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Lesson 7: "Arming" for Victory *

Introduction: Have you ever looked closely at the armor used by knights of the middle ages? It looks a bit dangerous to the person wearing it! Sure, it might keep an arrow from going through you, but it would not help when you wanted to move fast to dodge arrows. Mercedes Benz makes the "Smart" car. That little car "armors" the passenger compartment so it is difficult to break into the compartment. Like the armor of the knights, you have to ask yourself some questions about the practicality of this. What happens to your body when the armored passenger compartment starts bouncing around in a crash? The last two weeks we have noted the texts in Ephesians 6 about armoring for spiritual warfare, but we have not gone into detail about the nature of our armor. Let's jump into the Bible to see what armor is good and what attitudes towards armor might be a little dangerous!

  1. Battle Armor


    1. Read 1 Samuel 17:32 and 1 Samuel 17:38-39. You know the story about young David volunteering to fight the giant Goliath who was insulting the Lord. What was wrong with David's armor? (It was made for someone else. He was not used to it.)


    2. Read 1 Samuel 17:34-37 and 1 Samuel 17:40. What kind of armor does David choose? (Spiritual armor. God being with him. He also has some offensive weapons: a sling, stones and a staff.)


    3. Read 1 Samuel 17:41-43. What did Goliath think of David's armor and weapons? (He despised them, they were an insult to his power and weapons.)


    4. Read 1 Samuel 17:45-50. What errors did Goliath make in his assessment of David's weapons? (He completely discounted the spiritual aspect of David's approach. He never considered that a small stone and a sling were dangerous.)


    5. Let's consider this from David's point of view. He decided ( 1 Samuel 17:39) not to use traditional armor because he was not experienced with it. What do you think would have happened if he had been experienced with traditional armor?


      1. If you look again at 1 Samuel 17:49, you will see that it was a real sling and a real stone, not a spiritual sling or stone that killed Goliath. What does this suggest about David's rejection of traditional armor? (If David had been experienced with it, he should have used it, just like he used the weapons with which he was familiar.)


      2. Why did David choose only five stones? How many would you have loaded in your bag?


    6. Contemplate this story. What role did the spiritual play and what role did real weapons play? (Re-read 1 Samuel 17:47. David used his common sense. He used his skill and experience with real weapons. He rejected real weapons with which he was not experienced. But, David realized that God was in charge of the outcome. It was not a battle of "real" weapons, it was a spiritual battle.)


    7. Re-read 1 Samuel 17:37. What would have been the outcome if King Saul had simply prayed about the Goliath problem?


      1. What do these last two texts teach us about the battles that we face? (God partners with us in dealing with the forces of evil. We need to ask if more than prayer is required of us for a good outcome. We are not permitted to turn off our common sense. We should use all of our experience and wisdom. But, we must realize that all of our common sense and physical weapons will not win the battle. The battle is in God's hands.)


  2. Battle Zone


    1. Read Ephesians 6:10-12. My father spent 33 months in a combat zone in World War II. I was old enough to fight in Vietnam, and my children old enough to fight in Iraq. Would a soldier prepare the same way for those three combat situations?


      1. What does our text in Ephesians teach us about the nature of our battle today? Does this suggest a specific kind of preparation? (The strategist on the other side is Satan. The battle is mostly institutional and spiritual.)


        1. Think about this a minute. Does it seem correct that most of our battles are spiritual? What do you think a "spiritual" battle means?


        2. Read Proverbs 4:23 and Matthew 5:27-28. Where do these texts suggest the battle between good and evil takes place? (It is not our actions, it is our mind. That fits perfectly with the idea that we are in a spiritual battle.)


      2. The Purpose Driven Life is a book that reminds us that life is not about us. When we decided that the spiritual battle takes place in our minds, have we violated the "it's not about me" rule? If we have, is that rule correct? (That rule is right when it comes to advancing the Kingdom of God, but that rule is wrong when it comes to spiritual warfare - for the battle is very much about you and me as we will see next.)


  3. Battle Weapons


    1. Read Ephesians 6:13. What are our territorial goals in this battle? (Just hold the ground you are standing on!)


      1. Doesn't that seem to be a very limited vision? (It reinforces the idea that the primary battle is about us.)


    2. Read Ephesians 6:14. Why is truth the first weapon mentioned? (This is why Bible study is so important. How can you know where to stand if you are not informed by the truth? I regularly run into people who take a stand for nonsense. Often this is the nonsense of the world, but sometimes it is religious nonsense.)


      1. How important is the idea that our breastplate of righteousness is something strapped on? (Read Romans 5:18-19. Jesus makes us righteous. It is a gift, which we put on.)


    3. Read Ephesians 6:15. What do new shoes do for you? Most mornings I walk the beach for a couple of miles. My shoes are "deck shoes," the kind worn on sailboats, and they are very well-worn. Last week I bought a replacement pair. These are supposed to be some of the most comfortable shoes, but the new shoes made the back of my foot bleed. How do shoes and the "gospel of peace" relate to each other? (You don't have peace if your shoes hurt you! We need to be "well-worn" in our knowledge of the gospel. Our Bible study needs to start now, and not wait until the battle is upon us. That will give us peace.)


    4. Read Ephesians 6:16. Why would Paul write that a shield of faith would "extinguish" flaming arrows? Why not say, "the hose of faith?" (I love this word picture. Faith not only keeps the Devil's arrows from puncturing you, it stops the burning. It takes away the hurt.)


    5. Read Ephesians 6:17. Why is "salvation" the armor for the head? (This is why I keep pushing grace. Do you want to protect your mind when you are in the midst of a terrible spiritual battle? Then recognize you are saved by grace alone - it is not about your works.)


      1. The only offensive weapon in this list is the sword. Why is the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Bible, a sword? (Bible truth cuts through the nonsense of the world. A member of my family just wrote favorably about "marriage equality." This assumes all views are equal. Eve wanted to be "like God" ( Genesis 3:5-6), and apparently considered Satan's views to be the equal of God's views. Jesus, on the other hand, did not consider equality something to be grasped ( Philippians 2:6), rather He sought to do God's will. Equality is not the standard for our judgment. God's word is the standard.)


    6. Read Ephesians 6:18. What is our final weapon? (Prayer.)


      1. Notice a very important phrase, "pray in the Spirit." What does that mean?


      2. Read Romans 8:26-27. Twice the word "intercedes" is used in these texts. We think of Jesus as our Intercessor. What does this suggest about the role of the Holy Spirit and prayer? (The Holy Spirit is also an Intercessor, for He helps us in the composition and expression of our prayers.)


      3. Is this a weapon that is part of your arsenal?


    7. Let's go back to the beginning of our study. What weapons did David use? (Those with which he was experienced. Those which fit him.)


      1. What lesson in David's actions do we learn when it comes to the spiritual weapons in Ephesians 6? (We need to become familiar with these weapons. We need to use them now. They need to be like the "old shoes" in our life.)


    8. Friend, will you ask the Holy Spirit right now to teach you how to use these spiritual weapons now and in the future?


  4. Next week: The Church: In Service to Humanity.
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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