Ephesians 6:17; The Sword of the Spirit – The word of God is authoritative.

Class Outline:

Thursday June 9, 2022


HEB 4:8-13

For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.


The Sabbath rest is festive praise of God in worship of Him with the confidence that He has given all things necessary for our good and security.


This principle will be prominent when we look at one of the defensive ways of the sword of the Spirit, which is the resistance of temptation.


“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” [Augustine, Confessions]


Joshua, by his own sword, could not provide divine rest. If the human sword eliminates an enemy, another will take the enemy’s place. Caesar takes the throne by force and Brutus assassinates him, and on and on the pageant goes.


There must be a rest for God’s people because no one has any true desire that God has not given to us and in turn fulfilled. Rest is in the finished work of Jesus Christ.


Yet Jesus told us that if we came to Him we would find rest for our souls.


MAT 11:28

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”


The Sabbath rest in vs. 9 does not refer to doing no work but to Sabbath observance, or Sabbath celebration. The emphasis was not on the cessation of all daily activities but rather on an unhindered opportunity for the people of God to celebrate God’s life-sustaining presence among them. It was a time of festive praise.


The Sabbath rest of Heb 4 is applied to everyday, and not restricted to Saturday as it was in the Mosaic Law. The emphasis is on the future rest, which for Israel is their coming kingdom and for the individual believer, it is heaven, but the author uses a past tense, “entered His rest,” which must apply now to the spiritual rest of the abundant life of the spiritually mature who ceases to struggle over the issues and problems of life.


This Sabbath doesn’t mean that we do no work, but rather that we cease from our own efforts which have never taken us to fulfillment and have always caused us to struggle as if walking knee-deep in the mud. By faith, we rely on God’s ways and commands to see us through as we chose to do all things His way and please Him. In other words, we joyfully apply God’s word to every situation and happily anticipate the outcomes (hope). In this state of mature faith, we skillfully use the sword of the Spirit as it is intended to be.


We are to be diligent to enter into this rest (mature faith in all of God’s word), and the word of God, by carving us up and showing our innards, will get us there.


“Let us be diligent” is an hortatory subjunctive that acts as a command. It’s a strong exhortation for us all to quit tinkering around with our little lives and this little world and tarrying and pacing in front of the gate of maturity and determining to enter in, throwing all into the hands of the Father and picking up our crosses (death to old self), drinking our cup and putting on the new self.


The word of God is alive and it cuts us open. Division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow means that God’s word penetrates every part of us; nothing is hidden from it.


The word reveals to each of us a full report of what good and evil it finds within us (HEB 4:12).


If we are humble, we will read that report with eyes that desire to understand it in its entirely, and desire to make all changes necessary with the one goal in mind of being conformed to the image of Christ.


If we are willing to look and make the changes necessary, whatever they may be, we will use the sword of the Spirit as it has always been designed.


Word is authoritative. We must conform to it, not the other way round.


The word of God is authoritative. It will go against our preconceived ideas, and if we strive to learn it, we will see it is always right. If we do not change, if we refuse to conform to the standards of God’s word, then we will not enter into God’s rest and will struggle throughout life as slaves to emotions, circumstances, and sin.


We all bring into Christianity our own ideas of how human meaning, morality, and destiny should work or should be, and they are wrong at some level because they are tainted by human reasonings. When we learn God’s word, some things will be difficult to understand at first. We will think some of the ways and commands given by God in His word will not work, or even if we say by faith that we know they have to work since it is God’s word, we cannot fathom how, and the result is that we go at them half-heartedly, which ends up proving our suspicions. Hence, God does not ever tell us to wait until we understand to obey. There is not another Bible for the beginner, nor a beginner’s section in the one Bible. The commands are for the children and the fathers of maturity. We are to do what we are told whether we agree or like it.


While our heads are filled with the picture of beautiful material things, house, cars, yard, children, pets, shiny kitchens; and temporal things, entertainment of our liking, sex, social life, and the admiration of our neighbors; and economic things, fulfilling work and padded bank accounts and expensive vacations - then we read in the holy and authoritative scripture that none of these things fulfill and in fact are dangerous as potential idols, and that God alone is love, joy, and peace.


We may consciously or unconsciously protest that God is invisible. we cannot hear, touch, or see Him, and He alone is going to fill our soul with infinite joy? God confirms that very thing over and over throughout His history of revelation. But when we have followed up on this promise by faith, over time groping to understand, we find to our great surprise, looking back, that the connection was perfectly clear. The glory of God, just looking into it and beholding it, as Christianity teaches us to hope for it, turns out to satisfy our original desire and indeed to reveal an element in that desire which we had not noticed. By ceasing to consider our own wants and considering His, we begin to understand what we really wanted. We longed for our Father and our Brother and our Teacher, the Trinity, of which the other things we thought we wanted were only faint pictures that sprouted desire.


I think of the woman who upon becoming a Christian is told that she has to submit to her husband if she wants happiness in her marriage. I think for most women who were not brought up with that idea, it seems like a death sentence. But the word of God is alive and authoritative. If we do not abide by the rule of God’s word, the consequences stated within it will come upon us. We can bank on that. To wear God’s armor, to hold firm the shield of faith in one hand and to use the sword of the Spirit skillfully, we have to obey in submission to all of God’s will.


It is God who dwelt among us in the Person and Jesus Christ and continues to do so. The same One who died on a cross to save us from sin and death and lies is the same one who commands us to obey Him and says that if we love Him, we will, and then He and His Father will come and build their home with us.


Armor and a home, both designed and built by God.


1TI 1:12

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service.




All who take up the sword of the world will perish by that sword. If it doesn’t happen in war or conflict, it will happen in general as rest, peace, joy, and life escape them in a world of sin, darkness, and death. But what about the sword of the Spirit?