The Full Armor of God: The Sword of the Spirit

The Full Armor of God: The Sword of the Spirit

Welcome: An Umpire’s Authority 
Notice that the umpire just says “you’re outta here” and the manager is gone.  Just like that.  There is great power in a word.  Especially one that has authority to use that word.  No, the manager didn’t like it one bit and neither does Satan. 

Opening Illustration: Crocodile Dundee’s Knife

How many of you remember the old school movie Crocodile Dundee?  I loved that movie.  It’s the story of a backwoods Australian bushman, Mick Dundee, who falls in love with a high flying New York reporter sent to Australia to do a report on him.  Mick decides that he would like to see New York and joins his new found love interest.  The highlight of the movie, and one of the more comedic parts I might add, is when Mick and Sue are on a date and they are approached unexpectedly by a man asking for a light.  As Mick prepares to give him a light, the man pulls out a switchblade knife and threatens Mick and Sue.  Sue, obviously terrified, is somewhat bothered by Mick’s reaction.  Mick smiles and simply gives an off-putting laugh.  Sue tells Mick to give him everything he has because “he has a knife”.  Mick calmly says “That’s not a knife, this is a knife”, as he pulls out a huge blade from behind his back.  He cuts the criminal’s jacket and holds the knife to his throat.  The criminal, wide eyed and scared, runs away.  

Friends, there is a lot of truth that can be pulled from that movie scene.  First, life is dangerous.  Everywhere you turn there is some other tragic story of life lost and people being hurt.  Danger comes in many forms.  Danger is physical.  Danger can also be spiritual as we learn today.  

Second, when danger comes, it wants to take everything we have.  That’s the Devil’s mission by the way.  He will show up unexpected and demand everything from us.  Remember what Jesus says:

John 10:10 ESV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

It’s funny that Jesus even calls Satan an thief, just like the movie.  The thief wanted everything Mick had.  Not only did the thief want to harm and take everything from Mick, but he also was threatening Sue.  Just like the Devil.  The Devil is not satisfied with harming you, he wants to harm everyone around you.  

Third, the enemy, or in this case the thief, has weapons. We talked about those weapons a few weeks ago.  Remember, the enemy has flaming darts or arrows that are just for us.  They are powerful and personal. Just like this thief, the devil carries weapons to hurt and damage us.  

Here’s the good news!  For the believer, we have nothing to fear.  When danger comes, and it will, we can be prepared.  Just like Mick, God has given us a powerful weapon.  We have a sword and it’s much bigger than Mick’s.  When the Devil comes around the corner and threaten’s us, all we have to is use the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  

That’s what Ephesians 6 tells us.  Remember…

In Battle, A Soldier Needs His Sword!

Ephesians 6:10-17 ESV
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…

Point: Make The Devil Run
For the past several weeks, we have been talking about the weaponry that the Lord gives to us.  So far, we have only talked about the defensive weaponry.  Today, we talk about offense.  Today we talk about the the one thing that can make the Devil run.  Today we will talk about the sword of the Spirit. 

The Gladius:
Every Roman soldier had a sword, the gladius. It was a double-edged blade of a length between 12 and 20 inches long. That it was not a long sword tells us that it was designed for close combat. The gladius was not the only Roman soldier’s weapon, but it was the weapon of choice. Using it effectively was a matter of life or death.

Rhema vs. Logos
The Spirit of God has given the Christian a marvelous weapon in the word of God. However, I need to clarify what is meant by the "word of God". This is extremely important. 

The Apostle Paul is not referring to the entire Bible, as such. For, the Greek word we have translated "word" is not logos but rhema. Rhema refers to just a specific portion of the Scriptures pertaining to a specific subject or applicable to a specific situation. It is a particular passage that is relevant to the particular need at hand.

“So does this mean that the entire word of God is of no use?” Absolutely not.  The Bible is a marvelous library of information that is useful for us.  However, Paul is telling believers that the Word of God is tailor made to whatever situation they find themselves in.  The Word can meet all their needs at any moment and there are specific passages that speak to every situation of their life.  It is almost like Paul is telling the believers that God’s Word knows what they need and it is ready to supply to them a specific answer to meet their needs.  

The Sword Gives Believers…

I. Definition 

The Roman sword was very recognizable.  First, for it’s construction.  It was double bladed.  It was was the first steel sword in the Iron Age which mean that it was light but tremendously strong.  It was meant for swinging back and forth.  No matter how it was used, it was used to give maximum damage.  The Roman sword was one of the first double bladed swords of it’s day.  Second, it was recognizable because of its artistry.  The Roman sword would have carried an inscription and emblem of Caesar.  Of all the weapons a soldier possessed, the sword was of most valuable because it gave certain identification of whose army you belonged.  If you had the sword of Rome, you were trained and ready for battle.  

Certainly the author of Hebrews was thinking about the Roman soldier when he said these words…

Hebrews 4:12 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

We have been given a sword as well.  That sword lets the Devil know whose army we belong to.  We are fighting for the King of Kings and we are not to be taken lightly.  The only problem is that most of us have pretty dull swords.  

A dull sword is not very scary to the dark forces of Satan.  In a moment you will see how much damage a sharp sword can be to the Devil. You will also see how you can keep your sword sharp.  

The Sword Gives Believers…

I. Definition 
II. Dominion (Authority)

A few weeks ago we talked about the breastplate of righteousness.  To illustrate, I wore a bullet proof vest.  That bullet proof vest belonged to the Daphne Police Department.  Now the bullet proof vest is not what gives the police officer his authority.  Do you know what does?  That’s right, it’s his gun.  Because of the gun, when a police officer tells us to freeze, we should freeze or face the consequences.  We will put our hands over our heads.  We will get on the ground.  We will do just about anything the officer tells us to do because of the gun.  The gun gives him or her authority.  

Back in the Roman world, there were no guns.  However, people were just as intimidated at the sight of a Roman gladius.  That sword, used properly, could mean instant death for an enemy of Rome.  The Roman solider had authority to make people do just about anything because he had a significant weapon.  He had the sword.  

Now, turn in your Bibles to Mark 1:25-27.

Mark 1:21-28 ESV
21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

So Jesus taught with authority.  His teaching led him to demand that a demon exit a man’s body.  It was the authority of His Word that drove the demon out.  This demon literally ran from Jesus.  His Word frightened the demon.  His Word threatened to destroy the demon.  When we know the Word of God, we have authority as well.  We have the same power over the demonic presences of the world.  

When we have the Word of God, we can dismantle disease, annihilate addiction, and bury abuse. When we know God’s Word we can have confidence and we have nothing to fear.  

Just listen to Jesus’ words to His disciples…

Luke 10:19 ESV
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome ALL the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you.”

So, the sword gives us authority over Satan, our attacker.  The sword also has another benefit.  The sword also gives the believer defense.

The Sword Gives Believers…
I. Definition 
II. Dominion (Authority)
III. Defense

Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke 4:1-13 ESV

Luke 4:1-13 ESV
1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
    and him only shall you serve.’”
9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    to guard you,’
11 and “‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Point: Satan Attacks Jesus…But Jesus Shows Us How To Fight
Jesus shows us HOW to fight with sword of the spirit in Luke 4. The devil wants Jesus to obey HIS word; trying to trick Jesus into obeying him instead of the Father in heaven.

Satan Attacks
“Turn this stone into bread.” – obey me

Jesus Defends with the Sword of the Spirit.
“It is written, Man does not live on bread alone.”

Satan Attacks
“I will give you all authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” – I will give you anything if you obey me, sound familiar?

Jesus Defends with the Sword of the Spirit.
“It is written, Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”

Satan Attacks – (trying to use the sword of the spirit)
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 

for it is written:

‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in your hands, so that you won’t strike your foot against a stone.’” – (first recorded suicidal thought) 

Jesus Defends with the Sword of the Spirit.
“It says: do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

We see here that Jesus defended himself against 3 attacks from the devil. The devil even tried to use the word against Jesus, but anyone who reads the word, and studies it filling their head with it and wearing the Complete Armor of God will be able to withstand attacks from the devil, not just withstanding, but using the sword against him until he flees!

Illustration: Atlanta Woman Disarms Man With Word of God

In 2005, a man named Brian Nichols -- on trial for rape— escaped an Atlanta courthouse and, after murdering four people, forced his way into single mother Ashley Smith's home and held her hostage for seven hours. Ashley defused the situation by reading Pastor Rick Warren’s best-selling book “The Purpose Driven Life” to Nichols, and the wanted man eventually surrendered to police. (He's now serving multiple sentences without parole.) Smith talks about how Warren's book and the Bible changed her life.

"At that time in my life, it was really down in the dumps and that was really a life-changing experience for me because truly, of all the people that had a role in that day, of all the people that could have lost their lives, I was the one that probably should have," she says. "And instead of me losing my life -- here I was the lonely, widowed, drug-addict mom who deserved death -- but God gave me a brand new life, one that I could never, ever imagine, as a result of just giving my life to Him. And through that, I've tried to do better since then."

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The Sword Gives Believers…
I. Definition 
II. Dominion (Authority)
III. Defense
IV. Drive

Sure, a sword could let other know what country you were fighting for.  It would give you authority and save as a great defense.  However, a sword is also meant for attacking.  As I said earlier, this is the only piece of offensive weaponry you have in the armor of God.  It is meant to be used and it is meant to send Satan running.  Therefore, let us use the Word of God to drive out Satan’s forces.  Let us use the Word of God to dismantle the dark places and shine the light of Christ everywhere we go.  

How can we use the Sword of the Spirit?  How can we keep it sharp and ready for battle.  The answer is pretty simple.  

First, mind it.  Read it!
I Timothy 4:13 ESV
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

Next, memorize it.
Psalm 119:10-11 ESV
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Meditate on it. 
Psalm 1:2 ESV
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Move on it.
2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

What good is one who knows the Word but doesn’t do the Word? What good is a sword if it is not used.

Closing illustration:
In American history, the Battle of the Alamo stands as a prime example of the kind of decisiveness Jesus calls for. In 1836 a band of fewer than 200 men defended the little mission in San Antonio, against General Santa Anna’s 6,000 Mexican troops. For two weeks they held the Alamo against impossible odds. Then, on March 5, the night before what would surely be the final assault, William Barret Travis, the comander of the Texans, called a meeting of his men. Telling them he knew the enemy would break through the walls on the morrow, he drew his sword and cut a line in the sand. He invited those who wanted to stay and defend to the death to cross the line. Jim Bowie, who was sick on a pallet, asked to be carried across the line.

And so today Jesus has drawn a line in the sand with His sword and he asks you to cross it. Will you stand united with him?

Invest In Sharpening Your Sword Today!


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