Getting Dressed for Battle
Putting Everything On
Last week we took a look at Christ’s opponent, our enemy. He has many different names and comes at us from many different angles – his names tell us a lot:
- Satan = “adversary” (Job 1:6-7; 1 Thes. 2:18)
- Devil = “slanderer” (1 Peter 5:8)
- Lucifer = “shining one” or the “son of the morning” (Isaiah 14:12)
- Beelzebub = “lord of the flies” (Matt. 12:24)
- The evil one (1 John 5:19)
- The tempter (1 Thes. 3:5)
- The prince of this world (John 12:31)
- The accuser of our brothers (Rev. 12:10)
Satan comes to us in a multitude of ways:
- The crafty serpent in the Garden of Eden – Genesis 3
- The dragon in Revelation 12
- Angel of light who tries to win us over (2 Cor. 11:14)
- The Father of lies (John 8:44)
Let us never underestimate the work of Satan – he wants to destroy our relationship with Christ. Anything he can do to help us slip up in our Christian walk he will do and he will use any tactic possible. Listen to what Paul writes in Ephesians about this:
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And 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 saints.
Have you ever recorded a program on your TV – let say you wanted to watch maybe the last Pitt – WV basketball game. You are looking forward to watching that game on TV Thursday night but something came up so you decided to record the game. I know I can do that but don’t ask me how – I would have had Miriam set it up. So later Thursday night you have your pop corn and Pepsi and are settled in ready to watch the game and ESPN puts the score on the bottom of the TV. You really didn’t want to know the score but with all the modern technology that we have the score is posted on your phone, ipad, kindle, the news or computer. So you know WV hammered Pitt and that may be the last time the 2 schools will play. Think about that you know who won before you even watch the game. Bummer especially if you were a Pitt fan – you might have even turned the TV off in the 2nd half. But there is a spiritual analogy here.
We already who won the spiritual war – Christ defeated Satan on Easter. His blood provided the sin sacrifice and His resurrection defeated death and the grave.
We are commanded to put on the full armor of God knowing who ultimately has won the war. We are called to be ready for the battle by putting on the full armor of God knowing that the war has been won by Christ. We don’t fight for victory we fight from victory. Satan has already lost. He just tries to keep us away from having a wonderful life with Christ.
There is a huge difference between fighting for victory and fighting from the victorious state. The battle is still raging but we already know the final outcome. Christ has already won and we are victors through Christ. That means that when we fight we’re not trying to win – we are rather enforcing the victory that Jesus has already secured. In His power we are invincible.
- First thing I want you to notice in verse 10 is that we are to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. The Lord provides us with starting power and strength to do battle with the schemes of the Devil.
- It is the Lord’s battle and we are part of His army. He has defeated Satan already but we must defend ourselves and be empowered by the Lord who has already won. We are not in this battle alone; we go into battle with the victorious Christ. He is the supplier of our needs and He provides the strength to wage war and win. We must not try this on our own power because we will fail.
- To go into this war without Christ is like me trying to start a car without the battery.
- We aren’t fighting from a victorious stand if we are trying to win the spiritual war on our own. The win took place on Easter. We can’t win the battle without power of the Lord.
- If our battle was against flesh and blood we could have a chance to win the battles on our own, but our battle is not against people even though they may be instruments of the enemy, our battles are spiritual in nature and we have to rely on Christ’s power.
- Paul tells us “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” We need to go into battle with Lord’s power and strength. We need to go into the spiritual war from the position of victory.
- We battle from the winning position:
- 1 John 4:4 (NIV) 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. This simple means that when we and world standards clash we have Christ who is greater than one who is control the world. We are coming from the victorious place of Christ.
- 1 John 5:4-5 (NIV) for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. If we are a child of God we have already won – the victory comes through Christ.
- James 4:7 (NIV) 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. As we submit to God – as we show our allegiance to the Lord and resist the devil – he the devil will flee from us.
- We have the power and the strength through Christ; but we have to take a stand. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes… Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Verses 10 and 13 talk about us taking a stand or stand your ground. What does that mean?
- As we look at the 21st century church – not just the United Methodist Church we are more liaise fare; we don’t want anyone to be upset so we make compromises on everything and do not take a stand.
- As we compromise we keep backing off on what we know is righteous so that we don’t anger anyone.
- We don’t talk about sin for fear that someone might leave. Tough – Christ never compromised.
- Jesus was in trouble a great deal of the time because He showed love but spoke penetrating truths – He called for righteousness. The Scripture is clear on certain issues – let me name a few:
- We must be born again, you can define that whatever way you want to but the bottom line is we have to be in relationship with Jesus Christ. He is THE ONLY WAY to God. John 14:6 (NIV) 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. He didn’t say a way – He said the way. There is no other way.
- Jesus said why do you call me Lord and not do what I say? If He is Lord then we are to be obedient. We called to be obedient – in other words we are servants / slaves.
Matthew 7:21 (NIV)
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
- He calls for us to love our enemies and pray for those persecute us (Matt. 5:44). Do you love your enemies? Do you pray for those that persecute you? We may pray for those that persecute us but to love them no way.
- Matthew 10:32 (NASB)
32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. Do we talk about Him – are we willing to share our faith with others?
- Do you think it is a sin to: commit adultery – if we do it in our minds it is a sin also. Do you believe it is wrong to murder? Well there are many people who do that in their own minds that too is a sin.
- Are you willing to take a stand? Even if our stand takes us in opposite direction of the world. Just because everyone is doing it a certain way doesn’t make it right. When I was a kid there was a bridge that crossed the Monongahela River near where I lived called the High Level Bridge. When we tried arguing with our mother telling her that everyone was doing it she use to say “If everyone was jumping off the High Level Bridge would you?
- Let us stand firm – but to do so requires powerful assistance that is why Paul tells to put on the full armor of God.
- Before Satan’s attacks we should have in hand God’s strategy. We need the overall plan and that begins by being fully dressed for battle. That is why Paul tells us to put on the full armor / equipment for battle before defining the individual pieces of equipment. We need to put it all on.
- The total equipment is part to the total power and strength of the Lord. And it is our responsibility to put it on.
- Do you have a routine that you follow in the morning? Have your cup of coffee, then work out, shave, shower and shampoo; have breakfast and head off to work. Forgot something – What did I forget? You need to get dressed.
- We need to dress for the day including putting on our spiritual equipment or armor.
- Actually we shouldn’t take off the armor ever – because the night might be a place of spiritual attacks. Do you have bad dreams? I believe that Satan uses nighttime to create conflict in our minds.
- We need to always have the armor on especially at times that we are the weakest.
- I hear people say that all we have to do is just trust in the Lord and not worry about what we ought to be doing. “No worry.”
- We went out to eat for Valentine’s Day and our waitress kept responding to us with a very annoying phrase’ “no worry.” After the 3rd or 4th time I started to become worried.
- Well we had to send our meat back because it was too rare for us. “No worry.” I know what cooks do when food comes back.
- By the time we ate the sides we were too full to eat the meat; “no worry.” She brought us a box back for our meat; “no worry.” By then I was too worried to order dessert.
- I don’t want you to worry about the spiritual war – God provides us strength and the armor and our part is to:
- trust in His strength
- stand firm
- put on the full armor – not a piece here and there but all of it.
- “Just Jesus” isn’t the strategy God has to defeat the enemy. In fact the enemy would love for nothing more than us saying, “Just Jesus, just Jesus.” He would love for us to not take any responsibility in the battle.
- We need protection as well as strength and it is our responsibility to put on what God has provided for us.
- The devil would love for us to not participate in the battle because then he is wining.
- Let us be prepared by relying on Christ’s power and the armor He provides for us.
- Since we are soldiers in Christ’s army we must put on the equipment issued to us to do battle. That is rule in any army or any team. It is the Commander and Chief that knows the enemy and He knows exactly the pieces that will protect us and keep us standing.
- Every piece is essential, every part is necessary and we can’t pick and choose which pieces we want to wear.
- From the time Miriam played T-Ball she liked to be the catcher – it was fun to watch when she was young and all the girls were about her size. As she got older and she still wanted to catch we decided that she needed her on equipment. There were many times I was glad that she had her own equipment; especially as the pitchers threw harder and wilder and the girls sliding into home got bigger.
- There were girls that tried to run her over sort of like a direct attack – there were girls that un-intentionally on purpose threw their bat back – kind of sneaky though I knew what was going on because I caught. She was protected but you know what she still got banged up.
- It is no different for all of us when we are dressed with God’s equipment – we are protected but Satan will try anything from running you over to sneak attacks. Every piece of equipment is important.
- Here is the list of combat equipment:
- Belt of truthfulness
- Breastplate of righteousness
- Shoes of the gospel of peace
- Shield of faith
- Helmet of salvation
- Sword of the Spirit
TWENTY-SIX MEN STANDING
A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home church in MI.
"While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every 2 weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to the nearest large city for supplies. This was a journey of 2 days and required camping overnight at the halfway point in the jungle.
"On one of these trips, just as I arrived in the city I saw two men fighting, one of whom had been injured. As a missionary doctor I intervened and treated his injuries. And at the same time I talked to him about the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Afterwards I went about my planned tasks--collecting money from a bank, purchasing medicine and supplies--then began my 2-day journey back to the field hospital. Halfway back, I camped overnight as usual, then arrived home without incident.
"Two weeks later I repeated my trip. Upon arriving in the city, I was met by the young man I had treated. He told me that it was known that I regularly carried money and medicines. He said, 'Two weeks ago several of us followed you back into the jungle, knowing that you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take everything. But just as we were about to come into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards. So we left.'
"At this I laughed to myself & said that I was certainly all alone out in that jungle campsite. The young man wouldn't accept my word, though. He said, 'No sir. I was not the only one to see the guards. There were 6 of us who saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those 26 guards that we were afraid and left you alone.'
As the missionary was telling this story in his home church in Michigan, one of the men of the congregation jumped to his feet & asked if the missionary could tell him the exact date this had happened. The missionary told him, and the man then told him this story:
"On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. But for some reason I felt a very strong urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging was so strong that I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day please stand up?"
The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. As the missionary looked around the room at those who were standing, he wasn't so concerned with who they were -- he was too busy counting how many they were. There were 26 men standing!
(Sermon Central, 11/24/2010)
Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.