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YOU ARE BORN TO SHINE

2 Corithians Chapter 4 verse 6

LETS WORSHIP TOGETHER

Every Sunday 11am| Wednesday 7pm

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Saturday, May 25 2019

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

Introduction: So far, we have discussed, in details, the first five elements of the Christian armor. Interestingly, these are all defensive in design and purpose. Last week, we considered the Helmet of Salvation. Amongst other items discussed, we looked at the three aspects of Salvation – Justification (We have been saved), Sanctification (We are being saved) and Glorification (We will be saved). We also looked at the importance of hope in the future promise of salvation (Glorification). This week, we will be doing an in-depth study on the sixth elements of the Christian armour – The Sword of the Spirit – an offensive weapon.

The Only Offensive Weapon Listed

  • The first five elements of the Christian armor are defensive pieces—armament the Christian can use to defend against spiritual attack. Why would an offensive weapon be listed with the other pieces of armor? What use should a Christian make of it?
  • We are to be girded with the belt of truth around our waist. It is Jesus and His truth that leads to life. We put on the breastplate of righteousness. So our hearts are protected by the holiness of the cleansing of our hands and purifying of our hearts. The shoes of the readiness that comes with the Gospel of Peace. The shield of faith protects from Satan’s fiery darts. The helmet of salvation reminds us that we belong to Jesus and that we are assured of the final victory in battle. And no matter what circumstances surround us, we stand on a firm foundation of His peace.
  • The armor is not just for our defense, but for offense. For too long, we as believers have stood and maneuvered in the armor from a defense mode. We react to the enemy and his schemes after the assaults have been unleashed instead of using the weapons and our armor on the offense. Why do I say this? The sword is a powerful and significant weapon. It is absolutely used in defense and protection when an enemy is aggressively charging the armed soldier. But the sword is also used in offense when the armed one advances into battle. Many want to believe that since Jesus defeated Satan on the cross, all we are expected to do is stand. A belief has developed that if we stand around with our hands in our pockets, evil will somehow not bother us or our society. But this is not what Paul was trying to convey. The word used for “stand” in this Scripture is an active tense. Standing does not mean we are stagnant and do nothing; it is an action stance we are to take to overcome the strongman and advance the Kingdom of God. Spiritual warfare is not just a defensive act; it is an offensive action and stance that obtains victory.

Joshua – An example

Joshua was on offense when he led the children to possess the Promised Land. Yes, God’s enemies had stolen that land, but when they returned to possess it, Joshua did not wait to be attacked by his enemies. He received blueprint plans from the Lord for every battle and led the army of Israel in victorious offensive strikes to take their rightful Kingdom inheritance. Listen to this powerful challenge Joshua issued to the children of Israel to call them into order to advance: “How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (Josh. 18:3 AMP). To stand is an offensive position to engage and possess.

The Roman Sword

The sword used by Roman soldiers was known as a gladius; and in the hands of a skilled man, it was a fearsome weapon. In fact, it became known as “the sword that conquered the world.” It was sharpened on both sides, making it lethal against an unarmored foe. The point was also sharpened, enabling it to pierce armor. An infantryman in the Roman legions would also go into battle with a dagger, a few spears and possibly a few darts. But the gladius was the only offensive weapon listed by Paul, and it was the main weapon in the soldier’s arsenal.

The sword of the Word

Paul defines the sword of the Spirit as the “word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). This isn’t the only place where God’s Word (the Bible) is described as a sword. The author of Hebrews also makes reference to it

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

The Word of God is even sharper than the gladius! It is capable of piercing to the deepest levels of one’s heart and attitude, and it is also a tool of discernment in the hands of the skilled user. This gives rise to two questions:

(a) Is the sword of the Spirit only for use as an offensive weapon? (b) Who or what is the foe against which the sword is to be used?

The Sword Is Also for Defense

While the gladius was the primary offensive weapon available to a legionnaire, it was also invaluable for defense, being used to parry and deflect attacks by an opponent. So also is the Word of God valuable in defending against spiritual attack.

Jesus Christ Himself demonstrated how valuable it is to be grounded in the words of the Bible when He was attacked by Satan during a time of extreme physical weakness due to His fasting.  Notice the example in Matthew 4:1-3*

Satan knew full well that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but he prefaces each of his attacks by saying, “If You are the Son of God” (emphasis added throughout). He wanted to pull Christ away from His dependence upon the Father and the realization that He was there to do the Father’s will. Each time Jesus used the Scriptures to defend against and refute Satan’s ploys (vs 4)

Satan continued the attack (verses 5-9) and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ skillfully used a thorough knowledge of the Scripture to parry and deflect the attacks. What a masterful example of how to use the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God!

Who is the Enemy?

We have seen, from the example of Jesus Christ, that the enemy of the Christian is Satan the devil, as he tries to separate us from our God (see also 1 Peter 5:8-9).

A more refined question might be: What do we attack with the sword? How is it used as an offensive weapon?

The apostle Paul used a military analogy when he talked about the Christian fight. He described thoughts and attitudes that we must defeat, just as a soldier would use his weapons to defeat the enemy.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

We are to use the Word of God to discern those thoughts and attitudes that are contrary to God’s way and use that sword to bring those attitudes and thoughts into captivity. That is the Christian battle, and that is how we use the offensive weapon in our armor.

Training is Needed

Roman soldiers could not be sent into battle without having extensive training in the use of the gladius. They were first trained using shields made of wicker and swords made of wood. These items were typically about twice the weight of the normal swords and shields. The thought was that if the trainee could use these heavier items skillfully, he would be at an advantage when using the real weapons, which were much lighter by comparison.

After training extensively with the wooden weapons, the soldiers were then paired against each other for further training in combat techniques and moves. The importance of the training was reflected in the food rations given by the Romans. Instructors often received double rations. Trainees who didn’t achieve desired levels of skill were given inferior rations until their training evaluations improved.

As Christians, we also must train and be skillful in the use of the sword. The author of Hebrews tells us that we must become gradually more knowledgeable and skilled in the Word of God, until we are able to use it to discern good from evil.

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).

This level of skill—this proficiency with the Word of God—comes by “reason of use.” We have to be familiar with the Bible, and we must have our spiritual senses sharpened by it in order to make full use of this piece of armament God has given us!

Conclusion - The Sword and You

The desire to become knowledgeable in God’s Word—skilled in the use of the sword—has to come from within. Do you see how valuable it is, and do you desire to have a high level of skill? Notice the attitude shown by the psalmist when it came to God’s Word:

“I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore, I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:101-104).

This is the attitude and approach to God’s Word that can make a skilled spiritual warrior. The training and skill levels are up to you!

Some parts of this study was culled from https://lifehopeandtruth.com;

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:03 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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