THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT -

The Weapon of a Contender


 

Contender Ministries

Posted:  May 26, 2002


A question was raised recently in our discussion forums regarding the sword in the Contender Ministries logo.  One person felt that the sword is a symbol of violence, and is therefore inappropriate for a Christian ministry.  This person also felt that the name, “Contender Ministries” implies a struggle that is contrary to the peaceful message of Jesus Christ.  This discussion reminded me of just how appropriate these symbols truly are.

The name of our ministry is derived from the third and fourth verses in the book of Jude.  Jude, addressing fellow believers, said, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”  This contention is not to be misconstrued as a physical struggle with fists or weapons, but rather a commitment to make a stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of those who would twist it to suit their own desires.  We carry the news of Jesus Christ to a world that is lost.  We don’t use guns or swords, or beat people over the head if they won’t listen.  But we cannot contend for the faith if we are unarmed.  Our armor is listed in Ephesians 6:10-18:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  [Emphasis added]

Paul confirms here that we are indeed in a struggle.  Our struggle is against the spiritual forces of evil, and against the powers of this dark world.  Our battle is fought against the devil’s schemes.  We cannot fight that battle alone.  We (all believers) are allied with one another and with our Lord.  Our lines of communication are opened when we “pray in the Spirit on all occasions.”  Properly armored, we can do nothing to rescue the souls of the lost without our weapon – the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. 

I tend to connect my footwear (the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace) with my weapon.  The Bible is the complete and inerrant word of God.  Paul tells us that scripture is used both offensively and defensively.  Using scripture in a defensive role, Christians must study the Bible daily, to guard against the attacks of the evil one.  Acts 17:11 says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  Satan’s lies have permeated this world in many different forms.  Many of these forms sound good on the surface, but an examination of scripture will reveal their true nature.  False prophets are practically ubiquitous in the world today, and they don’t advertise themselves for what they are (see Matthew 7:15, 24:11, and 24:24.)  A professional documents examiner will tell you that the best way to be able to spot counterfeits is to become intimately familiar with the original.  So it is with spiritual truths.  The easiest way to spot a lie of the devil is to be thoroughly familiar with the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now that you’ve protected yourself with the full armor of God, it’s time to go into the world in fulfillment of the Great Commission.  Satan is busy at work spreading his deception to all those he can reach.  In order to expose these lies, you must wield the sword of the Spirit (the word of God) and pierce the outward appearance of these lies with scriptural truth!  Only the word of God can tear away the sheepskin to reveal the wolf lurking within.  Now that the lies have been exposed, the work is not yet complete.  The soul of another potential brother or sister in Christ awaits hope.  Having exposed the lies with the word of God, you must now use the scriptures to help minister to this person, exposing their lost state and providing the hope that comes only with a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-­edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  You have just used to sword of the Spirit in an offensive tactic – not to harm anyone, but rather to bring him or her into a saving knowledge of Jesus.

We are in a struggle.  If we’re not, we should be, for that would mean we've surrendered.  The powers of darkness are busy in this world.  My neighbor jokingly referred to the daily news portion of Contender Ministries as “the doom and gloom report.”  The comment was made in jest, but it’s not far off the mark.  The world is a battlefield for Christians.  Paul reminded us who our enemy is.  We know in what manner we must be outfitted in order to stand in this spiritual battle.  Now is the time to “contend for the faith.”  In verses seventeen through twenty-three, Jude is nearing the conclusion of his letter when he writes,

“But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, ‘In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.’ These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.  Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them;”

 May God bless you as you contend for the faith!!

 

Contender Ministries

http://contenderministries.org