A part of the chapter that I want to focus on is the famous part dealing with the whole armor of God beginning at verse number 10 where the bible reads, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” The first thing I want to point out about that is that it’s not going to be possible for you to stand against the wiles of the devil if you don’t put on the whole armor of God. He says right there, “Put on the whole armor that ye may be able to stand against the wiles.” Meaning, that if you don’t put on the whole armor, you’re not going to be able.
Now, you’ve probably heard the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you’re going to battle with an enemy and you’re missing a certain piece of armor, whether it’s the helmet, whether it’s the breastplate, that’s exactly where the enemy is going to strike, at that weak point, and so to think that you can have most of the armor and that you’re going to be okay is folly. We have to have the whole armor of God to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Now, he says in verse 12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Now, flip over to Second Corinthians 10. We’re going to be coming back to Ephesians 6. Just a few pages to the left in Second Corinthians 10. I want to point out the fact that it’s not a physical battle that we’re engaging, and it’s a spiritual battle. The nature of this spiritual battle is laid out in Second Corinthians 10 verse 3. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.” We’re not fighting physically. He says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,” meaning fleshly, “But mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, and having a readiness to revenge all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Notice the words used in verse 5. We have the word “imaginations.” Then, we have the word “knowledge,” and then we have the word “thought.” Those all have to do with the mind. Those all have to do with thoughts and intents of the heart. The bible says that God’s word, the weapon of our warfare is for pulling down strongholds. What are these strongholds? Deeply rooted imaginations, deeply rooted ideas that are contrary to God’s word, thoughts that are against God’s word. The bible says that our battle is a spiritual battle of thoughts, of ideas, of the truth versus lies, of a clean mind and a filthy mind.
Now, another thing that’s emphasized in Ephesians 6:12 is darkness because not only does he say that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers. He says, “Against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Now, flip over to Romans 13. Here’s another scripture that covers the armor a little bit. Romans 13 verse 12.
While you’re turning there, let me read for you from First Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 7. The bible reads, “For they that sleep, sleep in the night, and they that be drunken are drunken in the night, but let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” Here’s another scripture talking about putting on the armor, the helmet of salvation, faith and love as a breastplate, and he says that it is the … we are of the day that we put on this armor to do battle with the forces of night, which will be darkness.
Now, look at Romans 13 verse 12. It says, “The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” When the bible is talking about putting on the whole armor of God, he’s talking about the armor of light, and the enemy is darkness. Okay? Now, if you would go to Ephesians chapter 5. Now, darkness represents several things in the bible. Obviously, darkness represents ignorance because if we’re in a dark room, we’re not aware of our surroundings. We don’t know what’s there. When the light turns on, we can actually see what’s going on and have knowledge.
The bible talks about those that are awake and those that are asleep in First Thessalonians 5, and then in the next breath, he talks about those of that are of the day and those that are of the night. Those who know what’s going on, those who don’t know what’s going on. There’s an enemy today that wants to keep us in darkness. We need to step out of that darkness. We need to put on the armor of light, so that we can battle the darkness of this world. Remember, Second Corinthians 10 taught us, it’s a battle of ideas. It’s a battle of truth versus lie. It’s a battle of wicked imagination and sin, and a battle of righteousness and cleanliness.
Now, in Ephesians 5, we see the aspect of darkness that has to do with sin and filth. First of all, darkness represents ignorance and lies, but it also represents sin, and inequity, and filth. Look at Ephesians 5 verse 1. The bible reads, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children, and walk in love as Christ also hath loved us and hath given himself for an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor, but fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not be once named among you as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks.”
“For this ye know that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”
When God says, “You used to be darkness, now you’re light, but you need to walk as children of light and don’t continue to walk in the ways of those that are still in darkness, those that are the children of disobedience.” What does he mean when he says, “To walk in the light?” What does he mean when he says, “To put off the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light?” What are these dark things that need to be done away with? He lists them for us as being fornication, uncleanness, right?
Do you see it there? Verse 3, fornication, uncleanness, covetousness. Verse 4, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting. Verse 5, whoremonger, unclean person, covetous man, idolater. These are the works of darkness that the bible is warning us against. These are the enemy. Fornication is the enemy. What is fornication? That’s people who go to bed together before they’re married, outside of marriage. These people who are living together before they’re married or they’re just committing the marital act before they’re married. That’s the enemy today.
That’s what the devil wants to creep into your life, fornication. He wants to get through the chink in the armor, so that he can bring adultery into your life. What’s adultery? That’s being unfaithful to your spouse. Going outside of the marriage vow there and being physical with someone other than your spouse. Covetousness. What is covetousness? It’s the materialistic greed that actually just characterizes America today in so many ways.
Just the desire for more money, the desire for more possessions, the desire to have things that you don’t have and just never being content with the physical possessions that you have. Never looking at your house and just being happy with the house that you live in, just being happy with the car that you drive, or the bike that you drive, or the shoes that you walk down the street in, or the bare feet that you’re able to walk in. By just always thinking that you need something different than what you already have.
That’s what covetousness is, when you’re not happy with your spouse, you’re not happy with your car, you’re not happy with your house, you’re not happy with the clothes that you wear. You just always want something else. These are the works of darkness that the devil would like to creep into our lives. He wants us to fornicate. He wants us to commit adultery. He wants us to be unclean and filthy. That’s why he puts so much filth before us to try to get us to get into it ourselves.
Then, also, covetousness. He would love for us to live our lives in a way that would idolize money, and idolize financial success and prosperity. He knows that we cannot serve God and mammon, so if he can get us wrapped up in the cares of this world, he knows that we’ll be unfruitful when we’re choked out by the care of other things entering in. when we understand what the enemy is, it will help us to understand why it’s so important to put on the whole armor of God.
What is the enemy? First of all, it’s wicked thoughts, and imaginations, and ideas that creep in. What’s the enemy? It’s darkness and ignorance, and keeping us in the dark about what’s really going on in this world, in the nature of the world that we live in. What’s the enemy? It’s filth, and uncleanness, and sin that [inaudible 00:09:46]. Let’s keep reading.
He said in verse 8, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Now, look. Just because we’re saved, just because we’re light in the Lord, we still need to make the effort to walk as children of light. We don’t want to be children of light who are partakers with the children of disobedience. That’s what he’s warning us against, but he says in verse 9, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” Verse 11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” Remember, I said these things will make you unfruitful? “But rather reprove them, for it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”
You say, “Why is it that these are the works of darkness?” Because they’re usually done in secret, because people want to hide these things because they’re shameful or at least they ought to be shameful. Verse 13, “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by light, for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, ‘Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’”
Let’s go back to Ephesians 6. We want to know what our enemy is. What kind of a spiritual warfare are engaged in? What are we battling against? First of all, we’re battling against lies with the truth. What are we …? We’re battling against ignorance with knowledge. What are we battling? We’re battling against sin and filthy living with clean, righteous, and godly living. That’s the difference between light and darkness. Those are the different areas of our warfare. None of them involve us getting in a physical fight.
The bible does not teach that we should go out and engage in a physical fistfight or a physical gunfight. What the bible is teaching is a spiritual warfare. You say, “How do we fight this battle?” By preaching the word of God, by living a godly and righteous life, by keeping the enemy at bay and out of our lives, by going out and winning souls to Jesus Christ. It’s all a spiritual, excuse me, battle.
Now, look at Ephesians chapter 6 again. He tells us who the enemy is in Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Let me point out that our country and our world’s descent into wickedness is not happening by accident or by coincidence. It’s by design because the darkness of this world doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s not just on its own that fornication is on the rise and adultery is on the rise, and covetousness is on the rise.
Why? The bible teaches that there are rulers of the darkness of this world. You know what that means? Somebody is behind it. Somebody is behind it. Somebody is a ruler of the darkness of this world, and the bible says, “There is spiritual wickedness in high places.” People that are very powerful people, that’s what it means to be in high places. They have great power, and they’re rulers. These are not only the politicians that we could name. They’re definitely included in this group, the leaders of our nation’s government, but not only that. There are other people who have a different kind of power, financial power. People who are multibillionaires who use their wealth and money to put out movies, to put out television programs, and to put out magazines that will promote everything that is spiritual darkness.
We are going to be defeated if we do not put on the whole armor of God. What does that defeat look like? That defeat looks like you beginning to believe the lies of this world, you beginning to lose faith in the teachings of God’s word and believing in a lot of the lies that the world will tell you. You know what that defeat looks like? It looks like you getting into fornication and adultery, and you living a materialistic, money-oriented lifestyle instead of living your life about serving Christ. That’s what that defeat looks like, and many are defeated today as a result of not putting on the whole armor of God.
Let’s read about what that armor consists of. It says in verse 13, “But all things that are approved are made …” I’m sorry, wrong chapter. Ephesians 6. “Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins gird about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.”
Now, this armor is laid out in detail. Let’s go over each piece of the armor because it’s not enough for you to just have some of the armor. If you’re going to be able to stand in the evil day, you’ve got to take unto you the whole armor. If one piece is missing, that’s your vulnerability. That’s where the devil knows he can get you. The first thing that’s mentioned there, he says in verse 14, “Stand therefore, having your loins gird about with truth.” This is a central piece of armor because being gird about, it’s right at the center of who you are, having your loins gird about with truth.
The truth is critical, and the only source of truth is the word of God. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the light. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” We know that Jesus is the word, and the bible says in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth. Thy word is truth.” “Thy word is truth.” You say, “What’s truth?” It’s the word of God. That’s where truth comes from, and when we have the truth on our side, that’s the first piece of equipment that we’re going to need to do battle with the forces of evil in this world. We’ve got to know the truth. The bible said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” and we’ve got to know the truth.
How are we going to know the truth? By reading the bible. How are we going to know the truth? By going to church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth, and hearing the truth of God’s word being preached. It’s critical, but the next piece of armor that’s listed after the loins gird about with truth, it says, “And having on the breastplate of righteousness.” The breastplate of righteousness. Now, the breastplate is protecting this part of your body which … What’s probably the most important thing we could think of that’s in this part of our body? The heart, right?
The bible says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” Now, “keep” means to protect. Protect your heart. When he says, “Keep your heart with all diligence,” he’s saying, “Protect your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” The breastplate of righteousness is going to protect our heart and keep our heart right with God. What does righteousness mean? In this context, it simply means right living, living right. Just a righteous person is a person who does what’s right, a person who is filled with right things. That’s what it means to be righteous, someone who does right, and so a righteous lifestyle is going to be necessary.
Look at the next piece of armor. It says, “Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Now, flip over to Romans chapter 10, “Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Remember, if any of these things are lacking, you will fail. You will be defeated. You will not be able to stand in the evil day. You will no longer be here at some point. You’ll quit church, you’ll quit serving God, and you will be following after whether it’d fornication, or adultery, or covetousness, or you’ll go back into the darkness of just not knowing what’s going on, not caring, not living your life according to God’s word if any of these things are lacking.
Let’s think about this. What if you’ve got the truth? You know the truth. You stand on the word of God, you’ve read it, you’re familiar with its contents, and not only that, but you’ve got your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which has to do with soul winning, which has to do with … You’re using your feet to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. What if you have the truth, and what if you’re out doing the soul winning, but what if you don’t have the breastplate of righteousness? You know what that looks like? That is a Christian who has the right doctrine, and they go out and even do the soul winning, but they’re living a sinful life. They don’t have righteousness. You look at their lifestyle, it’s an unrighteous lifestyle. They will be defeated. They’re not going to continue.
Now, there’s a great movement in our country that you could call the “New Evangelical Movement,” and a lot of churches will call themselves “Evangelicals.” The reason that they’re calling themselves “Evangelical” is because “Evangelical” means those who preach the gospel. Okay? The Evangelical Movement is characterized by a desire to get people saved and to reach people. Now, that’s great. Reaching people is great, getting the gospel out, evangelizing is great, but a lot of times, what characterizes this movement is that that’s all that matters. That’s all that matters is just reaching people with the gospel. Often, you’ll just see that everything that they do is geared toward that, but with complete disregard for righteousness.
Basically, they’ll say, “Well, we can get more people to come to church if we play worldly rock music. That’s going to get more people to come to church. If we have a bunch of women up on stage in miniskirts ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘ah-ing’ with the microphones and the worship team, that’s going to get more people to come to church. If we do a 20-minute sermon instead of a 60-minute sermon, that’s going to get more people to come to church. If we use the NIV instead of the KJV, that’s going to get more people to come to church. If we don’t scream and yell about sin, and tell people that they need to make changes in their life, and we preach more of a motivational self-esteem, self-help type sermon, that’s going to get more people to come to church. If we can get more people to come to church, we can get more people saved.”
That’s the logic of the New Evangelical Movement. While you’re preaching hard against sin and turning people away, and you’re singing those old hymns that are turning people away, and you have these long doctrine-filled sermons that are turning people away, we’re reaching the multitudes. We’re bringing all the people in. Now, in the surface, you can look at that and say, “Well, maybe they’re right. Maybe it is just about reaching thousands of people with the gospel. Maybe if we can just bring in crowds of thousands of people. I mean, nothing matters more than heaven and hell. Let’s at least get these people saved. Let’s just bring them in, get them saved.”
“What are you doing preaching through Genesis, and Exodus, and Leviticus? What are you doing talking about all these doctrine and anti-prophecy? What do you …? Just talk about Jesus. Just Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and just be positive, and you’re going to reach more people because you catch more flies with honey.” Here’s the problem with that logic. They’ve completely removed one piece of the armor, righteousness.
They don’t care about doing right anymore. They don’t care about living a clean life because here’s the thing. If you don’t preach against sin, the church will be unrighteous. Fact. The church will be an unrighteous church if you don’t preach against sin. You see, I’m constantly getting up here and preaching, “Fornication, fornication, fornication.” Right?
Pastor Anderson: At least one a month, I just go off on it and just make a big deal about it. You know why? Because if I don’t, there will be fornication in this church. It’s a fact. If you go to New Evangelical Churches, they’re filled with fornication. I spent 5 years as a teenager going to New Evangelical type churches, and there are people in the church who are just members of the church, and they just live together, and they’re not married, and they have everybody come over to their house for a barbecue. They have church activities at their house, and they’re just living together, and they’re not married, and it’s just okay. Why? Because there’s no preaching against that.
The teenagers, the young adults, they’re committing fornication in the church, and the church is just filled with sin and fornication because if you don’t get up, and preach about it, and stand against it, and gird up that armor plate of the breastplate of righteousness, there won’t be any righteousness. If there’s no righteousness, then you’re vulnerable to the devil’s attack if there’s no righteousness. It’s not enough.
“Well, but wait a minute, Pastor Anderson. We’ve got our loins gird about with truth, and we got the helmet of salvation. That’s all we need.” You’re going into battle wearing a helmet, and you got a great belt, but your chest is exposed, your chest cavity is … It’s a huge target. It’s an even bigger target than your head for the enemy’s fiery darts to pierce lung, and heart, and liver, and whatever else because you’re not protected. You don’t have … By the way, your heart is not going to be right because the devil is going to destroy your heart because the bible says, “When iniquity and sin abounds, your love will wax cold.” It says in Matthew 24. The most loving people are the most righteous people. The people who have the most sin and iniquity in their life, their love begins to wax cold according to the bible.
Now, this New Evangelical Movement is a failure. It fails. You’ll say, “Oh, it succeeds. Look at the big crowd,” but go talk to those people, and you find out most of them aren’t saved because it’s a misguided philosophy that says, “Let’s just bring in a bunch of unsaved people. Let’s just bring in all denominations and nondenominational. Let’s bring in all beliefs, all denominations, all types of unsaved people. Let’s gear it toward [inaudible 00:24:31].”
Here’s the problem with that. Then, the church begins to be filled with unsaved people, and then those unsaved people start teaching Sunday school, and then they become the pastor. Pretty soon, the whole New Evangelical Movement is just inundated with unsaved pastors, unsaved teachers, unsaved people, and then you’d go out soul winning and knocking doors. If you don’t believe me, just go out soul winning with us and knock doors of the people who go to these “big fun centers” is what I call them, these big, giant New Evangelical, nondenominational rock and roll type churches.
When you talk to them, they … You ask them, “If you know for you’re going to heaven?” “Oh, I hope so. I’m a pretty good person.” What in the world? Because there’s no doctrine. There’s no righteousness anymore, so what happen is once the breastplate was gone, it was pretty easy for the devil to fire a fiery dart, and then that belt just came right off. Just boo, the girdle of truth has been removed. Honestly, you can’t take out part of the message and think you’re going to … You think you’re smarter than God is what you think.
“Well, I know God said I need the whole armor, but I think all I need is the helmet of salvation and the girdle of truth, and that’s all I need.” By the way, the New Evangelical Movement doesn’t even have their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace because their idea is that everybody has got to come to them. They say, “Let’s make the church real worldly and sinful. We’ll bring everybody in,” and they do bring in crowds, thousands and … This church has spring up overnight. Thousands of people come in, but here’s the thing. They forgot to have their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which means go out and get people saved.
You say, “Wait a minute, Pastor Anderson. How are you going to get … How are you going to reach unsaved people if your church is not geared toward unsaved people?” We go out and get them saved. Look at Romans 10, and I’ll show you. It says in verse 9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, ‘Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.’ For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich unto all who call upon him. For ‘whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
“How then shall they call on him in whom they’ve not believed, and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach except they be sent?” Watch this, “As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah saith, ‘Lord, who hath believed our report?’ So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Notice verse 15. He said how beautiful are what? The feet of them that preach the gospel of peace. The feet are always associated with preaching the gospel. The feet are always associated with soul winning. Why? Because the feet are what take you to the lost because he said, “Go and teach all nations. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” He didn’t say, “Wait until they come.” He didn’t say, “Sit in the chair of the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
Above all, taking the chaps of the gospel of peace, but the leather pants of the gospel of peace where you could sit on your rear end and be nice and comfortable. Take the padded chair of the gospel of peace. No. He says, “Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” What’s the point of having your feet shod? It’s so that you can go a long distance. You don’t even need shoes to go a short distance. If you’re just going to walk across the street, you don’t need to put your shoes on for that. Even when Jesus sent out the disciples, he said, “Hey, just put on sandals. You don’t even need shoes. Be shod with sandals. Don’t put on 2 coats.”
Okay, but here’s the thing. You put your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, putting shoes on to actually go a serious distance. You’re actually doing some serious footwork where you’re actually knocking a lot of doors, and you’re going to distant places, bringing the gospel into every city, every village, every nation of this world. That’s what it means to have your feet shod with the gospel of peace. Go back to Ephesians chapter 6.
When we look at what the whole armor consists of, yes, it consists of the helmet of salvation. Yes, it consists of having the loins gird about with truth. We got to have the truth on our side. It also consists of having our feet shod with the preparation of gospel of peace, and it consists of having a breastplate of righteousness. Okay. Now, let’s think about what would happen if we didn’t have the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
There are people in a church like ours, they’ve got that girdle of truth. They’ve got a King James Bible in their hand. They know what it says. They know the doctrine. They’ve been taught. They’ve read it on their own and learned from the Holy Spirit, and they’ve got the truth. Also, they live a clean life. They’re not out fornicating. They’re not out committing adultery. They’re not filling their minds with filth and iniquity. They’re not out coveting material possessions and out lusting after cars, and houses, and fancy clothes. No, they live right, and they’ve got the truth, and you better know they have the helmet of salvation, but when it comes time for soul winning, no soul winning. They’re vulnerable.
You might look at somebody like that and think they’ve got it all together. “Oh, man. They’re going to succeed. They’re going to stay in the fight. They’re going to win the battle.” Why? They’ve got the truth, they are saved, and they’re living a clean and godly life, and they’re faithful to church, but when it comes time for the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, they’re barefoot. They’ve got nothing, and it’s a vulnerability.
Now, I like to spend a lot of time barefoot. Whenever I take a walk, I always walk barefoot. When I go … A lot of times lately, Boas, our baby boy has been a little fuzzy at times, and I’ll volunteer to take him for a walk a lot of times because I like to go on walks. I’ll take him for a walk barefoot always. I go running a lot. Always barefoot, but here’s the thing. I’m not going into battle barefoot. Going into battle barefoot would be a foolish thing to do because if you go into battle barefoot, your feet are going to be vulnerable to all kinds of shrapnel that you could step on in a battle type of a scenario. Somebody could stump on your feet.
It’s not a good idea when swords, and knives, and guns, and bombs … You’re going to want to have something protecting your feet. Who’s been in the military before? What was the footwear like that you … Boots? [Brother Segar 00:31:29], what kind of boots were they?
Pastor Anderson: Tough leather boots? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Why? Why did you wear those? Would you have ever gone into combat barefoot? Did you ever see anybody go into combat in Iraq barefoot?
Pastor Anderson: No. All right. I thought all the Muslims are barefoot. That’s what everybody tells me. Okay. All right, but anyway. The point is that you don’t want to go to war barefoot. You know what a lot of Christians are doing? They’re going to war barefoot. Why? Because there’s no soul winning in their life. They might say, “Well, sometimes, I give people the gospel at work. Sometimes, I give the gospel to a friend or a family member.” Once in a blue moon, and that’s a lot of people. That’s the extent of their soul winning. It’s just, “Well, when an opportunity comes up,” and a lot of times, that’s going to be pretty rare.
You know what? That’s not the feet shod anyway because if that’s people coming to you, if that’s people that you’re in contact with anyway, that’s not really the feet shod. See, the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace implies that you’re going out and reaching people. You’re going out into the highways and hedges as Christ commanded us and compelling people to come in that God’s house might be filled. You’re going out and preaching the gospel to every creature. You’re winning the lost. You have your feet shod, and notice, with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Why? Because preaching the gospel of peace requires preparation.
Have you ever been caught off-guard where somebody maybe wanted to talk to you about the word of God, and you didn’t have your bible with you, you didn’t have the verses memorized, and you’re, “Uh, uh,” you’re at a lost? Maybe you have the opportunity to get somebody saved, and you can’t really fully capitalize on an opportunity because you weren’t really prepared. Now, here’s the thing. People who go out soul winning every week and knock doors every week, they’re prepared to give the gospel. Why? Because it’s second nature to them. They have all the verses memorized. You don’t even have to try to memorize the verses. If you go soul winning every week, you’ll eventually have all the verses memorized.
I don’t think … There are a lot of scriptures that I’ve memorized, and sometimes, I struggle with retaining them. John 3:16 is not one of them. Romans 3:23 is not one of them. Romans 10:9 is not one of them. Why? Because the verses that you use for soul winning are so deeply ingrained in your memory. I’ll take my kids out soul winning with me. They have all those verses memorized without having tried just because they’ve heard them over, and over, and over again.
Look, when you go out and knock doors, and when your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and you’re going out and winning people to Christ, you’ll be prepared to give the gospel any time because you’ve done it hundreds of times, you know the material, you know the verses, and you’re ready. By the way, there’s always a prepared place for a prepared person. When you’re ready, God will bring you more opportunities because he knows, “Well, if I bring people across his path, he’ll be ready to do it.”
Why would God bring you opportunities to give the gospel when he knows you’re not even prepared? It’d be a waste. He’d rather bring them across somebody else’s path. If you think that the Christian life consists of you just living righteous, and knowing the truth, and being saved, but you don’t have this thing of going out and getting people saved, you’re missing something, and you’re vulnerable unto Satan’s attack, and it could just be a matter of time where you give in to the powers of darkness.
Whether that’s fornication, whether that’s adultery, whether that’s covetousness, whether that’s getting out of church, whether that’s just quitting on God and be choked out by the cares of this world, whatever that looks like, it’s coming your way if you don’t have the preparation of the gospel of peace, but look at verse 15 … I’m sorry, verse 16. Ephesians 6:16. “Above all.”
Now, when we see the words “above all,” that means this is the most important thing. Right? Is the helmet important? Yeah. Is the girdle important? Is the breastplate important? Of course, those things are all important. Is the preparation of the gospel of peace …? Everything is important, but above all, he says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
A critical component of the armor is the shield of faith. Why is it so critical? The darts of the wicked. Let’s look at Psalm 11. Keep your finger in Ephesians 6, but let’s go to Psalm 11 because in Psalm 11, we see a scripture that’s similar to the fiery darts of the wicked because remember, he said, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,” so we think of the fiery darts of the wicked.
Now, look at Psalm 11:1. “In the Lord, put I my trust.” By the way, trust is synonymous with faith, the shield of faith. “How say ye to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain, for lo, the wicked,’” Sound familiar? “’Bend their bow. They make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.’” In Psalm 11, we have the wicked shooting arrows at the upright in heart, and in Ephesians 6, we had the fiery darts of the wicked. Pretty much the same thing, right?
Then, look at the next verse in verse 3. He says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Now, what does it mean to have the shield of faith because if it’s that important to where you would put the words “above all,” we need to pay very close attention to what this is? Faith is when we trust and believe what God has said in his word. When it comes to salvation, what is faith? Because we know we’re saved by faith, right? The bible says, “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not of works, so that no any man should boast.”
It shouldn’t really surprise us that faith comes above all since faith is even what saved us in the first place. “Faith in Christ.” What does “faith in Christ” mean? Go to Ephesians chapter 1. You might have a finger in Ephesians 6. Ephesians 1 is right there, and look what it says in verse number 12. It says, “That we should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ.” Do you see that? We trusted in Christ. Verse 13, “In whom, ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,”
Notice how trusting in Christ is equivalent with believing in Christ. When the bible says that we’re to believe in Jesus to be saved, “Believe on Jesus to be saved,” you know what that means? We’re trusting Christ. What does it mean to trust him? It means that we’re relying on him to save us, not relying on ourselves. A person who says, “Well, I believe in Jesus, but I think I’m going to heaven because I’m a good person,” their trust is in them self. They’re not trusting in Christ. Okay. They might believe Jesus existed, but they don’t have trust in Christ. They don’t have their faith in Christ. They’re not relying on Christ.
When the bible talks about faith in regard to salvation, it’s trusting Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection to get you to heaven, not trusting in your own works. Not trusting in your own goodness, or any good life, or leaf that you’ve turned over, or what have you, but is that where faith in our life ends? Do we have faith to get us saved, and then faith just never comes into play again in our lives? No. The bible says in Romans 15 that we go from faith to faith in our life, and the bible says that as we’ve trusted Christ, that’s also how we walk in Christ. Okay.
Getting saved is a one-time thing. We put our faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ as our only way to heaven, but wait a minute. Aren’t there other areas that we need to trust Christ in also going forward? Now, to get to heaven, we just need to trust Christ in that one area, trust him with our soul. Trust him with the death, burial, and resurrection as our only way to heaven, but as we live our lives, we will find many other promises in God’s word that tell us, “If you live right or if you do this, I’m going to bless you,” for example.
God said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” All these promises of God, the question is, are we going to trust the promises of God? Are we going to rely on that? Now, we’ve already relied on Jesus for salvation, but wait a minute. Are you going to rely on God to give you your daily bread? Are you going to rely on God when he tells you how your marriage should be? Are you going to trust what God said about your marriage, or are you going to go with what the world says because the world … You know what the world is going to tell you? That the bible’s methods don’t work.
The world will tell you that the bible’s way of marriage is wrong. The world will tell you, “Oh, yeah. The bible tells you to spank your kids, but that doesn’t work. We’ve got studies to prove that spanking doesn’t work.” Right? That’s what they’ll say. Who are you going to trust? Are you going to trust the word, or are you going to trust what the world says? Okay. The world is going to tell you all kinds of things that are contrary to the bible, and they’re going to try to destroy your faith in the bible.
I’m not talking about your faith in Jesus. Once we’re saved, we’re always saved. We have the Holy Spirit of promise, but wait a minute. What about all the other areas where God gives us advice and gives us counsel? Are we going to follow that advice and counsel, or are we going to walk in the counsel of the ungodly? Now, when it comes to the shield of faith, why is the shield of faith going to quench the fiery darts of the wicked? Because the devil is going to fire these fiery darts at us, and what is the goal of those fiery darts?
In Psalm 11:3, we got some insight to that, to destroy the foundation. If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The very foundations of what we believe in, the very foundations of how we live our lives are under attack by the devil, and we need the shield of faith to quench the fiery darts away. What do I mean? The devil is going to constantly be attacking us and trying to … What is it? Imaginations and thoughts.
It said in … Let me just quickly go back to that. You don’t have to turn there, but he said in Second Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Different competing ideas, competing ideas about how to live your life, competing ideas about what’s right. Other ideas that tell you, “Well, no. This is a better way to have a marriage,” or, “This is a better way to raise your kids,” or, “This is a better way to run your business,” or, “This is a better way to do nutrition,” or, “This is a better way of building a church,” or, “This is a better way,” and it’s the world’s philosophies that are constantly attacking us and trying to get us to give in and trying to take the foundation of God’s word out from under us, that rock that everything that we believe is based upon.
We need the shield of faith wherewith we shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. If you look at Job, and I know we’re done looking at Job for a while, but if you look at Job and think about this, he stayed firm. He stood. Did he not stand in the evil day? You are talking about the evil day. He stood. He was not defeated. That tells me he had the whole armor of God. He had to have or he would have fallen. He would have been defeated. He did some serious battle, and he stood all the way to the bitter end because he had the shield of faith. What did Job say, the most … one of the most famous quotes in the whole book of Job? “Though he slay me, yet will I?”
Congregation: Trust him.
Pastor Anderson: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” He had that shield of faith, didn’t he? That’s why he was able to quench all the fiery darts away. “Trusting God.” “Have faith in God.” What does that mean? That means that when you’re doing things God’s way and they don’t seem to be working, you keep doing it God’s way. “Oh, but it’s not working. The world’s got a better way.” Keep trusting God because God’s ways don’t always work over night, but they do work. God doesn’t necessarily give you all the blessings that he promises tomorrow or a week from now, but if you hang in there and keep that shield of faith out there saying, “I trust God. I trust what God has said.”
The bible said, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path.” When we know the bible and we know the promises of God, and we believe that God’s way is the best way, and that God is going to bless us if we do what’s right, and that if we hang in there, weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.
If we know the patience of Job that he withstood and stood all the way to the end, and God blessed the latter end of Job, then we know that like Job, when we’re tried, we’ll come forth as gold, and we need to just stay with it and have the faith that says, “You know what? I know that if I do what’s right, God is going to bless me. I know that if I commit sin, I’m going to be cursed. I know if I commit fornication, God is going to mess up my life. I know if I commit adultery, it’s going to ruin my life. I know that covetousness will eat me up from the inside and turn me into a wicked, ungodly person because the love of money is the root of all evil.”
Do you believe that? Because if you don’t trust that promise that says, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” which will some coveted after they’ve earned from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows, that the clear statement that says, “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” If you don’t believe that, you’ll be tempted by the Donald Trump book, the Coyote Kawasaki book. What’s that guy’s name? Somebody help me out. Come on, who’s got the book? You know that Japanese guy? His face is everywhere like how to get rich and everything. You know what it is?
Male: Robert Kiyosaki.
Pastor Anderson: What is it?
Male: Robert Kiyosaki.
Pastor Anderson: I knew somebody would know, so Robert Kiyosaki. I’m just going to call him Kawasaki. It’s easier. That’s easier for me to remember because I used to ride a Kawasaki dirt bike when I was a kid. This Robert Kawasaki, or Donald Trump, or these people who try to entice you with words of covetousness and the desire to be rich, here … You know what? The shield of … God is going to throw that dart at you. “Hey, you could have this really nice house, and you could drive fancy cars, and you could wear fancy clothes, and you could be wealthy and rich,” or the Dave Ramsey.
If you haven’t heard my sermon on Dave Ramsey exposed, but the Dave Ramsey who says, “Oh, it’s all about giving to charity after you become filthy rich. First, you become filthy rich, and then you’ll be able to give it away.” Except, here’s the problem with that, Dave Ramsey. You’ve already become a horrible person by the time you become filthy rich, and you’ve already destroyed yourself. He says, “Become very wealthy.” That’s one of the points on Dave Ramsey’s plan. “Become very wealthy.” That’s not what the bible teaches as it should ever be a goal of our life.
See, it’s easy where the devil is throwing these darts of Donald Trump’s book, and Kawasaki’s book, and Dave Ramsey’s book. He’s right, but the shield of faith just says, “No, the love of money is the root of all evil.” We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Having food and raiment, let us be there with content. The shield of faith says, “You know what? I trust God. He’s going to provide my needs. If I go out and work hard at a trade, work hard at a job where I’m producing something, you know what? God is going to bless my hard work, and I’m going to be able to feed myself and my family, and God’s going to provide my needs. I don’t need to go out and do something rich … get rich scheme.” “Call this 1-900 number for a conference call and this package.” “I was making $10,000 a month from my 1-bedroom apartment, and you can do the same thing.”
I had a guy at my work who called that number. This guy is on a boat, and he’s surrounded by bikini babes, and he’s telling you, “I make $20,000 a month from my 800-square-foot apartment. Call up the number on the screen.” I knew a guy at work. He called the number on the screen, and he got the package. You know what it was all about? Basically, it was getting him into the pornography business, so that’s … There’s no mention of that on the advertisement. It’s just, “Oh, yeah. You just put these ads in newspapers, and oh, yeah, it’s just …” But then, you call, and they want you to get involved in the worst kind of sin.
What I’m saying is that the shield of faith is where we trust God and trust that God’s way is always the best way. Everything God warned us against, we just trust God. Hey, we just stay away from that stuff because God said no, and that’s how we … Come on. He’ll just try to attack at the foundations of what we believe in when it comes to marriage, child-rearing, business, just every aspect of our lives. The shield of faith will quench that. Let’s keep reading.
It says in verse 17, “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Now, you say, “How is the sword armor?” You say, “A sword is a weapon.” It’s true that a sword is a weapon, but a sword also works as defense. Anybody who knows anything about sword fighting knows that a sword is not just an offensive weapon. It’s also a defensive weapon because you’ll use the sword to block another sword thrust. You watch people sword fighting, one of them is attacking, one of them is defending at various points. I’m not an expert on it, but anybody can see that.
The sword is used to block as well as it’s used to thrust or attack, so what we see here is another defensive weapon here, a defensive piece or armament, which is the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. How is the word of God going to defend us? If you look at Jesus when he was under the attack of the devil, and he’s being tempted, he kept quoting scripture. The devil would come at him, and he would say, “It is written. Man should not live by bread alone. It is written. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. It is written. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God. Him only shalt thou serve.” The word of God is a powerful tool to protect us from the devil’s attacks.
Now, how does this work in practical means? When the devil tempts us, we need to have scripture ready to defend that blow. Notice, it says, “The sword of the spirit,” so who’s wielding the sword here? The spirit is wielding the sword. That tells me that we need to get the word into our spirit, and we need to get the word into us, so that the Holy Spirit can bring the word to our remembrance because Jesus said of the Holy Spirit that he said, “He will take of mine and show it unto you.” It is a biblical concept that the Holy Spirit will bring scriptures to our mind.
You ever just have a scripture pop into your mind? Maybe you’re witnessing to someone and just the perfect scripture pops into your mind for what they need to hear, or perhaps you’re about to commit sin, and then a scripture pops into your mind, and you say, “Ah, I better not do this. Wait a minute. That scripture says no.” That’s the sword of the spirit right there defending you and protecting you from falling into sin. Okay, so the more scripture we can memorize, that’s why David said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee,” because having the word hidden in our heart keeps us from sinning against God.
How? Because the sword of the spirit is a defensive weapon also to defend, and having that word in us, the … Look, if you don’t know any bible verses, if you don’t read the bible, how much of a sword of the spirit is really even going to be there to defend you? It’d be almost like you just have like this tiny little dagger or something. Think about it. If you memorize a lot of bible, you’ve got like this huge broad sword to be able to defend against a lot of attacks because the … It’s just more scriptures in the Holy Spirit’s arsenal to bring to your mind the more verses that you’ve memorized, and meditated on, and read, and learned, so that’s going to protect you as well.
Then, of course, he says, “Praying always.” Not necessarily a piece of armor, but he says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” You say, “Why bring up prayer?” Let me close by saying this. I think the reason prayer is being brought up is that God is trying to impress upon us in this passage that if we are going to succeed in the Christian life, we must have all areas of the Christian life as they should be because what is he saying when he says, “Take the whole armor?” He’s saying, “Don’t be a great Christian in one area, and then completely neglect another area.” Look, there are so many churches like that, there are so many people like that, and they’re just open to the devil’s attack.
For example, we talked about the New Evangelicals. They’re supposedly all about evangelism, right, but they lack the breastplate of righteousness, and then they end up eventually lacking everything. They end up lacking salvation, they end up lacking the truth and everything else, but think about this. There are a lot of churches out there who have great doctrine, and they have the truth, and they live a righteous life, but there’s no soul winning program. They don’t have the whole package together.
Okay. There are other churches that are very righteous, and they have a great soul winning program, but they don’t know the doctrine. They’re very lean on doctrine. The preaching is really shallow. I’ve known a lot of churches like that. The preaching is really shallow, nobody really knows the bible very well. When you talk to people about bible doctrine, they are a little confused. You bring up obscure stories from the Old Testament, they’re like, “I’ve never even heard of that story.”
They got their feet shod, they’re out winning souls, they’ve got the breastplate of righteousness, but here’s the thing. The girdle of truth, they’re caught with their pants down because they don’t have the girdle of truth. Meaning, that they’re at midst on a lot of doctrine because they’re just not studying. They don’t know the word. They don’t know the bible.
Any of these areas will be your downfall. I don’t care how good you are at soul winning. If you’re out living a sinful, unclean life, you’re going to fail at life. You’re going to fail as a Christian. I don’t care how clean you’re living and how much bible you know, if you’re not out soul winning, you’re going to be a failure. I don’t care if you sit there and say, “Well, you know what? I know the bible really well, and I’m out soul winning, and all these stuff.” Look, if there’s no prayer, that’s a problem. You’re missing something. You need prayer, you need bible reading, you need soul winning, you need clean living, and you need the faith.
Some people might have great bible reading, great prayer, great knowledge, great soul winning, living a clean life, but here’s what they’re lacking, the shield of faith, and what does that mean? They always want to play it real safe. Meaning, they never want to step out in faith and do anything. That could be a huge issue. They don’t trust the promises of God, so they always … Their finances, they always have to do it all in their own strength and have it all lined up by their own understanding. When it comes to going out and starting a church or anything, that’s a little too risky. They don’t have the faith. They don’t want to trust in the promises of God. They do things in their own understanding.
Any of these areas can be a downfall. The moral of the story this morning and the whole point of this sermon is to tell you that if there’s any area of weakness in your life spiritually, that’s what you need to work on, so that you have the complete package, and you need … and it’s going to be different for everybody. Some people, it’s soul winning. Some people might say, “You know what? I haven’t been soul winning in years. I haven’t been soul winning in months. I’m not giving people the gospel on a regular basis.” Then, that’s what you need to work on. That’s what you need to fix. Other people say, “You know what? I’ve been letting a lot of sin and uncleanness enter into my life. It’s time to reattach the breastplate of righteousness and get that thing shored up and protected.”
Other people might say, “I’ve been making a lot of decisions where I’m just not trusting in God, I’m not trusting the Lord. I’m doing things on my own understanding. I’m not following the bible’s guidelines whether it’s marriage, child-rearing, finances, whatever. I’ve been doing stuff just based on my own logic,” or maybe bible reading has been slipping, or maybe you just never had a lot of bible reading in the first place, and it’s time for you to say, “You know what? I think my weakness is knowledge. I need to learn more because one of the major aspects of spiritual warfare according to Second Corinthians 10 was knowledge.”
What’s darkness represent? Ignorance. What’s light represent? Knowledge. Some of you need to increase your knowledge. Some of you need to increase your soul winning, your righteousness, your bible reading, your prayer, whatever the case may be, but it’s not enough to say, “Yeah, but I’m an awesome soul winner.” You’ll be gone in a few years if you don’t have these other things in your life. I’ve seen some awesome soul winners get out of church because they had other vulnerable areas in their life that the devil was able to just fire into that breach, and the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for your word, Lord, and thank you for equipping us with the equipment that we’re going to need, Lord, and for giving us the tools that we need with the whole armor of God. Lord, help every single one of us to install every piece of the armor because if any of these pieces are missing, Lord, we’re going to be an easy target for the enemy, and we know that the devil is seeking whom he may devour. He’s looking for that chink in the armor, Lord. Help us to be armored from head to toe in the whole armor of God. In Jesus’ name we pray.