The Sword of the Spirit — Part Two
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The Sword of the Spirit — Part Two

From Series: Strength for the Battle

Ephesians 6:17  (ID: 3318)

God’s Word—the “Sword of the Spirit”—is necessary not only when we come to faith in Christ, but also as we continue in the Christian life and contend for the faith. Alistair Begg describes the vital role that the Bible plays in the perseverance of all believers, enabling us to respond to Satan’s accusations, hope in times of discouragement, and stay steady in times of doubt. The Sword of the Spirit is suited for the hand of every Christian without distinction, and it is with unashamed confidence in this Word that we make it our aim to persuade others of the hope that we have.


Sermon Transcript: Print

We’re going to read from Matthew chapter 4, and I invite you to follow along as I read. Actually, we’ll read from 3:13. Matthew 3:13:

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”’ Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

Amen.

Well, let’s turn to Ephesians chapter 6, where we have been parked now for some time, and purposefully, and, I believe, helpfully. It surely would seem to be time well spent to be equipped by the Scriptures for the challenges that we face in living for Jesus, and especially if we’re going to be prepared to take a stand on his promises, insofar as those promises are largely disregarded and in many cases completely overturned, if they could be, by those who have no interest in them.

And we began this morning to think a little about the second half of Ephesians 6:17; it begins, “Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” And I said this morning that, clearly, in coming to a text like that, it actually would be possible to begin an entirely new series-within-the-series on the authority and the veracity of the Scriptures themselves. I don’t plan to do that. I think there is a time for us to do that. But it means that the person in my position has to determine how we want to tackle this and, if you like, how we want to make application of it.

And so, I said we would think first of all about the absolute necessity of the Word of God in the matter of coming to faith. And we tried to think this morning about the distinction between the way in which God has given to us general revelation in the light of nature and in the works of creation and providence and has provided for us his special revelation in the Word of God itself—and, of course, a final and full and saving revelation in the Lord Jesus himself. I said that once we had done that, then we would look a little at the absolute necessity of the Word of God when it comes to continuing in the faith, and then a word or two concerning the same thing in the matter of contending for the faith.

Continuing in the Faith

So, let’s then think for a little about this matter of how important it is for us to implement the sword of the Spirit if we are not only to make a beginning in the Christian life but if we are to continue to the end.

Jesus spoke very clearly to the people of his day, saying to them that it was those who endured to the end who would be saved.[1] And, of course, the promise of the Bible is that the one who begins a work in us will bring it to completion,[2] but not in a vacuum; and therefore, the instruction and direction of the Bible turns the responsibility to us to ensure that we pay attention to these things.

For example, when Paul writes to the Colossians, in the early part of his letter to them, he’s speaking to them, and he is making reference to what is theirs in Christ. And then he says to them, “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard.”[3] Now, he’s not suggesting there that he is fearful that they are about to fail to continue; the language in the original text does not bear that out. But what it is pointing out to us is the absolute necessity of continuing—that it is not sufficient for us to have made some immediate and perhaps even superficial response to the gospel. The parable of the soils bears that out, doesn’t it?[4] That there were those who heard and made an immediate response, and then, as quickly as the plants grew up, they faded away. And Jesus taught that in order to make clear that there was, then, only one soil out of them all about which any of us could be confident if it represented our hearts, and that in which there was the blossoming and the fulfilling of the evidence that the seed had been sown in good soil.

Now, that is true in writing to the Colossians. It’s also important when Paul writes to Timothy. And he is reminding Timothy of his role as a pastor, and he is reminding Timothy that it is important for him to continue—to continue in what he has learned and has firmly believed.[5] I don’t know what the perception is of pastors; I’ve kind of forgotten what it’s like not to be one. But I think it wouldn’t be surprising if some people thought that somehow or another, if you manage to find yourself in this position, that pretty well you’re home free from that point. You know, after all, you presumably would never have arrived there if it weren’t that you were just destined to continue all the way to the end. But what do we know about pastoral ministry? What have we seen in the last fifty years in America? The scenes of sorry collapse of those who wielded the sword but apparently did not wield it to their own benefit; those who instructed others and who presumably began to think that if the instruction was given, then the obedience was obvious, only to reveal to themselves, sadly, and to those who knew them best that this was not the case.

Timothy had an amazing background. He had a godly granny, a godly mom. Some of us have enjoyed that. And yet Paul does not say to him, “Now, you had a wonderful start, and your family life has been so strong. There’s no reason for me to really write to you at all.” But no, he says, “I want you to make sure that you continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed.” In other words, to mix the metaphors, he wants to make sure that Timothy himself is firmly grounded on the foundation of the Word of God, on the truth of God’s Word. Again, in Jesus, in his parables: “The man who hears my word and fails to put it into practice is the man who built his house on the sand, and when the winds came and the waves came, it just knocked it flat. The one who hears my words and puts them into practice is like the man who built his house on a rock, and when the winds and the waves came, then it stood firm.”[6] The whole matter of continuance.

The Sword Is Perfectly Suited

Now, this then is the place of the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit, in the life of the believer. It’s not the entirety of its application, but it is this. And there are certain things that ought to be obvious to us, and one would be this: that the sword of the Spirit actually fits every hand—that the sword of the Spirit is not something that you get when you’re a certain age or when you’ve qualified through a certain course, but the sword of Spirit, if you like, comes with your birthright. The sword of the Spirit is entrusted to the one who has been enlisted in the Christian army and who has been putting on Christ and who is clothed with the armor, and therefore, into that hand is placed the sword.

It is the same sword for children. That’s why I said what I said tonight about children. The work amongst children is of such vital importance in every generation. And what are we doing when we sit with those children and we open the Bible to them? We’re putting the sword into their tiny hands. We’re teaching them to say,

Oh, the B-I-B-L-E,
That’s the book for me!
I take my stand on the Word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E.

We’re putting the sword in their hands. What are we doing with the teenagers on this trip this weekend? Teaching them the Bible, which is to put the sword in their hands. What is necessary for those who are making their way, navigating their way, through the middle stages of life, perhaps facing bereavement, perhaps divorce, perhaps dissatisfaction? What is the great need? The sword of the Spirit into our hands. And when we get old and wizened and cold and gray and even more settled in our ways than we are now, it will be the same need: to have the sword in our hands, the Word of God.

“The grass withers, the flower falls; the word of the Lord endures forever.”[7] Peter proclaimed that to them, didn’t he? And he said, “And this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.”[8] So we’re not talking about some dry, dull, legalistic account. We’re talking about the vibrancy and the vitality and the life-giving power of the gospel. And Jesus himself, of course, declared that “heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”[9]

Now, you think about that for a moment, living in our world. One of the great preoccupations of our time is we’re going to have to save the planet. And it’s very good for us to look after things and not put straws in the ocean and don’t fiddle around with things; it’s not good, it’s not very helpful. But from the lips of the Creator, here’s the news: heaven and earth will pass away, but his words will not pass away. We await a new heaven and a new earth in which dwells righteousness.[10] And in the progress that we’re making to that destination, we lay hold upon this sword.

So, it is suited to every hand, and it is suited to every time. When you think about this… There are books that have been written that were good in their day—especially books about eschatology. I always like telling about the books that were written, you know, in the early part of the twentieth century defining definitively the date of the return of Jesus. And they usually sold well for a while. I mean, the fellow who invented logarithms, who has a college named after him in Edinburgh—he shouldn’t have had that for inventing logarithms; I mean, that’s been a nuisance to most people—but anyway, he used his logarithms to predict the date of the return of Jesus, you know. And he set it somewhere around, you know, 1943. Of course, the book sold fairly well up until ’43, but since then it’s been regarded as largely irrelevant—which, of course, is a fair response.

Books of science have been superseded. Genetic technology has superseded things. In areas of discipline in many of our lives, there are things that are of interest now, but they’re buried in the past because they have no pressing relevance for today. The staggering thing, one of the profound things, about the Bible, about the sword of the Spirit, is that it is timeless, so that it is the word from the mouth of God that sustained Adam and Eve in the garden. It’s the word from the mouth of God that saw the children of Israel through the wilderness. It’s from the mouth of God that the citizens of Israel in David’s day lived and moved. And so we can go all the way through history, right up until the present time.

There’s not an event in life for which the Bible is insufficient. It is suited to every circumstance.

Suited to every hand, suited to every time, and suited to every type. And what I mean by that is every type of person. One of the great joys of standing up here is I get to see you all. I get to look at you. And I see more than you even know—and not always to my benefit, but nevertheless, I do see. And really, it is a fascinating array of people. And we are all here saying, “Yes, this sword, this Word, is placed into our hands, young and old,” and so on. And some of us are peculiarly educated, and others of us not so much. Some of us have a certain amount of culture that we like to make mention of; others of us, not so. Some of us have size 14 brains, and some of us hardly have a brain at all. And yet it is the same sword. Do you know of any other book like this?

You see, the wonder of it is that it is at the same time suited to every circumstance. To every circumstance. There’s not an event in life for which the Bible is insufficient. Now, we could go for a long time this evening saying, “And, of course, consider this and consider that.” But the reason we read from Matthew 4 was in order to make the point that in the life of Jesus, in the face of temptation following his baptism, what does he do but wield the sword of the Spirit? In response to the accusations and the temptations of the Evil One, he quotes the Bible. What an interesting thing to do! The tempter came and said, “If you’re the Son of God…” And he answered, “It’s written,” quoting, interestingly… And he doesn’t quote, you know—he doesn’t have, like, you know, shaving mirror verses, which just proves that he really knew the Old Testament.

Some of us would be hard-pressed to say “It is written” in response to specific circumstances, because we don’t know our Bibles well enough to know what verse from which to quote to be able to answer the accusations and temptations that come our way. I say that for your encouragement. You get that? And for mine too! What a strange thing it is that we who claim to love this book spend such little time in it, know so little of it, are prepared to dig down deep into it, are prepared to accept a few superficial quotes that have been hanging around since we were fourteen and received a car for Bible memorization that we keep up on a shelf somewhere in our study. This is biographical information that you don’t need, but nevertheless…

He starts by quoting Deuteronomy 8. And then the devil masterfully decides, “Well, if you can quote the Bible, I’ll quote the Bible too.” We shouldn’t be surprised by this. The devil knows the Bible—knows it better than many a silly Christian! And so, what does he do? Well, he misstates the Bible. He quotes it, and he twists it. That’s always his way. That’s always his way. The best lies have a wee bit of truth in them. And so, he says, quoting from Psalm 91, “Here’s the thing: if this, if this, if this.” And Jesus says, “No. You’re absolutely wrong there. And let me say something else to you: it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And a third time he comes back, and Jesus says once again to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” So if Jesus dealt with the temptation of the devil by quoting the Bible, we are on a pretty good track if we determine that we will operate on that same basis.

When I read this third response of Jesus, it makes me smile. Because as a child I was often plagued by fears in the night. And I had some quite remarkable dreams, all of which have now been forgotten—although I have a few recurring ones that we could talk about sometime over coffee. But then, when I would go through and trouble my mother and father in the night and tell them, “The thing, it’s coming for me, it’s getting me,” and whatever it was, you know what they would tell me to say? They’d tell me to say, “Be gone, Satan!” That’s what I was supposed to say. I’d go, “What possible good is that?” They’d say, “Well, try it, because we don’t want you keep coming through here, you know.” But after all these years, I still say it! And take up the sword of the Spirit to tell him, “Don’t come with that stuff to me. You go back to hell, where you belong. Be gone, Satan.” But the way in which we respond is not on the strength of personality or some other thing; it is in confidence in the Bible itself. Three times, and three times, “It is written.”

It therefore follows straightforwardly that we shouldn’t ever attempt to defeat the devil except by this sword. And that’s why the sword has been given. It has not been given for ornamentation but for battle. When you wear a kilt as a Scotsman, if you choose to, you have a little sgian-dubh that goes inside your sock. You may have seen it. And it is actually a dagger, and it is there as needed—you know, like if you can’t open an envelope, or something very significant, very important. And it is there in order that it might be used. But in actual fact, it can’t be used, because it’s blunt, and it doesn’t work, and it’s there for style. The sword of the Spirit is given to us not for ornamentation, not for style, not to walk around with. It is provided for battle.

Therefore, when we think in terms of continuing in our faith—when we think in terms of what it means, then, to make sure that we have our sword at the ready, that we are quickened and enabled to take our stand, about which we have read and about which we have sung—then, again, it is to the Word of God that we want to go. So, which of us, if we’ve had any kind of background in the Christian faith at all, does not know Psalm 119:9? “How can a young man keep his way pure? By taking heed according to your word,” or “By guarding it according to your word.” How are we going to face the battle with temptation? By doing this. Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is super for this. Psalm 119: not only storing it up in our hearts but remembering it.[11] Psalm 119:93:

I will never forget your precepts,
 for by them you have given me life.
I am yours; save me,
 for I have sought your precepts.
The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
 but I consider your testimonies.

What’s the psalmist doing? He’s laying hold of the sword. And in verse 114 of the same psalm, he says, “You are my hiding place and my shield,” and “I hope in your word.”

So it involves hiding it in our hearts. It involves recalling it for our help. It involves resting in it for our security. How do you deal with your doubts? I take the sword of the Spirit to them. What about discouragements? What about, as we’ve sung, “when darkness veils his lovely face,” what do we do then? Well, “I rest on his unchanging grace.”[12] Well, where do I find his unchanging grace? In the pages of Scripture.

Says Spurgeon, in characteristic style, when “discouragements … arise like mists of the morning … oh, that God’s Word may shine them away with the beams of [his] promises!”[13] And in his own Victorian style he says,

I find, if I can lay a promise under my tongue, like a sweet lozenge, and keep it in my mouth or mind all the day long, I am happy enough. If I cannot find a Scripture to comfort me, then my inward troubles are multiplied. Fight despondency and despair with the sword of the Spirit. I cannot tell what your particular difficulty may be at this moment; but I give you this direction for all holy warfare—“Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” You must overcome every enemy; and this weapon is all you need. If you, my hearer, would overcome sin and conquer unbelief, take such a word as this, “Look unto me, and be … saved, all the ends of the earth;” and as you look you shall be saved, and doubt shall die, and sin [shall] be slain. God grant you his Spirit’s aid.[14]

Well, this all ties in with what we made mention of this morning in Hebrews 4 about the fact that in his Word there is clarity and there is authority and there is vitality,[15] and God continues to enable us to continue by this means.

Contending for the Faith

And then I said I want to say just a word about contending for the faith. If it is by means of the Word of God that we come to faith and continue in the faith, then it is surely on the same basis that we’re able to contend for the faith. And I use that word there, that verb, not in terms of being contentious but rather in terms of being persuasive, or being, if you like, assertive, or being enthusiastically engaged in making it known—in other words, being kind of apostolic in our practice, or being like Jesus in the Gospels.

Paul, when he writes to the Corinthians, he says to them, it is knowing the fear of the Lord, and in knowing the fear of the Lord, that we persuade men.[16] And in persuading men of the truth of God’s Word, it is the very Word of God itself that enables them to handle the powers and the authorities that come against them. And so he says, “For though we walk in the flesh”—that’s we go about, normal human beings, in the reality of who and what we are—“we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”[17]

So, that is as clear as a bell, isn’t it? What a tragedy that so much of the time that has been spent by evangelicalism in the twenty-first century thus far has had to do with waging war that is actually physical war, that is actually the kind of argumentation and fighting and moaning and complaining and disgruntlement that is so representative of the culture in which we live. Surely the apostles gave us a pattern in order that we might follow their pattern, that they established precepts in order that we might obey their precepts. What would it take to bring down many of the strongholds in this nation, in this Western world? Well, it won’t be political machination, that’s for sure. It won’t be about getting the right person in office. It never has been, and it never will be, because it is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” by which the apostles worked.

Why don’t we do it? In certain cases, we’re ashamed. We’re ashamed. Let’s be honest: we find it hard to say with Paul, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for salvation to the Jew, to the Greek, to everyone who believes.”[18] It’s very easy to say that up here, isn’t it, protected by the room, the group, the context, the songs, the church? It’s different when you’re one-on-one on the golf course and someone says to you, “So, what actually is that?”

Somebody says to you, “Well, I spoke to a Roman Catholic priest, and he told me that because I’m Jewish, I will be able to go to heaven; I get a special pass because I’m Jewish,” said my friend to me. And then he said, “But once we hit this shot, I want you to tell me whether that was true or false, and then I want you to tell me what the real story is.” Well, you know how much I wanted to say, “Yes, that sounds like a brilliant idea to me. Yes. Wouldn’t that just be wonderful?” But what did I say? I said, “Well, did you believe that?” He said, “No, it sounded rubbish to me.” I said, “Well, that’s good. You’re making progress.” I said, “Well, let me tell you what the Bible actually says: that there is one mediator between God and man, and that’s the man Christ Jesus;[19] that he provides reconciliation, forgiveness for our sins, to the Jew and to the Greek. Therefore, you and I stand in the same position before an almighty God, in need of a Savior. And God loves you and sent his Son, Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah, in order that your sins might be forgiven.” And it was met by that same kind of silence.

Ashamed. You see, nothing silences our tongues faster than a loss of confidence in the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit. And just as surely as the devil misused Scripture in tempting Jesus, so it is routinely that people seek to undermine our confidence in the infallibility of the Bible.

I always want to be guarded what say, because I should be, but I can’t not say this: those signs that are around us in front of certain church buildings that declare, “God is still speaking”—if you actually go to the website, to the theological underpinnings of what that is declaring, you will discover that it is not a statement that is referring to what I’ve just said to you about the fact that the sword of the Spirit is timeless in its application. What they’re actually saying is that God is now speaking differently from how he used to speak. God is now contradicting what he had said previously in the realm of morality, in the matter of marriage, in the issues of theological underpinnings. Therefore, if we are going to contend for the faith that was delivered once to the saints,[20] then we have to be alert to the devil’s schemes, and we have to be able to defeat him not by our own ingenuity or by our own animosity but by the wielding of the sword of the Spirit.

John Stott very helpfully on one occasion said, “The reason why the church has historically submitted to [the] Scripture, and why evangelicals continue to do so, is that our Lord Jesus himself did.”[21] If you think about that—Matthew 4, what we’ve just seen in relationship to temptation. But think of other places in the Bible. For example, think about when they came to him, when the Pharisees came to him, with a moral question, when they came to him with a question about divorce.[22] How did Jesus settle that question? By quoting the Bible. By quoting Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:[24]. He said, “It is written.” In other words, all the equivocation, all of the discussion, was brought to an end by the statement, “This is what the Word of God says.” He settled the moral disputes by referencing the divine authority of Scripture.

If we are going to contend for the faith, then we have to be alert to the devil’s schemes, and we have to be able to defeat him not by our own ingenuity or by our own animosity but by the wielding of the sword of the Spirit.

Now, loved ones, when we go back out into the world tomorrow and face all of the challenges in the realm of morality, and when we are pressed back into the corner by those who say, “This is phenomenally arrogant of you and rather bigoted of you to hold these positions,” what are we to say? We just say, “We don’t have an option. Our commanding officer has given to us our sword. Our sword is the Word of God. The Word of God is fixed in the heavens.[23] God doesn’t change like shifting shadows.[24] Therefore, he doesn’t change his Word with the passage of time. Therefore, though these things may seem alien, irrelevant, unwanted, they remain.” If we wish to submit to the authority of Christ, we must submit to the authority of the Bible. It is logical: Christ submitted to the Scriptures; we submit to Christ; therefore, we submit to the Scriptures.

Derek Thomas, in a wonderfully helpful little book on this subject—and I’ll stop now—but he quotes in this book from an event in 1983 regarding the national meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Pittsburgh. And the convention began with a pastors’ conference. “The previous fall in the suburbs of Chicago seven people died having taken Tylenol laced with cyanide. It set off a national panic. One speaker at the pastors’ conference took out a bottle of Tylenol and said, ‘If I knew there was one capsule in this bottle that was laced with cyanide, I would throw the whole bottle out.’ Then he picked up the Bible and said, ‘If I knew there was one error in this book, then I’d throw the whole thing out.’”

These are peculiar days, daunting days, exciting days, and we stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before. I found myself going back again to my file and was delighted to see that we had placed in there a quote from a song from 1929. It was written by a man. You will know one of his songs if you’ve been around for any time at all. This man wrote the little chorus, “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul. Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.”[25] His name was Seth Sykes. He was a conductor on the Glasgow trams. He was a very ordinary little man. His wife was called Bessie, and Seth and Bessie Sykes were evangelists in Scotland in the first half of the twentieth century. I had the privilege of hearing them speak and listening to them as they showed Pilgrim’s Progress on these big lantern slides that I alluded to a couple of Sundays ago.

And when going back into my files under “The Bible,” I found one of his classic little songs. It goes like this:

Many folks are sad and weary, and they often fret and pine,
For they read what many critics have to say
About the dear old Bible, blessed holy book divine,
But for me, I’ve proved its worth, and I can say,

I’m acquainted with the Author, and I know God’s Word is true;
In times of grief it brings relief and tells me what to do.
Now I dearly love its pages, for I’ve found the Rock of Ages;
I’m acquainted with the Author, and I know it’s true.[26]

That’s not arrogance. That’s faith. That’s belief.

Father, thank you for the Bible. Thank you that you equip us as soldiers in your army. Thank you that the lessons that we’re given are to be heard and acted on as a company, that we’re not solo in this endeavor, that we’re not on our own. We’re not supposed to be on our own; we’re better together. And whether it is in holding up the shield of faith or helping one another get on the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace, or whether reminding one another, “Don’t leave your sword, now, make sure you have it by your side,” Lord, help us with these things, we pray.

Give us a heart of compassion when we have to say things that run counter to the thought forms of our culture. Give us wisdom and grace in a boldness that is at the same time winsome. Remind us that our words are to be full of grace and seasoned with salt.[27] Give to us something of the kindness and compassion of the Lord Jesus himself, who was particularly willing to make space and time and extend the story of his mercy to those who were most in need. We thank you that you have made us part of the company that runs from age to age until finally we’re gathered into your presence. We bless your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.


[1] See Matthew 24:13.

[2] See Philippians 1:6.

[3] Colossians 1:23 (ESV).

[4] See Matthew 13:1–23; Mark 4:1–20; Luke 8:4–15.

[5] See 2 Timothy 3:14.

[6] Matthew 7:24–27 (paraphrased). See also Luke 6:47–49.

[7] Isaiah 40:8 (paraphrased). See also 1 Peter 1:24–25.

[8] 1 Peter 1:25 (paraphrased).

[9] Matthew 24:35 (ESV).

[10] See 2 Peter 3:13.

[11] See Psalm 119:11.

[12] Edward Mote, “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” (1834).

[13] C. H. Spurgeon, “The Sword of the Spirit,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 37, no. 2201, 239.

[14] Spurgeon, “The Sword,” 240.

[15] See Hebrews 4:12.

[16] See 2 Corinthians 5:11.

[17] 2 Corinthians 10:3–6 (ESV).

[18] Romans 1:16 (paraphrased).

[19] See 1 Timothy 2:5.

[20] See Jude 3.

[21] John Stott, Evangelical Truth: A Personal Plea for Unity, Integrity and Faithfulness (2003; repr., Cumbria, CA: Langham, 2013), 38.

[22] See Matthew 19:3–6.

[23] See Psalm 119:89.

[24] See James 1:17.

[25] Seth Sykes and Bessie Sykes, “Thank You, Lord” (1940).

[26] Seth Sykes, “I’m Acquainted with the Author” (1929).

[27] See Colossians 4:6.

Copyright © 2021, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.