#17 Dressed for Success 7.3.22
Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
“Put on” is the idea of a mind/heart that BELIEVES, and a lifestyle that BEHAVES.
· “There is a way that seems right in a man’s mind but in the end it only produces death.” Proverbs 16:25; 14:12
· Isaiah 61:3 KJV To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
· Colossians 3:2 NIV “Set your heart on things above.”
· Romans 13:13-14 NIV Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
· KJV But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Summary: To put on the entire armor of God is to develop a mindset based on a Biblical Worldview, and then take actions based on the commands of Scripture. It is to embrace a scriptural, spiritual way of living that results in practical righteous and victorious living. In other words, “We are to Believe, and Behave!”
I. The Helmet of Salvation - this is described as a mind centered on Hope.
A. The Assurance of completion, care and destiny.
B. Hope places no limits of time, method or details upon God. (The Hope of Salvation; The Hope of Glory; The Blessed Hope).
C. The three Hebrew servants
D. Paul: “I know whom I have believed, and I am fully convinced He will completely finish everything He has promised me.”
II. The Breastplate of Righteousness - the term “righteousness” is indicative of (1) our standing and (2) our lifestyle.
A. Our position before God because of the completed work of Christ.
B. The Law presented the demands, but only so we would understand we can never satisfy its demands.
C. We wear His Robe; at the same time, we do our best to walk in obedience and produce works of righteousness—but these are never the basis for our salvation.
D. Works matter, but not in way we naturally think. They will affect (1) relationship and (2) reward—not salvation.
III. The Belt of Truth - indicates that everything we embrace flows out of the Truth of God’s Word. Every other source of wisdom is secondary to and subjected to Holy Scripture.
A. It is possible to ignore Truth.
B. It is possible to distort Truth.
C. It is possible to elevate “Our Truth” over The Truth.
D. It is also possible to submit to the real truth and grow in our understanding and obedience of it.
E. Truth is the balancing factor in life. It is a referee that keeps us on the track in our Christian walk.
IV. The Shoes of Peace - reminds us that there are moments of standing and moments of advancing. The footwear of the soldier was designed to protect him by assuring steady and sure footing whether advancing or holding his ground. This steadiness is Paul’s picture of “peace.”
B. Peace, or absence of it, is designed to be a safeguard that keeps us centered in the will of God.
C. Three harbor lights: (1) The known Word of God, coupled with (2) the confirmation of the spirit; set alongside (3) confirming alignment of circumstances = PEACE.
V. The Sword of The Spirit - is clearly identified as The Word of God.
A. Must be guarded and revered
B. Must be examined and tested.
C. Must be cherished above all else.
VI. The Shield of Faith - enables us to minimize, deflect and neutralize attacks from the enemy.
A. What is the source of your “progress reports” and your understanding of reality.
B. We have to make the decision to believe.
C. We must ask The Holy Spirit to develop faith as a fruit and a gift.
VII.Prayer in the Spirit is not defined by a piece of armor, but rather as the atmosphere in which we live.
A. It is not by the strength of the flesh; nor the perception of the mind. It is a work of the Holy Spirit.
B. God can certainly use intellect and education - but the depth of spiritual matters does not arrive from that source.
Christian Life Lessons
My suggestion — take each of these seven points, and devote a week at a time to each one of them. Ask God to help you see each piece of armor as (1) a discipline to embrace as well as (2) a fruit to cultivate.
Week one: Lord, help me understand that we live by faith, hope and love. Help me learn the value of living in hopeful expectation.
Week two: Help me Lord to be thankful for the security I have in you, and help me to live a life that truly honors your wishes. As the Psalmist prayed, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord. You are my strength and my redeemer.”
Week three: “Lord, may I develop the discipline of a healthy spiritual diet as I pursue truth. Help me resist the temptation to look into unstable things that are contrary to truth. May I not be blown of course by every so called “wind of doctrine.”
Week four: Father, help me to learn the value of letting a sense of peace (or lack of peace) be the umpire in all my life decisions.
Week five: As David, may I value your Word more necessary that my physical food. Thank you, Jesus, for reminding us that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from you.
Week six: Lord, help us to believe! When our hearts are divided, or our thoughts unsure, help us move past doubt and unbelief. Help us to resist the tendency to doubt!
Week seven: Lord, may I be filled with The Holy Spirit! Daily! Continually! Abundantly!