THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 8-19-07

LESSON TITLE: "THE CHRISTIAN ARMOR: THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT"

WELCOME

What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.

(Prayer)

This morning we want to start our songs of praise with a hymn that reminds us that with God we are never alone. So, wont you join in with the congregation at this time as we together sing, "Anywhere With Jesus!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

When is the last time you thought about how great it would be if you were rich? We often think that if we were just rich then everything would be better! Money would allow us to buy whatever we wanted of this worlds goods. Money would also allow us to go wherever we wanted, at any time! "Oh, to be wealthy," we often think!

Because of this great desire to have money to buy more, we often do or try many "get rich quick" schemes. Think about it for a moment, how many of us have filled out those sweepstakes forms and mailed them in? Or, how many of us have stopped to fill out that form to win that free car or trip? The fact is we all would love to get something for nothing, but really the odds are way against us.

Even when a contest is legitimate, we are only one in millions trying to beat the odds. The chance of us winning is usually so slim that it really doesn't even exist. We would actually have a better chance of being struck by lightning, on a clear day, when there is not a cloud in the sky - than in winning most of these contests.

I mention these things this morning to bring us back into reality. Happiness is not really found in money or in the things of this world. Paul told timothy, "for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim. 6:10). Here we see that a love for money is the foundation to be involved in evil, thus causing one to stray from their faith in God. Does this sound like money can buy happiness? Are we as followers of God supposed to be caught up in the things of this world? Notice what John said in 1 John 2:15, "do not love the world or the things in the world. if anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him." Here we see that if we love of the world or the things of it, more than God - we do not love him.

The fact is, money and the things of this life will not bring us true happiness or contentment. True happiness can only be found in Jesus Christ. When will we learn that we will not really gain anything from this world or the things of it, except maybe physical enjoyment or self-gratification? Have we forgotten that we will die some day and that we will not be able to take any of these things with us?

Why not focus on the truly important things in life? Such as living soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, Titus 2:12. I believe this is also what Solomon was trying to say in Proverbs 22:1, his words were, "a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold."

Truly, the important things in life are those things which pertain to God and His Kingdom. Let's continue to enjoy the things of this world but not at God's expense. We must always put Him first and recognize that every good gift is from Him.

Today we will again study God's Word by focusing on things related to "The Christian Armor!" This morning our specific topic of study will be "The Sword Of The Spirit!" So stay with us after our next song and in a few minutes I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

We will continue our discussion today from Ephesians chapter 6 as we consider "The Armor of God." In fact, as we read there in verses 11 and 13 that we are to "put on the whole armor of God." To this point, we have discussed several important aspects of the Christian armor beginning with "the waist that was girded with the truth," certainly that belt that would be the centralizing factor to hold all the armor in place. We've talked about a "breastplate over the chest" which is representative of righteousness in a spiritual sense, the feet being shod or clothed or covered with a concept of the gospel of peace, the preparation of the gospel of peace, if you will. We also have discussed then "the helmet of salvation," the salvation which we all are working toward that is actually represented in the covering of the head. Then also, as we'll look today, we'll find not only the concepts of the shield of faith being reiterated, that is that which we carry around as faith, but also the new idea today of "The Sword of the Spirit."

As we look at the "The Sword of the Spirit," we at first might would question in some way what it is referring to. However, Paul for us indicates clearly what "the sword of the Spirit" is in this text. You might notice there as we look together at the text that it tells us, "It is the Word of God," verse 17. The Word of God. Well, there certainly are many places in the scriptures that we can go to find out that the Word of God is spoken of as something that is like the sword or like a sword of the Spirit.

A few places might help us with this thought. One is found in the book of Revelation. There in chapter 1 we find several times the concept of the mouth of God presenting something that is like a sword. If you'll look there in verse 16, he says, "He had in his right hand seven stars, but out of his mouth when a sharp, two-edged sword..." There we have that concept again of a powerful sword that is representative of the thing that comes out of the mouth of God. Certainly what would that be? The Word of God. So what is the Word of God as we begin to develop and think about what it means to us as Christians? Well, the Word of God certainly is living and powerful. It is something that is coming from God in order that we might not only know Him but know His Will.

If you'll turn with me to the book of Hebrews, we often hear every week on this program the concept of the "two-edged sword," but yet, it is from the Hebrew writer there in chapter 4 and verse 12. How interesting once again that specifically the writer here says that "the Word of God is," but now I want you to notice with me what it is. "It is living. It is powerful." You know, if you were to think of the Word of God here, you might say, "Well, that is a book, how is it living? How is it powerful?" Well again, when we think about the author as we'll look at more in just a moment and about who it is from, certainly that in and of itself indicates the power and why it bears power. It is God's Word, the strong, the sharp, and thus mighty as a sword, the sword of God. Then we also notice there the concept of something that is alive. It is not dead. It's not something that was or something that might be. It's not something that is maybe asleep or something that maybe is inactive, but it rather is something that is very much alive. Alive unto what? Physical life and the blessings thereof and alive also unto spiritual life which would indicate the concepts of an eternal existence in heaven. So the Word of God is living. It brings life.

Was it not Jesus that said there in the book of John chapter 1 that "He was the life?" Was it not again there where He quoted and spoke of in chapter 14 and verse 6 that he was "the way, the truth and the life." Yes, the Word of God. God is living and powerful and so as God is living and powerful, no doubt His Word is for it offers life to man. It offers salvation.

We also find there further in this same text, there Hebrews 4 and verse 12 that "the Word of God is not only living and powerful, but it is sharper than any two-edged sword." What it indicates for us here is not just maybe the defensive concept that we look at in Ephesians 6 where we find a lot of ideas about defending or standing strong and deflecting Satan and the things Satan throws at us, but what we find here is the idea of an offensive thing, to go on the offensive, to take the Word of God out because it is powerful, because it is living and man needs to hear it, needs to know it. And so what do we learn about it? It's sharp. Well, if you're going to go into battle, what kind of sword do you want? You want a sharp one. Notice this sword has a double edge. Both sides are sharp so that when it is thrusted, it very easily then would penetrate. How sharp is it? How powerful is the sword? Well you would want the best, the sharpest and the strongest sword but yet still the lightest. What do we find here? This one is able to pierce even to divide of the soul and spirit which is indicates here as if the joints and marrow. In other words, it is able to even cut through bone and the joints between the bones and it is able to divide. Well, that's how powerful the word is. It is able to divide sin in the lives that we live and able to separate that so that we might be what? Able to stand up strong.

Notice it is also said here from a spiritual sense, a discerner. It helps us that we might understand the thoughts and our intents that are from the heart. And so that's how powerful the Word is. It establishes us. It helps us to know what our heart should focus on. It helps us to know where our intent should be, where our mind should dwell, and certainly all of those are the same, God. God's Word is living and powerful. It is sharper than any two-edged sword. It is able to cut and to pierce and divide and reach the inner depths of man to convict and convince him and cause him to repent that he might be able to discern between good and evil and make sure his thoughts, his mind, his heart are exactly where they must be in order to be saved.

So the Word of God, yes, it is like a sword. Yes, it's powerful. Yes, it's mighty, and it's wondrous because again of God. I mentioned that a moment ago, but I said we would look just a bit further at that. We want to find that now in the text from 2 Timothy chapter 3:16, a very familiar text and a text that tells us that all scripture, the Bible, the Word of God is from who? Not a man, but God. And then if you'll notice in the same text, it tells us that it is profitable basically for everything whether it is doctrine or spiritual things, whether it is unto reproof, correction, instruction, righteousness, basically that you and I as those of God might be equipped and thoroughly furnished, completely furnished unto every good work.

So what does the Word of God do? It shows us the way. It guides us. It leads us. It teaches us. It helps us to know the answers and to know the way every time that we have a need to go the direction of God. When is that? All the time, for anywhere we go we need to follow Jesus and do those things that we find from His Word.

Furthermore, the Word of God is living and powerful, but furthermore it is a strong sword, not just because it is through man from God, but the Holy Spirit guided men. I also love the verse there that is found, the familiar verse that is in 2 Peter chapter 1 how that it was God Himself, God that chose holy men, men that were followers, men that were believers, men that did not just believe though as many today would indicate, but men who acted on their belief. Well, then what were the results on those men? They were led by the Holy Spirit. Now as they were led by the Holy Spirit, it is very significant because that tells us that what they wrote was controlled by God. Therefore, it is God's Word not man's.

To understand that again we might look at the book of Revelation. In the book of Revelation chapter 1 and specifically in chapters 2 and 3. Jesus continues to say for John to write this, but he says this is from who? It is Jesus who has the sword in His mouth, who has the stars in His hand. This is from God. Although John was used and Paul and Peter and others were used as instruments of writing, the words are from God. How? Controlled of the Holy Spirit. So when we read there that the Holy Spirit used holy men or righteous men to pen the Word we begin to understand what the scripture then is made up of.

But furthermore I want you to notice in the same text that it tells us in verse 20 that scripture is not of any private interpretation. It is not of any man, not of any group of men of no religion. Scripture is from God.

So why is the sword so strong and mighty and sharp and two-edged? Why is it so living and powerful? It is from God Almighty. It is not just from a God or any God that some might would claim exist. It is not just from any man or any people, but it is from God. So how wonderful it is to know that as God equips us with the armor that then we surely see and understand that in that equipment clearly is given to us the tool needed most, the sword. Isn't that what Jesus used? Isn't that what Jesus used when the devil tempted Him? "It is written," Matthew chapter 4. So you see, to defend the Truth of God, He did what? He used the Word of God. Also, what did He do on the other hand? He preached to His disciples. He preached the Sermon on the Mount. He proclaimed the Word of God that men might know how to live and know how to be saved. So yes again, Jesus is the life. Jesus is the one that gives us life through His Word, and how fitting then in John chapter 1 as we return there that it is who referred to as the Word? Jesus. Jesus is the Word. "In the beginning was..." what? "The Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God." Then he says in verse 14, "The Word became flesh." So there we begin to find out that the Word of God, the Word of God is represented in Jesus who was the Word, who was God who became flesh and eventually as we know gave the Spirit that the Spirit might guide men to pen the book that we have today called the Bible.

Another interesting fact about the Word of God or the Sword of the Spirit is the fact that all the other things spoken about there in Ephesians are reiterated in some passages in relationship to the Word of God. What have we spoke about? Around the waist is the Truth. Well what is the Word of God? The Truth. "Thy Word is Truth," John 17:17. You see again a close connection.

What about the breastplate of righteousness? Who is God? God is our creator. He is righteous, John says in 1st John, and because He is righteous we are to be righteous. How do people know that we are of God? We are righteous as God is righteous. How do we know how to be righteous? The Word of God.

We might also look then at the feet. How do we preach the gospel? What is the gospel? The Word of God. I like how Paul put it to the Roman brethren. Do you remember there in Romans chapter 1 and verse 16? He says there that "the gospel of Christ is the power unto (what?) salvation. It is that which can save us." It is that which can lead us in the right paths. So where would that lead us next? It would lead us to that helmet of salvation in my mind for the gospel is powerful enough. It is the Word of God unto salvation. Now we learn one of the most important parts of the soldier is the Word of God that once again is equally connected and important in salvation.

We also talked about the shield of faith. How do we have faith? How do we obey God? We have to know what He wants. Isn't that what we read there in Hebrews chapter 11 in the great faith chapter? Well the way we know what God wants is we look to His Word. We study His Word.

And so in all of these things, we find again that salvation, that the Truth, that righteousness, that the Gospel, that all these things are intricately connected to one another as the armor of a soldier. If you were a soldier, what would you want? Would you want to go out and say, "Well, maybe today I don't need my helmet." Well certainly not. Or, "Maybe today I'll forget the breastplate." Well then you miss the spear with the shield and it goes through and it kills you. Well again, "I'm just going to forget the sword. I'm just going to forget the shield." How ridiculous! Every part is equally important that we might not only know God but that we might obey Him.

So that's why when we return to our main text then at this time we understand why it is that men like David said, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. It shows me the direction. It guides me. It protects me and it helps me in every day life," Psalm 119:105.

But I want you to notice there what the text returns us to. Yes, in verse 18, we are those who are to "strive to be watchful," he says, "to be watchful and ready." How do we do it? Equip ourselves.

"We are those," verse 19, "who are to make known the mystery of (what?) the gospel. How do we do it? As a prepared soldier? "And we are to be those who are ambassadors or representatives for God." How do we do it? We prepare ourselves as those soldiers of God.

And so as we have thought about all of these things and will continue for one more week in looking at how to become a soldier, I want you to then think about just how important it is that we wear about our waist the Truth, that we wear upon our breast the breastplate of righteousness, that on our feet we have there the preparation of the Gospel of Peace and that as we continue to think about the shield and that it is representative of the faith that we must have because without faith it is impossible to please God. But then also the helmet of salvation that covers the head, the head that certainly is over the rest of the body. Then finally, the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

Will you equip yourself as a soldier of Christ and live daily in His call?

(SONG # 3 - "There's A Fountain Free!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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What a beautiful picture we have concerning the Word of God as we think of it as the Sword of the Spirit. May we use our sword wisely and may it always show us the way unto eternal life!

Program closing)