Wednesday, 24 June 2015

God's Soldier!




In Church, this month and the last, every Sunday, the Pastor has been preaching on Ephesians 6:10 and onwards. He has been going in detail regarding this Chapter. I won't lie, I used to read this Chapter but I never really understood it. Now, reading it for the past few weeks, along with really studying it, I understand what t means. We are in a Spiritual WAR and we have been since the beginning of the fall of man.

Anyway, let's read Ephesians 6:10 and onwards together.

The Armor Of God



A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on ALL of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God's ARMOR so that you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm. Stand your GROUND, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the PEACE that comes from the GOOD NEWS so that you will be fully prepared. 

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your HELMET and take the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the Word of God.

PRAY in the SPIRIT at all times and ON EVERY OCCASION. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. 

So, the first thing we are told by Paul is we have to be strong. We, as Christians, are depicted as many things in the Bible.

We are depicted as FARMERS - Yes, I know. Some of us have never been in a field and dealt with crops before, but the Word of God compares us to Farmers.

James 5:7

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord's return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. The eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

We are WORKERS

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for MEN, knowing that from the Lord, you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord, Jesus. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

We are LIGHT BEARERS

Phillippians 2:14

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticise you. Live clean, innocence lives as Children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

We are ATHLETES - I don't know about you, but I cannot run. Well, I can but in a race, I'd be last! Let me give myself a bit more credit...probably, second last.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27

All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every STEP...I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others, I myself might be disqualified.

We are depicted as a LOT of things but these are just the examples. We are depicted as watchmen, priests in the Kingdom of God, Saints. However, in Ephesians 6, Paul depicts us as SOLDIERS for Christ.

Let me tell you the background behind what Paul was preaching. Back then (at the time Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians from ROME where he was imprisoned). His message to the Ephesians about the importance of uniting among Christians themselves could be addressed to the people of today.

So, be strong in the Lord. Note, Paul did not say, be strong in your own power. He said be strong in the Lord. What is the full armor of God? Well, before a soldier went to WAR, he would put on his armor so that he would not get injured during the war. Paul studied the uniforms that the Roman Soldiers had on and he used that depiction make the Ephesians understand the Gospel.

The BELT of TRUTH


1. The first thing a Roman Soldier would put on is the BELT. That belt would go around his waist. As Christians, we must wear the BELT OF TRUTH. This belt of truth is the WORD of God. The truth is that God LOVED the world (that's you and I) that He gave up His ONLY son (Jesus) that those who BELIEVE in Him would have everlasting life (they would not be condemned and be judged for their sins). THAT is the truth which we must wear constantly.

You must read the Bible and put into practice what you have read. James 1:22 - do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. DO what it says.


The BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS



2. We must then have the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS in place. This refers to the righteousness purchased for us by the Lord at the cross. 1 Corinthians 5:21 - 'For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ'.

When we repent, we are given a 'breastplate'. This is made for us to protect our heart and soul from the devil. By our own righteous acts, we are no match for the devil's attacks. Do you ever wonder why some religions seem to be...a bit crazy. Those that go to the length of dying for 'god' and those that seem to think doing good deeds will lead them to heaven. Those that kill in the name of god? That's not being righteous. Being righteous in our OWN strength will get us nowhere.

Your SHOES AND the gospel of PEACE


3. Next, the Roman Soldier would put on his shoes. We must have our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. I don't know exactly what Roman Soldiers wore on their feet but I know they had to be prepared for battle. Their feet had to be firm when the attacks came. He couldn't lose his footing. That's US. We must be prepared to fight.


SHIELD OF FAITH


4. In addition to ALL of this, we have to take up the shield of faith, with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Each and every soldier had to have a shield. Back them, a Roman shield was called a scutum, not that that matters. Anyway, this was a huge shield, which looked like a door and would cover the soldier in his entirety. This was to protect him against arrows from those attacking him. This shield is a blanket of protection. It is used in all circumstances.

You all know what faith is? Well, your faith is your belief in God. Your faith and your obedience to God will affect how you live. It affected how the Apostles lived, how the prophets lived.

One example of how it affected a few people is the story of Daniel. I won't go through the whole story, but just to give you some background to the story. In Daniel 3:13 - there was a King called Nebuchadnezzar (I know, strange name!). Anyway, this King built a golden image of himself and forced people to worship this image whenever music came on. Those who refused to bow down and worship this image were thrown in some sort of lake of fire.

Now, three faithful men - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - refused to bow down. Why would they? God said 'you shall have no other gods before me'. So, the King heard about this, and mocked God. The King actually tested them and said, 'If your God is alive, then let him save you...'. In the end, due to their faith, they ended up being saved from this lake of fire they were thrown into. How amazing is that? Would you trust God with your life? Or do you just talk about it, like most of us do? They proved it by their obedience, which nearly cost them their lives.

They are examples of guys who had their shield of faith

HELMET OF SALVATION

5. The last thing that a Soldier had to put on was the HELMET. This was the assurance of salvation. In order to have this helmet of salvation tightly fastened, we have to:

Renew our minds - Romans 12:1-2 instructs us to renew our minds by allowing the truth of God's Words to wipe out everything. We have to allow God's truth to wash away the world's filth and lies, opinions and whatnot. We have to allow God's Word to change us and we have to adopt God's perspective on things, not the World.
  • Keep an eternal perspective - when life crashes in around us, we have to remember the purpose, looking up to God. 
  •  Find our hope in HIM - Psalm 73:25 - The salvation that Jesus purchased for us cannot share the place of importance in our hearts with earthly things
As we wear the helmet of salvation everyday, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires and traps the enemy lays for us. We choose to guard our minds from the worldly influence and instead think on things that honour.

Phillippians 4:8 - "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right and pure and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT


The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (as mentioned by Paul).

Hebrews 4:12 - For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Paul also tells us to pray in the Spirit on ALL occasions with ALL kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind - be ALERT and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.


Do not give up, put on your armor and stand your ground, soldier!