The man we call “Paul the Apostle” has a fascinating background. As much as we are impressed with his writings, we forget that he didn’t encounter Christ until his conversion on the road to Damascus. He never saw Jesus in the flesh or heard him tell any of his transforming parables. And yet, Paul—apart from being the first church theologian—was an imaginative teacher and poet (e.g., 1 Corinthians 13), using metaphors, or word pictures, to make us all the richer.
Metaphors invites us to enter unexplored territory—and often without our realizing what they’re doing. So, when Paul says, “Put on the whole armor of God,” he not only gives us a lively lesson for kindergartners but also opens the whole area of spiritual conflict, an area not many of us are comfortable exploring.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible tells us that there is a battle, a war between good and evil—think Noah and the flood; the Exodus story; the days of Judges; men like Abraham, Jacob, and David; and women like Ruth, Deborah, and Esther—all trying to restore God’s people. The battle is complex—that’s why Paul wrote, “Put on the whole armor of God!”
Sam is currently out on medical leave, but the audio file of this sermon should be online around Labor Day. Thank you for your patience!