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Armor of God

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Ephesians 6:10-20

Part 2, The Armor

Introduction:  I’m probably approaching this discussion of God’s armor a little differently than you have heard before.  I’m not going to talk about the armor, but about the spiritual characteristics that Paul wanted us to have and use.

I. Truth    vs. 14   

     A. ἀλήθεια:  truth, that which is in accord with what really happens, facts that correspond to a reality, whether historical (in the time/space continuum), or an eternal reality not limited to historical fact

          1. There is absolute truth (This is contrary to modern thinking.)

          2. It can be understood

     B. Truth should be in our minds and hearts, but it should, also, be in our lives

          1. Ephesians 5:9

          2. I John 1:6        If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth.

     C. Bowing before the “god of open-mindedness,” this generation has been slow to admit that what we believe determines how we act. PBS film critic and columnist Michael Medved recently shared this anecdote out of his Jewish heritage: “A few years ago, the illustrious Rabbi Jacob Kamenetzky made a trip to Israel accompanied by his teenage grandson. Ironically, these two deeply religious people had been seated in the airplane next to a prominent Israeli socialist leader and outspoken atheist, who had spent his whole life fighting against Orthodox values. “After the plane reached its cruising altitude, the cynical atheist traveler couldn’t help noticing the way the teenage boy attended to the needs of his aged, bearded grandfather. He got up to get the old man a glass of water, helped him remove his shoes and put on some slippers, and otherwise demonstrated that the rabbi’s comfort represented his primary concern. “At one point, as the boy got up for yet another errand on behalf of the old man, the skeptical stranger could contain himself no longer. ‘Tell me something,’ he asked the rabbi. ‘Why does your grandson treat you like some kind of a king? I have a grandson, too, but he wouldn’t give me the time of day.’ “ ‘It’s very simple,’ the old man replied. ‘My grandson and I both believe in a God who rules the universe and created all things, including the first man. That means that in the boy’s eyes, I’m two generations closer to the hand of God Himself. But in the eyes of your grandson, you’re just two generations closer to a monkey.’ “Medved told this story as if it were true. I can’t vouch for that. But it certainly reflects truth. A person’s theology (what they think about God) determines what they think, and therefore what they do, about everything else. It should not surprise us that the behavior of people who don’t believe in God is so often ungodly.

II. Righteousness     vs. 14   

A.  δικαιοσύνη:  the act of doing what God requires; be put right with, be in a right relationship with; observances or practices required by one’s religion; justice

B.   In Washington D.C. there is a building called the "National Institute of Standards and Technology." This facility is responsible for storing perfect samples of weights and measurements. They have what are called “prototypes” of pound weights and kilograms and measuring rods for feet, yards and metric measurements like meters. For example, they have a “Meter Standard” a reinforced bar of platinum alloyed with exactly 10% iridium. When they want to know the exact measurement of a “meter” they cool this bar down to 0 degrees Celsius at a sea level of 45 degrees latitude then they know they will have the exact tip to tip measurement of a meter.

C.   There is right and wrong; choose right

III. Peace    vs. 15   

     A. εἰρήνη:  peace, harmony, tranquility; in certain contexts seen in the OT concept of the Shalom, i.e., welfare, health; freedom from worry; the opposite of war and dissension; among individuals, peace, harmony; metaphorically peace of mind, tranquility, arising from reconciliation with God and a sense of a divine favor.  

     B. Helen Keller wrote, “If we trust, if we relinquish our will and yield to the Divine will, then we find that we are afloat on a buoyant sea of peace and under us are the everlasting arms.”

     C. Two painters were asked to paint a picture illustrating peace. The first painted a beautiful evening scene in the foreground of which was a lake, its surface absolutely calm and unruffled. Trees surrounded it, meadows stretched away to the distant cattle gently browsing; a little cottage, the setting sun—all spoke of perfect rest. The second painter drew a wild, stormy scene. Heavy black clouds hung overhead; in the center of the picture an immense waterfall poured forth huge volumes of water covered with foam. One could almost hear its unceasing roar, yet perhaps the first thing to strike the eye was a small bird, perched in a cleft of a huge rock, absolutely sheltered from all danger, pouring forth its sweet notes of joy.

IV. Faith    vs. 16   

A.  Πίστις:  what can be believed, a state of certainty with regard to belief; trust, believe to a complete trust; trustworthiness, the state of complete dependability; Christian faith, belief in the Gospel; doctrine, the content of what is to be believed; promise, pledge to be faithful.

B.   Occurs 244 times in NT

C.   NT faith is based on evidence

D.  The shield of faith is the consistent application of what we believe about God to the issues of life.  John MacArthur

E.   Perhaps one of the reasons that the church has become so impotent in our culture today is that far too many believers are spending their time, usually very unsuccessfully, trying to stop the arrows from being fired, rather than putting on the armor.   Pat Damiani

V. Salvation     vs. 17

     A. σωτήριον:  the message about God saving people; saving, delivering, preserving; used in reference to saving physical life as well as spiritual life

     B. Without salvation we cannot stand against spiritual evil

VI. Word of God     vs. 17

A.  ῥῆμα:  word, a single unit used in discourse; statement, saying, speech, discourse  

B.   Probably does not refer to the Bible, but to the message of salvation

C.   The sword of the Spirit involves applying specific Biblical principles to specific circumstances in my life.  In other words, we don’t use the Bible like a broadsword, just swinging the whole thing around hoping to get lucky and ward off the evil one. Instead, we are to use it with surgical-like precision, finding specific portions of Scripture that apply to the specific temptation that we’re facing or the specific doubt that comes into our minds or the specific emotion that we’re dealing with. Obviously, the best example of how the sword of the Spirit is to operate like that is with Jesus Himself. When he faced the temptations of the devil in the wilderness, Jesus didn’t just flail around the Word of God indiscriminately. He used specific passages of Scripture to defend against specific temptations.

          From a sermon by Pat Damiani, Thornydale Family Church in Arizona, 9/1/08/

Conclusion:  If you don’t have all of these characteristics already, God will give them to you.  Just ask.  For those of us who do have them (most of us), they don’t do any good if we don’t use them.

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