The Sword of the Spirit

Sermon delivered on July 9th, 2017
Morning Service

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Scripture Text: Ephesians 6:10 - 18



We now come to the final piece of the armour of God. 

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 

You might have noticed it, the first five pieces of the Christian armour have been primarily defensive.  Every other piece of the armour is for defense; every other piece of the armour is for protection. The first five pieces of the armour are to protect against the onslaught of the enemy. But now finally, we come to last piece of armour which is the sword. This is the only piece which is to be used aggressively and on the offense.


In sports, no ball game is ever won by defense only. If all you do is prevent the opponent to score but never score you will never win a ball game. All defense and no offense only means losing the game. If this is true in sports, this is also true in a war. A war cannot be won by just being defensive. It is vitally important for a soldier to have the belt, the breastplate, the proper shoes, the shield, the helmet, which are all for protection and defense. But a soldier must also have a sword that he must wield if he is to have the victory. And this is why it is necessary for a soldier to carry and wield his sword into the battle.


This morning examine with me the last piece of the Christian armour — the sword of the Spirit.

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 


I - The Physical Sword

In ancient times there were two kinds of swords. First there was the broadsword which we talked about last time. The broadsword is a heavy, wide, two-edged sword and could be as long as three feet plus that was wielded with two hands.  But this is not the sword that Paul is referring to in this verse. The sword in view here is the short light sword which is about 2 inch wide and anywhere from 6 to 18 inches in length swords. This is the sword that a Roman soldier would normally carry into the battle. These were swords that were in the hands of the Roman soldiers who came to arrest Jesus while He was in the garden.  This was also the kind of sword which was in the hands of Peter when he cut off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest.


This sword was used in close hand to hand combat and it must be skillfully used. This is not like the broadsword where you could swing it wildly and you still be able to clobber the enemy. No, this short sword is something that every soldier had to learn to use well, because life and death depended upon this weapon. It must be wielded with precision. It has to hit a specific point, an opening on the enemy's armour. 


That is the physical sword. Now let us look at the spiritual sword.


II - Spiritual Sword

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 

How does this sword relate to our Christian life? What is its spiritual significance?


1. It is the Sword of the Spirit

First of all it is called the sword of the Spirit. This verse is not saying that the Spirit is the sword. No, what it is saying is, that this sword is of the Spirit. It is the Spirit's sword. This is the sword that belongs to the Spirit. This sword comes from the Spirit. The sword is provided by the Spirit. The sword is given by the Spirit. The Spirit places the sword into our hands. The Holy Spirit is the source of this sword and therefore He is its owner. 


2. The Sword is the Word of God

The sword which the Spirit provides is the Word of God. 

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 

Our struggle is not against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against the spiritual forces of evil, therefore we need a weapon that is not made by human hands but a weapon of divine origin.


2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

So we have this sword which is the Word of God, a mighty and powerful weapon. The Bible placed in the hands and in the life of the believer is a great weapon. The Word of God is a superior weapon. Not only is greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world, but also greater is that weapon in our hand than he who is in the world! So powerful is the sword of the Spirit that nothing can withstand it and nothing can overpower it


Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The sword in the Scripture is a picture of the powerful Word of God. God's Word is sharp, piercing, cutting Word. Like a sword that cuts and thrusts, the Bible is able to penetrate to the depths of our souls. 


So take it up. Put it into your hand and use the sword for defense and offense. I said a while ago that the sword is the only piece in the armour that is used for offense, but the sword of the Spirit is both for defense and offense. 


A. Use the Word of God for defense

Use the Word of God to deflect the assault of the devil. Isn't this what our Lord so wonderfully and powerfully did when the Satan assaulted Him in the wilderness with his deception and temptations. The enemy came out to tempt Christ in the wilderness to distract Him from His mission with lies and deception. But how did Jesus respond to Satan's temptations? 

With each temptation thrown at Him, the Lord Jesus Christ responded, "It is written ... It is written ... It is written ..." Our Lord spoke the Word of God. He responded with the Word.


This is how we should respond. Use the sword to deflect his blows against you and me. When the enemy attacks you and swings his broadsword of bitter accusation at your head your defense is not only the shield and the helmet but also the sword. 


"It is writtenmeans much more than just reciting a verse. Jesus Christ was not just quoting verses. It is not just a magical formula He was throwing throw out there. No, He was obeying the Scripture. He was conforming to those verses. He was trusting in those verses.  He was obeying those verses to deflect the enemy's temptation.


B. Use the Word of God for offense

Use the Word of God to drive the enemy back. Again, if we are "all defense and  no offense" we will never secure victory. We must have both. We must protect ourselves from the attack of the enemy but we must also attack the enemy to drive him away.


Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

This is how we resist the devil; this is how we overcome the devil; this is what drives the enemy back -  it is through the Word of God. 


This is why Paul tells Timothy in ...

2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

To use the sword of the Spirit on the offensive is to proclaim the Word; it is to preach the Word; it is to spread the Word. It is by spreading the Word that we attack Satan's stronghold and advance the Kingdom of God. 


We are not just to hold the fort; we are not just to stand in the premises; we must not just stand our ground; we must launch an aggressive attack on the kingdom of darkness and rescue those who are imprisoned by Satan.


Use the sword of the Spirit to reach lost souls who are held captive by Satan to do his will. And there is nothing else that will deliver them from kingdom of darkness except the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. 


3. The Word and the Spirit

Paul connects here for us the Word and the Spirit. This is very important because throughout Scripture, the Word of God and the Spirit of God always go together. You cannot separate them. The Spirit never works independent of the Word of God. 


You cannot as a Christian have one without the other. Because it is the Spirit who gave His Word. It comes to us through Him. God brought it into being through Him. 

2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21: For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Spirit is the divine Author of His Word. 


III - Practical Admonition

The Word of God is an effective and powerful weapon; through it, we will be able to resist the devil. But as every Roman foot soldier must learn to use the sword well, so does every believer must study the Word of God to be able to use it effectively. Every one of us must know how to use it. And learning how to use it is dependent upon how diligently you get involved in studying the Word of God. 

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.


We must know our marching orders and seek our captain for strength. We cannot fight our spiritual battle and wage a war against the devil with weapons of this world. We must take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The weapon that the Spirit provided to us is powerful and sufficient. We must know how to use it for defense and offense.