“Take the Sword of the Spirit” Deepen Your Commitment to Wielding the Word of God
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.17.Sword of Spirit
Ephesians 6. We are in verse 17 where we are exhorted to take up the sword of the Spirit, so I invite you to imagine with me the heart-thumping intensity of Roman warfare. We are Roman soldiers and we are facing the enemy just 30 yards away. We have on our belt, our body armor, our boots, shield, and helmet. We are in battle formation and as the Roman soldiers do, we have first thrown our javelins to try to take out the enemy’s shields … and now it’s time to charge…
Are you ready? “Charge!”
And we all charge at once, yelling our battle cries. And we go to draw our swords, and… some of you have trained enough with the right sword …it’s sharp and you know how to wield it and so the enemy doesn’t stand a chance.
But some of you have slacked off in your training and you’ve chosen the wrong sword for the battle. Or some of you have been lazy in your training and you’ve chosen the right sword, but you just don’t know how to wield it. And some of you have refused to even bring a sword to the battle.
Those of you who have trained enough with the right sword live. But if you’ve chosen the wrong sword or you don’t know how to wield the right sword or if you refuse the sword, you do not survive.
I fear this is the case with Christians. This kind of battle is going on every day. And yes if you have turned from your sin and have trusted Christ as your Savior, you will never die forever your sins … but you may fall, painfully wounded on the battlefield of the Christian life having failed your gracious Master… if…if you don’t train with the right swords and learn how to use them… If you don’t choose to meditate on specific Bible verses that are relevant to your specific temptation, you will fall wounded on the battlefield.
Paul is commanding us here in Ephesians 6:17 Ephesians 6:17 17 And take the helmet of salvation, [which we studied last time…and now take up] and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Are you ready for the battle charge? You have to have the right sword and you must train properly with it in order to wield it effectively and to win the battle. And it’s the same way in the Christian life. You have to have the right Bible passage and you must meditate on it properly so that you can win the battle over temptation and so you can helps others do the same.
But you have to have the sword! Have you refused to use the Word of God? Ok, but have you been lazy in your use of it? I’m not talking about just reading it, I’m talking about using it in times of difficulty… Using it in times of temptation…using it to fight back the works of darkness in the hearts of people.
You have to have a sword! You have to know how to wield it! If you don’t, you will be defeated.
So what sin are you struggling with? On Thursday nights we’ve been studying how to get over particular sins … we’ve been selecting the right swords to battle effectively, but to get past certain sins it’s going to require that you train intensively…practice…intense meditation on those verses.
So are you sick of struggling with depression? Covetousness or worry? Have you had it up to here with your struggles? Are you sick of your stumbling walk with the Lord? … you feel like you should buy a surfboard sometimes, b/c you’re always tossed to and fro on the surf of the sea of life? What’s the solution? You need this passage of Scripture and you must do it!
So I’d to preach to you to “Take Up the Sword of the Spirit.” What that means for you is this: “Train to use specific Bible passages to overcome sin battles.” Just like a soldier trains to use his sword to win against his enemies, so also you must train to use specific Bible passages to overcome your spiritual enemies. “Train hard to use specific Bible passages to overcome sin battles.”
You want victory over sin… I know you do … , but are you willing to train? Are you willing to memorize and meditate on Scripture?
TRANS: 3 points this morning … First, what is the Roman soldier sword? Second, what is the Christian’s sword? Third, I’ll apply this to you. First…
1. What is the Roman soldier’s sword?
And as we study this background together we will be able to apply this passage to us better.
What sword does Paul have in mind? There are two words for sword in the New Testament. First, the sword that is not referred to here is the long and broad sword. This long broad sword would be 3 feet in length and used more for massive body blows, to do large damage like cutting off extremities. But because of its length and weight, you couldn’t be very accurate with it.
That’s not the sword referred to here in Ephesians 6:17. The sword referred to here that the Roman soldiers used was a short sword, called in Latin a gladius from which we get the word gladiator. This is a short stabbing sword that was approximately 2 feet in length. Though it is small, it can inflict terrible wounds. And because it is smaller, he can be stab more quickly and he can be more accurate. And that’s the point. The short stabbing sword of the Roman soldier allowed him to be more accurate. He could hit his target much more easily.
TRANS: Just like a Roman soldier has a sword, so also you have a sword. It’s not a big broad sword, it’s a smaller shorter more accurate sword. So number 2…
2. What is the Christian’s sword?
Look right at the verse there … This is the sword of the …what? Sword of the Spirit. What does that mean? We have a sword that comes from the Holy Spirit. So what is the sword that comes from the Holy Spirit? It says there that it is the word of God.
And the word “word” in the phrase “word of God” is not the word logos. The word logos refers to the entirety of Scripture. No, this word does not refer to the entire Bible… As if you are to swing the entire Bible at your temptations. No, that’s too heavy like the broad sword.
No this is a different word. The word “word” here refers to a specific statement. Not the entire Bible, it’s a specific statement from the Scripture. This is much lighter and with it we can strike back at the enemy with more accuracy.
This is what we are to take up. We are to take up specific statements from the word of God. And so the Bible contains many swords. Each specific statement in the word of God can be used as a sword in the spiritual realm.
Every verse comes from the Holy Spirit.
Now, this tells us about the nature of the sword. And I have three thoughts here on our weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which are specific statements from the word of God. 3 thoughts on our sword.
First of all, our weapon is spiritual. Since this sword comes from the Holy Spirit, it is spiritual. Turn back to 2 Corinthians 10. What we will learn in this passage is that we are waging a war, not a physical war but a spiritual war. And because we are waging a spiritual war, we must use spiritual weapons. So let’s read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
2 Corinthians 10:3-53 For though we walk in the flesh [that simply means that we live in a human body. For though we live in a human body], we do not war according to the flesh [we do not wage a physical war. Well why not? Why do we not wage a physical war? Verse four] for [because] the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh [our weapons are not physical], but [our weapons are] divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
Our weapons that we have at our disposal by the grace of God are divinely powerful. That means our weapons have the power of God behind them. And these weapons that we have are so powerful that they can destroy fortresses, verse 4 says.
And what are these fortresses? Keep reading in verse five
verse 5…”We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”
Now, this would be referring to our own thoughts and thoughts of others. We are to destroy speculations and every lofty thing that’s in our hearts and the hearts of those that we know as we have opportunity to speak to them about their spiritual condition …. our goal is to destroy those things that are raised up against the knowledge of God in our minds and in the minds of others.
So we do war everyday, but our weapons are not physical, but spiritual. We are waging a spiritual war so we must use spiritual weapons. And the weapons that we use are specific statements from God’s word. Our weapons are spiritual … and…
Second … Not only are our weapons spiritual, but the words from Scripture are given by the Holy Spirit. Just as Paul said this is the sword of the Spirit… that means is that it is the sword that comes from the Holy Spirit. The Bible is full of divinely powerful swords; they each come from the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 3:16 16 All Scripture is inspired by God […God breathed out the Scripture and so it’s ] … profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2 Peter 1:21 21 for no prophecy [of the Scripture] was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Our sword is spiritual because it’s given by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is full of spiritual swords that have been given to us by the Holy Spirit to destroy spiritual fortresses. And there are spiritual fortresses everywhere. There are lofty thoughts and speculations and people who cling to false teachings and false worldviews. And we are called upon to destroy our own fortresses in our own hearts by the word of God and to help others as well.
There are fortresses all around, the battle is fierce, Satan is active the world and is ever near and if you fail to guard your heart with the armor of God… it’s insane … How many different things could get into your heart and take root. And because that has happened one too many times in your life, you are struggling and struggling.
But you want victory over sin… right? … , but are you willing to train? Are you willing to select the right sword for your particular issue… or are you willing to read the Scripture everyday in such a way so as to gain training in those swords of God’s word?
Whether it’s your problem or someone your witnessing to or discipling… Are you willing to select the right sword and meditate on it, study it, and cling to it, and then use it in your life and the lives of others? To win any spiritual battle, you must effectively use the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
It has come from the Holy Spirit; you should value who it is who gave it to you and use it as He wants you to.
ILL: One of the greatest rulers in world history was Charlemagne. He is also known as Charles the Great. He was the King of the Franks who united into his empire most of western Europe during the Middle Ages. He ruled the throne of the Franks from 768 and became king of Italy in 774 and from the year 800 he had become the first holy Roman Emperor…the first recognized emperor in Western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. Charlemagne was one of the greatest rulers in world history.
He had a personal sword. His sword’s name is translated “Joyous.” It is housed today in the Louvre [Loove] in France. The handle is made of heavily sculpted gold and it’s actual grip was, at one time, decorated with diamonds.
Imagine if Charlemagne himself gave you his own sword. If he gave you his personal sword, you would probably treat it according to how he wanted you to use it. If he said take it to battle, you’d train with it and then take it to battle.
To play with it and treat it disrespectfully and throw it in a corner…all of history would be horrified!
How much more ought we treat the sword of the Spirit? What you hold in your hands and what you hear preached from and what the passages you read in the Scripture are divinely powerful, God-given power in those words. Be careful how you treat the most powerful spiritual weapon.
ILL: When I first trusted Christ when I was 21, I was at a public university. The word of God had had such an impact in my heart that I would leave my Bible open on my desk just in case my roommate would walk by and perchance he would glance at a few words.
The Bible is divinely powerful to change lives. Train hard to wield it effectively.
Discipline yourself to know it, meditate on it, and to use it in order to get the victory in your life and in the lives of others.
TRANS: But you’re not alone in your quest to train to wield the world’s most powerful sword. The Holy Spirit works in you to help you.
So the Christians sword is the word of God. It is first of all spiritual secondly the word is given to you by the Holy Spirit. And now …
Third, the Holy Spirit works in you to give you skill with this sword.
Anyone who has trusted Christ and has turned from his or her sin has called upon Jesus Christ to save them… When Christ saves, Holy Spirit comes and takes up residence in your heart.
The same Holy Spirit who gave us the Scripture is the same Holy Spirit lives in you. And he lives in you so that you might have fellowship with God and grow to be like Christ. He is your teacher and trainer… He seeks to train you to use the word of God effectively in your life, both for yourself and for others who hear you.
So every time you’re exposed to God’s word in some way, the Holy Spirit is seeking to train you and your skill with that particular word of God.
Every time you’re exposed to God’s word in some way, it’s His desire that he increase your skill with that passage. Whether you’re listening to it preached or your reading it on your own time or a brother or sister speaks it to you, it’s the Holy Spirit’s desire that He increase your skill with the Word of God.
APP: But we live in a microwave generation, don’t we? Just like with the microwave, in our spiritual lives we just want to push a few buttons and hit start and think that will grow to be like Christ. …
Or we think how nice it would be to just download it all into our heads. But it doesn’t work that way. You want victory over sin. It’s going to require that you take up specific statements from the word of God and use them in your particular situation. And you won’t just be quoting the verse. And this takes study, think through some verses, praying over verses, meditating on them … this is training to effectively wield the sword of the word of God.
TRANS: Thirdly and finally this morning…
Some personal application
1. Choose the right sword
If you are going to war, you need to choose the right sword. Not just any sword will do. You must choose the right sword from the war chest. In the Scripture, you have a large selection of swords. If you’re dealing with lust, you must use verses in Scripture that deal with lust. If you are worried or afraid, you must train to use the Scripture passages that address those topics. If you’re having marriage problems, you need verses that address that.
If you are talking to someone about whether Jesus is God or not, you should take up the swords from the Scripture that show that Jesus is God. If you’re dealing with a lost person about his sin and God’s punishment of his sin…. Or if you are teaching a lost person about the love of God in Christ, you need to pull out those swords. Choose the right sword.
And then use it accurately.
2. Use it with accuracy.
Remember, the Roman sword was small so that might be accurate. A specific statement from God’s word is also small but can be used in just as a deadly way. You must choose the right verse attempt to understand it. You’ll need to pray for understanding.
ILL: Matti San is an expert swordsmen.
He is so accurate with his sword that he can cut in two… a small plastic ball that is 4,000 times smaller than a baseball … just 4.5 millimeters…but not on a chopping block…but he can cut that tiny thing in two while it’s travelling 200 mph out of a bb gun at a 70 feet distance.
I saw the video and the slow motion video. The gunman stands while the swordsmen stands ready with his sword in its sheath. The gun fires and Matti San unsheathes his sword and splits it in two.
I don’t know about you, but I’d love to be that fast and accurate with the word of God. When I smell a temptation, I’m already applying the right passage of Scripture. Or when false teaching is presented, before it’s finished coming out of his mouth, I’m ready to accurately present the word of God in a tenth of a second. But that takes practice and training. Hard work. Matti San didn’t get there overnight. And neither will you with the word of God. You need daily practice and training of taking up the sword and wielding it effectively.
What is it that you are struggling with? Get the Bible passages on that. Are you ready to handle this trial or that? Train hard everyday as you read God’s word to increase the number of swords you can effectively wield.
To choose the right word and use it accurately.
Let me make a point about the preaching here.
It’s because of verses like this that the preaching is the way that it is here. It’s only by meditating at length on verses that you will be able to effectively use them as swords. So that’s why we don’t just quote Bible passages here and then I share with you my applications of those verses. This is why I attempt to reveal what’s actually in those verses themselves.
Everything in the message is designed to support the explanation of the text. And as you stick with me and listen you are giving the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work in you to give you skill with that particular sword. You are to use specific statements from God’s word. And that is why we spend time studying specific statements from God’s word.
And Your Bible reading
So your habit and your families habit of Bible reading comes to bear here, doesn’t it? First of all, you must not neglect the word of God. If you do, it’s like going out into war with no sword. You will be defeated. And when you do get out the word of God, you can’t just mindlessly run your eyes across the page. You must read it to understand it. Even if it takes just reading one verse or two verses, at least try to understand what you’re reading.
If you are having trouble understanding what you are reading in the Bible, pick one passage in the New Testament or one psalm and go over it and over it.
ILL: You can do this. My seven-year-old daughter is attempting to do this when she reads the Bible. She has a particular issue that she’s dealing with in her heart right now so we are applying a particular passage of Scripture to it. So I told her she should read these few verses every day. And she has little Post-it note on the front of her Bible and on there she has the order of her Bible time.
As I taught her, she first prays for help to understand and she reads it and then she prays that God would help her to do it. Pray for help to understand; read it; pray for help to do it. As you do that every day you’ll be gaining more and more swords to use to fight back the enemy in your own life and to fight back the enemy in the lives of others.
This is useful for battling temptation. I would like us to see the master swordsman at work, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s turn to Matthew chapter 4 and see Jesus at work… What we’re going to see here in Matthew chapter 4 is that Jesus will wield the sword of the Spirit to fight back against Satan’s temptations. And so we should do the same thing.
Matthew chapter 4 verse one…
Matthew 4:1–10 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 [how does Jesus respond? He wields a Bible passage. ] But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ” [This is the sword found in Deuteronomy chapter 8 and verse three. Jesus quotes that passage.]
5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’ ” 7 [how does Jesus respond? By quoting Deuteronomy 6:16] Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” [the master swordsman at work…]
8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! [And again he will quote from Deuteronomy 6] For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ”
For each of the three temptations, Jesus responds with a Bible verse. It’s not that Jesus was just quoting a Bible verse into the air … Because you know this … unbelievers can quote Bible verses. The difference between an unbeliever and a believer is the presence of him who led Jesus in this passage. The difference is Matthew 4 verse 1… Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit who gave those very words from Deuteronomy trained Jesus on how to wield those swords. Luke records that Jesus grew mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. Luke says that Jesus grew in favor with God… Luke 2:52. The Holy Spirit was active in Jesus’ life to enable him to effectively wield the sword of the word of God.
If you trusted Christ and you begin to set your heart on his words and you pray and ask for understanding and you read his word and then you pray that he’d help you obey, you are on your way to being a master Christian swordsmen.
This will take memorizing … this will take studying… this may take getting a pen out in your Bible times and making notes of what you’re reading.
You need a war chest of Bible verses that you’ve studied to prepare you for life’s battles. You don’t need stories, you don’t need to remember some guy’s thoughts, you need to cling to God’s words. You see, Jesus had long knew the Bible passage he was quoting he knew the context of that passage and he quoted those specific verses at that specific time. He had poured hours into his relationship with God’s word and when he quoted it here, it was a demonstration of his allegiance to the word of God.
If you do this, you and those around you will be convicted of sin. You’ll be cut to the heart and when the Holy Spirit convicts, he will heal you and strengthen you as you respond to that conviction from the word of God.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Ephesians 6.17.Sword of Spirit
This past Thursday night and this coming Thursday night we are studying how to get over depression. And Christian in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress was no stranger to despair and depression.
There is one account were Christian began to despair even of his life… It seems he was at the point of suicide. Satan, whose name in Bunyan’s book is Apollyon, taken from the book of Revelation, was about to strike down Christian with a final blow to make a full end of this good man.
But Christian with great skill because of the training that he’s had in the word of God, he stretches out his hand for his sword and gripped it to fight back against the enemy. He quotes Micah 7:8 which says, “Rejoice not against me, O my enemy: when I fall, I shall get back up.” And with that Bunyan writes, Christian “gave him a deadly thrust, which made him [fall] back, as one that had received his mortal wound.” And then Christian strikes again with Romans 8:37, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” And with that final thrust of the sword of the Spirit, the devil fled away.
Christian knew the right sword to use and he wielded it effectively because he had long meditated on the word of God and on those words of God before hand. Christian had trained for the battle. You too must train for the Christian battle by choosing the right verses for your specific temptations and meditating on them.
Or you could continue to slack off in your training and be lazy. You might’ve sat in on some of the Bible studies when we talked about how to put off certain sins, and God touched your heart, but as of yet you have not started training to get over those particular sins.
Or maybe feel like that you don’t have anything in particular at issue right now, but as you read the Scripture you’re just running your eyes across the page and don’t try to understand it; you’re just glad that you read it! And you’re really not getting anything out of it. You could continue that and fall in the day of battle…
But you don’t really want to be lazy in your training, do you? You’ll get wounded severely or you already are!
The solution takes work and hard training. You want victory over your sin, you want peace in future trials…. so beginning yesterday, you must work and train like an expert swordsman trains using his sword. So take up the sword of the spirit which is the word of God and find victory over your sin and help others to do the same.
Deuteronomy 32:47 God’s words are not just empty words for you– they are your life.
588 Mighty fortress. Go through some of the verses…. ‘his truth’ stanza 3…stanza 4, God’s truth abideth still.