Ephesians 6:17; The sword of the Spirit – its uses: defense, resisting temptation.
Thursday June 16, 2022
Sword of the Spirit: Gospel, defense, testimony, teaching, reproof, and correction properly used under the will of the HS.
Last time we looked at the sword as the gospel. Within the gospel is salvation for the believer and judgment for the unbeliever. Due to its inherent deliverance and judgement, the gospel divides people, and even households.
The gospel has God’s judgment embedded within it, and so is a sword (Joh 3:18; Mat 10:34).
Remember, “blessed are the peacemakers.” We should not remove ourselves from our family and loved ones who have rejected Christ. They might remove themselves from us, but we are to be a light to the world, not separatists from those in need of salvation. 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.
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.
The context of this passage is the man who was bedding his father’s wife and the whole church knew it. “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves,” says Paul. We should be careful not to separate ourselves from the wrong people.
The sword of the Spirit: defense – resisting temptation.
We probably all know the scripture “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1Co 10:13). But to read it in context is to invoke the memory of the Exodus generation who through unbelieve would not enter into God’s rest. They were tempted in the wilderness and upon their failure to believe, they in turn tempted God.
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. 7 And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, " The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play." 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
“These things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things as they also craved.” Temptation competes for our affection.
We are all given a craving that can easily seek the wrong things.
Paul saw that all men were more or less liable to the same temptation, and were apt to rest in the fact that they were Christians and to shrink from the arduous life which gives that name its meaning. A young ordained Christian named George MacDonald became the pastor of a parish devoted to Calvinism. He taught with all his heart the truths concerning Christian growth through submission and dependence on God’s will. He found that his congregation were so satisfied with being “chosen” by God that they cared little for anything more in the spiritual life. Unhappy with their new pastor, but not wanting to outright fire him, they cut his salary to one-third of their original agreement. He left. F
Not all Christians enter into the mature life of Christ.
Prior to the example of the Exodus, Paul used the example of their games.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
Paul fixes our mind on the reality that not all who enter the games win the prize and not all who set out from Egypt entered the Promised Land. Not all Christians enter the life where they see what eye cannot see and hear what ear cannot hear – the very glory of God that transcends all earthly things and even ourselves and causes us to bow, adore, and worship God, and in so doing, finding life beyond dreams.