Derek Prince - The Ultimate Spiritual Weapon
This is an excerpt from: War In Heaven And Earth - Part 1
Well, we're going on Ephesians 6, verse 14: having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Now, the breastplate, what part of the body does it protect above all others? The heart, that's right, so it protects your heart with the righteousness, which is not a righteousness of works, but it's a righteousness received by faith in Jesus Christ. And it's a transforming righteousness. It changes you, it brings you into harmony with God, it's not a set of rules, it's a change in your heart. That changes everything you think and say and do. How many of you know that's possible? From your own experience. If you haven't had a life-changing experience I really question how much of a Christian you are. I don't want to be unkind. You see, you can join the church and stay the same, you can say a prayer and stay the same, you can sign a decision card and stay the same, but you can't meet Jesus and stay the same. So, do you have on the breastplate of righteousness? Is your heart protected? Are you a changed person?
We're going on, we don't have much longer, verse 15: your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Now, Roman legionaries had very strong sandals with thongs which laced up nook the calf. And they could march long distances, forced marches, because of their sandals. So, your shoes with the preparation of the gospel of peace, to me speaks about being available, being anywhere, at any time that God wants you. It's not having a set routine that you have to stick to, it's being adaptable. Also, it's a gospel of peace. So, you go to the supermarket to do your shopping but you've got on the shoes of the gospel so, you meet this precious soul who's deep trouble and distress and you do what? You impart peace.
See, it isn't so much what you say, it's what you are, it's what you have to give. People are desperately crying out for peace, they long for it, and they don't know where to find it. When you contact them, they're not so much interested in your doctrine, they want to know, do you have it? Because if you have it, you can communicate it, and that means being adaptable. You are in the supermarket, you're busy, you've got a shop for all sorts of things, and you meet this precious soul who's on the verge of tears, and you have to stop and talk to her, and you have to impart peace to her. That means having on the shoes of the gospel, of the preparation of the gospel of peace. Going on. Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you'll be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Now, the Greek word for shield is directly related to the Greek word for a door. Because the Roman legionary had a long sort of oval shield which was narrow and it was his protection. And a really trained soldier could so get behind the shield that no part of him was vulnerable. It took training and it took being in condition, and you need it because Satan is going to fire arrows at you, which are flaming arrows, they're not just arrows, their flaming arrows. You want a shield that will stop them, you have to learn how to crouch, how to get down, how to leave no part of your body exposed. That has spiritual application, you have to come to the place where no part of your life is exposed, where you're fully protected.
I said to somebody the other day, I said, the shield doesn't protect our luxuries, it just protects our essentials. I mean, I've nothing against indulging yourself up to a certain point, but remember, it's not protected by the shield, the shield protects you, as you are, just a person. And then we're going on taking the helmet of salvation. What part of you does the helmet protect? The mind, that's right, and I suppose the mind is the place where we had the most spiritual battles in all our experience, is that right? And so, we need a protected mind.
After I was saved and became a pastor I had a tremendous ongoing conflict with depression, and I traced it back later to my father, it was something I inherited from him. I don't want to go into that. Then I discovered that God had provided me with protection. First of all, I was delivered from a spirit, a demon. I was a good pentecostal preacher, but I was delivered from a demon. What do we call it? The spirit of heaviness was what God called it. And then I thought, now, how do I stay free? And I said, I need to protect my mind. I'm always giving way to negative thoughts and entertaining possibilities that are... They don't build you up.
So, I said, I need the helmet, so, I found it here, the helmet of salvation. Then I said to myself, well, I am saved, I know I'm saved, does that mean I have the helmet? Then I said to myself, no, because Paul was writing to Christians who were saved, but he said, take the helmet of salvation, so, I said to myself, what is the helmet of salvation? And I make no extra charge for this, but it's priceless. I mean, actually you cannot put any value on what I'm going to tell you.
Well, my Bible had cross references, and the cross reference was to first Thessalonians 5, verse 8: But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. And it absolutely kindled something within me. I said, my problem is pessimism, my shield is hope. I've got to cultivate scriptural optimism all the time, and I had an ongoing battle because the devil tried to put back depression, and every time he did, I had to thrust at him with the sword, tell him to stay at distance. I had to have a scripture that would answer every suggestion, when things were not the way they should be. And really what got me out of it mostly was Romans 8:24: All things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. So, I would say to myself, do I love God? Yes. Am I called? Yes. Then whatever happens is working good for me. Can you believe that?
Very, very important. I've passed through a tremendous personal crisis in the last two years with the past passing of my wife, and I would not have survived if I had not believed Romans 8:24. No matter what happens, the question is not, is God working together for good, but, am I walking in God's purpose? And I said yes, I am. I believe I'm doing what God has called me to do. I believe I'm in my calling, I don't enjoy it, it's painful, but, nevertheless, it's doing me good because God works all things together for good. If you can believe that, you'll never be depressed again. I don't make no extra charge for that, but I mean, I'm giving you advice which will save you, a lot of time of the psychiatrist. And I noticed, I don't know whether you've noticed the same thing, that depression is becoming more and more common? Have you noticed that?
People talk about depression today in ways I never heard when I was a boy. I mean, people are actually hospitalized with depression. We need to have protection, it's there, it's in the helmet. Take the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Now, it's very up-to-date now to point out that that word there means a spoken word, Rhema, so, the sword of the Spirit is not the Bible on your bookshelf or even on your nightstand, the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God when you take it and quote it to the devil. And that's exactly what Jesus did, he didn't use any other weapon, three times when Satan tempted him, he answered what? It is written, it is written, it is written, and the devil has no answer when you quote the written Word of God. He backs off, so, that's the sword of the Spirit.
Now, all those, except the last, are really weapons of defense. It's only with that that you pass into the realm of attack, but even there, your sword will only reach as far as your arm reaches, you still have nothing to reach out, and there are only six pieces of armor. And then, when you've got six good things in the Bible you can be absolutely sure, there is a seventh. Where is the seventh? It's in verse 18: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. What chance was it called the weapon of all prayer? And that is our intercontinental ballistic missile, it'll reach anywhere, at any time, with amazing accuracy. So, that's a list of the armor. Let me just go through it again: the girdle of truth; the breastplate of righteousness; the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace; the shield of faith; the helmet of salvation; the sword of the Spirit; praying always. That's the ultimate weapon, is all prayer.
I just want to take one simple example from the book of Acts. Acts, chapter 4. The Apostles have been told by the religious and the civil authorities not ever to teach, or preach again, on the name of Jesus, you see how smart they were? Because there is no salvation in any other name but the name of Jesus. If you can't use the name of Jesus, you can't offer salvation. The gospel has no meaning. And they were forbidden by the authorities over them, the religious and the civil authorities, not to preach any more on the name of Jesus, what do they do?
It says, in Acts 4:23: being let go they went to their own companions. It's good to have your own companions, isn't it? Don't be a lone ranger. Reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So, when they heard that they raised their voice to God with one accord, that's the weapon of all prayer. It's all God's people praying together with one accord, and that changed the whole situation. The way was open for them to continue to preach the gospel, but that was a major crisis in the development of the church. If they haven't won the victory then, the church could have gone no further, if they were not free to use the name of Jesus.
So, this is how the church overcomes strategic opposition from Satan. When there is a closed door, when there is a closed nation, when there's a closed group, how can we break through? With the weapon of all prayer. And I believe that's what we need today in America, it's the weapon of all prayer. You know, I just want to give you a picture of the climax, the victory. Revelation, chapter 12, verse 10: Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down".
Who is the accuser of the brethren? Why does he accuse us? What does he want to make us? In one word? Guilty. That's right. We have to learn to deal with guilt. And they overcame him. They, the believers on earth, overcame him, Satan. By the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. So, how do we overcome him? By the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, in other words, we testify to what the Word of God says, the blood of Jesus does for us.
Can I say that again? We testify personally to what the Word of God said, the blood of Jesus does for us, and you have to know what the Word of God says, you have to testify. It's when it comes out of your mouth that it has power. You can believe it all you like, but it doesn't, until you speak it, that it works. They, the believers on Earth, overcame him, Satan, by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony, and let me point out just one thing, from the example of the Passover, you know, the story was that they had to kill the lamb gather its blood in a basin and that was protection available, but it didn't protect anybody, they had to transfer the blood from the basin to the place where they were living, and what they use was a little bunch of a herb that grows everywhere in the Middle East, called hyssop. They dip the hyssop in the blood, struck it against the middle and the doorpost, and they were protected.
Now, to apply this analogy, the blood is in the basin, Jesus has shed his blood but the blood in the basin doesn't protect you, you've got to get it to where you live. How do you get it there? What's the hyssop? The word of your testimony, it's when you testify personally to what the Word of God says the way that Jesus done, that you're sprinkling the blood where is protects you.