Ephesians Pt24 Helmet of Salvation

Ephesians 6:17(ESV)17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, This instructs us to put on the whole armor of God and to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” When a soldier suited up for battle, the helmet was the last piece of armor to go on. It was the final act of readiness in preparation for combat. A helmet was vital for survival, protecting the brain, the command station for the rest of the body. If the head was badly damaged, the rest of the armor would be of little use.

Since Paul is addressing believers, putting on the helmet of salvation cannot refer to receiving Christ as Savior. The only ones who can take up any piece of God’s armor, and the only ones who are involved in this supernatural struggle against Satan and his demon forces, are those who are already saved.

The fact that the helmet is related to salvation indicates that Satan’s blows are directed at the believer’s security and assurance in Christ. The two dangerous edges of Satan’s spiritual broadsword are discouragement and doubt. To discourage us he points to our failures, our sins, our unresolved problems, our poor health, or to whatever else seems negative in our lives in order to make us lose confidence in the love and care of our heavenly Father.

The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against anything the enemy throws at us. Jesus said, Matthew 10:28(ESV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. The idea in this verse is that, as we prepare for Satan’s attacks, we must grab that helmet and buckle it on tightly. Salvation is not limited to a one-time act of the past or even a future hope. God’s salvation is an ongoing, eternal state that His children enjoy in the present. It is daily protection and deliverance from our sin nature and Satan’s schemes.

The fifth piece of God’s armor is represented by the Roman soldier’s helmet, without which he would never enter battle. Some of the helmets were made of thick leather covered with metal plates, and others were of heavy molded metal. They usually had cheek pieces to protect the face.

Trusting in Jesus Christ, immediately saves from the penalty of sin. For believers, this first aspect of salvation, which is justification, is past. It was accomplished the moment we trusted in Christ, and that particular act of faith need never be repeated, because we are secure in our Father’s hands—from whom, as we have just seen, we can never be snatched. John 10:27–30(ESV)27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” The blood of Jesus saves every and exactly everyone He wanted it to save and those that it was meant to save, not one less and not one more. Notice it says “My Sheep” not the goats, not the wolves, but the sheep. Not everyone who sits in the church and claims to know Jesus is a sheep. We are forever saved from condemnation. Romans 8:1(ESV)There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security.

God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation. Because if we had to “MAINTAIN” our Salvation then it would be a works based salvation, not a grace based salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9(ESV). What sin is so big that Jesus’ death could not atone for it? Every sin that man can commit against God and his fellow man, even the most heinous sin was dealt with at the cross. What sin can be so bad that it would cause God to “unforgive” that which He has already paid for?  2 Corinthians 1:21-22(ESV)21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, John 10:27-29(ESV) 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Both Jesus and the Father have us firmly grasped in their hand. Who could possibly separate us from the grip of both the Father and the Son? Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians.  He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish.  There is no qualifier here.  There is no statement such as, “they shall never perish if they remain faithful.”  There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish.  This inability to perish is a result of the Lord Jesus giving them eternal life. Furthermore, Jesus says that no one shall snatch them out of his hand, which further emphasizes the idea that those who have eternal life will never perish.  But, can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus’ hand?  No, we can’t because the term “no one” includes the person who is saved.  Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ’s hand. Why would you want to? If you were “saved” then didn’t want to be “saved” you were never saved to begin with.

Ephesians 4:30 (HCSB) And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. tells us that believers are “sealed for the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. John 3:15-16 (HCSB) so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

Our eternal security is based on God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 1:18(ESV)For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.

2 Corinthians 2:15(ESV)15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

These two verses state we are being saved? Yes, we were saved, we are being saved and we will be saved.

You were justified, you are being sanctified and you will be glorified.

Romans 8:30(ESV)30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

Justified  – You are saved from the penalty of sin

Sanctification – you are being saved from the power sin has over your life

Glorification – you will be saved from the presence of sin

The second aspect of salvation, which is sanctification, involves our life on earth, during which time we experience a measure of freedom from the dominating power of sin. Being now under God’s grace, sin no longer has mastery or dominion over us; we are no longer sin’s slave but God’s slave.
Romans 6:14(ESV)14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 6:22(ESV)22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Paul shows these first two aspects of salvation side by side in the previous chapter of Romans 5:10(ESV)10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Christ’s death saved us once and for all from sin’s penalty, and His life within us now is saving us day to day from sin’s power and mastery.

The third aspect of salvation is future, the aspect of glorification, when we shall one day be saved altogether and forever from sin’s presence. Looking forward to that glorious time, John says, 1 John 3:2(ESV)2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

It is this final aspect of salvation that is the real strength of the believer’s helmet. If we lose hope in the future promise of salvation, there can be no security in the present. This, no doubt, is why Paul calls this same piece of armor “the helmet” which is “the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8(ESV)8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.. “Having the first fruits of the Spirit,” Paul explains in Romans 8:23–24(ESV)23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
The helmet of salvation is that great hope of final salvation that gives us confidence and assurance that our present struggle with Satan will not last forever and we will be victorious in the end. We know the battle is only for this life, and even a long earthly life is no more than a split second compared to eternity with our Lord in heaven. We are not in a race we can lose. We have no purgatory to face, no uncertain hope that our own continued efforts or those of our loved ones and friends will perhaps some day finally make us acceptable to God. We know that whom God called He predestined,
Romans 8:28-30(ESV)28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. There is not the loss of a single soul from predestination to justification to sanctification to glorification. That is God’s unbroken and unbreakable chain of salvation. John 6:39–40(ESV)39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”;

If the Christian has no future element of salvation to look forward to then this life is useless and Christians need to be pitied for their sacrifices of worldly pleasure.
1 Corinthians 15:19(ESV)19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. To the worldly, fleshly Corinthians who were self–centered, divisive, and confused about the resurrection, Paul said,1 Corinthians 15:32(ESV)32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Paul’s own spiritual helmet was his firm hope in the completion of his salvation, glorification.
2 Corinthians 4:17–18(ESV)17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. The faithful believer does not “lose heart in doing good,” because he knows that “in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).

1 Thessalonians 5:23(ESV)23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the power of the cross, our enemy no longer has any hold on us,the enemy knows that, but he also knows that most of God’s children do not live as if they know. We must learn to keep our helmets buckled so that his fiery missiles do not lodge in our thoughts and set us on fire.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10(ESV)For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

There are several actions a believer can take to keep this helmet fastened and functioning:

1. Renew our minds. Our minds are battlefields. The outcomes of those battles determine the course of our lives. Romans 12:2(ESV)2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. instructs us to renew our minds by allowing the truth of God’s Word to wipe out anything contrary to it. Old ideas, opinions, and worldviews must be replaced. We must allow God’s truth to continually wash away the world’s filth, lies, and confusion from our minds and adopt God’s perspective.

2. Reject doubts that arise from circumstances. Human beings are sensory creatures. What we cannot fathom with our five senses, we tend to disregard. If we allow them to, circumstances may convince us that God does not really love us or that His Word is not true. It is impossible to have faith and doubt at the same time. God rewards our faith. With the helmet of salvation firmly in place, we can choose to believe what appears impossible.

3. Keep an eternal perspective. When life crashes in around us, we must remember to look up. Our salvation is the most precious gift we have received. Keeping our eyes on that can help us weather life’s storms. We can choose to live our lives by the motto “If it doesn’t have eternal significance, it’s not important” Matthew 6:20(ESV)20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

4. Remember that victory is already accomplished. When we consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God” Romans 6:11-14(ESV)11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. 14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace., we eliminate many of the opportunities Satan uses to entrap us. When choosing sin is no longer an option for us because we recognize ourselves to be “new creatures”
2 Corinthians 5:17(ESV)17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come., we effectively cut off many avenues of failure.

5. Find all our hope in Him. Psalm 73:25(ESV)25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. Our helmet is most effective when we treasure what it represents. The salvation Jesus purchased for us cannot share the place of importance in our hearts with earthly things. When pleasing the Lord is our supreme delight, we eliminate many of Satan’s lures and render his evil suggestions powerless.

As we wear the helmet of salvation every day, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires, and traps the enemy lays for us. We choose to guard our minds from excessive worldly influence and instead think on things that honor Christ. Philippians 4:8(ESV)8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. In doing so, we wear our salvation as a protective helmet that will “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. The Holy Spirit and His teachings confirm that we are sealed until the day of redemption. Because we have the seal of the Spirit in our hearts, we can live joyfully, confident of our sure place in a future that holds unimaginable glories. We are sealed for the day we will be in the presence of God worshipping Him forever!

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Ephesians Pt23 Shield Of Faith

Ephesians 6:16(ESV)16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

Faith is not something we conjure up on our own, nor is it something we are born with, nor is faith a result of diligence in study or pursuit of the spiritual. Ephesians 2:8-9(ESV)8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. this makes it clear that faith is a gift from God, not because we deserve it, have earned it, or are worthy to have it. It is not from ourselves; it is from God. It is not obtained by our power or our free will. Faith is simply given to us by God, along with His grace and mercy, according to His holy plan and purpose, and because of that, He gets all the glory.

The Roman shield of the time was called a scutum. This type of shield was as large as a door and would cover the warrior entirely. Such a shield was not just defensive but could also be used to push opponents. When fighting as a group, soldiers could position their shields so as to form an enclosure around themselves, called a testudo (In Latin meaning “tortoise shell”). This was especially helpful to protect against arrows launched from the walls of cities they were attacking. Shields, often made of wood and then covered in hide, when wet, could extinguish flaming arrows.

Clearly, a shield is vitally important to a soldier. It provides a blanket of protection. It is meant to be taken up in all circumstances. It is the first barrier against the enemy’s attack. Often, shields were painted with identifying marks; a Christian who takes up the shield of faith identifies himself as a foot soldier who serves the Commander of the Lord’s army.

2 Timothy 2:3-4(HCSB)3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter.

As soon as we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are drawn into a spiritual battle. It is a battle where eternal death or eternal life is at stake. It is a battle with one who is 100% committed to drawing us away from God. It is a battle that calls us to make the spiritually lost a priority as we stand in unity with Jesus. Is this the battle that we are winning? Are we truly concerned that there are real people that will die and go to Hell? Are we concerned with it? Do we know that we are in a battle, even though it is invisible and spiritual it is real and it is eternal.

Hebrews 10:38(ESV)38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

Hebrews 11:1 (HCSB)Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.

Hebrews 1:6(HCSB)6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. This verse stresses the importance of faith: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Satan’s attacks can sometimes cause us to doubt God.You start asking yourself, “Did God really say? Can I really trust God? Isn’t that just your interpretation?” Faith prompts us to believe God.

Romans 1:16-17(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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

There is a saying and even a song that says “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” It may be a nice sentiment, but it’s bad theology. The truth is, “God said it, and that settles it — whether I believe it or not.” God’s truth isn’t based on whether you believe it or not. It’s still true even if you don’t believe it, because God can’t lie.

You need that kind of certainty in difficult days. With the Shield of Faith, you have certainty that God’s promises are true even when they don’t appear to be true in your life. God comes to the Garden of Eden, creates a perfect environment, creates a perfect man and perfect woman – perfect in the sense of sinlessness, not in the sense of an accomplished perfection.  And there they are, and here comes Satan, and what does he say?  “Has God really said?”  And then he says, “You know, God doesn’t want you to know good and evil because you’ll be like Him, and He doesn’t like competition.  You can’t trust God He has ulterior motives.  You can’t always believe exactly what He says.”  Satan was tempting them to doubt God and believe him.  Eve was a sucker, Eve was a fool, she believed the devil, and you know what happened.  Every temptation that ever came to you came on the tack of “believe me, not God.”

Watch this, Christ has been fasting forty days and forty nights, led into the wilderness by the Spirit of God as God prepared Him for His ministry.  At the end of that time, Satan comes to Him to tempt Him.  And how does he tempt Him? He tempts Him to not believe God – same old deal.  “Don’t believe God, believe me.”
Matthew 4:1-11(HCSB)Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”5 Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”8 Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written:Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”11 Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.

We give in to temptation when we believe what it has to offer is better than what God has promised. It’s seducing temptations, that’s all. Satan fires arrows of impurity, arrows of selfishness, doubt, fear, disappointment, lust, greed, vanity, covetousness – it all comes down to this: 1 John 2:16(ESV)16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Christians have always been, and will always be, lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because his methods continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh—sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the ones which Paul warned the Galatians about, Galatians 5:19-21(ESV)“sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these”. He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God Isaiah 14:12-15(ESV)2 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’15 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches, and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross (an instrument of death) and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom. The pride of life “comes not from the Father, but from the world.” And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptation of the pride of life do the will of God, and 1 John 2:17(ESV)17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

In other words the arrows are, “Don’t believe God, He doesn’t keep His word, He didn’t give You the whole picture, He didn’t tell You the truth.  Believe me, do it my way.”  And that’s the way every temptation comes to every believer every time.  Satan comes along and says, “Oh yeah, I know the Bible says you’re not supposed to have sexual relationships with somebody outside of marriage, but it’s fun.” Who do you believe when you sin?  You believe the devil.  It’s the bottom line, people; it’s so simple.  When you sin, you believe Satan; when you obey, you believe God.  That’s the bottom line.  And the shield is the double protection.  “I will believe God,” said Christ.  “Get away, Satan.  God will feed Me when He’s ready, and God will anoint Me as Messiah when He’s ready, and God will give Me the kingdoms of the world when He’s ready, on His terms.  I will not believe you.”
Titus 1:1-2(HCSB)Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

God isn’t lying.  And yet every time you sin, you believe Satan and his lies and so do I; we’ve been suckered again. Satan comes along and says, “Do it my way, and you’ll like it.” It’ll be fun. It’ll fulfill you. You’ll gain what you desire” – it’s a lie. He is a liar, John 8:44(HCSB)44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

Whenever you sin, you’re saying, “I really don’t believe God knows best, Satan knows best.” We say, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches and glory” and we all say, “Amen, brother, preach it.  Yes, He’ll supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus, no question about it.”  And then when we lose a job, “Ohh, God what are You doing to me? Why did you do this – see?  There’s Satan “The Lord has forsaken you,” see?

Matthew 6:33(HCSB)33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  And we run through life seeking all the things that should be added and missing the Kingdom of God.  You see, you can’t just go around saying, “I believe God, I have faith in God, the just shall live by faith,” and then grab everything you can grab that is worldly.

So the only way to extinguish the arrows of Satan is to believe God.  The Bible says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.”  Who do you believe?  Abraham believed God.  Who do you believe?  Do you believe God?
In other words, what God said is true.  If you believe it and obey it, it’ll be a shield; if you mess with it, you’ll suffer, see?  Satan comes along and says, “Oh well, I know God said that, but let me add this.”  No.  No, “He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”

Psalm 12:6(HCSB)The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times.

He literally bombards the believer with the arrows, the fiery darts of seductive temptation, to elicit out of us ungodly, non-Christlike, evil responses.  And the only defense we have at this point, Paul says, is the shield of faith, because sometimes it just rains temptation. We live in a world where it really does rain temptation, all around us, and we must have the shield of faith. Faith reminds us that, though the fulfillment of God’s promises may not be readily visible to us, God is true to His Word. When Satan attempts to plague us with doubt or entice us with instant gratification, faith recognizes the deceptiveness of his tactics and quickly extinguishes the arrows. When Satan accuses us, faith chooses to believe that Jesus has redeemed us and that there is no more condemnation. Romans 8:1(HCSB) Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,

Romans 8:34(HCSB)Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

The term “faith” means believing God, and that is the bottom line of the Christian faith. That is the bottom line of everything we believe, everything we hold to, everything we have our confidence in. The whole of Christianity is an act of believing that God is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.  Believing that He wrote the Bible, believing that Christ is God, believing that He died, believing that He rose, believing that He’s coming, believing that by believing we can enter into His Kingdom – the whole thing.  That’s why in Habakkuk 2:4 (HCSB)Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith.

Romans 1:17(HCSB)“17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

Galatians 3:11(HCSB)11 Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith.

Hebrews 10:36-38(HCSB)36 For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.37  For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. 38 But My righteous one will live by faith;and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him.39 But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.

Faith is our life; it is a matter of believing God.  Now, everybody lives by something, everybody has faith in something.

Faith is one of the greatest gifts, and it is the means by which we receive grace and come into right relationship with God.

Ephesians 2:8–9(HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. It is because we have been justified through faith that we belong to God and have peace with Him. Romans 5:1(HCSB)Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is the doorway to hope in God.

Romans 5:2(HCSB)2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Because we have faith in God, our suffering need not faze us; in fact, we can persevere under it.
Romans 5:3–5(HCSB)3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The things Satan attempts to use to discourage us can actually become tools in the hands of God.

All believers have this promise:1 John 5:4(HCSB)4 because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. Faith is a protective barrier between us and the schemes of Satan. When we believe God and take Him at His word, we remain grounded in truth, the lies of the enemy lose their power, and we become overcomers. In that way, faith is our shield.

1 Peter 5:8-9(HCSB)8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

We win when we believe God, we win when we trust God.  You may go through doubts, and anxieties, and fears, and worries, and concerns, and problems, and struggles, and trials, and tribulations, and persecution.  As long as you believe God, as you believe His sustenance, you believe His Word, you believe His power, you believe His promise, that doesn’t have to be a point of loss; it can be a point of strengthening, a point of gain.

The shield of faith is the consistent application of what we believe about God to the issues of life.  Now, if you don’t trust Him then you don’t know Him well enough, right – because if you really knew Him, you’d trust Him.  Oh, the more you know God, the deeper you get into the heart of God, the more you know about His truth, and the Word of God, and the more you meditate upon His person in your prayers and meditating times, the more you know God, the greater you’ll trust God, and the greater you trust God, the less likely you will be to not believe Him.

And so it all goes back, as everything does in the Christian life, to your relationship to God.  It’s there; it’s down deep in the heart.  If you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, if you believe that God is who He claimed to be, if you believe all that God’s promises that He gave to you are really true, then you’re not going to sin, because you’re going to stand in the place of the greatest blessing.  Everybody wants to be blessed, everybody wants the best.  God says, “I’ll give it to you if you do it My way.”  If you do it Satan’s way, you just disbelieved God.  But the more you know Him, the more you’ll trust Him, the more you’ll believe Him.

Ephesians Pt22 Shoes of Peace

Ephesians 6:10-15(ESV)10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 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, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

The gospel of peace is the message that Jesus gave to those who trust in Him.
John 14:27(ESV)27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Romans 10:11-15(ESV)11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  

This passage outlines clearly what is the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:1–6(ESV)Now I would remind you, brothers,[a] of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

Any other message is a false gospel.

Jesus was sent to proclaim the good news (Luke 4:18). At the core of his earthly ministry was the proclamation of God’s reign. The Gospel of Mark provides a concise summary of Jesus’ message: “At last the time has come! The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News!” (Mark 1:15). Notice that Jesus’ own preaching was not primarily about himself, but about the coming of the long-awaited kingdom of God, that which the prophets had promised and for which the Jewish people prayed every day.

Like Jesus, we have been sent to proclaim the good news. In addition to telling his disciples to wait for the Spirit to empower them, Jesus explained what the Spirit’s power would accomplish:

To be consistent with Reformed theology we must say that if a person is one of the elect, he will come to faith and repentance. It is divinely predestined that this will happen and it is impossible for it not to happen. But God has not shared with us two vital pieces of information. He has not told us just who the elect are and how they will be brought to repentance. He has decreed that we are to share the message with everyone, in every way possible (within the bounds He sets in His Word). Charles Spurgeon once said “if all the elect had a white stripe on their backs I would quit preaching and begin lifting shirt tails” (or something to that effect). God has not put a visible mark on the elect, so we are to treat all men as if they are among the elect, and are to share the Gospel far and wide. We need to share it with a sense of urgency.

We like to believe this doctrine of salvation that Romans speaks of Romans 10:13(HCSB)13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But who will tell them?

Romans 10:14-15(HCSB)14 But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!

The whole idea of missionaries is to infiltrate a culture, learn the culture and preach the gospel to that culture. Only in America do we create a different culture and tell people to stay away from different cultures.

Here in America is the only “mission field” that we scold people for being like the culture. Every other country in the world we send missionaries to learn the culture of the people and preach the gospel to those people. We need to learn what it is to meet people where they are and say “Come up Here”!!

We don’t simply need evangelistic churches, but rather ‘missional’ churches.

The true Church is concerned with meeting the needs of others and discipling the lost. Most churches now are nothing more than fancy buildings for people who talk the same, act the same, like the same music and movies to have a place to gather and make themselves feel good about themselves.

Acts 1:8(HCSB)8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:8 is personal “the Holy Spirit comes upon YOU AND YOU will be my witnesses,Jesus said be fishers of men and if you read it backwards it says

If your not fishing for men you are not following Jesus Christ.

We sit back and let cults come in to our neighborhoods and peddle their theology that is sending people straight to Hell.

What we have done as “The Christian Church” is made the people we are supposed to be evangelizing, our enemies. We would rather stay away from the dark than shine a light in it. But they still need the word too the gospel should be heard too. Romans 1:16-17(HCSB)16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.We claim we are not ashamed but yet we still haven’t evangelized our own neighborhoods. We in our Christian bubble while our brothers and sisters overseas are getting locked and chopped up for the sake of the gospel. See American’s ain’t Christian we just practicing a ritual.

Thats why we should be missional. Because what most churches peddle is nothing more than humanistic self-help repackaged with a sprinkle of Jesus on top. The culture around us doesn’t want any part of that. They are hungry for real, authentic Christianity. We build up walls and create Christian bubbles to protect ourselves from THEM. We have christian movies, music, coffee shops, clothing, restaurants, books,tv stations, cartoons,vernacular,etc. We created a closed off Christian culture that is very hard for the average non believer to come to Christ and learn. Because we were never to do that!!! We were always made to GO, GO and Make disciples.
Matthew 28:18-19(HCSB)18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”I know you read the Great Commission let me just remind ya’ll Make Disciples of the Nation teach them to obey the Lord Hate to never lead someone to Christ before I see the Lord.The Great Commission says make Disciples of all nation. Have we even made em in our own nation?

We are to preach the gospel and live life worthy of being called a Christian, this does not mean that we will not mess up. This means that we have something worth telling the wold about. Do you even care that the world around you is lost and on their way to hell? It is not our responsibility on how the world will react to the gospel. That is the Father’s responsibility, the Holy Spirit will work on the hearts of the men to repent and turn to Him.

John 16:8-11(HCSB)8 When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

All of salvation is grace.  It is grace that God chose to save the ungodly; it is grace that Christ came to earth to secure the salvation of His treasured possession through His own blood; and it is grace that exchanges a man’s heart of stone for a heart of flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men is known as regeneration.  Before man is able to respond to the Gospel message, he must be given ears to hear.  Because man is born dead in sin, he must be made alive in order to respond positively to the call to repentance (just think about a corpse’s ability to respond to anything). Without this work of the Holy Spirit, man would remain condemned and dead in his sins.

Jeremiah 17:9(ESV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Deuteronomy 30:6(ESV) And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

Ezekiel 36:26(ESV) And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Luke 8:15 As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

Acts 16:14(ESV) One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

2 Corinthians 5:17(ESV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

So why evangelize? Because God chose the method of men preaching the gospel  to turn the hearts of men from stone into flesh. Then what? It is our job to disciple them. We think  that evangelism is the hardest part but it is not, discipleship is.

Jesus sent his inner core of disciples into the world for the purpose of making more disciples. These new followers of Jesus would not only believe in him, but also would obey all the commands Jesus gave to his first disciples. The second generation of disciples were to make more disciples, who would make more disciples, who would make more disciples, and so forth until all nations are filled with disciples of Jesus. But, whereas the first disciples were to minister only among their fellow Jews while Jesus was on earth, after the resurrection they – and we – are sent out to all nations. Jesus explained this sending quite succinctly:

John 20:21(ESV) 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”We who follow Jesus are a sent people, even as Jesus was sent into the world by his Heavenly Father. We are a community sent on a mission together: to keep on doing the ministry of Jesus so that all people and all creation might experience the reconciliation of God. God has designed the church of Jesus Christ to be a “missional” fellowship. The word “mission” comes from the Latin word missio, which means “having been sent.” Since we have been sent to do God’s work, we are a “missional” community together.

We should have a clear understanding of the gospel of peace if we are to appreciate the material of which these shoes are made. By now the saint is dressed with a belt made of truth and a breastplate made of righteousness.

Before we focus on the word “readiness” and its place in the armor of God, we have to learn about the gospel of peace. The gospel that we have for the world—for our lost mom,dad,brother,sister,neighbor or unreached people group—the gospel that we have is the good news that God purchased peace by the death of his Son and offers it to sinners who believe in Jesus. We have the good news that God’s omnipotent wrath against sinners has been taken away through the death of Jesus for sin. And everyone who believes is reconciled to him freely by grace. And in the place of hostility and war comes peace. And there is nothing sweeter in all the world than to be at peace with God.

Ephesians 2:13-18(ESV)13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

The good news of peace is that when Christ died and shed his blood for sin, two kinds of hostility or animosity were overcome. The war between God and repentant sinners was brought to an end. And the war between races and factions in Christ was brought to an end. So Christ became our peace. That is the gospel of peace. Shoes made from the preparation of the gospel of peace are our third piece of vital armor. The gospel of peace is good news. God forgives and then He gives. What could be greater? The gospel takes a hopeless being and fills him or her with an eternity of glory.

Imagine a fully armed soldier. He has his sword, his shield, his helmet, his breastplate and his belt…but his feet are completely bare. The picture probably seems strange, and it should! Just by thinking about it, we can tell something is missing. But the problem goes beyond just looking odd. A shoeless soldier could run into real trouble in the heat of battle. Unless he is fighting on carpet, he is going to encounter some debris. It may be nothing more than twigs and pebbles, but to a bare foot that can cause serious pain—and one of the last things you want to deal with in the middle of a fight is worrying about where you step. Parents you know what I mean…. lego…. ever stepped on a lego barefoot? Shoes allow us to step freely and without fear while we turn our full attention to the battle at hand.

The sandals of the Roman soldier “often were fitted with nails, or armed with spikes, to make the hold firm in the ground” (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible). God’s good news and our mission—our marching orders—to preach it serve as our firm foundation. When we truly allow ourselves to take comfort in the good news promised by God, there is nothing from outside ourselves that can trouble our hearts or give us reason to be afraid. Christ has overcome the world and so we have nothing to fear from it. John 16:33(ESV)33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Just as shoes allow us to walk on otherwise painful terrain without fear, so the preparation of the gospel of peace allows us to travel across the otherwise painful trials and tribulations of life without fear, knowing that what awaits is greater than anything we could possibly suffer in this world.
Romans 8:18(ESV)18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

How long can anyone walk a hard and stony road without a decent pair of shoes? Not far if the right shoes are not on. Many have gone into battle without a proper preparation. This kind of preparation comes only from the gospel. Again, just like we saw with the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, there are two aspects to the shoes we wear. The soles that keep us going over hard ground, and the soles which equip us with something to offer to the needy souls along the way.

The word readiness indicates we must be constantly awake and aware. A victorious soldier had to be prepared for battle. He had to have studied his enemy’s strategy, be confident in his own strategy, and have his feet firmly planted so that he could hold his ground when the attacks came. A soldier’s battle shoes were studded with nails or spikes, like cleats, to help him keep his balance in combat. He knew that, if he lost his footing and went down, it wouldn’t matter how great the rest of his armor was; the enemy had him. When we are ready with the gospel of peace, we live with the understanding that we are continually under attack from Satan.

All life is war from the cradle to the grave, life is war. Your soul, your mind, your body, your family, your career, are all fields of conflict. Until Satan is finally thrown into the lake of fire, our peace with God will have to be a vigilant peace. Because Satan will certainly give us no peace if we are at peace with God.

The “peace shoes” that God supplies His soldiers have two purposes: defensive and offensive. In order to defend ourselves against the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16), we must have confidence of our position in Christ. We must stand firm in the truth of God’s Word, regardless of how terrifying the circumstances may be. We must understand grace without abusing it (Romans 6:1–6), remember that our position in Christ is not based on our own abilities or worthiness Titus 3:5(ESV)5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,, and keep our belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness securely fastened.

The foot is to the body what the will is to the spirit. We go wherever our will takes us. Preparation, the Christian’s spiritual readiness, is our feet laced up with the gospel of peace. The gospel sets the will of the Christian. It gives us a purpose and a focus. It presents us with a message and a task. It gives meaning to life and nothing else seems to matter. There is no calling without the gospel. There is no sacrifice without an understanding. A barefooted man shrinks when his feet touch the hot sand and shrieks when he stumbles on a sharp stone. But when the will and heart are prepared and ready to serve the Lord, the Christian feet is prepared and equipped to face any trouble he must go through to complete the task ahead.

In addition to standing our ground, shoes are also for moving. God expects us to go on the offensive and take the gospel of peace to others. Sharing our faith is one of the best ways to maintain our own sure footing. God knows that, when we are active in speaking about Him to others, we not only charge into Satan’s territory, but we dig our shoes more deeply into truth and will be much harder to dislodge. When we have the truth, we are ready to stand firm in the gospel of peace no matter what the enemy brings against us.

We need to remind ourselves the reason for the battle we are engaged in. Christ has brought you out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:13-14(ESV)13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

1 Peter 2:9(ESV)9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. He has put His spirit in you that you might work the works of GOD. Satan hates a witness for Christ, therefore is the reason for the battle. We should never forget the message, the gospel, we are to proclaim. What is the gospel? Make sure you understand the message we are to take to the world. Whether you are a singer, writer or teacher it makes no difference. We all have one message and focus, and that is to spread the love of Christ. Here is something you have to do. Prepare your self.

The Gospel is laid out plainly in;

Romans 5:6-11(ESV)6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The gospel gives us a message. Let your life radiate this message. If satan can get you from being a testimony in word, works and deed he has taken away a great weapon. No matter our callings or gifting the purpose is always the same. To make Christ known. God intends us all to be walking vessels of his goodness. Spreading the love of Christ to others. As we get more familiar with the gospel we will discover a message worth living for. Prepare yourself to follow the Lord no matter what.

It’s almost certain that Paul has in mind here the words of Isaiah 52:7(ESV)

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Here we have a picture of the feet of people who are running to bring good news, and the good news is good news of peace. Surely this is where Paul got his imagery. And if so, then the “readiness of the gospel of peace” is surely a readiness to move with the gospel, a readiness to tell the good news,to publish peace and say “God reigns!”

In 1 Peter 3:15(ESV) the very word “prepared” is used in the same kind of exhortation. 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, A ready offense is an essential part of a successful defense. Giving the gospel away is one of the best ways of experiencing its power in your own life. The best way to taste the power of God for your own soul is to venture something on it. It’s the great old truth of the Lord himself when he said, “He who loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” The more ready we are to move with the gospel, the more life and power and joy and security we will know in the gospel.

Ephesians Pt 21 Breastplate of Righteousness

Ephesians 6:10-14(ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 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, 

These scriptures inform believers to “put on the whole armor of God” in order to stand firm against the attacks of our enemies. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5(ESV)3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

The imagery is of an armed Roman or Israelite soldier, prepared for battle. A typical armed soldier wore a breastplate made of bronze or chain mail. It covered the vital organs, namely, the heart, and was fitted with loops or buckles that attached it to a thick belt. If the belt was loosened, the breastplate slipped right off. When Paul compares the armor of God with military gear, each piece represents a part of God’s strength that He extends to us when we become His children. The breastplate of righteousness refers to the righteousness purchased for us by Jesus at the cross 2 Corinthians 5:21(ESV)21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

At salvation, a “breastplate” is issued to each repentant sinner. It is specially designed by God to protect our heart and soul from evil and deception. Our own righteous acts are no match for Satan’s attacks. Isaiah 64:6(NET)We are all like one who is unclean, all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight. We all wither like a leaf; our sins carry us away like the wind.. The breastplate of righteousness has Christ’s name on it, as though He said, “Your righteousness isn’t sufficient enough to protect you, Here wear mine.”

We are separated from God. Sin caused man’s separation from God, however God Loves us so much, that He provides the Way into fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. His steadfast loving kindness leads us to repentance, His grace, and mercy, forgives us of all our sins, even though none of us deserves it. No one can earn forgiveness, and reconciliation to God, it is a free gift, to those who believe, and accept it by Faith.

   

The original sin of Adam and Eve brought devastation to all mankind and separation from God. All men and women are born with the same sin nature. We all have impure spirits and we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Isaiah 59:2(ESV) but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

We are instructed to “put on” this armor, which implies that we do not automatically wear it all the time. Putting on the armor of God requires a decision on our part. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must first have the belt of truth firmly in place. Without truth, our righteousness will be based upon our own attempts to impress God. This leads to legalism or self-condemnation. We choose instead to acknowledge that, apart from Him, we can do nothing John 15:5(ESV)5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. We see ourselves as “in Christ” and that, regardless of our failures, His righteousness has been credited to our account.

Imputed righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus credited to the Christian, enabling the Christian to be justified. Justification – We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin. (This is Instant)

Imparted righteousness is what God does in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit after justification, working in the Christian to enable and empower the process of sanctification. Sanctification – We are being saved from the Power of Sin (This is a Process)

Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death 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. Biblical salvation refers to our deliverance from the consequence of sin and therefore involves justification from sin.

 

What does the term “Justified” mean? The Bible meaning of the word is to be totally blameless and totally guiltless–to be able to stand before God clean and pure in every way. A play on the word helps us to understand its meaning. If I am Justified, it is Just-as-if-I’d never sinned, and Just-as-if-I’d always been holy and done the right things.

Our Father, however, has devised a plan and made a way for us to stand righteous before Him. He has sent His own Son as a Sacrifice on our behalf, and those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life, and shall be seen as righteous in God’s sight.

Romans 3:21-24(ESV)21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

This is Justification, to stand before God with all debts paid, and clothed in the righteousness of His only Son, Jesus Christ. To be able know that you have “peace with God”–there is no more war between you and the Almighty.

Romans 5:1(ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Taken together, the concepts of Grace and Justification by Faith show the uniqueness of the Christian doctrine of Salvation. The message of Grace is God Saves Sinners. It is His Plan, it was His Son who died and rose again, it is His Spirit who enlivens the preaching and witness of believers to awaken sinners to their need of salvation and lead them to faith in Christ.

After Justification begins Sanctification which is basically the process of our dying to self, dying to self means that the things of the old life are put to death, most especially the sinful ways and lifestyles we once engaged in. Galatians 5:24 (ESV)“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires”. Where we once pursued selfish pleasures, we now pursue, with equal passion, those things that pleases God.

And being obedient to the word and the Spirit that we are daily changed, in God’s eyes we are considered righteous and accepted because of our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross.

God’s grace is the determining factor in our salvation, even to include His working in our lives to develop a lifestyle consistent with salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The grace of God is so simple, and so profound that most of the greatest minds don’t fully understand it. It stands in opposition to the ideas that most of us have about earning our way in the world, about people getting what they deserve, about “fairness,” and about the independence of human beings.

The meaning of grace behind that simple explanation is one of the most hated teachings in the world because it so totally undermines and removes all traces of human pride.

Ephesians 1:4-5(ESV)4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[a] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

When Adam sinned it didn’t throw a wrench in God’s plan, He didn’t say”Wow I didn’t see that coming, now I have to devise a different plan for man, Wow that really threw me off.” He knew since before the foundation of the earth, who He would call into His army.

Romans 9:14-18(ESV)14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

The Doctrine of Grace teaches that we are totally unable to save ourselves, to help in our salvation, to do anything to merit all or any part of our salvation, or to keep our salvation. We are saved totally as an act of God’s will, and we do not deserve it in any way. This is the most important first principle in understanding Grace–no one in the entire human race deserves any consideration from God, we are all rebels and sinners, and we all deserve Hell. Except for His own redemption plan, God could rightfully have sent the entire human race to eternal punishment long ago! The description Paul gives of believers before salvation fits the entire human race if they are without Christ: This is what God has done for you in Christ Jesus, He gave you life you did not deserve. He gave you life you did not earn, because it would not be a gift if you did something for it. However the Bible calls us to repent. God calls everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and trust in Christ in order to be saved

Mark 1:15(ESV)15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.

Acts 3:19(ESV)19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,

Acts 7:30-31(ESV)30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

1 Corinthians 12:3(ESV)3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Romans 10:9-10(ESV)9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Acts 13:48(ESV) And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

It is crucially important that we understand repentance is not a work we do to earn salvation. No one can repent and come to God unless God pulls that person to Himself.

John 6:44(ESV)44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

These indicate that repentance is something God gives—it is only possible because of His grace. No one can repent unless God grants repentance.

Romans 6:23(ESV) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 9:15(ESV)15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Ephesians 2:8(ESV)8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

If you ask for a gift is it still a gift?

All of salvation, including repentance and faith, is a result of God drawing us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance as does His kindness. (2 Peter 3:9(ESV)9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Romans 2:4(ESV)4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

The Bible makes plain that the mysterious supernatural experience called the New Birth is an act of God.

John 3:3-8(ESV)3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

You did not and cannot contribute anything to your new birth, you contribute as much to your spiritual birth as you did your natural birth.

In spite of us deserving wrath, however, God has exercised His Grace toward us in Christ. Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What is the meaning of Grace? Grace focuses on the forgiveness needed because of the current state we are in. It is a gift that is not earned, but it is more than that. We didn’t simply live in a way not to earn salvation; we lived in a way characterized by fighting, kicking, and screaming against receiving the gift.

Even our best efforts fall far short of the righteousness required by God Romans 3:23(ESV)23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That’s why Scripture says that no one seeks God.
Romans 3:10-11(ESV)10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. We seek fulfillment. We seek pleasure. We seek escape from pain. But the pure motivation of seeking after God for Himself is a gift from God. We are not saved because we had the wisdom and insight to exercise our own faith and trust God. No one wakes up one day and, on his own, decides to seek God. That would be a salvation by our own works, and Scripture is clear we are saved only by the grace and mercy of God.
Titus 3:5(ESV)he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Romans 11:6(ESV)But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

We are saved when God touches our hearts and prompts us to use the faith He gives to receive His gift of salvation.That is how our lives were characterized. God’s grace is absolutely overwhelming. The idea that we did anything to merit or earn salvation, the idea that we mustered up repentance or faith within ourselves, the idea that we worked with God in our salvation, is totally at odds with what grace truly is. And Paul drives this point home in Ephesians 2:9(ESV)not a result of works, so that no one may boast. It’s not of us; it’s not by us; it’s not for us! God is the initiator and the preserver of our salvation.

There is no precursor to our salvation, God is not in heaven waiting for us to get our act together for him to save us.

Romans 8:6-9(ESV)For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

The most important thing to say is that the christian life is one of confidence in God. And the foundation of our confidence is this promise: That God saved us, He is Sanctifying us and He will Glorify us when we get to Heaven. It is all of Him and nothing of us. That does not mean that we will not face trials. Trials help us to build Godly character, that is the basis of sanctification, to remove our old character and for the Holy Spirit to work our Father’s character into us.

Proverbs 17:3(NLT)Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart. For Godly character to be in us HE has to work our fleshly character out of us. God doesn’t change our personality, He changes our character. 

Character is what you are behind closed doors, when no one is watching, when your all alone, when you don’t have to wear the “mask” in front of people.

Character in the believer is a consistent manifestation of Jesus in his life. It is the purity of heart that God gives becoming purity in action. God sometimes uses trials to strengthen character:
Romans 5:3-5 (HCSB)3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

There is a difference between continuing to sin and continuing to live in sin. No one reaches sinless perfection in this life, but the redeemed Christian is being sanctified (made holy) day by day, sinning less and hating it more each time he fails. Yes, we still sin, but unwillingly and less and less frequently as we mature. Our new self hates the sin that still has a hold on us. The difference is that the new creation is no longer a slave to sin, as we formerly were. We are now freed from sin and it no longer has power over us. Now we are empowered by and for righteousness. We now have the choice to “let sin reign” or to count ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”

Romans 6:11-12(ESV)11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Best of all, now we have the power to choose the latter. Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. Jesus meets us where we are but His goal is to never leave us where He met us, We are to follow Him and strive for holiness AFTER He meets us where we are.

Ephesians Pt 20 Belt of Truth

Ephesians 6:10-10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.

This is a description of the spiritual armor God gives us. We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and by praying in the Spirit. What do these pieces of spiritual armor represent in spiritual warfare? We are to know the truth, believe the truth, and speak the truth. We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we face. We are not to waver in our faith, trusting God’s promises no matter how strongly we are attacked. Our ultimate defense is the assurance we have of our salvation, an assurance that no spiritual force can take away. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings.

This text teaches some crucial truths: we can only stand strong in the Lord’s power, it is God’s armor that protects us, and our battle is ultimately against spiritual forces of evil in the world. Some suggest all we need to do is bind Satan-and just say, “Satan, I bind you,” and he is caught. There is no magic phrase or mantra we can say that will bind Satan, but God has not left us without a divine strategy for dealing with him. God’s strategy centers on objective truth, not subjective experience. It begins with sound doctrine, not mystical technique. Yet ironically, those who talk most about warfare against Satan often minimize the importance of doctrine.

Matthew 16:19(ESV) “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” In this verse, Jesus is speaking directly to the apostle Peter and indirectly to the other apostles. Jesus’ words meant that Peter would have the right to enter the kingdom himself, that he would have general authority symbolized by the possession of the keys, and that preaching the gospel would be the means of opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers and shutting it against unbelievers. The book of Acts shows us this process at work. By his sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40), Peter opened the door of the kingdom for the first time. The expressions “bind” and “loose” were common to Jewish legal phraseology meaning to declare something forbidden or to declare it allowed.

Jesus taught that the apostles had a special task on earth. Their words of authority, as recorded in the New Testament epistles, reflect God’s will for the church. When Paul declared an anathema on those who pervert the gospel, then we know that anathema was already declared in heaven. Galatians 1:8–9(ESV)8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, the Jews rejected him. Jesus opened up salvation for the whole world.

John 3:16-20(ESV)16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

So when he is telling peter that he is giving him the keys to heaven and what he allows on earth is the gospel message to be spread amongst all men.

Acts 13:44-52(ESV)44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews[d] saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,  that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

You live differently in times of war than in times of peace. You are more alert, more intentional, you don’t play as many games. You have to know that there is a real enemy out there and his intention is to kill you, destroy you and your family, your loved ones, your sons and daughters. As a Christian we are enlisted into the Army of the Lord the minute we become saved. Our duties as a recruit is to please the recruiter.
2 Timothy 2:3-4(ESV)3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
To often Christians get entangled with the temporal(temporary) things of this world and they are not getting involved in the eternal things of the Father’s Kingdom. We have bought into a christianity where you can have your life and sprinkle some Jesus on top and totally ignore the warfare. We are not on a cruise ship, we are on a battleship, we cannot trade in our weapons of warfare for sipping drinks with little umbrellas in it by the pool. Truth is far more than facts. It’s not just something we act upon. It acts upon us. We can’t change the truth, but the truth can change us. It sanctifies (sets us apart) from the falsehoods woven into our sin natures. As Christ the living Word is truth, so his written word is truth. Though heaven and earth will pass away, God’s truth never will.

The first part of the armor is the belt of truth. God never intended His people to worship Him apart from the use of their minds. Real spirituality begins with a precise understanding of truth. Yet much of contemporary Christianity is heading down the paths of mystical experience and fantasy. We don’t battle Satan with magic words and imaginary forces; we rely on the power of His truth as it brings even our thoughts captive to our Lord. That is genuine and ultimate victory over satanic forces. No matter how Satan attacks, the solution is the same. We stand in the truth. We don’t need to learn hidden strategies to fight Satan. God’s truth is the supreme weapon against the father of lies. John 8:44(HCSB)You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars. Only when we know the truth and commit ourselves to obey it will we stand strong.

The belt—known as the cingulum or balteus—held the Roman soldier’s breastplate to his body, and also held his scabbard which encased his sword. The belt provided a place to house the sword and carry it into battle effectively. The spiritual sword is the Bible, the Word of God.

The belt holds together all other pieces of our armor, and therefore is first mentioned. Similarly, without truth holding us, a Christian is unprepared. It was the belt that held the scabbard, without which there would be no place to put a sword. Imagine an overzealous soldier, fired up and charging out into battle—but without his belt, and consequently without a weapon!

In battle they would take the four corners of the tunic, and fold it up underneath the belt to keep their legs free and to keep from getting tangled.

Paul, by phrasing the first piece of spiritual armor in this way, is referring to that practice of getting the robe up out of your way. Which was important in battle.

In biblical times men wore tunics which was like a robe, they still do this in countries in the Middle East where men wear robes instead of pants. When these men needed to run, or to do some sort of manual labor, they would bend over, take the back edge of their robe, and fold it up into the front of their belt. It was a quick and convenient way to turn a robe into a pair of shorts. The point was that it got the robe up out of the way, so that the person could run faster or work better without having the robe get in the way. So with this in mind, we can see why Paul, although talking about a belt which is worn around the waste, tells us to gird up the loins. He has in mind both the belt, and getting the robe out of the way for movement.

The belt also had other purposes beyond just girding up the loins. It also kept the breastplate tight and secure around the soldier, and kept it from banging against his chest when in battle, and the belt also held a sheath for his sword or dagger.

So if a soldier got rid of his belt, his breastplate wouldn’t be secure, his tunic would trip him up, his sword would drop to the ground. In short, he wouldn’t be much good in battle.

Because of all of these things, the belt was one of the most important pieces of the soldier’s armor. To stand strong in this battle, we must know the truth, and live by the truth. Only in this way will the rest of our armor stay on, and only in this way will we be protected in this battle. This is because the belt of the truth keeps the breastplate tight, it keeps the tunic up and out of your way so you don’t get tripped up or slowed down. It provides you with a place to keep your sword. Without truth, we are easily tripped up by Satan’s lies. Lies, no matter how big or how small, are the things that destroy lives and relationships and futures. One little lie was what Satan used in the garden of Eden to destroy the future of all mankind. You cannot afford to have areas of deception in your life, just as, with a belt, you cannot afford to have a broken belt, or a belt with weaknesses. Truth, like a belt, to be effective, must be able to completely surround you—front, back, right and left, and must be strong enough to hold everything together.

If the belt was not in place you would always be in danger of tripping over your own clothing.  So if the truth is not in place then your in danger danger of tripping over your own opinions, And, for a soldier, if the belt was not in place, you also would not be able to get ready for battle. The belt needs to be trustworthy otherwise the rest of the armor is useless. That is the significance of the belt in a literal sense. But let’s remember what Paul is doing here. This is not a commentary on military fashion items. Ephesians 6:14a is talking about a belt which has spiritual significance. When it comes to understanding the spiritual significance of this piece of equipment we see that trustworthiness and dependability is the key.

Spiritual warfare starts with knowing Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Without this you have nothing to hold the rest of the armor together as the belt held all the armor together.

The belt of truth sets us apart from people who don’t follow God. Jesus prayed that God would sanctify us by the truth John 17:17(ESV)17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  To sanctify means to set apart for a special purpose and to purify.  The truth helps us stay on mission for God and avoid falling back into sin’s corruption.

Truth provides guidance. The Holy Spirit uses the truth to guide us in whatever circumstances we’re in. John wrote John 16:13 (ESV)13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. Just as communications are crucial on the physical battlefield, so is the Holy Spirit’s guidance via truth on the spiritual battlefield.

Truth helps us with Intelligence & Discernment, Intelligence data and its interpretation (i.e. discernment) can play a critical role in the outcome of military conflicts.  God’s word reveals truth that helps us decisively recognize the devil’s lies in spiritual conflicts. Armed with the truth of the word, we’ll recognize the devil’s lies for what they are.
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Truth secures everything together. Belts were used in Bible times to secure loose garments so that a person could run and/or fight effectively.
1 Kings 18:46(ESV)46 And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
2 Kings 4:29(ESV)29 He said to Gehazi, “Tie up your garment and take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not reply. And lay my staff on the face of the child.”
The belts also provided a place to attach weapons. When the enemy attacks us we may have to move quickly and use our spiritual weapons (Praise, Prayer, Sword of the Spirit, etc.).  The belt of truth enables us to move quickly and confidently without tripping into lies or losing our weapons

John 8:31-32(ESV)31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

True disciples of Jesus believe that He speaks the truth about God and the Scriptures. They also know that He is who He claims to be.

Verse 32 begins with, “Then you will know the truth.” “You” refers to those who are true disciples of Jesus. True disciples will know the truth. More than that, their eyes are opened to a greater understanding of the truth.

Jesus is the Truth John 14:6(ESV)6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Knowing the Truth will set one at liberty—free from sin, free from condemnation, and free from death.
Romans 6:22(ESV)22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 

Romans 8:1–2(ESV)1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 

John 17:17(ESV)Sanctify them in the truth;Your word is truth.

Jesus, praying to the Father, gives a clear and straightforward definition of truth: God’s Word. The Holy Bible (Scripture—the word of truth) was given by inspiration of God.

2 Timothy 3:16(ESV)16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
The Greek expression translated “inspiration of God” literally means “God-breathed”! He actively and fully inspired the Bible to reveal His truth to us. His promises, His commands, His word—they are all truth, plain and simple.

A belt encompasses the waist. Does our conviction to the truth encompass us? As the above scripture notes, truth must be bound around us and written on our hearts—our conviction must reach beyond an outward show.

The belt used in Roman armor, as we have learned, provided a place for the soldier’s sword. Our sword—the sword of the Spirit—likewise needs a sheath. Truth is vital because, like a Roman soldier’s belt, it allows us to carry the sword of the Spirit and use it effectively.

The world we live in teaches that truth is what we make it—that good and bad are relative and that there are no absolutes, only equally valid opinions. But the Bible teaches that truth is God’s Word—that good and bad are defined by Him and that there are eternal and unchangeable absolutes, uninfluenced by opinions.

Paul wrote to the Romans in Chapter 12 telling them to “not be conformed to this world.” Part of that means not buying into a system of belief that says absolute truth is a myth. As Christians, we know both that there is truth and that it is absolute.

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.

Imagine a belt with a piece missing. No matter how tiny the part that isn’t there, the belt is still useless. To do its job, it must be one continuous, unbroken piece.Now imagine living a way of life you don’t completely agree with. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal—after all, what are a couple minor points that you’re not sure about?

They are everything. To try to live God’s way without total belief in its validity is like trying to hold your sword up with a belt that isn’t continuous. Neither will work. Our trust in God and His Word must be solid, without break, or else we will quickly find ourselves without a weapon. No matter how effective the rest of our armor is, we are useless without our sword. We need to be rightly dividing the word of truth—knowing what we believe, why and be able to give a defense.
1 Peter 3:15(ESV)15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

Putting on the belt of truth is putting on the truth of the Bible. Getting it close by. Understanding what it says. Knowing what it teaches. The reason many Christians today are ineffective in their Christian life and in spiritual warfare is because they have not committed themselves fully to the Word of God, which alone is sufficient to prepare them for every situation in life. The content of God’s truth is absolutely essential for the believer in his battle against the schemes of Satan.

The Christian’s belt is truth. The primary thing about Christianity is not that we feel better from routine religion but that the message is true. If it isn’t true it is meaningless. Christianity isn’t true because it works for me. Because Christianity is true it works mightily to change lives. It tells us what life is all about, who God is, what the good life is, and what lies after death. It gives rational answers to ultimate question. We must never stop telling people that the Christian faith is true. Its truthfulness is the belt which holds together everything else. It tempers the zeal and fuels the fire. It is the foundation for our joy and peace; it tells us what our response should be and motivates us in all our activities. If you know little about what the Scripture teaches you are extremely vulnerable. A soldier cannot fight properly with his armor and underclothes swinging in the wind or his pants falling to his ankles. He’d be dead before he could swing a single blow.

In the spiritual battle God needs soldiers who are properly equipped to fight the battle. Which raises a very significant question. How trustworthy and dependable are you as you seek to be a soldier for God? It is a significant question, but it isn’t always a comfortable question,And we should be people who read and study the Word of God. But if all we are doing is gathering knowledge without also being willing to be engaged in the spiritual battle, then we are not really acting as trustworthy and dependable soldiers.

We are being asked to examine our commitment to kingdom work. And that raises the question:- How trustworthy and dependable are you as a soldier for God?

Ephesians Pt19 Spiritual Warfare

Ephesians 6:10–20(ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 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, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

This text teaches some crucial truths: we can only stand strong in the Lord’s power, it is God’s armor that protects us, and our battle is ultimately against spiritual forces of evil in the world.

Some suggest all we need to do is bind Satan-and just say, “Satan, I bind you,” and he is caught. They cite Matthew 12:29(ESV)29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

But Jesus was dispelling the Pharisees’ foolish accusation that He worked under Satan’s power (Matthew12:27-28), not relating a scenario whereby believers could “bind” Satan. He used the illustration of a thief, who, planning to rob a strong man’s house while the man was there, would first have to bind him or risk being arrested and beaten. Jesus’ point was that He had demonstrated to the Pharisees and all Israel His power over Satan and the kingdom of evil. Only God has the power and authority to enter the very house of Satan, successfully bind him, and carry off his property. Even Paul was hindered by Satan

1 Thessalonians 2:18(ESV)18 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. Are we to assume he didn’t know the correct formula?

There is no magic phrase or mantra we can say that will bind Satan, but God has not left us without a divine strategy for dealing with him. God’s strategy centers on objective truth, not subjective experience. It begins with sound doctrine, not mystical technique. Yet ironically, those who talk most about warfare against Satan often minimize the importance of doctrine.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5(ESV)3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

If we can bind Satan then who keeps unbinding him?

A word of caution concerning spiritual warfare is in order. Nowhere in Scripture are we instructed to speak to demons or to Satan. The name of Jesus is not a magic incantation that causes demons to flee from before us. The seven sons of Sceva are an example of what can happen when people presume an authority they have not been given Acts 19:13–16(ESV)13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all[a] of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Even Michael the archangel did not rebuke Satan in his own power but said Jude 1:9(ESV)9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

When we start talking to the devil, we run the risk of being led astray as Eve was. Genesis 3:1–7(ESV)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’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Our focus should be on God, not demons; we speak to Him, not them.

There are two primary errors when it comes to spiritual warfare—over-emphasis and under-emphasis. Some blame every sin, every conflict, and every problem on demons that need to be cast out. Others completely ignore the spiritual realm and the fact that the Bible tells us our battle is against spiritual powers. There is an invisible spiritual world, and there is an invisible spiritual war. Somehow most Christians especially in America and now we are stating to export this false teaching that Christianity is anything but war. Most churches do not even preach on spiritual warfare even though the bible explicitly states it numerous times. We have bought into a christianity where you can have your life and sprinkle some Jesus on top and totally ignore the warfare. We are not on a cruise ship, we are on a battleship, we cannot trade in our weapons of warfare for sipping drinks with little umbrellas in it by the pool.
2 Timothy 2:3-4(ESV)3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

As soon as we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are drawn into a spiritual battle. It is a battle where eternal death or eternal life is at stake. It is a battle with one who is 100% committed to drawing us away from God. It is a battle that calls us to make the spiritually lost a priority as we stand in unity with Jesus. Is this the battle that we are winning? Are we truly concerned that there are real people that will die and go to Hell? Are we concerned with it? Do we know that we are in a battle, even though it is invisible and spiritual it is real and it is eternal.

There are three enemies that we deal with and have to discern which they are so we can engage them in battle correctly. The World, The devil and the Flesh.

Ephesians 2:1-3(ESV)And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world(THE WORLD), following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience(THE DEVIL)— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.(The Flesh)

The basic strategy for our warfare:

Crucify our flesh. Romans 8:12-14(ESV)12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Hate the world system. 1 John 2:15-17(ESV)15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Stand against the devil. Ephesians 6:10–18(ESV)10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 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, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

But the key to successful spiritual warfare is finding the biblical balance. Jesus sometimes cast demons out of people; other times He healed people with no mention of the demonic,sometimes we have to separate ourselves from the world,and other times we have to as the apostle Paul instructs Christians to wage war against the sin in themselves. Romans 6:1-13(ESV)What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 

There’s four facts that, before we talk about, you absolutely need to know these.

Fact No. 1:  God has defeated Satan. The bell just din’t ring yet. He has delivered us from sin’s penalty, and power, and ultimately will deliver us from sin’s very presence. In the meantime, we’re involved in guerrilla warfare with demonic forces.

Fact No. 2:  As believers, we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light with all the rights and privileges and position that being a child of God involves.

Fact No. 3:  The spiritual battle that we fight involves a responsibility on our part to put on the spiritual protection that God has provided for us.  We can and we will resist the enemy’s attempts to deceive, accuse, and cast out when we stand firm by what?  First, being honest with God about ourselves and others: This is the prerequisite to all spiritual battle.  Second, responding to the truth that God shows us about His will for our lives which includes righteous living.  And third, a clear understanding of the Gospel and taking opportunity to readily share it by evangelism.

Fact No. 4:  The vast or great majority of all spiritual warfare never need go beyond the regular practice of living out your position in Christ by faith.  What we’re talking about now is not necessarily the norm.  Our practice of Paul’s metaphor, the spiritual armor, protects us from Satan’s ongoing attempts to break our fellowship with Jesus and, as a result, greatly minimizes any impact of the enemy.

There are three weapons of warfare than can greatly impact the forces of evil and give us some comfort in knowing that He is defeated. We must already know that he is defeated the bell just dint ring yet.

  1. Prayer – you can not do anything without prayer, Ephesians 6:18(ESV) 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
    2 Chronicles 20:5-12(ESV) Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the Lord’s temple before the new courtyard. 6 He said:Yahweh, the God of our ancestors, are You not the God who is in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can stand against You. 7 Are You not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and who gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham Your friend? 8 They have lived in the land and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name and have said, 9 “If disaster comes on us—sword or judgment, pestilence or famine—we will stand before this temple and before You, for Your name is in this temple. We will cry out to You because of our distress, and You will hear and deliver.” 10 Now here are the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir. You did not let Israel invade them when Israel came out of the land of Egypt, but Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 Look how they repay us by coming to drive us out of Your possession that You gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You
  2. Praise – your praise is a weapon 2 Chronicles 20:13-24(ESV) All Judah was standing before the Lord with their infants, their wives, and their children. 14 In the middle of the congregation, the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel (son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite from Asaph’s descendants), 15 and he said, “Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, go down against them. You will see them coming up the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley facing the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for Yahweh is with you.’” 18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord to worship Him. 19 Then the Levites from the sons of the Kohathites and the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel shouting with a loud voice.20 In the morning they got up early and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were about to go out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem. Believe in Yahweh your God, and you will be established; believe in His prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of His holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the Lord,for His faithful love endures forever. 22 The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who came to fight against Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites turned against the inhabitants of Mount Seir and completely annihilated them. When they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped destroy each other. 24 When Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked for the large army, but there were only corpses lying on the ground; nobody had escaped.
  3. Perseverance – stand in the face of opposition do not cut and run. No army ever won by retreating. Ephesians speaks a couple of times about putting on the armor so you can stand. James 1:12(ESV)12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

The bible says we are created to bring pleasure to God. But only those who belong to God can touch Him by praise and prayer. All the people that brought down the presence of God through praise in the bible were people of God. If you want God to accept your praise,you must first do away with sin. Give your life to Christ, and He will give you a new heart from which heavenly ordained praises can come Acts 3:19-20(ESV)19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,

Ephesians Pt 18 Masters and Slaves

Ephesians 6:5-9(ESV)5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ. 6 Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart. 7 Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord. 9 And masters, treat your slaves the same way, without threatening them, because you know that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him.

The apostle Paul wrote this to show how Christian workers and bosses should treat each other. It is addressed to slaves and masters, not to employees and employers. The idea of masters and slaves is different from our western way of thinking. Although our text was written to slaves and masters, it applies directly to employees and employers. It shows practically how those filled with the Holy Spirit, who subject themselves to one another in the fear of Christ (Ephesians 5:18-21), should relate to one another in the workplace. Paul is saying,Your relationship to Christ and the fact that you live primarily for the glory of the Father should transform your relationships at work to reflect His work in you.

Slavery had been a common practice in many ancient societies such as Egypt, China and the Middle East. Most slaves originated from the spoils of war, kidnap or voluntarily to pay for debts. The treatment of slaves varied in the ancient world, but in most cases slaves were the property of the master, with little or no rights or status. This meant that many were treated harshly, although most ancient societies had some laws to regulate slavery, such as the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1750 BC).

Slavery was allowed in the Old Testament, this may shock some that slavery was an accepted practice. It must be noted that the slavery mentioned in the bible is very different to the slavery that occurred in the Americas in the 17th and 18th Centuries which is the popular view of slavery today. Old Testament treatment of slaves was also generally more humane than the slavery practiced in other ancient civilizations.

Throughout biblical times slavery was a common practice. The bible does not condemn slavery but has clear teaching on how slaves should be treated, which was often counter-cultural to the practices of surrounding nations. Biblical slavery amongst Jews was often an act of mercy to provide for the poor rather than an act of exploitation. The bible condemns the abuse of slaves and the forced enslavement of people and slaves were to be treated well in both Old and New Testaments.

The Israelites were to treat their enslaved fellow Hebrews as if they were servants. (Leviticus 25:39-40). They were also to give them the option of their freedom in the 7th year of their service (Exodus 21:2), and give them the means to make a new start (Deuteronomy 15:12-18), although they could remain a slave if they chose.

Exodus 21:16 (ESV) “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.

It’s verses like this that John Newton, the slave trader in England thought of as he wrote the hymn Amazing Grace.  He knew full well that because of his sins, he deserved death and yet the Lord granted him repentance and faith.

Slavery was permitted in the Old Testament…
There were reasons for slavery. If an Israelite fell upon hard times they could offer to work for someone else who would in turn look after them (Leviticus 25:39). If a thief was caught and could not make restitution then they were to be sold for the theft (Exodus 22:3). Debtors who went bankrupt could be forced to sell their children into slavery (2 Kings 4:1). These reasons all apply to Hebrew slaves, however, it is difficult to say why the bible allowed them to take foreign slaves. Maybe it was a way of dealing with prisoners of war rather than killing them? Perhaps they needed slaves to prosper as a nation? Both these reasons could apply to David putting the conquered Ammonites to forced labour (2 Samuel 12:31(ESV)31 And he brought out the people who were in it and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and iron axes and made them toil at[a] the brick kilns. And thus he did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.

Slavery is not condemned in the New Testament either.

Paul doesn’t condemn the system of slavery because it isn’t exactly like what we think of when we think of slavery.  When it was practiced under God’s boundaries it was a lot like an employer and employee relationship.

Galatians 3:28-29 (ESV) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Paul could say this because whether one was a servant or a master, the blood of Christ has made them equal in His kingdom. Rather than condemning slavery, Paul explains that the Kingdom of God is a leveling, equalizing kingdom. Often, in the church of the first century the slave/master relationship would be turned around when they entered the church.  In the outside world the slave was the follower. He did what his master told him to do.  Once they entered the church, the slave might be an elder and the master would submit to his leadership. Paul was not opposed to the freedom of slaves if the opportunity arose. Paul believed that God had called people to different stations in life and they were to live out the Christian life in the situation in which they were called.
1 Corinthians 7:17-24(ESV)17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
For slaves to disobey their masters would have caused God’s name to be reviled. Slaves were to please God by their service and the brotherly love with a believing master should be another reason for serving him well. Masters were to treat their slaves well because they both had the same master in heaven with whom there is no partiality.

1 Timothy 6:1-2(ESV)Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.

In a list of the lawless and disobedient (1Timothy 1:10(ESV), the New Testament condemns those who take people captive to sell them into slavery, which is consistent with Old Testament Law.

In Paul’s letter to Philemon, he urges Philemon to receive back the runaway slave Onesimus as a brother, but Paul does not command him to be released from slavery.

There were abuses in slavery but we must not allow the abuses to cloud our thinking.

Jesus didn’t condemn slavery.

Luke 7:2-10 (ESV)Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

The centurion’s servant was under his authority and did whatever he told him to do.  The centurion understood authority.  He was under the emperor’s authority; his soldiers were under his authority.  He also knew that the disease that plagued his servant was under Jesus’ authority.  Just like when the centurion gave an order, it was carried out.  He knew that Jesus could just give the order and the disease would obey. Jesus didn’t say, you should not have a slave.  But rather He healed this man’s servant whom he loved and cared for.

Slavery has only been explicitly ‘outlawed’ for the last 150 years. The historical momentum of slavery and the slave trade still guides the minds of the elites today because it is everywhere as an economic system. Enslavement is a technique/technology wielded by institutions. Like any technique/technology, improvements and innovations outmode prior models and methods. When automobiles became abundant, horse-drawn carriages were banned from the roadway. This would not be called the “abolition of traffic”.

Slavery upgraded from an apparent system to a not so apparent system. Plantations were replaced by ‘plants’ and factories. Masters of industry are bosses of industry: slave owners were business leaders, moguls, empire-builders, who arranged systems of human employment designed to maintain and reinforce their positions as the elite. A free and endless supply of laborers helps to maximize and centralize revenue. They “put people to work”, they were “job creators”. The overt system of African slave labor built the infrastructure of a more subtle wage slavery system. When the 13th Amendment was ratified and slaveholders lost their ability under the law to “create jobs” and “put people to work” in the old way, they simply used the wealth they had amassed from exploiting slave labor to tweak the process and procedure of slave-taking into something more accommodating. A “soft slavery” was demanded and provided, economic enslavement not imposed by physical brutality and violence, not limited to one marginalized group of humans determined by the color of one’s skin, not upheld by the illusion of racial divisions, but an all-inclusive and sneaky slavery, a slavery that masquerades with the facade of free will. The modern day equivalent to biblical master and slave is …… Employer and employee

This following scripture is the emphasis of the entire Bible. The first and greatest commandment is (Matthew 22:37-39(ESV)37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ) The second greatest commandment is that we love one another. But the Lord does not put that command first. It is deliberately second, because the primary thing in life, the foundation for everything else, is that you love the Lord God, who sent His son Jesus Christ as our atonement on the cross so we can have a right relationship with Him. Everyone has a personal relationship with Jesus. Some are redeemed and some are condemned. A right relationship with Christ is primary!

In this very instructive passage, the apostle deals with three things:
1. There is activity which is required by this relationship.

2. There is an attitude in which that activity is to be performed.

3. There is an awareness of a fundamental principle at work that keeps this whole relationship from degenerating into tyranny.

First, there is an activity required on the part of employees, and it is put in one word — obedience: “obey your earthly masters.” This is the same Greek word that occurs in Chapter 6, Verse 1, with regard to children. “Children, obey your parents.” We looked at that last week. It means to follow orders. It is a military term, and it means that Christian employees are under obligation to those who hire them to do what they say. It is really very simple. Do what the boss says, obey him. Don’t talk bad about him or her behind their back, don’t just give them lip service. Do what they say. If you are a janitor be the best janitor the company ever had. Follow orders.

Second, and this is the important thing which he says four different ways, Obey with a sincere heart. Ephesians 6:5-7(ESV)”with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” This means without divided loyalty, freedom from the tension that is created by conflicting loyalties. In other words, settle it once and for all in your mind that you are not there merely to please the boss, you are there to please the Lord. You are to carry your relationship of concern for the Lord to your work as well as to your church. You are to work as unto Christ, and your supreme concern is your loyalty to him. If you are trying to please two different forces, those around you and the Lord, you will be torn apart with a conflicting tension that never lets up. To begin with, workers are called to obey their employers with fear and trembling. We must notice that the fear and trembling is not because your boss is mean but because you represent Jesus at your job.  You want to do a good job and work hard because whether your boss is a believer or not, will see the difference Christ makes in one’s life.  It goes on to say, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,

The bottom line is that whether you like your boss or not, whether your boss notices your efforts or not, you are to be diligent in your work.  Sooner or later someone will notice that you don’t stand around and do nothing even when there’s nothing really to do, you find something.  Even this is not for your benefit.  We don’t want noticed to get ahead. Ephesians 6:6-7(ESV)6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, At times when other employees are grumbling and complaining you are hard at work.  When we work hard and are faithful to our employers, we will get noticed and compensated.  Because we are really working for the Lord and not for our employer, He will justly reward our efforts. So he says, obey “doing the will of God from the heart”. Paul expresses the same idea negatively, “not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers…” Then positively, “…but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”

Four times the idea is put forth: never work for men, you Christians, work only for God. You can work under a man’s direction, but remember that you are working unto the Lord, that your daily task is work that he has given you to do, and you do it unto him. What a glory this gives to every task. The first sign is eye-service. Do you know what that means? That means working only when the boss is watching. When he turns his back, you quit working. That is eye-service. It is that attitude that so widely invades our society today, the idea of working only when the boss is watching. If you are a Christian, this is absolutely forbidden if you want to be faithful to your Lord. Remember, the eye that watches you is not a human eye. Therefore, the first sign of a divided loyalty is eye-service.

The second sign of failure in this respect is men-pleasing. Notice how the apostle is putting his finger on the attitudes that are found so frequently in this relationship of labor and capital. Men-pleasing! What is it? It is playing office politics, buttering up the boss. It reveals a double heart, the lack of a single eye. It reveals that we are trying to get on by making men happy but disregarding what God thinks.

One other factor is added by way of motivation. There is to be an awareness, Paul says, of an unseen but powerful fact: Ephesians 6:8(ESV)8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. It does not make any difference what your status in life is. When work is done unto Christ, he undertakes to correct the conditions that make for unhappiness, or else to make compensate on another level. Notice that he does not promise always to correct the condition, because God’s will is that Christians must sometimes live as his Son lived, under very difficult and contrary conditions, and manifest his grace anyhow. They are poor homes, but homes where happiness dwells. It does not take wealth to be happy.

Third, There is an awareness of a fundamental principle at work that keeps this whole relationship from degenerating into tyranny. Employers must be certain that his or her lifestyle is not a contradiction. Any attempt to bring Christianity into the workplace will backfire if the employees or customers see hypocrisy in a boss’s personal life or ethics. When Christian employers consider themselves first and foremost servants of Christ, they will see their position as a divine assignment from God. (Romans 1:1(ESV)Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, They will make all decisions based on pleasing Jesus as the real Boss.

Treat them justly and fairly. Christian bosses have no right to treat employees as personal possessions. They are not existing for your enrichment. You have no right merely to extract money from them, to exploit them, to use the sweat of their brow only that you may become richer. No Christian master has the right to think this way. Treat them as people with problems, and listen to their problems, do something about them. This is his exhortation.

If you are an employee, the Lord shows us through Paul how He wants us to walk in the spirit and submit at our jobs. Like with all the rest of the relational texts and examples, we are to obey the Scriptures for the glory of Christ.  You are to work hard at your job, not to get ahead but to bring glory to your Lord.

Ephesians 6:8-9(ESV)8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

Whether employer or employee, children of God should live every day in the fear of the Lord. When our relationship with God holds top priority in our lives, all other relationships will benefit. One major relational shift that faith in Christ should produce is the servant attitude Jesus had. Mark 10:42–45(ESV)42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. We all come the same way: broken, humble, and repentant. We leave justified and forgiven, but with a new heart to love and serve others. Even if employees do not know Christ, a Christian employer can demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) with humility and patience. If the boss isn’t a Christian the employee can still show the fruits of the spirit as well and serve the boss knowing he is doing his or her work as unto the Lord. The thrust of this passage inescapable, we are to do our work as if Jesus was our employer.  We are to do it diligently but with a proper attitude.  Realizing that Jesus is our employer is the only way we can labor under certain less favorable conditions with a godly attitude.  1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

If you’re a worker, work for the greatest Boss in the world, work for Jesus.

The Lord takes us a step further here than to simply say as an employee…work hard!!  Jesus would tell us to work hard with a proper attitude.  The only way this can take place is if we are walking in the Spirit.  It’s not the deed done well only but the motivation is just as important.