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Spiritual Warfare 2

Notes & Transcripts

SPIRITUAL WARFARE: PART 2: ARMOR: PART 1

"In spite of all the complications of our life, path and ministry, if we closely examine our weapons we will find that they are invisible and intangible, and therefore cannot be snatched from us by the KGB or any persecutors in any country.

   These spiritual weapons are accessible and active everywhere -- they are not subject to territorial limitations. They cross all borders freely because they are passed vertically, from above. These weapons cannot be destroyed by listening devices, by electronics, nor by prisons! Our weapons are powerful, because the Lord God is acting on our behalf!

   Even though there are so many arrests now, neither prayer nor faith, neither trust nor righteousness have been taken from us. Nothing at all has been taken, because these weapons are made powerful by God!"

We have many difficulties, but God's weapons are powerful, and help us to overcome our enemy!

2 Corinthians 10:4-5:  "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (NIV)

Gennady K. Kryuchkov, President of the Council of Evangelical Baptist Churches:

In this sermon, I want us to look at the first three weapons which help us to defeat our enemy, Satan. 

We will look at the remaining weapons in the next sermon.

(REVIEW): Last message: We set the stage, by looking at Ephesians as an orientation about the Christian life as to why spiritual warfare is essential.

We covered three areas that provide a background for our topic: a) the city of Ephesians and its involvement in worshipping false gods; b) that Christ is exalted and we are able to have conquest over the enemy; c) the character, or nature of spiritual warfare.

Now, we are ready to launch in to this sermon.

Ephesians 6: 13-15:

 

13  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.  14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (NIV)

The theme of chapter 6 in Ephesians can be taken from this section, which is "the church is a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

Ephesians, chapter six begins with the Christian in His relationships:

God begins with the Christian in his or her home.

Then God has something to say to him or her as a contributor to the welfare of contemporary society.

Now, Paul uses the language of a Christians as a soldier, and that as soldiers, we have an enemy.

There is a battle being fought.

As a child of God is in a battle, and the battle is being fought along spiritual lines.

As individuals, and the church, we need to prepare ourselves for battle, taking on our weapons to defeat the enemy.

Our warfare is in progress now!

There is a demonic world around us and it is manifesting itself at the present hour.

It is happening, and you and I alone -- in our own power -- are no match for it.

Satan has a well-organized group, and his organization is manipulating in this world right now.

The heartbreak, the heartache, the suffering, the tragedies of life are the work of Satan in the background.

He is the cause of the great problems that are in the world today.

We have the enemy located and identified. That enemy is spiritual.

It is Satan who heads up his demonic forces.

Satan is like a roaring lion, and wants to devour us!

We need to wake up!

In our Ephesians passage, Paul listed seven spiritual weapons (one furnishing).

Five of these are objective endow­ments from God: 1) truth, 2) righteousness, 3) the gospel, 4) salvation and 5) the Spirit/the word of God.

Two of them, stress our responsibility: faith and prayer.

Our responsibility is also implicit in the five gifts from God.

While this list of spiritual resources (“weapons”) does not exhaust all divine bestowments avail­able to Christians, it represents the essence of all that is vital to waging successful warfare against the powers of darkness.

The nature of spiritual warfare, as Paul portrayed it here, is primar­ily concerned with Christian conduct and spreading the gospel—not with exorcism or eradicating structural evil.

The heart of spiritual warfare could best be summarized as resistance and proclamation.

Let's now talk more about this warfare & our first three weapons:

As the representatives of God’s kingdom here on earth, we find ourselves involved in an all-out war with a highly-organized opposing kingdom ruled by Satan.

This is a kingdom of evil spirit-beings (persons without bodies) whose headquarters are in the heavenly realms.

The battleground on which this war is being fought is the minds of humanity.

Satan has built up strongholds of prejudice and unbelief in the minds of the human race to keep them from receiving the truth of the gospel.

His main weapon, therefore, is deception.

If Satan can deceive, we begin to crumble. 

If he cannot deceive us, then the enemy is rendered powerless.

Our God-given task is to break down these mental strongholds, thus releasing men and women from Satan’s deception, and then bring them into submission and obedience to Christ.

Our ability to achieve this God-given task depends mainly upon two factors.

First, that we see clearly from Scripture that on the cross Jesus totally defeated Satan on our behalf and that it is now our responsibility to demonstrate and administer the victory which Jesus has already won.

Second, that we make proper use of the necessary spiritual weapons with which God has provided us.

In verse 13 of our text, Paul gives a further reason, “That you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

Notice the phrase, “the evil day.”

{I do not believe this means the Great Tribulation or some prophetic disaster that is going to come on the world (although I do believe there may be such disasters).}

I believe in that context “the evil day” refers to something that every Christian will go through.

This will be a time when a believer must confront the forces of evil, where his or her faith is going to be challenged, and where every kind of opposition and problem will be loosed against the believer.

Paul does not question our need to face the evil day.

It is not an option but a certainty.

There is a parable that Jesus gave concerning two men who built houses (Matt. 7:26-27).

The foolish man built on sand, and the wise man built on rock.

The foolish man’s house collapsed, but the wise man’s house stood.

The difference between those two houses was not the tests to which they were subjected because each house was subjected to the same test the wind, the rain, the storm and the flood.

The difference was the foundation on which they were built.

Nothing in the Scripture indicates that we, as Christians, will escape these tests.

We will not escape “the evil day,” we must be prepared to go through it.

In the light of this, Paul says, “Put on the whole armor of God.”

The verb aorist is an im­perative, which construction issues a command given with military snap and curtness, a command to be obeyed at once and once for all.

Thus, the Christian is to take up and put on all the armor of God as a once-for-all act and keep that armor on during the entire course of his life, not relaxing the discipline necessary for the constant use of such protection.

Paul takes his picture from -- more than likely -- a Roman soldier of his day and lists six pieces of equipment that a Roman soldier would normally wear.

Let me list them for you:

First, the belt of truth;

Second, the breastplate righteousness;

Third (a furnishing), the shoes of preparation of the gospel;

Fourth, the shield of faith;

Fifth, the helmet of salvation;

Sixth, the sword of the Spirit.

A seventh, not worn, but a weapon or "energy," is prayer.

If you put on these first six pieces of equipment, you will be fully protected from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet with one exception.

There is no protection for the back, which we will discuss at the end.

Here are the first three:

1.)  The Belt of Truth:  The first item of equipment is the belt of truth.

We must understand why a Roman soldier would need a belt as part of his equipment.

Remember that in those days, men s clothing (as well as women’s) was usually a loose garment that came at least to the knees.

In the case of the soldier, it was a kind of tunic.

When a Roman soldier was required to do something active, such as fight or use his weapons, he would need to take care of that loose garment.

If he did not, its flaps and folds would hinder his movements and prevent him from using the rest of his equipment effectively.

The first thing he had to do was to tie his belt tightly around his waist in such a way that the tunic no longer flapped freely and could not hinder his further movements.

This was essential and it was the basis for everything else.

That is a good explanation as to why probably Paul mentions the belt of truth before he speaks about anything else.

Quite often the Bible speaks about a man “girding up his loins” (i.e., Acts 12:8; 1 Peter 1:13).

This is what is meant by that phrase.

Paul says the belt for us is truth.

I believe that does not mean abstract, theological truth, but truth in daily living.

It means honesty, sincerity, openness, and frankness.

As religious people, we are often encumbered with much sham and hypocrisy.

Many things we say and do are not really meant, but we say them only because they sound good.

We can full of untruths and insincerities.

In some places, this insincerity is "built" into their culture:

Illustration: China: Complementing the cooking: "My wife is the most horrible cook.  I hope you can suffer through this."

We must put away sham, hypocrisy, religious cliches, and saying and doing things we do not mean.

Often truth is quite painful.

You must begin to show other people the kind of person you really are.

You may have been lying, or putting on a religious front all this time and now you are confronted with the need for real truth, openness and frankness.

You must put on the belt and tie it around so that these religious insincerities and shams no longer hang around you and get in the way of things God is asking you to do.

Remember, Satan is a liar, but the Christian who knows the truth will not be deceived.

 

2.  The Breastplate of Righteousness:  The breastplate of the Roman soldier protects, above all else, one absolutely vital organ of the human body: the heart.

The Bible indicates, that the heart is of supreme importance in our lives as stated by Solomon in:

Proverbs 4:23: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

A well-know Bible teacher, Derek Prince was a teacher in Kenya, East Africa, for five years.

He became acquainted with a number of the tribes and learned a little of their languages.

One day, on the wall of a student’s dormitory, he saw Proverbs 4:23 quoted in the Maragoli language, which was: “Guard your heart with all your strength, for all the things there are in life come out of it.”

What you have in your heart must ultimately determine the course of your life, for good or for evil.

It is essential that we protect our heart from all kinds of evil.

Paul speaks about the breastplate of righteousness as a protection of the heart.

We must ask ourselves what is meant by righteousness in this context.

Fortunately, Paul returns to this theme of armor in another epistle.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:8, he says this: "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet."

Here Paul describes the breastplate from another point of view.

He calls it “the breastplate of faith and love.”

Put these two passages together: “the breastplate of righteousness” is a “breastplate of faith and love.”

This tells us the kind of righteousness that Paul has in mind.

It is not the righteousness of works, or religious law, but it is the righteousness that comes only by faith.

Paul speaks about this kind of righteousness again in Philippians 3:9:

"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."

Paul now puts the two kinds of righteousness side by side.

First of all, he speaks about a righteousness of his own derived from the Law, and says this is not sufficient.

As an alternative, he speaks of the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

That is the kind of righteousness which he has in mind when he speaks about the breastplate of righteousness that protects the heart.

As long as we are wearing a breastplate which is simply our own righteousness, Satan can find many weak points in that type of righteousness and can often penetrate it with his attacks and damage our heart.

We must put on a breastplate which is not our own righteousness but the righteousness of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:21 reads: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

We must be convinced out of Scripture and accept by faith that we have become the righteousness of God.

That is the only kind of breastplate that can adequately protect our heart and our life.

This kind of righteousness Paul emphasizes, comes only through faith.

Therefore it is a breastplate of faith and love.

There is no other way to achieve this kind of righteousness.

The prayer of Jesus for Peter on the night before His crucifixion is moving.

This is when Jesus warned Peter that he was going to betray Him the same night.

In the context of that warning, Jesus said, “Peter, I have prayed for you.”

Jesus did not pray that Peter would not betray Him.

In those circumstances, under the pressures that would develop and with the known weaknesses in Peter’s character, it was inevitable that Peter would betray Jesus.

But Jesus prayed a different kind of prayer, the only prayer that could really help Peter.

Jesus said in Luke 22:31-32: "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”  

Notice Jesus said, “that your faith may not fail.”

Even though he was going to deny the Lord and show himself very weak and cowardly, everything could still be retrieved provided his faith did not fail.

This is the breastplate of faith and love.

Faith is the essential element for this breastplate.

The kind of faith that we are analyzing works only through love.

Galatians 5:6 says: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

As I understand it, what Paul is really saying is, “No kind of outward ceremony or ritual, in itself, is sufficient.  The one essential thing, without which we cannot succeed in the Christian life, is faith, the kind of faith that works through love. It is not a passive or theoretical faith. It is an active faith that works only through love.”

Irresistible power of love is powerful.

Look at the passage in Song of Solomon 8:6-7: "Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal over your arm; for love is as strong as death,  7  Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away."

Think of the statement “love is as strong as death.”

Death is the one irresistible thing that we all must encounter.

There is not one of us that can resist it.  There is no way to avoid it.

Scripture says that love is as strong as death.

Think about it.  Love is irresistible.   It always conquers.

There is no way it can be defeated.

Love protects us from all negative forces like resentment, unforgiveness, bitterness, discouragement, and despair which can corrupt our hearts and spoil our lives.

Remember, all that there is in life comes out of the heart.

Paul describes this kind of love in Corinthians 13:4-8:  "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not

envy, it dose not boast, it is not proud.  5   It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  6  Love dose not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  7  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8  Love never fails."

That is the breastplate we need, one that never fails.

A breastplate in which there are no weak points that Satan can penetrate.

What Paul says there is so appropriate to the picture of the breastplate.

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

When you have on that breastplate of faith that works by love, it will always protect you.

It will keep your heart from every attack and attempt of Satan to penetrate that vital area of your life.

Righteousness has to do with the consistent daily walk of the Christian.

Satan is the accuser (Rev. 12:10), but the believer who walks in the light will give Satan no opportunity to attack.

We stand in the imputed righteousness of Christ, and we walk in the imparted righteousness of the Holy Spirit.

3. The Shoes Of the Preparation of the Gospel

There is one part of the soldier’s gear that is not a weapon, but it is a furnishing that enables the soldier to take an offensive posture in the battle -- good footwear.

The shoes Roman soldiers usually wore were strong, heavy sandals with thongs to keep them in place.

They usually laced at least half-way up the calf with leather thongs.

They were a very important part of the legionary’s equipment because they enabled him to march long distances at speed.

This gave him mobility.

It made him available to his commander at the time and the place where he was needed in the battle.

A typical soldier would journey for miles as his army advanced to the battlefront and then pursue the enemy.

So, think of shoes as providing mobility and availability to your commander, the Lord Jesus Christ.

For two years during World War II, Derek Prince served with a hospital unit with the British Army in the deserts of North Africa.

Derek relates: "There were times while we were working with an armored division that we were very close to the enemy lines, sometimes at night.

 

In the desert it is not easy to know exactly where the enemy lines are because the whole war is very mobile.

 

In such situations, our commanding officer always gave orders that we were not to take our boots off at night.

 

We were to sleep with our boots on.

 

Of course, the reason is obvious.

 

You are usually not at your best when you wake out of sound sleep.

 

If you do not have your boots on and there is confusion all around you, you can spend several valuable minutes groping in the dark for your boots, then trying to put them on and lace them up.

 

If, however, you have your boots on, you are instantly available.

 

The key is availability or mobility."

This is also true of the spiritual counterpart of our equipment about which Paul speaks.

The shoes, or the sandals, are called “the preparation of the gospel.”

In other words, it means being ready with something.

As Christians, we are obligated to have an intelligent understanding of the gospel.

Many Christians claim to be saved and born again but they cannot give an intelligent account of how they were saved or how someone else can be saved.

I believe “preparation” includes study of the Scripture, memorization of Scripture, and the ability to communicate intelligently the gospel message.

Notice also that Paul calls it “the gospel of peace.”

It is a gospel that produces peace of heart and mind in those who believe and obey it.

There is one thing very certain about peace.

We can only transmit peace to others if we have peace ourselves.

We cannot transmit something that we do not experience.

We can talk about it, we can theorize, but we cannot transmit it.

There is a very significant passage in Matthew 10:12-13, where Jesus gave instructions to the first disciples when He sent them out for the first time to preach the gospel.

This is part of His instruction: "As you enter the home, give it your greeting.  If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you."

Notice that significant phrase, if a home is deserving, “let your peace rest on it. . . .“ You are to impart your peace to it.

When you go into a home, do you have peace to impart?

You cannot impart something that you are not enjoying yourself.

Let me give you an illustration of how this might work.

Suppose you are a lady doing your grocery shopping in a supermarket.

As you wait in the check-out line, there is a lady who is obviously on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

She is nervous and jittery and God directs you to help her.

What are you going to do?

Are you going to say, “Come to church on Sunday morning?”

That will not meet her need.

If that was all you could say, you would not have your shoes on.

Having your shoes on means you are ready to do something right then and there when God directs you.

First of all, you must have peace.

You must let her feel that you have something that she does not have and desperately needs.

Often, people can feel, or sense peace in other people.

When she reaches out for that peace, you must be able to tell her in simple, nonreligiouis language just how she can find peace.

You must be able to communicate the gospel to her.

That is the “shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace.”

The footgear of the Chris­tian needs to be “the readiness to announce the Good News of peace.”

Believers need to be prepared to share the good news of Christ wherever God may lead them.

Remember, Satan is a divider and a destroyer.  He is a deceiver.

When the believer walks in the way of peace, the Gospel way, then Satan cannot reach him.

The Christian’s feet should be clean (John 13), beautiful (Rom. 10:15), and shod with the Gospel.

A Christian should be ready at all times to witness.

Christians who are ready to witness for Christ have an easier time defeating the evil one.

Conclusion:

God gives us weapons in which we may obtain victory over our enemy and live a victorious Christian life.

Those weapons include:

1.)   Belt of Truth:

Christians need to have candor, sincerity, truthfulness.

We need to have an open­ness that will practice no deceits and attempt no disguises in our relationship with God or with others.

2.)   Breastplate of righteousness: This is the product of the Holy Spirit in the life of the yielded saint.

3.)   The Shoes Of the Preparation of the Gospel:

If the Christian soldier is to stand up against the attack of the demons, he must see to it that his feet are properly protected and equipped.

Thus, the Christian soldier should see to it that his feet are equipped with the sandals which will give him a firm footing, namely, the good news that speaks peace to a sinful heart, for the Lord Jesus made peace by the blood of His Cross.

We are to be mobile and to share this peace - Gospel with others.

Invitation:

Will you accept Jesus and have victory over the enemy?

Will you take on the armor that is available to you?

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