Memphis Belle

What Has God Done For Us Ephesians 1: 15-23; 2:1-15 Ephesians 2:6-22; 3:1-11 Four Steps to Power
Fourth Step to Power The Body of Christ Our Minds Our Attitudes
Our Tongues A New Walk Slaves and Masters There's a war going on
Belt of Truth
Sword of the Spirit
Prayer Putting on Jesus
 
The Armour of God
 
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Ephesians 6:14-19

The Belt of Truth
and the
Breastplate of Righteousness

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

Of the two articles of our armor we'll look at today, the belt of truth was an article used to secure the soldiers armor and weapons. To have a lose belt would be to fight with your pants down, so to speak. There are two interpretations for the belt, but since the word of God is the sword of the Spirit, the second one seems to apply.

  1. The Word of God
  2. The true sincere life without hypocrisy. A hypocritical life will lead to spiritual defeat. You're an easy target for Satan if you're a hypocrite. Satan is called the "accuser of the brethren." (Rev. 12) Don't give him ammo!

1 John 1:1-8, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our [Some manuscripts your] joy complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live in the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." 1 John 1:1-8 either gives you confidence that you are in the Lord, or as hypocrite, with your pants down around your ankles! Our heart should be to do the truth. God is not into lip-service. He is into life-service.

1 Peter 2:11-12, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." What Peter is saying is that obedience is important in warfare, especially spiritual warfare. When the Church is girded in disobedience it is broken down and weak.

Psalm 119:1-16, "Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."

For a Christian, Jesus defined the law of God right down to it's spiritual intent in Matthew 5:17-48. Read this section and meditate on it. This is the heart and core of God's law that we are to live by and fashion our lives around. Living by this law girds the belt of truth to us firmly. Meditating on it fastens it into our minds if the Spirit of God dwells in us. Stop right here and turn to Matthew 5:17-48 and read it through meditatively. Do so for a week and see what happens. You are fastening the mind of Christ in you. Follow what you read and hypocrisy will flee you. The belt is tight now. Now gird on the sword of the Spirit.

A Roman's belt also held the famous Roman short-sword. This sword was a superior weapon in close combat situations. Let's see Jesus himself in action with his spiritual Roman short-sword which he used against Satan. We find Jesus led of the Spirit into the desert, where he fasted for forty days and nights (Matthew 4:1-2). When you fast like this, you're hungry. For the first two or three days you are hungry, and then that hunger goes away. Then when you are about to die (some time after forty days if you're real strong or have a lot of fat on your bones), the hunger comes back with a vengeance. Satan hit at this time, trying to defocus Jesus and refocus his attention on the physical. Jesus defense was this offensive statement. He took a particular part of Scripture and used it to destroy Satan's plan and temptation. Verse 3-4, "The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.' [Satan was also tempting Jesus with pride, with the statement, "If you are the Son of God."] "Jesus answered, 'It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' [Deuteronomy 8:3]

Verses 5-7, "Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down, for it is written:

'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your food against a stone.' [Psalm 91:11-12]

Jesus answered him, 'It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' [Deuteronomy 6:16]

Verses 8-11, "Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 'All this I will give you,' he said, 'If you will bow down and worship me.' Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" [Deuteronomy 6:13.] Satan is not only the "accuser of the brethren" but the great tempter. The sword of the Spirit can be used successfully against the temptations of both Satan, his demons, and the world. We will cover this weapon in a later study with some more Scriptural details.

The breastplate of righteousness—Jesus in you is the breastplate of righteousness. It's not our own righteousness, but his. Jesus is also the shield of faith which has the special ability to quench the flaming arrows of Satan.

Ephesians 6:10, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."

II Chronicles 14:2-15, "Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands. He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.

'Let us build up these towns,' he said to Judah, 'and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.' So they built and prospered.

Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men.

Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with a vast army [Hebrew with an army of a thousand thousands (i.e. a million man army!)], and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.

Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, 'Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O Lord, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.'

The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the Lord and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the Lord had fallen upon them. They plundered all these villages, since there was much booty there. They also attacked the camps of the herdsmen and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem." Then read II Chronicles 16:1-14. Asa stopped relying on God but tried to rely on his own wit and schemes. God was testing the heart of Asa. He knew previously that he couldn't stand against that million-man army without a divine miracle, but this problem wasn't so bad, so he reasoned that he could figure a way out on his own without relying on the Lord. Verses 8-9 of II Chronicles holds the key. "Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war." As a church and as individuals, we have to "be strong in the Lord."

Ephesians 6:15, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace…" Shoes, or army boots, or in Paul's case, Roman military sandals, were defensive, giving a sure foothold to the soldier wearing them. If the enemy can knock you over or off balance, you're an easy kill. The gospel of peace, if you rest in the gospel of peace, the gospel of Christ, you can't be toppled over. [Romans 1-8 is the clearest description of the gospel of Christ ever written.] Psalm 94:18, "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your love, O Lord, supported me."

Psalm 34:17-22, "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him."

Psalm 40:1-2, "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Cry out to God for his power.

Remember our primary objective? Matthew 28:18-20 if anyone forgot. It is to evangelize. Ephesians 6:15 (new King James), "and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace." Isaiah 52:7 shows this gospel being offensively brought, and makes direct reference to the feet of those who bring it. "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'"

Romans 10:14-15, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"

The Shield of Faith: The Roman shields could be interconnected so they could march right into and through the hostile fire of the enemy, until they broke through the enemy lines. It was a defensive weapon used for offensive fighting. When flaming arrows were being shot, they locked shields and marched forward into the hostile fire, not away from it.

Hebrews 11:30-39, "By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. And what more shall I say? I do not have the time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women who received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. [cf. 1 Corinthians 15:49-54.]

When the allies took Normandy the war was already won, so to speak. All in Europe knew it was won. But there were battles that still needed to be won to bring ultimate victory. The Nazi's were no longer conquering the world, they were in the process of being conquered. The key battle of Midway spelled the doom of the Japanese Navy, which was their only offensive tool for conquering the Pacific empire they were building. This victory at Midway won the war for us. The next four years brought fierce battles, but they were all mop-up battles which would bring ultimate victory. The war was already in the bag after Midway—the Japanese offensive strike weapon, the Kido-Buti had been destroyed in one day. Jesus at the cross destroyed Satan's victory over mankind. The redemption of mankind was a sure thing after this. When Joshua conquered Jerecho all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan knew they had lost the war—that they were goners. But the conquering of Canaan required years of battles to finish the job. Read the book of Joshua. We are in the spiritual counterpart of what Joshua and his soldiers did. Joshua was a symbol for Jesus Christ, and we are in the army of Jesus Christ, fighting spiritual battles that are just as real, for spiritual territory—the souls of men and women around the world.

The Helmet of Salvation: 1 Thessalonians 5:7-11, "For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

The hope of salvation—the hope of your future—heaven—starting with tomorrows world spent ruling in the Millennial Kingdom of God as immortal kings and priests under Jesus Christ our King of kings and Lord of lords (cf. Revelation 5:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:49-54). The Old Testament is chuck full of prophecies about the kingdom Jesus will usher in when he returns to earth. Revelation 19-20 just gives a peek into the beginning of it. Read Isaiah 11, Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36 and Zechariah 14 just for starters. Then read Revelation 2-3; 5:9-10. Revelation 20:4-6. Our hope is in the future. Right now we're in a war. [Pastor Chuck Smith has a taped sermon available to the public about the coming kingdom age of Jesus Christ. Check it out at http://calvarychapel.org ]

 

content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
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