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Ephesians 6

17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The Roman helmet is called the galea. The helmet of salvation. The healing and wholeness that I now experience is my salvation too,because I have come to a living faith in a loving God now and forever. Salvation is not just for the afterlife.

Notice the helmet protects the head. Satan attacks our thinking more than any other place. But we already belong to the family of the risen Jesus and are already rescued from Satan. Because of this we can resist any other lies Satan sends our way. Satan is too late. The devil’s time is up. Now we are just in a mop up period.

All of these parts of the armor of the Roman soldier are defensive by function. Belt, breastplate, shield, shoes, and helmet make it possible to stand firm without being moved. But there is one offensive weapon Paul speaks of. The Roman sword, called the gladius. This is where we get the word, “gladiator.”

When the devil speaks false words against me, I go to the true words of God and I slash them Satan’s way. Isaiah the prophet knows who these words refer to. The Messiah. Jesus is the Word of God and here is what Isaiah says about this.

      The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. (11:5)

or here.

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      He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword. (49:2)

Here is an important way of thinking I use to fight Satan with the Word of God. Whenever I think I am being attacked by Satan in the words I am speaking negatively to myself in my mind, or whenever the attack seems like is coming from someone else who is being influenced by Satan, I have a simple test.

Are the words I am am saying to myself words I can imagine coming out of Jesus’ mouth?

Are the words this person is saying to me words that Jesus would say?

This works every time. The sword of God’s word strikes clean.

ME

Why is it good to keep going back to God’s promises in the Bible? How can you make progress in your self-talk?

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Ephesians 6

1For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

The shoes of the soldier are called, caligae. These are not as much sandals as they are marching boots. And when your enemy attacks you and pushes against you with his shield, you can stand firm because these shoes have spikes on them, almost like golf spikes.

These shoes of peace harken back to Isaiah were the prophet says,

How beautiful on the mountains

    are the feet of the messenger who brings good news,

the good news of peace and salvation,

    the news that the God of Israel reigns! (52:7)

Because we have peace with God we can have peace with each other. We can experience the Shalom of God, where we know everything is going to be right in the end, even if we don’t know why. We can stand firm.

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In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

The Roman shield is the scutum. It is used to stop the enemy from pushing you back. The middle part can also be used to batter someone. But, the main use of the shield is to protect from projectiles. Now the word here for fiery arrows is plumbata. This is a dart weighted with lead that soldiers would carry in their shield. These could be thrown at a range of up to 70 yards. To be protected from these darts and arrows, a soldier would lift his shield over his head, or a whole group of soldiers can do this by forming a testuto, which is Latin for “tortoise.” You have seen this tactic used in Roman movies.

The fiery darts are the lies Satan sends our way. Where the devil tries to sow doubt, despair, bad circumstances, and temptations, including arrogance and pride. Faith is confidence in Jesus that says, No!” to all of that. It is having confidence in who Jesus is and my identity through him as having the same loving father. Confidence based on evidence.

Whatever the devil throws your way, you are strong and protected by Jesus. This protection is as it has always been and will be for you forever.

ME

When gets in the way of your sensing the presence of God in your life? What can you do to change this?

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Ephesians 6

14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.

The first piece of armor Paul speaks of is the cintus, which is the belt the soldier wears around his waist. This belt is used to hold everything else into place.

That is what the truth of God does. It holds everything else into place. Fortunately God gives us access to the truth because he sent Jesus. We can listen to the teachings of Jesus and look at the model of Jesus and here we see God come to focus. Christian faith lived out like Jesus lives it out is true.

This is saying something and also not saying something. What we are not saying is Christian faith is true because it works. What we are saying is Christina faith works because it is true. Think about the difference. With the truth we can live in God’s Kingdom and follow his ways.

Then there is “the body armor of God’s righteousness.”

This armor or “breastplate,” as it is called, is the pectorale. Literally, the “protector of the heart.”

Righteousness= justice

This is the heart of the matter for us.

Our one true God is the one true judge. God intends to put the world right. This is where Jesus comes in. We are already declared right in Jesus and so when we are attacked by Satan we have protection.

Satan is a big fan of name-calling. Satan attacks our identity. “God doesn’t love you.” “You are a bad person.” “You are weak.” “How can God love someone as broken as you?” “How can you call yourself a Christian?”

No, I am the son of a loving Father. Through confidence in Jesus, I am in God’s family forever. I am royalty and my coronation came at my baptism. Through the water and the word God declares me his and I begin to live my life in his kingdom.

ME

The same teaching that would say there is no evil also says there is no truth. Truth is culturally conditioned and what is truth for you may not be truth for me. “There is no truth” is, of course, a truth statement.

 

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Ephesians 6

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 

Remember the Apostle Paul is a Roman citizen. Frequently in his writings he uses Roman military terms to talk about this spiritual battle that is taking place. Satan has no power against God and so Satan is trying to get us to turn from God and want what Satan wants done in the world. Paul doesn’t recommend trying to run from Satan. He says three times in this passage to stand! Take a stand against the forces of evil. We are in a war, but we don’t see this. A battle, but we only see a glimpse. Here is where Satan steps in and uses two main lies right from the start.

The first lie is that there is no Satan or spiritual forces of evil. Satan wants us to buy into the silly comic, cartoon version of the devil. Or Satan wants us to believe there is no evil. This is the sophisticated view of the university. There is no university course that will compare what is good and what is evil.

I remember being on local task force of academic and community leaders to respond to the attack on our nation on September 11. Someone called the attack, “evil,” and one of our key community academic leaders at the time said, “There is no such thing as evil. It only depends on your context.”

The second lie is that Satan is all powerful and at work everywhere to oppose God and it is a battle of equals. Satan is not all powerful. Satan can’t get you to do anything. Satan has to use deception because Satan is limited. The devil doesn’t know your thoughts, for example. Satan can only figure you out the same as any other creature, though Satan is an expert on understanding the human condition. The Garden of Eden is but one example.

So, what is our defense? Don’t think too little of Satan or too much. Satan is behind all the evil in the world, but just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are necessarily from the devil.

Now it’s time to stand firm.

ME

Are you most likely to underestimate Satan or overestimate Satan’s influence? What has been your experience with evil?