In this series, we are going to deal with the subject of spiritual warfare and bring correct, biblical teaching to this often-misunderstood subject.
As a point of reference, we will be referring to content from the following books:
Dressed to Kill
by Pastor Rick Renner
The Triumphant Church
by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin
- We must always remember that the real battle with Satan was won at the Cross and the resurrection by Jesus Christ.
- We must approach spiritual warfare from a place of already obtained victory (by Jesus) instead of trying to get the victory.
There are three different aspects to spiritual warfare:
- Taking control of our minds
- Crucifying the flesh
- Dealing with the enemy
We see Paul write in Ephesians 6:
Ephesians 6:10-14 NKJV Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) 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 hosts of wickedness 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. (14) Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
God has not left us naked before the enemy!
God has given us spiritual weaponry that has the ability to counterattack and defeat any scheme that the devil would try to use against us!
Before we go on in our study of the armor, we need to mention the perfect balance that exists in the armor of God. There are three offensive weapons, three defensive weapons, and one neutral weapon.
Three defensive weapons:
- The breastplate
- The shield
- The helmet
These weapons protect you and give you confidence and assurance so you can move forward in your spiritual growth.
Three offensive weapons:
- The shoes
- The sword
- The lance
Battles will come but they will not come every day.
God has given us spiritual weaponry so that when battles do come, we will be prepared to maintain our victorious position over Satan.
These lessons are not designed to help you run around looking for the devil under every bush and behind every door. It is designed to help equip you so that when battles do come, you are prepared to stand against them.
Ephesians 6:17 NKJV And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
There were five different swords that the Roman soldier could carry.
- Gladius Sword – extremely heavy, broad shouldered sword with a very long blade.
Of the swords, the gladius was the most aesthetically beautiful, however, it was the most cumbersome and awkward to use.
It was referred to as the two-handed sword as it required both hands to use it against the enemy.
After a terrible defeat by the Carthaginians, the Romans abandoned these swords and adopted a smaller sword similar to the ones the Carthaginians used to defeat them.
- Second Sword – was shorter and narrower. It was approximately 17” long and 2 ½ “ wide and much lighter and easier for the soldier to use.
- Third Sword – even shorter than the second one and almost looked like a dagger and not a sword. It was carried in a small hidden scabbard beneath the soldier’s outer coat and was used to inflict a mortal wound in the heart of the enemy.
- Fourth Sword – was a long and very slender sword and was used more in sport than actual combat. It was similar to a fencing sword.
- Fifth Sword – (What Paul had in mind in Ephesians 6). It was the Greek Word “machaira”. It was approximately 19 inches long and both sides were razor sharp making it more dangerous than the other four. The tip was curved slightly upward and was used to gut the enemy causing his entrails to come out upon removal.
This particular sword was a terror to the imagination of the soldier’s enemy.
The reason Paul used this particular weapon in referring to the “Sword of the Spirit” is because it has the potential to rip our foe to shreds.
He goes on to say “…which is the Word of God…”
This is taken from the Greek Word “Rhema” which is a very familiar word used in the New Testament. It describes something that is spoken clearly, spoken vividly, spoken in undeniable language, and spoken in unmistakable, unquestionable, certain and definite terms.
The word carries the idea of a “quickened word” such as a word of Scripture or a “word from the Lord” that the Holy Spirit supernaturally drops into a believer’s mind thus causing it to supernaturally come alive and impart special power or direction to that believer.
John 14:26 NKJV But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
A rhema word is a specific word or message that the Holy Spirit quickens in our hearts and minds at a specific time and for a specific purpose.
When this happens, it floods our spirits with faith because the Holy Spirit has spoken to us in a way that is clearly spoken, unmistakable, undeniable, unquestionable, certain and definite.
One expositor translated this scripture, “The sword that the Spirit wields as He draws forth a special word from God.”
Like the other pieces of armor that God has given us, the sword and the loinbelt are in separable.
The loin belt held the shield on the right side and sword hung from a clip on the left side of the loinbelt.
A Rhema word quickened to your heart and mind by the Holy Spirit is as strong and powerful that it is as if God put a supernatural sword in your hand.
Rhema words are both given and supernaturally empowered by the Holy Spirit to enable you to withstand the adversary’s spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical attacks.
You might say that the written Word of God, the Bible, is like the gladius sword of a Roman Soldier, capable of making a sweeping blow against the enemy. On occasion, however, we need a specific rhema word – a smaller, two-edged sword – to deal the enemy a fatal blow.
Vegetius, the famous fourth-century Roman historian said, “…A stroke with the edges, though, made with ever so much force seldom kills, as the vital parts of the body are defended by both bones and armor. On the contrary, a stab, though it penetrates but two inches, is generally fatal…”
Many people mistakenly think that they must memorize the entire Bible before God can use them or speak to them.
It is not necessary for a person to know the entire Bible in order to have the “sword of the Spirit” at his disposal.
A specific Rhema word for the Lord does not have to be long and complicated in order to be valid. Although, the Holy Spirit can speak a lengthy personal word about our lives, however, this is the exception and not the rule.
Most great men and women of God who have earned a place in the pages of history have done so by obeying a single, simple word from God.
- Noah’s instructions about something as catastrophic as the flood were brief and very simple.
- Abraham’s instructions to leave his family and walk with God was a mere 75 words long.
- Joseph received a word about his destiny through two short dreams.
- Moses instructions to deliver the Children of Israel were relatively short considering the scope of what he was to do.
- Mary’s word through the angel Gabriel about the birth of the Messiah was only eight verses long.
- Paul’s life was dramatically changed one day on the Road to Damascus by three simple sentences.
The reason we enjoy many of our spiritual blessings today is that godly men and women obeyed the simple, specially spoken Rhema words they received from the Lord.
What is a two-edged sword?
Hebrews 4:12 NKJV (12) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Revelation 1:16 NKJV He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
Revelation 2:12 NKJV “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:
Read notes from Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner:
The phrase “two-edged” is taken from the Greek word distomos and is unquestionably one of the oddest words in the entire New Testament. Why is it so odd? Because it is a compound of the word di, meaning two, and the word stomos, which is the Greek word for one’s mouth. Thus, when these two words are compounded into one (distomos), they describe something that is two-mouthed! Don’t you agree that this seems a little strange? So why would the Bible refer to the Word of God repeatedly as a “two-edged sword” or, literally, a “two-mouthed sword”?
One sharpened edge of the sword came into being when the Word of God initially proceeded from the mouth of God. The second edge of the sword is added when the Word of God proceeds out of your mouth!
This is why meditation and confession of the Word of God are so important. You are adding to the reservoir of God’s Word you have stored up on the inside of you and the Holy Spirit can pull one of those scriptures up out of your inner man. Then as that verse begins to fill your mind and come out of your mouth, it becomes a two-edged sword.
The vital work of studying, meditating, and praying releases the Word to become a part of your own inner being.
But stopping short of confessing the Word of God keeps the Word from becoming that two-edged sword and will keep you from the victory you desire.
Your rhema – that word you need from God today – hinges entirely on the presence or absence of the written Word of God in your life.
Jesus had to do this very thing.
Luke 4:1-4 NKJV Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, (2) being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. (3) And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” (4) But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD.’ “
The Holy Spirit was able to draw a rhema word for Jesus because Jesus had spend a tremendous amount of time in the written Word of God. We must do the same thing!
People who receive frequent rhema words from the Lord are people who have made the logos, the written Word, a central part of their lives.
Ephesians 6:14 NKJV Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
2 Corinthians 6:7 NLT We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.
Why did Paul call righteousness a breastplate in his list of armor?
The breastplate was the shiniest, most beautiful, and most glamorous piece of weaponry a Roman soldier possessed. This is what got your attention before anything else.
This breastplate could weigh upwards of 40 pounds. Goliath’s weighed 125 pounds.
Usually made of brass or bronze. As they walked, the pieces would rub together polishing each other to a bright luster.
Can you imagine what it must have looked like when a legion of soldiers walked out on the battlefield with their breastplates gleaming in the sunlight?
The more you wear your breastplate of righteousness, walking through life fully conscious of your righteousness in Christ, the more brightly you shine as a light in a dark world of sin.
Your righteousness is not only a defensive weapon to protect you from the blows of the enemy, but it is also an offensive weapon to assist you as you assault the enemy and take back lost territory!
“Diabalos” (Devil) – one who strikes again and again until he finally penetrates the mind with slanderous accusations.
Because the devil desires to penetrate and immobilize a person’s mind and emotions, he especially delights in finding believers who do not know they are righteous. They are easy prey!
He says things like, “You’re the worst believer who has ever lived. Do you think God is going to do anything with you? God can’t use you, you stupid thing!”
What happens when we don’t know we have been made righteous in Christ? We tend to habitually walk in guilt and condemnation.
On the other hand, when you know that God has made you righteous – when you have your breastplate of righteousness firmly in place – it does not matter how many arrows the enemy shoots against you because not one arrow will penetrate.
No word of condemnation, no false allegations, and no guilty thought will penetrate your heart or lodge in your mind when you are walking in your breastplate of righteousness.
Paul is telling us in Ephesians 6:14, “stand – throw back your shoulders, hold your head up high, and walk tall and confidently, as all proud and victorious soldiers do!”
So, what is righteousness? – It is to be right and approved in God’s sight. It means we can stand in the presence of a holy God as though sin never existed in our lives because of what Jesus did for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 AMP For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].
2 Corinthians 5:21 MSG How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.
Why is this knowledge of righteousness so important?
Your mental attitude has everything to do with how well you perform in the midst of a fight.
If you are mentally and emotionally defeated before you go into a fight, you probably should not go into battle. Why? Because your negative attitude has already determined the outcome of your battle.
By understanding and developing an attitude of righteousness in your life and learning how to view yourself through the work of the Cross, you will receive a divine impartation of confidence and boldness that will always put you on the winning side of victory!
When a believer finally grabs hold of the truth that God has graciously imparted righteousness to him, that knowledge changes him.
He no longer views himself as a little, unimportant, defeated believer. He is so affected in his attitude that he begins to move with assurance from a life of chronic defeat to a life of reigning in life as a king!
An attitude of righteousness will profoundly affect your prayer life!
Your prayers will take on an attitude of power and authority. People wearing this breastplate know that they can come directly into the presence of God and pray with great boldness.
When you have been positively influenced by an understanding of righteousness, it gives you the assurance you need to step out and boldly do the work of God!