September 29, 2013 How Now Shall We Live?

How Now Shall We Live?

(Part 4 of Paul’s teachings about Spiritual Warfare)

(Find previous parts at www.sozoclass.com.)

The title of this study is the title of the book co-authored by Charles Colson with Nancy Pearcey and Harold Fickett.  You may have read it and been convicted by its challenge.  The Apostle Paul answers this question by describing a Christian’s lifestyle using the elements of the armor of God.  Truth, righteousness, gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God are integral to living life as a Christian.  It is what Paul means in Ephesians 3.19: ‘be filled with all the fullness of God’.  Compare this to God’s challenge in Jeremiah 9.23-24.  Are these what God counts as ‘loyalty’ in 2 Chronicles 16.9?

The focus of this study is salvation and the word of God from Ephesians 6.17.  How is salvation like a helmet?  How is the word of God a sword for the Christian?

‘Take the Helmet of Salvation’

  • Why did Paul compel his readers to ‘take’ the helmet of salvation?  In John 3.16-21, Jesus offered eternal life to all who would accept it; He did not compel them.  The offer of salvation must be taken.  There are penalties if His offer is not taken, as are illustrated in Numbers 21.4-9 by Moses and Nehushtan (2 Kings 18.1-4).
  • When Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman, who had had five husbands and was presently living immorally with a man (see John 4.1-26), He offered her ‘living water’ (verse 10) that would become a ‘fountain of water springing up into everlasting life’ (verse 14).
  • She took the helmet of salvation and invited others to, also.  This is like God’s plea in Isaiah 55.1a, 12.2-3, and 44.3-4.  Those who did not accept the offer to take salvation are described in Jeremiah 2.13 and 17.13.  Note in verse 13 God’s description of Himself; compare with Paul’s description of God in Romans 4.17.
  • Jesus connected the Trinity in His description of the Holy Spirit in John 7.37-39.  The Holy Spirit with you produces live-giving water continually within you and which spills out upon others!  The Spirit’s invitation in Revelation 22.17 is to ‘come’ and ‘take of the water of life freely’.  This ‘pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, [proceeds] from the throne of God and of the Lamb’ (Revelation 22.1; Revelation 21.5-7 too)!  You drink it today!
  • There is another view of the helmet, as part of the uniform identifying a particular responsibility; for example, a member of the military.  For Christians, the enemy sees you suited like the child of the King that you are, topped with a golden, bejeweled crown!
  • The enemy wants your helmet and aims his fiery darts of doubt and discouragement at your head.  He cannot take your salvation from you (John 6.37-39, 10.28-29; Romans 5.10, 8.31-39), but he comes to make the word ineffective in you (James 1.5-8; Matthew 13.18-23).  John MacArthur comments on the helmet: ‘Security is a fact; assurance is a feeling that comes to the obedient Christian (1 Peter 1.3-10)’. Remembering that you are saved eternally protects your head and your thoughts!  Tell satan just who you are when he comes with his schemes!

Take ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’.

  • Ephesians 6.17.  Note, again, the command to ‘take’ the sword that is handed to you.
  • You MUST take it, if you expect to overcome your enemy and extend your days on earth!
  • Note Jesus’ skillful use of the sword in Revelation 19.11-16.  What does Jesus do with the sword?  This is the picture of you against the forces of satan!  God gave this picture to Jeremiah in 1.9-10.  See, also, Isaiah 11.4 and 2 Thessalonians 2.8.
  • Paul drove this point home in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6, where he informed believers in Corinth of what he wrote later to Ephesian believers in Ephesians 6.12 and, thus, their need for the armor of God, too.  Listen to the emotional certainty of his words in verses 4-5; the confidence of a warrior…like you must become!  How are these verses like Jeremiah 1.9-10, Ephesians 6.16, and Colossians 2,8-10?  Do you hear the same certainty?
  • If you follow the instructions, the results are assured!  Like a warrior in training, you success will increase with use.  See James 1.2-3 and Hebrews 10.35-39.  Read Philippians 2.9-13 the same way.  There is certainty that knees bow when you use the name ‘Jesus’, but YOU must speak His name…with faith and assurance!  That’s the ‘therefore’ in verse 12!  Jesus is the word of God (John 1.1, 14-18; Revelation 12.11)!
  • Did you notice in Philippians 2.13 that it is ‘God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure? This is what Jesus assured in Mark 16.20. God is doing HIS great work through you! His good pleasure!
  • Look at what He said to Moses in the last clause of Exodus 12.12. God executed judgment on Egypt’s gods! He is ‘the LORD”! Exodus 6.3 notes that Bible transition from the revelation of God as provider to revealing Himself for the rest of Scripture as LORD! Yes, for the rest Scripture. You read this in the books written by Moses, Joshua, about the Judges, and by the books of the Prophets. You read about Jesus fulfilling 1 John 3.8b and Colossians 2.15 in His daily life. And fulfilling Jesus’ prayer in John 17.18, the Holy Spirit, through Paul, instructs you to put on God’s armor and join the fight against satan and his forces of evil (Matthew 6.13b)!
  • Isaiah 42.13 is a picture of you as the warrior in God’s armor!
  • Just how powerful is this sword you have taken hold of?  Hebrews 4.12 states Paul’s understanding from the Holy Spirit.  Read it slowly to realize the power of this weapon in your hands.  It does what?
  • The word of God ‘perceives and recognizes’ (definition of ‘discern’) the thoughts and intents of your mind.  The Holy Spirit compares these against the standard of righteousness that God has given (Hosea 14.9).  This ‘sword’ ‘casts down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10.5; see also Colossians 2.8-10).  This is the dividing of soul (mind, will, emotions) from spirit (given by God).  God knows the degree to which you are sold out to Him!  He discerns how your thoughts and intents are directed by His Spirit through your spirit or how they are directed by your flesh (Galatians 5.17).
  • Sin’s roots can only be severed by the sword of the Spirit!  Consider the warning of Hebrews 4.13.
  • Our battle is the ‘good fight….[of] faith’ (1 Timothy 4.7) which we win (1 John 5.4-5)!

So, will you take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God?

  • Many Christians have become apathetic and lazy through compromise with the world of political correctness and multiculturalism and moral relativism.
  • Join Nehemiah who encouraged his warrior-workers: ‘Remember the Lord, Who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and daughters, your wives and your homes’ (Nehemiah 4.14).
  • Take them!

Praise God!!!  Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.   www.sozoclass.com

 

September 22, 2013 How Now Shall We Live?

How Now Shall We Live?

(Part 4 of Paul’s teachings about Spiritual Warfare)

(Find previous parts at www.sozoclass.com.)

The title of this study is the title of the book co-authored by Charles Colson with Nancy Pearcey and Harold Fickett.  You may have read it and been convicted by its challenge.  The Apostle Paul answers this question by describing a Christian’s lifestyle using the elements of the armor of God.  Truth, righteousness, gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God are integral to living life as a Christian.  It is what Paul means in Ephesians 3.19: ‘be filled with all the fullness of God’.  Compare this to God’s challenge in Jeremiah 9.23-24.  Are these what God counts as ‘loyalty’ in 2 Chronicles 16.9?

The focus of this study is salvation and the word of God from Ephesians 6.17.  How is salvation like a helmet?  How is the word of God a sword for the Christian?

‘Take the Helmet of Salvation’

  • Why did Paul compel his readers to ‘take’ the helmet of salvation?  In John 3.16-21, Jesus offered eternal life to all who would accept it; He did not compel them.  The offer of salvation must be taken.  There are penalties if His offer is not taken, as are illustrated in Numbers 21.4-9 by Moses and Nehushtan (2 Kings 18.1-4).
  • When Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman, who had had five husbands and was presently living immorally with a man (see John 4.1-26), He offered her ‘living water’ (verse 10) that would become a ‘fountain of water springing up into everlasting life’ (verse 14).
  • She took the helmet of salvation and invited others to, also.  This is like God’s plea in Isaiah 55.1a, 12.2-3, and 44.3-4.  Those who did not accept the offer to take salvation are described in Jeremiah 2.13 and 17.13.  Note in verse 13 God’s description of Himself; compare with Paul’s description of God in Romans 4.17.
  • Jesus connected the Trinity in His description of the Holy Spirit in John 7.37-39.  The Holy Spirit with you produces live-giving water continually within you and which spills out upon others!  The Spirit’s invitation in Revelation 22.17 is to ‘come’ and ‘take of the water of life freely’.  This ‘pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, [proceeds] from the throne of God and of the Lamb’ (Revelation 22.1; Revelation 21.5-7 too)!  You drink it today!
  • There is another view of the helmet, as part of the uniform identifying a particular responsibility; for example, a member of the military.  For Christians, the enemy sees you suited like the child of the King that you are, topped with a golden, bejeweled crown!
  • The enemy wants your helmet and aims his fiery darts of doubt and discouragement at your head.  He cannot take your salvation from you (John 6.37-39, 10.28-29; Romans 5.10, 8.31-39), but he comes to make the word ineffective in you (James 1.5-8; Matthew 13.18-23).  John MacArthur comments on the helmet: ‘Security is a fact; assurance is a feeling that comes to the obedient Christian (1 Peter 1.3-10)’. Remembering that you are saved eternally protects your head and your thoughts!  Tell satan just who you are when he comes with his schemes!

Take ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’.

  • Ephesians 6.17.  Note, again, the command to ‘take’ the sword that is handed to you.
  • You MUST take it, if you expect to overcome your enemy and extend your days on earth!
  • Note Jesus’ skillful use of the sword in Revelation 19.11-16.  What does Jesus do with the sword?  This is the picture of you against the forces of satan!  God gave this picture to Jeremiah in 1.9-10.  See, also, Isaiah 11.4 and 2 Thessalonians 2.8.
  • Paul drove this point home in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6, where he informed believers in Corinth of what he wrote later to Ephesian believers in Ephesians 6.12 and, thus, their need for the armor of God, too.  Listen to the emotional certainty of his words in verses 4-5; the confidence of a warrior…like you must become!  How are these verses like Jeremiah 1.9-10, Ephesians 6.16, and Colossians 2,8-10?  Do you hear the same certainty?
  • If you follow the instructions, the results are assured!  Like a warrior in training, you success will increase with use.  See James 1.2-3 and Hebrews 10.35-39.  Read Philippians 2.9-13 the same way.  There is certainty that knees bow when you use the name ‘Jesus’, but YOU must speak His name…with faith and assurance!  That’s the ‘therefore’ in verse 12!  Jesus is the word of God (John 1.1, 14-18)!
  • Just how powerful is this sword you have taken hold of?  Hebrews 4.12 states Paul’s understanding from the Holy Spirit.  Read it slowly to realize the power of this weapon in your hands.  It does what?
  • The word of God ‘perceives and recognizes’ (definition of ‘discern’) the thoughts and intents of your mind.  The Holy Spirit compares these against the standard of righteousness that God has given (Hosea 14.9).  This ‘sword’ ‘casts down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10.5; see also Colossians 2.8-10).  This is the dividing of soul (mind, will, emotions) from spirit (given by God).  God knows the degree to which you are sold out to Him!  He discerns how your thoughts and intents are directed by His Spirit through your spirit or how they are directed by your flesh (Galatians 5.17).  Sin’s roots can only be severed by the sword of the Spirit!  Consider the warning of Hebrews 4.13.

So, will you take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God?

  • Many Christians have become apathetic and lazy through compromise with the world of political correctness and multiculturalism and moral relativism.
  • Join Nehemiah who encouraged his warrior-workers: ‘Remember the Lord, Who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and daughters, your wives and your homes’ (Nehemiah 4.14).
  • Take them!

Praise God!!!  Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.   www.sozoclass.com

September 8, 2013 Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, and Shoes of Gospel Peace

Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, and Shoes of Gospel Peace

(Part 3 of Paul’s teaching about Spiritual Warfare)

1 Corinthians 3.12-15 offers a comparative frame for your view of the Armor of God which you are to put on, according to Paul in Ephesians 6.11 & 13.  He says this is the only way you can stand against satan’s assaults on your person, position, possessions, and on those you love.  Just as you would loose your things made from wood, hay, and stubble should a fire erupt, Paul implied that you cannot resist satan with inferior armor.  It becomes ‘refined’ in the heat of battle experience, as are ‘gold, silver, and precious stones’.  In Ephesians 6.14-15, he commands that you stand firm, which is possible only while wearing God’s belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, and shoes of the Gospel of peace.

Paul had already stated his confidence in the One Whose armor he wore and that is given to you.  In Ephesians 1.19, Paul stated that God uses His ‘great power’ on your behalf.  Jesus said, in Acts 1.8, that the ‘power’ would be given to you, which Paul acknowledges in Ephesians 1.13-14.  The Holy Spirit fills God’s armor that you wear because He fills you!  Revel in 1 John 4.4!  Exult in Ephesians 3.20!  Be ‘filled with all the fullness of God’ (Ephesians 3.19)!

Synch the Belt of Truth Tight!

  • Picture a Roman soldier gathering up his loose robe to ready himself for battle.  Above the knee; pleats folded to reduce blousing; synched by a leather belt to keep the robe from falling or catching the opponent’s sword.  Standing ready for the battle (Ephesians 6.14)!
  • Are you?  Paul gives you two additional pictures of readiness.  In Hebrews 12.1-2, he describes the endurance athlete preparing for the race by taking off any extra weight of ‘sin‘ (defined as rebellion expressing itself in various forms of satanic oppression and deception, including pride and lusts; see 1 Samuel 15, especially verses 22-23, and Proverbs 14.12).  Take stock: what sins weigh you down and keep you from winning the battle?  Where has satan compromised you with sin?  Be aware (2 Corinthians 2.11)!
  • In 2 Timothy 2.4, Paul describes a focused soldier, not districted by the ‘affairs of life’.  Remember Uriah’s focus (2 Samuel 11:7-11).   Are your loyalties divided, so that you are not ‘wholeheartedly’ focused on the things of God?  See Isaiah 64.4.  You don’t have time for Bible study because of work, television, ‘me-time’, and relationships?  Consider Jesus’ admonition in Luke 12.4-5.  Remember Exodus 20.3, Matthew 6.33, Luke 12.34, and Romans 12.2.  Prioritize Bible study because of Romans 10.17You need this because of Ephesians 6.16 (no knowledge; no shield for defense; Matthew 4.4).
  • Remember that your war with satan will last the rest of your life!  Tuck your robe up and in! Consider Paul’s reflections in 2 Timothy 4.7-8.  Do you want ‘it’?  Then, fight the fight!
  • ‘Gird your waist with truth as a belt’ (Ephesians 6.14).  The notches of truth on your belt include 1 Samuel 17.45-47 and 2 Chronicles 20.14-17, John 14.6 and Philippians 2.9-11, Philippians 4.13 and Ezra 7.27-28 and Psalm 18.29!  ‘Grace’ is defined at God’s word/promise and His willingness to use His great power to bring it to your reality!
  • Connect Paul’s words in Colossians 2.8-10 to God’s words in Jeremiah 13.10.  satan’s ‘imaginations’ include ‘philosophies…according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of this world’.  Such ’empty deceit’ ignores Jesus, ‘in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ and ‘you are complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power’ (Colossians 2.3, 10)!  ‘Complete’ is explained in 2 Timothy 3.16-17.
  • Remember what Jesus said about ‘truth’ in John 8.31-32!  It gives freedom (which is victory in the day of battle)!  ‘Stand therefore….’ (Ephesians 6.14)!

Protect your heart with a Breastplate of Righteousness!

  • John MacArthur’s notes to Ephesians 6.14 describe the breastplate as made of leather. Not dry and brittle but supple to move with the soldier during the battle.  You may have heard that United States Marines are called ‘leathernecks’.  Inquire on Google and find the following: ‘Since the days of the Barbary pirates, United States Marines have called themselves “leathernecks.” Legend and lore have it that the term leatherneck was derived from leather neckbands worn in the late 1700s to protect Marines from the slash of the cutlass.’  Just so, leather breastplates protect from the slashes of enemy swords and thrusts of their spears at your heart.  Paul observed this on the Roman occupiers.
  • The writer of Proverb 4.23 (Solomon) was right.  Jesus developed this theme in debate with the Pharisees in Matthew 12.33-35 and Mark 7.20-23 and Luke 11.33-36.
  • So what protects your heart from satan’s deceptions of pleasure or pain?  Hosea 14.9 is a good start.  What are the ‘ways of the Lord’?  Let Him explain in Jeremiah 9.23-24 and Proverbs 8.13 and Proverbs 6.16-19.  How do these contrast Jesus’ debate with the Pharisees in the previous point?  Also, be encouraged by Psalm 1.1-6, 128.1.  Isn’t that what you want anyway?
  • 2 Timothy 4.18 expresses Paul’s understanding of the breastplate formed by God’s righteousness.  He will do the same for you!

Your shoes must grip the ground firmly!

  • MacArthur writes in his note to Ephesians 6.15 that Roman soldiers hammered nails through the bottoms of their shoes/sandals so they could grip the ground and stand firm against their opponents.
  • Are the soles of your shoes worn slick from dancing with the devil?  He casts tacks and loose stones along your path to cause you to fall and become distracted and/or entrapped in his schemes.  Moral relativism is a slippery slope devolving from one degradation to the next.  Marching against it requires soles that do not slip!  Jesus provided a picture of this in His contrast of the ‘broad’ and ‘narrow’ ways of life, Matthew 7.13-14.  People speeding the opposite direction from you and towards Hell cause turbulence on life’s roadway that can unsettle you, just like on busy highways.  Don’t be shaken!  Remember Jesus’ encouragement in John 16.33.  Firm footing is required!
  • What ‘Good News’ nails will keep your feet from sliding?  Remember where you sit; Psalm 110.1 (Colossians 3.1-3).  Apostle Peter identified in Acts 2, especially verses 36-39, what Paul stated to the philosophers on Mars Hill in Acts 17.30-31.  Again, Peter makes this declaration to the Sanhedrin in Acts 4.11-13.  You should also remember Paul’s juxtaposition in Philippians 2.9-11.  Jesus’ statement in John 6.47 is another.  Then, there is the ‘final’ nail, as John the Baptist described in Matthew 3.11-12, Jesus described in Matthew 25.31-46, and Apostle John described in Revelation 20.11-15.  Stand on the ‘rock’ that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7.24-27, the ‘rock’ of the second half of James 1.17.  Be as confident as shepherd David against giant Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.45!  Could this be what Jesus means in John 16.24?
  • While this Gospel brings you peace through God’s grace, your enemy will shudder, without any hope of peace!  For he is already defeated!  Make Revelation 12.11 part of your words against your enemy.  Remind him of 1 John 4.4.  Remind him of Philippians 2.9-11.  Remind him that you are part of the body of Christ (Ephesians 1.22-23) and that his ‘stuff’ cannot ‘stick to’ Jesus (Colossians 2.15) or to you (James 4.7)!  Talk to your enemy like shepherd David (1 Samuel 17.45).
  • ‘…having done all to stand.  Stand therefore….’ (Ephesians 6.13-14)!

How long will you have to fight the enemy?

  • From the study, ‘The CERTAINTY of Faith’ (130825), ‘you will see spiritual muscle growing when satan’s attacks take less and less time to quench.’  There’s no better way to build your muscle and confidence than to be in the fight!  You have plenty of opportunity, because of satan’s daily and different schemes.
  • Understand that you will not fight alone.  Be encouraged by Isaiah 37, especially the ending sentence of verse 32: ‘the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.’
  • Psalm 28.6-9!  Isaiah 54.17!

Praise God!!!  Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.  www.sozoclass.com