Packed ongoing.001

 

I am currently preaching a sermon series on Sunday mornings at Wildwood Community Church called “Packed” – based out of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.  During this series, I am using my blog to post study prompts, devotionals, sermon audio/video, and discussion questions to help facilitate personal or group study of this book.  NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I have a set of links to previous resources in this series.

Ephesians 6:10-20 – Study Prompts #2

  1. As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.  Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24.  “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”  Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
  2. Read Ephesians 6:10-20
  3. STUDY NOTE:  Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians while under Roman arrest due to his insistence of sharing Christ with the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1-13).  Additionally, as Paul wrote the letter, he was most likely chained to a Roman soldier (Ephesians 6:20).  Given this context, it is not a surprise that Paul would use the attire of a Roman soldier as an analogy for our spiritual battle.  It is almost humorous to imagine Paul looking at a sleeping soldier beside him, while God inspired him to use that image as a part of our New Testament!  Also, the Roman Empire (including Ephesus) was filled with soldiers who were all dressed in similar uniform.  This made the attire of a soldier something to which Paul (and his audience) could relate.
  4. Paul commands believers in Ephesians 6:13-17 to “take up” and “put on” the full armor of God.  This implies that the armor is something that all who are in Christ have already been given (it was packed inside us at the moment of our conversion).  We are not to “acquire it” but to simply “put it on.”  Additionally, as we put it on, we are simply to “withstand” or “stand firm.”  This implies holding fast to territory that has already been conquered by Christ.  What do you think it means for a believer to “take up” the armor of God?  What would it look like on a daily basis to put on this full armor?
  5. In 6:14a, Paul encourages the believer to put on the belt of truth.  The belt was an important piece of equipment for the Roman soldier.  It held the tunic in place when the soldier was ready for battle, secured the protective breastplate, and was the holding place for the soldier’s sword.  Paul here encourages the Christian to put on truth, which is the base anchor that holds together our protection in Christ.  In spiritual battle, the Christian does not fall back on simply nice sentiments or warm feelings.  Our faith is anchored to rock solid truths that will not change with the shifting sands of time or emotion.  In what way does truth provide a solid foundation for your spiritual life?  What does it look like to “gird yourself in truth” daily?
  6. The Roman soldier also wore a breastplate that covered their torso, front and back.  The breastplate provided solid lifesaving protection for the soldier in battle.  The believer is called to put on the breastplate of righteousness (6:14b).  This seems to be a call to rest behind the righteousness of Jesus Christ (who allows us to be clothed in Him assuring our salvation).  It also seems to be a call to a righteous lifestyle.  Satan wants to accuse God’s children by saying that we are unworthy recipients of God’s grace.  How does resting in the righteousness of Christ and living a righteous life help protect the Christian from Satan’s accusations?
  7. In Ephesians 6:15, the soldier’s shoes are mentioned.  A soldier’s shoes had nails driven through their soles allowing them to have firm traction while in battle.  The Christian is said to put on the “shoes” of the Gospel of peace.  Shoes are a fit reference for the Gospel since the feet of the one who shares the Gospel are called beautiful in Romans 10:15-18.  Additionally, though, the thing that keeps the Christian stable on the shifting grounds of our culture is the good news of Jesus Christ.  Because of Jesus work on the cross, we have peace with God, thus allowing us stability in life.  In what way does the Gospel allow you to be stable in this shifting world?
  8. Next, Paul turns his attention to the soldier’s shield.  A Roman shield would have been covered in leather that would have been drenched in water before battle.  A common war tactic in the ancient world was to shoot flaming arrows at soldiers. That way, even if a soldiers shield stopped the arrow initially, the ensuing fire would lead to a delayed victory.  The Roman soldier’s leather covered, water drenched shield extinguished the arrows after they hit, thus providing protection.  Additionally, the Roman shield was designed to link together with other shields to provide max protection against the flaming darts of the enemy armies.  Knowing this picture helps us see how the Christian’s shield of faith provides protections from the devil’s fiery/attacking lies.  Not only does faith help disarm Satan’s lies, being in a community of faithful fellow “soldiers” helps protect a Christian from surprise attack.  What are some of the fiery lies that Satan uses to attack you?  How does faith in God’s truth help counteract Satan’s lies?  How do other Christians help you not succumb to these lies?
  9. In Ephesians 6:17a, Paul mentions the helmet.  Obviously a helmet protects a head and is life saving for the soldier.  The Christian’s helmet is said to be our salvation.  Not only does our salvation in Christ give us life, it covers our head . . . transforming our intellect.  Romans 12:1-2 tells us that our minds are transformed in Christ as we lay our lives down before Him.  He gives us new thoughts.  In what way have you seen your mind transformed since trusting in Christ?  What strength does this offer you against Satan and his schemes?
  10. Paul next moves to the sword in 6:17b.  The sword a Roman soldier carried was a small two-edged hand held sword that was used in hand to hand combat.  In all the equipment a Roman soldier carried that Paul references, only the sword was an offensive weapon (the rest were used for defense).  Paul here says that the sword for the Christian is the word of God.  By this, Paul was referring to the Scriptures.  In what way is the Word of God an offensive weapon the Christian can use in this life?  (For a picture of what this looks like, scan Matthew 4:1-11.)
  11. STUDY NOTE:  It is important to note that taking on the full armor of God is merely appropriating daily the person and work of Jesus Christ.  As we saw in Ephesians 1:1-13, all Christians are “in Christ.”  Being identified with Jesus means we are packed with every spiritual blessing, but we are also protected from the schemes of the devil.  Jesus really is our “all in all” when it comes to our fight against Satan and his demons.  Examine these scriptural references that demonstrate Jesus role as our armor:
  • Jesus is Truth (belt of truth) – John 14:6
  • Jesus is Righteousness (breastplate of righteousness) – 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Jesus is Peace (shoes of the Gospel of peace) – Ephesians 2:14
  • Jesus is Faithful (shield of faith) – Galatians 2:20
  • He is our Salvation (helmet of our salvation) –  Luke 2:30
  • Jesus is the Word of God (sword of the spirit) – John 1:1, 14

 

For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:

Packed Schedule.001

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