Ephesians 6:17; The sword of the Spirit – protecting ourselves and others.
length: 68:37 - taught on Jun, 23 2022
Thursday June 23, 2022
Sword of the Spirit: defense - protecting ourselves and others against the seduction of the enemy.
Falsehoods are not much good at deceiving unless they are plausible and palatable. The whole point of our armor and strength is to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. This is much like temptation, but with the added nuance of believing something about God, man, or life that is false.
We apply faith in the truth. We know to reject false doctrine. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual for the destruction of fortress, for the destruction of every lofty thing raise up against the knowledge of God.
We carry the burden of always gazing upon God’s glory, but we also have an added burden of God’s glory beheld by others.
Love seeks the benefit of another and sacrifices to do so.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.
There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Jesus defends His disciples by the word of God.
And the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?" 6 And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites [religious actors], as it is written (ISA 29:13),
'This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
7 'But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
Their washing was not in accordance with the cleansing ritual of the Mosaic Law, but part of the additional laws they added in the past and which evolved and became tradition. Tradition does not equal truth. When it comes to worshipping God, truth must take priority, and not culture or tradition if their manners are not found in God’s word. Jesus told them in the parallel passage in Matthew that they invalidated the word of God for the sake of their tradition.
“Because this people draw near with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,”
And this shows us another of the many schemes of the devil - substituting tradition for truth.
At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grainfields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Behold, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath." 3 But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did, when he became hungry, he and his companions; 4 how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? 5 "Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath, and are innocent? 6 "But I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here. 7 "But if you had known what this means, 'I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 "For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
In both cases, the Lord defended His disciples with the word of God. We must be prepared to defend our own in the same way when needed.
Sword of the Spirit: Testimony - the truth about what God has done for us in grace (Paul’s sermons, church history, personal).
Personal testimony can be a powerful means for the gospel as well as for the encouragement of others. The caution we all must use is to be sure that it doesn’t turn into a brag-imony. The emphasis on personal testimony must be God and what He has done. Only of ourselves do we have an intimate knowledge of what God can do for a person. The point of the testimony must never be ourselves, but God and His ability to do for the one or group we are speaking with.
The testimonies of those in the Bible, the narratives of the saints in both testaments, are powerful encouragements to us.
1CO 10:6 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
We have the personal testimonies of all the narratives in the OT, from Abel to Noah to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Sampson, Samuel, David, Solomon, the prophets, and most importantly Jesus.
In the Book of Acts we have the testimonies of Peter at Pentecost, Steven, and mostly Paul. The narrative of Paul’s life is inspiring and his faithfulness and excellent virtue is to be imitated. And when Paul does refer to himself in encouraging others, the emphasis is the Lord and not him.
“You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If he could preach Christ while under the immense amount of persecution he consistently faced, so could they. Paul’s testimony was encouragement to these elders who had to shepherd the church into the future.
Our testimony is the honest truth of God’s work in our own lives - emphasizing Him.
Immediately after his arrest in Jerusalem:
"Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you."
2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said,
3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you all are today. 4 "And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, 5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. 6 "And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, 7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ' Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' 8 "And I answered, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.'
The rest of his testimony is in the same theme and spirit. He boldly states to the Jews that the Lord Jesus sent him to the Gentiles, knowing well that they would not like this, and they didn’t, to the extent of demanding Paul be executed.