THE ARMOR OF THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER – Identifying the Enemy
In our last study we learned that the true Christian is engaged in a daily spiritual warfare. The Christian soldier will be engaged in this spiritual warfare until they go home to heaven either through the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:13-18) or death (Hebrews 9:27).
It will help us understand the seriousness of accepting that this warfare is real, if we first acknowledge that earth is not our home. Also, while here we will be involved in the spiritual battle that Paul talks about in Ephesians 6. Further Paul instructs us about the armor of God so that we can have victory while here as a Pilgrim.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20, NKJV)
While here we need to recognize three things:
- If saved our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.
- If saved we eagerly wait for the Savior.
- If saved our Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s promise is that He will send His son back to earth to acquire His bride, the church, but also to establish His Kingdom [His 1,000 year reign on earth] in which His bride will serve Him. But while we are still here on earth we have a job to do:
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying. All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20; cf. Acts 1:8, NKJV)
As Christians we need to recognize several things because Satan [the enemy] will attempt to convince the Christian [you] that you don’t have to obey Christ’s commands:
- Jesus explained that He has all authority in heaven and on earth.
- This means that He is the boss and that Christians must respond and carry out His commands.
- Jesus said this very plainly and directly in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments!” The question then is do you love Him? If you don’t carry out His commands, how can you say that you love Him and if you don’t love Him how can you say that you are truly saved.
- His commands are very plain in this passage and consist of three things:
Go make disciples
- Baptize them.
- Teach them to observe all things that He has commanded.
5. It is plain, the true Christian loves Christ and so they will be carrying out His commands.
“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up onto heaven? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11, NKJV)
Using the circumstances of your life, Satan will attempt to convince you:
It’s been over 2,000 years and He has not returned, so He is not coming back.
- That you don’t have to live like you should because it has been over 2,000 years and He hasn’t come back so you have plenty of time to confess your sin and get right before He returns.
- Even if He does return soon, live it up because God wants you to be happy. If He returns, He will understand your sin and forgive you, so don’t worry about His will, you can’t understand it anyway.
It becomes easier to understand and accept our job for the Lord Jesus Christ if we remember that upon salvation we were changed completely, from the inside out. Not only do we have a new lifestyle to live, we also have received amazing blessings, help, strength and direction for our life.
We will be more committed to our spiritual warfare if we also understand that the God of creation is awesome and He has a plan for our life. If we are smart enough to follow it, we will know and live the abundant life that the Lord Jesus promised to those who accept Him as their Savior.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
A person who accepts the Lord Jesus Christ is immediately changed from the inside out. Notice “all” things have become “new”. While here on earth the true Christian is different than an unsaved person. For instance, this new Christian has many things that have changed and here are just some of them:
- He or she has a new Father [God the Father].
- He has a new master, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- He has a new home, that of heaven.
- He has a new purpose, that of serving the Lord Jesus Christ until taken home to heaven.
- He has a new priority or focus that of focusing on Christ who is in heaven.
- He has a new powerful purpose, that of living by faith.
- He has a new access in prayer to the Father.
- He has a new life in that “all” things now work for his or her good.
- He has a new life of warfare in defending the truth once given.
- He has a new guarantee, that of eternal life.
- He has a new confidence, that of the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit now witnesses with the believer’s spirit that he is a child of God.
- He has a new promise from God that He will be resurrected to spend eternity with God.
- He has a personal teacher and if the believer places himself under the control of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), he is able to understand God’s Word. The unsaved does not have that privilege.
Jesus is coming back for His church but man or woman had better be ready. You do not want to be like the unwise virgins in the parable, that Jesus taught about being ready for His return.
The rapture is going to happen. Why? Because God says so.
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and are remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18, NKJV)
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27, NKJV)
KEY: “No one can evade death, it will come to “all” in one way or another. The Biblical point is to be ready by having walked the only path to heaven that is available, see John 14:6.
The new Christian has an old but yet new enemy, that of Satan and today we want to consider this enemy, one of three that the Christian has:
- The Flesh
No doubt that you have read of Satan on the pages of Scripture or been taught by a faithful Pastor or Christian teacher. This powerful enemy according to Ephesians 6:11 has a plan of attack and the Christian better attempt to understand the “wiles of the devil.” The word “wiles” (methodei) means the deceits, craftiness, trickery, methods and strategies which the devil uses to wage war against the faithful disciple of Christ.
KEY: Satan will do everything he can to deceive and capture the believer. His plan is to separate you from God in anyway he can. He is smarter and stronger than any human being. The point of the armor passage is to prepare you, as a believer, for the attack that is going to happen to you.
KEY: Because God says that there are some things that we must not put before Him, Satan will attempt to use those very things against us. We are not to love the world before God, God is to be first in our life in everything. So guess what, your enemy will attempt to convince you that its OK to love the world and the things of the world. If you are to have victory, you must be clothed in the armor of God.
“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. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (I John 2:15-17, NKJV)
Satan will attempt to deceive you with the idea that you do not have to live a pure life but what does the Scripture say?
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (I John 3:2-3, NKJV)
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does no sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor know Him.” (I John 3:4-6, NKJV)
The Greek tense indicates that John is talking about those who continually sin or has a life pattern of sin. He is not stating that you will never sin. Otherwise there would be no need for Chapter one of I John, especially verses 5 – 10.
KEY: The warning is clear, a person who is truly saved does not continually live a pattern of sin. However, Satan will attempt to convince you that a lifestyle of sin is OK.
Satan will also attempt to convince you that you do not have to obey God’s commandments, you are free to live your life anyway you want, God does not care, but what does Scripture say?
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (I John 2:3-6, NKJV)
Listen to Jesus:
“If you love Me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NKJV)
There can be no argument, God is concerned about the type of lifestyle that the Christian lives.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6: 19-10, NKJV)
Here are God’s statements about your body and spirit which are often the area of attack by Satan. He will use the strategies that appeal to the lust of the eyes and the fleshly appetites:
You are in a restaurant looking at the advertisements on the menu and low and behold there in front of your eyes are the exact foods the Doctor has said they are not good for you. What will you do? Ignore them or let Satan win. He can defeat you if you let him through something as simple as delicious foods.
- How about the attractive person you have become interested in?
- How about the person who is exposing his or her body?
- How about the person who flaunts their money through possessions, clothing, land , cars, houses, do you covet?
- How about the person who just got the promotion that you had expected would be yours. What is your inner man like?
- How about that position of power and authority that Satan has put right there before your eyes?
KEY: Satan will present something to your eyes that is appealing. You could be in real trouble if you are not wearing the armor that God has prepared for you.
Satan will entice the believer to eat the second helping, he will take a second look, buy some unneeded possession, or begin to selfishly seek more power and authority. Satan will use all the strategies he can to appeal to the flesh and pride of the believer.
KEY: Like with Adam and Eve, Satan wants you to be disobedient. He wants to separate you from God and His fellowship.
Let’s take a tour through some Scripture that can help us with the struggles that we go through if we will recognize the principles and apply them:
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44, KJV)
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16, KJV)
- Accept that the control of your life resides with you through the power and strength of Jesus Christ.
- Accept that you have powerful enemies: The world; The flesh; Satan.
- Accept that God has given you the armor you need to live a victorious life.
- Accept that you have the responsibility to put the armor on every day.
- Accept that if you do not put the armor on daily, you will be defeated by one or more of your enemies.
- Accept that if you are fearful, Jesus is there to help you.
- Accept that you can go to God for help at any time, any place, He is the Christian’s refuge, a present help.
- Accept that the Christian’s warfare is spiritual and his enemies are spiritual: “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 host of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV)
- Accept that in Christ you can have victory.
- Accept that no matter what your problem is God says to cast all your care upon Him.