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Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf
Silver Spring, Maryland

The Armor of God:  #7 - The Sword of the Spirit
[Signed Version]
Ephesians 6:10...
Finally, let the Lord make you strong.  Depend on His great power. Wear all of God's armor.  Then you can stand strong against the devil's terrible plans.

Our fight is not against people.  
We are fighting against
    many spiritual rulers,
    authorities,
    and many dark powers in this world.  
We are fighting against
    the evil forces in the spirit world.

So put on all of God's armor.  Evil days will come.
And after you did everything you can [finish], you will still stay standing.

So stand strong.  
[1] Wear the belt of truth around your waist.  
[2] Wear the chest protector of holy living.
[3] Wear on your feet shoes that will prepare you to tell the good news about peace.
[4] Also, pick up the shield of faith.  With that you can stop all of the flaming arrows of the devil.
[5] Put on the helmet of salvation.  
[6] And take the sword of the Holy Spirit.  The sword is God's Word.

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The Bible names several pictures for describing itself.  

For example:
Psalms name the Word of God as "light,"  meaning
    the Bible gives us wisdom and teaches us truth,
    the Bible guides us on the safe way,
        protecting us from wandering to destruction.

Ps. 119 says
    "Your (God's) word is a lamp for my feet
    And a light-shining on my path."  (Ps. 119:105)

Through the prophet Isaiah, God says His Word is same-as "water," that gives life to dry land.
"Rain and snow come-down from the sky
    and don’t go-back-up,
but first gives water to the earth,
    making plants pop-up and grow,
making seeds for the farmer
    and bread for the people to eat.
That is the same as the Word that I (God) speak.
    My Word will not come back to me empty.
My Word will make My plan happen.
    My Word will succeed toward the goal I want."  (Is. 55:10-11)

Jeremiah says God's Word is as "fire," that burned in Jeremiah's soul, until he could hold it in no more; he must let it out and announce God's Word to the people.  (Jeremiah 20:9)

Jesus described the Word of God as "seed" put in people's hearts.  That seed - that Word - grows and makes faith for eternal life - and grows, making faith for service during our life now.  (Matthew 13:3-8,18-23)

The Bible says God's Word is as a "mirror," that show what is really in our hearts. (James 1:22-25)

The Bible says God's Word is as "food" -- not little snack, no!  God offers a feast, that He wants us to hungrily consume (eat! eat! eat!).  If we dive into God's Word, feeling as if we can never get enough, then the Bible will really hit our lives.  God's Word will change our lives.  (Proverbs 9; Isaiah 55:1-3; Revelation 10:9-11)

And now our lesson from Ephesians  chapter 6 names God's Word: "the sword of the Holy Spirit."

God's Word is same as a sword, how?

The New Testament book named Hebrews describes the Bible as a sword:
"God’s Word is living and working and is sharper than a sword having two sharp edges.  His Word stabs all the way into us, where our soul and the spirit are joined, to the center in our bones and joints. God's Word judges our thoughts and feelings in our hearts. Nothing in all the world can hide from God. Everything is clear and lies open in front of Him, and to Him we must explain everything we do." (Hebrews 4: 12-13)

Question:  Do you write in your Bible?  
    If you read a verse that hits you,
        do you underline it?
    When you find a favorite story in the Bible,
        do you draw a circle around it?
    If God's word speaks to your heart,
        do you write on the side of the page
            what that verse says to you?

If you do that, you can understand how God's Word is as a sword.  Your NOTES in your Bible show where God's Word stabbed your heart.  You [finish] found verses that help you understand your problems, and show you God's answers.  

God's Word, as a sword, stabs our hearts, yes.  But our lesson about the Armor of God teaches us that we use God's Word as a sword in battle against the devil.

We use God's Word for both DEFENSE and OFFENSE.

When Satan comes against us with temptation and negative emotions, God's Word defends us.

Remember how Jesus quoted God's Word - Old Testament Bible verses from Moses - as answers to the devil, against every temptation. (Matthew 4:1-11) We can do the same.

But we must learn God's Word for answering temptation before temptation hits us.  A soldier in battle doesn't start learning to use his gun when the enemy is already shooting at him.  No, a soldier practices using his weapons before he goes to battle.

When temptations hit us, we normally can't go running to the Bible for answers.  We must already have God's answers memorized, in our minds and hearts, ready to answer the temptation the second(minute) the temptation hits us.  

The time we must learn God's word is now!   The way learn God's Word is really easy:  We read it, read it, read it and continue reading it.  Find an English translation that is most clear to you.  

Every time you find something in your Bible that hits you, write in your Bible, then you can find that again later.  And try memorizing some of those precious verses that help you.

God's word also helps us in battle against Satan for OFFENSE.  

God is fighting to save people from hell, and we are soldiers in His army.  God wants to snatch men, women, and children from Satan's hold.  

When we tell people about Jesus,
    and all He has done for them,
and the Holy Spirit speaks to their heart,
we are using God's Word as a sword against the devil.

When people tell us their problems,
and we show them in the Bible how God has helped us
    and He can also help them,
and the Holy Spirit touches them,
    and they begin trusting God,
we are using God's Word as a sword against the devil.

When the world offers messed up ideas about life and death,
and we answer with truth from the Bible,
we are using God's Word as a sword against the devil.

Doubt and fear are same as ropes that the devil uses to keep people in bondage(slavery) to hell, and God's Word is same as the sword that cuts those ropes, and makes people free.

We are not surprise that the Devil tries to trick Christians  to "disarm" and make us drop the Sword.  
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We don't need to argue for the Bible.  The Bible defends itself.

Example:
A doubter says, "I don't believe the Bible."  

That is the same as a thief breaking into a house during the night.  

The man who owns the house quietly gets out of bed,
    gets his hunting shotgun,
    loads the gun,
    and then finds the robber and tells him,
    "I have a loaded gun pointing at you."

But the thief answers:
    "That doesn't bother me.
    I don't believe in guns."

The man with the gun doesn't need to argue.   
    He doesn't need explain the U.S. Constitution 2nd Amendment.  
    He doesn't need defend his right to own a gun.
    He doesn't need explain all his gun can do.
    He doesn't need to say anything more.
He just pulls the trigger.

And that thief who before didn't believe in guns,
    real fast, becomes a believer.

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The same happens with God's Word.
Many "smart" doubters, who try to prove the Bible is false,
    hit their noses against Truth,
and they become believers.

Many people are bitter against God,
    and angry against the Christian Church.
But those same people have great needs
    that they cannot manage any more.
And God's Holy Spirit
    answers their needs from God's Word,
and they become believers.

We don't need to argue about the Bible to people who refuse to believe.
We only need to pull the trigger
    -- and share God's Word, with love.
God's Word, itself, will touch the doubter's heart.

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Now, please remember the list for the Armor of God:
[1] The belt of truth
[2] The chest protector of holy living
[3] Shoes for the good news
[4] The shield of faith
[5] The helmet of salvation
[6] The sword -- God's Word

For a soldier long ago, a sword was very, very important, maybe 2nd behind the helmet.

Also for the Christian, God's word is very, very important.  But notice where God puts that on the list:  Almost last!   And for good reason.

Before we can successfully use the Word of God as the Sword of the Holy Spirit, we must wear all the other parts of the armor first.  If we miss any parts 1 - 5, number 6 can fail.

If we don't have the Belt of Truth,
    God's Word doesn't seem as a sharp steel sword.
No, without Truth,
    the Bible becomes a weak wet noodle,
    with no more power than a TV kids' program.

If we don't have the Chest Protector of Christ's holy life covering us and Jesus living in us, our lives mock His Word, and we become lying hypocrites.

As we learned one week ago,
if we don't have the Helmet of Salvation,
    we don't authority to use God's Word against Satan.
If we ourselves don't understand
    the basic point and purpose of the Bible,
    we can't bring the salvation message to other people.
If we don't have the Helmet of Salvation,
    we need the Holy Spirit to use God's Word as a sword
        to stab our own hearts first.

If we don't have the Shield of Faith,
    we can't help people connect their needs to God's Word.

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Here is a true story about a Catholic monk, who always felt guilty about his sins.  Every day he went to confession, for hours!  He confessed many tiny things.  His priest tried to tell him about God's love and forgiveness, but the monk was only afraid of God's judgment and punishment.

Finally, the priest had an idea.  He sent the monk away, out from the monastery, to go teach in the university.  Teach what?  Teach the Bible.

But before this monk can teach the Bible to other people, he first must read the Bible for himself.  And while he studied the Bible, he found Good News about Jesus Christ.   That monk saw that his own good works can never save him, but Jesus Christ saved him through His death on the cross.  The monk saw clearly in God's Word that he can receive eternal life only through faith in Christ.

That monk's name was...   Martin Luther.

The Bible says that the Good News about Jesus "is the Power of God for Salvation for everyone who believes." (Romans 1:16)

Martin Luther experienced for himself the Sword of the Holy Spirit, God's Word.  That Word change Martin Luther's life.   That Word can change our lives, also.

That sword in Martin Luther's hand changed the church --- and changed the world.  That sword in our hand can also defeat the devil, and win people to Christ.

Amen.


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