These are notes on the sermon, Under Attack? Put On The Armor Of God!, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 17 September 2017, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
— Ephesians 6:11–12 NKJV
“against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” — Our warfare is against the devil and his spirits. When it comes to sickness, not all sickness is caused by a demonic spirit, but at times sicknesses can manifest as a result of a spirit of infirmity. One example is the woman Jesus ministered to who was bound by a spirit of infirmity and bowed down for 18 years (Luke 13:11). An evil spirit can also manifest as a depressive spirit, causing dark and foreboding thoughts that are difficult to break free from.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
— Ephesians 6:13 NKJV
“to stand” — All we need to do is to stand because we are already on victory ground.
The book of Ephesians outlines ‘the 3 Ws’ that sum up what a believer possesses in Christ:
When the devil comes to accuse you or lie to you about areas of your life such as healing (e.g. making you feel like it is difficult to be healed), remember that you are already standing on your possession (healing has already been paid for at the cross (Isa. 53:5)). The enemy is simply attacking you in an attempt to move you from your position of victory.
Know that you are not praying in order to take the ground—this is praying from defeat. Instead, you are already on victory ground. You already possess healing, peace (Rom. 5:1), and every other blessing.
In times of trouble, it is normal and fine for us to cry out to God when we are feeling desperate. However, when we pray desperate prayers pleading with God to help us, we move ourselves out of the position of victory. Instead, see God’s love reaching out to you and moving in your situation as you pray.
The armor of God is not something we mentally visualize ourselves putting on each morning before we begin our day. Instead, each piece of the armor has to do with doctrines based on the gospel of grace. It has nothing to do with the old covenant, but rather, the new covenant. If you have a wrong belief in any of the areas represented by a piece of the armor, it can become an area where the devil can attack and try to shake you from your position of victory in Christ.
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”
— Ephesians 6:14 NKJV
“girded your waist with truth” — Back in that time, Roman soldiers used their belts to hold their sword, small daggers, and other possessions. So the belt was important for keeping their weapons with them. Today, the belt of truth is the gospel—the truth that sets you free. If you have heard the truth of the gospel and it has set you free, leading to you being saved, your waist is girded with the belt of truth.
“the breastplate of righteousness” — The breastplate protects a soldier’s chest in war and is very important because the chest is a critical area to avoid injury in.
Some people teach that the breastplate of righteousness represents a person’s moral integrity and right behavior. However, this is not true. Every piece of armor has to do with objective truths of the gospel, not subjective truths such as our actions. The breastplate of righteousness represents Jesus’ own righteousness that we have put on as the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). It is not your inward righteousness which you work out that gives you the breastplate. If you think this way, you will never be sure if you have your breastplate on.
The breastplate of righteousness protects your heart. The heart of man consists of the soul and spirit and is known as the “hidden man of the heart” or your “inward heart.” The enemy will often aim at your heart to try to condemn it, hence it is so important to protect it by knowing that you are the righteousness of God in Christ.
“and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”
— Ephesians 6:15 NKJV
“shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” — The word “preparation” in the Greek is the same word used for “foundation” in the Septuagint. According to WE Vines, what this verse actually means is that the gospel of peace is your foundation or your firm footing. The gospel of peace is unshakable because it does not depend on you, but rather, it depends on Christ. It’s not about how obedient you are. You are righteous by the obedience of Christ and that is what we must bring our thoughts to—the obedience of Christ, not our own obedience.
“above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
— Ephesians 6:16 NKJV
“the shield of faith” — God’s idea of a shield seen in other portions of Scripture such as the Psalms carries the idea of all-encompassing protection that covers your back as well as the front of your body.
“the fiery darts of the wicked one” — The Greek word for “darts” here is “belos,” which is the word for “javelin”, “arrow,” and is also the word from which “ballistic” (missile) is derived. This shows us that the devil attacks us by shooting missiles of condemnation into our minds.
“(For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.””
— Hebrews 12:20 NKJV
“shot with an arrow” — This verse quotes what happened to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai where the law was given. God had taken care of the Israelites and provided for them not because their behavior was good, but because He is good. Yet, they presumed on their own strength, confident that “all that God says to us, we can do it.” As a result, the law was given, and God told Moses to tell the people that if a man or a beast touched Mount Sinai, it would die by being stoned or shot with an arrow. This speaks of the fiery arrow of the law as the Bible says when God came down, there was an appearance of fire.
Today, God does not send fiery arrows of judgment down on us because Jesus took all divine judgment for our sins at the cross. But the devil attacks with fiery arrows, sending thoughts and emotions of condemnation and guilt into your heart. 1 Peter 5:8 refers to the enemy as “your adversary the devil.” The word “adversary” is the word “Satan” in Hebrew. It literally refers to “your opponent” or “your prosecutor at law.”
The devil is your prosecutor and seeks only to find fault with you and tear down all your defenses. Your only plea is the blood of Jesus. All of the enemy’s arguments fall flat the moment you look to Jesus. However, once you justify yourself with your own actions done to obey the Lord, the devil will continue pointing out the things you have not done or fallen short in.
Beloved, make sure that you have put on the armor of God by having the right beliefs about the gospel so that the enemy’s fiery darts cannot prevail against you.
“above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
— Ephesians 6:16 NKJV
One way to quench the fiery darts of the enemy is by “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18). Praying in tongues quenches the fiery darts of the enemy just as water puts out fire. Though the enemy may put all kinds of negative thoughts and images in your mind, as you pray in the Spirit, you will quench all of his fiery darts.
Pastor Prince shares a testimony of a sister whose doctor detected an irregularity in her mammogram. She was called back for a follow-up medical appointment where new images and an ultrasound were taken. The sister felt nervous but remembered Pastor Prince’s teaching on how praying in tongues quenches the enemy’s fiery darts, and she began praying in tongues. The doctor was not able to find what he was looking for despite taking three new sets of images and eventually confirmed that her mammogram was normal. All glory to God!
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”
— Ephesians 6:17 NKJV
“take the helmet of salvation” — In the Greek translation, this is a command—an imperative. To “take” the helmet of salvation means to actively receive it.
How do we actively receive the helmet of salvation? The next verse tells us it is by praying in the Spirit:
“praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints —”
— Ephesians 6:18 NKJV
In total, the armor of God consists of seven pieces (which represent gospel truths):
“through all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the Spirit, and in regard to this same, watching in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints --”
— Ephesians 6:18 YLT
“through all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the Spirit” — Most English versions of the Bible do not include the first word “through,” but it is there in the original Greek. It is the Greek word “dia,” which means “by means of,” or “through the channel of.” This means that you receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, through (“dia”) praying in the Spirit—this is praying in tongues.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit . . .”
— Ephesians 6:17–18 NKJV
“the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” — The word “word” here is the Greek word “rhēma,” which refers to a specific word in season spoken by God. How can you receive the one word from God that you need in your fight? You can receive it by praying in the Spirit.
As you pray in tongues, you become sensitive to the Holy Spirit and through Him, God gives you the spoken Word in your heart. While the spoken word will never contradict the written Word, we need the rhema (spoken word) of God as it is what we live by daily.
“But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:8 NKJV
“as a helmet the hope of salvation” — When you pray in the Spirit, the first thing you will receive is the helmet of salvation (Eph. 6:17–18), which refers to the helmet of the hope of salvation here in 1 Thessalonians 5:8.
When we teach people that they can do something to lose their salvation, this results in damage to their helmet. Once a person is not assured that they are saved, it is as if there is a hole in their helmet and it no longer protects their minds.
The Ten Commandments were once what God’s people had to be under, but we are no longer in that day and age. Today, we have only one commandment: to love one another as Jesus has loved us (John 13:34). It is the only commandment that we can keep because the last part makes it possible—“as I (Jesus) have loved you.” The more you find out how much Jesus loves you, the more you are able to, and will, love one another.
It is important to know that all the pieces of God’s armor have nothing to do with Old Testament law or truths. Instead, they have to do with new covenant truths of today—the gospel truth which sets you free (John 8:32). The gospel truth is that Christ came to die for our sins. By that one offering on the cross, Christ has forever sanctified us (Heb. 10:12) and we are perfected forever, not in terms of our behavior but in our conscience. In other words, when we come to God, we no longer have an imperfect conscience due to sin-consciousness that makes us afraid to go into God’s presence. The more we believe this and enjoy communion with the Lord, the more sin loses its hold on us.
Many people don’t spend time with God because they are afraid they will be punished if they think a bad thought or say something wrong in His presence. This is an Old Testament mentality! In the Old Testament, the people had an old and dying way of reaching God because the more they came to Him, the more chances they had of being punished by death. Today, Jesus has opened up a new and living way for us by His blood (Heb. 10:19–20 KJV), which allows us to freely enter into God’s presence without fear of judgment.
In a war, you can lose your weapon, lose your way, or find yourself surrounded by enemies, but as long as you have your communication line still open, you can ask for help. Praying in the Spirit keeps your communication line with Headquarters (God) open. Beloved, even when you are besieged by the enemy, don’t feel like you are alone. God is just a prayer away!
Today, are you believing right when it comes to God and the gospel? When you have a wrong belief in an area, that area is vulnerable to the devil’s attack.
Pastor Prince shares that years ago, the helmet of salvation was not working too well for him because he started believing he had committed the unpardonable sin. He traced the start of this wrong belief to the day he read a Christian book that stated that a person could lose their salvation. Once he read that, it was as if his helmet of salvation broke open. He had been enjoying the Lord’s love and peace, but the hope and confident expectation of his salvation was now gone. He began to worry about losing his salvation and this led to blasphemous thoughts against God constantly appearing in his mind.
This was followed by a fiery dart from the devil that accused him of committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, according to Mark 3:28–29. Child of God, know that while the devil is able to quote the Bible, it is never accurate as he uses it to mislead you. In the case of Pastor Prince’s experience, he hadn’t read the verse accurately and was thus convinced that he had committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and there was now no more forgiveness for him.
However, when read in its correct context, this line was actually spoken by Jesus to people who saw Him in person and rejected Him, saying He had an unclean spirit (Mark 3:22–30). The only people who can commit the unpardonable sin are people who had seen Jesus in person or who will see Him in person when He returns during the second coming of Christ, and still reject Him. As a believer, you can be assured that your sins are forgiven as we have redemption through Jesus’ blood and the forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7 KJV). When God put your sins on Jesus on the cross, stating “having forgiven you all” (Col. 2:13 KJV), God meant all your sins—past, present, and future—are forgiven. Contrary to some people’s belief, knowing that they are forgiven much will not cause people to have a propensity to sin because Jesus says those who know they are forgiven much will love Him much (Luke 7:47). In fact, it is for the lack of preaching this truth that we see sins rampant in the church.
Pastor Prince shared that he suffered great torment in the area of his mind during the period that he believed he had committed the unpardonable sin of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. This is because the helmet of salvation was no longer protecting him due to wrong beliefs about the gospel. It was then that God showed Pastor Prince the gospel of grace and that he was saved and had obtained eternal redemption as God had given him eternal life (Heb. 9:12).
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.”
— John 10:28-29 KJV
“I give unto them eternal life . . . no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand” — Indeed, when you are saved, no man can pluck you out of God’s hand because your salvation is eternal. A Christian can live a defeated life, but whether he is saved is not for us to judge. Once saved, God will deal with or chastise the person because He loves the person. However, that doesn’t mean the person is lost and needs to get saved again.
While Pastor Prince was still under the belief that he had lost his salvation, he began to confess every single sin, bad thought, and desire, even actions such as exaggerating stories he used in his preaching. He genuinely believed that if he had just one sin unconfessed, it would keep him out of fellowship with God.
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
— 1 Corinthians 1:9 KJV
“God is faithful” — Child of God, you have fellowship with Jesus and it is not based on your faithfulness. Instead, it is because God is faithful, and it is by Him that you were called into fellowship with Him.
Praying in the Spirit is a gift that is unique to the new covenant. Only those who know they are forgiven of their sins can receive this gift. On the first Pentecost in the Old Testament, God gave the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai and as a result, 3,000 people died. On the first Pentecost in the New Testament, God gave the Spirit on Mount Zion and 3,000 people were saved. From here we can see that the law kills, while the Spirit gives life.
When God gave the law, God spoke about man’s works. However, when God gave the Spirit, the people all spoke in tongues declaring the wonderful works of God. The emphasis is now on God, not on man. This is why the preaching of the Word needs to declare the beauty and glory of Jesus and what He has done. It is all about Him and who we are in Him. Beloved, instead of looking to yourself and your own ability, see yourself only in Him.
Today, why can you be assured that you are safely in the secret place of the Most High? It is because you are in Christ-risen. Our focus is that we are now found in Christ. But the moment it becomes a lifestyle message about you, your character, and what you need to do, beware! Too much emphasis on that leads to us becoming self-occupied instead of Christ-occupied.
“For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;”
— Isaiah 59:17 NKJV
“He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head” — The armor we have been learning about is God’s own armor. Here we see that He has put it on because He sees that truth has fallen in the street (Isa. 59:14 KJV), there is no more justice in the world, and people who depart from evil have made themselves a prey or victim (Isa. 59:15). Indeed, we see this in the world today, where those who stand for morality are mocked or even persecuted by the law in some countries.
“He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay.”
— Isaiah 59:17–18 NKJV
“He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing . . . Fury to His adversaries” — God is not taking vengeance against us but against our enemies, including the spiritual darkness that oppresses you or causes you physical or emotional pain. He will be an adversary to your adversaries. In doing this, the name of the Lord will be feared from the west to the east (Isa. 59:19).
“"The Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,"
Says the Lord.
"As for Me," says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants' descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”
— Isaiah 59:20–21 NKJV
“My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth” — The covenant that we have with the Lord is that He will put His words in our mouths—this is Him giving us the gift of praying in tongues and us doing it. Here, God is also telling us not to worry about our children praying in the Spirit. If you pray in the Spirit and it does not depart from your mouth, then it will not depart from your children’s mouth or your children’s children’s mouth.
“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.””
— Romans 11:26–27 NKJV
“For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins” — Isaiah 59:20–21 is also quoted in Romans 11. Instead of mentioning God’s covenant of praying in tongues which is stated in Isa. 59:21 (“this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth”), it says here that God’s covenant with us is that He takes away our sins. Here, praying in tongues is portrayed as being equivalent to having sins taken away. This is why people who are not established in the fact that their sins are forgiven often have a problem praying in tongues.
We see an example of how closely praying in tongues is related to the truth of forgiveness found in Jesus. In Cornelius’ house, when Peter preached that through Jesus, all the prophets witnessed that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit fell on the people (Acts 10:43–44 ESV). The Greek word for “fell” here is the word “embraced,” which was also used for the prodigal son’s father embracing him. As the Holy Spirit embraced everyone in Cornelius’ house, they all began to speak in tongues. Praying in tongues comes out of the flow of knowing that you are forgiven and God loves you.
“. . . building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God . . .”
— Jude 1:20–21 KJV
“praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God” — How can we keep ourselves in the love of God (not our love for God), where we are aware and sensing that God loves us? We do this by praying in the Spirit. For example, when you are driving and someone suddenly cuts in front of you, though you may feel angry, pray in the Spirit. All of a sudden, you’ll realize that God loves you, that you are special, and that your joy and peace are too important for you to lose over someone who just cut into your lane. As you pray in tongues, you begin to feel the love of God and even love for others.
“above all, having taken up the shield of the faith . . .”
— Ephesians 6:16 YLT
“having taken up the shield of the faith” — In the original Greek translation of this verse, the word “faith” has a definite article. This shows that it doesn’t refer to general faith such as faith for healing, but rather refers to “justification by faith” or “righteousness by faith.” This is how we take up the shield of the faith—by resting in the truth that we are the righteousness of God in Christ.
Beloved, today, what do you believe deep in your heart? Do you really believe that you are the righteousness of God in Christ? Do you believe that you have a firm foundation under your feet because of the gospel of peace? Do you believe that you are justified by faith that becomes a shield that quenches all the enemy’s attacks? If not, let today be the day that you renounce all your wrong beliefs and start believing right!
You can be assured that once you are saved, you stand before God in all the fullness and the efficacy of the finished work of Jesus, and you are highly favored in the Beloved. God wraps you up in Christ—He is the armor of God. As you put Christ on, realize He is your new identity.
Heavenly Father, I believe that You love me and that You sent Your Son to die for my sins on that cross. I believe that Jesus bore every sin and all the condemnation of those sins in His own body on that cross. When He cried “Finished!”, it was all finished. My sins are no more in Your eyes. And when I was justified in Him, You raised Him from the dead. Today, You have glorified Him. I confess Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior. And because You have glorified Him, baptize and fill me with Your Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This coming week, the Lord bless you and the Lord keep you. The Lord make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance on you and grant you shalom wholeness and peace. In Jesus’ name. And all the people said, Amen.
The armor of God in Ephesians 6:14–18 consists of seven pieces, which each represent gospel truths:
Friend, two ways to effectively put on the armor of God is (1) by believing right about the gospel of grace—that all your sins have been completely forgiven, you are the righteousness of God in Christ, and you have eternal salvation through the cross—and (2) by praying in the Spirit.
This week, begin to practice these two things. You will begin to discern God’s word in season for your life and be led into victory, and you will see the enemy’s attacks on your mind, your emotions, and your health all fall to the ground!
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2017
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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