Title: Armed for Battle, Part One
Theme: Successfully Dressed in this Earthly Realm
Topic: Kingdom Authority
Series: Grasping Our Authority in Christ
In grasping our authority in Christ there are six key topics that must be addressed, the first being “Grasping Kingdom Authority.” On this topic we have had our “Enemies Exposed,” come to realize that “A Battle Rages,” discovered “Surviving Satan’s Realm,” come to understand all that was “Conquered at the Cross,” and over the next couple of messages we are getting “Armed for Battle.”
People who are not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ have chosen to put their trust in other things to solve the trials of life. These things include: asking a friend’s advice, education, money, worldly wisdom, and self-improvement seminars.
I would propose to you that none of these is wrong in themselves. However, they will not bring the satisfaction our souls desire unless they are applied within the whole counsel of God’s Word and blanketed in prayer.
Just how do Christian soldiers prepare for the battles that must be fought in this sin trodden world? What is their armor and how does it make the difference in their walk with the Lord?
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)
The exhortation from the written Word of God is
The exhortation from the written Word of God is, “…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. (Ephesians 6:13)
The Word is clear. Christians have an adversary who is fully able to incite men of God to sin. (1 Chronicles 21:1) The Apostle Peter, remembering the time Satan “sifted” him (Luke 22:31) warns of this roaring lion and exhorts the Body of Christ to be self controlled and alert. (1 Peter 5:8) This why the Apostle Paul was led of the Holy Spirit of Christ to write down the full armor of God, thus informing the Body of Christ of all that is available to equip them in their struggles against evil spiritual forces.
Christians who grasp their authority in Christ know the believer’s life is a battlefield. Immediately upon receiving Christ into their spiritual heart and life, there is that constant struggle, an unceasing fight, an unending war while living on this earth. From the cradle to the grave there is a constant struggle for the spiritual hearts of mankind. Satan engulfs us in this war, using the weakness of the flesh and the lures of the world.
There are two ways of learning while watching the actions of mankind. One is to learn from the success gained from doing what is right and the other is observing what happens when mankind does what is wrong. Christians who observe the lives of those who have chosen to live for self live in reverent fear of:
*Not enjoying the abundant life promised in Christ.
*Not enjoying the Lord’s enablement for overcoming sin.
*Not enjoying the certainty of their future in God’s will.
*Not enjoying the acceptance of God through Christ.
Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ understand the truths of needing to put on the full armor of God so they can stand their ground in those on-going battles for the souls of mankind and to maintain their intimate walk with the Lord.
Putting on Christ Jesus as personal Savior and Lord
Mature Christians know that we have enemies to fight against, a captain to fight for, a banner to fight under and certain rules of war by which we are to govern ourselves. Being fully armed for our battle begins with putting on Christ Jesus as personal Savior and Lord. Romans 13:14 has a truth that must be grasped, “…clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
The key truth to being fully armed for battle is to personalize the putting on of the full armor of God by having Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. It can not be expressed loudly enough or often enough that God does not have grandchildren, He only has children. Christians who enjoy “Kingdom Authority” are those who have Holy Spirit illumination of Colossians 1:27 “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Christians who walk victoriously with the Lord on this sin trodden earth are those who have whole heartedly chosen to let their life’s epistle say, “When my life comes under the critical eyes of the lost and church attendees, may it proclaim Christ living in me” (The Expositors Bible Commentary; Commentary, Critical and Explanatory)
Victorious Christians literally put on Christ by looking at only what He would look at, listening to only what He would listen to, talking about only what He would talk about, touching in their spiritual heart only what He would touch, taking every thought captive to Christ, eating and drinking only what He would eat and drink. (Matthew Henry Commentary; The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible; Bible Knowledge Commentary)
Christians who make it a daily routine to decide in their heart, mind and life to let the Holy Spirit of Christ do a work in and through them spiritually enjoy the Lord touching them, protecting them, and enabling them. These Christians literally walk in the Lord’s presence at all times. (Thru the Bible) True Christian discipleship teaches us to walk so as to please the Lord. This lifestyle leads others to consider their life and walk with Christ.
Christians armed for battle begin with confessing as the Apostle Paul did, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection…” (Philippians 3:8-10) Christians who have this heart have high recommendation before God and are recognized in His kingdom as having worth.
Alfred P. Gibbs wrote about a young man who went to London with a letter of introduction to Baron Rothschild with a request that the great banker would give the young man employment.
Upon receiving the letter Mr. Rothschild welcomed the young man warmly, but had to express with regret that he had no job available. Mr. Rothschild put on his hat and walked with the young man showing him all the points of interest and places of possible employment. As they passed by a bank Rothschild took the young man in with him as he made some transactions.
A few days later the young man returned to that bank, applying for a job. After applying the young man was asked, “Are you the young man who was with Mr. Rothschild?” The young man answered “Yes.” His answer brought forth this statement, “Well, you are in good company young man, we will consider this to be a sufficient recommendation.” (From Knights Master Book of 4,000 Illustration)
Let the Holy Spirit place this truth into your spiritual heart when you are walking through this life with Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. You are in company that gives you high recommendation with God and you are employed into service to the King of kings. Make it a point to live a life like that of Peter and John of whom the Sanhedrin took note as being “men [whom] had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
For a heart check, does your life express a relationship with Christ? Do you make it point to clothe yourself with the likeness of Christ in trials, temptations and in work of the Lord?
Stand against the devil’s schemes
Christians who enjoy “Kingdom Authority” clothe themselves in Christ and respond to their Biblical exhortation, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11) The Holy Spirit of Christ moved the Apostle Paul to write about not only Christ Jesus, but also about the resources God has for the soldier of Christ.
The Word of God has nine instructions found in Ephesians chapter six that will enable us to defeat our enemy, the Devil. Allowing the Holy Spirit of Christ to enable us to apply our armor skillfully will enable us to walk in victory, thus enjoying “Kingdom Authority.” Victorious living involves being obedient to our exhortation, “stand firm then.” (Ephesians 6:14)
“Stand” (histemi) is an active verb meaning to achieve, accomplish, complete. Practical application is be prepared, do thoroughly, work it out. It is the ability to stand when the fight is on, when the conflict is at hand. The vision is not dislodged nor fallen. This relationship in Christ enables one to stand at his post, literally praying through to completion that which the Lord’s sets before him. There is steadfastness in the life of those who put on the full armor of God. (The Complete Word Study; Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament; Word Meanings in the New Testament, truth presented by Meyer and Salmond: Vines Amplified Expository Dictionary of the Bible)
The order of this day is to “Stand, Stand, Stand.” Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones points out that this military term is use frequently in the New Testament. Christians are to see themselves as soldiers being trained and equipped in the army of the living God.
Christians who understand “Kingdom Authority” do not become bitter because there is conflict for the souls of mankind nor in maintaining a healthy vibrant relationship with the Lord. Trusting in the Lord enables Christians to pray through those times of discouragement. When weakness comes upon them, they overcome that lethargic mode of living and slackness. They recognize when they begin to feel sorry for themselves, when they begin to question “Why me?” They see these as signs of defeat and respond appropriately when rebuked by Biblical authority. They enjoy those whom God has brought into their lives to call them to faith in Christ.
Biblical authority includes the Word of God, Christ Himself sending the Holy Spirit, Christian husbands and wives, parents, Biblical elders, deacons and Sunday School teachers. Mature Christians know that it is important to recognize the inevitability of trials and troubles and conflicts in this world, thus they heed to this exhortation, “stand firm then.”
Putting on the belt of truth
Being well armed for battle involves putting on the belt of truth. Ephesians 6:14 says, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.”
The Holy Spirit moves the Apostle Paul to write an external picture of armor for the child of God which is representative of spiritual warfare. Although it is true that there are other important aspects of spiritual warfare, these pieces are absolutely essential. Without spiritual armor being put on daily the child of God is defenseless against the ambush of the flesh, the lures of the world and the outright lies of the devil.
Christians who “Grasp their Authority in Christ” and successfully walk in “Kingdom Authority” have Holy Spirit illumination of what Isaiah wrote about Christ, “Righteousness will be His belt and faithfulness the sash around His waste.” (Isaiah 11:5) Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) All that Jesus Christ girded Himself with is what Holy Spirit filled believers gird themselves with.
This “truth” (aletheia) in the New Testament is divine truth derived from the true God. It declares the existence and the will of the Lord regarding His purposes in Christ Jesus along with the duties of mankind in respect to his relationship with the almighty God, with Jesus Christ and with walking in step with the Holy Spirit. (Thayer’s Greek-English Lerxicon of the New Testament; The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Bible)
Having God’s truth protects the child of God from libertinism and unbridled passions thus enabling him to refrain from continued sinful practices. Let the Holy Spirit place this powerful truth within your heart. These next six pieces of armor must be put on by us. We must make the effort every day to put on the full armor of God, and the first key piece of armor is “truth.”
The way of determining what the Apostle Paul is teaching in our key text is by using Scripture to interpret Scripture. Jesus told the Jews who claimed to believe on Him, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32) The truth the Apostle Paul and Jesus is referring to is the whole counsel of God’s Word.
Christians who enjoy their authority in Christ are those who seek not only to know the whole counsel of God’s Word but to let God’s truth master their direction throughout life. Victorious Christians do not merely look at the Word of God with intellect but they invite the Holy Spirit to work in their spiritual hearts so that the Word of the Lord governs their attitude and actions. To put on the belt of truth is essential. You are defeated without knowledge of the Word of God. Christians who live victoriously are so governed by the truths of the Lord they are ready with a truthful answer when attacked by their enemies.
Dr. Jay Vernon McGee tells of a clever general who told his men to cut the belts of their enemies while they were sleeping or even in the heat of battle. With the belts cut, the soldiers were so busy trying to keep their pants from falling down, they could not stay aggressive in during warfare. The devil uses the flesh and the lures of this world to cut at the belt of truth. Christians must keep this belt on by choice.
Truth matters. If your communication begins to go wrong, God’s Word sets it back on course. If your attitude is wrong, your hope is drained, your actions are carnal. God’s truth restores vision and passion thus enabling you to keep on keeping on.
The breastplate of righteousness
Victorious Christians put on the belt of truth by choice as well as the breastplate of righteousness. Ephesians 6:14 says, “Stand firm then, with the breastplate of righteousness.” In writing about the salvation of Christ Jesus, Isaiah wrote, “He put on righteousness as his breastplate…” (Isaiah 59:17)
The Christian’s failure to not put on the breastplate of righteousness leaves him open to the devil’s attacks. The next armor to apply skillfully is the breastplate of the righteousness of Christ. “Righteousness” (dikaiosune) is conformity to the claims of a higher authority.” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament) The Vine’s Amplified Dictionary of the New Testament tells us that righteousness was formerly spelled “rightwiseness.” This righteousness is supernaturally infused into the heart of the repentant sinner who wants to protect his heart. The function of the breastplate the soldier wore for battle was for the purpose of protecting vital organs of the body, particularly the heart. (Word Meaning in the New Testament)
Christians who put on this righteousness express a life of integrity, virtue, purity of life, uprightness, correctness in thinking, feeling, and acting. (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon: Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament) It is true that righteousness of Christ is applied to the repentant believer, however, this righteousness is the surrendered heart of a person who is hungry for the righteousness of Christ to be found within his spiritual heart, a heart that is hungry for the righteous living called forth by the whole counsel of God’s Word. (Thru the Bible)
Christians who have this righteousness as their breastplate have a desire to protect their heart from that which would hurt the Lord. They want nothing that would break fellowship with God, Christ and keep them from walking in step with the Holy Spirit. Christians, who are fully armed for the battles in this earthly realm know that while words are no defense against accusations, a good life is. Once when accused of certain crimes, Plato said, “Well then, we must live in such a way as to prove that his accusations are a lie.” (The Daily Study Bible Series, W. Barclay)
As we have been taught again and again in this topic, “Kingdom Authority” Christians have an adversary, Satan, the accuser of the brethren. The best way to be fully armed for battle is by putting on the breastplate of righteousness so that any accusations made against the Lord’s church may be proven a lie by the way Christians serve their Lord.
Over the years I have come across testimonies of Holy Spirit filled believers that illustrate Biblical truths. Here is one such testimony: “Often my trade takes me far away from home, before the eyes of those who know not where I live nor how to make contact with those I love. Often temptations come upon me, speaking loudly, ‘No one will find out, no one will ever know.’ It is in these moments of temptations the Holy Spirit speaks through the truth of God’s Holy Word, ‘He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.’ (Proverbs 28:13) That is a truth that has kept me walking in a reverent fear of God, thus enabling me to enjoy the blessings of the Lord.” (writer wants anonymity)
That is the life testimony of the child of God who desires to put on the breastplate of righteousness. He knows that he is not his own and he wants to conform his entire life to the Higher Power, the perfect will of God in his spiritual heart and life.
The breastplate of righteousness protects the integrity of the gospel and having our feet shod with the gospel of peace gives us a firm footing to stand upon. Our key text today says, “Stand firm… [by] having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15 NAS) Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news, …who proclaim salvation.”
Here the Holy Spirit lays the foundation upon which we have to stand, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Anyone trained in hand to hand combat is taught to gain a solid foundation by making sure his feet are anchored. (Thru the Bible) Roman soldiers prepared for battle by putting on shoes that had short nails in the soles. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary; The New Bible Commentary; The Bible Exposition Commentary)
These enabled them to stand firm on unstable ground.
On this sin trodden earth there is a lot of unstable ground and Christians who enjoy victory are those who put on the gospel of peace which brings peace between God and man. The preparation of the gospel of peace signifies a resolved frame of heart prepared to adhere to the gospel and abide by it. This resolve prepares Christians to walk in a steady forward motion in their work with the Lord. This preparation makes the child of God ready for combat and creates a quiet heart that is not easily provoked nor quarrelsome. This heart is longsuffering to all men and certainly able to persevere through great trials, persecutions, and temptations.
Les Brown of “Live Your Dreams” wrote, “How Badly Do You Want It?” If you want a thing badly enough to go out and fight for it, to work night and day for it, to give your time and sleep for it… if all that you dream and scheme is about it, and life seems useless and worthless without it… if you gladly sweat for it and plan for it and lose all your terror of opposition for it, if you simply go after that thing you want with all of your capacity, strength and in faith, hope and confidence… if neither cold, poverty, sickness or pain keep you away from the thing that you want. In God’s submissive will, you will receive it.” (10,000 Sermon Illustrations) Many in this world know the truths of this statement and have enjoyed much success in working hard to see their dreams through.
If those in this world can grasp the value of steadfastness and perseverance, Christians who have chosen to put on Christ are even more ready to be fitted with a readiness that comes from putting on the gospel of peace. Spence and Jones said, “Christians ought to ever be prepared to advance against the enemy, to obey their great Lord, to fight, to suffer, and to die for the cause of Christ Jesus and the truths of God’s Word.” (The Pulpit Commentary)
Christians who grasp “Kingdom Authority” prepare each day to share the gospel to a lost world. The most victorious Christian is a child of God who sets his focus on living out Christ before all to see that the grace of God abounds in the life of the repentant. This child of God is hungry for peace with God and with other Christians. (James 4:1-7) Even though Satan has declared war on the souls of mankind, victorious Christians know that they are ambassadors of peace who proclaim the message of reconciliation for all of mankind who repents. (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) The ongoing prayer for the child of God is reflected in this poem, “A Cedar Christian”:
“Jesus help me to be for thee,
Just like a big, strong cedar tree;
When all the other trees are bare,
The cedar stands so green and fair,
The wind and storm, the ice and cold
Make it more beauty to unfold,
So I would stand in trial and test,
Just trusting You to what is best,
Though others fail, Lord, keep Thou me!
May I a cedar Christian be!” Amen!!!! (Knights Master Book of 4,000 illustrations)
On this war torn earth there are battles to be fought against the flesh, the world view and the lies of the devil. There are nine instructions found in Ephesians chapter six that will enable us to defeat the flesh, the world and the devil. Thus far we have considered six of them.
The Holy Spirit is prompting your heart to seriously consider these six essentials to enjoying your Christ given authority over everything that comes against you. 1.) Does your life testimony reflect someone who puts on the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground? 2.) Does it say you clothe yourself with Christ and you do not gratify the desires of the sinful nature? 3.) Does it say you take a stand against the devil’s schemes? 4.) Does it say that you put on the belt of God’s truths? 5.) Does it say you put on the breastplate of righteousness thus protecting the integrity of the gospel? Lastly, 6.) Does it say you shod your feet with the gospel of peace of God, standing your ground and proclaiming the good news of Christ?
Westminster Quarterly ran a true story about a preacher who forgot to keep on the full armor of God. The title of the story was “There is One Who Bore it All.” This minister of the gospel was being harassed by members of his church and life’s trials were coming upon him in great waves. He got into a pity party and went to his overseer and said, “That is it, I can no longer endure this treatment!” The overseer said, “Do the people in the church spit in your face, beat you, publicly mock and accuse you or lay the results of sins you never committed upon you? The spiritually unprotected preacher said, “Most certainly not!” The story concluded with the preacher returning back to his calling. (Knight’s Master Book of 4,000 Illustrations)
In His teachings on signs of the end times Jesus said, “the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12) Those who have a clear Biblical understanding of “Kingdom Authority” study hard and become skillful at putting on the full armor of God.