Jul 28th, 2019
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 36 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill, and over the next 10 minutes or so we are going to continue our look at the Armor of God with piece number 6 from Ephesians 6, the sword of the Spirit.
When I hear the phrase “sword of the Spirit,” it conjures up images of David removing Goliaths head with Goliaths own sword pulled from its sheath in the dry and dusty valley of Elah with the sun beating down and reflecting off the blade as David swung it over his head. Or the night Peter sliced off the ear of Malchus in the Garden of Gethsemane, swift and calculated with torches and lanterns casting hard dancing shadows on the trees in the dark while the smell of burning lantern oil filled the air. But, were not talking about a physical sword here, I mean the name “of the Spirit” is kind of a giveaway on that point.
Let’s go ahead and read Ephesians 6:17 because I split the verse up into two podcasts as it’s two different pieces of armor, but it’s really just one statement. “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit - which is the word of God.” That is the word rhema there, specifically the spoken word, i.e. the inspired Word of God. However, once again in the English language its a little lacking in easily communicating exactly what is intended. The issue here is with the words “which is,” in the original, this is the word;
G3603 ὅ εστι ho esti ho es-tee' From the neuter of G3739 and the third person singular present indicative of G1510; which is: - called, which is (make), that is (to say).
So reading that verse again we can just as easily read it, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit - (that is to say) the word of God.” In this we gain a better understanding, especially after last weeks episode studying the helmet of salvation, that the phrase at the end of the verse is referring to both the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit when it says, “which is (or - that is to say) the word of God.” Last week we found that Paul was most likely talking about a physical salvation we engage in after our spiritual salvation in this verse through the renewing and washing of the mind by the word of God when he phrased “the helmet of salvation.”
Now we see that both the helmet and the sword of the Spirit are the word of God. Not only that, but digging this deep it becomes apparent that without the helmet of salvation you are unable to use the sword of the Spirit as you cannot call upon the word of God if you don’t have the word of God instilled in you to call upon. It’s important at this juncture to remind ourselves of whom/what this sword is to be used on. Given that we’re studying out of Ephesians 6 it would be easy, if not a bit lazy, to call upon the ever-popular Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” However, I feel there’s a better verse that speaks more to the sword of the Spirit, in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. It says, “ For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh,  since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments  and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
R.A. Finlayson said, “the Christian … must not only see the truth, but the truth for the occasion, the truth that slays his doubts, that exposes the fallacies with which Satan would compass his destruction. And he must be able to do this in connection with some sure, incisive word of Scripture.” We use the word of God we’ve acquired through putting on the helmet of salvation as the sword of the Spirit to demolish strongholds, arguments, and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God. We also use this sword to take every thought captive to obey Christ. Theologian D. Thomas wrote, “God’s Word is the truth that slays error, the love that slays selfishness, the right that slays the wrong, the happiness that slays the misery of the world.”
We can be thankful that the sword in the armor of God isn’t a physical one. Then we would probably, as some have with scripture already, use it to abuse and subjugate others. In fact, even one of our Biblical Christian fathers of the faith had every reason to use the scriptures as a weapon to make up for his deficiencies. Talking about this particular person 2 Corinthians 10:10 reads, “For it is said, “His letters are weighty and powerful, but his physical presence is weak and his public speaking amounts to nothing.” This person with a weak physical presence whose public speaking amounted to nothing that Paul was talking about here is, well, himself. Lets continue with verses 11-14, “ Let such a person consider this: What we are in our letters, when we are absent, we will also be in our actions when we are present.  For we don’t dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves, they lack understanding.  We, however, will not boast beyond measure but according to the measure of the area of ministry that God has assigned to us, which reaches even to you.  For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we had not reached you, since we have come to you with the gospel of Christ.”
We use the sword of the Spirit as the standard with which we measure ourselves. We take thoughts captive to Christ, we demolish strongholds, arguments, and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God. In this, we become better people, and better ambassadors for the gospel of Christ.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”