Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This means war - What it means to put on the full armor of God: Be Spirit filled

Ephesians 6:10-12 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

Last week I began a periodic blog series that featured the topic of spiritual warfare. I am entitling this periodic series: "This means War!" In the post last week we considered the significance of spiritual warfare and looked at 1 Samuel 17 and the account of David and Goliath. In considering principles about spiritual warfare from that epic battle, we saw the following points:
1. The methods of the enemy are pride and fear. 1 Samuel 17:1-11

2. Mission of enemy is to destroy you. 1 Samuel 17:12-30

3. Might of God defeats the enemy. 1 Samuel 17:31-58.

In that opening study we considered our main point of application to be: We must grasp that we are in a spiritual war if we are to fight the fight of faith. 

In today's post we now turn our attention exclusively to Ephesians 6, with the goal this week to discover what putting on the full armor of God actually means. Such a command can sound so abstract until we consider the wider context of Ephesians 6:10-18. Today's focus will be on exploring the first meaning behind this command: Be Filled with the Holy Spirit.

Putting on the Whole Armor of God means being Spirit filled. 
Notice what Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." Whenever you see that underlined word: "finally", the indication is that Paul is bring to a close a series of points. In tracing back through the letter of Ephesians, we arrive at the beginning point of his line of argumentation, Ephesians 4:1 "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called."

The whole idea of "walking with God" is a huge point in this second part of Ephesians. Like connecting the dots throughout the remainder of Ephesians 4,5 and 6, we can trace the chain of commands:

Ephesians 4:17 "So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind."

Ephesians 5:1-2  "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."

Ephesians 5:15,18 15 "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise." 18 "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit."

To walk with God requires the believer to be "filled" or "under the influence" of the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Holy is commanded not only here in Ephesians, but elsewhere in the scriptures and stated in differing ways. For example, Galatians 5:16 "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God." To have the scriptures memorized or to have spent time in them to the point of having them in me is practically equivalent to submitting oneself under the Spirit's influence. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 "Do not quench the Spirit."

When I think of the "Spirit-filled" life, such a condition can be likened unto the "chain-mail" a soldier would had worn in the Roman army of the 1st century. 

wikipedia picture

Putting on the Whole Armor of God not only has to do with putting on behaviors and habits but must first begin with the inside.  According to the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, such "chain-mail" (called by the Roman Soldiers lorica) would had protected the heart and vital organs behind the rib cage. 

Why labor this point about chain-mail? Because the filling of the Holy Spirit means we are guarding the organ of thought and passion for God - the heart. Certainly the Holy Spirit's indwelling presence is a must, being that this is after all "the whole armor of God". One must be a Christian to wear the spiritual armor. However, to ensure effectiveness in spiritual warfare and defending Kingdom ground in our marriages (Ephesians 5:22-33); child-rearing (Ephesians 6:1-4) and workplaces (Ephesians 6:5-9), we as Christians must daily be Spirit-filled. This is why Paul's command to put on the full armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 comes at the tail end of a string of commands that are about making sure we are walking with God as Spirit-filled believers.  As is always the case in the Spirit-filled life: the issue is not about you getting more of the Spirit but rather Him getting more of you. Thus putting on the full armor of God means being filled with the Holy Spirit.

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