The Armour of God

John Plunkett
Day of Atonement
September 14, 2013

In the sermon today, I would like to discuss with you the Armour of God, as detailed in God’s holy Word, and in relation to the Day of Atonement.

Ephesians 6:13:
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

When we think of the words “the evil day,” we might think of the time that is usually symbolized by the Feast of Trumpets rather than the Day of Atonement.  We might think of the worsening world conditions as we approach the end of this age and, of course, the return of Jesus Christ.

But personally, when I think of God’s Holy Days, and when I think of the words “evil day,” I think about the putting away of "the evil one."  That is what comes to my mind and that is what makes me think of the Day of Atonement. 

We are very a blessed people.  Even though our nation of Canada, this beautiful country that we live in, is still relatively stable and peaceful, there is little doubt that the days certainly are becoming progressively evil.  As God’s influence is increasingly maligned, ridiculed, and ignored by this world, Satan’s influence is undoubtedly on the increase.  If you are watching world news, as we all should be, can any of us deny that the days are becoming more evil and more Satan influenced?  Can any of us deny that God’s people have never before had so much need for the protection of the armour of God, as we do today? 

This annual Holy Day, the Day of Atonement, gives us just one of God’s solutions for ending this increasing evil; and that is the locking away of Satan and his demons.  This will initially be a temporary imprisonment, for a thousand years, and then permanently; forever.  The other solutions to this world's ills are pictured by the other Holy Days; but today we are concentrating on what the Day of Atonement pictures.

We will now go away from Ephesians 6; but we will come back and look at it more detail later on.  I would like us to look at a few other significant scriptural mentions of "armour."  There are actually forty-one appearances of the word "armour" in the King James Version of the Bible.  We don’t have time to cover all of them today; but I do want us to look at the most applicable ones for God’s people today on the Day of Atonement.  

I Samuel 17:
38: And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.
39: And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it.  And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.  And David put them off him.

David need to go!  He needed to be able to move quickly and agilely; but Saul’s armour was way to big, heavy and cumbersome for him.  Saul was what we would call "a big lad."  Samuel tells us that Saul was taller than all other Israelites:

I Samuel 9:
1:  Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.
2:  And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.

So compared with Saul, young David was probably like a mere shrimp!  From this and from other accounts too, we imagine young David to be quite small; but we know that he was strong as well.  Way before this episode with Goliath, God chose David to replace Saul as King.  He chose David over David’s biggest and oldest brother, Eliab; and also over all of his other big brothers:

I Samuel 16:
6:  And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him.
7:  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Again, it appears that Eliab was a big lad as well.  But the LORD chose David to become Israel’s greatest king.  When we go through the relevant scriptures, they quite frequently compare young David with a bunch of big guys: Eliab, Saul and Goliath in particular.  But the LORD repeatedly shows in these accounts that, when YHVH comes into the equation, physical size doesn’t matter.  Also that physical armour doesn’t matter either. 

What does matter is the Armour of God... and God’s will... and our obedience to God’s will... and the purity of our hearts.  These are things that really matter.

I Samuel 17:54: 
And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

It is interesting that David put Goliath’s armour in his tent.  This scripture and others indicate that it seemed to be a common practice in those days for victorious soldiers to do these kinds of things.  They would strip off the defeated guys' armour, take it back and either put it in their temple or in their home, on display as a kind of souvenir.  In this case, for young David, it was a souvenir of a wonderful miracle that God had given.

Yes, God did give David this miraculous victory over the giant; but if you think about it, He gave some other victories to David as well.  He gave him a victory over his big brothers who had given him a hard time about wanting to have a part in defeating the Philistine enemy.  He also eventually gave David a victory over King Saul who, in jealously and with some of Satanic influence, repeatedly tried to kill David, despite David’s proven loyalty.

So God gave David these victories; and God also promises to give you and me the victory over our biggest enemies.  But our biggest enemies are even bigger than Eliab, Saul and Goliath put together. 
Our greatest enemies are twin enemies of Satan and death.

We think a lot about Satan on the Day of Atonement, and we look forward to him being locked away.  Satan’s very name means "adversary" or "enemy."  In the Parable of the Tares, Jesus firmly branded Satan as an enemy:

Matthew 13:
25: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way...
28: He said unto them, An enemy hath done this.  The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?...
39: The enemy that sowed them
(the tares) is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

We know that the devil is one of our worst enemies.  But what about our other arch-enemy – death?

I Corinthians 15:
26: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death...
54: So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55: O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?
56: The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57:  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eventually we are going to have victory over death; and that, of course, is a great thing to look forward to.  But, in the meantime, we need God’s armour to protect us, and we will need God’s armour to give us that ultimate victory against these two powerful enemies.

The first mention of "armour" in the New Testament is in Luke 11.  This an intriguing account.  It is too bad that we don’t have time to go into it in more detail:

Luke 11:
20:  But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. 
21:  When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:
22:  But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

Here is that concept again of the victor taking the armour of the defeated. 

If we think that we, or our nations are so very strong and invincible, if we trust in our physical treasures and our nations' armour, fortresses, armies, navies, air-forces, marines or the Pentagon, we need to beware!... because there is always a possibility of a stronger force than ours. 

If you look back in history, you'll know that all of the major powers were eventually overcome by a stronger force.  Jesus tells us here what will happen when a stronger force comes along and defeats us.  They will strip of our armour that we so foolishly trusted in; they will hang it up in their castles or in their temples as trophies, and they will divide the treasures that they have taken from us and our people. 

But Jesus meant this to be taken spiritually too; and of course, the stronger foe that He is talking about here is Satan and his armies.

God warns us through the apostle Paul:

I Corinthians 10:
12: Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

We, the members of God’s Church, need to beware of foolishly and vainly thinking that we have it made. The armour in which we trust must not be of the physical kind.  The armour that we trust in must be of the spiritual kind: the Armour of God.

Now that we have started with the apostle Paul, let’s stay with him from now on until the end of the sermon.  Paul gives us two comparatively short statements about armour, and one longer one.  Let’s begin with the two shorter ones:

Romans 13:
11:  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12:  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13:  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 
14:  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

The apostle Paul is telling us here about one very important type of spiritual armour the armour of light.

We know that he is mainly talking about spiritual light and spiritual darkness here, more than the physical.  However, he does allude to the fact that physical nighttime is the time when most of the major types of physical immorality, violence and many other sins take place.  I remember one of our deacons wisely stating in a sermonette that "nothing good happens after eleven o'clock at night." 

God further warns us through the apostle Paul:

I Thessalonians 5:5:
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

So, looking on this from a physical point of view, it would be wise to do most of our out-of-home activities whenever possible, in the daylight hours and be back in the relative safety of our homes for the nighttime hours and especially the late night hours.  This may not always be possible; but in some cities in this world, you would putting your life in jeopardy by going out in the streets late at night.

Paul’s spiritual meaning in Romans 13 is that the world today is "the age of darkness."  The Millennium, during which Satan and his demons are going to be imprisoned for a thousand years, is the beginning of "the age of light."

But the Millennium is not here yet.  Even though the spiritual night time will soon be over and the spiritual day time will soon dawn, the age of darkness is still with us; and the enemy is still with us. This being the case, the apostle Paul tells us here that there are some things that we need to be doing.  We need to be waking up out of our spiritual sleep.  We need to be becoming more spiritually awake and alert.  We need to be casting off any works of darkness that are still dragging us down.  We need to be participating in righteous daytime behaviour.  We need to walking honestly and morally; not in lustful, immoral, nighttime behaviours.  This applies both spiritually and physically.  We need to put on and keep on God’s armour of light.  How do we do this?

Romans 13:14: 
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

By putting on the armour of light (verse 12) we are putting on Jesus Christ (verse 13).  The logic of this is that, if we put on the armour of light and in so doing we put on Jesus Christ, this means that Jesus Christ is the armour of light.  That is simple logic. 

Jesus repeatedly tells us throughout the gospels that He was and still is, of course the light of the world.  But He also tells us that we, too, must become the light of the world:

Matthew 5:14:
Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

If we put on the armour of light, and if we put on and clothe ourselves with Jesus Christ, then we too are putting on the Light of the world. 

If we walk around in our usual clothes, we will meld in with the darkness of this world and no notice will be taken of us; but if we put on a suit of brilliant, luminous, shining armour, and if we climb to the top of a spiritual hill, as Jesus commands us to, then we are going to stick out like a sore thumb. 

As a result...

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.  (Isaiah 9:2)

Jesus Christ shined that light; and He wants us to shine that light as well:

Matthew 5:
15:  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16:  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Are we hiding our God-given lights under a bushel?  Or are we donning the brilliant, shining, spiritual armour of light?  Are we clothing ourselves with Jesus Christ?  Are we climbing up to the top of that spiritual hill and displaying the light to Satan’s world that is so steeped in his darkness?

Now let’s go on the Paul’s second armour statement:

II Corinthians 6:
1:  We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain...
4:  But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses...

Paul was referring specifically to the ministry here; but what he was saying in this chapter does not exclude the non-ministerial brethren.  Rather, it includes all of God's children.  As Paul says in verse 1, we are all workers together with Jesus Christ.

5:  In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6:  By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

What a fantastic phrase “love unfeigned” is.  True love cannot be falsely put on.

7: By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

What righteousness is Paul talking about here?  Is he talking about the righteousness of man?  No.  God tells us that man's righteousness is about as pure as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  No, Paul is talking about the righteousness of God.  If you take the time to study into the righteousness of God, you will find that it is an unbelievably vast, wonderful and all-encompassing entity.  We will come back to the armour of righteousness again in a few minutes.

We are done with Paul’s two comparatively short mentions of spiritual armour.  Now for the "biggie":

Ephesians 6:
10: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

We read some great, strong words there: strong, power, and might.  But just how are we to be strong in the power of the Lord’s might?  The answer begins in verse 11:

11a: Put on the whole armour of God…

We've just looked at two parts of the armour: the armour of light and the armour of righteousness.  Now God is telling us to put on the whole armour of God.

11b: ... that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

There’s a word that we don’t use every day – “wiles.”   What are wiles?  The best way to describe them is like a bad guy who is lying in wait to do bad things to us.  Or a bad guy trying to trick us into doing bad things like the ones that he does.  We all know who that bad guy is!

12:  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Another translation of "spiritual wickedness in high places" is “highly placed wicked spirits” or “high ranking wicked spirits.”  He is talking about wrestling with spiritual wickedness and with wicked spirits. 

Did you, or do you, ever play-wrestle with your Dad, with your kids, or with your brothers or sisters?  I suppose that most families play-wrestle.  Usually the Dad lets the kids win!  

Real sport wrestling was quite popular in Bible times.  We saw one movie about Jesus where it showed Him having fun with His disciples, wrestling with them.  This is probably not so far removed from the truth, because I think that the Jesus did like wrestling.  We know that once when He was YHVH, He wrestled with Jacob.  This was just prior to Him changing Jacob’s name to "Israel."  He gave Jacob a permanent limp so that he would never forget that notable wrestling match. 

It would be safe for spiritual Israelites to wrestle with Jesus because He loves us and He would not purposely or permanently hurt us or damage us.  But the devil is trying to purposely and permanently hurt and damage us.  It is best if we can avoid wrestling with Satan and his demons.  We need to stay away from Satan and his influences as much as we can.  This can also apply to the entertainment that we watch and other activities too.  Satan has lots of fallen-angel friends that we call "demons" who can bug us.  And we might not even know that it is them that are doing it!  What they're doing in such cases is that they are trying to chide us into wrestling with them. 

The devil also has lots of human supporters who do bad things, and sometimes try to get us to do bad things along with them.  Sometimes this comes in the form of peer-pressure.  And peer pressure is not just restricted to the realm of young people.  We adults can sometimes suffer from it as well.

We must wrestle ourselves free and get away from Satan and his cohorts, whether they be spirit beings or human beings.  We must command them to get away from us.  Yes, we do have the authority to do this.  Even though Satan and his friends are very strong, very devious and very clever, with God's help we can overcome them.  This is a verse to remember:

James 4:7: 
Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you...

The word “resist” here is translated from the Greek word "anthistemi" (which might remind you of the word "antihistamine").  It can also mean to stand, to withstand, to oppose, to set oneself against.  It is talking here about withstanding, standing against, opposing, setting ourselves against the devil and his demon and human helpers.  Please keep the word "withstand" in mind as we are going to come back to it.

But how are we to resist, to withstand and to oppose Satan and his cohorts?  Yes, by submitting ourselves to God as He tells us through James in verse 7; but also by staying close to God.

Verse 8:  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9a: Be afflicted…

Other scriptures indicate that this could possibly refer to fasting.  A good thing to do when we're forced into a wrestling match with Satan and his cohorts.

9b: …and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

Neither God nor the apostle James were against fun, or laughter.  James was not being a "wet blanket" here.  He was obviously referring to the wrong, inappropriate kinds of laughter, fun and entertainment.  In love and true concern, he was advising his brothers and sisters to "Get serious!"

10:  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

How else can we resist, withstand and oppose Satan and his cohorts?  To find out, let's go back to and continue in Ephesians 6:

13a: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God...

The single Greek verb for “take unto you” is "analambano."  It can also mean "take into you" or "take into yourself." 

We read earlier that by putting on the armour of light, we are effectively putting on Jesus Christ.  If we put on a suit of armour we are effectively in that suit of armour.  If we put on Jesus Christ, we are in Jesus Christ and He is then our protection. 

Here, Paul tells us that when we take into ourselves the whole armour of God, we are effectively taking that armour into ourselves, thus inviting Jesus to be in us.  There are many scriptures that tell us that we are in Jesus; but there are also many other scriptures that tell us that He is in us. 

Our armoured protection, then, is on our inside as well as on our outside!

13b: ... that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Here we read the word "withstand" (Greek: anthistemi) and the word "stand" (Greek: histemi).  Is there any difference between the two?

We have already seen that withstanding is the same as resisting.  But standing is just that.  I am standing up here.  Once the sermon is finished you will be standing up for the final hymn. 

That is just standing, we are not withstanding So what is the difference? 

Imagine yourself in a strong windstorm, a hurricane or a tornado; and the wind is almost blowing you off your feet.  What would you do?  You would plant your feet solidly on the ground; you would lean into the wind; you would find something solid to hold on to; and you would try to find some protection to shelter from the wind.  That is withstanding

But what happens when the wind drops?  There is no longer anything to withstand; nothing to resist.  So then you are no longer withstanding; you are just standing.

In verse 13, Paul encourages us to withstand in the evil day.  In the previous chapter of this letter to the Ephesian brethren, Paul warned them that the days are evil:

Ephesians 5:16:
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

That was two thousand years ago.  Generally, we might say that this is the evil day.  Why?  Because we are now so much closer to the last days.  In some ways, the days now are more evil than they were in Paul’s day. 

But let’s admit something here.  We all have good days and bad days, don't we?  We have bad "withstanding days" when God perhaps allows Satan and his cohorts to bug us even more than usual.

But we also have comparatively good "standing days," when the devil and his cohorts perhaps temporarily divert their attacks and go find somebody else to bug.  Or perhaps God gives us extra protection and commands them to leave us.  But even in those relatively easy "standing days" we very much need to keep God’s armour on.  We need to remain on guard, because we can be sure that the next round of attacks will soon be coming our way.

Now, as we continue in Ephesians 6, we read of Paul getting into the individual pieces of the armour of God:

14a:  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth

All of the guys in the room today will understand that any ancient soldier would be very wise to have his loins area very well protected, because that area would be an easy target for an enemy to go for in order to quickly incapacitate him.  Our most basic spiritual armour, therefore, is the Truth of God.

Truth is such a vast subject.  There are 224 mentions of the word "Truth" throughout the King James Version.  We will just pick on one little area here that is connected with our core topic of the Day of Atonement:

John 8:
31:  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32:  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free...

In John 17, in that wonderful prayer to His Father, Jesus said: “Thy word is Truth.”  So we have a direct link between God’s Word and Truth. 

If we want to be Jesus’ disciples (and we all do, obviously), we need to believe on Him and we need to be steeped in His Truth.  We need to continue in a daily study of the Truth of God as set out in the written Word of God, the Bible.

Jesus Christ and God the Father want you and me to believe their Truth; not lies. Don’t we all want to believe the Truth?  Don't we all want what we believe to be the Truth?  Of course we do!

If we do these things, then Jesus promises that we will come to know the Truth and it will give us a wonderful level of freedom.

There were some Jews who had previously believed Jesus to some extent; but now they viciously turned against Him.  They were undoubtedly influenced by Satan and also by some human cohorts of Satan, claiming to be the children of Abraham.  Still in John 8:

40:  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41:  Ye do the deeds of your father.  Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42:  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43:  Why do ye not understand my speech?  Even because ye cannot hear my word.
44:  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45:  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
46:  Which of you convinceth me of sin?  And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

We need to pray continually that God will give us His Truth and that He will give us the help of His Holy Spirit to always believe the Truth and to tell the Truth.

Back to Ephesians 6:

14b: …. and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Back in II Corinthians 6, we looked into the armour of righteousness in some detail. 

Here the apostle Paul specifies which piece of the armour of God deals with righteousness – the breastplate.

When we were down in Washington State last week, we met a young man who is a marine and had served in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I asked him about his armour.  He told us that they wear a breastplate made from a strong man-made material called Kevlar.  This breastplate does not just protect the breast area; but protects the front, sides and back of the upper body, thus protecting a soldier’s heart, lungs and all of his major internal organs. 

Back in Bible times, because of the relatively primitive surgical procedures, if a soldier suffered any injury to any of those organs, he was "history"!  It was almost certain death for him.

God's breastplate of righteousness protects the spiritual counterparts of those organs.  You can find mention in the Bible of the liver, the kidneys and, of course, the heart.  In some scriptures these organs are mentioned as symbols for spiritual things.  The spiritual aspects of many of these vital organs and their functions are dealt with in many scriptures. 

Again, this protective righteousness is not some lesser human counterfeit.  It is not the righteousness of man.  As part of the armour of God, this is true righteousness – the righteousness of God.  The righteousness of God is a vast scriptural subject that is very well worth studying into.

Verse 15 is in some respects kind of a humorous one:

15:  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

I know that a lot of you young people work out in construction, as I used to do, and you have to wear protective boots. This is what Paul is talking about here.  There are a lot of scriptures that link together the seemingly unrelated topics of feet and the gospel (good news) and peace.  Here's just one:

Romans 10:15:
And how shall they preach, except they be sent?  As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

“Glad tidings” is actually the same Greek word (euaggelizo) as "gospel."

What about us?  Are we included with those who have beautiful feet?  Are we included with those who are involved with the preaching of the gospel of peace
– the good tidings of good things?  Good things like salvation, the World Tomorrow and the Kingdom of God.  

Or are we concentrating so much on the bad news of the world today or of the prophesied end-times that the good news is being pushed off to the sidelines?  Satan and his warriors would love us to concentrate on the bad news.  They would love to divert us from preaching the good news.  Figuratively, they would love to smash and disfigure the beautiful feet of those who are preaching the gospel of peace, which they hate so much.  So again, we need to have on spiritual protective armored boots. 

Please notice that it is not just the gospel of peace that Paul specifies in Ephesians 6:15; but "the preparation of the gospel of peace."  The Greek noun (hetoimasia) for "preparation" stems from a verb (hetoimazo) that means to make ready, to make the necessary preparations and to get everything ready.  This verb is drawn from the ancient custom of sending work crews in advance of a king’s journey to make the roads as level, passable and comfortable for him.  It was applied to John the Baptist who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus’ first coming (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 1:17, 76; 3:4).  But, as alluded to by Malachi and Matthew in a couple of scriptures, this kind of preparation is required just as much for Jesus’ second coming as it was for the first. Probably even more so!

So, how are we doing?  Are we getting involved in the preaching of the gospel of peace?  If we are, we get a free set of boots that comes with the job to protect the beautiful feet of those who are participating in the preaching of the good news.

Back again to Ephesians 6:

16:  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Here is another huge subject that could prompt an extensive Bible study of its own – the subject of faith.  If you do do a deeper study on the subject of faith, you will find that this spiritual shield of faith is inextricable linked to one of the other pieces of the armour of God – the breastplate of righteousness.  A deep study on these two things – faith and the righteousness of God – will reveal over and over again that they are looked upon as the very same thing. 

This shield of faith is a very special shield.  It doesn’t just protect us from the incoming spiritual arrows, spears or sword thrusts of our enemies. It quenches all of the fiery darts of the wicked.  I visualize this shield as having a built-in spiritual fire-hose that gushes out vast amounts of spiritual water in order to douse the extremely dangerous spiritual flames of those incoming spiritual fiery missiles.

17a:  And take the helmet of salvation…

A physical helmet is designed primarily to protect the brain.  Yes, a good helmet should also protect your eyes, ears, nose and mouth; but mainly the brain.  You could probably survive without your eyes, ears, nose or your mouth.  But you definitely could not survive without your brain. 

There is not even one mention of the word "brain" in the Bible. But there are lots of mentions of the human "mind" and "heart."  The mind is connected with the heart; but thinking takes place in the brain.  Our brains and our minds are very necessary for effective Christian belief and effective Christian living.  We need them to think deeply about what we truly believe and about how we should be living.  What is proper Christ-like behaviour?  What would Jesus do?  What did Jesus do?  Should I be doing this?  Should I not be doing that?  We need our brains to make those kind of decisions.

This helmet is the helmet of salvation.  Is salvation merely a future condition.  We may often think of salvation and being saved as something way off in the future, when we are resurrected.  But does it also have a present component now?  

Yes it does.  If we are truly called, chosen and filled with God’s Holy Spirit – if we have Jesus Christ and God the Father living in us, then we are, in effect, saved right now!  We have salvation right now.  If we were to die right now, we would sleep in the dust of the earth until the time of Jesus’ return, and we would be blessed then to be brought up in the first resurrection to an eternally saved condition. 

So that helmet is really some helmet!  It is the most valuable helmet that there ever could be!  We must treasure it like another piece of precious spiritual head-gear:

Revelation 3:11: 
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

It would be wise to apply this same warning to our helmets of salvation.  We are to hold them fast, because without our spiritual helmets, we could be at risk of losing our spiritual crowns.

Finally, again back in Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul adds to his armory the only offensive weapon in the armour of God:

17b: ... and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

We are told right here that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  The Word of God is two-fold, at the very least.  There are at least two aspects of it.  The first one is the personal Word of God – the Logos – which is Jesus Christ.  And the second one is the written Word of God – the Holy Bible.  Herbert W. Armstrong used to say that if we own a copy of the Bible it is like having a copy of Jesus Christ in print. 

All the pieces of the armour of God are linked to each other.  They act together like a chain.  This sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) is no exception.  Going right back to the beginning of today's sermon, we read that Jesus said to His Father, "Thy Word is truth."  And now at the end of our study, we find that this final piece of the armour of God is actually linked to the very first one that was mentioned
– the loin-girdle of truth.

It is just amazing how they all link together!  The whole Bible
– God's written Word – is like a miraculous jigsaw puzzle.  As we keep on studying it, we see more and more how all the pieces fit together in such a miraculous way that it couldn’t be just a man-made volume.  It is a true miracle that we are dealing with every day.

Let’s conclude for today as the apostle Paul concluded his Ephesians 6 discourse on the armour of God:

18:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints...

A good and effective soldier, when he is on guard duty, will stay alert and stay awake.  We need to do the same.  Let’s not get tired or bored.  Remember that the dark night of Satan’s rule is almost over and the bright day of the Kingdom of God will soon be dawning.  Let’s be praying and supplicating for all of our brothers and sisters.  We should be especially thinking of those that are going through severe trials.

19:  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20:  For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Please pray for God’s ministry.  As we come up close to the Feast of Tabernacles, please pray for God’s ministry that they can do a good job, that they can effectively serve God and His children.  Please pray that God will give the right words to God’s ministers.  Whenever necessary, they should be bold words, preaching the gospel, which at this time is a mystery to most of the world. To preach the gospel – the good news – yes, including the good news of the time when Satan and his demons will be locked away – first for a thousand years and then forever. 

Let’s put on and keep on that armour of God; and God speed the day that Satan and his demons will be put away forever.