apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he was under house arrest, chained to a
Roman soldier. He asked for prayer to open his “mouth boldly to make known
the mystery of the gospel” while he was “in chains” (Ephes.
6:18-20). What does this say about the apostle Paul when it comes to
evangelism? He was afraid to share the gospel while guarded by Roman soldiers. He
needed boldness from God to overcome his fear. This is the context in which
Paul instructed Christians to pray (6:18) the whole armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-17. The greatest spiritual warfare takes place on the battlefield of
evangelism. If we are going to have
boldness to share the gospel in a world that is hostile toward Christianity, we must pray “the whole armor of God.”
“10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17
battle in evangelism is not against “flesh and blood,” but against the “spiritual
hosts of wickedness,” we need the Lord’s power and strength “to stand
against the wiles [schemings] of the devil” (6:10-12). Satan and his
demonic armies are far too strong and wise for us to overcome on our own. We
need the Lord’s power, strength, and weapons to defeat them. Our primary
responsibility is “to stand” (6:11, 13-14) and to “put on” or “take
up… the whole armor of God” (6:11, 13, 17). Failure to put on all of God’s
armor leaves us vulnerable to spiritual attack and defeat. Paul then describes
the armor that Roman infantrymen wore in the order they would put it on.
thing a soldier would put on his long tunic shirt was a “belt” (6:14b) to
hold his breastplate and sheathe for his sword in place. The “truth”
refers to God’s revealed truth and the truthfulness of the believer. This is
foundational to spiritual victory. We cannot overcome the father of lies
(John 8:44) apart from the truth of God’s Word (John 8:31-32). The lies of the
enemy will quickly erode our defenses and discourage us from sharing the
piece of armor that a soldier put on was “the breastplate” (6:14c) which
covered him from his neck to his thighs, and was normally made of bronze or
chain mail. The breastplate protected his vital organs, particularly his heart.
The “righteousness” refers to both being declared righteous before God at
the moment of faith in Christ (Romans 4:5) and to righteous living after we are
saved (Romans 6:11-14). Knowing we are covered with Christ’s righteousness at
the moment of our salvation can protect us from Satan’s accusations and
motivate us to live out that righteousness as we yield to the Holy Spirit
(Romans 8:1, 4-5). Living a consistent Christian life will give us more
boldness as we witness to the unsaved. For example, when we witness to a
non-Christian, we won’t be plagued with guilt or shame about living a double
life if we are consistently walking in the Spirit.
soldier put sandals on his “feet” (6:15) that were studded with sharp
nails to give him better footing especially on a slippery battlefield. “The
preparation of the gospel of peace” refers to a Christian being prepared to
share the good news of Jesus that brings peace with God (Romans 5:1) and with
one another (Ephesians 2:14-18). One of the obstacles that keeps Christians
from sharing the gospel with unbelievers is not knowing what to say. We must
become so familiar with the gospel of grace (John 3:16; Acts 20:24; I
Corinthians 15:1-8), that we can share it at any time when God gives us the
opportunity. This kind of grip on the gospel will give us sure footing when the
Devil attacks us.
piece of armor was “the shield” (6:16) made of wood and rectangular
(about 2.5 feet wide and 4 feet long), covered with a leather flame retardant.
A Roman soldier used this to protect his entire body. Before a battle involving
flaming arrows from their enemies, soldiers poured water on the leather shields
to extinguish flaming arrows. Top priority (“above all”) is to be given
to this piece of armor. The “faith” that provides this extensive
protection from “the fiery darts of the wicked one” refers to trusting
God’s promises in the heat of battle. Satan wants us to doubt the
trustworthiness of God’s Word (cf. Genesis 3:1-5). For example, God promises to
go before us and to be with us, never leaving us nor forsaking us (Deuteronomy
31:8). Satan wants to cast doubt on this promise to cause us to be afraid and
shield, the soldier took up “the helmet” (6:17a) to protect his head.
This “salvation” probably refers to three types of salvation: our past
salvation from hell (Ephesians 2:8-9), our present salvation from the power of
sin (James 1:14-22), and our future salvation from the presence of sin (I John 3:2-3).
Satan wants to cast doubt on a believer’s past, present, and future salvation
so he is more vulnerable to temptation and defeat. But God wants to protect our
minds from doubting His promises to save us from the penalty of sin in hell,
from the power of sin now, and from the presence of sin in the future. The more
secure we are in the salvation God guarantees, the more confidence we will have
on the battlefield. The point of this piece of armor is that we are fighting
from victory, not for victory.
piece of armor put on by the soldier was “the sword” (6:17b) which was
short and two-edged, used to cut and stab in hand-to-hand combat. This was the
only offensive weapon in Paul’s list of armor. “The word of God” refers
to the spoken “word” (rhema) of God rather than to the written word. For
example, Jesus spoke God’s Word to the devil when he tempted Jesus to sin, and
the devil was defeated (cf. Matthew 4:1-11). This is “the sword of the
Spirit” in that the Holy Spirit gives us the Scripture to speak to the
devil when he attacks us on the battlefield of evangelism, so that he will flee
from us and no longer disrupt the sharing of the gospel (cf. Matthew 10:19-20;
James 4:7). Every Christian is to arm himself with the spoken Word of God
through Scripture memorization.
The way to
put on the whole armor of God is “praying always…in the Spirit, being
watchful” (6:18a). You can have more boldness on the battlefield of
evangelism by praying the whole armor of God:
Belt of Truth – Protect me O God with the Belt of Truth. You are truth, Jesus, and
in You and in Your Word I
find truth. You are the foundation for all of life. Replace Satan’s lies with
the truth of Your Word.
Please empower me to be truthful and honest with You, myself, and others.
Breastplate of Righteousness – I pray the protection of the
Breastplate of Righteousness. Keep my will, emotions and personality subject to
Christ. Protect my inmost being from selfishness and self-pity. I will not
believe the lies from Satan that I am no good or that I can be good enough to
earn Your acceptance. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I
have been declared totally righteous before You the moment I trusted Jesus. I
am completely covered by the righteousness of Your Son so there are no grounds
for my condemnation. Please manifest Your righteousness in my motives, words,
thoughts and actions.
Shoes of the Gospel of Peace – Protect me from anything that
would rob me of Your peace. Please enable me to be prepared to always share the
gospel of grace with those who need Your peace. Give me Your compassion and alertness
for those who do not know You. Help me to see the lost through Your eyes of
Shield of Faith – Protect me from the flaming arrows of the evil one. Extinguish
anything Satan has to give out as I place my faith in the promises of Your Word.
Help me to realize who I am in Christ and to appropriate faith in all
situations. I can trust You, Father, because You are faithful to keep Your Word
and You are in control of all things. Thank You, Father.
Helmet of Salvation – I pray the protection of the Helmet of Salvation on my head. Satan is out to trick me into doubting my salvation, but I am God’s child by grace through faith in Christ alone and Jesus is more powerful than Satan. He will never abandon me. He lives in me to give me the power to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God. He will take me safely to heaven. I ask for the protection of my mind from Satan’s lies and that I would take every thought captive unto Jesus Christ. The helmet of salvation is a sign of victory in Christ over sin, death, and Satan. Thank You, Father that I am fighting from victory, not for victory!
Sword of the Spirit – I am protected and have all power through Jesus Christ and through the sword of the Spirit, the Bible. Holy Spirit, please open my eyes to see wonderful things in Your Word! I will be in Your Word and memorize Your Word so that I may stand firm against the evil one. Holy Spirit please give me the words to speak to the devil when he attacks me on the battlefield of evangelism so that his lies and deceptions are exposed and defeated. I pray the power of the Holy Spirit is ignited in my life, so that Christ may live His life through me today and every day. Thank You Father for the freedom I have in You!