Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Armor of God: The Sword of the Spirit

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will REJOICE and be glad in it! I hope you will do the same. I am excited about today's blog, as we look at the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God!

"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:17 NKJV

The Sword of the Spirit is a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare. The sword is formed by speaking God's word. When we use the sword properly, God's power and resources are available to us. In discussing the Sword of the Spirit, it is helpful to first examine the meaning of the Greek words Logos and Rhema, which are often used for the "word" of God.

Logos - the word of God: Logos is often used to identify the written scriptures in the Bible, which were given to people under the inspiration of God (Timothy 3:16, 1 Peter 1:10-11). Collectively, the Bible, as God's "word," is the written, divine expression or revelation of God to humanity. Jesus completed this expression as the literal embodiment of God's word, logos
(John 1:1-5, 14).

Rhema - the word of God:
Rhema is the spoken word of God. Strong's concordance says that rhema is "that which is or has been uttered by the living voice." Rhema carries a spiritual connotation that differentiates it from logos. It also bears application to the specific context of our lives. For example, we may be wrestling with an issue in our life and during our quiet time we read a verse that "speaks" directly to the situation we are dealing with. That portion of the scripture becomes a "Rhema word" from God for us regarding our situation. We can then stand in faith on the Rhema God has given us and confess it whenever the devil tries to attack us.

Another way of using the Rhema is to apply specific scriptures (logos) to the situations we are facing. This is perhaps the most common of way of diffusing temptations. While we may not have a special or emergent Rhema revelation from God regarding a temptation, we will likely have plenty of scriptures that we can speak that apply.

The Sword of the Spirit: Rhema is the Greek word used in the Sword of the Spirit passage (Ephesians 6:17 - "..the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"). Therefore, we use the Sword of the Spirit by:

1) Standing in faith on the word God has given us for our particular situation and confessing it in the face of the enemy's attacks


2) Speaking or singing scriptures (logos) that apply to the situation we are facing

As with the other pieces of the armor of God, the Sword of the Spirit relies on faith for its foundation. When our faith is based on the promises of God's word, our sword's "spiritual power link" to God is engaged. Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23 NKJV). Spoken in faith, the Sword of the Spirit is the truth that sets people free from the lies that hold them captive (John 8:31-32, Psalm 119:160, John 17:17).

From the very beginning, God has spoken words that have powerfully influenced everything that exists. For example, God created the heavens and earth by speaking them into existence! The Bible says, "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the *word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible" (Hebrews 11:3 NASB, *rhema). Since God created us in his likeness, it is imperative that we understand the power of our words. For example, our words can bring life and death (Proverbs 18:21). They can build people up or tear them down (James 3).

Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit in resisting Satan in the wilderness (Luke 4). Jesus responded to each of the temptations by quoting scripture. The scripture he chose revealed and destroyed the lies of each temptation. In the same way, we can use scripture to destroy the lies that tempt us.

Other Sword of the Spirit examples:

  • Praying the word
    (Acts 4:24-31): A group of believers prayed the word and the result was that the place was shaken, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly
  • Preaching the word
    (Acts 13:38-43)
  • Answering questions with the word
    (Acts 13:46-48)
  • Singing the word (Acts 16:25-34)

Basic Training: When using the Sword of the Spirit, we need to ensure that we are using the scripture in the proper context from where it was taken. In order to understand the context, we'll need to learn the Bible. Bible study not only familiarizes us with the word, but also builds our faith up (Romans 10:17) and sharpens our discernment skills for spiritual warfare (Hebrews 4:12).

  • Have daily quiet times: The best method for learning the Bible is to study it each day in a quiet time with God. Specifically, you'll want to learn about God's promises to you, your identity in Jesus Christ and the guidelines for holy living.
  • Memorize key verses: As you study the Bible, you'll also want to pick out verses to memorize. Scripture memory helps improve your swordsmanship in rejecting temptations. It usually requires persistence and effort, but it is well worth it. Every week I post a memory verse for us to all work on together. Please make use of this tool.

NavPress offers a great product called the Topical Memory System that is very good for scripture memory. You can also devise your own system. For example, I write down verses that I notice during my quiet time readings on 3 X 5 note cards. On the card I include the reference and the topic. I review the cards throughout the day as often as possible. The key is to keep the scripture in front of you as much as possible each day. You are basically programming your mind with God's word.

  • Practice: As you face temptations each day, try to recall the verses you have learned that apply to the temptation. You can ask the Holy Spirit to help you remember them. One of the Holy Spirit's functions is to remind you of the word (John 14:26). The more you have memorized, the more verses the Spirit has to help you with! The more you speak the scriptures that come to mind, the more you reinforce them in your memory.

Over the next couple of days I will post some verses that are categorized to help you as you SPEAK FORTH the Word of God. Today's category is COMFORT:

Psalm 23:4 NIV
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 25 This is an excellent Psalm for consolation, help and deliverance - It is helpful to read this aloud as a prayer to God

Psalm 31 NKJV
23Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. 24Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.

Psalm 34:18 NIV
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 68:6 NASB
God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land

Psalm 119:48-50 NIV
I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees. Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Psalm 119:76 NIV
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.

Psalm 147:3 NIV
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:11-12 NKJV
11The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy. 12Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!

Jeremiah 29 NKJV
11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

I pray that you have a WORD-filled day today! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "Through the Bible in a year" reading: February 6, 2008 Deuteronomy 1:1-Deuteronomy 5:33

This week's Memory Verse: (I am testing us this week. Very long, but beneficial) Ephesians 6:13-17

Ephesians 6:13-17 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. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

TOMORROW'S BLOG: Praying in the Spirit