Ephesians 6:17; The sword of the Spirit – its uses: sustenance and defense.
Wednesday June 15, 2022
Sword of the Spirit: Gospel, defense, testimony, teaching, reproof, and correction properly used under the will of the HS.
How does God see us wearing His armor? What is God’s vision for us in this text? What are we to accomplish with God’s armor in His eyes?
First, as we saw last time, we are not to judge the people of the world with the word of God or His gospel. In our hands, the sword is the gospel of peace, and the words of God are for the encouragement, comfort, and improvement of others. God alone judges, and He will bring all who have not trusted Christ’s judgment on their behalf, to final judgment.
“God’s word” is his utterance – “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Deu 8:3).
"All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your forefathers. 2 And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
It is through His Spirit that His word is both uttered and received on earth. Perhaps the best example of the use of his word to repel spiritual foes is seen in Jesus’ employment of Deu 8:3 to repel the tempter in the wilderness. The devil challenged Jesus, hungry after not having eaten in forty days, to turn stones into bread. And look at the context of Deu 8 – God let you be hungry so that He might make you understand that living with Him through His word is real life, and not just surviving or being comfortable.
The sustenance of the word is learning and living it.
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.”
This gives us insight into the reason why so many things are held back from us. The things we need the most, at bottom, are food and water. We hardly think of them because they are so plentiful in our society. If God will withhold bread or food, what else might He withhold, that are not actually needs, but wants? Doesn’t it seem plain that He is doing to us what He did to the Israelites so long ago; showing us that we do not live by earthly goods or pleasures alone, but by God, and especially the flowing forth of His word to us which comes from His very mouth. God is teaching us that all we ever needed was Him. God has made man for Himself, and man will be restless until he finds his rest in God. Then, and only then, will we wield God’s sword effectively and skillfully. Indeed, we will move in His full armor as comfortably as if it were a second skin. Until then, we will use the sword and the armor, but not very well, clumsily, and many times, we won’t even bother to put it on or take up the sword at all.
This understanding, of God denying us certain things so that we will see that all we need is His word, which is the foundational meaning of this famous passage, shows us that it is not memorizing and then speaking a passage that is the sword of the Spirit, but truly understanding the meaning behind the passage. I’m actually all for memorizing passages, though it is not required. But memorization without understanding is not God’s sword in our hands.
Thy word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against Thee.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you
The divine utterance by the Spirit lends itself readily to the believer who has treasured it for effective us against any scheme to seduce his allegiance.
The schemes of the devil are to seduce all believers from their daily allegiance to Christ. We must stand firm and defend ourselves and also anyone else who is being seduced. Who in your life currently is being seduced by the kingdom of darkness? You may have to contemplate it and pray about it so that you will be aware and God set them on your heart so that you will see them. Do we care? We use God’s word to help them see the truth if their vision has been clouded. We use the word to encourage them when temptation is strong. We use the word of God in prayer to petition God’s intervention. Is it not obvious, that to do any of this, we must know the word of God very well, having applied it successfully in our own lives?
In our passage in Ephesians, when the Christian soldier wields the sword of the word, it is not first of all the word of judgment but the good news of salvation. Rhema often refers to the gospel specifically, but we would also include whatever part or principle of the word of God needed for the moment, and in all cases that word is used for the deliverance of ourselves or another in an offensive or defensive manner.
for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction;
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
The gospel on our lips is encouragement of deliverance.
As believers take hold of and proclaim the gospel, they are enabled to overcome in the battle. And as regards the powers, that gospel does sound a note of judgment, for it announces their defeat. The paradox again is that it is the gospel of peace and reconciliation that is the sword that enables the militia Christ to advance. As the church continues to be the reconciled and reconciling community, the gospel conquers the alienating hostile powers and brings about God’s saving purposes.
The gospel has God’s judgment embedded within it, and so is a sword (Joh 3:18; Mat 10:34).
"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. 20 "For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
Due to its inherent deliverance and judgment, the gospel divides people, even households.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it.”
Remember, “blessed are the peacemakers.” We should not remove ourselves from our family and loved ones who have rejected Christ. We are not to purposely reject the people of the world, but rather to be a light unto them. We are to reject any so-called brother who is living in an open lifestyle of sin.