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Eph. 6:18 THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER'S SECRET WEAPON

Intro: Ill. Paul's great treatise on the armor of the victorious Christian. Paul is telling us how we ought, as Christians, to prepare for the battles that we face day by day. It is impossible to enter and win the battle in one's own strength, but through the power of the Lord and His armor, we can and will prevail. It would be helpful to us to remember that when Paul penned these words, he was under arrest and was probably surrounded by some Roman soldiers. As he wrote these words, he was able to see the armor of the soldiers and, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he was able to make a spiritual application using it as an example. Now, most considerations of the spiritual armor end with verse 17. However, Paul knew that no amount of armor or weapons could produce a valiant warrior. For any soldier to become a warrior, there was required an inward strength and courage to face the battle. Without these, regardless of how well trained or equipped the soldier may have been, at the first hint of trouble, he would have fled in terror from the face of the enemy, he would have been captured, or he would have been killed. So it is with the Christian soldier. We can have all of the Lord's armor in place, but lack the necessary strength and courage to go to battle and we will surely fall. That is why I believe verse 18 should be included in the list of godly armor. If the Word of God is our offensive weapon and the other pieces of armor are for our defense, then prayer can be said to be our secret weapon. Because it through prayer, and prayer alone, that we gain the necessary strength and courage to stand forth and fight in the day of battle. Without this necessary component we are doomed to failure, but with it, and with the other pieces of God's armor firmly fixed in their places, we cannot be defeated, but will surely prevail. With these introductory thoughts in mind, let's take a few minutes to consider the Christian Soldier's Secret Weapon.

I. A DEFINITION OF THIS SECRET WEAPON

A. Praying - "Pray can be defined as that spiritual activity in which the child of God engages the Heavenly Father in two-way dialogue.

B. Prayer is an undertaking that can be practices anytime, in any place and for any valid purpose.

C. A few thought on prayer may be in order here:

1. Prayer is the process by which we dress up in God's armor;

The power by which we go forth to do battle in God's army;

The practice by which we appropriate and aim God's artillery.

2. Prayer is the single greatest force ever unleashed on the earth, and it is the single most powerful weapon at the saint's disposal. This world may find a way to close our churches and take away our Bibles, but no one will ever be able to stop God's people from calling on the name of their Heavenly Father!

3. Prayer brings the praying saint into the presence of Almighty God!

4. Prayer brings the power of God to bear in the life of the saint.

5. Never are we more like Jesus, on this earth, than when we pray!

D. People of faith have called on the name of God since before time immemorial. In prayer, people have been heard, helped and strengthened by God. Prayer is an exercise that God has promised to bless, Jer. 33:3; John 16:23; 1 John 5:14-15! If we pray from a clean heart of faith, we can rest assured that God will hear and answer our prayers, Matt. 21:22.

I. A Definition Of This Secret Weapon

II. A DESCRIPTION OF THIS SECRET WEAPON

A. Prayer Should Be Constant - (Always) - This does not mean that we are to carry on a constant babbling as we go through life, neither does it mean that we are to throw up a bunch of meaningless words and phrases, Matt. 6:7. It does mean that we are to take 1 Thes. 5:17 to heart. It means that we are to be in a constant state of communion with God. In other words, the receiver is to left off the hook. We are to walk in a constant sense and awareness of His presence, so that we are instantly able to communicate with Him throughout the day. We must have this kind of intimacy with the Lord if we are to remain close and clean in this world.

B. The Classification Of Our Prayers - (All prayers & supplication) Genuine praying covers all the bases. A good soldier employs all the various types of prayer that are at his disposal. There are formal and informal prayers, silent and vocal prayers, public and private prayers, spontaneous and deliberate prayers, prayers of supplication and intercession, prayers of confession and adoration, prayers of humiliation and thanksgiving. There are prayers of praise and of questioning. There are prayers that are worshipful and prayers that are fired to the sky like an emergency flare. All these kinds of prayers have their place and all are used effectively by the wise Christian soldier.

(Ill. The Christian who limits his praying to merely asking for things is missing the blessings that come along with using prayer as a means of praising the Lord and of making intercession on the behalf of others.)

C. Our Companion In Prayer - "In the Spirit" - The Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit helps us in our praying, Rom. 8:26-27. Our prayer lives, like every other part of our lives, should be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we will find ourselves praying selfishly and foolishly , and asa result, we will find our prayer life hindered and ineffective - James 4:1-3. However, Paul, in Galatians, tells us how we can be free from the tendency - Gal. 5:16-17. What we must always remember is that true, genuine praying always starts in Heaven with God. True prayer totally God-centered! The Father originates the prayer, the Holy Spirit brings the thought to our minds. Then, as we voice the prayer placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, we send the prayer back to God where it originated in the first place. Prayer is like a giant triangle that begins and ends in Heaven, and every point in between is controlled by God. When we are truly praying in the Spirit, we can always be confident that we are praying according to God's will and that He will hear and answer our prayers - 1 John 5:14-15.

I. A Definition Of This Secret Weapon

II. A Description Of This Secret Weapon

III. A DETERMINATION IN USING THIS SECRET WEAPON

(Ill. If we are to be truly effective, then prayer cannot be allowed to become a hit or miss proposition. It must instead be constant, consistent and centered in God. Paul uses some action oriented words here to teach us about using prayer more effectively.)

A. We Must Be Alert - Ever watchful for opportunities to pray and watching for things that would hinder prayer. (Ill. Either we are like the Disciples, Matt. 26:38-45; or we are like those whom Nehemiah commended - Neh. 4:9.) God expects us to pray, but at the same time, He expects us to alert to what Satan is doing. To pray and not watch is to leave yourself vulnerable to defeat. "Watch AND pray" is the key expression!

B. We Must Be Active - (perseverance) - This simply means that we are to keep on praying until the answer comes from God - Matt. 7:7-8. (Ill. Jacob - Gen. 32:24-30.) Too often, we give up before the Spirit of God says stop, or before the answer comes. We ought to continue in prayer until God says stop or He gives us what we desire - Ill. Luke 18:1-7. (Ill. The early church practiced perseverance in praying - Acts 12:1-19)

C. We Must Be Asking - (Supplication for all saints) - that is, we must remember that we are not in the battle alone. All around us are other Christians who are struggling and fighting the devil too. Our duty is to be in prayer one for another. Why?

1. We are all brother, on the same side, in the same army. Regardless of how some act. We are not enemies!

2. We are all prone to fall into evil and to fail and we all need the help of those around us to see us through.

3. Because Jesus said that by our love one for another would all men know that we are His Disciples, John 13:35. Nothing promotes love and unity among the people of God like being in constant prayer one for another. You see, it is virtually impossible to pray for someone with bitterness, anger, unforgiveness or hatred in your heart toward them. Nothing you can do will help your brother more than your getting under his burden with him and your helping him to bear that load, Gal. 6:2.

4. The church and church folk need prayer.

5. We never know when our prayers may be exactly what another Christian needs at that very moment.

Conc: As Paul looked as those Roman soldiers he could see the girdle around their waists, the breastplates and shoes. He could see their helmets and shields and swords. He could see all the outward signs of their readiness for battle, but he could not see those soldier's strength of character of their courage. So it is with you and me. All may look good on the outside, but inwardly, we may be lacking that one key ingredient that spells the difference between defeat and victory. For the Roman soldier, it was inward strength and courage. For the Christian, our secret weapon is prayer! Remember, no amount of armor can produce a warrior for Christ, only prayer can accomplish this. With these things in mind, How's your prayer life tonight?

Sermon By Alan Carr

 




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