We are about to enter the most challenging time we have ever experienced. What’s on the horizon will make 2020 pale in comparison, I can promise you that.
So today, I am going to prepare you for battle.
I’m not here to scare you today. I’m here to push you out of oblivion. As the body of Christ, we are to be aware and alert to what is going on around us so we can defeat the works of the devil.
I admit, it is easier to retreat to your little corner and hide. But we are not designed for cowardice. We are designed to rule and reign. We are the body of Christ, and we must act as such.
Let’s start by reading most of Ephesians chapter six.
This is a very common block of scripture. If you’ve been in church for long, you will be tempted to tune out because you’ve heard all this before. But, dig it as if it is the first time you’ve ever heard it.
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT – A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Notice it didn’t say to be calm in the Lord. We are to be strong in the Lord – an open display of His mighty power.
So, wipe that image you have of unconfrontational, passive Christianity right out of your mind. That’s an antichrist doctrine the devil uses to keep Christians out of his way.
Be STRONG in the Lord. Be an unwavering example of His mighty power. It goes on to tell us how.
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT – Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
The devil is a strategist. He’s not dumb. He’s been studying and practicing on humanity since the day Adam was created from the dust of the ground.
The devil attacks using strategies that have been refined over thousands of years. The only way you will be able to stand firm against the devil is to put on ALL of God’s armor.
Not some of God’s armor. You have to put it all on. Without it, you don’t stand a chance against the devil’s strategies. Let that sink in.
If you’ve been floating around, not prioritizing the Word of God, living in sin, hardly praying, only coming to church if something else isn’t going on, you don’t stand a chance against the devil.
Yes, the devil is a defeated foe. He doesn’t stand a chance against the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we can only operate in that power if we put on ALL of the armor of God.
It goes on to tell us what we are up against:
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT – For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Most people think other people are the enemy.
The REAL Enemy
Since you are here, at a church that ain’t woke, I assume you recognize the error of the left, the Biden administration, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, and the whole bit.
But the people are not the enemy. We are not fighting against flesh and blood. The fight is against the unseen evil spirits that are orchestrating all of this ungodliness.
The devil has a strategy, and it’s a good one. And he has plenty of evil spirits to help him carry it out. But it can only be done through people. These evil spirits are controlling and manipulating people.
That’s why you think it’s the people. That’s what you see with your eyes. But you must remember this scripture. It’s not the people. It’s the evil spirits controlling and manipulating people.
And they are not just manipulating unbelievers. The devil can manipulate anyone who doesn’t put on ALL of God’s armor.
Let that sink in. If you don’t take this seriously, there’s a good chance you’ll be advancing the kingdom of darkness, even when your intention is to advance the kingdom of God.
Again, I am not here to scare you today. I am here to push you out of oblivion. I am making your alert and aware to what is really going on so you can stand firm against the strategies of the devil.
The whole armor of God
As we continue reading, notice how the Apostle Paul reiterates what he already told us just a few verses ago.
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT – Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Again, we have to put on every piece of God’s armor. Why? So we can resist the enemy.
We are in a battle. There’s a fight going on. And it’s only going to intensify. It might be weeks or months, but soon we will face the greatest battle we have ever come up against.
But if we put on every piece of God’s armor, guess what? After the battle is over, we will still be standing firm.
What happens if you don’t put on every piece of God’s armor? Let’s not find out. I pray this message motivates you to stop messing around and take the Word of God seriously.
In case you were wondering what it means to put on the armor of God, Ephesians goes on to give us exact detail.
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT – Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Let’s break these down to make sure we all understand. Since we don’t wear armor the same way they did back then, it’s helpful to know exactly what the Apostle Paul was referring to.
Belt of Truth
Regarding the belt of truth, the King James version of the Bible gives us more detail. It says, “have your loins girt about with truth.”
The only loin I know of is a pork loin. And if you cook it right, man, that’s some good eating.
Since that’s not what we are talking about here, I researched the original language and found that your loins is the place on your body where generative power resides.
We’ve sanitized this over the years to where most translations say ‘waist’ or ‘hips’. But what we are really talking about here is the family jewels – the reproductive part of the body.
Now, take a look at this picture, and it will all make sense. The main reason soldiers wore a belt was to protect their ability to reproduce.
God’s truth – the Bible – is what protects our ability to reproduce. We cannot multiply the kingdom of God without an unwavering dedication to God’s truth.
Yet, we have churches everywhere getting as close as possible to sin, without sinning, thinking that’s how to get people saved.
They bend the truth. They stay silent about the truth. And they pat themselves on the back for their large following. Yet, all they are doing is giving people what their itching ears want to hear.
Don’t be fooled by the size of their following or their false humility. They are not multiplying the kingdom of God. They are multiplying the kingdom of darkness, and I don’t think they even realize it.
That’s what happens when you don’t put on the belt of truth. Without an unwavering dedication to God’s truth, not only will you end up in hell, but you’ll convince others to join you.
Body Armor of God’s Righteousness
Now let’s talk about the body armor of God’s righteousness. The King James version calls it the breastplate of righteousness.
This is the armor that protects your most vital organs: heart, lungs, and other organs necessary to stay alive.
Imagine a bulletproof vest. That’s what we are talking about. It protects the easiest thing to penetrate from the front and the back.
Putting on God’s righteousness is what protects your spirit. It’s what keeps you spiritually alive.
Righteousness is kind of a churchy word, so let me explain it to you. It means living right by God’s standards. Since the Bible says not to gossip, you don’t gossip. Since it says to only think on good things, you only thing on good things. And the list goes on.
Here’s the best part. You’ve been given God’s righteousness as a gift. It’s not something you have to muster up on your own. You simply make a choice every day to put on God’s righteousness.
Now you see why there is an all-out attack on righteous living. The devil wants to normalize all kinds of sin. Because when you take off God’s righteousness, it makes it easy for him to kill you spiritually.
There is no once saved, always saved. Once you give your life to Christ, you better put on God’s righteousness because the devil has a strategy to take you out.
But even the best of his evil strategies is guaranteed to fail if you make a choice to put on all of God’s armor.
Shoes of Peace
Next up are the shoes of peace. The King James version says to have “your feed shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
Shoes are made for walking. And it was no different for soldiers back then. Shoes enabled them to go long distances without tearing up their feet.
As part of God’s armor, we are always to be prepared to share the good news about Jesus with others. We must be eager to tell the story of how Jesus saved us and wants to do the same for them.
It’s not a mistake that this scripture calls it the ‘gospel of peace’. The only way to find true peace is by following Jesus Christ. Make sure people know about the peace that comes from following Jesus.
With our shoes of peace on, we are to go the distance, taking the gospel of peace everywhere the Holy Spirit leads us.
Shield of Faith
Next up is the shield of faith, which enables us to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Take a look at what the King James says:
Ephesians 6:16 KJV – Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
How many darts? All of them. With faith, you can stop every single thing the devil throws at you. Not just some things. But every attack of the enemy can be defeated with faith.
A flaming arrow hurdling at you is quite intimidating unless you have a shield. In that case, simply lift your shield, and the arrow falls to the ground, and the flame goes out.
So, what is faith? It’s a complex word. But here’s what I have found to be the best way to explain it:
Faith is confidence in God’s Word.
It’s when you get to the point that you notice a symptom in your body, and your first thought is, “Trespasser! Get the heck of here.”
And it doesn’t matter how long it takes for the symptom to leave because you know God’s Word promises healing for your body.
It’s when the enemy whispers, “You are a failure. There’s no hope for you.” And you respond, “Ha! I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. You just wait. God promised me I’ll come out on top.”
Faith is confidence in God’s Word. No matter what lie the devil throws at you, faith stops it every time. When you respond with the Word of God, you are lifting that shield and quenching the fiery dart.
Two more to go.
Helmet of Salvation
The helmet of salvation. This is a piece of armor we still use today to protect our heads from dangerous blows. They wear them in football. You wear them on a motorcycle.
When it comes to the helmet of salvation, we’re talking about protecting your mind – your thoughts.
When you constantly think about your salvation, mainly the completion of salvation (heaven), it aligns your thought life with the will of God.
If you are heaven-minded, the enemy can’t tempt you away from the things of God because you are not going to do anything that would get in between you and your eternity with God.
If you are heaven-minded, you don’t fear a thing. Andf I die, I’m going to heaven. If you kill me, I’m going to heaven. You can take everything, and guess what? I’m going to heaven where I have everything.
So put on your helmet of salvation. Spend more time thinking about eternity in heaven. It’s the best way to protect your mind and align your thoughts with God’s thoughts.
Sword of the Spirit
Last, but not least is our weapon: the sword of the Spirit. Everything else we talked about protects us from attacks from the enemy. Now it’s time to turn the table and attack the devil.
We have one weapon that is effective against the devil. We don’t need anything else because this one thing defeats him every time. So what is it?
It says to “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Our weapon is the word of God. We’re not talking about hitting the devil with a Bible. Nor are we talking about leaving one sitting on your coffee table.
When you look up the Greek word translated to “word” in this scripture, you find it is rhema. Anyone know what rhema means?
It’s the Bible school I graduated from. It’s the church in Broken Arrow that has a million Christmas lights. But what does the word mean?
Rhema – The SPOKEN Word of God.
How did Jesus defeat the devil in the wilderness? By speaking the Word of God. How do we defeat the enemy? By speaking the Word of God.
The sword of the Spirit is the spoken Word of God. You can’t just read it. You have to speak it. And you must speak it with authority. It must be backed by your confidence in God’s Word.
If you don’t have confidence it what you are saying, it’s not going to work. You have to speak, but it must be backed by faith.
The next verse gives us even more clarity:
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT – Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Do you know what this tells me? We don’t pray enough.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. That’s a clear and simple instruction. Yet most Christians don’t even pray daily. And if we do, it’s not all the time, but at scheduled times.
A big part of this is because we don’t fully understand what prayer is. The King James version breaks it out into two words:
Ephesians 6:18 KJV – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
Prayer and supplication. When you dive into the meaning of these two words, you find out that prayer refers to when we go to a certain place, set aside for prayer, and pray to God.
In other words, what we do every Sunday. And also, what you do in your morning quiet time.
Supplication, on the other hand, refers to constantly seeking God, asking God, and pleading with God. As you go through your day, you ask God to guide you. When a need arises for you or someone else, you stop right then and plead with God.
We should have scheduled formal prayers. We should gather on Sundays and pray. And we should all have a morning quiet time where we go to a certain place and pray.
Not only that, but we should seek God throughout our day. Asking Him for direction. Pleading with Him for the needs around us.
And let’s not pass over the fact that the instruction is to pray in the Spirit. This refers to praying in the Holy Spirit. Pray in English, yes, but also pray using the prayer language you received when you were filled with the Holy Spirit.
If you don’t have your prayer language, ask Him for it. He is eager for you to have it. But you will have to overcome your doubts and hesitations before receiving it. Ask the Holy Spirit to help.
This is the main point of my message today: pray more. You are not praying enough. You need to pray more. I need to pray more.
A few days ago, I received a text from Suzy that was clearly led by the Holy Spirit. She ran across a scripture in the Old Testament and felt compelled to share it with me. Take a look:
I Samuel 12:23 NKJV – Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you;
It hit me like a bag of rocks.
Lack of prayer is a sin.
I’m a quiet guy. I don’t say a lot because I would rather listen and learn. I am a man of few words. Even my sermons are shorter than most, which many of you appreciate.
This has been great for learning to listen to the Holy Spirit. In my quiet time with the Lord, I don’t feel a need to talk the whole time. I tend to spend a lot of time listening.
A few weeks ago, I was reading about how the only way God can establish His will on the earth is if we speak it forth. Without our words, His hands are tied because He has given us dominion over the earth.
So when we look around and get frustrated that things don’t align with God’s will of healing and peace and abundance, don’t fuss at God. Look in the mirror.
God is looking for people who will speak and declare the will of God over ungodly situations. He needs us to boldly proclaim His will even though most people will think we are nuts.
The reason our lives don’t look more like heaven is that we don’t pray enough. We don’t speak the Word of God enough. We are being lazy and haphazard with our mouths.
If you are not praying at all times and on every occasion, it’s time to repent. That’s what I was doing a few days ago. I was sinning against the Lord with my lack of prayer.
When sin is revealed, we must repent. Turn away from your wicked ways and do it God’s way.
Who needs to repent today for a lack of prayer?
We are headed into the fight of our lives. There’s a prophetic warning stirring in my spirit. This isn’t a conspiracy. It’s the strategy of the devil unfolding before our eyes.
You don’t have to be afraid if you have your armor on. Actually, you won’t be afraid if you have your armor on.
If you are fearful about what’s to come, consider this your warning. Put your armor on. All of it.
But it’s not enough just to put our armor on. For the sake of those around us, we most open our mouths and speak. Speak the Word of God with boldness. Use it like a sword.
And the most urgent instruction for today, pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.