WS Update: Armor

June 7, 2021

Yesterday we began a new sermon series exploring a question we’ve explored since Easter: how do we experience the good life? We saw that the reason there is a gap between the world we have and the world we want is the ongoing battle between spiritual forces of personal evil and God, requiring followers of Jesus to put on God’s armor, reminding us as JI Packer put it that:

The way of true spiritual strength, leading to real fruitfulness in Christian life and service, is the humble, self-distrustful way of consciously recognized weakness in spiritual things.

Think about it this way, the only reason you would wear any kind of armor is if you knew that you were about to enter a battle for which you were outmatched. Wearing armor requires humility and self-awareness of your own weakness. The author of Ephesians (Paul) understood this from first hand experience as he wrote in another letter that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7); and “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In his weakness Paul had to trust in God and his converts to recognize God. A quote from this article summarizes why Christians know this to be the source of power:

Paul found the pattern of the cross and resurrection of Jesus—death and life, weakness and power—reflected in his own ministry and used it as the key to his own experience. If he experienced the dying of Jesus in his frailty and sufferings, he also found in every escape from death, every encouragement after anxiety and depression, every convert made in the midst of persecution, a participation in the resurrection of Christ, God’s ability to bring life out of death.

The weakness of Jesus on the cross is not just the content of the gospel, but the source of its power, a power that conquered death and disarmed the devil (Hebrews 2:14). May this truth give you hope and strength as you begin another week.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. — Ephesians 6:10-12