Faithlife Sermons

Oct. 24, 2021 - The Armor of God (The Belt of Truth)

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So last week - we - SORTA KINDA - maintained our trek through this book of Ephesians...
ALTHOUGH - we also kinda - PAUSED on a truth from the PRIOR week - and lingered there a bit...
We had heard Paul’s call for us to STAND strong in the Lord - against our TRUE enemy...
and we saw that our TRUE enemy - is not of FLESH and BLOOD
We saw that our TRUE enemy - are the Spiritual FORCES at work in this fallen world!
And after HEARING that call 2 weeks ago - LAST WEEK - we paused there -
and applied that call - TO PREPARE - to us here at Abiding Faith...
And in DOING SO - we asked a couple of questions...
Do we have a vision as to how the church can most effectively impact our community, neighborhoods, state and beyond, for Christ?
Do we have a vision for how we handle the growing # of kids in this church?
BIG QUESTIONS… that each of us should spend time contemplating...
And yet - WE KNOW - we serve a BIGGER God!
A God who SUPPLIES us with ALL that is required...
And playing TRUE to form - TODAY - we’ll see HOW God EQUIPS us for the battle to come!
We will be hovering over a couple verses today...
Ephesians 6:13–14 ESV
13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
TODAY - we look at a PORTION of - the Armor of God...
the Belt of Truth
SLIDE: The Truth of God: Anchors the Soul in the Promises of God

The Truth of God

Why is this important?
Why is it important - FOR US - to be ROOTED in the promises of God…?
To be CONFIDENT in the promises of God?
FIRST UP - what’s one of the promises of God?
ETERNAL LIFE:
Romans 6:23 ESV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now this is a promise - can we TRUST it?
Romans 1:16 ESV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Salvation is a promise of God!
Based on BELIEF in Jesus - is it important for us to TRUST that?
YES - But what happens when we DON’T trust that?
What happens when our SOUL IS NOT anchored in the promises of God?
Answer - DOUBT - in God
And isn’t this what NON-TRUTH seeks to do?
Doesn’t NON-TRUTH promote DOUBT in God?
Genesis 3:1 ESV
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
What is satan using here - against Eve?
He’s using - NON-TRUTH - in order to BIRTH DOUBT in God -
Did it work?
Yes - Eve - Began doubting God - and what does DOUBT in God lead to?
SIN
And this is WHY - the TRUTH of God is so important in our lives… AS we PREPARE for the Spiritual BATTLE to come...
The TRUTH of God - ANCHORS our SOULS - in the promises of God!
NOW - what happens when our SOUL - is anchored in the promise of ETERNAL LIFE!??
What happens when our SOUL is anchored by the TRUTH of God...
2 Corinthians 11:10 ESV
10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia.
When our SOULS are ANCHORED in the promises of God - BY the TRUTH of GOD...
an EMBOLDENING happens...
What were the apostles doing the first 2 days after Christ was crucified?
John 20:19 ESV
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
The Disciples were AFRAID - HIDING in the upper room...
WHY?
DOUBT in God!
But then Jesus comes - shows up - REVEALS TRUTH to them - and what were the results of that?
The GOSPEL of Christ - went out to the nations - by WHO?
The apostles!
They spread the word - UNTO -death!
The TRUTH Emboldened them to - - Glorify God!!
Romans 15:8–9 ESV
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”
The TRUTH of God - Anchors our Souls in the Promises of God - which emboldens us to SPEAK God’s - TRUTH
THEREFORE -
Ephesians 6:14 ESV
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
But what else does the TRUTH of God accomplish?
SLIDE: The Truth of God: Reveals the Worth of Christ Over Creation

The Truth of God

Remember - our TRUE ENEMY - as we saw a couple weeks ago - are the Spiritual forces of EVIL at work in this fallen world...
And we also found out that THIS ENEMY - has an ally behind enemy lines - OUR HEARTS
Our Hearts are - BY NATURE - friends with the world!
And so - ALL THE MORE REASON - for us to fasten on the BELT of TRUTH!
God’s TRUTH - Reveals for us the WORTH of Christ - OVER creation!
WHICH tells us something - ABOUT NON-TRUTH!
We saw before that Non-Truth promotes DOUBT in God...
It also - declares that CREATION is more valuable than Christ!
NON-TRUTH elevates the worth of Creation OVER Christ...
Romans 1:18 ESV
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
What’s being SUPPRESSED?
The truth - truth about what?
Truth about GOD!
What does that lead to?
Romans 1:22–23 ESV
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Ok - so what’s being ELEVATED here?
The GLORY of CREATION is being elevated right?
The Glory of God is being EXCHANGED for the glory of Creation...
Romans 1:24–25 ESV
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
They exchanged the TRUTH of GOD - for a lie - AND WHAT DID THAT LEAD TO?
They therefore - WORSHIPED creation - RATHER than the Creator!
Do you see?
NON-TRUTH elevates the worth of Creation OVER Christ...
THIS IS - part of the Battle we face in this world!!
The TRUTH of God - KEEPS Christ in His PROPER place in our hearts!!
Christ OVER Creation!!
Hebrews 11:26 ESV
26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
He (Moses) - Held to the TRUTH of God - and therefore considered Christ SO VALUABLE… that when the BATTLE CAME...
When persecution came - it was all WORTH it because CHRIST was worth it!!
Do you see how the TRUTH of God - was used in the BATTLE?
Paul also said this…about himself...
Philippians 3:8–9 ESV
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
The truth of God - REVEALS the WORTH of Christ - OVER Creation!
We’ve seen that the TRUTH of GOD:
Anchors the Soul in the Promises of God (emboldening us to PRESS ON)
Reveals the Worth of Christ Over Creation (our eyes fixed on Christ)
But what else?
SLIDE: The Truth of God: Elevates Joy in Jesus Over Joy in the World

The Truth of God

JOY in Christ - is REALLY - the heartbeat of Christianity!
And when I say that - I mean it really is the HEARTBEAT of Christianity...
What happens when you don’t HAVE a heartbeat?
Is there LIFE?
NO - And so I’ll say it again - JOY in CHRIST - is the HEARTBEAT of Christianity...
What we need to understand is this -
SLIDE:
That our pursuit of joy is not at odds with God's pursuit of His own Glory!
I know many people who believe that they HAVE TO CHOOSE between EITHER BEING happy OR following Christ!
That they can't DO BOTH!That they either have to Pursue Happiness or Pursue Christ!
But that's what we need to grasp...that Christianity combines these two PURSUITS!!
THAT Christianity is actually a FIGHT for JOY IN GOD...why?
BECAUSE BEING Satisfied in Christ is what GLORIFIES God!
Delighting in Christ is what GLORIFIES Christ!
It's a HEART issue...not a HEAD issue!
It's a 'How do you FEEL' issue, and NOT JUST a 'What do you THINK' issue
1. Many people's relationship with Christ is no different than their relationship with Martin Luther King...
Like Jesus, they know who Martin Luther King is...
set aside a day to remember him....
BUT......he in NO WAY shapes who they are or how they live or the decisions they make...
he has ZERO affect in their lives...
There's no LOVE for Martin Luther King...
2. Many people's relationship with Christ is no different than their relationship with Santa Claus.
Like Jesus, they know who Santa Claus is......
they add him to their lives when everyone else does.......
they even pretend to be LIKE him when it makes sense to...BUT......he in NO WAY shapes who they are or how they live or the decisions they make...
he has ZERO affect in their lives...
God's overarching plan for the universe is that HE WOULD BE GLORIFIED!
We know this because we know that God does ALL that He does for His own glory...We've seen this before:
And so with God's Glorification being the AIM of all existence...
what a blessing it is for God to draw US into partaking in His glorification!!
AND NOT JUST THAT!!!!....
BUT that GOD Himself is:
The MOST VALUABLE treasure in all existence
The HIGHEST SOURCE of the DEEPEST Joy in all existence
The GREATEST REWARD in all existence
2 Thessalonians 1:9–10 ESV
9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
Jesus is coming back to be - glorified, marveled at, exalted, enjoyed, delighted in!
And so do you see the connection??
Jesus Christ IS the most VALUABLE possession there ever was or will be!
His VALUE is NEVER ENDING!
THEREFORE...
To Glorify God FOREVER is to ETERNALLY BE SATISFIED in HIM!
BUT...It starts for us NOW...it MUST start now....here on this earth, otherwise we won't be with Christ throughout eternity...
Who in here would say that the pursuit of God's Glory is OPTIONAL?
Ok, so if we all agree that the pursuit of God's Glory in my life is NOT optional...Then that means...
...that the pursuit of Joy in God is NOT OPTIONAL...
He is MOST glorified in me when I am most SATISFIED in HIM...
The Truth of God - Elevates Joy in Jesus Over Joy in the World
How did Jesus describe conversion?
Matthew 13:44 ESV
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
In his JOY....TAKE my car....
take my laptop
Take my vacation time
Take my time to sleep
....I've GOT THE TREASURE!!
This is God's PLAN...That WE get the joy....and HE gets the GLORY!
BUT some in scripture didn’t OPERATE this way…they didn’t FEEL this way...
Acts 5:1–3 ESV
1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
NON-TRUTH - elevates JOY in the WORLD over Joy in Jesus...
What did that lead to - here?
Acts 5:5 ESV
5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.
The Bible tells us you cannot serve 2 masters - you cannot be a FRIEND of the world - AND a child of God!
The TRUTH of God - EXPOSES where our JOY rests!
AND THEREFORE - helps prevent SNEAK attacks from our TRUE enemy!
Remember how OUR ENEMY has an ALLY - in our HEARTS?
Well the TRUTH of God - always keeps us on GUARD against - SHAKING the hand of the world!!
If our JOY is ROOTED in Christ - and HIS TRUTH...
Then we will HAVE a MORE CLEAR picture of our ENEMY- and his tactics...
Galatians 2:4–5 ESV
4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
What do we see here?
Salvation comes by Faith in the GOSPEL of Jesus...
v5 - the TRUTH of the gospel - which leads to JOY in Christ...
HELPED Paul - “not yield in submission - EVEN for a moment”
Paul saw OUT on the HORIZON - ENEMIES of the Gospel -
He saw the ENEMY - of Self-Righteousness...
And BECAUSE he held to the TRUTH of God - he - NEVER submitted to that enemy...
EVEN for a moment!!
Paul was EQUIPPED with the Belt of TRUTH!
The Belt of TRUTH, which:
Anchors the Soul in the Promises of God (emboldening us to PRESS ON)
Reveals the Worth of Christ Over Creation (our eyes fixed on Christ)
Elevates Joy in Jesus Over Joy in the World
And finally...
SLIDE: The Truth of God: Preserves the Eternal Glory of God

The Truth of God

A verse we read earlier speaks directly to this...
Romans 15:8–9 ESV
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”
Again - here we see that the TRUTH of GOD...
Leads to...
Displays...
PRESERVES the glorification of God!
The truth of God has a part to play in the ETERNAL worship of Jesus Christ our KING!!
And it ACTUALLY begins the process for us - and SUSTAINS it as well...
John 8:32 ESV
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
It’s the TRUTH of God that FREES us from the Bondage of sin...
And so our NEW LIFE begins on the basis of - The Truth of God...
From there?
John 17:17 ESV
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
We COME alive IN CHRIST - on the basis of God’s TRUTH..
We’re then - SET APART - molded and formed into the IMAGE of Christ - on the basis of - God’s TRUTH
Psalm 86:11 ESV
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
We grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord - IN TRUTH...
If our worship is AT ALL glorifying to God - it must be - IN TRUTH!
John 4:24 ESV
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
And our worship will be sustained - INTO ETERNITY… BECAUSE it will be founded on - the TRUTH of God..!
Proverbs 12:19 ESV
19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
The TRUTH endures - WHY?
Because the TRUTH is SEALED by the Holy Spirit…!
Ephesians 1:13 ESV
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
And BEING sealed - we NOW - EVEN TODAY - await the return of our KING...
TO DO WHAT?
Do you know WHY Jesus is coming back?
2 Thessalonians 1:9–10 ESV
9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
Glorified - BY THOSE who were SEALED with the Holy Spirit!!
This is what the TRUTH of God does! It PRESERVES the ETERNAL glorification of God!
SLIDE:
The truth of God is in a constant state of validating God, His nature, and our need of Him.
NOW - to close out today...
What are some ways that God EQUIPS us with His truth?
SLIDE:
We are Equipped With God’s Truth by Hearing It
• We know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God...
• Jesus says -
Matthew 13:9 ESV
9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
• And so this just elevates the importance of being here on Sundays...
• Being here on Monday nights...
Listening online...
SHARING those things to your friends so that THEY can HEAR His truth...
There’s NOTHING easier than sharing a sermon - online
• We're learning scripture...
• We're hearing the Word
• You can't be EQUIPPED with God’s TRUTH if you don't hear the Word...
What else?
SLIDE:
We are Equipped With God’s Truth by Memorizing It
• We should be able to give an answer to anyone who asks...
How many PASSWORDS do you have in your head - right now??
It’s possible - to memorize scripture!
• If we don't memorize scripture, and someone asks us a question....
• ...and we don't have any verses memorized...
• We're basically unable to use the sword....which is God’s word (another weapon in the armor of God)
SLIDE:
We are Equipped With God’s Truth by Meditating on it
And these things fall under Disciplines of the Faith...
Colossians 3:16 ESV
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
• And so Christian meditation ENTAILS - FEEDING the mind the Word of God, and digesting it slowly...
• To contemplate the truths of Scripture...and to delight in that truth
• See this world wants to OCCUPY your mind...
• We fight that through Meditation, and meditation is shaped by the Scriptures...
SLIDE:
We are Equipped With God’s Truth by Studying It
*Penny Slide experiment
• How many pennies do you think you've handled in your lifetime?
• And yet - have we really studied what they look like?
• I think around 40% of people guess the right penny...
• That means about 6 out of 10 people get it wrong
• How about the Scriptures?
• We come to church...
• We hear sermons...
• But have we studied it?
• Those 6 out of 10 people DO NOT hold up the truth about what a penny really looks like...
And it's not because they...
• have never seen a penny - they have (lots of them)
• don't know what color a penny is - they know
• don't know the size of a penny - they know
• WELL, if they know that information....why do they get it wrong??
• Because they don't know the details...
AND here's the problem with that...
• When they're shown something that looks similar to a penny - BUT IS NOT A PENNY...
• ...They can't tell the counterfeit from the REAL THING.
• If we don't STUDY the TRUTH...
• ...When we hear something that SOUNDS SIMILAR to God’s TRUTH...but yet is NOT TRUE...
• We WON’T be able to tell the difference!
2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
• We're called to KNOW the difference!
• And WHEN WE DO - we are EQUIPPED with God’s TRUTH!
SLIDE:
We are Equipped With God’s Truth by Obeying It
• We've seen what Paul said in Romans...
Romans 1:4–5 ESV
4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
• Paul (God) is after our obedience...
• Obedience matters to God.
• What would be the point of reading the Word, hearing the Word, praying the Word, memorizing the Word, meditating on the Word...
• ....only to NOT pursue obeying the Word?
Luke 11:28 ESV
28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
• We're called to obey the Word...which points to the importance of us KNOWING the Word...
SLIDE
We are Equipped With God’s Truth by Defending It
Philippians 1:15–16 ESV
15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
• Paul was sitting in prison...KNOWING that he was PUT THERE...by who?
• He was PUT THERE FOR the defense of the gospel.
• Think of how this REORIENTS your life....when you can grasp this...
• Paul knew that God put him in that circumstance...SO THAT the gospel would be defended....ON DISPLAY
• So when we find ourselves in HARD circumstances… IN THE BATTLE!!
• If we can view THAT circumstance through the lens of - God has a purpose in this FOR ME...
• then I think we can find comfort and strength in those times...just as Paul did...
• When we NEGLECT to defend the truth...
• We are NEGLECTING to defend Jesus.
• Jesus says - I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life...
Matthew 16:15–16 ESV
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
• From Peter defending the TRUTH...
• to this...
Luke 22:56–57 ESV
56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.”
• From defending the TRUTH....defending Jesus...
• TO
• Denying truth....denying Jesus
• If we're going to be EQUIPPED with God’s TRUTH...we must DEFEND it...
SLIDE:
We are Equipped With God’s Truth by Proclaiming It
• Annual Christmas event…Easter event…Night to Shine...
• Why do we do those things?
• Remember back to the Abrahamic Covenant in the OT...?
• Why was Abraham blessed?
Genesis 12:2 ESV
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
• And so God's plan for Abraham is not that Abraham would receive all these blessings from God merely for Abraham...
• ...BUT that Abraham would be individually blessed, for the purpose that now thru Abraham, this blessing would extend to the whole world.
Abraham was blessed...to be a blessing
• And this is OUR calling....to BE a blessing
• We’re not EQUIPPED with God’s truth in order to HOARD it to ourselves...
• We PROCLAIM the truth we have to bless others...
SO...we are EQUIPPED with God’s truth by:
Hearing
Memorizing
Meditating
Studying
Obeying
Defending
Proclaiming
All of these things - MEANS by which God equips us with HIS Truth - for the Spiritual Battle we face...
SUMMARY:
The Belt of Truth:
Anchors the Soul in the Promises of God
Reveals the Worth of Christ Over Creation
Elevates Joy in Jesus Over Joy in the World
Preserves the Eternal Glory of God
Anchors the Soul in the Promises of God (emboldening us to PRESS ON)
Reveals the Worth of Christ Over Creation (our eyes fixed on Christ)
Elevates Joy in Jesus Over Joy in the World
Preserves the Eternal Glory of God
Let’s Pray
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