The Armour of God #1 22/09/2019
We’re starting a new series this morning about the Armour of God.
I believe this is absolutely essential if we’re going to live a victorious life.
Why is it so important?
Because we have an enemy called the devil or Satan.
Some people may say, well, I don’t believe in the devil.
That’s OK, you don’t have to believe in something for it to be real.
You don’t have to believe in gravity to make it real, it’s real whether you believe it or not.
Satan would love for you and me to be ignorant and to think he’s not real because that’s when we’re casual about taking up the armour of God.
The more casual we are the more successful he’s going to have.
One of the reasons we know he’s real is because Jesus himself addressed the devil.
The question is not whether the devil is real or not, the question is how do we withstand the devil?
Here’s some good news, 1 John 4:4 He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world. NKJV
That simply means there’s a power within every single believer that is more powerful than all the demons in hell.
All of them together cannot come close to matching the supernatural power that’s within every single believer.
I don’t know about you but that’s absolutely amazing, that’s fantastic news!!
But it’s not going to stop him from trying to derail your life.
The Bible says the devil goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
One of the questions we need to answer is this, how does he attack us?
One thing is for sure, he’s pretty smart because he’s been around for a long time!
Instead of messing up our lives and getting himself into trouble he just makes suggestions to us and leaves it up to us to mess up our own lives.
That process is called temptation, and it’s probably the most common way he attacks us.
There are many other ways that he attacks us;
- He gets us to be angry and bitter towards someone
- He gets us to walk in unforgiveness
- He gets us to retaliate towards that person who hurt us
- He gets someone to hurt us so that we stay away from church.
- He brings troubles and difficulties across our path to see if we’ll get discouraged and get upset with God and start doubting God’s love – God how can you love me and allow this to happen?
Satan uses all kinds of strategies to mess up our lives because he doesn’t want us to love God and serve God.
So often when the devil attacks us he often uses other people.
When someone uses you or abuses you or criticizes you, there’s a good chance that’s the enemy using them to get to you.
Our natural reaction is to get mad at them and to fight them, but meanwhile it’s the devil behind it.
You’re thinking, that mean lady at the office, I always knew she was of the devil ?
Often we’re blinded by what he said or she said or what they did or didn’t do, and we end up fighting one another.
We see them as the enemy rather than realizing THE ENEMY is behind it all.
Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.”
If you don’t know this, you’ll start fighting those people, you’re fighting a physical battle instead of a spiritual battle.
That’s why this scripture warns us saying; stand against the devil’s schemes.
Now let me just clarify something - not all problems in your life and my life are from the devil.
- If you’re battling with your mother in law it’s not nice to call her the devil.
- If you’re battling with debt, Standard Bank is not the devil.
The devil may have tempted you to buy that car you couldn’t afford, but it was your own greed or impulsivity that caused you to go ahead and buy it.
Sometimes people cause the problems in our lives – a mother in law or a child on drugs or someone at the office who’s trying to get to you.
Sometimes we cause our own problems – debt, bad decisions, hurt others.
Sometimes the enemy causes…….but it’s not all the devil.
Little boy’s mom told him to say away from the fish pond.
When she returned from the mall she found him swimming in the fish pond.
What are you doing, she asked. The devil pushed me in.
Then why have you got your costume on?
I put it on in case he pushed me in.
The Bible gives us clear instructions on how to deal with the Devil.
We don’t have to be scared of him, we don’t have to yield to him, we don’t have to get into a debate with him.......the Bible tells us to stand firm.
Ephesians 6:11-14 “Put on the full armour 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……
Some translations say stand firm and some say resist.......they both come from the same root word in the Greek, meaning – don’t give in.
Because many Christians give up before the battle has even begun.
They let the Devil talk them into defeat before they could even take a stand.
How many of you know the greatest battle field is in your mind? This his favourite area to attack us....in our mind.
The devil will try and convince you there’s no way you can make it, it’s impossible...
- You’ll never get that amount of money in time
- You’ll never get out of debt
- You’ll never be healed,
- You’ll never be able to be a blessing to others, you’re too messed up
If you accept those lies you’re giving up before you’ve even put up a fight.
That’s why the bible tells us to stand firm, don’t give up.
I’m going to show you in a moment how to stand firm, how to resist, but before we get there I want you to see something....
2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. NIV
He says you don’t have be bullied by the devil, you don’t have to give in to his schemes, you can resist him, you can stand firm because you have His divine power available to you.
One of the reasons we have to learn to resist the devil is because God is going to bring opportunities across your path and the devil is going to try and oppose it, try and take it away from you.
Don’t allow the devil to rob you of your blessings and breakthroughs because you give in too early and you won’t resist him, you won’t stand firm.
I want you to become aggressive again the Devil.
When he says, you’ll never do this or that, don’t say, yes, you’re probably right.
No!! You’ve got to rise up and say, I’m more than a conqueror and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Maybe you’re thinking, Leonard it’s easy for you to say, but you’re not going through what I’m going through.
How do you know? O you’re too happy.
I’ve made up my mind I’m not going to give the Devil the pleasure to bully me and to see me down and discouraged, I’ve learnt to stand my ground.
How do we resist or stand firm against the enemy?
Ephesians 6:13-17 “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.” NIV
Paul gives us a spiritual truth in a very practical picture ….. the picture
Paul uses is of a Roman solder with His armour on because everyone knew what that looked like because these guys were everywhere, their presence were felt every single day.
Be careful that you don’t get so caught up in the picture that you lose the principal……..some people want to dissect every little detail of the armour and read things into it that there isn’t. In the process they miss the principle. The principle is simply, we need to resist the devil and there are various ways to do it.
Just an observation – there’s no armour for our backs.
It’s because you’re not supposed to turn and run from the enemy!
That’s why this passage tells us three times to stand firm!!
Paul is saying, don’t be scared, don’t be intimidated, and don’t give in.
Just stand your ground, resist the enemy and he will flee. James 4:7
It’s like a dog that comes at you growling and showing his fangs….
The first thing that Paul is telling us is that we’ve got to be prepared, we’ve got to get ready for the battle.
Don’t wait for the enemy to attack you and then you start fumbling and thinking, what do I do now?!
The enemy comes at you......wait wait, I’ve got to get my armour……..Oh, I have to go find my armour first...... now where did I leave it?
Has anyone seen my armour, I’m sure I left it here somewhere…I think I left it………It’s too late!!
When the enemy attacks those are critical moments.......you’ve got to be ready before that temptation comes.
You give in to temptation in that moment, it can mess up your life for years to come.
You make the wrong decision in that moment you may regret it long afterwards.
My point is, we’ve got be prepared before the enemy attacks.
So let’s look at the first part of the armour, the belt of truth.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist….
This certainly wasn’t the most impressive part of the soldiers’ armour, but that belt would hold everything together.
On that belt would be his dagger and also his sword.
Why is it called the belt of TRUTH? Why do we need the truth?
Listen to how Jesus describes the devil in John 8:44 “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” NIV
That’s what the enemy does, he lies to us but he makes it sound so ….. right.
He doesn’t say, go ahead and kill your boss.......he doesn’t say things like that, he says,
- It’s OK to lie to your boss…..the truth will only make him mad.
- It’s OK to take time off work and to pretend you’re sick.
- It’s OK to sleep with your boyfriend or girlfriend because you love one another and you’re not sleeping around with others, it’s just him, it’s just her.
Do you see what the enemy does? He makes it sound right.
- It’s ok, it’s not that bad, everybody is doing it, nobody is perfect.
- God understands, God will forgive you, just ask for forgiveness.
You see what he does, he lies, but he makes it sound …….right!!
- If you do this, it’s just a little sin.
A little sin is like being a little pregnant….. you’re pregnant!!!
For every one of those lies I can give you truth from God’s word because His word is called ‘the truth’.
Paul says to Timothy, be diligent…..rightly dividing the word of truth. 2Tim 2:15
That’s why we’ve got to know the word.
For every lie of the enemy there is truth in God’s word, but we’ve got to know it.
When the devil says;
Everybody is doing it, everyone is living together or sleeping with their boyfriend before marriage.......weigh it against the truth.
The truth says, no immoral or adulterer will enter the kingdom of God.
It’s ok to talk behind their back and to badmouth them, they deserve it........that’s the lie.
The truth says, a gossip separates good friends. Proverbs 16:28 NIV
If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. James 1:26 NLT
You’ve got to be able to weigh the lies of the enemy against the truth from God’s word otherwise he will deceive you and rob you of God’s best.
Let me just point out, at this stage we’re not using God’s word as a weapon, but rather as a measure.
Later on we’ll get to the sword of the Spirit which is the weapon.
At this stage we’re using it as a measure ……. you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
I know what many of you are thinking – well Leonard then I’m dead in the water because I don’t know all the scriptures.
Listen, none of us do, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
This is why memorizing scripture is such an essential part of a Christian’s life.
If you don’t have any Bible verses memorized, you can’t discern right from wrong.
I want to encourage you to memorize at least one verse a week for the rest of your life.
By the way, the scriptures you hear Sunday after Sunday are also being deposited in your life.
Many of the scriptures that I know today is not because I learnt them but because I heard them Sunday after Sunday as my father quoted them.
Many of those scriptures I know are in a strange translation because it’s the translation that he used at the time.
I wonder what would happen if we treated our bible like we treat our cell phone;
If we carried it around in our pocket,
If we turned back to get it if we forgot it,
If we flipped through it several times a day,
If we used it to receive messages,
If we used it in case of an emergency,
If we gave it to our children as gifts,
If we upgraded to the latest version….
I wonder what would happen if we treated our bible like that?
We’d be able to hear the voice of God and to discern between good and evil.
Hebrews 5:14 Solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish between good and evil. NIV
That’s why I said, the belt of truth hold everything together.
What do I want you to do?
Firstly, I want you to know that the enemy is real and at work to try and mess up our lives, but we don’t have to fear him or give in to him.
Greater is He who is in you that he who is in the world.
Secondly, you’ve got to be prepared. How?
Make God’s word a priority in your life.