Discipleship Notes

A series of short discipleship notes for young Christians.

26 – Praying in the spirit

God’s Armour (Eph 6:10-20)

Ephesians 6:18 …praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…

While Paul does not have a metaphor to visually depict prayer as part of the armour of God, he does complete his teaching on the armour with the essential presence of prayer as part of the armour. This is reinforced by the fact that Paul exhorts prayer in verse 18 as the ending statement concerning the Sword of the Spirit in verse 17. They are within the same sentence and therefore, should not be separated.

Prayer can, therefore, be visualised as the nervous system which links the entire armour on the believer with all the interlocking connectors, interactions, and all the differing communications uploading to God. Without prayer the armour is ineffective. No matter how skilful the believer thinks they have been in applying the armour and going out to do battle with the enemy, they may be sure that without prayer defeat is inevitable.

Prayer is a dialogue with God. This is a discussion of life that continues throughout life. Prayer is fellowship with God, a communion with God which opens the believer’s life and heart so that they realise they have exposed themselves to God and are dependent upon His merciful resources.

It’s true that God knows what we are going to pray before we begin, but we don’t. We need to experience the process of faith in praying, and in believing that God is listening and will respond to our prayers. We need to hear ourselves confessing sin and foolishness, to hear ourselves agreeing with God’s Word over wrong attitudes and behaviours. We need to hear ourselves seeking greater sanctification and Christlikeness.

Prayer is the adhesive that units each piece of the armour to become a natural clothing for the believer as they walk and talk with God throughout life. Prayer helps make sense of the application of the armour as it relates to the events of your lives. Prayer clarifies and exposes the motives and intentions of the one putting on the armour of God. Therefore, prayer should not be a theoretical exercise but real as it spreads out your life before God.

What is “Praying in the Spirit?”
Once again, the context of Ephesians chapter 6 is important to our understanding of what Paul means by the phrase “praying in the Spirit.” As Paul’s instruction for prayer forms the final clause in the sentence of verse 18, which speaks about the Sword of the Spirit, prayer is best understood as the final piece, or the final extension, in the Armour of God. Therefore prayer operates best when flowing out of our understanding and application of the Sword of the Spirit, the Bible.

For the armoured believer, prayer abandons individuality, pride, and self-sufficiency towards God and seeks a God honouring application of the armour. Therefore, prayer speaks out the believer’s dependence upon God in the same way we are dependant upon every other piece of armour.

In 1 John 5:14 John explains, this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. The fact is, often we pray NOT according to God’s will, but according to our will. Therefore, praying in the Spirit speaks of praying in alignment with the will and purposes of God. This forms a significant part of the Spirit filled, or Spirit controlled Christian life. This is how we pray under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit as we grow in our understanding of God’s purposes and will through God’s Word.

The distinction between prayer and supplication that Paul makes is subtle, yet important. The words with all prayer refer to the various forms of prayer which include, but are not limited to public prayer, private prayer, internalised prayer, and prayer expressed through music and singing (hymns, spiritual songs etc.)

Supplication is slightly different in that supplications are detailed and persevering with strong and persistent pleadings. The undercarriage of prayer is the belief that God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). We are often so caught up in the self-centredness of our prayers that we overlook the fact that the Lord is presently providing our daily needs, and that is answered prayer.

Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 26:41 are applicable, watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. We are to pray in a life watching manner that gives us realistic insights into our spiritual lives that prevent us from giving in to temptation. Therefore, we are to be alert, awake to sin’s trickery, and interacting with God through prayer. Watching and praying is the dual mechanism God offers us so we are able to stand firm. Similarly, Paul reasons this out in Colossians 4:2, continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Spirit filled prayer is “other” inclusive. That is, prayer is more focused on others than self. Beginning with worship and thanksgiving to God, then thanksgiving and requests for other people.
1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.
Matthew 5:44 …Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…
Luke 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Prayer partners with God as He mercifully interacts with someone else in a different location. Prayer units together people who are apart in a common cause through Christ. Even those who inflict pain upon the believer are to be talked about with the Lord and blessing should be sought for them bringing them to repentance and salvation.

Prayer has always been one of believers’ primary activities as witnessed through the 1st generation believers spoken of in Act 2:42, they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Prayer is a believers’ first priority as we engage through various kinds of communication with God for the purpose of glorifying Him, giving expression to His character, and speaking well of Him with thanksgiving.

Therefore, praying in the Spirit becomes an all-occasions dialogue of worship, thanks, and requests that reflects the complexity of our lives being intertwined with God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Spirit filled prayer is ONLY able to exist when we are walking a Spirit filled life in realisation and surrender to what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through us.

Prayer is about God first and foremost. It aligns us with and synchronises us with God’s will both before we make requests and as we are making requests.

Prayer puts self in the back seat as it promotes the Lord’s will and His glory before we make personal requests on behalf of others.

Prayer interacts in other’s lives in ways we could not do otherwise, seeking eternal benefits and not present blessings only.



26 – Praying in the spirit Read More »

25 – The sword of the spirit

God’s Armour (Eph 6:10-20)

Ephesians 6:17 …and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…

The sword Paul refers to is the “machaira”, which was a short sword varying in length from 15cm to 46cm. It was used by the soldiers arresting Jesus in the Garden (Mt 26:47), by Peter when he cut off the slave’s ear (Mt 26: 51), and by Herod’s executioners of James (Acts 12:2).

Remember, the emphasis in this context is on how the believer is to use the Sword of the Spirit “to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:11). This is the only piece of the believer’s armour that is used for both defence as well as an offensive weapon. The Sword has a dual role, a dual purpose, which achieves its purpose best when used equally for defence and offense.

The Scottish pastor Thomas Guthrie, (The Free Church of Scotland – 1803 to 1873) said, “The Bible is an armoury of heavenly weapons, a laboratory of infallible medicines, a mine of exhaustless wealth. It is a guidebook for every road, a chart for every sea, a medicine for every malady, and a balm for every wound. Rob us of our Bible and our sky has lost its sun.”

Some qualities of God’s Sword:
The Sword is Scripture. That is, God’s holy and sacred writings. The Scriptures are the Bible, and it is authored by the Omniscient Holy Spirit who is the all-knowing origin of the Sword (2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 1:21).

The Sword is infallible – faultless, without error, and effective.
Psalm 19:7   The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple… 
Psalm 19:8   The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart…
Proverbs 30:5   Every word of God proves true…

The believer can take the Word of God (The Sword) into any situation with confidence that God has revealed absolute, dependable truth. For those who believe God’s Word, it educates the inner person, it explains gospel truth which leads to salvation, and it sanctifies the whole Christian life when it is obeyed.

The Sword is complete and cannot be added to.
Proverbs 30:6   Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar (cf. Dt 4:2; 12:32; Rev 22:18-19). In an age when many false prophets are claiming to speak for the Lord, God’s people can rest assured, certain of the Bible’s completeness. In fact, the Bible has such an enormous wealth of truth that there is no need to seek after fresh revelation. The Sword of the Spirit is fully sufficient because God has revealed everything that needs to be revealed in His written Word.

The Sword is authoritative – speaking to readers the very words of Jehovah the Almighty. God the Holy Spirit wrote Scripture with the full agreement and authority of the triune Godhead.
Isaiah 1:2   Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken…
John 17:17   Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
2 Timothy 3:16-17   All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…
Hebrews 4:12   For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

God’s Word carries the weight of heavenly authorisation. Because it is written by God, it is designed to enter people’s eyes and ears as the doors to their mind and heart. Scripture has surgical precision at explaining truth, exposing sin, and offering righteous solutions through Christ.

God’s written Word, the Sword of the Spirit, can cut into and divide the various layers within a person’s spirit with accuracy. Because of this, it is used by the Holy Spirit to bring conviction, to direct motives and thoughts, and to inspire rejoicing when Christlikeness is achieved.

The divine authority intrinsic to the Spirit’s Sword is always for the purpose of producing glory to God and obedience within the believer. In Luke 11:28, Jesus said “blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” God’s Word is not a set of theories and ideas to be considered as one of many options in life. Rather, His Word is living and active, therefore, it should also become living and active in believer’s lives through thoughtful and loving obedience.

The Sword is sufficient and effective – there is no area of life that Scripture does not speak to, either directly or indirectly.
2 Timothy 3:15   …the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:17 All Scripture is given so …that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Isaiah 55:11   so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
No part of life is exempt from the power of the Spirit’s Sword. It offers comfort for the downcast, it livens joy and peace, and it stirs up hope of eternal life.

The Sword is resourceful – supplying needs and pointing to the Lord as our ultimate supplier of needs.
Luke 11:28    Blessed (Happy) rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
2 Peter 3:18  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:25  …the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
1 Peter 2:2    Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.
Psa 119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Rom 15:4      For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

No other resource in life can offer the immeasurable spiritual strengths and blessings as the Spirit’s Sword.

The Sword speaks on God’s behalf
Luke 4:3-4     The devil said to him… Jesus answered him, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
Luke 4:5-8     The devil… said to him…  Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
Luke 4:9-12  The devil said to him… Jesus answered him, “It is said, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Particularly when caught in the struggles of life and seeking to overcome dark thoughts within, the Spirit’s Sword is to be quoted for both defence and for fighting off the enemy.

The attitude and use of the Sword
Dependency – the believer accepts and depends on the very words of God in writing for all things in life.
Matthew 4:4   But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Use the Sword to mould your life – Do not neglect God’s Word. Owning a Bible is not enough. When the Bible is studied, the believer knows where to go in Scripture to find what they need (The Sword provides sufficient tools)
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (c.f. 2Ti 3:16-17).

There are no shortcuts. The believer needs to spend much time in God’s Word. Reading, meditating, memorising, and reasoning through to come to a mature understand of God’s Word. The outworking of this will be discipleship of others. This is where all the learned truth is passed on to the next generation of Christians.
Psa 119:11    I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Psa 119:34    Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
Psa 119:81    My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.
Psa 119:101  I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.
Psa 119:104  Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
Psa 119:112  I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.
Psa 119:114  You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.

When the Spirit’s Sword is; learned, and put into practice, the Holy Spirit takes those truths and invisibly strengthens faith, educates the conscience to warn of impending sin, and guards the mind against error by increasing the mind’s ability to decern between right and wrong, good and best.

The Sword is aggressive against error
When a repentant sinner turns to the Lord from witchcraft or demon possession, they are to present your (their) bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your (their) spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2). The truth of God’s Word, the Sword of the Spirit, does this sanctifying (John 17:17) work of mind transformation into Christlikeness.

As with all believers, but especially true for those escaping the claws of Satan, the Sword of the Spirt is used aggressively to cut down error and lies that misrepresent the truth of God. This aggressive use of the Sword is both internal for the believer and external when in discussions with others. In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul writes with strong imagery about the battle against error. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…

John 8:44 …the devil …was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The first line of defence and attack against the devil is by using the truth of the Spirit’s Sword. Truth exposes lies and error for the evil that they are. Satan has no answer to God’s truth, as he only knows how to lie and produce death. This is why, in the direct gospel battle against demons, biblical truth is the first piece of God’s Armour to be get put on – “the belt of truth.”

The Word of God, the Bible, which is the Sword of the Spirit contains the most powerful truths that have ever been written. God’s Word makes us strong and prepared, so that when the day of evil attack comes, we know how to use the Sword most effectively to ensure we remain standing in the spiritual battle.

When obediently trained by Scripture, the believer is spiritually determined not to move in the faith. They know what parts of Scripture to remind themselves of and to quote in whatever situations they find themselves in. Their confidence is in the Lord because they know God’s truth. Consequently, they are not lured into misrepresentations of God through false doctrine spoken by false prophets, false teachers, or deceiving spirits (1Jn 4:1).

Psalm 138:2 declares that God has exalted above all things your name and your word. Jehovah considers His Word to be as exalted as His very own name. Therefore, His people are to treat His Word with the same reverence and awe as they treat God.

The Sword of the Spirit is NOT a mystical chant or magic formulae to be quoted only when we want something, or to get relief from some form of suffering. Nor does it hold mystical power that can only be released when repeatedly written down on paper by the reader. Rather, it is to be the daily spiritual food of God’s people. Just as it is taken it, so it is to be obeyed, transforming both thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours.

Therefore, the Sword of the Spirit is used with nonbelievers to make them aware that they have broken the law of God and need a Saviour (Rom 3:20). And that Saviour is the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 3:22-26).

A good knowledge of God’s Word enables the believer to use the Bible as the Sword to identify and correct theological error. The believer’s attitude is to be one of humble confidence in the Sword which deals powerfully in the spiritual realm.

When confronting the enemy head on, Christ’s example should be followed. God’s Words are the only authoritative words that carry divine truth which can penetrate both spiritual and human creatures. However, the effectiveness of the Spirit’s Sword is experienced through belief which is lived out through obedience.

The Sword of the Spirit is the only weapon needed to identify sin and expose error. The Sword is the spiritual surgical tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit to produce conviction.
Isaiah 55:11   …so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

John MacArthur says this:   To be infallible, inerrant, complete, authoritative, sufficient, powerful, and divinely authored belongs only to Scripture. This is what the Bible claims for itself; as such, it is obviously a formidable weapon.

What things prevent us from understanding and applying the Sword (God’s Word)?

Can God’s Word be used when there is no specific passage that speaks directly to your situation?

How can you assist another believer to use the Sword?

25 – The sword of the spirit Read More »

24 – The helmet of salvation

Reading:   1 Timothy 1:12-20

God’s Armour (Eph 6:10-20):

Ephesians 6:17a   and take the helmet of salvation…
Salvation g4992 sōtērion = noun; defender or (by implication) defence.

The 5th piece of armour that Paul highlights is the helmet. No Roman soldier would enter battle without it. Roman helmets were usually made of moulded/beaten metal. Some were made of thick leather which was overlaid with metal plates. They were strong and heavy, and often included plates which came down the sides of the face to protect the cheeks. The helmet serves one purpose only, to protect the soldier’s head, mainly from the attacks of large swords (Brain, hearing, sight, speech, and life).

Remember, Paul’s purpose for explaining the Armour of God is for believers to put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil (Eph 6:11). As Paul relates the helmet to salvation, it is for the purpose of protecting the believer from satanic schemes and attacks that would attack any facet of the believer’s salvation.

Since salvation cannot be reversed or cancelled, the satanically influenced attacks would threaten the minds, beliefs, assurance of salvation, security, and ability to hear and communicate God’s gospel. Satan’s spiritual attacks are the blows of discouragement and doubt. He is a master at drawing to our attention: failures (including sins), life’s difficulties, health problems, financial problems, relationship problems, anything and everything negative which would side tract the believer’s focused thoughts from Christ.

John MacArthur:   The test of a person’s character is what it takes to stop him. Some people retreat as soon as the first shot is fired, while others fight through battle after battle with no thought of giving up.

The believer takes (puts on) the helmet of salvation by centring their attention/thoughts on God’s provision of salvation in all spheres of life, both present and eternal. Depending on God as their defence in all of life. In the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life.

The helmet of salvation looks to the believer’s justification (Declaration of Innocence). By doing this the believer is assured of their safe standing before God, no matter what other’s tell them, and no matter what Satan tells them.

1 Corinthians 6:11   …you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 1:18  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The helmet of salvation looks to the blessing of ongoing sanctification (Increasing holiness and Christlikeness).
1Th 4:3  For this is the will of God, your sanctification…
Rom 12:2  …be transformed by the renewal of your mind…
1Jn 3:3   Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
2Co 7:1    …let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
2Co 3:18  We all, …beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

The helmet of salvation looks to ultimate glorification (Heavenly completion and perfection). 1 John 3:2   …what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Romans 13:11   …for salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
The helmet of salvation realises that our struggle with Satan will NOT last forever. In Christ the believer is victorious.

Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The believer takes (puts on) the helmet of salvation through intentional trust, hope in God rather than having expectations fulfilled. Plus, by looking to fulfilled promises in eternal life. They also develop an expectation for the Holy Spirit to provide present determination to remain faithful (Steadfast).

Psa 40:4        Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust…
Psa 40:8        I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.
Psa 40:11      As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
Rom 15:13   May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

(An excerpt from gotquestions.org) As we wear the helmet of salvation every day, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires, and traps the enemy lays for us. We choose to guard our minds from excessive worldly influence and instead think on things that honour Christ (Philippians 4:8). In doing so, we wear our salvation as a protective helmet that will “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Php 4:7    And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Isa 26:3   You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
1Pe 1:5   …who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

How is the helmet of salvation to be put on in our daily lives?

How can we assist other believers to put on the helmet of salvation?


24 – The helmet of salvation Read More »

23 – The shield of faith

God’s Armour (Eph 6:10-20)

Ephesians 6:16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one…

Roman soldiers commonly used 2 kinds of shields.
First was a small round shield (About 600mm diameter), attached to the arm by two leather straps. It was lightweight and used in hand-to-hand fighting.
Second was the thyreos, which Paul refers to in Ephesians 6:16. This shield was about 1.35m high and 740mm wide. It was made from solid wood and covered with metal or thick leather which could be soaked with water. It was designed to protect the entire body and withstand burning arrows.

Soldiers with these shields were placed in the front lines of a battle. They would stand side by side with their shields touching, often forming either a rectangle or a long straight line of defence. Archers stood behind this protective wall of shields and shot their arrows as they advanced against the enemy. Anyone standing or squatting behind the wall of shields would be protected from incoming arrows or spears which would often be on fire with burning pitch.

The soldier’s shield, helmet, and sword were kept to one side in readiness for use when fighting began. Whereas the soldier’s belt, breastplate, and shoes were continuously worn for protection.

In Ephesians 6:16, Paul draws a parallel between the usefulness of faith with the usefulness of a shield. Just as a shield could be held up by an individual, or collectively held up by a united group, the shield protected from the incoming burning arrows.

Likewise, whether individually or collectively, the shield of faith provides spiritual protection from Satan’s schemes of burning arrows which attack us.

Some details:
Faith is trusting belief in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is the substance of belief in God.

The context in Ephesians 6 is NOT speaking of salvation, or any other set of specific beliefs as Christians, which is what Paul refers to in Eph 4:13. Paul is NOT referring to any particular doctrinal views or gospel details.

Paul is focused on the overarching fact of faith. It is a much more foundational faith in God that Paul has in mind here. It is the character of faith described in Hebrews 11:6; without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Faith speaks out in full belief the truths of God’s when confronted with the enemy’s lies and attacks. Faith in God is the believer’s shield, and it is to be used “in all circumstances.” From minor irritations to fierce frontal satanic confrontations – faith that God will protect, secure, and deliver is the shield Paul speaks of here. God responds to a believer’s faith when under attack through any of Satan’s schemes, or Satan’s people.

Faith in God is NOT faith in something or anything. It is NOT simply hoping for a favourable outcome. It is NOT demanding that God work in the way we think best. It is simply faith in God to do His will.

You see, faith is only as dependable and useful as the trustworthiness of its object and source. A believer’s faith is effective because the object and source of their faith is God, through the relationship we have with God’s Son Jesus Christ. Therefore, a believer’s faith is dependably powerful. Faith in God does not fail, because the One in whom that faith is placed never fails. 

The shield of faith is NOT a weapon, but a protector.
It is the believer’s responsibility to take up the shield of faith. This decision cannot be made by someone else on your behalf. It’s personal, you must be the one to do it. Faith is specifically to be used to extinguish all the flaming darts (Arrows) of the evil one.

Faith has the ability to really put out the burning arrows of satanic attack.
Faith does NOT remove us from the battle. Remember, the Armour of God is for the purpose of making a us stand in the battle and survive (Eph 6:13).

Faith is NOT a magic chant to rectify life’s nuisances or to change irritable people. The shield of faith is specifically used in demonic attacks of all kinds and all sizes, which may sometimes include life’s nuisances or irritable people who are doing the devil’s will.

Therefore, the primary area of demonic attack is temptation to sin. Secondly, demonic attack comes to seduce believers into error about God, including error about Christ and the Holy Spirit. This includes error about the Gospel and God’s Word.

Satan has an arsenal of different types of burning arrows. They come in all shapes and sizes, but all have the same intent, to devour God’s children (1Pe 5:8).
Remember, God’s armour has only 1 purpose, to cause believers to withstand even the worst of attacks and remain standing in faith when the battle is over. We are designed to be survivors.

What could our “shield of faith” look like in our lives?

Describe some of the “flaming darts” which the devil fires at us which faith can deflect?

How can we hold up our “shield of faith” when being fired upon?

23 – The shield of faith Read More »

22 – Shoes of gospel readiness

God’s Armour    Ephesians 6:10-20

Traditional Roman Soldier’s wore a Shoe/Sandal called the “Caligae.”
A pair of Caligae was supplied by the army, but the soldiers had to pay for and fit the metal studs to the soles themselves.

The studs strengthened the leather structure as well as being effective for increased traction and for standing firm on slippery ground. Studs were also considered to be a weapon for stomping on a fallen enemy.

By the late 1st century, the Roman army began using an enclosed boot called the “Calcei,” which offered more protection and warmth than the caligae. Like the Caligae sandal, the Calcei had metal studs embedded into the soles.

Ephesians 6:15    …and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

Now-a-days, we have uniquely designed footwear for every activity and every underfoot condition, providing protection, traction, and comfort. First century soldiers typically had just 1 pair of shoes which had to comply with all conditions and all requirements, providing protection in all circumstances.

This being the case, a soldier’s footwear was rugged because if his feet go blistered, burnt, or damaged, His entire body would be in jeopardy. If his feet suffered, it would make no difference how good the rest of the armour was, he was in serious trouble. Cut, broken, or blistered feet simply incapacitated a soldier, meaning he would be unable to effectively use his sword or shield.

Similarly, a believer is dependent upon their spiritual footwear in their battle against the schemes of the devil. Without having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace, the believer is certain to stumble, trip, fall, and become maimed in their Christian life. At best, without their shoes, the Christian will be sluggish and hindered in their spiritual walk which will invariably lead to spiritual defeats.

Just as a soldier’ boots helped keep his feet healthy, so they also allowed the soldier to be ready for marching, climbing, or fighting. Likewise, Christ not only requires the same readiness of His people, but He also provides the means.

The Ephesians 6 Context:
Paul is NOT speaking about preaching, teaching, or evangelism, but about fighting spiritual battles (:12).
He is NOT speaking about going, traveling, or missions, but standing firm (:11, 13, 14).
Paul’s subject is not evangelizing the lost but fighting the believer’s enemy, the devil.
The specific piece of armour which Paul is speaking of in verse 15, is the readiness that flows out of, and is birthed in the believer from the “gospel of peace,” it is NOT the gospel itself.

This is the believer’s willingness and readiness (Preparedness) to imitate Christ as a Spirit filled believer who is at peace with God. This readiness for worship, obedience, and service is the product of the peace produced in the believer by gospel truth, which is obedient gospel reality.

Peace is one of the fruits, or products, of the gospel/salvation.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). This is NOT self-generated peace towards God, but Holy Spirit generated peace from God as a gift.

Release from the wrath and judgement of God is now the believer’s default position. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2).

Instead of separation and alienation from God, the believer enjoys closeness to God. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

Through the gospel of peace, God moved from being our enemy to being our redeemer defender.
Therefore, the piece of armour Paul is highlighting is “readiness”. Readiness to be and do whatever the gospel produces and requires in our lives.

While readiness may look different in different believers, the heart attitude will be the same. Circumstances, beliefs, locations, associations with ministries, different employments, different friendships, and changing family relationships are just some of the many things God providentially uses to create opportunities for ready and willing believers to respond to.

Paul is explaining that the children of God armour themselves with the ability to withstand the enemy’s attacks by willing readiness to be and do whatever is necessary to remain faithful and steadfast in Christ. This means readiness to either continue in whatever you are in at the time or change whatever requires changing to enable continued steadfastness and obedience to the Lord. Ready believers are agile in their faith.

Satan does NOT want ready believers!

What are some of the different ways we need to be ready?
1 Peter 3:15 …in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared (ready) to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

Titus 3:1 …to be ready for every good work

Luke 12:40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

What are some of the things which hold us back, or prevent us from “readiness”?

How can we change from unpreparedness to readiness?






22 – Shoes of gospel readiness Read More »

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