Pentecost 6 (Eph 6:10–18a)

“Unbreakable Armor”
July 5, 2015
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bossier City, LA


Dear friends in Christ Jesus, dear saints of God, this has a bittersweet time for me this past week. It’s been a week of sadness and yet excitement. Today’s a day that’s filled with some sadness. For you, I’m sure, it’s been a week, and today’s a day that’s filled with some sadness. It’s okay to be sad at parting with friends, but we don’t want to give occasion to our own selfish desires or let the devil whisper into our ears. For we don’t say goodbye forever. As Christians we will meet again in the resurrection to eternal life, and we may yet see one another again in this life. We don’t know what the Lord has in store for us in this life, but we know that it all turns out for our good because of Christ Jesus. It’s good for us to pray this prayer together:

Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This prayer is an appropriate one. Not only considering what today means for us and our relationship, but also considering our text. We can have courage in our lives, and it all has to do with how our Lord has clothed us, how He has armed us. The Lord Jesus died for us, and Our Lord both lives And armor gives that never a foe shall harm us, And with the sword, Of His pure Word, He deigns so well to arm us.

It all begins with our Baptism. There at the Holy Font we’ve been given faith, the Holy Spirit, been made a child of our heavenly Father, been united to Christ’s death and His resurrection. We’ve been given all those things in spades, but there’s one more thing, and this is of special focus for us today: we’ve been clothed with Christ and His righteousness. Our dirty rags have been swapped out for His spotless and pure robes of righteousness. We’ve been clothed better than priests, kings or queens, than even the best clothing designer or fashion model in the world! We’ve been clothed with Jesus. His righteousness. But, considering Paul’s Words to us from Ephesians, we’ve been clothed with even more than that. We’ve received more than that in Baptism. We’ve been girded for battle. The Lord has given us the armor we need to withstand the enemy. We’ve received His own armor.


(I. We don’t stand alone.)

Now, when it comes to our having God’s armor given to us, we don’t stand alone. Paul speaks to the Ephesians as a general mustering his troops. He calls for us to look around at one another as our fellow soldiers in the Lord. We need to pay attention to what Paul says, and how he says it. Like when he says, “Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day.“ What does Paul mean by “you”? Well, Paul in this section is always talking in the plural. From this we can learn that our fellow believers are with us. Paul says, “WE do not wrestle.” He also says, and this is where a little bit of southern love helps us out in reading our Bibles. He says, “Y’ALL take up…Y’ALL put on the full armor of God.” We defend each other, we fight along side one another, and we prepare each other for battle.

It comes in handy for us to understand something about ancient armor. Ancient armor wasn’t like bullet proof vests we have today, and it wasn’t like football or hockey gear. You couldn’t put your own armor on. Maybe mercenaries who had lighter armor did, but not the soldiers Paul has in mind. They needed each other not only on the battle field but even before they got there! Soldiers helped each other get into their armor on, and they checked each other for battle. It’s like when Theoden King gets his armor in Peter Jackson’s Two Towers, like Randy getting dressed to go outside in A Christmas Story, it’s like what happened when Saul put his armor on David for fighting Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. David didn’t end up using it for battle, but Saul had put it on him.

This is how it is for us. We fellow believers support one another. We console each other with God’s Word. We love one another. We forgive one another. We’ve got each other’s backs. And this is why we come together as saints, especially on Sundays. We can’t be off on our own. We’ll loose. It’s why Christ says, “Wherever two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them.”

Christ’s word also tells us that it’s not only our fellow soldiers that are with us. Christ Himself is with us too! Listen to what Paul says about how we stand together for battle: “Become strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” We are strong in the Lord because He is with us. His Word strengthens us, enlivens us, gets us ready to deal with the devil. Christ isn’t some King or Prince who sits in His castle and sends His troops off somewhere without Him. No, He’s “the commander of Yahweh’s army,” the LORD of Sabaoth, the LORD of hosts, as He’s depicted in Joshua 5. We can confidently pray to Him in the fight. “He holds the field forever,” as we sang in our sermon hymn. He fights along side us and with us. He doesn’t leave us to fight on our own. He not only has called fellow soldiers to fight with us, but He joins us too!

(II. We stand against someone who’s already lost.)

Yes, we’ve received God’s armor. We’ve been baptized into it. We also have Christ who fights with us. But when we fight the devil, when we stand against him, we’re standing against someone, we’re doing battle with someone who’s already lost. “He’s judged the deed is done.” The battle that we fight on a day to day basis was over even before it started. No matter what we see going on in our country or in our world. There may be battles and skirmishes daily and much, but the war’s over and done with. Christ defeated the devil. His kingdom has been undone. Christ died and rose. The devil’s over and done with. All the devil’s got left is schemes and plots, no real power. But we even stand against them, already victorious because of Jesus. Peter says, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” We resist Him firm in our faith because He’s already been defeated by Christ, the Lion of Judah, the greater Aslan.

The devil’s lost, and we can confidently stand against him. Not only that, but we’re armed with the very salvation that He’s already been defeated with. Truth is our belt. Righteousness our breastplate. Our feet are shod with the Gospel of Peace. Faith is our shield, and it quenches the fiery darts of the devil. So when the devil whispers and gets us to doubt or throws our sins in our face, faith that trusts that Christ died and rose for me snuffs out anything the devil throws at you. “We have God’s Word, which is the sword of the Spirit, which is sharper than any two-edged sword. It divides even to the division of soul and spirit, discerning the thoughts and intensions of the heart.” And with that Word alone—sola Scriptura—we defeat and drive back the devil. “He’s judged the deed is done. One little word”—God’s Word, the Word of the Gospel—“can fell him.”

We fight in the Lord’s army no matter where we are: here in Bossier City, in Bremen, KS. It’s sad to see friends go, but we shall see each other again. Certainly on the Last Day for Christ is like a greater General Douglas McArthur, who said, “I shall return.” We shall greet Him and join Him together. There are battles on every front, but the victory is assured. Christ assured it on Calvary and with His empty tomb. He’s given us His armor, baptized us into it. We can and do resist the devil. He’s done for. So no matter where we are or where we go, we can pray like I did at the start of this, my final sermon here. Please pray with me, again:

Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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