January 13, 2013    Ephesians 6:10 – 20   Armor of God

        We are in a post Christian period.   Things are happening in the world and life for Christians is becoming more difficult.   Paul Harvey aired this following prayer on his radio station and he got the biggest response to this prayer than any other program he ever aired.   Heavenly Father we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance.   We know your word says woe to those who call evil good but that is exactly what we have done.   We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.   We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.   We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.  We have killed our unborn and called it choice.  We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.   We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.   We have abused power and called it politics.   We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.   We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.  We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our fore fathers and called it enlightenment.   Search us O God and know our hearts today, cleanse us from every sin and set us free.  

       How do you respond to the battles of life?    Many people just run form issues and that is dangerous and not good.     In his book, Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes, "There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day.    Since I was smaller, I would give it to him.  "Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons, but the instructor wanted $5 a lesson.   That was a lot of money.    I found that it was cheaper to pay the bully, so I gave up karate."   Too many Christians believe it’s easier to pay the bully than learn how to defeat him.   It has been said that many Christians, don’t realize they are living on a BATTLEFIELD and not a PLAYGROUND!

       From Church Leader .com    Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., went on record with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty with a scathing indictment of the U.S. government's handling of its current issue with crafting giant Hobby Lobby.   The company recently took on Obamacare's contraception mandate by refusing to provide coverage for abortion-inducing contraceptives for employees, and the courts responded by imposing huge fines for every day the coverage isn't granted.   Another article from Church Leader said Hobby Lobby, a craft store giant in the south and Midwestern U.S. known for its Christian faith, is expected to pay fines of more than $1M per day for noncompliance with the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.   As told by the CNN Belief Blog, Hobby Lobby officially opposes providing contraceptives to employees which equate to abortion, such as the morning after pill.    After attempts to receive relief from the fines from the Supreme Court failed, Hobby Lobby's attorneys announced that "to remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs” 

     And speaking about abortions the CDC that is Center for Disease Control claim that since 1973 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the US.  That does not include illegal abortions.  I have seen estimates that over 60 million babies have been aborted in America.   How many do you think are being aborted annually on a global scale?     It is estimated that there are 44 million abortions a year.  If Christians do not care about this who will?  Christians will find I believe in this country and around the world a more and more hostile attitude and environment against our beliefs.   Churches will probably lose their tax exempt status.   Churches will find it difficult to pay taxes on gifts made to them.  Churches with multimillion dollar buildings will have issues paying property taxes.   Whether we see it or not life is changing and we are losing our freedoms.   This world is changing and not all of it is good. 

    I just felt the need to preach on warfare this week as we face a new year.  We are in a spiritual battle and often we forget that we are in a battle.   This passage in Ephesians tells us that God has given us power.   God has given us spiritual tools to protect ourselves.    God has given us armor – spiritual armor.  There has been a lot of discussion about the different pieces of armor but one way to look at this is that when we put Jesus on us we have everything.   If we are totally submitted to the Holy Spirit then all of the pieces should be functional.   I do not know anyone who says Lord now I put on the helmet of salvation.   Lord put on me the breast plate of righteousness.  Lord put the belt of truth on me.   But there are people who say Lord be with me today.   Protect and cover me today.   Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not come to us in pieces.   When we have Him we have all of God’s armor.   I think at times we need to consider the different pieces of armor because we can be weak in certain areas.   If we are not totally submitted to the Holy Spirit we can be weak in some areas.   We can be weak in the word or prayer.   We may be struggling with a certain area of temptation or sin.   We must have the helmet of salvation – if we don’t have salvation we do not have any of the armor.   Maybe Paul’s reference to that is simply a reminder that I belong to God and light and not to Satan and darkness.   God has certainly given us everything we need to live this life.  Jesus said all power has been given to me go therefore.     The disciples said even the demons were subject to them.   The life of the Christian is more than salvation it is holy living and it is a gospel of power.  

    Dave Wilkerson shares.    There is a power available, a work of the spirit that is profound, glorious, and dynamic!    When the Spirit of God comes into the hearts of believers who stand firm in their foundation and faith, they grow in maturity.   A release of power comes in them that heals the inside and closes the door to the outside.     I love what Nehemiah, who is a type of the Holy Spirit, says to those trying to gain entrance to Jerusalem.    “But I warned them and said to them, ‘Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you’” (Nehemiah 13:21, ESV). I picture Jesus standing at the door of my life!   When Satan comes to buffet me,   Jesus is standing between me and the enemy, saying, “I warned you once.   Back off!    You are in the wrong place.   You’ve started something you can’t finish.   You are dealing with somebody bigger than you.”    I picture the power of God on the wall of my life.   On the inside I am clean but I hear these things lodged on the outside crying out, “You can’t stay clean.”   But I can stay clean because I have Jesus on the wall of my life, saying, “Who do you think you are, Satan?   What have you to do with my son, my daughter, who is covered by the blood of the Lamb, cleansed and sanctified and made holy?   Who are you to speak these vile things?”    “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).    Jesus has caused us all to be over comers in Him!  Amen Dave Wilkerson!! 

        Most of the armor mentioned here is for the Christian’s protection but the taking the word of God is a weapon of offense and defense.   Jesus used the word of God for protection but it is also used to share the gospel and to set people free.    In the NT we see the authority of Jesus over sickness, over death, over demons, and over nature and Jesus said you will do greater things.    In Matthew 10 Jesus called his 12 disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.    Jesus told his disciples to heal the sick and raise the dead, cleanse those that have leprosy, drive out demons.   Our tendency sometimes to take all that Jesus commanded the disciples and say that applied to them and not to us.   We tend to think the authority that Jesus gave them is not for us today.      I do not agree with that and I do not think that is very good biblical interpretation.      He gave that authority before the cross.    At the cross Satan was defeated and when he ascended He took captives in His train.      Jesus defeated Satan and made an open show of them.    In Mark 13 Jesus teaches that no one knows the day and hour when Jesus will come back.    Jesus likens it to a man who leaves his house and puts his servants in charge or gave them authority and tells them to keep watch.  We need to keep before us that Jesus is coming again.  Keep your eyes upon Jesus. 

     Jesus did not leave us without authority.   He said because I have authority you go.  That statement would not mean anything to a person unless His authority was available to them.      We are joint heirs with Jesus.   We have what Jesus has.    He did not leave us without power.    Ephesians tells us that we have the same mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead.    The Apostle Paul cast out demons.   Acts 19:11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick and their illnesses were cured and evil spirits left them.   God is not going to send us out with nothing and no help.   God’s character is such that God would bless us and arm us and protect us.   We have many promises in the bible.    Our protection from Satan is God and only God.   We cannot beat Satan with our own strength or wisdom.   That is impossible.    We need to stay close to God and put on the whole armor of God to protect ourselves.  We need to put His armor on daily.   We are in a war.  The whole creation is at war, all people, Christians and non-Christians I believe are in a battle.     In John Jesus said the thief comes not but to steal, kill and destroy.   Church who is the thief?    Satan wants to steal from you.  

      Recognizing the schemes of Satan and the propensity of man to sin Paul warns Christians through the HS to be prepared for the enemy and the battle.    An unprepared Christian is open for failure and defeat.   Christians are targets of Satan.  The church at Ephesus fell from its first love and Jesus called them to repentance.   Put off that sin whatever it was that took Jesus from 1st place in their life.   The unprepared believer who walks in his or her own strength becomes the defeated believer.    We have no power to stand against Satan.   We have God’s power and authority but none of our self.    So Paul says be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might.  Stand in God.   There is power there.   Stand in His strength.   There is victory there.    Be strong because there is a battle.  In Romans we see that whole creation groans as in the pains of childbirth.   We see in scripture that God’s holy angels battle.   In Daniel the angel that was sent to him with the answer to Daniel’s prayers was opposed by a demon for 21 days.   Michael had a battle with Satan over the body of Moses and Michael told Satan the Lord rebuke you.   Michael did not rebuke Satan with His own strength but said the Lord rebuke you.   Our Lord Jesus fought Satan, resisted Satan and defeated Satan and we are not greater than our Lord.   The battle that Jesus fought for your redemption was great.   The price paid was huge beyond comprehension.

       I would trust that none of us think we are exempt from the battle.   God has a great plan for your life but Satan also has a plan for your life which is not so great.    Every day is a battle and every day there are temptations, lusts, fears, doubts, anger, trials, conflicts and etc.  Sin crouches at the door but we must master it.   There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.    No one is exempt.   Well how should we respond to the battle?   It certainly is not to run from it.  We need to worship in the battle and welcome the battle.   The battle keeps you on your toes.   The trial of your faith is precious in God’s eyes.   He sees you.  God sees you in the battle and He knows your strength.   His testing is allowed in His love for you.     I would ask you a couple of questions.   Do you believe that you are in a battle today?   Are you walking in the protection and covering of Jesus day by day?   Do you put on Jesus and spiritual armor day by day?    Do you cover and bathe your family in prayer day by day?   Do you cover and bathe this church - your church in prayer day by day?