Take Up The Whole Armor of God

Many times in his writings the Apostle Paul used military imagery in describing spiritual things. One reason for this was that in many parts of the Roman Empire, the presence of the military was out in full force. Paul used illustrations and terms that the people were accustomed to.

In Ephesians 6:10-17 he wrote about “taking up the whole armor of God.”. What did he mean?  Paul was using the imagery of the different parts of the Roman soldier’s armor to illustrate some very important ways that a Christian can be equipped for service to the Lord Jesus.

Most of the armor is of a defensive nature and some offensive.  The Roman government provided their armies with everything they would need to do battle.  They were equipped for service to Caesar.  How much more should the child of the King be equipped for service to the Lord.

Paul took the different parts of the soldier’s armor and made spiritual application.  InEphesians 6:10 he says “be strong in the Lord…”. Paul reminds us that our battle is not against an enemy we can see on the battlefield, but on a spiritual one, that is, Satan, himself.  If we will let Him, the Lord will equip us door this battle. One important aspect we must understand up front is that we cannot win the battle in our own strength, but can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, win the battle. It is as the Word of God says, “greater is He. Who is in you than he who is the world.”

Verses 14-17 speak of defensive weapons by which we can protect ourselves in this battle. It is in the later part of verse 17 that we are introduced  to the offensive weapon, the“sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.”

The Word of God is powerful! Paul told us in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 that the Word is inspired of  God.  It is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God  may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

If we are willing to not only read God’s Word but to study it, mediate upon it, and tell others about it, we will “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ,” – we will be able to help and encourage other believers as we serve in the Lord’s army.

The hymn writer, Sabine Baring-Gould penned these famous words, “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before; Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe, forward into battle, see His banners go.”. Let’s go  forward lifting up the Name of the Lord Jesus before a lost and dying world, reaching the lost with the Gospel and strengthening the saved!

Enjoying The Heavenly Places of Christ

larrydec26In Ephesians 1:3 Paul wrote these words, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” The Christian is a heavenly person. He is not “of this world.” Philippians 3:20 tells us that we are “citizens of heaven.”

What does this mean to the Christian? It means that we do not let the things of this world, which is anti-God, dictate how we live. We have been called out of a kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus (Col. 1:2-14.). The Word of God is our constitution,especially the New Testament. We find in its pages how to live and act as “citizens of heaven,” and enjoy all the blessings in Christ!

Jesus said that He came to give us the abundant life. We should desire all that the Godhead has for us. Paul told the Colossians that we should “seek the things that are above.” We must, therefore, strive to conduct our lives with a heavenly emphasis. We need to renew our minds spiritually.

We have received these spiritual blessings so that we can praise God! The Lord has promised to equip us for service so that we can reach the lost and strengthen the saved. These blessings that we have as “citizens of heaven” are to help us grow daily in “the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We cannot live the Christian life by ourselves. We need the help of the Lord at all times. Satan is out there “as a roaring lion,seeking whom he may devour.” Because of that, we need the assurance that “greater is He who in you than he who is in the world.”

Christians should seek everything God has for us so that we can be equipped to live Him, always learning from the Word of God, and being active in His service while we look forward to the time when the Lord returns for His Church to take us home to the full reality of the Heavenly kingdom.

While we have been promised all the blessings today, one day we will enjoy them on a higher scale when we see Him face to face. If we avail ourselves of all that He has for us and use the blessings to bring glory to Him, we will “let our light shine for Him.”

Blessed Be The Name

KevinHParr“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21)

I got a little choked up in Wednesday night class this week when we sang Blessed Be Your Name, a Matt Redman song borrowing from this verse in Job.  When Rebecca miscarried our first child years ago, I remember driving down the highway by myself with this song blasting as loud as it could.  I rolled down my window, and threw my hands in the air and sang along through tears “You give and take away, you give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name!”.  What else could I do at that point?  When everything was taken from Job, he tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell to the ground and worshipped God.  In that moment, I think I kind of understood that.

Sometimes we can be pretty fickle, allowing our actions and responses to be dictated by the changing tides of life.  We can go quickly from happy and energetic to frustrated and sad.  It gets complicated between school and friends, the opposite sex, misunderstandings with parents, and just getting older and being more responsible.  But through all this, God is calling us to Him, and sometimes our most genuine worship comes when we feel the worst.  Maybe there’s nothing left to lose, or we just have no place else to go, and we turn to God.

My challenge to you (and to myself) is to stay there in that place of worship.  Whatever else is going on with us, the Lord is worthy of our praise.  He is holy, and our lives at their best will be an act of worship, a reflection of His glory.

– Kevin

For comment:  what song draws you closer to the Lord?

Walking In Truth

larrydec26The Christian life  is portrayed in the New  Testament in a  variety of ways. The writers of the  New Testament use  word pictures to help us understand. They  use  things that we are familiar with. They take common, everyday   actions  and give them  spiritual application.

One way the  life of a Christian is portrayed in the New Testament is that of a  “walk.”  That is  something that all of  are  able to do unless hindered by health reasons. Ephesians 5:2 reads as  follows: “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (ESV) We also read in verse 8, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” We have been called out of a “kingdom of  darkness,” into the “kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Colossians 1:12-14) The Lord expects  us to live for  Him.  The ‘walk” of the  believer should be a one of  progress.

We know that the  way  we  walk physically and the  pace of our  walk  is  different with each person.  This can  be    illustrated in  the  “marathon concept.” Here in Louisville, KY we have what is called  the “Mini-Marathon.” Many  are entered, and  while only  one person wins the  race, all who  finish receive  some recognition.  Some are fast runners, slow runners, fast and slow walkers. Some are on  crutches, some in wheel chairs,   but their goal is  to  finish the race.

So it is with the believer. We are “in Christ”, we are  admonished to “grow in the grace and knowledge of  the Lord Jesus” (2 Peter 3:18).  Jesus  has a  right to  expect  continual growth in His children. But He  realizes that as  we  all grow at  different  stages in the  physical realm, so it is also in the spiritual realm.  “walking” denotes   progress.  If we desire to  “learn of Him,” and grow as  Christians he will equip us for the   journey. We  must have  our  eyes  upon Jesus at  all time (Hebrews 12:1-2). He   gives  us  His Word  to study, meditate  upon and   apply to our lives.

We must be  found “walking  in the Truth.” This  phrase is  used  numerous  times in the New Testament.  Jesus is the  great example of One  walking in Truth.  In John’s 2  short  epistles, 2nd &  3rd John both  recipients, “the elect lady” in  2nd John 4and Gaius in 3rd John 4 are  commended   for  walking “in the  truth.” John also is thankful that  others are walking in the truth also.

We want to  be  pleasing to our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus in every possible way.  Since  we have   been called out of  darkness into the  marvelous light of the Gospel, we have  an obligation, yea, privilege to help others find their way to Christ also. “Walking in Truth” will help us cultivate  the type of life  we  need to continue to  grow in the Lord.

We must  be  found  following the teachings  found in the New Testament that  show us  how  to live  for Him who died for us!