The Whole Armor of God: Part Three – The Sword

25 Feb

I was going to just do a single article here, but found it was simply too long. So I am separating it into three parts. The First is a description of the Armor; the second discusses how we put the armor on; and the third tells of the Sword. I hope you appreciate this.

In Ephesians chapter six, verses thirteen through seventeen, it says:

“13.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15.  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16.  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

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

The sword is the only weapon we are given in the war we face every day against Satan.  While the armor protects us, the sword allows us to go on the offensive.  We are told in the doctrine and covenants “Behold, I am God; give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my word.” (D&C 6:2211:2; 12:2; 14:2)  This is the power of the Sword of the Spirit.  Sharper than a two-edged sword, it will divide both joint and marrow.  This can be our sword in our struggle against the forces of Satan.  In Isaiah chapter 49 verse 2 we read:  “And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me.”  We wield this sword every time we open our mouths and speak the truth of Christ.  When we have the Spirit of God so that our words become “the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” then they can be as dangerous as a sword to the enemies of truth.

So how do we sharpen our mouths to be our weapons?  One way is by not only reading, but understanding the scriptures.  But not only the scriptures contained in the standard works, but all the words that God has inspired his servants to speak in all times and places.  We also have available to us other resources, such as the ensign and other church magazines.  We have the lesson manuals that have been prepared for our instruction.  We have a number of books that have been commissioned by the church and written for our benefit.  We should seek out all the words of God, and strive to understand them so that we will have the knowledge needed in wielding the Sword of the Spirit.

But are our mouths swords yet?  No.  The next step is explained in Ephesians chapter 6 verse 18:  “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”  It says here that a critical step of using our mouths as weapons is in kneeling for prayer each day.  However, it takes more than a simple prayer in the morning and one at night, we should go through the day with a prayer in our hearts and a desire to be connected to the Spirit.

Are our mouths swords yet?  They could be, but at this point we still have our weapon in its sheath.  Next comes for many the hardest part; the use of our knowledge against the forces of Satan; commonly known as missionary work.  There are many times throughout our day that a simple truth boldly spoken and without fear will cut down lies and open the way for the Spirit to speak to the hearts of men.

President Brigham Young said: “When I saw a man without eloquence, or talents for public speaking, who could only say, ‘I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord,’ the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminate[d] my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality [were] before me.” He said that he was encircled and filled by them, and he knew for himself that the testimony of the man was true (DNW, 9 Feb. 1854, 4).”

The words of one unlearned man, spoken by the spirit, was sufficient to convince others of the truth.  Truly he wielded the Sword of the Spirit.

If we have a knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, a connection with the spirit and the boldness to use our knowledge, we finally have our weapon sharpened, polished, and drawn.  Only then are we ready and able to do our part in the great war for the souls of men.

Advertisements

7 Responses to “The Whole Armor of God: Part Three – The Sword”

  1. Dale Wilson March 11, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    Shem,

    How do you know which words from all of these different sources are actually from God?

    For example, has the LDS church ever defined which parts of the Bible can be trusted and which have been (supposedly) corrupted? I know that LDS sources often quote from the Bible, yet also reject many passages when they do not fit their theology? I have never seen a list that explains which verses are considered to be the word of God and which are not the word of God.

    And, this problem would seem to get even worse when people within the LDS church have to look to so many sources as being authoritative – other scriptures, magazines, lesson manuals, books, …

    Regards,

    Dale

    • shematwater March 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

      Dale

      Read my article on Authoritative Church Doctrine. It explains how we apply authority to various sources that are available to us. To put things simply, the standard works are the most authoritative (Bible, Book of Mormon, etc.), and then come the words of the prophets, and so on as we move farther from those who have the authority of God.
      You see this plethora of sources as a problem, and yet it is truly one of the greatest blessings we have in these last days. All the other sources help to explain and clarify what the standard works teach. There is no way for a single source to contain all the knowledge and truth that God has revealed to man throughout the ages. Relying on one source as the only source limits our understanding and prevents us from gaining this knowledge. With God speaking to men once again, and with the many resources that he has made available to us, we are more able to comprehend his purposes and designs as regards us than we would have been able to with only the Bible.

      Speaking of the Bible itself, the JST is sighted frequently in the footnotes and appendices of the KJV that we use. This is also part of the scriptures that are published online at LDS.org. While this does not contain all the corrections that Joseph Smith made, it contains all the essential corrections. Recently a complete and comprehensive Joseph Smith Translation has been published with a side-by-side comparison to the KJV (containing only the corrected verses, not the entire Bible).
      For instance, in the KJV John 4: 24 reads “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
      However, Joseph Smith corrected this, as it should have read “For unto such hath God promised his Spirit. And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and in truth.”
      This is found in the footnote of this verse, as well as in the JST that has been recently published.

      Thank you.

      • Dale Wilson March 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

        Shem,

        I am still confused. Is the JST version of the Bible officially considered inerrant by the LDS church? The reason I ask is to make it easier to dialog with LDS members like you. When I discuss issues of faith with LDS members, they will often quote the Bible to try to suit their arguments and then reject the Bible when I use it.

        We could discuss the advantages or disadvantages of other sources in the future. Right now I just want to understand what version and/or what pieces of the Bible are considered inerrant and authoritative by the LDS church.

        Thanks for taking the time to reply.

        Regards,

        Dale

  2. shematwater March 15, 2013 at 4:00 am #

    Dale

    I think you are approaching this from the wrong perspective. As long as men are involved in the printing of the words of God there will always be errors. I don’t care what book it is, when men are involved it will not be a perfect record of God’s words. In other words, we don’t really except any written document as the inerrant word of God.
    As I have told many people, we accept God’s word as inerrant, but not the man made records of his word. It is not a question of which version is inerrant, but which version is the most free of error.

    Speaking of the Bible, the version we use is the King James Version, as it is the English Version that is most free of errors. The JST is a supplement to this version, and does not replace it. Joseph Smith never completed the work of translation, and there exists two different manuscripts of his translation that are not in complete agreement with each other. We are not sure what he intended with certain passages, and won’t know until God again reveals it.
    So, if you want to know what we use, stick to the footnotes that are included in the Bibles that we print. Those sections of the JST that are printed with our standard works can be considered as part of the standard works. Those sections not so included must take a lower authority in teaching doctrine.

    Speaking of the Bible in general, I will say that I have frequently been accused of ignoring sections of this great book, when in truth I am merely seeing a different meaning than the rest of Christianity. I can honestly say that I do not ignore any passage, of the Bible, though I do not believe that it is an inerrant record of God’s words.

  3. JR March 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Biblical scholars don’t agree with one another on what some things say. The same is true in any field of study. I read Biblical Archeology Review and sometimes there are arguments between scholars over what something represents or what something means. Even all religions don’t agree with interpretations of Scripture. Take a particular verse from the Bible and different religions will interpret the meaning differently.

  4. Deidre March 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

    I wanted to take the the time to read your blog after you commented. I am most definitely interested in what I find. What I admire most is your willingness to consider the inconsistencies and to find meaning within your own faith. That is something I value in a person and a blog for that matter.If we don’t ask the questions how will our faith grow?

    “Relying on one source as the only source limits our understanding and prevents us from gaining this knowledge.” Are you referring to LDS texts or do you include other sources outside your faith in your studies? If so, I would be very interested to know which ones.

    • shematwater March 25, 2014 at 12:20 am #

      I am speaking about all books or texts. Truth should be found where ever it is and should be embraced.
      I would still grade sources as to level of authority. The standard works will always be the standard of truth, and anything that contradicts that standard is false. After that are the words of actual prophets. As you go down you will eventually get down to texts not written by men of God, but still contain truth (like history and science texts).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: