This is a test… Only a test…. Of the Spiritual Warfare Defense System. In the case of an actual emergency your life may depend on your effective use of this system. The Commander in Chief has mandated its use in all Christians and proficiency is required in all adults. This test is to gauge your readiness and proficiency and to meet the requirements under multiple statutes to obey the Lord.
OFFICIAL COPY OF THE MANDATE
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 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. NIV
Article 1: Belt of Truth
Article 2: Breastplate of Righteousness
Article 3: Shoes of the Gospel of peace
Article 4: Shield of Faith
Article 5: Helmet of Salvation
Article 6: Sword of the Spirit
When fully dressed, pray in the Spirit on all occasions.
For the purposes of this test you will be requested to commit yourself to 7 consecutive days of practice. At the beginning of each day, before involving yourself in any other activity, you will consciously put on each piece of armor. To be sure that each piece is put on correctly the details are supplied below.
Your Basic Training is led by your personal First Sergeant - the Holy Spirit. Refer to His directions to maximize your compliance with all phases of the Commanding Officer’s requirements.
1) Put on the Belt of Truth. This means that you commit yourself to absolute truth in every word and deed this day. The only source of absolute truth is the scripture.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. KJV
2) Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. You have no righteousness of your own. This breastplate to protect your heart and lungs is composed entirely of the righteousness of Jesus the Christ. You have been given it at great cost, wear it proudly. Discounting your ownership of this righteousness is tantamount to saying that Jesus didn’t really do what He said. Refusal to wear this article destroys the faith of your heart and subjects you to accepting failure.
Rom 3:22-24 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, NIV
3) Put on the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. This article makes you prepared to take the Gospel of Peace wherever your feet lead you. The peace involved here is not “quietness” or the cessation of war with our enemy, but the peace that exists between God and man due to the payment of Jesus’ blood for ALL sin. God is not withholding His salvation due to anyone’s sins. The only requirement is to choose Him, by faith in the finished work of Jesus, effectively agreeing to being adopted by God. This is the message you are to carry everywhere.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. KJV
4) Pick up the Shield of Faith. Regardless of what slings and arrows come your way this day, the Shield of Faith will deflect them all from doing harm. Without faith you cannot please God! Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If your shield seems flimsy, strengthen it through scripture… do it now! In battle it is too late.
Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. KJV
5) Put on the Helmet of Salvation. If you want to keep your head straight you must be certain that you are saved. You cannot just guess or hope. You have to KNOW! If there is any doubt that you are completely, permanently, legally, saved by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit due to your faith in the finished work on Calvary by Jesus … get that straight before anything else. (Call me if you need help here!) This armor only works for Gods adopted children.
Heb 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. NIV
6) Grab hold of the Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God). This part of the armor is offensive in nature rather than defensive. The Holy Spirit talks to us by reminding us of scripture. If you aren’t reading it and storing it in your mind and heart, it becomes difficult at best for the Holy Spirit to communicate with you. When you need to apply power to any situation, the Holy Spirit wields that power through you based upon the Word.
Ps 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. NIV
2 Tim 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. KJV
7) Now that you are suited up and ready for the day “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thess 5:17 KJV This does not mean you stay on your knees all day, it means to keep a running dialogue with God at all times, involving Him in every part of your day. Listen for His voice at all times. Be conscious of His presence by remembering that He is living right inside you by the Holy Spirit and is seeing what you see, hearing what you hear, and listening to your words and thoughts at all times.
This completes the basic training test of the SWDS - Spiritual Warfare Defense System.
Those of you who would like to achieve higher rankings can proceed to the advanced training course provided by the Holy Spirit. The curriculum is detailed in Heb 6:1-3
Therefore let us leave (proceed from or build on) the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. NIV
After laying down these foundations by a thorough mastery of them in your understanding, the Holy Spirit will begin instruction in the Advanced Courses.
For advancement in the ranks of the Army of the Lord, your daily proficiency and attention to detail in getting properly dressed every morning is a key attribute considered by the Commanding Officer. Faithfulness and obedience are the qualities necessary for both promotion of rank and also increasing the pay grade in blessings from God.
2 Tim 2:3-5 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs — he wants to please his commanding officer. NIV
Continuing Basic Training for soldiers of Christ includes the educational requirements for all armored personnel. To effectively serve as front-line troops, the armor must be intact and worn properly. However, the confidence to achieve mastery of advanced warfare concepts is based on a sure foundation in spiritual education. This training exercise is designed to reestablish proficiency in the core principles of Christ.
The curriculum is found in … Heb 6:1-3
6 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. NIV
The six basic concepts:
1) Repentance from dead works.
2) Faith toward God.
3) Instructions concerning baptisms.
4) Laying on of hands.
5) Resurrection of the dead.
6) Eternal judgment.
Details of the foundational concepts: Each must be understood to the degree that the soldier’s trust in them is absolutely automatic. These cannot be allowed to cause hesitation in the field of battle due to unfamiliarity or questions related to misunderstandings. All future advancement is based on proficiency in these six precepts.
1) Repentance from works that lead to death. It must be noted here that these six foundations are directed at Christians only. Those who do not have a personal relationship with God through Christ do not have to do anything except come to God and accept the payment of His Son, Jesus, for their sins and welcome Him to come into their hearts by faith. But now as a child of God we must learn repentance. The definition of repentance is to turn around and go the other way. When we become a child of God, we do not immediately become proficient in all areas of Christ-like behavior. We are immediately forgiven and set free from the penalty of sinful behavior. Now it is time to learn how to reject and repent (turn around) from our own sinful habits.
Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, NIV
There is a component of repentance in accepting the Lord as our Savior, but the power to fully turn around is given by the indwelling Holy Spirit. So as a new Christian begins his new life, it is revealed to him through scripture and the witness of the Spirit just what things need to change.
Those things that please God are different from those that have pleased us. The obvious sins we are able to reject virtually immediately, but the sins of lying, bragging, gossiping, impure thoughts, pride, selfishness, and a host of others are woven into our character and are harder to eliminate. God in His mercy does not hit us with everything at once. Those things that you find God speaking to you about when you read scripture are the ones He wants you to deal with right now. The only way to deal with them is to confess them to God, ask for forgiveness and then (repent) turn away from them. Repenting takes your effort bolstered by God in you.
It is important to note that the Holy Spirit is our “Helper”.
2 Tim 1:14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. NIV
A “helper” does not do the work himself; he assists us to do it. Many who ask ‘help” from God actually don’t want “help” they want Him to do it for them. But God wants us to participate in our own development with His assistance. (Helping your child learn to ride a bike means that he pedals and tries to balance while you assist him until he gets it!) You are the kid! Repentance starts with you!
So the first foundational principle is to repent from things that lead to death, by God’s help.
2) Faith toward God. It is easy to confuse this with the faith that got us saved. But since we are saved, this faith is a functional reality involving our daily lives. God expects us to do things at His command. Do we have the faith in His love for us that those things He asks are safe, good for us, do-able, filled with His love, within our abilities in Him at this very moment of our lives… and so on? In fact do we trust Him with decisions in our lives or would we rather control things ourselves (just to be safe! J ) There is no sillier lie than that if we keep ourselves in charge of our lives we’ll somehow do better than if He is in control.
Another area of faith is that when we read God’s Word, do we really believe it? In the late 1940’s or early 50’s a high wire was stretched across Niagara Falls, and to the delight of crowds on both the Canadian, and American sides a man walked back and forth over it. After showing his expertise several times, he asked the crowds (on each side) “How many of you believe that I can cross safely with someone on my back?” In each group there were quite a number of people who said that they believed he could. Then he asked, “Who will let me carry them across?” You know what happened! The arms so proudly raised a moment earlier pulled down so quick they probably got muscle strains! Finally one man said that he would volunteer to be carried across. The wire-walker took him on his back and crossed safely in both directions to thunderous applause.
Let’s be clear about this of all the “believers” the one man carried across was the only one who had faith! Faith accomplishes things that belief only talks about!
When we read in scripture that God will supply all our needs … or that He will heal us … or that we are more than conquerors though Him (especially when we are facing a really tough problem)… do we just “believe” or do we have “faith” and step out and act accordingly? Throughout scripture are the promises and challenges of God for our lives. Do we accept them in faith?
If we have a child that has wandered and rebelled from the faith and is running their lives in a manner that isn’t right … do we trust God,
Prov 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. KJV
… or do we have to get our hands all over it trying to do God’s job for Him? Do we despair; or do we rest in the Lord, and only say and do those things of love that He demands? Do we have and practice faith?
So the second foundational principle it to have faith in God.
3) Instructions concerning baptisms. Notice that this is plural “baptisms”. One is a public illustration and confirmation of the other.
Matt 3:11-12 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. NIV
Since the day of Pentecost and the Spirit being sent the order of the two baptisms are reversed. The first baptism is one that Jesus performs at the time of our salvation. He baptizes us in the Spirit. Once you have accepted Jesus as your savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside you and you are “baptized”. Then to show the world and to confirm the inward truth by outward actions, we are baptized in water.
John the Baptist makes it clear that there are two baptisms. One is dunking in water to show repentance. Remember, repentance is turning 180 degrees and going the other way. The other was not available to John yet because the Spirit hadn’t come to dwell in us. Now after being baptized in the Spirit (being saved) we show the world our “repentance” by an act of obedience that shows that we are “dead’ to the person we were (in sin) and “alive” to the new person we are in Jesus! That is why the baptism was dunking in water rather than sprinkling because it showed death (being buried - submerged) in water, and then being raised to life as a new man.
God has established this method as illustrated in these verses:
Rom 10:9-11 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. NIV
You see, if you believe in your heart … AND say out loud (confess) to others that Jesus is your Lord - you are saved. The inward part (baptized in the Spirit) is followed by outward confession (baptized in water) to complete the process. In order to show faith (rather than just belief as detailed earlier) you must DO something. That something is being baptized in water.
Being baptized in water cannot save you by itself, it is the sign you give to show what happened inside you. Without the inside faith and acceptance of Jesus, the outside show is just a bath.
So the third foundational principle is being instructed in baptisms.
4) Laying on of hands. In today’s world we seem to have neglected this part of our training more than any of the other six. Believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and as such are empowered to impart blessings by placing their hands on individuals. Paul reminds Timothy of the impartation of a gift from God that he received when the elders laid their hands on him.
1 Tim 4:14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. NIV
In many instances of healing in scripture, the healing power was imparted by the laying on of hands. In scripture the blessing given by “laying on of hands” is often shortened to the word “touch”.
Mark 10:13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, NIV
Mark 5:22-24 Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live." NIV
The believers are empowered and encouraged to do the same.
Mark 16:17-18 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." NIV
( A quick note: Christians are not told to pick up snakes or drink deadly poison. But if one picks up a snake to keep it from harming someone, as an example, or is given poison by an enemy … they remain safe under God’s protective power.)
Because “laying on of hands” imparts blessing and power, it was extremely important that the one who was imparting gave special care to be sure that whoever he was touching was worthy. Prayer beforehand was the standard safeguard. It would not be proper to put blessing and power upon someone who worked for the enemy!
1 Tim 5:22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. NIV
In summary, it is well within the spiritual ability for any Christian to impart blessing (Such as when a friend or family member is about to travel a long distance) or healing, or spiritual power (like when sending someone off to the mission field, etc.) and indeed we are expected to do so. But as with other gifts from God it cannot be done casually or without being certain of God’s will.
So the fourth foundational principle is the laying on of hands.
5) Resurrection of the dead. Everyone will be resurrected. Not all at the same time or for the same reason. Christians who die before the return of Jesus have a corrupt body lying in a tomb where they were buried. They are at this time spiritual beings in the presence of God. In the spiritual world … their spirit has substance. They are not wisps and ghosts, but are solid in that realm. A physical body is only needed in the physical realm. So God promises that we will be resurrected with a new body like the one Jesus has since His resurrection. That way we can interact in both the physical and spiritual realms.
1 Cor 15:52-54 For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." NIV
Rom 8:23-24 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. NIV
1 Cor 15:35-36 But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
1 Cor 15:42-44 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. NIV
But there is another resurrection of which we must also be aware. Those who die without Christ will also be resurrected but not to glory. They will be resurrected to face the Almighty as Judge!
John 5:28-29 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out — those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. NIV
1 Peter 4:5-6 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. NIV
At the final judgment after the 1000 year reign of Jesus on earth (The Millennium) a White Throne is set up and Father God will be seated on it. This is what happens:
Rev 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. NIV
Everyone in all of creation will stand before God to be judged. Those who have been redeemed by God through Jesus have their names written in the Book of Life and will not be thrown into the lake of fire but will dwell with God for eternity.
So the fifth foundational principle is the resurrection of the dead. (All dead!)
6) Eternal Judgment. We have just covered some of that. God’s judgment rests upon one thing only. Does this individual have Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, living within him? Is his name written down in the book of life? If it is, he will be ETERNALLY blessed in the presence of God. If not, ETERNAL damnation is his lot. Both judgments are everlasting and cannot be changed. The cutoff is the physical death of the individual, after which no changes can be made.
So the sixth and final foundational principle is that judgment by God is eternal.
These foundational truths are the minimum educational standard necessary for Advanced Training in God’s Officer Training School, run by the Holy Spirit.
When proficiency in putting on and wearing the armor daily and the backbone of the six foundational truths are unconditionally established in a Christian … the requirements for becoming mature sons of God in Officers Training are met. From now on, the challenges are greater and the blessings are astounding. Even the earth is longing for us to take our place as officers in the army of the Lord.
Rom 8:18-19 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. NIV
It is a little clearer when expanded in the Amplified Bible…
Rom 8:18-19 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]. AMP
This concludes the test of the SWDS. Both the armor and the minimum education should be reviewed and solidly established in order to prepare for the coming days. Each soldier is responsible for his own mastery of this defense system and his participation in it. On the field of battle, there is not going to be time to go back and rebuild what has been covered in basic training. Our success in the dark days ahead can be assured by using this time to greatest advantage.
2 Tim 2:15-16 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. NIV
Love from your compatriot in arms;