Faithlife Sermons

Better Equipped

Kickoff 2021  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:20
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As we continue our kickoff series, we shift to being a better equipped believer. If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, how do can we ensure we stay strong

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continuing our kickoff series
main verse is Eph 4:12
Ephesians 4:12 ESV
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
- last week we talked about being a better community
this week we are talking about being equipped
as the verse says, we are equipped for the work of the ministry
but this equipping is two fold. You are equipped to be better and stronger, but when you are stronger, the community is stronger

Question 1: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

this is why we as a church are committed to equipping everyone. It is no one left behind, no one forgotten, everyone enabled to be everything God has designed you and purposed you to be
Soldier for Christ
the idea of being equipped works well with one of the Apostle Paul’s favorite analogies for the disciple of Christ
so many of Paul’s letters were written in prison, under guard. So as he sat or journeyed with Roman soldiers, he began to draw comparisons between the soldier’s he was always with, and the high calling of a believer
so this morning, we are going to do something a little different. Instead of reading the whole passage and then reflecting, we are going to walk through slowly, stopping after each significant spot to unpack and apply
here we go
Ephesians 6:10–13 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.
People are NOT the Enemy
One of the biggest things Paul wanted to communicate, and one of the most important things we need to remember today is the fact that PEOPLE ARE NOT THE ENEMY!!
There are so many things that divide us, so many things to fight over, and yet people are not the enemy
often in church, we get caught up using US and THEM language. US being the believers, and THEM being everyone who doesn’t share the faith with us.
the problem is that its not us and them. We were all unbelievers at one point, all opposed to God’s way. The only difference is at some point, someone invited us to church, someone shared the truth, someone loved us, someone did something, and our eyes were opened to the truth, and now we know that Jesus is the way
our real enemy is the devil. Our enemy is spiritual, and that is why we need to use spiritual weapons. This is why we need to rely on God’s strength and God’s armor. Our natural strength and our natural minds cannot match our enemy
Ephesians 6:14 ESV
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
Belt and Breastplate
here we go, we begin to unpack the soldier’s armor.
first Paul lists the belt. The belt may have been the single most important part of the soldier’s armor, and often the most overlooked.
in fact, the belt is the one piece that soldiers would wear without the rest of the armor
when the armor was on, the belt supported the sword, the shield and held pieces of the armor in place
the carry over to the disciples walk is clear. Truth is one thing we need to arm ourselves with, and just like pieces of armor, it needs to be the truth given to us by God, not the one we pick from the world
the breastplace was basically a big piece of metal designed to protect all the vital organs.
the same way the breastplate protects all that is vital, righteousness will protect our hearts. Righteousness is defined as obedience to the commandments of God. Righteousness is what will keep our conscience clear and keep guilt away. Righteousness will keep our integrity intact
Ephesians 6:15 ESV
and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
Shoes Ready to Go
The shoes of a Roman soldier were unique as they had to support the soldier for long marches across any and all terrain, but they also had to be sturdy enough to allow the soldier to stand firm in the battle.
One commentator pointed out that the design suggested they got more comfortable the more they were worn
The Apostle Peter tells us that we should be ready in season and out of season to share about the faith that we have. The reality is, the more familiar we get with the gospel, the comfortable we will be about sharing it.
Ephesians 6:16 ESV
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
Shield is as Strong as the Whole
the shield was a front line piece of equipment. It was up to the shield bearers to hold the line, and the line could only be held if the whole line was strong. The line would fall at the weakest point.
The shield was also a whole body defense. In the event of a retreat, the shield could be placed on the back and protect the soldier.
Our faith is not developed in seclusion; it is strengthened and refined in community. As we march and take back people and our country from our enemy, our faith is stronger together. We are better together.
Ephesians 6:17 ESV
and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
Helmet and Sword
the purpose of the helmet is obvious. It was designed to protect the head and neck during battle
salvation is connected to the helmet because we are supposed to renew our minds. Salvation is not just the forgiveness of sins, but it is a turning away from sin, seeing it for what it is.
Sword was a powerful offensive weapon. It was such a threat, a soldier could wave the sword in the direction of an opponent as a warning.
Often we don’t comprehend the power of the word of God. We often use it as a weapon on each other, and it can really cut, cause some deep wounds that do not heal. This was never meant to be used on people. It is powerful, it is sharp, and it is truly the only weapon capable of holding off our spiritual enemy

Question 2: Which of the pieces of armor needs the most work?

we constantly need to be working on the armor, keeping the sword sharp, repairing holes in the breastplate and shield. Like anything, if we neglect the armor, it starts to wear out, and it might not where we need it to be when we need it most.
Soldiers are Part of an Army
now I want to take the soldier analogy a step further. See giving a soldier their armor is only the beginning of the journey. They need to be trained, they need experience, and they need to know their place.
if you watch any movie or do any amount of studying of war and army strategies from any era, you begin to realize something. Not every soldier had the same role. There were the soldiers that stood on the front line. But their were soldiers that rode horses, also called the calvary. There were archers and catapult operators. Today there is the army, the navy, and the air force, and in each of those sections there are innumerable roles, all of them necessary to make the parts work, yet not all of them receive the prestige.
But the one thing you notice is not just anyone in the army can pick up a part and do it. The success of the army is not in the ability of everyone being good at everything, but everyone being excellent at one thing. Everyone knows there role and everyone works to stay on top of their area
the same applies to church. Not everyone is an intercessor, not everyone is on stage. BUT everyone has their role, everyone plays their part, and everyone is vital to the success of the church.
So what is your gift? What is your calling? How are you using it to help the church? How are you getting involved to help us accomplish our mission? All questions we must ask, but it is not just getting involved. How are you growing in your area, because as you grow, the area grows with you. OR, it grows as you enable others to to use their gifts in your ministry.

Question 3: Where do you fit in the army of God?

Let’s pray
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