The Belt of Truth
Before we dive into the sermon this week, I just want to recap what we learnt last week. We learnt that we are called to stand. We have been called to do something that is not naturally within us. Normally we want to handle situation on our own or fight or we want to avoid dealing with them run. But God calls us to stand. We are called to stand not in our power by as Ephesians 6:10 we are to be strong in the power of His might, and then we are called to put on God’s armor. Paul wants us to realize that we are unable to stand or fight the conflict in our own strength. He therefore points us to look to that which God provides. Paul is then saying that God provides everything that we need in order to be saved.
The sad thing is that we have taken a page out of the Jewish religious system which Ellen White elaborates on this in the book the Desire of Ages p 29 it says, As they departed from God, the Jews in a great degree lost sight of the teaching of the ritual service...In every part it was a symbol of Him; and it had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty. But the Jews lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies and clung to the dead forms. They trusted to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of resting upon Him to whom they pointed. In order to supply the place of that which they had lost, the priests and rabbis multiplied requirements of their own; and the more rigid they grew, the less of the love of God was manifested. They measured their holiness by the multitude of their ceremonies, while their hearts were filled with pride and hypocrisy. She continues on page 36 the principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin.
We have often taught that we are the ones to fight and work our way to salvation however this is not the truth that we find within God’s word. Our Scripture reading speaks to a point that the only way that we can come to the Father is through Jesus Christ. We are also told in that verse that Jesus is the way the truth and the light. He is the only way to salvation. When we then read in Ephesians 6:14 stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth we then must concluded that the truth is Jesus. Jesus himself was describing himself as the truth. Jesus was describing to Thomas and the rest of the Disciples that the only way to eternal life is though me Jesus.
I find it interesting that Paul starts the armor of God off with the girding of the waist. What is all this about? What is the purpose or function of a belt? I am sure that you have seen individuals who walk around where their pants are no longer sitting on the waistline but have sagged purposefully to the somewhere on their bum. Can you image a person dressed like that having to move fast to get of the way of something, or having to run? I do not think that they will be very good at it. They will be unbalanced and prone to falling. The belt functions not as a means of decoration but as a practical tool to keep pants up. In the time of Paul, the belts function was to fasten clothing securely around the waist to make rapid movement and vigorous action possible. The belt was also the first piece of the soldier’s equipment. It went underneath the armor to hold all the other clothing out the way. The belt for the soldier was of vital importance and if it was not used or tightened correctly, they would not be able to fight effectively in battle.
As for us having the belt of truth correctly understood lays a solid foundation for a correct understand of Scripture. It is important for us to know what or who the truth is. People these days seem to think that truth for you can be different for my truth. Jesus however says that if we desire to be in Heaven the only way to get there is through the truth which is Jesus. So, in the plan of Salvation and the armor that we are to put on in this battle can only be one thing which is Jesus. He is the source and means of our salvation. If we add anything to that are, we not denying then the truth?
We need to realize that we have no safeguard against evil except the truth, we cannot stand firm for right when the truth is not in us. There is only one power that can keep us safe, that can keep us steadfast and that power is from God, it is imparted to us through the grace of Jesus Christ. The power to stand is something that Jesus gives to.
To better understand this idea of truth upon which out understand of salvation is built please go with me or look on the screen at this Old Testament story. Numbers 21:8,9 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. This is the story of the Israelites that were in the wilderness journeying to the promised land. The people had become discouraged and spoke against God and Moses. The result of their unhappiness was that fiery serpents came and bit the people and may of the people died. We could very easily say that God was the one that brought out the serpents to punish Israel, but would this be correct? If God is about saving people, why would He do such a hurtful thing. Ellen White give us some clarity regarding this in Patriarchs and Prophets, it was God’s power alone that had preserved them in “that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water.428–429” Because they had been shielded by divine power they had not realized the countless dangers by which they were continually surrounded. In their ingratitude and unbelief, they had anticipated death, and now the Lord permitted death to come upon them p 429.
So, God had been protecting them all along from the danger they did not know were surrounding them all the time. Despite their unhappiness with God once the people were dying, they called upon Moses so that he would pray to God and forgive them for sinning against God. God’s response was to have Moses make a fire serpent and set it on pole and all who would look on the serpent would live. The healing and saving of Israel were as a result of the work of God. It could not be explained away to some act of Nature. Romans 8:3 says, for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh. John Wesley says, the serpent signified Christ, who was ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh,’ yet without sin. The truth that we are gird ourselves with is that our salvation is found in no one else or nothing else say Jesus Christ.
Deuteronomy 5:15 says and remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore, the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. What was it that saved Israel out of bondage? It was the hand of God. But what was it? You will recall that the night before Israel’s liberation that they were to paint the door frames and lintel with the blood of the lamb before the angel passed over. It was the blood that saved them. The blood that pointed to the death of Jesus on the cross. Israel could not save themselves from the snakes or from Egypt. They did not have the power.
To further illustrate that there in nothing that we can do to save ourselves I would like to ask you what part did Adam and Eve have in their ability to exist? Nothing right. God did not need their help, the creator brought them to life. When it then comes to salvation in Christ the truth that underpins all the rest of Scripture and its teachings, we have to see that we are saved and protected by Christ. As we look at Scripture, we see that it describes us being saved in creation language. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We do not have the power to recreate ourselves, we do not have the power to free us from the bondage of sin. All this can only be realized in Christ. This is why we need to gird ourselves with Him. He needs to be the foundation of our lives all other things need to be built on what He has done for us. Once we have accepted this we then journey with Christ. Friends each day we live is one day closer to the Coming of Jesus. All He wants, all He desires is for you to be with Him. Why not now in the quietness of your home give your broken life to Him. Let Him recreate you, let Him mold you and shape you. Why is this important? I believe that giving our lives to Christ and finding the security of salvation in Him important because satan out guns me. He is wiser than I will ever be. But if I give myself to Jesus, if I put on the armor that God provides, if I rely on Jesus and not on myself, I will be ok. Desire of Ages says the following, our only safety is in constant distrust of self, and dependence on Christ,155. It is in Christ that I can stand firm. I can look forward to a day when all this will be done.
Friends why not give yourself to Jesus, chose to stand in His power, stand in your house covered with the blood of Jesus knowing that He has died for you sins and now you are a new creation in Him.