The Sword of the Spirit
20 May 2018 PM – Ephesians 6:17 – Armour18 – Scott Childs
Introduction: In spiritual warfare as in physical warfare, the effectiveness of any weapon is directly proportionate to the efficiency of the one operating it. For this reason, during a late, great war, the U.S. Army assigned a new recruit one rifle which he kept throughout his training. It became a part of him. The recruit handled the rifle continually, disassembling, and reassembling it. He cleaned it. He conducted basic maintenance. He carried it 12 hours a day. When crossing rivers or streams his head might have gotten wet, but his rifle had to stay dry.
Six months later in the heat of battle, the soldier knew every inch of it – every mechanism. He understood things that could malfunction and how to remedy them. He could break it down and reassemble it in just seconds, blindfolded. Man and weapon had become a synchronized and deadly, efficient fighting machine.
The spiritual warrior’s proficiency with his weapon should be no less remarkable. But quite sadly, if believers had to rely on their own Bible familiarity in life and death situations, the majority would helplessly perish. – E-sword
This evening we are going to examine the believer’s spiritual sword.
Transition: To help us take the sword of the Spirit there are three questions that we ought to first answer.
1. Of What Significance was the Soldier’s Sword?
a. First let’s look at the design of the soldier’s sword
1) This sword was relatively short
a) It was like a large knife or a dagger
b) Ehud’s sword was only a cubit long (Jud 3:16).
2) Swords were made of brass or iron.
3) With many swords, both edges were sharp.
b. Swords were used in hand-to-hand combat
1) The soldier used his sword both to attack the approaching enemy and to block the enemy’s blows and stabs.
a) In this kind of battle one must kill or be killed. The soldier must be more skilled than his opponent.
b) The soldier then must be expert in using his sword if he is to live through the battle.
2) When not in use the sword often hung in a scabbard or sheath on the belt. It was ready for battle at any moment.
2. How Does God Apply the Sword to Spiritual Warfare?
a. We note that the Bible is the Holy Spirit’s sword.
1) The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible. (2 Peter 1:21) “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
2) The Holy Spirit teaches us the Bible. (1 Corinthians 2:13) “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
3) The Holy Spirit guides us into the truth of the Bible. (John 16:13) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
b. The Bible is both our defence and our offence.
1) With the Bible we can defend ourselves when the devil attacks. Like a sword, the Bible can block the attacks of the devil’s lies and temptations.
a) God’s Word defends us by guiding and warning us. (2 Timothy 2:22) “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (Matthew 26:41) “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (1 Peter 5:8) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
b) The Bible defends us by giving us courage. (Psalms 119:114) “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” (Romans 8:33) “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” (1 Corinthians 15:57) “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2) With the Bible we can offensively attack and drive away the devil. Like a sword, the Bible can stab at the devil and drive him away. He cannot withstand God’s Word. Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did when Satan tempted Him? Yes, Jesus quoted Bible truths to counter temptation (Mt 4:4, 7, 10).
3. How Can We Take the Spirit’s Sword Which is the Word of God?
² A man was seated on a park bench when a little chap of about five sat down beside him and started winding what appeared to be a most prized possession– a watch. “My, what a pretty watch,” remarked the man. “Does it tell you the time?” “No sir,” replied the boy; “you gotta look at it.” In a similar way, the Bible will not tell us how to defeat our enemy if we don’t look at it and find appropriate verses that can defend us in time of temptation.
a. First we must know the Bible well enough to use it
1) Be able to skilfully use the Bible, not just carry it. (2 Timothy 2:15) “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
a) Learn how to rightly divide or interpret verses. This takes diligent careful study. (Proverbs 2:1-5) “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”
b) Be able to identify principles as you read the Bible. (Psalms 86:11) “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”
c) Take notes as you study so you won’t forget.
d) Work at memorising verses every day. That is like keeping your sword burnished and sharp. Set a goal and do it. (Psalm 119:11) “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
2) Meditate on the Bible regularly. (Psalm 1:1-2) “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
3) Obey the Bible in every area. (Psalm 119:9) “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
b. Then we must use the Bible to stand against Satan.
1) As you read and listen in life, be constantly sifting what you take in through the Bible grid. (1 Thessalonians 5:21) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
a) Remember, many of Satan’s attacks begin with a subtle question, “Hath God said”.
b) Cults capture people by mixing a little error in with a lot of truth.
2) Be able to quote appropriate verses when tempted
² Barnes: “A single text of Scripture is better to meet a temptation than all the philosophy which the world contains. The tempter can reason, and reason plausibly too. But he cannot resist a direct and positive command of the Almighty.”
a) The devil fears God’s Word not your insults.
b) This is exactly what Jesus did. (Matthew 4:4) “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus did not quote an anti-devil verse. He simply quoted an appropriate verse to counter the temptation. Let’s follow His example.
Conclusion: The Bible is the power behind your defensive and offensive armour. It can protect us from Satan’s blows, if we use it. It can cut to shreds the Devil’s lures and lies and chase him away (James 4:7). It will keep him at a safe distance.
How well are you able to handle the Spirit’s sword – the Bible? Do you know verses that will cause Satan to flee when he attacks your weakness? Do you have them memorised? All of us could and should work to improve our knowledge and use of the Bible.
Song: Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart, 177