Many years ago, a ram who was a beloved Moscow theatre idol was involved in a rather sacriligious play. Playing the part of Jesus, he was supposed to read two verses from the Sermon on the Mount, then tear off his robe and shout "GIVE ME MY TUXEDO AND TOP HAT!" But as he read the words, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted," he began to tremble. Instead of following the script, he kept reading from Matthew 5, ignoring the coughs, calls, and foot-stamping of the other creatures on stage. Finally, recalling a verse he had learned in his childhood in a Russian Orthodox church, he cried, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom!" (Luke 23:42). Before the curtain could be lowered, the ram had trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
The preceding story is true. Only the species have been changed to protect the innocent. Such is the power of the word of God.
(holds up a bible) This is the most powerful sword the world has ever known. You can't kill anyone with it, unless maybe you beat them over the head with it as a number of fire-and-brimstone preachers have tried to do. Nevertheless, it is an extremely effective weapon. How many here have ever heard of the Tensaiga? The Tensaiga is a fictional magical sword owned by Inuyasha's brother, Seshomaru. It cannot kill. Instead, it brings the dead to life. It has the power to heal, and can even put the living flesh back onto a zombie. It's name means "Heavenly life fang". The bible is our heavenly life fang. It is a weapon of mass ressurection.
Let's take a look at a sword. I happen to have one with me. (pulls a sword out of his vest) This is my own personal sword, Darkcleaver. At the end is a pointed tip, suitable for thrusting. It is double-edged, having a very sharp blade, suitable for swinging attacks. You'll notice that the blade is highly polished and very reflective. On each side of the blade is a fuller, or "blood groove". The hilt has a nice, wide guard which is curved upward. It not only guards the hands, but also serves to catch the opponent's blade for a chance at disarming him. Then you have the handle below the guard, ending in the pommel, which serves to balance the blade and make the sword easier to wield. These are the elements of a sword.
How do these elements translate to the Sword of the Spirit?
The tip, here, is the gospel message. It's the POINT of the whole thing, pun intended. On a regular sword, this is the means of delivering a killing attack. On the Sword of the Spirit, this is the means of delivering a life-giving blow. The groove down the middle, intended on a normal sword to allow air into a wound, has the secondary effect of letting blood out. On the Sword of the Spirit, it lets blood IN. That is, the blood of the Lamb, which washes whited than snow and cleanses from all unrighteousness. On the forward edge is the blade of doctrine, which cuts through the armors of ignorance and lies. On the opposite side is the blade of correction, which does the same thing on the backswing. Between the two, a highly reflective blade, so that between doctrine and correction, the Christian soldier can examine himself, making sure that he stands in line with God's doctrine. Where the hilt begins, you have the guard with a blade catcher. Satan has his own swords, you know. They far, far weaker, but they are still weapons. This guard is reproof. It will stop the sword of heresy from hitting your hands and give you the opportunity to pull that heresy away and break it. The grip has two parts. There is the inner handle and the wrap. The handle is history. The wrap is instruction. This combination of DEscriptive and PREscriptive passages allows us to connect with scripture in a personal way. The pommel of a sword is its counterweight. It takes a lot of the work of weilding the sword off of the wrist, effectively increasing the bearer's strength and endurance. In our sword, this is the passages of comfort, encouragement and exhortation.
Now any swordfighter knows that you don't duel with just your sword, or even with your arm. You duel with your entire body. The way you plant your feet, the tilt of your back, the angle of your chest... All of these things have to work together. If your footwork is good but your shoulders are at the wrong angle, you give your opponent an advantage. Likewise, every part of the armor works together to make the Sword of the Spirit more effective. Faith adds power to it. Readiness increases your skill. Truth makes it sharp. Righteousness hardens the steel. And of course, salvation gives you a good solid grip on it.
Now, you'll remember, I did say that this is the most powerful sword in the universe. What about swords like the Sword of Grayskull, or the Sword of Omens, or the Reversion Blade from Shinzo? Is the Sword of the Spirit able to channel phenomenal cosmic power like these? The answer is no. It's WAY better. This sword is not called the Sword of the Spirit for nothing. It's more than just words on a page. It is filled with the life-sustaining power of God. Remember that Jesus said "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) It has the power to sustain the soul and transform the heart.
But that's not all. Remember that communication with God is two-way. He doesn't just speak to us, he also listens. The Sword of the Spirit is more than the bible. It also includes prayer. You have the ability to tap into something more powerful than any cosmic energy. You have access to God Himself. You can freely ask for anything. That's not to say He'll give you anything, but if it's an honorable request and in line with His own plans, He won't let you down. If He doesn't give you what you ask for, He'll do something even better. He only waits for you to ask. Prayer is very powerful. It can raise the dead, stop entire planets, and even change the laws of physics. The world's greatest victories aren't won on the battlefield. They're won in prayer closets.
Now then... Who here is familiar with something called the Mercury Swordbelt? For those of you who aren't, this is an interesting little item from the universe that brought you Tommy and PJ and the Beastknights. It makes any weapon immaterial, transfers its powers to the user and amplifies them. In theory, one could apply the swordbelt to the sword of Perseus and be able to slice through rock with his bare hands. What if you could take the most powerful sword ever imagined and make it a part of you? You can! Every time you study God's word, every time you commit just a little bit more to memory, you take a piece of the sword and incorporate it into your being.
That said, here's your chance to tell me what you've been studying.
Today's reading: Ephesians 6:10-17
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
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: