Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday, May 2nd

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Samuel 5-6; Psalm 88; John 20
Today's scripture focus is Ephesians 6:13-14

Ephesians 6:13-14

English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermon: I am Victorious
Accompanying David Legge sermon: The Christian Warrior's Armor Part 1
Accompanying John MacArthur sermons: The Belt of Truthfulness, The Breastplate of Righteousness, and The Belt of Truthfulness and The Breastplate of Righteousness

I think it's so important to note the word "whole" in v13.  We need to put on the whole armour of God.  The devil is looking for a chink in our armour. Any unguarded spot, any weakness, he will exploit. We can't fight with only a sword, or only a shield - we need to the whole armour of God.  And when we use the whole armour of God, v13 tells us that we will be victorious.

Note as well that says to "take up".  We don't need to make the armour - it's God's armour, not ours.  He has it ready for us.  We need to take it, and stand firm. We have the doctrine, we need to put it into practice.  We have our position in Christ, and we need to live it out.

The first item of our armour is the belt of truth.  In battle, they would wear a belt and tuck their skirt into it so that they could run and battle unhindered.  Doing so was getting ready to fight.  Here Paul is telling us that in order to get ready to fight, we need to gird everything with the truth.  The belt also held the sword up.

Legge: there's no point in you using the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, if your life is not bound up with the truth of God.

Driscoll adds that we need to live in light of the truth, not believing the devil's lies.   Lies lead only to bondage, while truth sets us free. We need to filter our emotions through truth.

And truth, of course, is only found in the Word of God.  We need to know and study the Word, so we will know the truth.

But it’s more than just the content because later on there’s another piece of armor called the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. So we’re not so much talking about the fact that we go to war wielding the Word of God here, as we are talking about aletheianot as truth, content, but as truthfulness, attitude. In other words, it is that we are seriously committed to the battle. Because we believe the truth, because we love the truth, we go to war for the truth. We pull in all the loose ends. This is sincerity, if you will, truthfulness, integrity, true dedication. It is not so much content as it is commitment. Attitude is the real issue here. We have a heart for the battle. We’re not out there unprepared. We’ve got all the loose ends pulled together. We’ve put on the sash that holds our weapons and marks us as soldiers. We have a heart for battle. We’ve counted the cost. Like Jesus said, you don’t go to war unless you count the cost. The true Christian loves the truth and is ready to fight for the truth. We will earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. We’ll go to battle for the truth, but we’ll go to battle truly for our own spiritual protection.

We’re not talking so much, remember now, about advancing the gospel here as we are about defending ourselves against Satan. And you will never, my friend, you will never win the spiritual battles that come day by day against your formidable enemy unless you are seriously committed to that victory. If you’re just going to flop your way through your Christian experience, you will be a consistent loser. If you’re content with all the loose ends of your life, all the little sins, if you’re content with your infrequent interest in prayer, your infrequent interest in worship, your indifference toward great spiritual truth, if you’re content with your small understanding of the greatness of God, if you’re content with the sins in your life, you are an encumbered soldier, ill prepared for the battle, get ready to be defeated.

To borrow the language of Hebrews 12, another metaphor all together. If you’re going to run the race, you have to lay aside the weights that encumber you. You don’t see somebody running the hundred meter sprint with an overcoat. You get rid of what encumbers you.

We also need the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate covered and protected the most vulnerable area of the body. Righteousness is what protects us from the arrows and sword of the evil one.

We don't have any of our own righteousness. Indeed, our righteous acts are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  No, our righteousness comes from God. But, as believers, we're already wearing that righteousness that was imputed to us by grace through faith.  He's already put that on us.  Here we are commanded to demonstrate righteous behaviour.

We have to choose to walk in righteousness.  One of Satan's lies is to convince us that if we are tempted we are already sinning, so we may as well go ahead and do it.  That is not true.  Jesus was tempted, but He was perfect and He never gave in to that temptation.  We don't have to give in to temptation.  We don't have to give in to sin. We can choose to walk in holiness - in His strength.  And, when we do fail, we can come back in repentance, and take up that righteousness again.  We need to be committed to walking in holiness.

Monday's scripture focus:  Ephesians 6:15-16
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Samuel 7-8
Sunday's passage: 1 Samuel 9-10
Monday's passage : 1 Samuel 11-12, Psalm 89, John 21

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