Faithlife Sermons

Armor of God (2)

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Intro

All throughout history there have been wars, even today there are wars happening.
Talk about different types of wars.
Between countries
Governments, politicians
Drug wars
Crime wars
Family wars
But this morning we are going to address a different type of war...
a war that is battled in our life each and every day!

I’m talking about Spiritual Warfare

Our enemies are the rulers, and authorities and powers of darkness, the spiritual forces of evil.
Our enemies are Satan, his lies, unbelief, false teachings, and our own sinful flesh.
From the time you wake up in the morning, until your head hits the pillow late at night, you are engaged in combat—in a war hard fought and not easily won,
a war in which the casualty count can include every person you come in contact with day in, day out.

You live in a war zone… Your life… it is a battlefield.

So what do we do?
How do we stand firm in this battle?
How do we fight this war agains Satan?
Transition: Well the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 how we are to fight the battle and what we are to wear and use in our war against Satan and his army.
Ephesians 6:10–11 NIV
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.
Be STRONG in the LORD and in HIS mighty power.
It is only through God’s power that you can expect to win the spiritual battles in this life.
If you enter the battlefield alone,
there's no telling what will happen.
But, if you enter in His power,
you are guaranteed to win.
As John said in 1 John 4:4
1 John 4:4 NIV
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Jesus Christ has been given all power in heaven and on Earth… and because of that, we do not have to lose spiritual battles.

So what is a spiritual battle?
Every time you are presented with the opportunity to entertain a lustful thought, you have entered a spiritual battlefield.
Every time you have the chance to do something vindictive, you are on the battlefield.
Every time you have the chance to say something harsh and hurtful, you are in the midst of battle.
Every time you toy with the notion that you're just a little bit better than most of the people you know, you are surrounded by enemy fire.
Every time you hear the lie that you aren’t good enough, or Why would God love a person like you… enemy fire is raining down upon you.
Our enemy might be strong, but our Savior is stronger.
Don't get the impression that a fight between God and the devil is a close match.
The devil has been defeated.
Beaten.
Stomped.
Humiliated.
Christ has defeated Satan, death, and sin.

In Christ, we have been given the armor of God to stand tall and firm against Satan and evil… to come out of the war a winner!

We have been given strength through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit into our lives.
We have strength in Christ to withstand the onslaught of these battles.
We fight this spiritual war by putting on
the belt of truth,
the breastplate of righteousness,
the sandals of the Gospel of peace,
the shield of faith,
the sword of the Spirit,
and through prayer.
These pieces of armor that Paul describes to us are listed in the order to which a Roman soldier would put on his armor.
And the First piece of the armor was the belt.
Paul tells us that by “putting on the belt of truth we are able to stand firm.”
This belt of a soldier held together the clothing underneath and it also held the other pieces of the armor in place.
When the belt was fastened, the soldier was “on duty,” ready to fight.
We as Christians, face each day with the fastened belt of truth, “on duty” ready to fight the battle.
As the belt formed the foundation of the soldier’s armor, the belt of truth is the foundation of the Christian life.
Paul is saying, "Stand firm, then, with the belt of truthfulness or sincerity of the heart buckled around your waist."
Truthful living, truthful thinking, truthful speaking… Christ’s love (the foundation of our armor)
Not lying… not being deceptive…
Lies are the avenue we often choose to protect ourselves, or (by our thinking) protect others.
But they will end up in a backfire, leaving us worse off than before...
Lying only deceives, destroys, and weakens us for spiritual battle.
But Living in God’s truth,
Living out the Gospel,
Living in Christ,
allows the power of God to work in your life through the Holy Spirit.

God’s truth, as revealed to us through Jesus Christ, forms the foundation of our life.

It is our belt which holds all things together.
We are called to live truthful lives according to God's truth.
When the enemy attacks us with his lies, half truths, and deceptions,
we can stand firm in the truth we believe.
Transition: the belt of Truth is the foundation for us in this spiritual war and from the belt all the other armor from God fastens together.
The next piece of armor the soldier would put on is the breastplate.
Paul continues in verse 14:
Ephesians 6:14 NIV
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
The breastplate's role was obvious.
It was like a bullet-proof vest.
It protects your most vital organs.
And what is this breastplate made of?
Righteousness.
No soldier would ever go into battle without his breastplate.
We too should never go into battle without our breastplate of righteousness.
Righteousness provides a significant defense.
We have been made righteous through the blood of Christ.
This righteousness is not our righteousness or the fact that we are holy people, but it is Christ’s righteousness that He has given to us through His sacrifice on the cross… through faith in Jesus.
In Romans 3:22 it says:
Romans 3:22 NIV
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
ALL WHO BELIEVE.
This righteousness/holiness is God’s which we have because he has given it to us.
Yet, living with the breastplate of righteousness won’t be easy.
Satan is ready for battle at every turn.
Willing to hit us unfairly given the chance.
Satan seeks to thwart righteous living.
He tries to convince us that we aren’t truly saved,
that we always disappoint God,
that we are poor excuses to call ourselves Christian.
Satan attacks the heart, the vital organ, our emotions, self-worth, and trust.
But that is why we have the breastplate of God’s righteousness!
God’s righteousness… protects our hearts and ensures us of who we truly are.
When we live in God’s righteousness that he has given to us through the blood of Christ,
we are protected against these evil attacks and are able to stand tall and firm in who we are… Children of God.
Therefore, wear the breastplate of righteousness, stand firm with confidence in what you believe, and in whom your Savior is!
Transition: In wearing the breastplate, the soldier also has special shoes.
They were special sandals or military shoes that protected the feet without slowing him down.
They had studs on the soles to give them grip to march faster and farther in battle.
Our feet too, shall be fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace.
The Word of God is the Gospel that brings true peace.
We are ready for battle because as Paul says in Philippians:
Philippians 4:7 NIV
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When we believe the Gospel,
put our hope and trust in the Gospel,
when we are fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel,
we are battling through with studded soles proclaiming the Gospel to others.
Proclaiming the true peace that there is in Christ and the Gospel.
When the enemy offers false peace,
each one of us has been equipped to march into the battlefield
and proclaim the only true peace that is found in the Gospel.
Transition: With all these pieces of armor: belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, and Gospel shoes;
we are also called to take up the shield of faith.
The shield protected the soldier from the flaming arrows of the enemy.
Satan, our enemy,
unleashes his flaming arrows upon us in our daily life.
The enemy of this world sends his flaming arrows of:
temptation, doubt, lust,
despair, vengeance, trials,
cancer, disease, sickness.
Flaming arrows of insults like:
“you’re worthless,
stupid, fat, ugly,
not worth anyone’s time.”
When all these arrows come firing down upon you, you can hold up your shield of faith to quench them and deflect them.
How can we do that?
How can I possibly lift up my shield of faith when all seems grim?
Here’s the beautiful thing about wielding the shield.
We don’t lift it alone!
The Roman army would use all their shields together to form an impenetrable wall
Show shield wall slide
We lift up our shield side by side with our fellow soldiers.
With each member of the body of Christ.

Our faith is an impenetrable shield!

Faith is complete reliance/trust and dependence upon God.
It means believing His promises even when we don’t see them yet.
Our faith is victorious over all of life’s circumstances,
over all of Satan’s flaming arrows.
In 1 John it says:
1 John 5:4 ESV
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
This is the shield by which we are impenetrable by the arrows of affliction.
Transition: The shield halts the arrows but we also have the helmet that protects the head from vicious blows.
The soldier wears his helmet to protect his head.
Likewise, we too have a helmet, The helmet of salvation.
Salvation which only comes from God himself through Christ.
Just like a soldier would take his helmet from an armor bearer,
we too take the helmet of salvation from our armor bearer,
for it has been given to us, handed to us from God.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:8 it says that we are called to put on “the hope of salvation.”
This “hope” is confidence.
Complete assurance that God will do all that he has promised.
This assurance/confidence of salvation protects our minds against Satan’s attacks.
When the enemy seeks to devour and destroy us with empty or evil thoughts,
tries to get us to doubt our salvation,
we can trust in the protection of our helmet.
We can trust in the assurance of our salvation.
Our salvation is a certainty because God has promised it.
Putting on the helmet of salvation protects our minds,
assures us of our salvation
and gives us power to withstand against evil thoughts and doubt.
Transition: All these pieces of armor that God has given us is for a defense position.
But God has also given us and weapon to go on the offensive!
A sharp, double edged sword for the cut and thrust strategy.
the sword of the Spirit,
This sword is the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit makes the Word of God effective as we speak it and receive it.
The Spirit gives God’s Word its penetrating power and sharp edge.
When we are tempted and tried we are to use God’s Word as our weapon!
The Holy Spirit guides us and we have power to send satan away with the Word of God.
The Holy Spirit brings the word of God to mind.
We spend time in God’s Word and study His Word
so that when we need to go on the offensive against evil, against satan,
we have that sharp sword, the word of God,
to cut deep into evil and drive away all temptation.

God can and will speak specific words into your life when you need it most.

Transition: The word of God is a powerful weapon. But there is also another powerful weapon that he taught us to use.
The other weapon we have is prayer!
We pray at all times and in all circumstances!
All kinds of prayers and requests. … THERE IS NO PRAYER THAT GOD DOES NOT HERE!
Because:
The Holy Spirit helps us when we pray;
The Holy Spirit prays on our behalf;
The Holy Spirit makes God accessible;
And the Holy Spirit gives us confidence when we pray;
He inspires, guides, helps us communicate with God and also brings God’s response to us.
Pray at all times.
When you wake up… pray;
on your way to work… pray,
throughout the day… pray;
before you go to bed… pray.
Pray for yourself and for others, pray for all things, all occasions.
Your life should be surrounded in prayer.
Why?
Because when you pray, you are submitted to God.
Prayer is an essential weapon in spiritual warfare!
Your life is a warzone!
Everyday you live in a battlefield.
We battle Satan, lies, deceit, temptation, doubt, evil desires, you name it.
We live in a warzone.
But we live in a warzone where we know the outcome.
We know who ultimately is victorious.
Christ has defeated Satan, death, sin.
And we have been given the full armor of God.
The full armor of God that protects us,
and gives us confidence to fight our battles,
To defeat the enemy
and live victoriously in our life.
This full armor of God along with prayer strengthens us to live a life worthy of our calling…
to live our new life in Christ,
to live in community with one another,
and proclaim His gospel to others.
Belt of truth; Breastplate of righteousness; Gospel Shoes; Shield of Faith; Helmet of Salvation; Sword of the Spirit (Word of God);
Get into God’s Word … listen to his voice,
He wants to speak into your life.
And most of all… pray—on all occasions, all kinds of prayers, for everyone and everything. Pray alone and pray with others.

Life is a war zone… but Christ is our Savior… and IN CHRIST we have Victory!

Amen.
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