Notes on Christian Warfare (5)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Saint’s Armour   (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

In order to fight and win this battle, we must put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14). Satan’s weaponry will not be deflected by morality, virtue or religion. It is the grace of God, the truth and righteousness revealed in Christ that is needed. A natural man is not fit for this war, he must be born again (John 3:7). We are indeed warned by Jesus against entry into this fray without the necessary (Luke 14:25-33). To be without Christ in the war is to be without the armour of God, and therefore, you must need face defeat. The Christian life is a life of service and warfare. Jesus is more honest than many preachers and churches. In the gospel narratives, he spells out clearly the terms of discipleship, he pulls no punches. If you are to be realistic, victorious, constant, if you’re to maintain a clear witness to the light and truth of the gospel, then you have a battle on your hands. The mother of all battles. You are faced not just with the fallen natures of men, the pressures of a godless society, but temptations, snares, assaults from the Devil and his assistants. The war is spiritual and you need armour, God’s armour to be able to stand. You must put it all on (v11). This akin to the general commanding his army, he bellows out before his fellow soldiers, put it on! Put it on! The picture we’re given here is not of a native Red Indian with a bow and arrow. More like a US Navy SEAL all kitted out and heavily armed. I guess Paul would have had a Roman soldier in mind. They were world-conquerors and for a time, they ruled the world. Each and every piece of the armour is important and is to be put on diligently, the whole array of armour (Isaiah 59:17). This would be over precise for some. It is often the same when we seek to order worship in God’s appointed way. Folk want their own self-appointed worship (Isaiah 1:12). Well, this here is what God’s require of you if you are to fight and win this war. To correct God’s demands is to righteous over much. If the way and the means are not his we face certain defeat. That which is esteemed by men is an abomination to God (Luke 16:15).

It is God himself who chooses the weapons, Israel in the Old Testament went into battle with horses, against the clear dictate of God’s counsel. What happened, it was a disaster, the horses were houghed (disabled) and the army defeated. When will we learn, it is God’s war, we move, we fight under his command? Even the numbers and the weapons were all appointed. The instructions at Jericho were very specific, they were followed by the letter and victory ensued. Now in the gospel dispensation, we are still at war, we’re marching to Zion, the beautiful city of God, heaven. The fighting is intense, we fight the against the world, worldly passions, and the demonic forces of hell, all arrayed against our souls. God knows and his way is best, always, “if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2Timothy 2:5). So we fight, but we do it God’s way. The defence is not a cover for sin but to subdue and overcome it. We must beware of a carnal trust, in the armour, and not God himself. Our weapons are not carnal but they are mighty, “for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2Corinthians 10:4; v10). The ark of the covenant was not God’s presence it was but a symbol of his presence. But it wasn’t long before Israel carnally trusted in the ark itself and not God. As long as they had the wooden box they foolishly thought they were protected. The armour is a means, but without God himself that armour will avail nothing.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
Sermon Audio

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