Eph. 6:14-24,  “The Armor Of God Described / Admonishment To Pray At All Times In The Spirit / Salutations

 

By

Jim Bomkamp

Back           Bible Studies                Home Page

 

1.     INTRO:

 

1.1.                     In our last study, we looked at verses 10-13 of chapter 6.

 

1.1.1.  In that study we saw that Paul was now giving his final admonishments in the book to the Ephesians, and these had to do with how to fight spiritual battles.

 

1.1.2.  We also began to look at the spiritual warfare that each of us as Christians is involved in, and we noted that it is important to study our adversary and spiritual warfare because, “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

 

1.1.3.  We saw that Paul admonished us to be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might and to put on the full armor of God so that we might be able to stand firm against the schemes of the Devil.

 

1.1.4.  We saw that we Christians on this earth are in the middle of a spiritual battle that is being waged between the Lord and His angels and the Devil and his angels.  Whenever we try to obey the Lord or be used by God we encounter spiritual opposition, and that opposition comes in a variety of forms.  The battle ground is earth and the battle is for the souls of men.  We Christians have a big part to play in how things turn out in this warfare for we have responsibilities and callings by the Lord to fulfill.

 

1.1.5.  We saw also that we do not battle against flesh and blood but against wicked spirits in high places.  That is, there is an animating principle behind everything that happens to us as Christians in this life, whether good or bad. 

 

1.1.6.  Spiritual warfare is very serious for the Christian for we have a real adversary in the Devil and he is intent upon trying to deceive and tempt us and cause us to stumble and be ineffective for Christ.  Thus, Peter warns us to be sober and alert because of this adversary we have, 1 Peter 5:8, “8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

 

1.1.7.  Paul admonished us to put on the full armor of God so that we might be able to resist the Devil and having done everything to stand firm.  We looked at the futility of only utilizing part of the armor you are given as a soldier in battle.

 

1.2.                     In this study, we are going to finish up the book of Ephesians by looking at verses 14-24 of chapter 6.

 

1.2.1.  In this study, Paul will describe each of the essential pieces of spiritual armor that the Lord has given to us for fighting the spiritual battles that we often find ourselves fighting.

 

1.2.2.  Paul will admonish us to pray at all times in the Spirit, and we will look at the importance of praying in this way as well as what Paul meant by this statement.

 

1.2.3.  We will look briefly at Paul’s final salutation to the Ephesians.

 

1.2.4.  Note as we go through this study how that the Christian is told to do one thing after another to keep his full armor on.  The Lord does not do these things for the Christian, it requires attention and work on the Christian’s part to keep the pieces of armor on.

 

2.     VS.  6:14  - 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, -  Paul admonishes the Ephesians to have their loins girded with truth and to put on the breastplate of righteousness

 

2.1.                     In our previous study, it was mentioned that whenever we are in the midst of spiritual warfare that it is very important that we ‘stand firm.’  In those times the Devil has been given the opportunity to create trials or temptations for us however God is going to use those things for good in our lives and He will even use the Devil for His own purposes.  Satan’s desire is for the trials and temptations to crush us and thus it is important for us not to cut and run but to ‘stand firm.’

 

2.2.                     It is important also to remember the promise of 1 Cor. 10:13 where we are promised that in regard to spiritual warfare that the Lord will never give us more than we will be able to handle, “1 Corinthians 10:13, “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, so that you will be able to endure it.””

 

2.3.                     The first three pieces of spiritual armor which Paul introduces here are ones which when in place protect us and all we have to do is stand still in order for us to experience their protection.  In that sense they are static pieces of armor whereas the last three pieces of armor are dynamic pieces which protect us in the process of moving around and fighting.

 

2.4.                     The order of the pieces of armor which Paul gives is not arbitrary.  These pieces of armor are listed in their order of importance or expediency in regards to the spiritual battles that we fight.

 

2.5.                     The first piece of spiritual armor that Paul admonishes us to use he introduces, saying:  having girded your loins with truth.’  We Christians are to gird our loins with truth. 

 

2.5.1.  Early commentators thought that this referred to internal truthfulness or being truthful with yourself.  However, this does not make sense for a few reasons, including.

 

2.5.1.1.      This would make the truth referred to subjective.  It would hardly be appropriate to place something so subjective first in the list of essential armor. 

 

2.5.1.2.      The scriptures tell us that the heart is deceptive and who can know it (Jer. 17:9), therefore too much introspection as a Christian is not healthy.

 

2.5.2.  This piece of armor most likely refers to objective truth as found in the Word of God. 

 

2.5.2.1.      The last piece of armor mentioned by Paul is the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God, and believing that the ‘truth’ mentioned here is the objective type, this then would state that God’s word is supposed to be both a defensive as well as an offensive piece of spiritual armor.

 

2.5.2.2.      This is an admonishment to study God’s word and also to apply it to our lives in such a way that it encompasses our life or girds us about and protects us.

 

2.5.2.3.      In Paul’s day men wore long hanging robes which had a hole for their head and arms.  When a person would want to do some work or when a soldier would go into battle he would gird a belt about his waist so that his robe would be confined and not hinder his movements or cause him to trip and stumble.  In the same way, when we are diligent to place God’s word in our hearts and minds and apply ourselves to keeping it faithfully we are now ready for real service and work for the Lord, for God’s word bound around us protects us, enables us, and keeps us safe.

 

2.5.2.4.      The belt worn by the soldiers also had containers for holding the soldier’s sword as well as the shield.  In that sense the belt was the foundation for a soldier’s armor just as the word of God is the foundation for the Christian.

 

2.5.2.5.      Studying and applying God’s word in our lives will result in our being people who are truthful with ourselves.

 

2.6.                     The second piece of armor that Paul admonishes us to put on is ‘the breastplate of righteousness.’

 

2.6.1.  Roman soldiers in Paul’s day wore body armor under their vests which was beaten and shaped to their bodies.  This metal armor protected their organs from arrows which might hit them and from sword and knife piercings.

 

2.6.2.  This past week I just happened to be channel surfing during the commercials of a football game I was watching and I saw part of a program on modern day body armor.  The show talked about how policemen most often wear soft vests which will protect them against handgun and shotgun fire.  However, if they want to be protected against rifle fire they have to place metal or composite body armor in their vests.  Even so there are still some bullets and guns that are designed to be armor piercing, such as a 50mm rifle which can pierce an inch of steel from 9 miles away.  This show talked about how when an M-16 bullet hits a body that because of its velocity that it creates an initial hole that is up to 30 times the diameter of the bullet, and with a hit like this organs can explode like water balloons, bringing instant death.  In addition both handguns and rifles can use hollow point shells that are designed to cause lethal damage with just one hit in the torso as fragments are sent in every direction.  This show reminded me how serious a matter it is that we as Christians use every piece of the armor God gives us because Satan will attack us when we get serious about our relationship with God and he is not fooling around when we experience demonic spiritual warfare.  We must have God’s protection in our lives if we are to survive the onslaught of the Devil.

 

2.6.3.  The ‘righteousness’ referred to here is not imputed ‘righteousness’ which is added to our account because of what Jesus Christ did for us upon Calvary’s cross.  We do not put on imputed ‘righteousness’ because the moment that we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that transaction of imputed righteousness is completed on our account.  Jesus Christ is our righteousness.

 

2.6.4.  The armor to which we are referring has to do with sanctification and is the ‘righteousness’ that is “personal.”  All of us as Christians must be doers of God’s word and apply what we are taught and learn from God in His word.  A righteous life will keep us from stumbling and keep others from being stumbled by us, with the result being that we will be used greatly by the Lord.

 

2.6.5.  Just as metal body armor keeps an arrow from being able to pierce our torso and organs, so being obedient to the Lord in our life keeps Satan from being able to get any sort of leverage against us that he can use to discredit or disqualify us, much as a wrestler looks for some body part to grab and get leverage against the man he is wrestling against.  We Christians shouldn’t want Satan to be able to get any grip on our life because of allowing in our lives any bad personal habits or conduct.  

 

3.     VS 6:15  - 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; -  Paul admonishes the Ephesians to have their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace

 

3.1.                     I have heard this piece of spiritual armor referred to as both our personal belief and understanding of the gospel message and truths as well as our personal commitment to use our feet to go and to share the gospel with others.  I lean towards this piece of armor referring to our going out and sharing the gospel

 

3.2.                     In Romans 10:14-15 Paul wrote about how that the Lord looks at the feet of those who go and preach good news as being beautiful, “14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” 

 

3.2.1.  If God loved this world enough to send His only begotten Son to die on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty for their sins then we ought to be willing to simply be a witness for the Lord and tell others how that the Lord has brought eternal salvation to our lives.

 

3.3.                     The Dead Sea is a body of water in which nothing can live.  The reason why it is dead is because water only flows into it and nothing can flow out of it.  This is what the life of a Christian who does not share his faith is like, it is stagnant.  Conversely, when we share our faith with others we will grow and are blessed greatly of the Lord.  The Christian life becomes a great challenge for us.

 

3.4.                     The Parable of the Fishless Fishermen-Ray Comfort

 

“They were surrounded by streams and lakes full of hungry fish.  They met regularly to discuss the call to fish, the abundance of fish, and the thrill of catching fish.  They got excited about fishing!

 

Someone suggested that they needed a philosophy of fishing, so they carefully defined and redefined fishing, and the purpose of fishing.  They developed fishing strategies and tactics.  Then they realized that they had been going at it backwards.  They had approached fishing from the point of view of the fisherman and not from the point of view of the fish.  How do fish view the world?  How does the fisherman appear to the fish?  What do fish eat, and when?  These are all good things to know.  So they began research studies, and attended conferences on fishing.  Some traveled to faraway places to study different kinds of fish with different habits.  Some got doctorates in fishology.  But no one yet had gone fishing.

 

So a committee was formed to send out fishermen.  As prospective fishing places out-numbered fishermen, the committee needed to determine priorities.  A priority list of fishing places was posted on bulletin boards in all of the fellowship halls.  But still, no one was fishing.  A survey was launched to find out why.  Most did not answer the survey, but from those who did, it was discovered that some felt called to study fish, a few to furnish fishing equipment, and several to go around encouraging the fishermen.  What with meetings, conferences, and seminars, they just simply didn't have time to fish.

 

Now, Jake was a newcomer to the Fishermen's Fellowship.  After one stirring meeting of the Fellowship, he went fishing and caught a large fish.  At the next meeting, he told his story and was honored for his catch.  He was told that he had a special "gift of fishing."  He was then scheduled to speak at all the Fellowship chapters and tell how he did it. 

 

With all the speaking invitations and his election to the board of directors of the Fisherman's Fellowship, Jake no longer had time to go fishing.  But soon he began to feel restless and empty.  He longed to feel the tug on the line once again.  So he cut the speaking, he resigned from the board, and he said to a friend, "Let's go fishing."  They did, just the two of them, and they caught fish.  The members of the Fisherman's Fellowship were many, the fish were plentiful, but the fishers were few.”

 

A recent study revealed that 95% of those who consider themselves evangelicals had never shared their Christian faith with anyone.

 

4.     VS 6:16  - 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. -  Paul admonishes the Ephesians to take up the shield of faith with which they will be able to extinguish all of the flaming arrows of the evil one

 

4.1.                     A Roman shield in Paul’s day was about 4 feet high and designed so it could be safely stood behind (people were shorter in those days).  It was made of wood and metal and sometimes had cloth put around the outside of it which would be doused in water.  The water on the shields was used because archers would soak their arrows in pitch and then set them on fire before shooting them.  The water would put out the flames of the arrow dipped in pitch.  The metal on a shield was designed to protect the soldier from being pierced from the arrow.  When arrows would hit burning pitch would fly in every direction and set on fire the hair, skin, and clothing of soldiers.  Thus, it was important to douse your shield in water before going into battle. 

 

4.2.                     The Devil sometimes attacks God’s people by shooting flaming arrows of temptation at them.  Every temptation that a person has in this life is a temptation to distrust God.  We see this with the very first temptation in the Garden of Eden.  The serpent told Eve that God had lied to her when He told her that she would die if she ate of the forbidden fruit, plus the serpent lied saying that God was hiding something that was good for her by telling her not to eat of the forbidden fruit.  It makes sense then that the ‘shield of faith’ is to be used by the Christian to ‘extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.’  We are to win the spiritual warfare that we fight in by continually trusting God and his promises for us.  

 

4.3.         VS 6:17  - 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. -  Paul admonishes the Ephesians to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit

 

4.4.                     The fifth piece of armor that a Christian is to use is the ‘helmet of salvation.’  This refers to the assurance of salvation that a Christian can and must have if he is to win the spiritual battles he finds himself in.  If a person is unsure of his own salvation then it is difficult for him to stand firm against the enemy in combat for he does not realize whether or not he will be assured of victory and whether or not God will be for him in this battle.

 

4.4.1.  Many verses assure the Christian that he has eternal life, including 1 John 5:11-13, “11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

 

4.5.                     The sixth and final piece of the Christian’s spiritual armor is the ‘sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.’ 

 

4.5.1.  Swords in Paul’s day were 6 – 18 inches long and were used for hand to hand combat.  The sword would both defensively deflect the weapons of the enemy as well as offensively be used to stab and maim him.

 

4.5.2.  Jesus, in how he rebuffed the Devil during every one of His temptations, showed us that the word of God is to be used as a defensive weapon when temptations strike us.  With each temptation Jesus quoted scripture to the Devil.

 

4.5.3.  The word of God is also the weapon that is to be used by the Christian when he goes on the offensive:

 

4.5.3.1.      The word of God is unlike all other books or religious documents for it is inspired by God and therefore infallible and innerant.

 

4.5.3.1.1.           2 Peter 1:20-21, “20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” 

 

4.5.3.2.      The word of God is quick and power and pierces to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow.

 

4.5.3.2.1.           Hebrews 4:12, “12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

 

4.5.3.3.      The word of God never fails.

 

4.5.3.3.1.           Isaiah 55:11, “11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

 

4.5.3.4.      Trends and gimmicks come and go but God’s word will stand forever.

 

4.5.3.4.1.           1 Peter 1:24-25, “24 For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.”

 

4.5.3.5.      The word of God is sufficient for the Christian.

 

4.5.3.5.1.           2 Timothy 3:16-17, “16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

 

4.5.3.5.2.           2 Peter 1:3-4, “3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

 

4.5.3.6.      The word of God is what God uses to produce faith in our lives.

 

4.5.3.6.1.           Romans 10:17, “17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

 

4.5.3.7.      The word of God is the food our spiritual life needs to grow.

 

4.5.3.7.1.           1 Peter 2:1-3, “1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

 

4.5.3.8.      Man is to live by every word of God.

 

4.5.3.8.1.           Matthew 4:4, “4 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.’ ””

 

5.     VS 6:18  - 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, -  Paul admonishes the Ephesians to pray at all times in the Spirit and to be alert in prayer with all perseverance and petition for all the saints

 

5.1.                     Paul knew that it was not enough to tell people all that their inheritance in Christ involved, as he attempted to do in the first three chapters of this book.  He knew that it was not enough to tell them to be walk in a manner worthy of Christ, as he told them to do in chapter 4.  He knew that it was not enough to tell them to be filled with the Holy Spirit, as he told them to do in chapter 5.  In fact, he knew that it was not enough to tell them to put on the full armor of God as he did here in chapter 6.  Paul knew that without prayer that Christians would never fulfill their calling by the Lord and honor and please God with their life.  Because we have such an adversary as the Devil we must continually be in prayer for ourselves and others.

 

5.2.                     The Greek word that Paul uses here which is translated ‘prayer’ means “general prayers.”  The Greek word that Paul uses here which is translated ‘petition’ refers to specific prayers that are prayed by God’s people.

 

5.3.                     Paul admonishes us here that we are to ‘pray at all times,’ but this doesn’t refer to meaningless repetitious prayers but rather the habit of lifting all of our needs up to the Lord for prayer, of looking to God as our resource in all things.

 

5.4.                     This prayer that we are to always be praying is to be prayed ‘in the Spirit.’ 

 

5.4.1.  The word ‘Spirit’ refers to the Holy Spirit not the attitude that we might pray in.  The Holy Spirit is to fill us, which means to control and empower us, and thus we are to seek to be filled with the Spirit as we pray each day.

 

5.4.2.  It is important for each of us as Christians to be filled with the Holy Spirit for Paul wrote to us that the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray by translating our prayers into being God’s will, “Romans 8:26, “26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”” 

 

5.5.                     Prayer is to be made by us for every single saint for ‘all’ are in need of prayer.

 

5.6.                     Finally, Paul writes that we need to be ‘alert’ in prayer and also to ‘persevere’ in it.  Prayer is not easy and thus we need to labor in God’s strength to be ‘alert’ and to ‘persevere’ in our praying.

 

6.     VS 6:19-20  - 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. -  Paul prays for himself for utterance and boldness to preach the mystery of the gospel

 

6.1.                     Paul knew his own limitations as well as how he needed to be totally dependent upon God in his life to do anything.  He was not ashamed to often ask for prayer for himself.

 

6.2.                     Having been in jail in Rome for some time at this point Paul could have asked for prayer to get out of his situation or even for comfort for himself in the midst of his trials (and who knows how greatly he must have been suffering during this period of time).  However, the only prayer that Paul requests for himself is prayer that he would be able to have ‘utterance’ and ‘boldness’ as he preached the gospel, or the ‘mystery of the gospel,’ as he refers to it.

 

6.3.                     Paul writes that he is ‘an ambassador’ for Christ ‘in chains’ because of his preaching of the gospel.

 

7.     VS 6:21-22  - 21 But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts. -  Paul tells the Ephesians that he was sending to them Tychicus to deliver the letter and to answer any questions they might have about Paul and his well being

 

7.1.                     Paul considered Tychicus a ‘faithful minister in the Lord’ and a ‘beloved brother’ and thus he entrusted to Tychicus the delivery of this letter to the Ephesians.  Tychicus also delivered to the Colossians Paul’s epistle to that church.

 

7.2.                     Many worried greatly about Paul and his sufferings and thus Paul instructed Tychicus specifically to convey to everyone how Paul was doing while in prison and to comfort their hearts in the process by telling them that the Lord was with Paul and faithfully ministering to him during all that he was going through.

 

8.     VS 6:23-24  - 23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.” -  Paul’s salutation

 

8.1.                     This is just a typical salutation of Paul’s as he wishes them ‘peace,’ love with faith,’ and ‘grace.’

 

9.     CONCLUSIONS:

 

9.1.                     Put on the full armor of God so that you might be able to stand firm when your face spiritual attack:

 

9.1.1.  Loins covered by truth.

 

9.1.2.  The breastplate of righteousness.

 

9.1.3.  Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

 

9.1.4.  The Shield of Faith to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.

 

9.1.5.  The Helmet of salvation.

 

9.1.6.  The Sword of the Spirit which is the will of God.

 

9.2.                     Pray at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and petition for all of the saints.

 

Back           Bible Studies                Home Page