25 Sep Quarter Three Lesson Twelve
Put on the Full Armor of God
Throughout this third quarter of study here at Gospel Growth Ministries, we have been talking about ways to grow and mature in the Lord. We don’t want to remain as little children who only know of forgiveness, we want to grow into maturity. Now we have come to the last lesson in this quarter, and we have one very important subject to discuss. Without this, there is no hope of overcoming.
Our subject in this lesson is the Christian’s armor. Let us read the passage together:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)
This passage tells us that the Christian life is one of warfare. We have a very powerful enemy, an enemy who is unseen making him all the harder to fight. Because of the very powerful and invisible enemy we are fighting, we need to be both strong and well-armed with spiritual armor, so that we might take our stand against the devil’s schemes.
We are to be strong in the Lord. We who have so many battles to fight must have courage and know how to find strength in the Lord. We need to be strong for service, suffering and fighting.
It is “in the Lord” that we need to be strong for we have no strength of our own. Our natural courage is cowardice, and our natural strength is weakness. Therefore, we need to be strong in the Lord. “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves, to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).
Before Joshua went out to battle God gave him these words:
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” Joshua 1:6 (NIV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Like Joshua, we can be strong in the Lord because we know that God is with us; He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b).
Question 2. From your studies so far and your understanding of the Bible, what are some ways we can be strong in the Lord?
The Christian must not only be strong in the Lord; he must also be well-armed. “Put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). The Bible is not teaching us to stock-pile weapons, or wear bullet-proof vests everywhere, but rather to know what spiritual armor we have available to us and to use it. This is why the passage tells us “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” We struggle against “spiritual forces of evil” which is why we must use spiritual weapons not physical ones. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
When the Bible tells us to “put on the whole armor of God” it is in essence telling us to make use of all the spiritual weaponry we have for repelling the temptations and strategies of Satan and the powers of darkness. We are to receive and make use of all the grace God gives us, the whole armor, so that no part of us is exposed to the enemy.
The reason stated as to why the Christian is to be fully armed is so that we can “take our stand against the devil’s schemes.” It is important to know that your enemy is organized and he has specific plans as to how he will wage war against your soul (see 1 Peter 2:11). He knows your weaknesses, your proclivities, your wrong desires, and he has plans to exploit them to the fullest.
Satan and his ranks of demons have a government under which they operate and well-made plans which they follow. Our enemy is crafty like a “serpent” (Genesis 3:1). He has a thousand ways of beguiling us and is very experienced in the art of temptation. Do not be deceived; our enemy is very powerful and is the leader of the “authorities”, “powers” and “spiritual forces” (Ephesians 6:12) which are positioned against us.
Question 3. What has been your experience so far in this war against our enemy? Have you experienced his force and his fury? In what ways has he proved a formidable foe to you?
We must learn to be strong in the power of the Lord and overcome, to not fall to the devil’s assaults, or give in to his deceptions, or get caught in all the traps he lays for us. We are to “stand against the devil’s schemes”. This is what it means when someone becomes a “young man who is strong in the Lord and who overcomes the evil one” (1 John 2:12-14).
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)
In order to stand against the devil’s schemes, we must be armed. God has given us spiritual armor for this very purpose. Let’s now familiarize ourselves with this special divine armor.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:14-17 (NIV)
Here we see the full armor of God, both defensive and offensive. You might notice in passing that there is nothing covering the back, which teaches us we must not turn our back on the enemy, not even for a moment.
Question 4. What is the first piece of armor that we are to wear? Why do you think it is important that we wear this?
The belt is in the center of our body and is what secures all other clothing, so it is mentioned first. Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). He is to be central in our life, He secures our entire armor, and He is of first importance (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Jesus Himself, as our “belt of truth” is essential in the battle against the devil’s lies.
God desires “truth in our inner parts” (Psalm 51:6) as lies and deception are part of the kingdom of Satan. The unbeliever is ensnared in a belief system of lies. If he has heard the gospel and rejected it then he believes the lie that he can save himself; that he can stand in front of a holy God, who cannot look on sin, and survive. Though his belief system is one great deception, he cannot recognize his belief system as a lie. “He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?’” (Isaiah 44:20). The believer grows when he turns from lies and is committed to truth.
Question 5. What is the second piece of armor and why is it important?
The breastplate protects the vitals, secures the heart. Put negatively, sin cherished in the heart is the devil’s delight; it weakens the heart and causes it to be very unhealthy. Our hearts are by nature susceptible to loving wrong things. Put simply, the righteousness of Jesus Christ protects our hearts.
This is where the gospel is of first importance. The gospel tells us that Jesus took our sins, and gave us His righteousness as a free gift. The knowledge that we are now righteous and holy is to be a breastplate of protection in the midst of battle. This is why we are in continual need of hearing the gospel, to continually remind us of our righteousness in Christ, as protection for our hearts.
Here is the next piece of armor we are to wear: “…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15 (NIV)
This piece of armor is best understood as soldier’s “greaves” which were shoes made of brass that covered the feet and legs up to the knee. These greaves were very important to soldiers in ancient times because armies would often place sharp sticks in the ground to obstruct the path of their enemies, and whoever stepped on one of these sticks would be lamed and unable to fight. The soldier’s “greaves” kept him safe from these sticks and propelled him forward into battle.
Question 6. How is the gospel like “soldier’s greaves”?
Once we believe the gospel, we are kept safe from the enemies’ attempts to trip us up and make us unfit for battle. If we have the gospel we can continue forward in our fight, strengthened and protected from the snares and sticks of Satan. It is important that we wear our “gospel greaves.”
The gospel is called “the gospel of peace” because it brings all sorts of peace. It brings peace with God, peace with ourselves, peace with others. In the Old Testament Jesus is foretold to be the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and Hebrews gives Him the name “King of Salem” which means “King of Peace” (Hebrews 7:2).
Please read the following passages and answer the question below:
“You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.” Acts 10:36 (NIV)
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1 (NIV)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Question 7. What do the above passages tell us about peace? Please share your understanding here:
Do you need peace in your life? If so, then come to Jesus. Believe the gospel and you’ll have peace. And His peace will guard you and protect you in the battle you have against the enemy.
The next two pieces or armor are shown in the next couple of verses:
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:16-17 (NIV)
Question 8. In our fight against the enemy, how is faith like a shield and salvation like a helmet?
The shield enabled soldiers to extinguish flaming arrows that were shot at them from afar. Faith is our shield. Our belief in the gospel extinguishes the flaming arrows that Satan shoots at us. This is why we are to be fully convinced of the truth of the gospel, fully persuaded that each and every promise in God’s Word is true in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Satan wants us to doubt because he knows the truth of 1 John 5:4: “…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4 (NIV)
Again, we see the importance of the gospel, and that when we believe it and trust the God of the gospel, we overcome the world. This is why Satan’s job is to try to get us to doubt. If he can get us to doubt God’s Word, as he did Eve in the garden, he knows we have already fallen and are susceptible to any temptation he dangles in front of our eyes.
He shoots “fiery darts” at us. They are called “fiery” because they set our passions on fire, causing violent temptations. Satan’s fiery arrows can cause deep wounds which is why our shield of faith is so important to our safety.
Question 9. Have you experienced the fiery nature of temptations? What has been the results previously of getting hit by these fiery arrows?
Believing the gospel is protection for our entire person, even as the shield protected the whole soldier. We must take up our shield of faith with which we quench the fiery darts, extinguishing them on the cross of Jesus Christ.
The helmet of Salvation is likewise protection for the head. When we are deep in battle, exposed to the fiery temptations of the evil one, occasionally being wounded, we must remember that through faith in Jesus we are saved. Even if we were to lose our footing and fall, we do not lose our salvation or jeopardize our eternal future, because in Christ we are saved and secure.
The last weapon mentioned is the sword, “which is the Word of God.” This is our only offensive weapon, and it is to be used to counteract the lies of Satan. A good study at this point is to read through Matthew chapter 4 and see how Jesus used the Word of God as a sword to defeat the evil one.
The Word of God is so very powerful in our battle with Satan (Hebrews 4:12) and if we want to grow into becoming a young man or a young woman, we must become very proficient using this sword against our enemy.
It is important to remember that the sword is not ours to be used as a weapon against our brothers and sisters in Christ; no it is the Sword of the Spirit to be used against Satan.
Finally, we are told, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
A soldier in battle must stay in constant touch with his commanding officer. We can fight and lose, or pray and win. That is just how important prayer is in the life of a believer. We are not necessarily to have a “prayer life” but rather a “life of prayer” if we want to overcome sin and Satan, our own flesh and wrong desires.
Question 10. You have now completed the third quarter, and it is our hope that you are really growing in your faith and understanding of the gospel. Please take a moment and tell us what effect studying the Word of God is having on you: