And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
In New Testament times, a rhomphaia was a large, broad sword used for swinging or striking. A machaira was a short dagger or saber used in close combat. The “sword of the Spirit” referred to by Paul in Ephesians 6:17 is the machaira.
There were also two words for word, as in “word of God.” They parallel, in a general way, the contrast between the two kinds of swords. Logos is a broad concept or reason or a lengthy discourse. A rhema is a spoken utterance or specifically focused writing. Think of logos as the Bible and rhema as a verse. Greek scholar W. E. Vine contrasts the two words: rhema, in Ephesians 6:17, doesn’t refer “to the whole Bible as such, but to the individual scripture which the Spirit brings to our remembrance for use in time of need.” When we commit the Bible to memory, we will always have a rhemain mind that the Spirit can remind us of to defeat the attacks of the devil.
By committing Scripture to memory, you will always be the victor in spiritual battles. Remember to take your swords into battle!
The Word of the Lord is…a sword to defend you.Thomas Brooks
The Armor of God: The Helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17)
Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves.Luke 16:9
When a corporation offered one thousand frequent-flier miles for every ten purchases of one of their foods, one man realized their cheapest product was individual cups of chocolate pudding. He bought more than twelve thousand. For $3,000, he received gold status and a lifetime supply of air miles for himself and his family. He also donated the pudding to charity, which netted him an $800 tax write-off. Genius!
Jesus told a controversial parable about a cunning manager who, as he was being fired, reduced what debtors owed his master. The man knew he could rely on their help later for the favor he was doing them now. Jesus wasn’t praising the manager’s unethical business practice, but He knew we could learn from his ingenuity. Jesus said we should shrewdly “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). As “the pudding guy” turned twenty-five cent desserts into flights, so we may use our “worldly wealth” to gain “true riches” (v. 11).
What are these riches? Jesus said, “Give to the poor” and you will “provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys” (12:33). Our investment doesn’t earn our salvation, but it does affirm it, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v. 34).
Today’s Scripture is one of the psalms sung by the Jews as they journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the Lord’s feasts. Though there were many dangers along the way, they realized help wouldn’t come from anyone but the Lord.
Do you wonder what dangers lurk in the future? God alone knows what we’ll encounter, and He assures us that because He is our Keeper, we have nothing to fear. He never sleeps and is always attentive to our cries for help—even when we can’t sense His presence.
Our loving Father cares for us physically as He guides and guards our path, but His priority is always our spiritual well-being. He watches over our steps and provides everything we need in order to avoid falling into sin. God’s Holy Spirit directs and empowers us, and His Word lights our path so we do not slip. What’s more, He has provided a means of escape for every temptation so we can endure it and stay faithful (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Christians are sojourners traveling this earth to reach their heavenly home. What a comfort it is to know that the Lord will guard our steps “from this time and forever” (Ps. 121:8).
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)
The doctrine of separation from “the unclean thing” is neglected today by professing Christians, but it is still here in God’s Word. The context indicates that Paul is warning against Christians being “unequally yoked together with unbelievers” and urging us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 6:14; 7:1).
Such separation does not mean having no contact at all with unbelievers, “for then must ye needs go out of the world” (1 Corinthians 5:10), whereas Jesus commanded, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). He also prayed to the Father, “not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (John 17:15).
He does demand, however, that we are not to compromise with unbelief or with the unclean thing. We are “born again” into the family of God through simple faith in the person and saving work of Christ; but the full manifestation and fellowship of our relation with the heavenly Father as His spiritual sons and daughters is evidently, in this passage, conditioned on the vital principle of separation from all unbelief and filthiness of the flesh, with Jesus as our example (Hebrews 7:26).
We are specially warned to “turn away” from those who, “having a form of godliness,” attempt to accommodate the naturalistic viewpoint of modern scientism within the Scriptures, thus “denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). “Be ye separate, saith the Lord.” HMM
It is not enough to inquire about the power of the crucified life and the Spirit-filled life. It is not enough to want it—it must be desired and claimed above everything else. There must be an abandonment to Jesus Christ to realize it. The individual must want the fullness of Christ with such desire that he will turn his back on whatever else matters in his life and walk straight to the arms of Jesus!
So much for the case of the rich young ruler. His veil was taken away and he turned from Jesus Christ. He was still the hypocrite, still a covetous man, a money-lover, a breaker of the law. Above all, he was still a sinner, and Christless.
He had to pay a great price to keep what he loved most….We have no idea in terms of money and land and possessions what the rich young ruler paid in his refusal to follow Jesus. WPJ071
The secret of a Christlike life lies partly in the deep longing for it. We grow like the ideals that we admire. We reach unconsciously at last the things we aspire to. Ask God to give you a high conception of the character of Christ and an intense desire to be like Him and you will never rest until you reach your ideal. CTBC, Vol. 6/338-339
A feeling, which Satan can arouse in a heart that is unprotected by a spiritual breastplate, is that of a subtle form of discouragement, in which he draws our attention to what other Christians may be saying or thinking about us.
The Apostle Paul was a particular target of Satan in this respect, but see how he used the breastplate of righteousness as his spiritual defense. Paul’s background was anti-Christian, and he could never get completely away from that. He had been the most hostile persecutor of the church, and he must therefore have constantly run across families whose loved ones he had put to death. Perhaps there were many who doubted his claim to be an apostle. Some commentators claim that in 1 Corinthians 15:10, he was replying to such an accusation.
How does Paul react to this criticism? Does he succumb to discouragement? Does he say: “What’s the use of working my fingers to the bone for these unappreciative people? They don’t do anything but hurl recriminations in my face!” This is what the Devil would have liked him to do. But look at what he does. He says: “By God’s grace I am what I am” (1Co 15:10). Can you see what he is doing? He is using the breastplate of righteousness. He is saying, in other words: “I don’t need to do anything to protect myself; what I am is what Christ has made me. I am not standing in my own righteousness, I am standing in His.”
What a lesson this is in how to use the spiritual breastplate. You and I need to learn this lesson, too.
O God, day by day I am catching little glimpses of what You are trying to teach me—that the more I depend on Your righteousness and the less I depend on my own, the better off I will be. Help me to learn it—and learn it completely. Amen.
The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children,
and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.—Romans 8:16–17
It is impossible to perceive all that became ours when we were born again. There is no way we can understand all that heaven is like. How could we ever comprehend all that is ours as fellow heirs with Christ? The knowledge that we will share Christ’s inheritance with Him absolutely astounds us! Left to our own, we could not begin to understand all that we received once we became children of the King. The Holy Spirit convinces us that we are indeed children of God and helps us understand the riches of our inheritance.
Perhaps you did not have a loving father. The Spirit’s role is to teach you how to respond to a Father who relates to you only in perfect love and how to live like a child of the King. Perhaps you grew up in poverty. The Spirit will show you the inexhaustible riches available to you as a child of God.
If you were simply declared an heir and then left on your own, you could not begin to use your inheritance. But the Father has given you His Spirit to serve as your Guide and Teacher. The Holy Spirit will lead you to the magnificent promises and resources that became available when God adopted you into His family. Take time to meditate on the wonderful promises of God that are available to you. Let the Holy Spirit convince you of the reality that you are, indeed, a child of God and a fellow heir of Christ.