After teaching the Saints in Ephesus that they should put off their old selves and put on the new person as a follower of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul taught them that they should also put on the whole armor of God.
Write on the board the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson. (This statement is found in “The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 79.) Invite a student to read this statement aloud.
In what ways does Satan wage war against the youth of the Church?
Invite a student to read Ephesians 6:10–13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul said the Saints in his day were fighting against. Explain that wiles refers to tricks or stratagems that are used to deceive or ensnare.
What did Paul say the Saints in his day were fighting against?
How is what Paul listed in verse 12 the same as what we are fighting against in our day?
What did Paul tell the Saints in his day to put on so that they could withstand these evils? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we put on the whole armor of God, we will be able to withstand evil.)
Provide students with the accompanying handout. Divide the class into five groups, and assign each group one of the pieces of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6:14–17. (Do not assign the “loins girt about with truth” [verse 14]. If your class is small you may need to assign some groups more than one piece of armor.)
Write the following questions on the board:
To show students how to complete the handout, invite a student to read Ephesians 6:14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the answers to the questions on the board as they apply to “loins girt about with truth” and then writing the answers on their handouts.
Explain that armor “girt about” the loins is a belt that is tied around the midsection of the body. Then invite several students to report their answers to the class. Students may suggest answers similar to the following: (1) It is used to cover the loins (the vital organs dealing with reproduction). (2) Paul called it “truth.” (3) It represents our chastity or moral purity. (4) Knowing the truthfulness of the plan of salvation can protect us from being deceived and help us to remain morally pure.
Invite students to follow this pattern as they read Ephesians 6:14–18 with their groups and complete the part of the handout that corresponds with their assigned pieces of armor. (Explain that having “your feet shod” [verse 15] means wearing shoes or other foot protection.)
After sufficient time, invite a representative from each group to report what they learned to the class. As each group reports, invite students to record the group’s findings on their handouts.
Why is it important to protect ourselves with the whole armor of God?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for how we put on and strengthen the armor of God.
“How do we put on the whole armor of God so that we may, as Paul promises, ‘be able to withstand in the evil day’?
“I like to think of this spiritual armor not as a solid piece of metal molded to fit the body but more like chain mail. Chain mail consists of dozens of tiny pieces of steel fastened together to allow the user greater flexibility without losing protection. I say that because it has been my experience that there is not one great and grand thing we can do to arm ourselves spiritually. True spiritual power lies in numerous smaller acts woven together in a fabric of spiritual fortification that protects and shields from all evil” (“Be Strong in the Lord,” Ensign, July 2004, 8).
What do you do to put on and strengthen the armor of God each day?
How has this helped you to withstand evil, temptation, or deception?
Write the following questions on the board. Invite students to answer these questions in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:
Summarize Ephesians 6:19–24 by explaining that Paul concluded his letter by asking the Saints to pray that he would be given “utterance” (verse 19) and be able to preach the gospel with boldness while in prison.
Share your testimony of the truths identified in today’s lesson, and encourage students to act on any promptings they may have received.
Invite students to look for answers to the following questions as they continue to study Paul’s writings during the coming week: What did Paul say about the love of money? How can we avoid being deceived by false traditions? According to Paul, what must take place before the Second Coming? How will we know it has occurred?