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The Armor of God - Part 1

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The Armor of God

Intro - to two week sermon. Get us on track for the next school year.
Ephesians 6:10–17 ESV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. Therefore 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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
Eph 6:10-17
The belt of truth
Fact v. Truth – Fact is something observable. The word’s meaning in Latin, is “thing done.” So it is an logical observation. This is a…
Truth – Truth is subjective. It is more than just facts, but at the same time, is made up of facts. Truth is our interpretation of the observable. [give an example in relation to the last]
Move that towards our lives...Our situations can tend to be factually difficult. The fact is this happened…But if we carefully apply God’s word and His Spirit to our situations, we will then know truth! You see, Satan, the world, whatever, it will always present to us our shortcomings, our faults, our struggles, in the hopes that we will give in and start to believe that what they say is the truth (Jesus tempted in wilderness). But if we keep God as the center of our truth, then we will view our “facts” through Him! Did that happen? Surely. But that punch in the gut feels less severe when God’s Spirit softens the blow. When we are supported by this figurative AND literal “belt of truth,” we can take those bad moments, those facts, and absorb them in God’s mercy and Grace.
You see it is all about perspective, something we so often lack as a society…[expand]
…at the end of the day, when we view the facts of our lives against the truth that God has saved us from death and from the misery that can be this world, our perspective becomes HIS perspective, and we can take any punch in the gut this life might bring us.
And more than that, when you finally lay hold of the truth, you are able to understand the words of our Savior, because you are finally free to see His truth.
John 8:32 NIV
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
And more than that, when you finally lay hold of the truth, you are able to understand the words of our Savior, because you are finally free to see His truth.
The Breatplate of righteousness
God protects our hearts. Talk about body armor, or football uniforms...When you wear that stuff, you have the confidence to be what you need to be in that moment. And, God should be our confidence! I can’t tell you how many times a young person, or even an older person has told me they can’t do something - I can’t speak in front of people, I can’t pray in front of people - I can’t witness, I can’t live out God’s ideal plan for my life, I can’t seek Him first.
Those are all lies! Not lies from us, either, lies from the world, from Satan. You see, when those same people, the ones who said they can’t, actually allow God to gird their heart and rely on Him for strength, when they step up to the plate and do it they rock it!
Whether it is the youth last week, or you at home, or at work, or in those stressful situations when you know you need to speak up! God will protect your heart and give you the courage you need BECAUSE of His righteousness!
Deuteronomy 32:4 NIV
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Duet. 34:
Our rock is just and righteous, and if He is protecting our heart we can boldly stand in the face of evil! Just like that Kevlar does for soldiers and policemen and women, when you know that the creator of the universe has provided you with the keys to eternity, your perspective tends to shift. You stop thinking so much about the fears you might have, or the impossibility of it all, and you start looking for opportunities to boldly step into the breach and stand up in the face of evil, oppression, hate, and sadness.
You see, His righteousness assures us that we can boldly stand in the face of evil, just like that Kevlar does for soldiers and policemen and women. When you know that the creator of the universe has provided you with the keys to eternity, your perspective tends to shift. You stop thinking so much about the fears you might have, or the impossibility of it all, and you start looking for opportunities to boldly step into the breach and stand up in the face of evil, oppression, hate, and sadness.
But you can’t do that on your own, it is only by God that we can do that. So we have to put on that righteousness. We have to remind ourselves of His righteousness every chance we get. And you do that by keeping His word in your heart. By being grateful for His love and presence, and all you have! By never losing touch with Grace, with Christ, because He alone is our righteousness.
Matthew 6:33 NIV
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(verse slide)
Paul would add to that, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” So when we put on His righteousness we reclaim that great act, that love, that sacrifice, that Grace. That is what protects our hearts and gives us hope.
The feet things of gospel peace
Footgear. It can make or break you, right?
I am sure you have seen those commercials for Dr. Sholls. And if you have ever had to work on your feet all day, you know, if you are wearing the wrong shoes, or need inserts and aren’t wearing them, you’re gonna have a hard day.
[talk about me at the gym and my shoes]
[talk about hunters…other sports…essentially wearing the right shoes for the job]
But I wonder, do we wear the right spiritual shoes in our lives?
You see, Paul is driving us toward some real truth here. Church, this is the only one of the six pieces of armor that is in fact, not even close to a piece of armor. In fact, for you all that prefer the King James translation, I believe it reads, “having your feet shod...”, like a horse. This isn’t armor you wear into battle as much as a necessary thing to allow you to do what God needs you to do!
[forest gump pic]
I like to think of them as “magic shoes.” You know the movie, right...
[talk about it…move towards…]
…You see, the real magic shoes are those grimy old nikes Forrest wears with that nice outfit. Those plain shoes, that took him and his message all across the country, and eventually brought him to where he was when we met him.
They are beat up, they look awful, but they are exactly what he needs to do and be what he is meant to be and do.
[gump shoes]
What are our feet fitted with? Because, church, there’s an awful lot you can tell about a person by their shoes.
As you walk around in life, what guides your steps? What moves you? What directs you? Is it whatever trend is screaming across social media? Is it a fad intended to help us to feel better but never prepare us for life? Or is it Jesus! The one who gave everything that we might have life, and have it to the fullest!
Church, the world knows what it is by our shoes! By the way we walk! Are we walking in the steps of the Gospel, toward the peace that passes all understanding, or are we walking blindly through this life, tossed to and fro by the waves of this moment, never firmly planting our feet on the cornerstone of Jesus?
It might seem a little silly, but church it matters! If you wake up, and put on God’s word and chase after it, you will find yourself walking in His ways! And while walking in His ways, the world will get to know an awful lot about you! And when they know you are a Christian by your walk, and by your shoes, then let me tell you, you will have a great deal fewer opportunities to do the wrong thing! You will find that the bad influences will sometimes weed themselves out of your life, and the good will begin to grow.
(maybe talk about our love for shoes…talk about how good footwear helps us to do our jobs…maybe talk about modern society and our desire to be known by our shoes?? Lavar Ball? What are we known for? What do people think of us? Do we wear the Gospel with pride like we wear our shoes?
take-away
1 Peter 3:15 NIV
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
And when you do all of that. When you walk in the light as He is in the light, then you will be ready to give an answer as to where your hope is. In fact, YOUR LIFE will be the answer!
That is the power that we have in Christ. The power to see the truth, to have no fear, and to walk in His ways.
[standpic]
To stand firmly in Him, church, never by ourselves.
You see, the images used here aren’t images that evoke the idea that we ourselves are capable or sustaining the fight! These images, these words, remind us that it is by God’s resources – God’s strength, God’s hope, God’s power – that we can stand in the face of the hardships and evil moments of this life.
When Paul says, “be strong in the Lord,” we shouldn’t hear that as some kind of admonishment, but rather as a reminder to NOT be strong in tradition, or dogma, or position, or wealth, but to instead, to throw that all aside in our minds and never rely on it, but rather, on God’s strength, in all things! Rely on God’s strength that can be found in His word, His family, and in prayer to Him.
And that starts with truth. Establish yourself in God’s truth. Let His truth hold you up. His truth can and will protect your heart, along with His own righteousness. And always be ready to bring peace, shown so fully through His Gospel. Peace that will guide people to be a part of the family of God – the family that helps to support us in our pain and weakness.
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