Putting on the Full Armor of God part 1
Putting on the full Armor of God
Do you remember me talking about the book I am trying to read?
“Power through Prayer” by E. M. Bounds.
Remember how we talked about how I haven’t really gotten past the first couple paragraphs though, because of what the author said? And How I interpreted it is We go to church only a small fraction of our time, compared to our forty hour work week, or our hours that we sleep, or for some of us the hours that we watch TV. Typically a Christian’s life “speaking about Sunday worship, ministry work and bible studies really only add up to 3 or 5 hours a week typically, there are others who do more but there are others who do way less……
And when it comes to prayer, some Christians, and I am speaking in general terms, because I know it is not us here today, but some in fact most Christians spend less than an hour week praying. And with that in mind, when I read things like what E.M. Bounds says about it, and he is talking about pastors but I see it as everyone he says “for your sermons last but an hour or two; your life preaches all the week”.
It speaks to me. It is profound and it makes me want to step up my game. Because I believe that my life needs to speak about my belief.. So it speaks to me that I have to live the Life of Christ Jesus in the best possible way I can. I am not this perfect and I make mistakes and my life sometimes doesn't preach the rest of the week, but that is what I want, for my life to preach to everyone each week, all week.
I know you have been listening to us talk about our Christian Character but you have to admit that, when it really comes down to it, when the Holy Spirit is inside of us, we want to get better at being a follower of Jesus. We want to get closer to Jesus.
This week I read “Preaching is not the performance for an hour. It is the outflow of a life.” So true isn’t it?
Before we get into our time of worship, Grab your bulletin there just a announcements I want to tell you about, you may want to circle them or put a star next to them.
In front you in the pew racks are the offering envelopes Please be prepared at the end of the service to receive the tithes and offerings, and of course to drop off your connection card in the offering bucket as well. If you are a visitor with us today we want to encourage you to complete the connection card that you have along with our church family, we use it for several things such as prayer and our next steps. So feel free to complete yours.
Here at the ROCK we take a few minutes before we get full into our full worship, to say hi to one another as one big family, so let’s all take a moment and show some Jesus love to one another!
Open your Bibles with me to Ephesians, and when you get there let me know by saying amen. Ephesians chapter 6.
We are at war! That is what we talked about last week. You are a child of God and because you are a child of God we are at War.
There were four things we needed to realize as children of God.
First. We are in a spiritual war (whether we realize it or not) 1 Peter 2:11 tells us: Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world (Peter is reminding Christians of their status here on earth), to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
Second. You are either following the Devil or Christ, listen we cannot sever 2 masters. We are either following the Satan or Jesus. We cannot come to church on Sunday and live the rest of the week like there is no God.
Third. We cannot win the spiritual battle in our own power. We have to understand that there is a struggle that is there between our sinful nature and our inner being, which is our spiritual nature, which longs to obey God. And that’s what Paul was talking about in the beginning of Ephesians 6:10 “be strong on the Lord”, because we cannot do it alone.
And fourth We can have victory in Christ, Paul knew that it was the because of Christ that he would win, not on his own actions. Romans 7: 25 He says Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind. but because of my sinful desire I am a slave to sin. Paul tells us that, we can have victory but it is only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Knowing that we are in a spiritual war and realizing as a child of God there are things that we have to depend on God for, I want to speak to you today about being prepared for your battle, being ready for the daily fights in our life.
If you are there with in Ephesians chapter 6 say Amen!
Read with me starting at verse 10……………This is one of the four letters which Paul wrote while he was in prison… He is writing to the church on Ephesus.
10” Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Remember last week the we said we are fighting a spiritual fight, and the Apostle Paul recognizes this and tells the church in Ephesis, to be strong in the Lord, Why… Because if we are weak in our faith we are easy targets, without daily preparation for those battles that happen, without Christ the devil is out strolling around looking for one to devour.
He goes on to say, 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Folks, when we wrestle with the sins in our life, when we can’t shake that feeling, we that need have to have that fix, when we have to go out and do the wrong thing Paul is telling us that this is the Spiritual forces of evil, in the heavenly places means places that we cannot see.
Have you heard of the mall shooting in Africa? Have you seen the News, the latest shooting In DC the police said that that the man called the police because he was hearing voices form the closet. The latest shootings in Chicago where 11 where shot two nights ago then 11 were shot yesterday? This is because of the spiritual war that exists.
These cosmic powers and heavenly places we cannot see.
We cannot see heaven, although sometimes I feel I get a climps of it here on earth, but we don’t.
We can’t see hell, although it seems like our lives are sometimes are so messed up that we are experiencing hell right here on earth. But it is the heavenly places which are fighting against us, the evil one the devil.
13 Therefore, so Paul says because of all that… take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (The Armor gives us strength to withstand the day and to stand firm in our faith of Jesus Christ)14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Listen to me cannot win the battle if you are not prepared for the fight.
In WWII the men fighting the war had to wear the gear that made them ready for battle, like helmets, first aid kits, they had weapons and magazines to load the weapons they had things like a small fold up shovel which is called an entrenching tool, to literally dig a fox hole, to fight out of, to fill sand bags and it us used for many other things while fighting.
Today the Army wears a uniform like this so that it is harder to see the soldiers with this pattern and when they go into battle. And when going they go into battle in they are prepared it is called “full battle rattle”. They carry their weapons, grenades, they wear protective gear, there helmet, flak jackets, boots, glove, they protective masks.
In today’s society:
Police officers don’t go into a hijacking situation w/o their weapons, tazers and handcuffs. They now have swat teams that are heavily armed and have heavily armed vehicles. What good are they if they are unarmed like us? They have to begin the day prepared for the day’s fight to win the battle.
Or what about a fire fighter, have you ever seen a firefighter show up only in jeans and a t-shirt? Do they come to a fire without a truck or hose, without their protective clothing?
Firefighters have to come to the fire wearing and using all their firefighting equipment to be prepared to fight the battle.
Which brings us to our Big IDEA
Our Big Idea is:
We have to win the battle we must be prepared for the fight.
And it is a daily struggle a daily fight at times, Amen?
You see there are many different tools used for many different types of battles.
Paul is chained next to a guard who is ready for the battle of that day, he has all his gear on.
You know in the Army, before you go out on a mission of any sort- you are briefed, so you are prepared for that mission. So Paul is looking at these soldiers who are prepared for the days work ahead, they have been briefed, they have on all the right gear, they have their weapons, shields, the belt of that time, the correct shoes. Yet most of us begin our day, and we are not prepared for fight. That is what Paul see’s in the church at Ephesus. You cannot win the battle if you are not prepared for the fight.
So it is no wonder why the Apostle Paul says:
“Put on the whole armor of God”
Now notice that He did not say put on part of the armor, he did not say on Tuesdays only wear the belt of truth and on Thursdays put on the helmet of Salvation. So..
I have a note that I wrote in my NIV study Bible when I first started going too church. It says this first thing I ever read at Cross Key’s Baptist Church. Our Scripture today about the Armor of God was the first thing read when I was becoming a Christian. I am reminded that I understood that the reason I was going through the mess in my life was not because I was never suppose to have trouble or a battle in my life, but I was having so much difficulty because I wasn’t prepared for the prepared for the fight.
SO Why is the Armor Important?
As I said before Paul was in prison during the time he was writing to the church at Ephesus about the spiritual struggles and battles they would face. He uses the armor of a Roman soldier to give them examples and illustrations of the spiritual armor they needed to put on so that they can continue to stand against the attacks of Satan. Paul used the Roman guard as an illustration because the Ephesians and the rest of the known world seen the soldiers everyday of their life.
But to answer this question more in depth it is helpful to know the general outline of the book of Ephesians, in two ways;
The first three chapters give us a theological foundation that we can experience spiritual victory because we are believers in Christ.
The final three chapters focus us on practical living, the way we should be living out lives in the community of unbelievers. Because we have been saved we have victory, but we still have to live out our faith on daily basis, though our personal lives. I believe that this is where many people get it wrong.
I am convinced that many Christians believe that they can go to church on Sunday, but the life they lead the rest of the week does not reflect it at all. The enemy has lead the people, the enemy has influenced people to believe that they don’t need church and People think because I am saved I can just do whatever I want and that is not true, it is far from the truth.
Paul tells us in chapter 4 verse 1 of the book of Ephesians “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” If you are a Christian then you should live like one.
Chapter 5 verses 21-27 to the beginnings of chapter 6. Tells us that We are to live out our faith at home, listen at what Paul tells us in chapter 5: verse19-20 Listen, Church….. he says We are to live out our faith in the Church with each other and 6:5-9, yes we are to live out our faith even in the work place. I know we have been discussing a lot about Christian Character in the last few months but it is important.
Living out our faith daily is not easy, because we struggle against the “Cosmic powers and spiritual evil forces” verse12 tells us about. The enemy schemes each day to weaken our faith and destroy our testimony. If He can destroy our testimony he has won.
The only way to fight these battles is to “put on the full armor of God.
In 2nd Timothy 4:7 paul tells Timothy “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race”
Fighting and winning these spiritual battles helps us understand the blessings of being in Christ. This cancer that we are dealing with in our grandson Sammuel could be the most devastating thing there is for us. And for some who are without Jesus and without the Armor of God, this is a devastating issue to us. But we know that God is control and as we have the whole Amor of God on, it comforts me knowing that He is in complete control of this situation. God is blessing Sammuel at every turn from the Doctors, to prayers for him from other people, but it does not mean we forget about it, but we are to know, believe and live God’s word every day. And do you know what? That is our choice.
When we told people that we were following God’s plan to move from the county into the city, for the ministry people were shocked, they asked us if we were scared.. you know they did not know us very well.
When Paul told the believers in Ephesus to put on the full armor of God, the believers, those Christians had to decide to wear the Armor of God it was not automatically on them, it did not magically appear. The same principle applies with us, as believers we must decide to wear the Full Armor of God every day, you know we have His grace and truth in our lives, God makes us righteous when we are converted that’s what (2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”.
But we still must decide each day whether we will fight the spiritual battles using God’s weapons or not. It is sad to say that most of us go through our days without fighting, we just give in.
I know it seems easier to just do what everyone else does, but by giving in…. our lives don’t show that we are Christians.
But what you need to understand is that Putting on the full Armor of God encompasses all of our life. The Armor involves daily living in truth, righteousness and faith, standing firm in our faith, ready to quench the fiery darts with God’s shield; and living in hope, standing ready to tell others about the good news of Jesus.
Putting on the Armor involves knowing, believing and living in God’s word everyday in all facets of our life.
That is why the Apostle Paul challenged the believers to put on the Full Armor of God. Wearing it all involves a daily lifestyle, not some quick fix or quick solution to our struggles in our lives. Putting on the Armor means daily living a life pleasing and honoring to God and being a faithful disciple of Jesus in every area of our lives.
The apostle Paul tells us to wear the FULL armor of God. What he is saying is that no one piece is insignificant, no one piece can be ignored. Look at a fire fighter if they go into a roaring fire with only half of their protective clothing on, I mean.. what good are they. OK well may be only half of them would get burned. But when that half gets burned they become ineffective. They cannot do the job, they cannot fight the battle.
We are in effective of we are not completely prepared for the fight every day.
When we only wear part of the Armor it leaves gaping holes and we become vulnerable to the enemy. Satan goes after those vulnerable areas of our lives and tries to weaken us. He tears us apart in these places of our lives that we leave open, alcohol, drugs, pornography, money, lust, pride and our fixation on the material things in life, sicknesses and diseases. Just to name a few. We must put on the full armor of God every day to protect ourselves and that is why the armor is important.
So now we understand why the Armor of God is so important, now we have to understand what the components are and what their functions areas they make prepared for our battles.
And we find that we have several pieces of the Armor that does in fact prepare us for the battle.
There is the belt of truth
The breastplate of righteousness
Having your feet ready with the Gospel Shoes of Peace
Then the shield of faith
The Helmet of Salvation
The Sword of the Spirit
And Lastly prayer
We are going to take a look at each of the pieces of Armor
But something I would like to remember is that in the Armor of God only 2 of the items are for used offense the other rest are used in defense.
What is the Armor of God?
Here is a picture of a typical Roman Soldier. We know that Paul was in Prison when he wrote these words in Ephesians and he was likely thinking about the soldier, who he may have been chained to or had them outside of his prison cell as he wrote about putting on the full Armor of God.
Look in our text with me the first piece of the Armor that Paul tells us about on is found in verse 14 He says Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth. The NIV version of the Bible tells us: Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.
The First pieces of armor is the belt of truth
The belt of the Roman Soldier was typically a wide leather belt designed to hold the soldiers tunic in place. A tunic is a loose fitting, knee length garment and a soldier tucked his outer garment under his belt so that the tunic wouldn’t hinder his running or fighting. When the belt is tightened the soldier was ready for battle, loosened he was off duty. A Christian who is ready to do battle must fix in place his commitment to know, believe and live the truth.
Listen to me, Satan is a liar! John 14:6 tells us that You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Say these words after me “Satan is a Liar”. And his primary attack strategy is to feed us lies and to entice to lie ourselves. He lied from the very beginning with Eve in Gen 3:4 he said to “surely you won’t die” The enemy has promoted lies from the very beginning. The Easter bunny a is a lie, there is no rabbit that lays hard boiled colored eggs in baskets and goes around giving them to children. So our best defense is the truth. During the fall festival it is not about the costumes, it is not about scaring the children, it is not about passing out all the candy, it is about spreading the light of the world – on a dark night, it is about the truth not the lie. Everything that the devil holds on to—everything he has is temporary and is a lie, money is not power God is, fame is not power God is, fortune is not power God is, everything the devil wants us to fall into is lie, that’s his power. But God…says Jesus is the truth, John 14:6 “I am the truth and the life”.
Jesus embodies the truth and we have the truth within us when He dwells in us. When Christ lives within us nothing including the “powers” verse 12 can separate us from His Love. Secondly, God’s word is the truth that sets us apart. We can’t consistently win spiritual battles if we don’t know God’s Word.
Even though we have the truth in us when we are Christians, we still must live out truthful lives, wearing the “belt of truth” means living out a life of honesty and integrity.
You know if we fall into Satan’s trap of his temptations we live a life less than the truth. If we don’t constantly tell the truth, we are not wearing the belt of truth this includes the little white lies we tell others. And we are living a life of hypocrisy and the belt is not on us.
Maybe you know the pain of living a life of lies. You know that little white lie may have not seemed too bad at the time. Maybe it made sense to lie in order to protect yourself or someone else, but the first lie leads to another and another and eventually you get caught because you didn’t remember what the first lie was or you have become like Adam and Eve hiding from God or others because of the lies.
You know Dishonesty in our daily lifestyle and in our words lead to bondage and scripture tells us in John 8:32 “that you will know the truth and the truth shall” (What) it “shall set you free”… If you are listening to day say “I want to be free”.
The belt of truth, we have to know Jesus the “truth and the life”, and we need to know His word, and “the truth shall set you free”
We will look at the other parts of the Armor that prepares of for battle each next week.
But before we close out for today we have to answer the question how do we daily put on the belt of truth.
1st we live the truth of Gospel
2nd. We surround ourselves with people who are of the same likeness- those who are searching to have that better relationship with Christ. Listen facebook is a great thing. We have hundreds and hundreds of friends but all of them are like minded Christians. You cannot surround yourself with people who believe in other truths and expect to hear what they are saying and it not affect your life in some way or another. This means that if you work you need hang out with other like minded Christians, Be a missionary to everyone else, but don’t live in the untruth of their world. I had a co-worker tell one day I can’t stop cursing, He believes this lie, that he cant,, but I will tell you I was able to stop drinking and smoking the same day and I didn't hurt anyone,, I also quit cursing, it is all about the truth in your life, some say well it is all I have left, yes your right, that lie of cursing is the only thing you have left that will take you to hell. You see you must live in the truth.…Putting in the belt of truth is more than telling the truth, it is living in the truth, it is living with those who profess the truth, that is what helps you prepare for your fight so you can win the battle.