This is a longer Awana lesson this week than normal, but if you stick with me, I hope the Word will bless you.
- to list the parts of the armor of God
- to explain how a Roman soldier used his armor to prepare for battle
- to explain how a Christian uses his armor to prepare for battle
- to tell who, or what, Christians battle against
When Paul was on his 3rd missionary journey, he lived in the city of Ephesus for 2 years. During his stay there, God allowed Paul to work many miracles including healings of disease and demon possession. The scriptures tell us that people would take Paul’s handkerchief or apron to sick people and they would be healed. Ephesus was where the temple of Artimus, or Diana, was located. The people who came to know Christ were being saved from lives of possible prostitution and idol worship. It was also a place where spiritual warfare was thick. There were Jewish exorcists in the city, including the seven sons of Sceva. (See Acts 19) Evil spirits were fought and the Lord’s name was magnified.
Paul is in prison in Rome when he writes to the saints in Ephesus.
Main Events of the Story and Life Application:
What is armor? People or soldiers put on armor to protect themselves. Christians are no different. We are to put on armor to protect ourselves in battle. Who are we to protect ourselves from? Satan. What are the characteristics of Satan? He is our enemy. He is not eternal and can only be one place at a time. He does, however, have an army of demons who are many places at once. Satan fights against God and against God’s children. Satan is not as powerful as God, but he is more powerful than you and me. This is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
So we are in God’s army. Who are we to fight? Each other? May it never be! No, Satan.How are we to protect ourselves? Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God. Not just one piece and not whatever we feel like, but ALL of God’s armor. The word “take” in verse 13 is a command telling us to “take it up and use it!” And we have to remember to put it on every day. A soldier would be foolish to go to battle unprepared. We fight against principalities and forces of darkness every day. We would be foolish to not be on our guard and ready for battle.
The Belt of Truth: A Roman soldier used his wide belt to hold all of the other parts of his bodily uniform in place. A Christian’s belt of Truth must be in place and grounded in the Word of Truth. Christians must learn Truth and speak Truth.
Breastplate of Righteousness: The breastplate was made of plates of metal which swords and arrows could not get through. Most importantly, the breastplate protected the heart. Christians must protect and guard their hearts and live a life as “rightly” as possible based on the Word of God.
Feet Prepared with the Gospel of Peace: Soldiers need to be steady on their feet. Slipping in battle could be fatal. Roman soldiers had hobnails on the bottoms of their thick leather sandals to help them be sure-footed. Christians are sure-footed in battle by being at peace with God through salvation. And then Christians are to take the gospel to others. Christians are also to be at peace with themselves resting in the assurance of the love of Christ, and to be at peace with their neighbors.
Shield of Faith: The wooden shields used by Roman soldiers were large and covered with leather and cloth. They also had hooks along the sides. Before battle, the men would soak their shields in water. Enemies would shoot fire arrows at the Roman soldiers, but the water in the shields would squelch the flames. Roman soldiers were also known for the tortoise battle formation. A group of men would hook their shields together and move as one unit against the enemy protected by their shields. Satan wants Christians to doubt God. He wants God’s children to doubt God’s goodness and His promises so he shoots fiery arrows at us. With our shield of faith, we can squelch those arrows. It is also important for a Christian to surround himself with other followers of Jesus. Everyone’s faith is weak at times, and that is when we need to hook our faith shield into the stronger faith of a brother or sister in Christ and move as a unit force against the enemy.
Helmet of Salvation: This was used to protect a soldier’s head. During battle arrows would be shot, swords swung, and rocks thrown. A Christian is to guard his head. More importantly, we are to guard our brains by only allowing godly thoughts, sights, and sounds in. No matter where we go, we must remember that we are saved and we are to think and act like Jesus. We must guard our minds by filling it with Truth.
Sword of the Spirit: This was the offensive weapon of the soldier and he had to make sure it was always sharpened before battle. Steel becomes dull with use, but as a Christian wields his sword of the Spirit, it becomes sharper and more efficient with each use. We have to know the scriptures by memorizing verses and being hearers AND doers of the Word.
Prayer: A soldier must know who his leader is and be in constant communication with that leader. A Christian is to pray unceasingly. We have to know our Commander, speak to our Commander, listen to our Commander, and, most importantly, obey our Commander.
Each piece of the armor is important and all must be used.
When a Soldier of the Cross sins, he is “taking off” a piece of armor. When we choose to do wrong, we take off the Breastplate of Righteousness and forget about our salvation by removing the Helmet.
Only by grace can we remember to put on all of the armor. Only by grace and forgiveness can the pieces be put back on when a soldier falls in battle.