14. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: God · Tags: ,

Ephesians 6:10-20

I was struck today while looking at this passage at lunch that it tells a narrative on evangelism. The passage opens with a reminder that equip oneself with the armor of God, so that you will be able to resist Satan’s attacks as we wage warfare against the devil and his demons.

The Belt of Truth

“How will I know what to say? What’s the right thing to do? Why should anyone listen to me? Is what I’m saying really true and worth it?”

What good is any discussion, thinking, learning, or relationship without truth? It’s fundamental to holding things together in a coherent fashion. Rejecting truth leads to moral anarchy; rejecting truth leads to “might makes right”; rejecting truth leads to people doing whatever they want in the moment. Without truth holding you together, you will not be an effective evangelist, Christian, follower of God, or anything. You will reject God’s truth and replace it with your own.

Instead, be confident in the truth of God. It will hold all that we do together, and by relying on the truth expressed in his Word, we can settle any difference – either by pointing to the Scripture that addresses it, or dismissing the things that Just Don’t Matter.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

“How much does my lifestyle matter? If I start acting ‘Christian’, won’t I look weird? Shouldn’t I try to blend in more? Does this little sin in my life really matter?”

The Christian isn’t told to wear a suit of armor, or a coat of mail, but just a breastplate. A breastplate is only effective in the front – if one turns one’s back on the enemy, there’s no protection. Righteousness is only effective when we’re facing the enemy, marching towards him, and obeying Jesus’s call to “go into all the world.” And indeed, when a Christian looks no different in life than anyone else, why should anyone listen to him or her? If the gospel is a personal relationship with God, shouldn’t that relationship change your life? If your life is not marked by the righteousness of God, in a real way that stands out from the crowd – again, how effective can you possible be? You’re no different!

As Shoes for your feet, the Readiness Given by the Gospel of Peace

“But how will I know when I’m ready to evangelize? I don’t know enough – what if they point out something in the bible I don’t have an answer for? I’m not educated enough – surely evangelism is for learned men – preachers and so forth. I just don’t really feel like I’m ready or far enough along in my own faith yet.”

Rubbish. The only readiness we need is the Gospel of Peace – the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Lord; that “he was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.” “And by faith in his name, you will be saved!”

If you’re a baptized believer – and that’s really the only kind – you’re ready.

The Helmet of Salvation

“Is it really worth it? The unusual life. Rejecting temptation. Leaving behind my old life. What’s the point?”

Keep your eyes on Christ. He has promised us salvation, and we know that “he who promised is faithful.”  Why should we resist temptation? How? By remembering the salvation we have in Christ – that’s a motivator when we find ourselves struggling: not out of fear that we’ll lose it (“fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love”), but out of deep, abiding appreciation and love for Christ and what he has already done for, and promised to, us – “we love, because he first loved us.” That’s our motivator to resist temptation and to “reassure our heart before him, for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”  Christ died for us; we didn’t die for ourselves. The promise of Salvation is motivation.

The Shield of Faith

“I’m still worried about the onslaughts of Satan. How can I resist temptation? I yielded to it already – am I lost now?”

Like the Helmet of Salvation, we resist Satan’s attacks by remember who, and whose, we are. We’re the apex of God’s creation. We’re faithful servants of the king of Creation. And we are Children of the Living God. Why on earth would we mock those things for a silly temptation?

The Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God

“Okay, fine. How do I fight back and smite these heretics? What do I use to do it – Crusades? Bombings? Fisticuffs? My superior intellect? Hermeneutics? Apologetics? Logic? Science? Ignorance? The voting booth? Money?”

The only offensive weapon we have – isn’t really up to us to use. It’s God himself, in the Spirit. It’s God’s Word. Even Christ, in his temptation in the wilderness, only used God’s word to fight Satan – that should be encouraging to us, since we have the same tool. This is why it’s so critical to spend time in God’s word – not just because it’s Truth that guides us, but because it’s the only weapon we have. Of course, the caveat is found in the beginning of the passage. While many Christians have lived dishonorably by beating enemies over the head with warped and twisted Scriptures, Paul reminds us that we’re not at war with people – not with non-believers, not with opponents of Christianity, not with atheists, not with heretics, not with blasphemers, not with “straying brethren”, not with those who have different doctrines/beliefs/creeds/teachings than our own – not with any human on earth. We wrestle against “the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” So, in our dealings with other humans, remember Paul’s words to Timothy in his Second Letter: we have a spirit of “Power, Love, and Self-Control” – one marked by confidence, yes, but also love for those we address, and not marked by flashes of anger. And we must remember that “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, and correcting his opponents with gentleness.”


As we wage war against Satan, our lives are marked by the Truth of God’s word, which focuses and guides us. As believers in Christ, we’re already equipped from the second of salvation to evangelize. And so we go forth into the world to make disciples, with lives marked with righteous and holy living.  When we come under attack, we remember Christ and the salvation we have through him, and we remember that our Daddy is the Creator and Ruler of All That Is.  And when we fight back, we let God do the real fighting for us – with his word, we trust his Spirit in us to do what needs to be done.

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