Ephesians 6:17; The Sword of the Spirit – the word of God is not an end but leads us onward.

Class Outline:

Wednesday June 8, 2022


Discerning the fear of the Lord and discovering the knowledge of God will only materialize within if you seek wisdom as you would a hidden treasure (Pro 2).


PRO 2:1-5

My son, if you will receive my sayings,

And treasure my commandments within you,

2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,

Incline your heart to understanding;

3 For if you cry for discernment,

Lift your voice for understanding;

4 If you seek her as silver,

And search for her as for hidden treasures;

5 Then you will discern the fear of the Lord,

And discover the knowledge of God.


God tells us that we must long for His wisdom. God’s wisdom is not to the exclusion of all earthly wisdoms, either in material things (job, skills, etc.) or immaterial things (literature, philosophy, etc.) but in addition to and superior to. Do not misunderstand - you will only know God when you long for His wisdom like one longs for money or buried treasure, from which desire your ear will attend and your heart will incline. This desire is a blessing in itself.


The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God is the skillful use of the word of God under the guidance of the HS, precisely in the manner of God’s will.


We have noted the sword of mankind, or the cosmic sword, which is an image that reveals all the ways in which man attempts to gain or achieve fulfillment and happiness and purpose apart from God. Jesus said to Peter in Gethsemane that he who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. We may think of war when we hear that famous phrase, but war is not so much a separate and unique part of the day by day lives of all humanity throughout all history. This is why God tells us, His children to beware because we are all in a perpetual war.


“War creates no absolutely new situation; it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. … We are mistaken when we compare war with “normal life.” Life has never been normal. Even those periods which we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out, on closer inspection, to be full of crises, alarms, difficulties, emergencies.” [C.S. Lewis, Learning in Wartime]


In our own souls there is the war of the flesh and the spirit drawing up battle lines every morning, noon, and night. And whereas the armies of old would go home for the winter and take up the battle again in the spring, the war within us never sees a break.


The word of God is not an end in itself. It is a need that leads us on to the goal of a satisfied life that pleases the Father.


The sword of the Spirit is the God-given way of accomplishing the purpose of mankind. Like many things we are told to do in the Scripture, the word of God is not an end in itself. Take, for example, the command to deny ourselves daily. Taken as an end in itself, self-denial would only lead to asceticism - the monk in the abbey denied but miserable and without divine life. Everywhere in the Scripture, self-denial leads to something which is always centered on a good desire in man that God has desired to fill. Self gets in the way of the realization of the particular good, and God tells us to put self aside so that we may see and journey on to the blessed goal. In the same way, the word of God is a need, not a removal but an addition, that leads us on to the desired result which is a life lived in the fulfillment and satisfaction that pleases God. The proper life pleases God just like an obedient child who prospers pleases his parent.


COL 1:9-12

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.


Knowledge of His will, spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that … live a life pleasing to Him.


The phenomenon of thinking the word of God is an end in and of itself, is why you may meet a Christian who knows a lot of Scripture, but is still a slave to his flesh, his sin, and who lives like a cork on the sea being involuntarily tossed between the waves of happiness and the shallows of despair.


I will remind you of the main theme of our passage. Is the main theme the armor of God? Is it the sword of the Spirit? No. The main theme is found in the main verb and the other finite verbs support it. The goal, the main theme, is to stand firm. The things that support the main theme are, 1) be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might; 2) put on the full armor of God.


The desire to please God, if you find yourself actually doing it, can quickly turn into the terrible thoughts of being pleased with yourself or self-admiration. We avoid this when we understand that we please Him as a child would a good father when the child loves his father and seeks to please the father, not for his own blessing or reward, but out of admiration and love. When we understand that we were made to please God and that obedience to the way that He has shown us will accomplish it, there will be no room for vanity. We have only done what we were made to do and we receive joy when we realize we are fulfilling the purpose of our majestic and purely good Creator. Without the taint of self-approval, the believer will most innocently rejoice in the thing that God has made him or her to be, and the moment which heals her old inferiority complex forever will also drown her pride deeper than an ocean gorge.


Whatever we look to for happiness we will eventually destroy.


ISA 24:7

The new wine mourns,

The vine decays,

All the merry-hearted sigh.


Whatever we look to for happiness we will eventually destroy since nothing or no one other than God can actually give us the true joy we seek.


What we are called to do with the word of God is as powerful as when our Lord uses it, because:


The word of God properly used under the power of the Holy Spirit saves and delivers lives into peace.


HEB 4:8-13

For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.


Joshua conquered by the human sword, but that did not give rest to Israel. They had to continue to fight their enemies, even if they did humble themselves before God, worship Him, and follow the Law.


Yet Jesus told us that if we came to Him we would find rest for our souls.


MAT 11:28

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”


The Sabbath rest in vs. 9 does not refer to doing no work but to Sabbath observance, or Sabbath celebration. Under the Law, Israel was to cease from work, but not all activity. The leadership abused the idea of Sabbath rest and, by adding many more rules to it, bullied others and enslaved themselves while losing its meaning completely. The emphasis was not on the cessation of all daily activities but rather on an unhindered opportunity for the people of God to celebrate God’s life-sustaining presence among them. It was a time of festive praise.


God’s Sabbath rest (festive praise) is the direct contrast of mankind’s meaningless city where the merry hearted sigh (ISA 24:10).


The Sabbath rest of Heb 4 is applied to everyday, and not restricted to Saturday as it was in the Mosaic Law. The emphasis is on the future rest, which for Israel is their coming kingdom and for the individual believer, it is heaven, but the author uses a past tense, “entered His rest,” which must apply now to the spiritual rest of the abundant life of the spiritually mature who ceases to struggle over the issues and problems of life.


This Sabbath doesn’t mean that we do no work, but rather that we cease from our own efforts which have never taken us to fulfillment and have always caused us to struggle as if walking knee-deep in the mud. By faith, we rely on God’s ways and commands to see us through as we chose to do all things His way and please Him. In other words, we joyfully apply God’s word to every situation and happily anticipate the outcomes (hope). In this state of mature faith, we skillfully use the sword of the Spirit as it is intended to be.