Blog

The Sword of the Spirit

December 5, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part ten. The helmet of salvation is the last piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6. The pieces of armor are primarily defensive in nature, protecting one’s soul and mind and heart from the threats of the devil. In a nutshell, God’s powerful, redemptive work through Jesus Christ envelopes us to protect against Satan’s lies, temptations, and attacks. Paul is not done, though. He also calls the church of Christ to take up an offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit. Christians are not merely caught in a defensive posture, but we are empowered to fight back against “the spiritual forces of evil.” Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:19 that we would know the “immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” Power for what? Power to be strengthened through his Spirit in our inner being (Eph. 3:16). Power “to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). Power to put off the old self and put on the new self (Eph. 4:22-24). Power to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1).... Keep Reading

The Helmet of Salvation

November 28, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part nine. The fifth piece of the whole armor of God is “the helmet of salvation.” This is the other piece of armor the Divine Warrior in Isaiah 59 wears as he fights for the redemption of his people. Verse 17 says, “He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head.” Righteousness and salvation go hand-in-hand throughout Scripture. God’s righteous requirement of the law is satisfied by the complete righteousness of Christ so that salvation can freely be given to the unrighteous. How does salvation protect us as a helmet in the battle against spiritual forces of evil? Iain Duguid proposes that the fuller description of this helmet given by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 helps us answer this question. There Paul writes, “Let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” It is not merely “salvation” that serves as a helmet but also the by-product of salvation: hope. ... Keep Reading

The Shield of Faith

November 21, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part eight. In Ephesians 6:16, Paul writes about the fourth piece of the Armor of God. “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” This is the only piece of armor for which Paul gives an explicit use. The shield of faith is used to “extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” Let’s seek to understand what this “shield of faith” is and how it helps in our battle against Satan. Once again, we can look to the Old Testament for the background behind Paul’s use of “shield” as a piece of the armor. In Psalm 91:1-4, the psalmist celebrates the protection of God. He writes, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty…He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler… under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” The Psalm continues with further explanations and metaphors of God’s gracious protection of his people. We highlight, though, the specific mention of “shield.” God’s faithfulness to his people is a “shield.” ... Keep Reading

Gospel Shoes

November 14, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part seven. The third piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6 is shoes. Perhaps we do not naturally think of the importance of shoes when doing battle. Just imagine, though, having to march and defensively maneuver with bare feet. We would never get far in the battle. The same is true for our spiritual battle with Satan. Paul looks again to the Old Testament for this piece of armor. In Isaiah 52:7 we read, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” This herald with beautiful feet gives us the backdrop to Paul’s instruction: “And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). ... Keep Reading

The Breastplate of Righteousness

November 7, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part six. We have now turned our attention to the specific pieces of the “whole armor of God.” Last week we looked at the “Belt of Truth.” Today we consider the “Breastplate of Righteousness.” Before we do that, from where do you think Paul got the “idea” for the pieces of the armor of God? Some assume that he was thinking of Roman soldiers and applied the various pieces to the Christian warfare. But Paul had in mind a warrior much older than any Roman soldier. ... Keep Reading

The Belt of Truth

October 31, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part five. Revelation 12:17 says that Satan has gone “off to wage war” on the church. His primary objective is to undermine our faith and confidence in Christ. His primary attack strategy is twofold: Guilt and lies. He is the “accuser of the brothers” and the “father of lies.” Christ has appeared “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8). Ironically, Christ has destroyed “the one who has the power of death” through his death on the cross (Heb. 2:14). Satan’s power of guilt, and the consequence for such guilt, namely death, was defeated by Christ on the cross. And Christ fights against the lies of Satan by giving his “Spirit of truth” and the “word of truth.” ... Keep Reading

Be Strong in the Lord: It’s Plural!

October 24, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part four. One of the weaknesses of English is that second person pronouns and verb forms are identical. For example, I can say, “I love you.” Only the context can help identify whether “you” is singular or plural. Verb forms of commands are the same. “Be strong in the Lord.” Is that for me, as an individual? Or is that for the church, as a community? The Greek language is clearer in this matter. There is a difference between the forms of second-person-singular and second-person-plural verbs. This command in Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord,” is plural. Paul is addressing the church at Ephesus as a community. The theme and focus of the letter have been on the power of the gospel to make a new community. “For Christ himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two” (Eph. 2:14-15). The latter half of the letter is a call to live out that power of the gospel. “I urge you (plural) to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (4:1). ... Keep Reading

Be Strong in the Lord

October 17, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part three. So far, we have sought to “know thy enemy,” namely, Satan. Revelation 12:17 says that Satan has gone “off to make war on…those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” The battle is inevitable. “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but … against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Paul’s assumption in Ephesians 6 is that we “wrestle.” There is no middle ground of being a pacifist in this spiritual warfare. Either you fight or you are conquered, defeated. And Satan is out to destroy our faith and testimony in Christ. ... Keep Reading

Know Thy Enemy: The Tactics of Satan

October 10, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part two. “Know thy enemy,” wrote military strategist Sun Tzu in the 5th century BC. In our spiritual wrestling with the “spiritual forces of evil” (Eph. 6:12), we would be wise to know our enemy. Last week we looked to Scripture for the origin of Satan. Revelation 12 speaks about a spiritual struggle in heaven between Satan, with his angels, against Michael, with his angels. Satan and his angels are defeated and “thrown down to the earth” (Rev. 12:9). Allegorical interpretations of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 have provided further insight into the origin of Satan, created as a beautiful angel, fallen from God’s grace due to his pride. ... Keep Reading

Know Thy Enemy: The Origin of Satan

October 3, 2019 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments

Paul’s words, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood,” are well known among Christians, but do we truly live mindfully of spiritual warfare? It is far too easy to allow our sight and physical realities to command our attention. The call of Scripture, however, is to be battle ready for spiritual warfare. Through this multi-week series, we will consider what Scripture teaches about this spiritual struggle. This is part one. Before he died of cancer, David Powlison finished his last book, Safe and Sound: Standing Firm in Spiritual Battles. He opens the book by writing, “You are in a battle. I am in a battle. And every person we counsel is ... Keep Reading

Filter Messages By: