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Ephesians 6:10-20

Now, the normal way to approach this passage is to take a picture of a Roman soldier - exactly as the apostle Paul did - and explain the ways in which each bit of armour reminds us of the gifts God has given us, and the way they help us in our lives as Christians. There's a picture of a Roman soldier in his armour on the full armour of God page.

Paul was using an image that was very familiar to his Ephesian readers. And because of history lessons at school, and visits to museums and Roman remains, many of us are familiar with Roman armour too. But you could take a more modern image, and use Paul's analogy on that. Here's a builder:

Builder in God's protective equipment

Notice how he is equipped with:

  • the tool belt of truth (v14)
  • the reflective jacket of righteousness (v14)
  • gospel steel toe-capped boots (v15)
  • the road cones of faith (v16)
  • the hard hat of salvation (v17)
  • and the saw of the Spirit, which is the word of God (v17)

You could just show this picture on a screen. But a far more memorable and fun way to present it would be to assemble the builder's equipment, and get the kids to wear it:


You may need to find a friendly builder who can lend you some of this stuff. Road cones, hard hats, reflective jackets and steel toe capped boots are easy enough to find, although when I did this talk the small girl who came out to try on the steel toe capped Gospel boots suddenly lost enthusiasm for the task when she realised that my feet had been there beforehand.

The tool belt should have a tape measure and a bag of nails as an absolute minimum. Builders sometimes have nifty gadgets that allow them to carry their hammers, scaffolding spanners and what have you on their belts - and then whip them out like the Sundance Kid drawing his six-gun. If you can't find a cowboy builder, just bend something up from an old wire coat hanger.

Remember that the child to whom you give the saw of the Spirit (which is the word of God) will hit his friend (who is wearing the hard hat of salvation) over the head with it. So cover the teeth with those plastic strips that you slide over the edge of bits of paper to hold them together. Best to do this beforehand.

With a bit of parental prompting, children who later pass building sites or roadworks and see hard hats and reflective jackets and road cones will be reminded of the salvation God has given through his Son, and the righteousness that is ours because of the Cross, and the protection that our God-given faith provides.

You can hear the talk on the St James' Muswell Hill web site.

Another way to do this is to follow the example of my friend Paul, who works in the travel industry. His talk was on the lines of:

  • the money belt of truth (v14)
  • the flowery beach shirt of righteousness (v14)
  • gospel flip flops (v15)
  • the sun cream of faith (v16)
  • the floppy hat of salvation (v17)
  • and the something of the Spirit, which is the word of God (v17)

floppy hat of salvation

Unfortunately I can't remember what was the beach holiday equivalent of the Roman soldier's sword. I have drawn some more holiday things here, but none of them seem quite right. The deck chair of the Spirit? no. The rock pool of the Spirit? not really. Bucket and spade? Beach cricket? that's enough wrong ideas - you'll just have to think of the right answer yourself. Or speak to Paul.

beach things


Desert island church by John Parker. Contact me via the about page. Text and images copyright © 2014 John Parker www.desertislandchurch.co.uk.