Ephesians 6:17,

The Sword of the Spirit

In John White's book "The Fight" he mentions some college students who came to Christ. He mentioned how that their initial conversion seemed real enough, but that as he observed them immediately after their coming to Christ, he said, "They seemed like an unlikely bunch." They just didn't seem with it spiritually. Their actions and language didn't seem to fit with those of other Christians. What he was getting at was that these young men seemed to be more in the world in their actions and language, than in Christ. But they were in the Word, studying God's Word on a daily basis. Then lo and behold when he had opportunity to observe this same group a year later, they were transformed. He knew by observing their actions and language that they were indeed Christians. What happened? They simple answer. Their conversion had been genuine enough. When God the Father draws us to Jesus (John 6:44), he draws many of us just as we are. You're familiar with the song, "Come as you are." But these young men studied the Word of God, delved into it, on a daily basis. And with Jesus in them, his Word had a transforming effect. The key for them was studying the Word of God on a daily basis. When we're alone with God in His Word on a daily consistent pattern, change is going to happen. We grow in grace and knowledge. How many times have you studied the Word of God this week? If you haven't been effectively studying the Word of God on a daily basis, you're like a soldier without a sword—without his or her weapon. Without personal daily Bible study it's like going into battle in 'Nam or Desert Storm without your ammo clip. You have an empty gun. Someone who seeks God is going to be in the Word daily.

Ephesians 6:17, "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." The sixth article mentioned in Ephesians 6 is the sword of the Spirit, which is defined right there as the word of God. The word used for word here in Greek is Rema which means a small portion of Scripture. This denotes that a Scripture will come into your mind at a specific time to help you fight a specific battle. Jesus Christ's prime example of this use of the sword of the Spirit is found in Matthew 4:1-11. Each time (as we saw earlier) that Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus countered Satan with a specific Scripture. But without being in the Word on a consistent daily basis, over a period of time, your mind and the Spirit of Jesus won't be able to call up the right or appropriate Scripture needed to fight a temptation or guide us in a questionable situation. It's that simple.

There are three ways the sword can be used:

  1. To bring about personal growth,
  2. To guide us,
  3. To guard us.

Point 1. The Word of God causes growth in us when we study it to commune with God. We as Christians are in a spiritual battle with Satan and his world. Satan won't stop attacking us because we don't have our sword in our hands. 2 Timothy 2: 15, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."

Paul has this to say about people who don't effectively gird on their sword. Hebrews 5:11-14, "We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use [i.e. constant daily Bible study—communing with God in His Word] have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." You don't learn about God just by having a Bible in the house. You must open it, study it, and learn it. When you study, it helps if you kneel down at first and pray, "God I want to encounter you."

Point 2. God's Word guides us. David in one of his psalms says it's a lamp to our feet, lighting up the path we're walking on in life. David prayed, "Let no iniquity rule over me." God's Word provides moral guidelines. It is for any person in any society. The truths in God's Word are for any age. Scripture reveals God himself. Scripture will do more than tell you a certain thing or contemplated action is right or wrong, Scripture liberates us. Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." God's Word helps us look right into our own minds, hearts, soul, where our attitudes are formed. Then through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God, Jesus in us (John 14), the active Word of God, the Logos, changes us, our thoughts, our attitudes and then downstream from that, our actions!!! In my personal life, right this morning, I had just woken up, and started to daydream about this girl. Immediately a specific Scripture flashed into my mind. Matthew 5:27-28, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully [and that includes mentally, daydreaming] has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Now this Scripture fit, because I am married. When this Scripture flashed into my mind, I threw the daydream out of my mind and got up to make some coffee. The sword had protected me once again, and character was built up and not destroyed. But had I not been familiar with the words of Jesus in Matthew 5, what would I have done? The Word of God in us stops sin in its' tracks, before it has time to fester and grow! [The Jews and some old covenant Christian groups celebrate the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. These Days of Unleavened Bread are observed for one week, where they have to get rid of all leavened products and keep them out of their homes and not eat them for one week, starting at the Passover. One of the symbolic meanings for leaven in Scripture is that it represents sin. The Jews know this, as well as the old covenant Christian fellowships. Leaven is all around us. It's in the air as tiny microscopic spores. The evil broadcast of Satan is all around us also, putting sinful thoughts into the unsuspecting simple-minded souls. The Days of Unleavened Bread, a part of God's old covenant law, was not done away for Christians, as many believe. They were transformed and made active and new. The spiritual intent of the Days, the reality of them, is lived in us whenever we cast out sinful thought and/or actions. The Holy Days the ancient Hebrews observed, the Holy Days observed by the Jews to this day, Paul said were a shadow for what the Lord does in us. If you are living in the Word, and it is active in you, you are casting out the leaven of Satan, the spores of his evil thoughts which fill the air. He is the prince of the power of the air, Paul said. We today can understand better than those before us how he charges the airwaves with his evil broadcasts. We have modern radio and television. And I don't just mean he uses these, although he does. He broadcasts his attitudes and even sinful thoughts into the minds of unsuspecting mankind. So in a very real sense, these Days of Unleavened Bread are observed by Christians, as they live in the Word of God, casting out the leaven of Satan and his societies of man.] And it is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, which and who is actively in us performing this work. Jesus wants us to be intimately acquainted with the process in this battle, and thus we're responsible for putting the knowledge of God's Word within our minds. Then he, the Logos, Jesus Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, will paint or illuminate a specific Scripture when it is needed. He will not always do this if we have not effectively placed enough Scriptural emmo in our minds. In modern warfare, with the use of laser targeting devices, we have the term to paint a target. This means that "recon" soldiers use invisible lasers to paint or point out an enemy target. Then other forces "home in" on this target and destroy it. In a much similar way, Jesus can paint a spiritual target with a specific Scripture, and then when we see it illuminated, we can destroy it. He did just that this morning. Jesus, the living Logos painted up a target in my mind with Matthew 5:27-28. Then I destroyed the target! And that gets us into the third point. Even David pointed out the light bearing qualities of the Word of God. Psalm 119: 105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

Point 3. God's Word will guard you. Psalm 119:9-11,33-37, 43-48, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you…Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word…Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees." Wow! Read the whole psalm. Then you will come to realize why God promised that he would place king David as resurrected immortal king over the twelve tribes of Israel upon the return of Jesus to set up the kingdom of God on earth! Even the twelve apostles, promised to rule each over one tribe apiece, will have David as their immediate king over them. Is it any wonder? A whole book of the Bible is devoted to the precepts of God. Let's take a short look at it. Proverbs 6:20-29, 32-35. "My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping your from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished…But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away; for jealousy arouses a husband's fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept the bribe, however great it is."

The Word of God is another big part of revival. Hebrews 11:3, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." God is invisible, but he's there. He's a consuming fire. Satan our enemy and his host of demons are there also. They are also invisible. We are at war with a powerful invisible enemy. Our ammunition is the Word of God. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Jesus is the active living Word of God, the Logos (read John 1:1-11). Jesus gave us an example of how the sword of the Spirit is to be used in Matthew 4:1-11. No matter what weapon analogy you chose to use, let's pick up our weapons, our ammo clips, and let's fight!