1. The Bible, and life itself, teach us about the INEVITABILITY OF STORMS IN LIFE:
-Jesus Christ teaches us about two fellas who built HOUSES – LIVES. We can read about that in Matthew 7 and Luke 6.
-And the identical same STORMS AND WINDS OF ADVERSITY beat upon BOTH OF THEIR HOUSES – LIVES! There is none of this phoney-baloney gospel in the Bible that is being preached today. You know what we are talking about – Bubble Christianity, where we float above all turbulence. Hear it, the Lord tells us in His Word over and over again that in this world we will have trials and tribulations and persecutions. For Christians to complain about adversities is like a fish complaining about humidity.
-NO, NO, NO, NO, NO:
a. I Peter 4 tells us THAT STORMS SHALL COME TO TEST OUR FAITH. And brothers and sisters in Christ, they do and shall come in these last days. We read I Peter 4:12,
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes
upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing
were happening to you.”
b. Why do they come? To show us the basis of our faith, that is, if we are founded on the rock, Jesus, and upon His Word!
c. Or, if we are based upon men, experiences, feelings, emotions, or denominational affiliation. Like airplanes, children need momentum to keep them in the air. So too, many religious peole need those super-sonic jet emotions to keep them flying high. But they can’t stay up forever, and they will have to land to face life on earth in the real world. What will they be based upon once they come down?
d. If we are not founded upon the Lord of the Word and the Word of the Lord, a round-house right to the jaw from the enemy of Christians will end the battle even before it begins.
d. These fiery trials talked about by Peter are the kind that it will do us no good to try to HOTFOOT it to grandma’s house. It is time we skim off the cream of the American Christian pulpit and the Christian life. These winds of adversity that Peter is talking about are not the kind that blow upon Uncle Henry and Aunt Em’s windblown farmstead on a prairie in Kansas.These FIERY ORDEALS are the real deal. They are not trials that will hurt your feelings, but may well take your life for the sake of Jesus. This is not having the wrench slip and gouging your knuckles on a sharp edge. This is having your throat slit for the name of Jesus by a sharp machete in Muslim lands across the earth today. That’s the kind of fiery ordeal that Peter is talking about.
2. We read in the Bible about the IMPORTANCE OF LAYING A SURE FOUNDATION FOR OUR LIVES:
-According to Luke 6 a sure foundation is 3 things:
1. COMING TO JESUS!
2. LISTENING TO JESUS!
3. DOING THE WORDS OF JESUS!
-The one man called UNWISE, CAME, HEARD, but didn’t do; storms of life BLEW HIS HOUSE – LIFE – FAITH AWAY.
-The other man called wise, CAME, HEARD, DID, and his HOUSE – LIFE – FAITH never so much as shook.
-As one said about true Christians:
“WHY DO THEY ALWAYS BEHAVE AS IF THERE WERE NO
REASON TO PANIC.”
a. That alone is and will be always true of THE COMERS, LISTENERS, and the DOERS!
b. The others will always be INCONSISTENT, SIDESLIDING, BACKSLIDING, and WEAKENED BY STORMS.
3. We also see in Luke 6 the importance of DIGGING DEEP AND GETTING ALL THE DIRT OUT from between the foundation we lay and the bed-rock of our salvation – Jesus Christ.
a. That’s difficult, but utterly critical. Things left there, pet sins, will cause EROSION and CRACKING.
b. And when the real pressure is put on, the dirt will get you! Great will be the fall.
–Ephesians 6:13 warns about THE EVIL DAY when Satan’s pressures are the greatest! (See the sermon on “Satan Setting Us Up For The Kill.”)
-Some of us can’t RESIST SWEETS, let alone resist Satan.
-For some, anything that is sweet, they actually hear a voice saying “EAT ME!” We are all kids at heart, and for kids, candy is their alpha and omega.
-Get the dirt out, say NO TO SELF completely, right at the beginning of the Christian walk.
–Those little sins, as others have called them, are so insignificant, no problem!
-WRONG! They will turn your HOUSE INTO A PUP TENT. They will WEAKEN the foundation, and after many years, THE ENTIRE HOUSE – LIFE – FAITH COLLAPSES. They will TURN YOUR HOUSE INTO A PLAY HOUSE AND NOT A SAFE HOUSE. They will turn your FORT INTO A FARSE. The BIG BAD WOLF will easily HUFF AND PUFF AND BLOW IT DOWN when sin is left between us and God.
I. WHERE DOES ALL STRENGTH COME FROM!
We read some famous words in Ephesians. 6:10,
“FINALLY, MY BRETHREN, BE STRONG IN THE LORD, AND IN THE
STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT.”
1. Understand this now:
-There are some who have an independent/proud spirit; who think of themselves as ABOVE AVERAGE!
“MY LIFE IS MY BUSINESS, I DON’T NEED HELP FROM ANYONE.”
Fact is that in their own minds:
“EVERYTHING ABOUT THESE SELF-SUFFICIENT PEOPLE IS WRITTEN IN CAPITAL
LETTERS, WHEN IN FACT ALL THEY ARE DOING IS ENTERTAINING
THEMSELVES, BUT ARE TOTALLY HELPLESS.”
a. Fact is, there is no real strength in ourselves, as Jesus said in John 15:5,
“APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NO-THING.”
That is why:
“DEATH MAKES SHORT WORK OF MAN WHEN IT COMES. WE CAN’T LIVE
UNLESS GOD SAYS SO.”
b. We are told TO BE STRONG IN WHOM – THE LORD, and in THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT! What shape are we in spiritually and morally? So many of us, myself included, are in bad shape physically. After a few minutes of touch football, we are as out of breath as a beached whale. But what about spiritually? Are we gasping for breath when the enemy attacks us even slightly?
c. This is not optional, nor is it MULTIPLE CHOICE:
“IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT.”
2. Turn with me to Isaiah 40:28-31,
“HAST THOU NOT KNOWN? HAST THOU NOT HEARD, THAT THE EVERLASTING
GOD, THE LORD, THE CREATOR OF THE ENDS OF THE EARTH,
FAINTETH NOT, NEITHER IS WEARY?”
-Aren’t you glad to know that? Nothing weakens Almighty God.
a. Sometimes we feel,
“MAN, I DON’T WANT TO BOTHER YOU WITH THIS LORD – WEARY YOU.”
b. See how ridiculous that is! We so often judge the Lord by HUMAN STANDARDS.
c. God never becomes weary or tired, as Psalm 121:4 says,
“HE NEVER SLUMBERS NOR SLEEPS!”
“YOU WILL NEVER HEAR GOD TALKING IN HIS SLEEP.”
d. Sometimes we are so tired, no time to relax, we have TO GO STRAIGHT TO BED!
e. God, as God, can’t do many things – CAN’T SIN, CAN’T GROW WEARY, and CAN’T GROW OLD!
And again, Isaiah says,
“HE GIVETH POWER TO THE FAINT, AND TO THEM THAT HAVE NO MIGHT,
HE INCREASETH STRENGTH!”
a. Aren’t you THRILLED ABOUT THAT? God has an answer for you this morning!
b. We HIS PEOPLE can be STRONG IN HIS POWER, no matter what WINDS ARE BLOWING!
c. But did you notice that HE GIVES HIS MIGHT TO THE FAINT AND THE MIGHTLESS? As God told Paul in II Corinthians 12:9,
“My strength is perfected in your weakness.”
-As a matter of fact, he will not give it to the SELF-RELIANT and those WHO ARE MIGHTY IN THEIR OWN EYES. Hear it:
“GOD GIVES HIS POWER TO THE WEAK, BUT WEAKENS
-Did we ever hear of David and Goliath?
d. II Corinthians 12:9,
“For when I am WEAK, then I am STRONG.”
-I mean, what sense does that make to the world. The WEAKER I am in myself, the STRONGER I am in God. Sounds like gobblygook to the unbeliever. I am reminded of I Corinthians 3:18,
“If any man among you thinks that he is wise, let him become
foolish that he may become wise.”
-In other words:
“LET HIM BECOME A FOOL TO THE WORLD, THAT HE MAY BE
WISE TO GOD.”
-And again Isaiah says,
“EVEN THE YOUTHS SHALL FAINT AND BE WEARY, AND THE YOUNG MEN
SHALL UTTERLY FALL.”
a. You see, in this verse, we are told,
“EVEN THE STRENGTH OF VIRILE, STRONG YOUNG MEN IS NOT ENOUGH
FOR THE BATTLE OF LIFE!”
b. You might think that this sermon is for old folks only, who have been weakened by the winds of time.
c. No, No! Even the young shall be WEAK, AND WON’T BE ABLE to in themselves STAND but utterly fall.
d. Neither God, nor His Word, are respecters of persons; these principles are for one and all!
And then this glorious news from Isaiah,
“BUT, BUT, BUT, THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH,
THEY SHALL MOUNT UP WITH WINGS AS EAGLES, THEY SHALL RUN AND NOT BE
WEARY, THEY SHALL WALK, AND NOT FAINT.”
a. There is the promise you need and I need to find true.
b. THEY THAT WAIT ON THE LORD, MUST GO BEFORE THE LORD, ongoing present tense! Fulfilled daily in the throne room ON OUR KNEES!
c. They SHALL RUN AND NOT GET TIRED, and over the long HAUL SHALL WALK, AND NOT FAINT! (You shall not be overcome, but YOU SHALL BE AN OVERCOMER)
d. I am believing that FOR EACH OF YOU, AS YOU WAIT ON THE LORD DAY BY DAY! You shall be living in the fullness of STRENGTH OF HIM WHO WEARIES NOT!
II. THE REAL WRESTLING MATCH
God has provided all the necessary equipment we need TO STAND IN THE BATTLE OF LIFE!
– But you’re going to have to COME INTO THE THRONE ROOM, to allow God to put it on as you wait upon Him.
-THE ONLY PLACE:
1. He says in verse 11,
“PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD”
2. And the only place you can PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD is IN THE THRONE ROOM – DRESSING ROOM!
3. So, it all ties in; you are going TO HAVE TO WAIT ON THE LORD, that’s where it happens. This is not about, “Everyone lie down on the floor.” This is about, “Everyone down on your knees.”
-LOOK AT VERSE 12,
“FOR WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH & BLOOD.”
1. A lot of people MISQUOTE THAT, they stop with,
“WE WRESTLE NOT against flesh and blood.”
-WE WRESTLE NOT! That is as far as they get. And spiriutally, their concept of the Christian life has never gotten beyond their first day in kindergarten with nap time.
2. But, while people aren’t our real ADVERSARIES, that doesn’t mean that we don’t wrestle, we do!
-Wrestling is the MOST BODY CONTACT, total involvement constantly of all sports. There is no down time, and that is exactly the point. There is no lag time.
-It demands total emotional, physical, intellectual involvement against the enemy!
-That, in itself, is frustrating, that will work up a sweat I’ll tell you!
BUT, AN INVISIBLE ENEMY is THE MOST FRUSTRATING OF ALL:
1. It’s an enemy you can’t GET A GRIP ON; that’s frustrating! (like anonymous letters and comments – we call ‘em sniper letters)
2. Like terrorist bombers, they quietly light the fuse, run, so they’re not there when the explosion goes off.
3. Or, someone, who DROPS half truths about you; leaves the rest for people’s imaginations, hopes they will FILL THEM IN! Even though, nothing is there. (Like, I really don’t want to say anything, except, let me say, “THERE’S A PROBLEM THERE.)
-That’s all they need to say, and that with less than a subtle swirl of the eyes!
-And immediately, your imagination takes over and fills in the BLANKS SUGGESTIVELY!
4. Or, HAVE YOU EVER HAD THE PROBLEM AT HOME:
-Or in relationships with people whom you love, and you KNOW IT IS MORE THAN JUST FLESH AND BLOOD ENEMY!
-You know that you know that you know that THERE IS AN ENEMY BEHIND THE SCENE!
-And that it is not a flesh and blood enemy. (How many know what I’m talking about?)
-It’s an INVISIBLE ENEMY, but you KNOW HE IS THERE!
Don’t you wish you could get ahead of the enemy sometimes, and just WHIP THE TAR OUT OF HIM! JUST ONE SWING, JUST ONE TIME, I don’t know what you would swing at, but THAT’S HOW YOU FEEL SOMETIMES!
5. SO SPIRITUALLY Ephesians. 6:12 says it best,
“IT IS NOT FLESH-AND-BLOOD ENEMIES, BUT WE WRESTLE AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES,
AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD:
AGAINST SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES.”
a. Really, this is the description of the enemy we are dealing with, believe it or not!
b. It is NOT FLESH-AND-BLOOD ENEMIES, BUT IN FACT:
“EVIL POWERS, RULERS OVER SPIRITUAL DARKNESS IN THIS WORLD, WICKED
SPIRITS WHO HAVE HEADQUARTERS IN THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE.”
“EVIL SPIRITS WILL NOT AND CANNOT BE DISPOSSESSED
AND DEFEATED BY FLESH AND BLOOD STRENGTH.”
-A strong athletic body will do you no good here. It may help you against viruses and the like, but being MUSCLE-BOUND WILL NOT UNBIND YOU FROM SATAN’S HOLDS IN YOUR LIFE.
III. THE SPIRITUAL WEAPONRY OF OUR WARFARE!
You see, that is why the weapons God gives us are SPIRITUAL AND NOT PHYSICAL, i.e. CARNAL.
-Simply because OUR ENEMY IS SPIRITUAL, not physical! Makes good sense, doesn’t it!
–II Corinthians. 10:4,
“FOR THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE ARE NOT CARNAL, BUT THEY ARE
MIGHTY THROUGH GOD, TO THE PULLING DOWN OF STRONGHOLDS.”
-So in Ephesians. 6:14-17,
1. God gives us 7 weapons with which TO STAND AGAINST THE ENEMY.
2. He gives us 7 means by which we can stand unshaken when old lion-mouth roars and TRIES TO SHAKE OUR HOUSE DOWN.
3. And this morning, I want to give them all to you; present each one BRIEFLY BUT POINTEDLY.
FIRST – LOINS GIRDED WITH TRUTH!
-We read in Ephesians 6:1,
“STAND THEREFORE, HAVING YOUR LOINS GIRDED ABOUT WITH TRUTH.”
a. All right then, first the GIRDLE or BELT OF TRUTH!
b. To gird up your loins:
-Does not mean just to tuck in your robes, so you won’t trip as you walk or run.
-It means literally, TO CINCH IN THE GIRDLE – GIVE SUPPORT TO BACK AND ABDOMEN MUSCLES
-So that you are more powerful, stronger, more stable, being supported in those critical places.
-You see these guys in the WEIGHT-LIFTING CHAMPIONSHIPS:
“THEY HAVE THIS BIG CINCH BELT, AND IT STRENGTHENS THEIR ABDOMEN,
SO THEY CAN LIFT MORE, AND STAND GREATER STRESS.”
c. The Bible says in Proverbs. 28:1,
“THE WICKED FLEE WHEN NO MAN PURSUETH, BUT THE RIGHTEOUS
ARE BOLD AS A LION.”
-Brother, don’t ever TRY TO STRENGTHEN YOURSELF OR OTHERS WITH “A LIE.”
-Don’t ever TRY TO SMOKESCREEN YOUR SIN, by SOME SORT OF SPIRITUAL LANGUAGE OR ATTITUDE. Truth always means nakedness before God. That is truth’s badge! Seems contradictory doesn’t it? Nude before God, and girded with truth. Truth denudes and girds us at the same time.
-Always approach God with honesty, especially in spiritual warfare! Hear it:
“TRUTH BOTH CONVICTS THE CONSCIENCE, AND CLEARS THE WAY TO GOD.”
So it is that:
“THE WAY OF HOLINESS IS SCRIPTURE IS OFTEN CALLED
THE WAY OF TRUTH.”
Like it or not:
“WHEREVER SIN IS COMMITTED, IT IS GENERATED BY SOME FALSEHOOD IN
THE MIND, AND A FALSE EVALUATION OF THINGS.”
-Quit trying to come up with phony spiritual language! Be honest, admit it, call sin – sin, then God will be with you.
-Or, you’ll end up with YOUR SPIRITUAL PANTS down around your ankles, naked for all to see.
-Understand that TRUTH and HONESTY, not falsehood, are OUR STRENGTH, OUR GIRDLE. Why?
a. Because we fight for a God of truth, as Titus 1:2 says,
“GOD CANNOT LIE!”
b. And against an enemy Satan, who according to John 8:44,
“IS THE FATHER OF LIES!”
-Satan is the FATHER OF LIES. It is said of him that, “When he speaks a lie, HE SPEAKS IT OF HIS OWN.” He is both the PARENT AND THE PATRON OF LIES. And when we lie, we are in his family, and we are on his side. Only when we speak truth will THE HOLY SPIRIT BE WITH US, FOR HE IS THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.
“NOTHING AND NO ONE IS AS BAD AS THE DEVIL, OR WORSE THAN
A LIAR. SATAN IS BOTH, AND TO LIE PUTS US IN THE BAD
COMPANY OF HELL AND NOT IN THE GOOD
COMPANY OF HEAVEN.”
c. If you want God on your side, be TRUTHFUL WITH HIM AND EACH OTHER; don’t lie about yourself or others. That will leave you weak!
d. But truth will make you strong and firm, for God will always BE ON THE SIDE OF TRUTH, not on the side of lies and liars!
e. THAT’S A CINCH, I TELL YOU!!!
f. In SPIRITUAL WARFARE AGAINST AND VICTORY OVER SATAN:
“WHERE THERE IS TRIUMPH IN THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE, TRUTH WILL
ALWAYS BE TOTALLY DOMINANT.”
“WHERE THERE IS DEFEAT IN THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE, UNTRUTH WILL
ALWAYS SOMEWHERE AND IN SOME WAY BE DOMINANT.”
SECOND – THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS!
We read in Ephesians. 6:14,
“AND HAVING ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
a. This is the armour that protects your VITAL ORGANS, HEART, LUNGS, BREAST, and BLOOD STREAM.
b. The Roman soldier wore it to protect his heart, the center of his physical life.
-NOW UNDERSTAND THIS, when we think of RIGHTEOUSNESS, we must think of it in its total Biblical meaning!
a. FIRST OF ALL, IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS:
-When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
-In fact, II Corinthians. 5:21 tells us, that we,
“WE ARE MADE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD.”
-Satan will try to COME AGAINST YOU, ACCUSE YOU – NO GOOD BUM, ROTTEN!
-And you slip again and there he is saying,
“SEE WHAT DID I TELL YOU! YOU GUILTY GOOD-FOR-NOTHING FAILURE.”
-He will try and give you heart failure, what’s the use! God must have forsaken you. In the spiritual warfare called life, you must PUT ON THE HEART PLATE, BREAST PLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, CONFESS TO Him that the blood of Jesus makes you righteous, cleanses you of all unrighteousness, and he won’t be able to strike blows of guilt to your heart!
-But make sure it is Christ’s righteousness, for only His life and death can makes us righteous. No man’s righteousness can be imputed to another. Hear it:
“JUDAS ISCARIOT WAS AS MUCH A WRETCH AMONG THE APOSTLES AS HE WAS
AMONG THE PRIESTS.”
“WE FALSELY DETERMINE OURSELVES TO BE NO WEEDS SIMPLY BECAUSE WE
HANG OUT WITH WHEAT.”
b. SECOND OF ALL, ACTUAL RIGHTEOUSNESS:
-Walk in obedience, get the sin out of your life, for it always opens you up to Satan’s fatal blow!
-Sin will open you up to the attacks of evil one, whether BITTERNESS, HATE, ANGER, NEGATIVITY.
-That can lead to the heart wounds of Satan, not only as an individual, but an entire church!
-That’s why we read in PHILIPPIANS 4:8,
“WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE TRUE, HONEST, JUST, PURE, LOVELY, GOOD
REPORT, IF THERE BE ANY VIRTUE, PRAISE, THINK ON THESE THINGS,
AND THE GOD OF ALL PEACE, SHALL GUARD YOUR HEARTS
AND MINDS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.”
THIRD – THE GOSPEL OF PEACE!
We read in Ephesians 6:15,
“AND YOUR FEET SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.”
– Now we are to put on OUR MILITARY SANDALS:
1. Namely, the SHOES OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE. Only the true Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring us both PEACE WITH GOD AND THE PEACE OF GOD. Only the blood of Calvary can brng us to and bring into us the PEACE OF HEAVEN ON EARTH. Only the crucified Jesus can give us the PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING. Why?:
“BECAUSE ONLY THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST CAN CLEANSE US FROM ALL
UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND MAKE US RIGHT WITH GOD.”
-So many today are shod with the FALSE GOSPEL SHOES OF PLEASURE – the FALSE GOSPEL SHOES OF PROSPERITY – the FALSE GOSPEL SHOES OF POWER AND SUCCESS. Today they are leaving their footprints all over the earth. Those false gospels will save no one! Zero! Frankly:
“THEY ARE ALL FALSE GOSPELS OF BALONEY, AND ALL THEY LEAVE THEIR
HEARERS WITH IS BALONEY SANDWICHES.”
“THE TRUE GOSPEL OF PEACE CONTAINS ALL OF THE TRUE WISDOM OF HEAVEN –
“THE FALSE GOSPELS OF PLEASURE-PROSPERITY-POWER CONTAIN ALL OF THE
FALSE WISDOM OF EARTH.”
2. The Roman soldier’s legs were covered by things called GREAVES, armor for the lower legs and shins.
3. Then came the MILITARY SANDALS:
“FURNISHED WITH SPIKES TO GRIP THE GROUND FIRMLY, SO AS NOT TO SLIP
OR BE PUSHED DOWN EASILY.”
4. SO IT IS IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
-Satan will throw EVERYTHING at us that he can, and some times, ALL AT ONCE.
-We can easily be INTIMIDATED, FRIGHTENED, DISTRACTED AND EVEN PARALYZED BY FEAR.
-And then those you counted on,
“WILL BE THERE RIGHT BEHIND YOU ALL RIGHT, USING
YOU AS A SHIELD.”
5. WHEN PEOPLE AND CIRCUMSTANCES GANG UP ON YOU:
-Make sure you have on THOSE MILITARY BOOTS, called the gospel of peace.
-Namely, the good news of the One True Gospel, is as I have said, and I intentionally repeat, that we are at peace with God through the blood of Jesus Christ.
-And therefore, as Romans 8:31 says,
“IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US.”
“NOTHING, NO ONE.”
-That God will keep YOU GROUNDED FIRMLY AND UPRIGHT.
-Get those spikes down and hold your ground,
“GOD THE ALMIGHTY IS ON MY SIDE.”
-Do you see the picture, well then, put those shoes on right now! Stand on that. Don’t give ground back to Satan in your life already won for Jesus. That Romans passage, namely,
“If God be for us, who can be against us,”
was written to Christians being slaughtered in Roman arenas for their faith, but no matter how things looked, they had on their gospel shoes, believing God was on their side and would work out all things for good.
-BUT MORE THAN THIS:
1. We are told it is PREPARATION, and that speaks to me of shoes, ready to go forward and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. SHOES OF READINESS TO SHARE THE GOSPEL:
-Every time we bear witness to Jesus, it is stomping on the head of the serpent, Satan!
-There are the prophetic shoes of Genesis 3:15,
“BY WHICH WE CRUSH THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT.”
-BUT IF WE DON’T PREPARE OURSELVES TO SHARE THE GOSPEL IN EVERY WAY:
a. We shall become vulnerable to Satan, individually and collectively!
b. We must PREPARE OURSELVES TO GO FORWARD:
As a church, we MUST NEVER TURN INWARD UPON OURSELVES, OUR NEEDS, OUR COMFORT AS OUR FOCUS! Not ever! Christians and churches that turn inward will become ingrown, and you know what ingrown churches are like. They are like ingrown toenails, which need slippers and sloffies, but cannot bear military sandals! Rather, be prepared, ready to go, and by all means possible quicken our GOSPEL MARCH, SHARE JESUS WITH THE WORLD AND STEP ON SATAN’S HEAD.
FOURTH – THE SHIELD OF FAITH!
We read in Ephesians 6:16,
“ABOVE ALL, TAKING THE SHIELD OF FAITH, TO STOP THE FIERY
DARTS OF THE WICKED.”
-MORE ARMOR: (follow me closely)
1. There were two Roman Shields:
-One called the “ASRIS”, what was smaller and round; I’m sure you’ve seen replicas.
-The other, called the THUXEOS, was LARGE, OBLONG, covering the whole body.
-That’s the one we have here; THE THUXEOS of faith; to stop Satan’s fiery shots.
2. ABOVE ALL:
-This is the MOST IMPORTANT, ABOVE ALL, to put on in the dressing room today.
-We are told why in I John 5:4-5,
“THIS IS THE, not A, but THE VICTORY THAT OVERCOMETH THE WORLD,
EVEN OUR FAITH.”
-WE LIVE BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT, THAT’S THE POINT:
We read in Hebrews 11:1,
“THAT FAITH IS THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN.”
-SO THAT WE ARE SURROUNDED BY AN INVISIBLE SPIRITUAL KINGDOM! Namely, GOD WHO IS OUR FATHER, CHRIST WHO IS OUR REDEEMER, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHO IS OUR STRENGTHENER, ANGELS WHO ARE OUR PROTECTORS, HEAVEN WHICH IS OUR HOME, HOLINESS WHICH IS OUR SPIRITUAL CONDITION.
-All of this is more real than the seen, for the UNSEEN created the seen, as Hebrews 11:3 says,
“THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN, MADE BY THINGS WHICH
-The unseen is more real than the seen, for as we read in II Corinthians 4:18,
“THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN ARE TEMPORAL, THINGS WHICH ARE
NOT SEEN ARE ETERNAL.”
That’s faith, the unseen God is more powerful, more real, than the Rocky Mountains.
3. FAITH ALONE GIVES US UNION WITH CHRIST
“EVEN AS THE UNION OF THE SOUL TO THE BODY IS THE CAUSE OF LIFE
IN THE NATURAL, SO TOO THE UNION OF THE SOUL TO CHRIST
IS THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE SPIRITUAL.”
–Faith joins us to Christ Who is our sure defense. Psalm 28:7 says,
“The Lord is my STRENGTH and my SHIELD; my heart trusted in
Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth;
and with my song will I praise Him.”
“CHRISTIANITY IS NOT PRIMARILY ABOUT OUR FAITN IN CHRIST, BUT ABOUT
THE CHRIST OF OUR FAITH. THAT IS WHY IT IS CALLED CHRISTAINITY
AND NOT FAITHIANITY.”
-God is our TRUE SHIELD which we lift up by faith. As the hymn goes:
“OH WORSHIP THE KING, ALL GLORIOUS ABOVE,
AND GRATEFULLY SING HIS POWER AND HIS LOVE;
OUR SHIELD AND DEFENDER, THE ANCIENT OF DAYS,
PAVILIONED IN SPLENDOR, AND GIRDED WITH PRAISE.”
“FRAIL CHILDREN OF DUST, AND FEEBLE AS FRAIL,
IN THEE DO WE TRUST, NOR FIND THEE TO FAIL,
THY MERCIES HOW TENDER, HOW FIRM TO THE END!
OUR MAKER, DEFENDER, REDEEMER, AND FRIEND!”
4.. SO, HERE COME THE FIERY DARTS OF SATAN:
-What in the world are those?
-Fiery darts were weapons tipped with INFLAMMATORY MATERIAL, shot on fire and therefore meant TO SET THINGS ON FIRE.
-SO HERE COME THE FIERY DARTS OF SATAN, all life long, FROM ALL DIRECTIONS.
-Satan shoots cruel people at you, to inflame fear into your heart and burn you with fear.
-Hold up the SHIELD OF FAITH! My God is greater than all my enemies.
-David saw that huge Goliath; but HIS GOD WAS INFINITELY GREATER.
-Get out that shield of faith in God and,
“YOU SHALL OVERCOME A WICKED WORLD.”
-Satan SHOOTS A PROPOSITIONING WOMAN at you at work, TO SET YOUR LUST ON FIRE.
-Hold up THE SHIELD OF FAITH – my God’s righteousness IS MORE SATISFYING THAN ANY SIN!
-For Joseph, a SEDUCING Potiphar’s wife lacked fire – just a flicker compared to the pure fire of God’s holiness.
-Get that shield of faith up and you shall OVERCOME A WICKED WORLD!
– Satan SHOOTS GREAT APPLAUSE YOUR WAY, to inflame YOUR HEART WITH FIRE OF PRIDE.
-NO, NO, HOLD UP SHIELD OF FAITH; everything I can do, comes from my unseen Lord.
-Cornelius falls down at Peter’s feet to worship him; Peter says, “NO, I’M JUST A MAN.”
-Get that shield of faith up and you shall STOP THE SATANIC FIERY DARTS THAT would inflame you with lust, pride, fear, revenge, wrath.
1. We might even have chinks and holes in other parts of our armor; weaknesses! Satan looks for and goes after these weaknesses.
2. But we can still win, if WE HOLD THE SHIELD OF FAITH UP, above all, THE SHIELD OF FAITH! Protect vulnerable areas.
-No way Satan, I BELIEVE, I’M DANCING TO ANOTHER DRUMMER; THE SHIELD OF FAITH.
FIFTH – THE HELMET OF SALVATION!
-We read in Ephesians. 6:17,
“AND TAKE THE HELMET OF SALVATION.”
1. That’s the area of the head, the area of the THOUGHT LIFE! The area of the mind!
2. The helmet PROTECTS THE THOUGHT LIFE:
-Because it is the strategy of the enemy to build STRONGHOLDS IN THE MIND, key target!
-Even the enemy, can quote Proverbs 23:7,
“FOR AS A MAN THINKETH IN HIS HEART, SO IS HE.”
-That’s those DOUBTS, HALF TRUTHS, VAIN IMAGINATIONS, THE AREA OF THE MIND.
-And that’s why we read in II Corinthians 10:5,
“WE ARE TO BRING EVERY THOUGHT AND IMAGINATION INTO
CAPTIVITY TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.”
-That is, if we are going to pull down the stronghold.
-The biggest battle is being waged over the mind.
-Therefore, put on THE HELMET OF THE SPIRIT!!
1. Put it together, you’ll see it!! HELMET, Head, Knowledge, of Salvation!! Helmet of Salvation!!
2. So, HERE YOU ARE IN LIFE’S SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
-I don’t HAVE TO BE BOUND by FEAR; I’ve been DELIVERED!! By the Lord Jesus!!
-I don’t HAVE TO CARRY GUILT: I’ve been CLEANSED!! By the Lord Jesus!!
-I don’t HAVE TO LABOR under this bondage and that sin: I’ve been SET FREE!! By the Lord Jesus!!
-I don’t HAVE TO FEAR DEATH: I HAVE ETERNAL LIFE!! Through Lord Jesus!!
-THE HELMET OF SALVATION EQUALS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD JESUS.
SIXTH – THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT!
-We read in Ephesians 6:17,
“TAKE THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD!”
-Note the following:
1. FIRST – IT’S A SWORD, NOT A CLUB!
-Have you ever seen folks use THE WORD OF GOD as A CLUB, and beat somebody OVER THE HEAD with Scriptures?
-Some of you dear ladies, trying TO GET YOUR UNBELIEVING husbands saved!
-Some of you HUSBANDS trying to get your WIFE to YIELD – Bible says SUBMIT, SUBMIT!!
2. SECOND – IT’S THE SPIRIT’S SWORD!
-You can’t get a more powerful WEAPON THAN THAT, the SWORD of GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
-That’s the WEAPON the Holy Spirit uses himself in warfare against THE ENEMY!
“THE MOST IMPORTANT IS THE SHIELD OF FAITH, AND THE MOST POWERFUL
IS THE SPIRIT’S SWORD.”
3. THIRD, IT IS THE WORD OF GOD!
-Listen to me now:
a. This is NOT JUST THE NAME OF JESUS, this IS THE SWORD of the Spirit, we must LEARN how to use both.
b. The NAME of JESUS is TO BE USED IN PRAYER for sure!
c. BUT THE WORD OF GOD IS TO BE USED IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE:
-THREE TIMES IN MATTHEW 4,
“SATAN TEMPTED JESUS, AND THREE TIMES JESUS APPROPRIATELY SAID,
IT IS WRITTEN AND SAID APPROPRIATE SCRIPTURES, AND RAN HIM
THROUGH WITH THE SPIRIT’S SWORD!”
-SATAN KNOWS RIGHT WHERE TO HIT US, TEMPT US!
-Jesus was well disciplined is His spirit, but He too was vulnerable to TEMPTATION IN TERMS of his unique GIFTS and POWERS, and that is right where SATAN HIT HIM!
-Jesus repelled SATAN WITH THE SWORD, IT IS WRITTEN! He refused to USE HIS power to CREATE FOOD where none was needed.
-He refused to defy the Law of Gravity, when there was no purpose to do so.
-Except later he obeyed God, as always! Jesus did so, both in God’s perfect will and His, when HE MULTIPLIED LOAVES AND FISHES AND WALKED ON WATER!
SEVEN – PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT!
We read finally in Ephesians 6:18,
“PRAYING ALWAYS WITH ALL PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION IN THE SPIRIT.”
-Before I explain it, an ILLUSTRATION:
-Remember what David did when he was going to GO OUT AND FIGHT GOLIATH! Saul got DAVID IN HIS TENT, AND Saul put HIS HUGE 250 POUND SUIT of ARMOR on this 125 pound KID! Can you imagine what David looked like in Saul’s ARMOR! Have you ever seen someone, a little boy, in a suit of armor too BIG FOR HIM!!
-You will never be able TO PUT ON ALL THIS ARMOR, bear it, unless you are built UP IN THE SPIRIT!
-So, finally, you are to constantly,
“PRAY IN THE SPIRIT!”
-All the time, in all praying in the Holy Spirit!
-Paul is TALKING ABOUT PRAYING IN TONGUES: (Constantly)
a. Paul says in I Corinthians 14 that,
“SPEAKING OR PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT, EDIFIES, BUILDS YOU UP!”
b. We read in Jude 20,
“We are to BUILD OURSELVES UP BY FAITH, PRAYING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
c. And then Jude goes on to say,
“THAT THE LORD THEN WILL KEEP YOU FROM FALLING!”
1. Looking at all this, I want you to know, there is ENOUGH EQUIPMENT TO KEEP YOU:
-Standing in the most HORRIBLE OF ATTACKS!
-Having done all of this – STAND!!
-Conquering in the most FIERCE BATTLES!
2. Not just to keep you standing against THE WINDS OF ADVERSITY, but prevailing over THEM!
3. THIS MORNING, I WONDER:
-What winds are blowing in Your Life? What BATTLES ARE RAGING IN YOUR LIFE?
-Might be a temptation of some kind! You worked against this thing and need deliverance from it.
-Might be for some that the STORM seems about to HIT YOU AND BLOW YOU APART!
-For others, it might be something that too many may SEEM SMALL: but for you it is a HURRICANE!!
-We can almost hear the Winds blowing!!! WHEW, WHEW, WHEW!!!
-For others, you don’t ever KNOW WHAT IT IS, but it just keeps following you and hanging on to you!!
-And you now need help to stand. Can’t stand by yourself! Listen:
“One of David’s MIGHTY MEN was Shammath. The Bible says that David gave him a Lentil Field! Really, A BEAN PATCH! A farmer is not going to give you too much for a BEAN PATCH! But God gave it to him, it is his bean patch. And the robbers, marauders would keep on waiting for the HARVEST, and then come in and again and again. He stood there, with SWORD IN HAND in HIS BEAN PATCH. You come on, he’d say, but you’re not going to get a bean without going through MY SWORD FIRST. IT’S MY BEAN PATCH AND I’M NOT GOING TO GIVE IT UP TO THE ENEMY!”
1. Listen, don’t you give up what God has GIVEN YOU!
2. The fact that God has brought you this far, and given you much spiritually and otherwise doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to FIGHT TO DEFEND IT!
3. My advice to you is:
“STAND WHERE GOD HAS BROUGHT YOU AND
4. STAND IN YOUR FIELD and DEFEND IT for God has given you all the equipment you need!
5. Having done all – TO STAND! AMEN!