temptation

Taking Up the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17b)

In the book of Nehemiah we read about how the Israelites returned from captivity to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They came with the blessing of King Artaxerxes, but not everyone was glad that Israel was returning to their land to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls. There were enemies in the land of Israel who sought to destroy and kill the Israelites, and keep them from returning to the land God had given to them. Nehemiah was aware of these enemies, and so as he assigned tasks and went about overseeing the rebuilding of the walls, he instructed the workers to strap a sword to their side so that if enemies appeared, they could defend themselves in battle (Neh 4:18). As we go about our own work as Christians, we too must keep a sword strapped to our side. Not a sword made from steel with wh...

Taking Up the Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16)

This study looks at the shield of faith in Ephesians 6:16, which is another part of the armor of God. As with all the other pieces of spiritual armor, we will first consider how the shield worked for the Roman soldier, then how the shield works for the Christian, and finally, how we can take up and use the shield of faith in our daily lives. The Shield for the Soldier The Greek word Paul uses for shield in Ephesians 6:16 is thureon, which is the generic word for shield, but there were two kinds of shields used by soldiers in Paul’s day. The first, called a parma shield, was smaller and round and could be used by moving the arm to defend a certain part of the body which was being threatened. It was about 3 feet in diameter, and was the lighter of the two shields. However, while this is gene...

The Battle Plan (Ephesians 6:11,13)

Paul turns from the battle cry in Ephesians 6:10 to the battle plan in Ephesians 6:11, 13. We must not only prepare ourselves for battle by becoming strong, we must also protect ourselves in battle by having a plan. The battle plan has three parts. We must put on the armor of God, stand our ground, and watch out for traps laid by the devil. Let us consider each part of the plan. Put on Your Armor (Ephesians 6:11a, 13a) The first part of the battle plan is to put on the whole armor of God. Paul states this instruction twice in Ephesians 6:11, 13 when he writes, “Put on the whole armor of God” and “take up the whole armor of God.” When Paul wrote these words, he was in prison in Rome and was likely chained to a Roman soldier twenty-four hours a day. Being chained to an armed guard was one of...

The Battle Cry (Ephesians 6:10)

Living the Christian life is one of the hardest things you will ever attempt to do. Of course, this is only true if you really attempt to live as a Christian. Far too many Christians think that it is enough to slap a fish bumper sticker on their car, wear Christian t-shirts, and attend a weekly worship service at the church building on the corner. Truly living the Christian life does not consist of such things, and those who live the Christian life in such insignificant ways will face little resistance or trouble. But the Christian who truly steps out to follow Jesus into the dark and hellish places of earth will experience great difficulties, trials, and roadblocks in life. Such Christians will be called to love those they would rather hate, to forgive those who deserve nothing but death,...

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