Preaching About The Weapons of Warfare

Preaching About The Weapons of Warfare

The subject of spiritual warfare is where we are in this series of blogs.  You can find the beginning of this series at this link.  This post is going to begin a mini-series that focuses on preaching about the weapons of warfare as described by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6.

Weapons Of Warfare Applied

When we think about the armor of God that Paul describes in this passage, we have to realize that these weapons controlled the largest empire in history for over 2000 years.  In other words, they are powerful.  What made that army so effective?  Here are some of the factors that scholars point to as reasons for the success of that army.

The Reasons for Success

  • There was a long-term commitment.  It should be noted that for the first period in the Roman Empire there was

    Testudo formation

    not standing army.  But when the army was established as a continuing entity, soldiers knew they were in it for the long haul.  When soldiers signed up for or were conscripted, they were not in for a four year stint as it is in the US.   They were in it for 25 years.  Soldiers endured this period of time because of the rewards they would get at the end.  They were given land and riches.  Note that the city of Philippi was begun by soldiers rewarded for their service.

  • They were disciplined.  When you were a soldier, you knew that your life depended on being ready.  So you kept in shape and listened to officers.  That was especially true when you were operating in the Testudo formation.  (see the picture)  The key to winning in this formation was to move as one unit. That took practice before the battle and discipline in the battle.
  • Teamwork was essential.
  • The Roman soldier lived in a constant state of readiness to be called up for battle or an expedition.

The Christian Army and Weapons of Warfare 

Think about the things listed above and apply them to the Church of Jesus Christ today.  In my country (the US), I regularly confess to God the fact that the Church here seems distracted by so many things that the mission of Jesus doesn’t seem to be the central, driving factor of our existence.

As a child, I used to love the song, Onward Christian Soldiers. It’s rarely sung these days because of its militant tone.  But the words are interesting in this context of us engaging the enemy in warfare.  Reflect on these lyrics:

The Marching Song

Onward Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
Christ, the royal Master,
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See, His banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus,
Going on before.
At the name of Jesus
Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers,
On to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver
At the shout of praise:
Brothers, lift your voices,
Loud your anthems raise!
Like a mighty army
Moves the Church of God:
Brothers, we are treading
Where the saints have trod;
We are not divided,
All one Body we—
One in faith and Spirit,
One eternally.
Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane;
But the Church of Jesus
Constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never
’Gainst the Church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise,
Which can never fail.
Onward, then, ye people!
Join our happy throng;
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honor
Unto Christ, the King;
This through countless ages
Men and angels sing.

Someone viewing the seeming powerless state of the church did a parody of this song.   The words are below.  Here’s a link to people’s reaction to those words.

The Parody

Backward Christian Soldiers

1. Backward Christian soldiers,
Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus,
Nearly out of sight.
Christ our rightful master
Stands against the foe
Onward into battle, we
seem afraid to go.

Chorus: Backward Christian soldiers,
Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus,
Nearly out of sight.

2. Like a mighty tortoise
Moves the church of God.
Brothers we are treading,
Where we’ve often trod.
We are much divided,
Many bodies we,
Having different doctrines, but
Not much charity.

3. Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the cross of Jesus
Hidden does remain.
Gates of hell should never
‘gainst the Church prevail,
We have Christ’s own promise, but
we think it might fail.

4. Sit here then ye people,
Join our sleeping throng.
Blend with ours, your voices
in a feeble song.
Blessings, ease and comfort
Ask from Christ the King,
But with our modern thinking,
We won’t do a thing.

Preaching About the Weapons of War.

The Church, I believe, needs you to preach about the spiritual battle we are engaged in.  Please use the material preceding this in the preaching about the weapons of warfare to your church.