that Word to work His will in our lives. It is His Word, His instrument to change our lives and the lives of others.
The sword is wielded when we apply specific Biblical statements, commands, and truths to specific situations, issues and temptations in our lives.
Why does Paul tell us this?
To make us realize just how powerful the Word of God is in our warfare with Satan. The word is a divine weapon coming from the Holy Spirit. When we use it, we are using a weapon far greater than Satan or any flaming arrow he can throw at us.
Let’s look more closely at the expression, “the Word of God.”
The Greek word used here which is translated “word” is “rhema.” It refers to specific Biblical statements, commands and the like from the Lord, which are in the Scriptures.
The sword is wielded when we apply specific Biblical statements, commands, and truths to specific situations, issues and temptations in our lives.
The Bible gives God’s will on a variety of subjects and we need to apply them to the subjects that they address. So wielding the sword of the Spirit means to apply specific Scriptures to our lives.
Let’s look at a time when Jesus wielded the sword of the Spirit against Satan’s temptations.
Example of this from the life of Christ:
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. Jesus answered, ‘It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
Satan tempted Christ in three different ways; each way demanded a different Scriptural truth to stand against it.
Remember Satan tempted Christ audibly and Christ spoke back audibly; this we do not experience. But what Christ actually did to stand against Satan was not in the spoken statement as much as it was in trusting and obeying it and thus not falling into Satan’s trap. That is what we need to do as well.
Let’s just look at one of the temptations:
In v. 3 Satan is tempting Christ to use his divine powers to meet his own personal needs or gain rather than follow God’s will and use his divine powers only for the redemptive purposes for which he was sent.
In v. 4 Jesus meets that temptation with the specific and appropriate Scripture,
not live by bread alone, but on every word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God.”
What Christ says is that according to this verse, man is to live by following God’s will articulated in the words in the Scriptures. This is his first priority, not meeting his own personal needs.
Jesus searches in his mind for the Scripture that applies to this temptation and then applies it by trusting and obeying it. Thus, he wields the sword of the Spirit. Christ applied the Scripture to the temptation, trusted it, that God could indeed sustain His life by the word of His mouth, and obeyed it, by not performing a miracle himself.
Each time he does this and each time Satan is thwarted. Notice, Satan cannot make Christ do anything. Christ must choose to follow the temptation if Satan is to trap him.
It is the same for us. Satan can only tempt us; he cannot make us do anything. We’re not going to go into the other two, but each time Christ wields the word.
If we want to use the Word of God against Satan’s attacks, this is what we must do. This is why it is so important for us to know the Word of God. If we don’t know what the Bible says, we can’t fight off Satan’s temptations.
We do this often without realizing it. When Satan tempts us, the Holy Spirit brings to mind specific verse – or truths – from Scripture, which deal with that temptation.
A person accepts Christ, does not realize that lying is a sin. He or she reads one day Prov.6:17 which says that God hates a lying tongue. He realizes that this is a sin and commits himself or herself to telling the truth.
Later that week, he or she makes a mistake at work and doesn’t want the boss to find out about it. After growing up in a society where lying to escape from trouble is valued he is tempted by Satan to lie. But he realizes that this is against God’s will and so he tells the truth.
Later, he is talking with another believer. She tells him that she was in a similar situation, but she lied. He shares with her Prov.6:17 and she is convicted by that verse and confesses to the Lord and decides not to do that again.
He has wielded the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God in his life as a defense to the temptation to sin and he has wielded the sword of the Spirit in his fellow-Christian’s life.
This is what it means to wield the sword of the Spirit. We wield the sword by trusting and obeying the Word, by applying the Word to our lives.
When we are tempted, to wield the sword, we need to think of or search for the appropriate truth in God’s Word, trust it, and obey it.
If we do that, we will turn away from that temptation.
Our commitment is to apply specific Biblical statements, commands, and truths to specific situations, issues and temptations in our lives.
1) guards us from indulging the lusts of the flesh by helping us understand the true nature of fleshly sin and how to turn away from fleshly sin according to God’s truth
2) guards us from believing the world’s lies by helping us understand the truth
3) guards us from applying falsehoods to specific situations, issues, and temptations
4) guards us from turning away from the Lord for escape or pleasure when
we are suffering because we know what God reveals in his Word about suffering
and how to deal with it
If we commit ourselves to these six characteristics which Paul describes
as the armor of God we will be able to stand firm against the attacks of
Satan because we will be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.