4 min read


Our order from headquarters: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Orders From Headquarters
Photo by Ben White / Unsplash


Orders from a commanding officer are virtually non-negotiable. A well-trained soldier would never consider interpreting a clear order based on his own ideas or understanding. He would do as told and trust those in higher ranks to have issued the command based on intelligence and knowledge of the enemy based on intimate knowledge to which the common soldier has no access. The soldier has learned to trust and obey and not second-guess his commanding officer.

The very concept is mind-boggling if you stop and think about it in the context of Scripture. All too often we interpret the commands of God, the teachings of the Apostles and the words of the Prophets from our own perspective. For instance, if we set aside our pre-conceived perceptions and closely look at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we’re actually going to see from a much different perspective — the perspective of the author as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians wasn’t directed to an individual or certain individuals within the church. Rather, he addressed his words to the church as a whole — an ancient Roman soldier appealing to this specific young church in an ancient culture using language and analogies with which he was most familiar. After all, his life had once been devoted to military life serving under the orders of his own commanding officers. A good deal of his later years were spent in prisons under guard of soldiers to prevent his escape.

Paul’s letters were written knowing they would be circular, shared among the churches in Asia Minor and beyond. Although he may not have realized how his letters would reach future generations, his words continue to have had great value and importance throughout the ages. When Paul addressed the various churches in Asia Minor, he wrote to the Kingdom of God, the aggregation of loyal and faithful believers who would read the letters wherever and whenever. God used Paul to issue to the Army of God “orders from headquarters”!

Let’s think for a moment about the armor of God in Ephesians 6. There are a plethora of different interpretations and applications of the “armor of God” Paul described in Ephesians 6. Just do a quick search on the internet and the list of opinions will be overwhelming. It is my position that it’s really unfair to pluck those specific scriptures out of context when there is so much more contained in the entire letter to the Ephesian church. Paul is saying to all collectively, as the Body of Christ, to put on Christ, and in this way also contend together — fight the good fight of faith together as one under the headship of the Most High. He explains that the opposition and persecution the church at Ephesus is experiencing is a battle against spiritual principalities, not the flesh and blood he was accustomed to fighting when serving in a physical army, He wanted believers to understand the necessity of fighting the battle as one who modeled spiritual warfare, who took orders from His Father to successfully complete the mission — Jesus, the Messiah, taught by example spiritual warfare.

Unfortunately, most of our translations don’t point out the use of the plural form of “you” in Paul’s letter to the Ephesus church leading us to believe he is addressing an individual or speaking to individuals. But the use of the soldier in Ephesians 6 is a corporate metaphor just as in every other chapter of Ephesians. In other words the “one new man ” of chapter 2 is the one who wears the armor. It’s the Kingdom of God, those who have remained loyal in their faith in the work of the Cross of the Messiah, the Army of God who takes “orders from headquarters” seriously as they engage in spiritual warfare.

Not unlike the believers at Ephesus, we are engaged in a spiritual war. To simply stand our ground only responds to part of the orders from the King. We are commanded to advance against the kingdom of darkness using the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. It’s understandable that when we associate the Sword of the Spirit with the Word of God, we don’t get a clear picture of why Paul would give us that as our only offensive weapon. We need to look closer to prepare ourselves to respond to the order to use this weapon properly and effectively after the pattern Jesus gave us..

“Word of God” refers to the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt 4:23, 9:35, 13:19, 13:20, 13:21-23, Mark 1:1, 1:14-15, 2:2, 4:14-19, 7:13, Luke 1:2, 2:39, 3:2, 5:1, 8:11, 8:21, 11:28, John 3:34, 19:7, Acts 4:31 … and the list could go on).  Our “orders from headquarters” command us to advance the Kingdom of God using the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words, the Great Commission is our offensive weapon. It is the battle plan for the Army of God to raise the banner and advance against the kingdom of darkness using the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Standing firm in the face of the enemy, clothed with Jesus Christ, with the most powerful offensive weapon remaining in hand unused is unacceptable and an ineffective warfare tactic. It must be used — the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be activated against the principalities and powers and rules of darkness..

Colossians 1:13 tells us, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” as we share in the inheritance of the saints. How did that happen? We confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. How did we know to do that? At some point someone shared the Gospel with us — a soldier in God’s Army actively engaged the Sword of the Spirit and advanced against the kingdom fo darkness by a disciple. They did exactly what the Great Commission commands us to do.

Our order from headquarters:  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:16-20).

Every soul snatched from the enemy’s grip serves to strengthen and expand the Kingdom of God and mobilize yet another soldier on the spiritual battlefield. We have our orders … let’s get moving!