Author: Ron Graham
The Sword of the Spirit
—The Armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-17)
As Christians we are at war —not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of wickedness and darkness. To win this war, to fight the good fight, we must be adequately equipped. Part of that equipment is "The Sword of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:10-17).
Ephesians 6, Verses 10-17
¶“10Finally, be strong in the Lord and his mighty strength. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against rulers, against powers, against the world forces of this present darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:10-12).
¶“13Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day —to stand firm having done all. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet, prepare yourselves with the gospel of peace. 16That's not all: take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:13-17).
1 Sharpen the sword finely
The only weapon in the armour of God is the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).
Notice it says that the sword is the word of God. It is "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, [made by man], piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).
The apostle Peter preached in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost after Jesus returned to heaven. The power of the Holy Spirit was upon Peter. He revealed the word of God; he wielded the sharp sword of the Spirit; and those who heard the word were "cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37).
We must keep this sword as sharp as God made it. We maintain that sharpness by taking off all the blunting accretions of men, and retaining the word as "revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" (Ephesians 3:5).
2 Wield the sword wisely
A sword hanging by one's side may be at the ready, but until it is wielded, it is not effective in the cut and thrust of battle. And that does not mean waving the sword randomly, but artfully, both to fend off and to attack.
In a similar way, it's good to keep a Bible handy on the shelf. But we need to take hold of it often, and use it skilfully.
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2Timothy 4:2).
There we see action and attitude combined.
The attitude is longsuffering. Our battles are not over in ten minutes. So we need persistence in battle no matter how long we must suffer in it. We must also be patient and help those who want to come over to the Lord’s side
The action is preaching and teaching the word of God. A physical sword draws blood and kills, but the sword of the Spirit yields faith, repentance, and obedience toward Christ whose blood gives redemption and new life.
In view of these things, we must use the Sword of the Spirit wisely so as not to drive people away from Jesus, but to win them, if possible, over to him.
3 Own the sword honestly
Good soldiers "bear the sword" as servants of the King. He in turn is the "servant of God" (Romans 13:4). This gives the King’s soldiers responsibility, dignity, and authority. So they must wear and bear the sword with integrity.
Good soldiers do not hide their swords away. They make no secret of bearing the sword.
Good soldiers do not extort favours from the people, not even from the enemy.
Good soldiers of Christ likewise are honest in their use of the word of God (the sword of the Spirit).
They are soldiers who don't deceive, who are not "speaking lies in hypocrisy" (1Timothy 4:2).
They are "not greedy of filthy lucre", not getting rich on ill-gotten gain (1Timothy 3:8 KJV).
Jesus said to some soldiers, "¶Don not extort money, and do not falsely accuse people. Be content with your pay." (Luke 3:14 NKJV). This applies to soldiers of the cross just as well as soldiers of the State.
"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God... that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever, Amen" (1Peter 4:11 NKJV).
4 Respect the sword deeply
We should not worship the Bible. We should worship God, its Author. Nevertheless we should have a very deep respect for the Bible, because "all scripture is given by inspiration of God..." (2Timothy 3:16)
Furthermore, the gospel which the Bible reveals is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16).
As we noticed earlier, the word of God is ¶ " is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, [made by man], piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).
The Bible is a book whose words will judge us before God. That's another reason why the Bible deserves our deepest respect.
And we remember that it is, after all, the sword of the Spirit, so while we own it as ours, He owns it too, and we receive it as a gift like all the other items in God armour. Yes indeed, the Bible is a gift to be very deeply respected.
5 Draw the sword justly
Since the sword is the word of God by which we are judged, it must be used justly. Perfect justice can result only from perfect truth. The sword of the Spirit is perfect truth "which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction" (2Peter 3:16)..
There are a lot of bent and twisted swords of error in the religious world. But we can keep the pristine blade of the Spirit's sword perfectly straight and true. The judgment and justice that results when we draw that sword will be in kind. We will use the Bible such that it is seen to be fair and just and right.
"The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. The law of God is in his heart. None of his steps shall slide" (Psalm 37:30 NKJV). That is a description of one who draws the sword of the Spirit justly.
Sharpen the sword
Wield the sword
Own the sword
Respect the sword
Draw the sword