Scripture Reference: Ephesians 6:10-18
Suggested Emphasis: God helps us fight Satan.
Paul wrote his epistle to the church in Ephesus to help them understand God’s power and how He wants Christians to behave. To help them be “strong in the Lord” Paul uses the example of a soldier’s battle armour to explain that God gives Christians spiritual weapons of strength to fight Satan.
Armour is worn by soldiers on battlefields. This lesson is a sobering one. The use of a military metaphor denotes a serious matter of life and death.
There are so many beautiful and peaceful parts of the Christian life that we might be tempted to overlook or ignore the spiritual battle taking place around us and even within us. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a sound ultimate defeat of Satan and the powers of darkness. Despite this defeat Satan refuses to leave the battle field. As we all await the final coming of Christ, Satan pitifully continues to cause hurt and pain.
God defeated the spiritual rulers and powers. With the cross God won the victory and defeated them. He showed the world that they were powerless. Colosians 2:15 ICB
Children can and should be confident in the fact that God is stronger than Satan. They do not have to live in fear. Yet even as they stand confident, we need to make them aware that Satan is their enemy. He wants boys and girls to turn away from God and we cannot let them be taken off guard.
This battle is a spiritual one and God provides the perfect spiritual weapons to use against the enemy. We cannot see the enemy but God can. He knows what we need and the weapons are outlined well in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. The people of Ephesus would have understood what Paul was referring to when they read the letter. This was a city known for its idol worship and during his third missionary journey Paul had confronted the magicians and sorcerers there. Some of the most unusual miracles in the Book of Acts occurred during Paul’s stay in Ephesus. You can read more about this in the lesson Paul and the Dark Powers at Ephesus.
Helpful verses are:
- Ephesians 1:18-23 Christ rules above every power.
- Colossians 2:15 Christ disarmed all powers at the cross.
- Romans 8:37-39 Nothing is stronger than the love of God.
- 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be alert. Satan is waiting for an opportunity to attack.
- James 4:7 Submit to God and Satan will flee
- Psalm 23:4 God is with me even in scary places.
- Psalm 27:1 With God there is no need to fear.
Special Note to the Teacher:
The Bible is clear about God’s supremacy but, even in the same family or church, there may be different interpretations of how that applies to various literature, television shows or movies that children are exposed to. What one family might allow as “harmless fantasy” another might steer their children away from as actually spiritually harmful or wrong. So be respectful of this and apply discernment and diplomacy.
But, wherever one places boundaries, it would be wrong to deny or avoid the important subject of spiritual warfare. I would suggest becoming familiar with the subject through articles such as this one at http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-occult.html , especially if you are teaching older or very curious children. And remember that we do not have to live in fear. God is above all powers and gives us what we need to fight any trick Satan throws our way.
Way to Introduce the Story:
Sing “I’m in the Lord’s Army” with the children. “Who wants to explain what that song means? Are you really in an army? What does it mean to be in the Lord’s army? When a soldier in an army goes into battle he fights an enemy. Who do you think is the enemy of the Christian? That’s right; Satan—or sometimes he is called the Devil. He is our enemy because he wants us to do bad things and make God unhappy. He doesn’t even want us to be with God forever! When a soldier goes to battle he wears special gear (show some if you are able to obtain army gear). The gear that a soldier used to wear in the time that our New Testaments were written was called armour. Armour helped soldiers win battles. Do you think a regular soldier’s armour would help fight Satan? No, Satan is an invisible enemy. To fight Satan, a person has to be in God’s special kind of army and be God’s soldier. God’s soldier wears special kind of armour.”
Have you ever heard of a soldier? If an enemy was trying to harm you or your country a soldier might come and keep the enemy away. A soldier who fights a battle carries weapons and wears special clothes and gear for protection.
Soldiers in the time that the New Testament was written wore special gear too. The special gear was called ARMOUR.
In the Bible book of Ephesians we can read about a kind of armour that is very different from every other kind of armour. This is called the ARMOUR OF GOD. In chapter 6 and verses 10 through 11 we read, “Be strong in the Lord and in his great power. Wear the full armour of God.”
In the next verses we read why we need a kind of armour that is different. “Our fight is not against people. Wear God’s armour so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks. You need to get God’s full armour. Then you will be able to stand strong.”
The devil is an enemy full of evil tricks. He is sometimes called “the Satan” (accuser) or “the Devil” (slanderer). The devil is a terrible enemy because he hates everyone. He never ever wants to do good. He is so evil that he only wants to hurt people and get them in trouble.
The devil is so tricky that he is even invisible. He does not want people to think he is really there. But God is not fooled by the devil. He has armour that always works against the devil.
If you were a soldier would you go into a dangerous battle without your armour? Of course not! In this battle against the devil we are like soldiers. God has the perfect armour for us to wear but it is not like any armour you have seen before.
Our first piece of armour is the BELT OF TRUTH tied around our waist. The devil is a liar and wants us to believe his lies. As long as we trust in God and know that what he says is always true we will be protected from our enemy.
The armour a soldier wears on his chest protects his heart and lungs and other very important parts of his body. It is called a breastplate. When the devil tries to get people to do bad things it is like he is trying to attack their hearts. God knows that our good behaviour will protect us from the enemy. This piece of armour is called the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
A soldier has to be ready for a battle to start. God says that just like a soldier wears shoes to be ready to fight we should put on “the GOOD NEWS OF PEACE”. When we understand God’s peace the enemy cannot make us worry and lose our confidence. We can stand firm with God.
The next piece of God’s armour is the SHIELD OF FAITH. Faith in God is like a shield that protects us against all of the bad things our enemy tries to destroy us with. Do you have faith in God? Faith in God means that you don’t have to be afraid of anything the enemy tries to do to trick you.
God’s salvation is like a helmet a soldier wears into battle. Trusting in God’s salvation is knowing that he will save us from every battle. Our enemy wants to play tricks with our minds but God’s salvation keeps him away from our head. This piece of God’s armour is the HELMET OF SALVATION.
Finally, the last part of armour that God says we need is the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT.
The sword of the spirit is the word of God. If the enemy tries to trick us or attack us we can always remember the powerful things that God says.
Even Jesus used the sword of the Spirit. A long time ago the devil tried to trick Jesus and get him to do bad things. But guess what Jesus did? He said God’s powerful words to the devil and the devil left him.
If you have a Bible then you have a sword. In the Bible book of Hebrews in chapter 4 and verse 12 we can read, “ God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than a sword sharpened on both sides.” If we learn from the Bible and apply God’s word to our lives then the enemy will never win.
The devil is our enemy but God has given us all the special armour that we need to fight him. Put on God’s full armour and you will never ever have to worry or be afraid. Can you remember all the pieces of armour?
• Belt of Truth
• Breastplate of Righteousness
• Shoes-Good News of Peace
• Shield of Faith
• Helmet of Salvation
• Sword of the Spirit
God’s word says that we should pray and ask for what we need. Let’s pray today that we will never forget to wear God’s armour.
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.
Click here to download the slideshow or click here for the printable illustrations.
Be selective. Each teacher is unique so only use the illustrations that best relate to the way YOU are telling the story in THIS lesson. Too many illustrations can be confusing so eliminate any that cover other stories or details you do not wish to emphasise in this lesson.
- Who is the enemy of Christians? the Satan
- Who are God’s soldiers? Christians
- What is the armour of God? (name any or all of these) Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Readiness of the Gospel on the Feet, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, Sword of the Spirit (Word of God).
- I’m in the Lord’s Army Song
- Shake the Devil Off Song
- Cast Your Burdens
- Refer to the Song Page on this website for more options.
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Look up “armour/armor” in a concordance or bible dictionary.
- Look up songs in the church song book that talk about the “Christian Battle.”
- Have a “sword drill” where the teacher calls out a scripture reference and the children race to see who can find the scripture in their bible first.
- When the children have learned about the armour how about an army march outside the building? Perhaps you could march to a certain place and have part of your lesson there for a change.
- If you or someone you know and trust is familiar with some of the video games children play you might find these useful parallels for describing spiritual warfare. Many of these games involve “other worlds” or “alternative universes”. If children in your class play these games they might connect these situations to an invisible spiritual battle being fought at the same time we are going about the daily lives that we see with our eyes. Again, get mature advice on this before talking about it with the children. You want to clarify and not cause confusion or misconceptions.
Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
Other Online Resources:
- Visual Aids: A good selection of illustrations and slideshows to download from http://www.freebibleimages.org
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (Calvary Curriculum)
- Colouring pages (churchhousecollection.com)
- Colouring pages (Calvary Curriculum)
- Colouring page with labels (makinglearningfun.com)
- Printable poster/page (number 1) with soldier picture and descriptions of the armour (terryartworxstudio.com)
- Lesson: Elaborate lesson with lots of visuals and reproducibles available. You may have to be creative in finding “armor.” You could maybe use pictures of armor that the military of the region uses or even actual uniform pieces if those are available just to have something physical that the students can relate to (kidsbibledebjackson.blogspot.co.nz)
- Shield: Cute idea for making a shield from a hub-cap (bibleclasscreations.blogspot.co.nz)
- Various activities and crafts-1 (churchhousecollection.com)
- Various activities and crafts-2 (churchhousecollection.com)
- Craft: Printable paper doll of soldier and armour (calvarywilliamsport.com)