Friday, September 11, 2015

You Are Dressed for Success - September 13th

Ephesians: United in Christ
Messages notes on a sermon by Pastor Ewings based on Ephesians 6:10-20 
Living in Alaska, you know that you have to be dressed appropriately for the occasion.  In fact, you’ll find many guides encouraging tourists heading to the Great State to be prepared for all four one day.  While the elements can be fierce, biting winds, bitter cold and blistering blizzards are not our worst enemies; no, we are up against a much fiercer foe.  The devil himself along with the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil unleash their arsenal against us.  If we hope to stand firm, we have to be dressed for the occasion.  We need the armor of God to be dressed for success!

The first piece of armor named is the belt of truth, and appropriately so.  If a soldier had every other piece yet lacked a belt, he would be neither fully equipped nor securely armed. The belt was not merely an adornment but an essential part of his equipment to secure the armor in place.  In the same way, truth is essential to the Christian armament, equipping and securing us for our spiritual battle. 

Next, we are told to put on the breastplate of righteousness.  The Roman breastplate was composed of many pieces of iron fastened together by leather straps, giving great protection to the vital organs.  The Christian is to endue himself with righteousness to protect his heart and will against the fatal thrust of his spiritual assailants. Truly, this is nothing other than the righteousness of Christ. 
If the Christian soldier is to stand up against the attack of the demons, he must see to it that his feet are properly protected and equipped. The Roman soldier wore sturdy, supportive sandals with soles were thickly studded with nails. The Christian soldier should see to it that his feet are equipped with the sandals which will give him a firm footing—the good news that speaks peace to a sinful heart.

The next piece of the panoply described is the shield.  This piece of armor was a large and oblong one, four feet tall and two and a half feet wide.  This shield which the Christian soldier takes up is faith, a trusting faith in the Lord Jesus Who gives victory over sin and the hosts of the devil. The fiery darts refer to arrows tipped with tow, pitch, or such material, set on fire before they were discharged.

The fifth piece of armor is the helmet which wrapped thick iron around a soldier’s head.  Cavalrymen would often carry broadswords which they swung at the heads of enemy soldiers to split their skulls or decapitate them. Although the devil and his minions are armed to the hilt, the Christian soldier is equipped with the knowledge that the outcome of the battle is sure: salvation is ours in Jesus. 

The final element of armor is the sword of the Spirit.  A Roman sword was rather short—just 18 inches long—but extremely versatile and deadly in close combat.  So also is the Word of God.  God’s Word serves both for attack and to parry the thrusts of the enemy, jus as Jesus used it when He was tempted. We can find no greater offensive or defensive weapon in our arsenal than the Word of God.
While the devil will willingly help you into any other armor and put many other weapons in your hand, his ultimate and only goal is to slay you eternally.  So put on the armor of God!  With this armor and weaponry in place, we are more than just dressed for success; we are dressed for salvation. 

Lesson 1:  Deuteronomy 4:1,2,6-9
Lesson 2:  Ephesians 6:10-20
The Gospel:  Mark 7:1-8,14,15,21-23

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