Grace to You Resources
Grace to You - Resource

É uma grande alegria novamente nesta manhã ter esse maravilhoso privilégio de estudar o sexto capítulo de Efésios. Eu gostaria de chamar a sua atenção para isso. Tome a sua Bíblia agora e veja comigo Efésios 6. Eu sinto como que se eu não pudesse nem começar a exaustar as profundezas dessas verdades tremendas que se encontram dentro do ensinamento da armadura do Cristão nos versículo 14 a 17, um ensino que nós estaremos vendo nessa semana e nas próximas semanas. É quase inesgotável. Eles entram em tamanha profundeza da verdade Cristã que nós teremos que construir a partir do seu conhecimento do passado e nós anteciparemos adicionando até mesmo no futuro todos esses pensamentos.

Mas nós temos aprendido esse tanto. Nas últimas semanas, conforme nós chegamos na parte final do Livro de Efésios, nós temos notado que o crente está envolvido em uma guerra, em uma batalha. Nós temos visto que essa batalha é contra um inimigo formidável, Satanás e toda a sua legião de demônios. Na verdade, nós temos buscado apontar para vocês que o Cristão comprometido e Satanás estão em um trajeto de colisão. É inevitável que a sua vida intersecte com as forças do Inferno conforme você vive para Deus. Não há dúvidas sobre isso. é apenas uma questão de como isso se manifesta e o que de específico pode acontecer. A colisão é inevitável e, além disso, ela é bem constante também. O adversário trabalho duro. Ele trabalha efetivamente. Ele trabalha poderosamente contra os filhos de Deus.

Conforme nós temos aprendido no Livro de Efésios, o Cristão possui um recurso tremendo. Para começar, nós temos recebido toda as bênçãos espirituais nos céus em Cristo Jesus em Efésios, capítulo 1, versículo 3. O que nós temos recebido, de acordo com Efésios 1, é um lugar com o amado. Nós temos recebido o perdão do pecado. Nós fomos feitos filhos de Deus. Nós recebemos conhecimento, entendimento e prudência. Nós temos feito parte de um mistério incrível que foi planejado antes da fundação do mundo. Nós recebemos o Espírito Santo que nos sela. Nós recebemos o poder para fazermos além do que nós podemos imaginar. Nós recebemos a capacidade de expressar esse poder através da presença final e da sensação do Espírito Santo. Nós literalmente, nesse mundo, representamos o grandioso poder de Deus. Em nós, existe um poder que ressuscitou Cristo dos mortos e o colocou na mão direita do Pai, colocando todos os principados e potestades debaixo dos seus pés.

Nós temos esse tremendo recurso e nós somos o povo de Deus. Nós fomos colocados no mundo para cumprir os propósitos, planos e objetivos que o próprio Deus designou, para cumprir as questões do seu reino. Com tal esforço, nós teremos barreiras, certamente pelo inimigo, o próprio inimigo que buscou barrar Deus no seu céu, o próprio inimigo que barrou o homem e sua inocência no Jardim, o próprio inimigo que buscou barrar o nascimento, a vida, a morte, a ressurreição e a segunda futura vinda de Jesus Cristo, o inimigo que busca destruir a Igreja, aquele que buscar impedir o culto feito pelos crentes, o inimigo que buscará um dia fazer a terra ser contra o poder de Cristo conforme ele vem e toma o seu justo lugar.

Assim, esse inimigo formidável é colocado contra o crente nesta era. Um cristão que não reconhece isso, que não entender alguma coisa de sua significância, um Cristão que não está pronto para a batalha será um Cristão que é vitimizado. Eles não apenas perde a sua própria vida, mas ele perde a sua efetividade que causa a perda daquilo que Deus deseja que ele cumpra. Assim, a glória de Deus, pelo menos em sua vida, é perdida. Portanto, nós precisamos estar prontos para a guerra. Nós precisamos estar cientes da batalha.

Eu penso que isso é algo sério para qualquer um que realmente estuda a Bíblia. Eu temo que isso não é tão sério como deveria ser para muitos de vocês. Assim, Deus realmente trabalhou no meu próprio coração para reiterar nesta manhã conforme nós olhamos para a primeira peça da armadura; a importância tremenda dessa batalha particular e o que Deus realmente está pedindo de nós.

Agora, para começar, deixe-me fazer uma introdução da seguinte forma. Como o crente e Satanás estão em um curso de colisão absoluta – e é uma colisão constante - nós precisamos entender a respeito de como Satanás nos ataca. Eu mencionei brevemente isso para você na ultima vez e eu quero fazer mais uma explicação, não muito longa, a respeito de como Satanás se aproxima do crente. Eu quero te dar uma série de formas que não são apenas bíblias mas que eu vi sendo manifesta em minha vida, na igreja e na vida de outros para nós termos uma ideia de como Satanás nos ataca. Seria bom você anotar isso porque eu creio que isso te ajudará a você se guardar nessas áreas.

Primeiro, eu creio que o inimigo ataca o crente para diminuir o caráter e a credibilidade de Deus, para diminuir o caráter e a credibilidade de Deus. Esse realmente é o centro da questão quando falamos do esforço de Satanás. Ele deseja diminuir a Deus. Ele quer que você duvide de Deus. Esse é o impulso. Ele fez isso no Jardim com Eva. “Deus realmente disse...” e então ele impugnou a motivação de Deus dizendo, “Bom, o motivo porque Deus não quer que você coma é porque Deus sabe que você será como Ele e Deus não gosta de competição”. Em outras palavras, ele queria atribuir a Deus um outro motivo egoísta. “Você não pode realmente acreditar em Deus. Ele pode dizer uma coisa, mas lá dentro aquilo significa outra coisa. Portanto, você não pode crer na Sua Palavra”.

Na verdade, o Novo Testamento diz, “ Se você negar a Deus a sua Palavra, você faz dele um mentiroso”. É isso que Satanás quer fazer. Ele quer que as pessoas pensem que Deus é m mentiroso e que ele diz a verdade. Assim, enquanto Deus nos diz que Ele é a verdade e Satanás um mentiroso, Satanás nos diz que ele é a verdade e que Deus é um mentiroso. “Você não pode confiar em Deus. Você precisa duvidar de Deus. Duvide da sua palavra, duvide do seu poder”. E nós fazemos isso, não é? Nós somos tentados, em uma situação difícil, a ficarmos ansiosos, preocupados e perdermos o nosso controle porque nós realmente não acreditamos que Deus possa nos tirar daquilo. Nós questionamos o seu poder.

Nós duvidamos da graça de Deus as vezes e da sua misericórdia e do seu perdão. Isso não é nada mais do que a negação de sua promessa e de sua Palavra. Nós também frequentemente duvidamos do amor de Deus e nós pensamos que Deus não nos ama o suficiente para cuidar de nós e, “Como que Deus poderia me amar e ele deixou que isso acontecesse comigo. O meu marido me deixou ou os meus filhos estão crescendo e estão ruins ou algo assim”.

Satanás nos empurra para um lugar onde nós duvidamos do amor de Deus. Ele invariavelmente quer que nós duvidemos do amor de Deus. Ele atacou Pedro uma vez e levou Pedro a duvidar da verdade de Deus. Jesus disse para ele, “Pedro, cuidado. Satanás deseja te peneirar”. Assim, Satanás nos ataca para diminuir o caráter de Deus e a credibilidade de Deus. Assim que você começa a duvidar de Deus em qualquer momento a respeito do se caráter ou credibilidade, considere a fonte.

Segunda coisa, eu estou convencido de que Satanás nos ataca para tornar a vivência da vida cristã difícil, para dificultar viver a vida cristã. Ele não quer que seja fácil. Ele quer que seja bem difícil. Para realmente viver a vida cristã, ele quer que seja difícil e eu acho que ele ataca de tr6es formas para tornar a vida cristã difícil de se viver. Uma seria através da perseguição. Essa seria a forma mais extrema. Apenas viver a vida cristã é difícil porque algumas pessoas são muito antagônicas. Um rapaz estava me dizendo que essa emana ele estava falando a respeito da sua nova fé em Cristo com o seu irmão e ele pegou a sua Bíblia e mostrou para o seu irmão, falando a respeito dela. Naquele momento o irmão pegou a Bíblia e jogou para o outro lado do quarto, em um canto, e disse, “Nunca mais coloque esse livro em mim”. Isso seria uma ilustração de perseguição. Existem muitas outras ilustrações ao longo da história da Igreja, a perseguição daqueles que buscaram viver a vida cristã; pode ser que venha no trabalho; pode vir dos seus amigos e por aí ai.

Em segundo lugar, eu diria que ele torna a vida cristã mais difícil de se viver através de uma perseguição mais suave chamado de pressão das pessoas. Algumas pessoas não querer demonstrar que são de Deus porque elas não querem perder os seus amigos, elas não querer sair do circulo que elas estão. Elas não querem ser vistas como diferentes. Elas não querem ter que mudar o seu relacionamento com as pessoas. Elas estão muito confortáveis com a aceitação que elas têm. Elas gostam de serem gostadas por outros e elas não estão prontas para tomar uma postura diferente que pode aliena-las.

Isso era algo que o escritor de Hebreus estava tratando quando ele estava escrevendo àqueles que estavam em cima do muro na comunidade judaica, nunca se comprometendo com Cristo ainda que eles acreditassem que era verdade, por medo do que os seus amigos e família diriam, sendo então banidos. Assim, Satanás torna essa área difícil como também as perseguições externas como as que Paulo se referiu quando ele disse, “tudo que for piedoso nesse mundo presente sofrerá perseguição”.

Existe uma terceira forma pela qual ele torna difícil viver a vida cristã; tornando a vida cristã fácil de se viver, se você me entende. As vezes eu penso que o lugar mais difícil de viver a vida cristã é no lugar mais fácil de viver a vida cristã. Nós estamos aqui nos Estados unidos. Ser um cristão é algo aceitável, respeitável. Todos são cristãos. Todos estão nascendo de novo. A religião é o que está na moda. Cristianismo é a coisa legal do momento.

É muito fácil agora que não tem nenhum preço a ser pago e isso é o que faz disso a situação mais difícil de se viver a vida cristã. Me parece que nós conseguimos reagir a pressão dos amigos e nós conseguimos reagir a perseguição. Mas a coisa difícil é reagir a aceitação. Com isso, Satanás entra em cena e trabalhar para tornar difícil viver para Cristo e diminuir o caráter e a credibilidade de Deus.

A terceira coisa que Satanás faz quando ele ataca o crente é que ele confunde o crente com falsas doutrinas. Ele confunde o crente com falas doutrinas. Eu converso com Cristãos o tempo todo que não entendem realmente o que a Bíblia quer dizer com uma passagem ou outra. Um rapaz me perguntou ontem, “o que é santificação? Eu estou muito confuso. Eu não entendo o que significa ser santificado”. No entanto, ele tem sido um crente por muito tempo. A confusão entre livros diferentes e professores diferentes. As pessoas dizem, “por que tantas pessoas discordam?” Bom, eu penso que, parcialmente, é o plano de Satanás confundir as pessoas, frustra-las e muitas delas dizem, “Bom, você não pode ser dogmático a respeito da Bíblia. Você precisa aceita-la de forma geral”.

Algumas pessoas dizem para mim, “Você é tão dogmático”, o tempo todo. “Você não pode ser tão dogmático assim com a Bíblia”. Bom, eu penso que se você estudar, ela não é tão difícil assim, Honestamente pessoal, eu não sou a pessoa mais inteligente não. Eu tenho uma inteligência normal. Eu odeio admitir isso. Alguns de vocês acham que eu era inteligente todo esse tempo, mas eu não sou. Eu sou apenas uma pessoa que sabe onde a Bíblia está e que sabe como se aprofundar um pouco e entender o que ela significa. Não é tão difícil assim, Mas Satanás confunde os crentes de uma forma apresentando um vasto número de interpretações que deixam todos confusos. Ele também confunde os crentes tendo falsos mestres entrando e semeando todo tipo de doutrina errada. Existem muitos crentes que são jogados de um lado para o outro por todo vento de doutrina. Existem muitos cristãos que são enganados por falsos mestres, que entram como roupa de ovelha mas que são, por dentro, lobos selvagens.

Existe um problema hoje porque as doutrinas dos demônios são excessivas e Satanás confunde a igreja. Existem muitos cristãos enviando milhões de dólares para as causas erradas. Isso é apenas uma confusão a respeito do que é verdade na Bíblia, uma confusão de ensinamentos falsos. Portanto, Satanás tenta diminuir o caráter de Deus. Ele busca tornar a vida cristã difícil de ser vivida. Ele busca confundir os cristãos com falsos mestres e falsas doutrinas.

Em quarto lugar, ele tenta o máximo possível impedir o nosso culto a Cristo. Ele deseja parar o culto efetivo. Ele deseja parar a Igreja Grace. Ele deseja parar o meu ministério, o seu ministério e o ministério de qualquer um que está servindo a Jesus Cristo. Ele quer fazer todo o possível para parar e prevenir nisso, como nós vemos ao longo do Antigo Testamento. Ele busca impedir aqueles que eram profetas de Deus, conforme nós vemos como ele buscou impedir o Senhor Jesus Cristo.

O apóstolo Paulo diz em 1 tessalonicenses o que demonstra ser algo maravilhoso nesse problema particular no capítulo 2, versículo 8. Ele diz, “assim,, querendo-vos muito, estávamos prontos a oferecer-vos não somente o evangelho de Deus, mas, igualmente, a própria vida; por isso que vos tornastes muito amados de nós”. Em outras palavras, aos Tessalonicenses ele disse, “Nós queríamos lhes dar não somente a Palavra mas as nossas vidas; por isso nós engajamos no ministério”. Como foi, ele diz? Foi labor e fadiga. “De noite e dia labutando vos proclamando o evangelho de Deus”. Por que? Porque é difícil. É muito resistente. Não é fácil.

As vezes, os jovens dizem para mim, “Quanto mais você ministra, fica mais fácil?” Não. Não fica mais fácil. Fica diferente e várias vitórias ficam mais maravilhosas e você tem um passado melhor para construir a sua fé para o futuro, mas nunca fica mais fácil porque ele impede o nosso serviço. Barreiras. Assim, Satanás ataca a credibilidade de Deus. Ele ataca o cristão tornado a vida difícil de ser vivida. Ele nos confunde com falsas doutrinas e impede o nosso serviço.

Número cinco, eu acredito que Satanás faz tudo isso que ele pode para causar uma divisão no corpo. Ele trabalha duro para causar uma divisão no corpo, nos fraturando. É por isso que o nosso Senhor foi tão explícito quando ele disse, como nós lemos na semana passada em Mateus no domingo a noite, que se você tem qualquer coisa contra o seu irmão, vá e se reconcilie com ele antes de você voltar e adorá-lo. Assim, ele causa divisão.

1 Coríntios 1, 1 Coríntios 2, 1 Coríntios 3 fala a respeito da divisão na igreja. Em Efésios 4, Paulo diz, “Lutem para manter a unidade do Espírito e o laço da paz. Façam o possível para manter a unidade”. Paulo nos exorta nisso porque Satanás nos separou, trazendo fricção e facção para o corpo de Cristo.

Em sexto lugar, essa é outra área onde Satanás nos acerta forte. Ele nos incentiva a confiar em nossos próprios recursos. Isso é sutil. 1 Crônicas, capítulo 21, nos conta a história de Davi. Davi queria descobrir o quão forte ele realmente era então ele contou os seu soldados e Deus disse para ele, “Davi, isso é um pecado terrível e mau. A sua força não depende do número de suas tropas. Ela não depende do número de pessoas que você tem. A sua força depende de Deus”.

É fácil, sabe, até mesmo na área espiritual para o crente contar toda a sua sabedoria. “Eu memorizei esse livro e eu já entendi aquilo, e eu tenho todos esse princípios em mente e veja o que eu sei; eu fui ao seminário e eu tenho toda essa informação em minha mente. Eu realmente estou pronto e eu posso lidar com os problemas”. O que acontece é que sua vida de oração se torna não existente. A profundidade de sua devoção é perdida e ele se torna raso e teológico. Algo muito perigoso.

Essas são as mesmas pessoas que pensam que por irem na igreja o tempo todo, elas estão certas. Nós podemos nos tornarmos confiantes em nossos recursos. É muito fácil a gente depender do nosso entendimento, depender do nosso conhecimento, sabedoria, insight, erudição e educação. Nós falhamos em nos lançarmos sob o poder de Deus com a ideia que Isaías tinha quando ele disse, “Ai de mim”. Ele sabia que ele não tinha nenhum recurso longe de Deus.

Uma sétima forma em que Satanás nos ataca, e eu acho que isso é comum, é que ele nos faz sermos hipócritas; sermos hipócritas. Satanás literalmente encheu a igreja, inclusive essa, mas ele encheu a igreja com pessoas que são falsas, que não são reais.

A seventh way in which Satan attacks us and I think that this is also common is that he causes us to play the hypocrite, to be hypocritical. Satan has literally populated the church including this one but he populated every church with people who are phony, not real. Even Christians can do that. We can go on smugly, glibly, with the smile, the mask, spirituality letting the whole world think that we’re fine and all we do is pollute the fellowship and all we do is mask ourselves so well that we never deal with the real problem, we never let anybody see what we’re really like, we never open up and tell the truth so that nobody can every come and wrap their arms around us and help to deliver us from the problems, you see.

We hide behind respectability. We hide behind our hypocritical so-called spirituality like Ananias and Sapphira. We want to lie to the Holy Spirit because Satan has really entered our hearts. Satan has come and played something on us and told us it’s better to be thought respectable than be respectable. It’s better not to face your sin and deal with it, it’s better to mask it and cover it and play a game. Satan is so subtle and he fills the church with hypocrisy. He can come. First of all, he works on us to undermine God’s character to make it hard to live the Christian life, to confuse us with false doctrine, to hinder our service, to cause division, to urge us to depend on our own resources and to cause us to play the hypocrite.

Only two more. Number eight, Satan attacks us to make us worldly, to shove us into the mold formed by the world. I mean he is so successful at this, people. The Church today is so worldly, affluent, materialistic, self-indulgent, self-satisfied, smug, so much like the system around it that it’s hard to even separate the two. And yet does John say to us, “Love not the world neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. The world passes away and the lust thereof but he that doeth the Will of God abideth forever.” He’s saying, “Look, you have no business having anything to do with the world. The world is passing and you’re eternal. The very dimensions of life are incoherent, incongruous and can’t come together. What are you doing with the world?” Yet the Church gets engulfed because Satan constantly pushes us into the world.

Final thing, I think Satan wants to cause us to act in disobedience to what we know is God’s word. This maybe is the pinnacle of it all. Satan wants us to act immorally. If God is moral and God sets the moral law then any act against God’s law is immorality whether it’s sexual or social, whatever it is. Acting immorally is acting against the moral law and God is the one who established it. So he wants us to disobey God. That gives Satan an opportunity. That gives him an advantage.

Well there you are people. These areas Satan works, undermining God’s character, making it hard to live the Christian life, confusing us with false doctrine, hindering our service, causing division, forcing us to trust our own resources, to play the hypocrite, to become worldly and to act in disobedience to God. That’s how it’s going to come. That’s where it’s always come. That’s where the battle lies.

Now you say, “Well how do I deal with it?” That’s a pretty big order of attacks. Well the wonderful thing, people, and this is what I’m so thrilled about is that all nine of the things I gave you can be dealt with in one simple way. Look at verse 13 of Ephesians 6. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand.” How are you going to resist all of these in all of their complexity and with all of Satan’s subtlety and with all of his cleverness and with the wiles of the devil and the cunning craftiness and the deceitfulness being what it is how can you deal with these? Simply you don’t concentrate on what he’s doing. You concentrate on what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter that you can categorize those attacks. It doesn’t matter that you know the definition of each one. It doesn’t matter that you spell out every subtlety of what he is doing. You can’t do that. That world is too sophisticated, too remote, too superhuman for you to deal with or me either. What does matter is that we get our armor on, you see. So that when the battle starts whatever the attack might be we’re defensible. It doesn’t matter where the enemy comes from. It doesn’t matter how subtle his attack is at a war if when he gets there you’re ready for him. That’s all. It doesn’t matter what tack Satan takes. It doesn’t matter what path he comes on. It doesn’t matter whether he’s crawling on his belly or flying over head. It doesn’t matter how subtle his attack of how blatant it is. If you’re ready when he gets there that’s all that matters. The believer with his armor on will stand whatever the attack. So having said all that I’ve just said to let you know where he comes from be aware of those areas but the major issue is not whether he’s coming or what the attack is but are you ready? Are you ready? Because if you have your armor on you can handle it.

Now this morning I want us to look at just the first piece of armor. It’s very simple but very, very important. The first one is in verse 14, “Stand therefore - ” and that takes us back. The end of 13, “Having done all to stand,” the middle of verse 11, “That you may be able to stand.” The idea is to stand against the attack of Satan, to be first against his onslaughts, to be victorious when he comes. Therefore if you’re going to stand against those things you must have your loins girded about with alētheia, truth or truthfulness.

Now let’s talk about this. The word alētheia can be translated truth as content, truth as opposed to falsehood, truth as defined as the Word of God, the revelation of God, the content of truth. Or it can be defined as an attitude of truthfulness or non-hypocrisy or sincerity or honesty or integrity or commitment. Let’s take the first element. Let’s say that latent in the thought here is the concept of truth as content. If Satan attacks me it is incumbent upon me first of all to have the belt of truth. Why? Well in the first place Satan is going to come with his wiles verse 11 says and wiles is the same word translated cunning craftiness in chapter 4 verse 14. There it refers to winds of doctrine. The word doctrine is teaching. Now he says this then, “Satan will come and he’ll blow along certain teachings which are cunningly deceiving which are wily, crafty doctrines of demons. Here comes these false truths. They are the wiles of the devil. The only way you can resist the falsehood and the lies of the devil is to have the truth. That’s why it is so important for us to teach and teach and teach the Word of God. Paul talks about the doctrines of demons and seducing spirits who come to deceive.

In 1 Corinthians 10:20 and 21 Paul looked at the Corinthian society and he said the Corinthians have this big worship structure and they go to their pagan temples and they worship their pagan gods and they exercise themselves in all of the rituals and the ceremonies and the rites of worship but he says the things the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not unto God. In other words, behind their whole system are demons. Their whole worship is demonic. Their whole system of religion is demon inspired. It is the doctrine of demons and seducing spirits. What I’m saying is that that gives us an insight into all false teaching. It comes from Satan.

Jesus said in John 8:44, “He is a liar as I said and the father of lies.” So the basic thing that Satan does is come with lies, with untruths and the believer if he’s going to war must know truth. Now that’s basically behind this concept here in a sense. Let me describe the belt so you get the imagery a little.

In Paul’s day a roman person, even a solider wore a tunic. A tunic is a big, square piece of material for the most part. Had a hole in it for your head and two holes for your arms. That was about it. You just threw it on and it was kind of a non-gathered piece of material. But if you were going to go into a war you wouldn’t go into a war with that thing flying around. In fact you didn’t even take a journey in that situation.

For example, it says in Exodus that when the children of Israel were called upon by God to leave for the Promised Land in the 12th chapter of Exodus and the 11th verse God said to them in effect, “Gird up your loins. We’re leaving Egypt.” So we learn then that that was a common phrase for a person taking a journey.

In Luke chapter 12 our Lord in verse 35 is talking about his second coming and he says, “Be sure you have your loins girded and your lamps burning.” In other words, girding your loins was gathering up all this loose material so that you could get ready to go. What that means then is readiness, preparedness. That’s the idea. The belt was preparedness. A Roman solider wouldn’t go into a battle with his dress flapping in the breeze. Somebody’s pull it over his head and woo, that would be the end of it.

You wouldn’t fight a battle with that flopping all over the place. I remember from and you see it too on television when you watch football games how tight all the uniforms are because they don’t want anybody grabbing anything. The thing that used to make you mad is you’d be running with your shirttail in the breeze and you’d be off and gone and some guy would grab your shirttail and yank you down from the back.

Finally they invented what they call breakaway shirts. You see them nowadays in the colleges and they just keep ripping them off people and they’ll run down there with their shirt gone. A guy will have a handful of shirt and that’s it. That’s because they don’t want anything that’s flopping around in the combat. The same thing is even more important in a warfare. You want to make sure in hand to hand combat – those wars weren’t fought from bunkers 200 yards apart. They were fought in hand to hand combat and you did not want something tangling you up and wrapping you up.

In fact in 2 Timothy chapter 2 the apostle Paul says, “You must endure hardness as a good solider of Jesus Christ and you must not become entangled with the affairs of this life.” What he’s saying is you can’t fight if you're all tangled up in your robe and the affairs of this life will do that. You’ve got to cut the cord with civilian life. You’ve got to break with the world.

When a guy’s drafted into the service they don’t say, “Now we’ve drafted you and it certainly would be nice if you could join us. It would be wonderful if you could wear our outfit, our kind of clothes because then you’ll match everybody else. It would be so nice if you could take orders from us and eat our food and live in our place.” They don’t ask you that. You just do that. When you’re drafted you cut off yourself from your girlfriend, your wife, your home, your family, your car, your job. Civilian life is gone and you do what they say and that’s how it is if you’re going into a war. It’s serious.

So when a soldier went into a war - if a man on a journey would do it you can imagine a soldier would. He would take a belt. He would cinch it around his waist. It could be made out of a sash material. Most likely a soldier’s would be out of leather. He would tighten that leather belt up, take the four corners of that tunic, pull it up through that belt making it into kind of a mini tunic. He would have mobility, flexibility, be able to move and it wouldn’t be in his way. That’s really the imagery that’s in the mind of the apostle Paul.

Now further on that same belt it was common for a Roman soldier to have a strap. It would come down connect to the belt, go over his shoulder and connect in the back. He would attach his sword to it so that later on we’ll see the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God is attached to the Belt of Truth. In other words, truth is revealed in the Word. You have the truth as it were. You take it out to fight the battle, right, so that the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God is attached to the Belt of Truth.

But over this shoulder was this strap and on this strap were emblems and insignias of previous victories. Just like decorations. You see a soldier, he’s got all that stuff all over him from the battles he’s fought and the things he’s done and the accomplishments. Well that’s where they put them on a Roman solider. All of the medals and the awards of his accomplishment were placed there. It connects with the Belt of Truth. Beloved, this is it. When you wear the Belt of Truth and you draw the Sword of the Spirit you’re going to win the battle and get the medals. You see? This is where it all begins. It became the emblem of accomplishment in battle. A fitting combination. Only those ready, girded up, only those with the Sword of the Spirit hanging on the side were the ones who won the medals and went into battle as having been victorious.

So this is the heart of the term. Now listen to me. It does refer to truth. I think you can take alētheia in the sense of content but that’s not the primary thought here because that’s dealt with in the Sword of the Spirit. That will be dealt with in that last piece of armor. The main thrust here is the idea of truthfulness which the word also could mean and there it is speaking of attitude, not content. What he’s saying is, “Put your belt on.” That shows an attitude of readiness, an attitude of commitment, an attitude that says, “I’m ready for the battle. I’m dressed. I’m alerted. I’m ready.” See? Now that’s the issue I want to share with you for a few closing moments. What it means is you fight without hypocrisy. It means you’re going in serious.

You know, frankly, most Christians never get the belt on. They just sort of flop through their life blowing in the breeze. There’s little commitment, never sash on that truthfulness. Never get committed. Listen, when a soldier put on his belt, put that strap over, hooked on his sword he was saying, “I am ready to fight.” I think that most Christians lose because they don’t care that much. They don’t care that much. They’d just soon flop around. They’re like Hebrews 12, “Seeing we compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us and run the race.” Right?

Can you imagine a guy in a track meet running in an overcoat and combat boots? That’s absolutely stupid. Don’t do that. Those guys wear so little it’s embarrassing. They’re out there running around with as little on. They’re going to be mobile. They want all the flexibility there is. Yet there are Christians trying to run the Christian race with combat boots and an overcoat and they wonder why they get so tired. “Boy this is tiring. I never seem to get very far.” Five years later they’re ten feet from the starting line. That’s because there’s no commitment.

I think the greatest synonym for truthfulness is commitment. What Paul is saying here is, “Look, you’ve got to realize this is war and get serious. You’ve got to go in without hypocrisy, sincerely with a right attitude having a heart for the battle. I am a soldier. I will endure hardness for the cause of Jesus Christ – “ as 1 Timothy 2:3 says “ – I’m willing to pay the price that I may please the one who chose me to be a soldier. I have a heart for battle.”

Listen, the true Christian loves the fight and the true Christian loves the Lord so much he won’t lose. He won’t give up. Look at 1 Corinthians chapter 9. I can’t relate to a Christian who is content to be defeated all the time, to just flop through his life falling to temptation, falling to all the sins that come to the flesh and the mind. I don’t understand that, how you can give in so easily.

In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul says, “Don’t you know –“ in verse 24 “- that they who run in a race all run.” When the race starts everybody runs but only one receives the prize. So run that you may win. Look, he says, “If you’re going to get in this deal win it. Who wants to lose?” What Paul is talking about here is desire. What we used to say in athletics desire is 90 percent of the issue. It’s true. If you want it bad it’s there.

Our coaches used to say, “If you want it bad enough you can get it. If you want victory bad enough you can get it.” You know something? That was a good thought but it always wasn’t true. Sometimes I’d get across from a guy who was tougher than I was and I wanted it bad. In fact I wanted it worse all the time but nothing I did ever worked. I was eating dirt all day just because I couldn’t get it. Some of the greatest effort was against the worst adversary and I couldn’t win. But you know, in the cause of Christ if the desire is there the victory will be there because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Right? So it’s always available.

So Paul is saying the desire has to be there. He says in an athlete he runs and a lot of people run but only one gets the prize. So if you're getting into this deal win it. Win it. Oh God give us people with this commitment. God give us people who want to win in the Christian life not so they can stack up their own crowns but so they can give them to Jesus Christ, so they can say, “This is my act of love. This is my act of worship. This is my act of praise that I gave, my life, my living sacrifice.” That’s what he’s after, commitment.

He says, “Every man that strives for the mastery” – he uses the Greek verb athleō, athletics, every athlete is temperate. In other words, he disciplines his life. He’s careful what he eats and how he trains and he does it to obtain a corruptible crown but we an incorruptible. He says, “If these guys can work that hard to win a corruptible crown can’t we have the desire to be victorious in our lives for God’s glory?”

So he says, “I run not as an uncertainly. I don’t flip-flop all over the track, running half speed, three-quarter speed, one-quarter speed, resting awhile. I run full bore down the track. I fight not as one who beats the air. I’m not just bouncing the ring, punching around the air. I’m hitting my opponent right in the chops.” “I’m going after the fight,” he says. “And in so doing I keep under my body, I bring it into subjection.”

See, here is the disciplined life of a winner. This is what God wants. Frankly, people, in the spiritual area God’s given us the resource to win. In Romans 12 Paul says, “I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God,” and what the mercies of God are the first 11 chapters of Romans. In the first 11 chapters of Romans he says that God has set us aside from the evil world. God has redeemed us in Christ. God has given us the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God has through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ called us into His family and adopted us as sons. God has given us love and joy and peace. God has granted unto us the tremendous power of the Spirit of God in resurrection life. God has given unto us all the resources we need set apart unto an eternal plan which is unchangeable and undeniable and all of these wondrous mercies of God have been given to you. Therefore present your body as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto God which is only your spiritual service, only you’re reasonable. It is any great thing. It’s just what you ought to do.

Then he says in the next verse, “And be not conformed to this – “ what “ – this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect Will of God.” Now first your mind is renewed and when the Word is in your mind and you have the truth then you can live with commitment and make a sacrifice of your life. Frankly, most of us don’t know the meaning of living sacrifice. We haven’t got the faintest idea what it is to sacrifice our lives. We might be able to be burned at a stake and die for Jesus. It’s just tough trying to live our whole live for him sacrificially. Most of us wouldn’t mind if they took it away in death. We just want it while we’re alive. What kind of a dichotomy is that? We are to be committed and that is what the scripture is saying.

Look at Philippians 1 verses 9 and 10 for just another thought. Listen to what it says. Philippians 1:9, “And this I pray that your love may abound yet more and more.” Now Paul isn’t saying the Philippians don’t love and I’m not saying you don’t love. You do love. But I’m saying I pray that’ll abound more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. I want you to have knowledge. I want you to have more. You have discernment. I want you to have more discernment with the purpose that you may test things that are excellent. I don’t want you to be satisfied with what’s good. I don’t want you to be satisfied with what’s better. I don’t want you to be satisfied with anything but what is excellent.

I know you have love and I want you to have more. I know you have knowledge. I want you to have more. I know you have discernment but I want you to have more that you can prove the things that are the most excellent and that you will be sincere. That means committed, truthful, without hypocrisy, genuine, committed and thus without offense till the day of Christ. The result of living a committed, truthful, sincere life is in verse 11. “You will be filled with the fruits of righteousness through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”

I’ve been preaching a lot on commitment because it keeps coming up in the passages. You know why I want you to be committed? Not because I have some personal ambition. Not for your sake. It’s right there in verse 11, to the glory and praise of God and He will be glorified when you are filled with fruit and you will be filled with fruit when you approve what is excellent and you will approve what is excellent when you are genuinely committed to Jesus Christ in the deepest part of your life.

So the call of the armor of the believer is for commitment at the very start. You’re not going to beat Satan. He’s going to come at you in all these nine ways and a few others that I haven’t even figured out yet. He’s going to come at you in all these combinations of ways that you’re not going to know what to do unless you really are ready to fight. Commitment. Oh beloved, only one thing matters in this world and this life and it’s the dimension of the spiritual. All the rest of the stuff doesn’t matter a bit.

I’m concerned with a lot of things in our world but frankly I could care less about most of the things. Unless they relate to the things of God I’m not even interested because only the spiritual matters, only that God be glorified. We need to get our focus on the right things. How badly do you want to win? How badly? Do you really want to win?

I’ve been in athletics all my life and I’ve seen people that didn’t care about winning. We talk about that a lot when we work with pro athletes, the fact that you can lose the desire. You’ve been there. It’s not that hot. You just go through the motions. If that can happen in the world it can happen to use because Satan pumps it into us all the time.

You can be content with mediocrity. You can be content with lethargy. You can be content to just keep your life the way it’s going. You come week after week, go home. Nothing changes. Nothing’s different. Attitudes are the same, reactions are the same, you home stays the same. Nothing ever happens. You just come and go, come and go, come and go and the commitment never changes. God help you and help me if that happens. We must be committed to fight. So the apostle says the first piece of equipment is the Belt of Truthfulness. It’s based on content but it’s an attitude he’s after.

Let me close with the words of John Monsell who wrote this hymn. Listen to it. “Fight the good fight with all thy might. Christ is thy strength and Christ thy right. Lay hold on life and it shall be thy joy and crown eternally. Run the straight race through God’s good grace and lift up thine eyes and seek his face. Life with its way before thee lies. Christ is the way and Christ the prize. Cast care aside. Lean on thy guide. Lean in His mercy will provide. Lean and the trusting soul shall prove Christ is its life and Christ its love.” Then he said this, “Faint not nor fear. His arm is near. He changeth not and thou art dear. Only believe and thou shalt see that Christ is all in all to thee.”

The love of the victory is there. It’s ours to the glory of God no matter how sophisticated Satan is if we have the Belt of Commitment. I pray God it’s so in your life.

Father, thank You again this morning as we have gathered to worship Your holy name, as we have sung Your praises, that we have thought of Your virtues, as we have listened to Your tremendous truths out of the Word. Father, we feel we’ve been drawn into Your presence. We sense that You’re here and that the message is not my message, it is not a human message. It is not simply a message of paper and ink anymore than a message of a human voice but it is the breath of God.

The call to commitment is not from us, it’s from You. The consequences are not to be dealt with by us but by You. Oh Father, help us to hear Your voice, somehow drop aside all of the human elements, all of the physical factors and may we know that God has spoken through His Word calling us to commitment. Oh Lord Jesus, make us the kind of people you want us to be that you might be glorified, that we might stand as a beacon light in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation holding forth the Word of Life, that we might so live to silence the critics, that we might not be of those who use Jesus and abuse Jesus but of those who give Him glory. Lord, help us to win the battle because more than anything else we want to win and we depend upon Your power for it. In yieldedness we pray for Christ’s sake. Amen.

End

This sermon series includes the following messages:

Please contact the publisher to obtain copies of this resource.

Publisher Information
Grace to You
Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time

Welcome!

Enter your email address and we will send you instructions on how to reset your password.

Back to Log In

Grace to You
Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
Minimize
View Wishlist

Cart

Cart is empty.

Donation:
Grace to You
Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
Back to Cart

Checkout as:

Not ? Log out

Log in to speed up the checkout process.

Grace to You
Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
Minimize