An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 10 - Practical Truth - Page 51 of 277
examination.  The believer in that passage is not exhorted to 'take the sword
of the Spirit' as separate from 'the whole armour of God', neither is the
sword of the Spirit named first, but last in the list.  Those who have their
loins girt about with truth, will find the Word of God an effective weapon,
but the Devil is a liar from the beginning, and the Word he quotes is
ineffective.  Those who wear the breastplate of righteousness, who have their
head covered with the helmet of salvation, who are securely protected by the
shield of faith, whose feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of
peace, such, acting in character, will find the Word of God 'the Sword of the
Spirit' indeed.  Mere quotation of Scripture does not constitute 'The Sword
of the Spirit'.  The chief priests and scribes quoted the Scripture that
revealed the birthplace of the Saviour (Matt. 2:6), but it was not to them
'the effectual Word'.  The Lord Himself told the Jews that they did indeed
search the Scriptures, but in vain, for they did not believe their testimony,
nor come to Him (John 5:39 -47).  Those who came down to Jerusalem, quoting
'chapter and verse' in their endeavour to place the Galatian believers under
the law of Moses (Acts 15:1), quoted Scripture indeed, but it was not 'the
effectual Word'.  It is evident therefore that something more is intended in
Ephesians 6 than a mere knowledge of, or citation of Scripture.
Essential conditions
At the head of this study we have the words: 'The Word of God which
effectually worketh', but this is a defective quotation, for the Word
effectually worketh 'in you that believe' and we must now consider this verse
in full in order that the essential conditions under which the Word becomes
effectual may be seen.  First, Paul records with unceasing thanksgiving that
these Thessalonians received the Word of God.  When dealing with 'the
engrafted Word' (Jas. 1:21), we observed that the word dechomai 'receive'
meant to 'embrace' rather than 'take' or 'get', and that is the word used by
Paul here in 1 Thessalonians 2:13.  How these Thessalonians received the Word
is made plain in chapter 1:
'Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word
in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were
ensamples to all that believe' (1 Thess. 1:6,7).
This was no shallow or perfunctory reception of the Word, for it had
been 'received in much tribulation', and tribulation is a great tester.  In
the parable of the sower, the stony ground is likened to the hearer of the
Word, who 'anon with joy receiveth it', but 'when tribulation or persecution
ariseth because of the Word, immediately he is offended' (Matt. 13:20,21).
Paul knew only too well the sifting power of tribulation, and was greatly
concerned lest these Thessalonians should be 'moved' by them (1 Thess. 3:1 -
8).  These believers not only received the Word in much tribulation, but they
received it 'not as the word of men, but as it is in truth the Word of God'.
The critic may quote Scripture, Satan and his ministers may quote Scripture,
those who preach 'another' gospel may quote Scripture, but such does not make
the word they quote 'the effectual Word'.  The attitude of heart that I bring
to the Word, will decide what that Word shall be when I attempt to use it.
If, to me, it is 'the word of men' all my quotations of its sacred text is in
vain.  If, to me, it is indeed 'the Word of God', given by inspiration of
God, the Scriptures that cannot be broken, the Scriptures endorsed and
fulfilled by Christ, it becomes in my hand 'The Sword of the Spirit'.  It is
the office of the Spirit to glorify the Son of God.  It is His greater work
to take of the things of Christ and show them to us.  The Scriptures can only