Sunday, December 23, 2012
*THE CROSS=TAKING ANOTHER LOOK AT SPIRITUAL WARFARE*
Every Christian must understand, that every single problem that faces humanity, was addressed by Jesus/Yeshua at the Cross [Colossians 2:14-15]. This means that for every problem, the Christian should be directed to the Cross.The solution is found only found there and no were else.
~ Colossians 2:14-15~"Blotting out the handwriting of Ordinances that was against us[pertains to the Law of Moses, which was God's standard of Righteousness that man could not reach],which was contrary to us [Law is against us, simply because we are unable to keep its precepts, no matter how hard we try], and took it out of the way [refers to the penalty of the Law being removed]' nailing it to His Cross [the Law with its decrees was abolished in Christ's Death, as if Crucified with Him];
v.15~And having spoiled principalities and powers [Satan and all his henchmen were defeated at the Cross by Christ Atoning for all sin; sin was the legal right Satan had to hold man in captivity; with all sin atoned, he has no more legal right to hold anyone in bondage], He [Christ] made a show of them openly [what Jesus did at the Cross was in the face of the whole universe], triumphing over them in it. [The triumph is complete and it was all done for us, meaning we can walk in power and perpetual victory due to the Cross.]
v.10~Finally, my Brethren, be strong in the Lord, my [be continually strengthened, which one does by constant Faith in the Cross], and in the power of His Might. [This power is at our disposal. The Source is the Holy Spirit. but the means is the Cross [1 Cor. 1:18].]
v.11~Put on the whole Armour of God [put it all on an not just some], that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. [This refers to the "stratagems" of Satan.]
v.12~For we wrestle not against flesh and blood [our foes are not humans; however, Satan constantly uses human beings to carry out his dirty work], but against principalities [rulers or beings of the highest rank and order in Saran's kingdom], against powers [the rank immediately below the "Principalities"], against the rulers of the darkness of this world [those who carry out the instructions of the powers"], against spiritual wickedness in high places. [This refers to demon spirits.]
v.13~Wherefore take unto you the whole Armour God [because of what we face]' that you may be able to withstand in the evil day [refers to resisting and opposing the powers of darkness], and having done all, to stand. [This refers to the Believer not giving ground, not a single inch.]
WEAPONS OF WARFARE
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.~2 Corinthians 10:3-6~
As you come to God on behalf of others, there will be times you will need to battle against the powers of darkness. It is God's will for us to tear down strongholds in people's lives and loose them in areas in which they have not been able to freely function. This is a primary purpose of the spiritual weapons God provides for us. As we war on earth, it stirs divine intervention from heaven. God has provided all that is necessary for successful spiritual warfare; your part is to will to use the weapons His Word guarantees will destroy enemy strongholds.
Warfare has four possible attitudes-offense, defense, detente, and desertion...Satan gets along very well with Christians as long as they are on the defensive, seeking detente, or deserting. Therefore, if we are determined to see him defeated in our own hearts and in our own society, we must always be committed to the offensive.-Arthur Mathews, Born for Battle, p.51
We, like Paul, are merely weak humans, but we don't need to use human plans and methods to win our battles, praise God. God's mighty weapons are available to us as we fight against Satan's "strongholds." We as Christians must choose whose methods to use, God's or the world's. Paul tells us that God's mighty weapons are prayer, faith, hope, love, God's Word, the Holy Spirit and all are powerful and effective for use. (See Ephesians 6:13-18)! These weapons can break down the proud human arguments against God and the walls that Satan builds to keep people from finding God. When dealing with the pride that keeps people from a relationship with Christ,we may be temped to use our own methods. But nothing can break down these barriers like God's weapons.
Pieces of Armor
Belt...Truth...Satan fights with lies, and sometimes his lies sound like the truth; but only believers have God's truth, which can defeat Satan's lies.
Breastplate... Righteousness...Satan often attacks our hearts-the seat of our emotions, self-worth, and trust. God's righteousness is the breastplate that protects our hearts and ensures His approval. He approves of us because He loves us and sent His Son to die for us.
Footwear...Readiness to spread the Good News...Satan wants us to think that telling others the Good News is a worthless and hopeless task-the size of the task is too big and the negative responses are too much to handle. But the footwear that God gives is is the motivation to continue to proclaim the true peace that is available in God-news that everyone needs to hear.
Shield...Faith...What we see are Satan's attacks in the form of insults, setbacks, and temptations. But the Shield of faith protects us from Satan's flaming arrows. With God's perspective, we can see beyond our circumstances and know that ultimately the victory is ours.
Helmet...Salvation...Satan wants us to doubt God, Jesus/Yeshua, and our own salvation. The helmet of salvation protects our minds from doubting God's saving work for us.
Sword...The Spirit, the Word of God...The sword is the only weapon of offense in this list of armor. There are times when we need to take the offensive against Saran. When we are tempted, we need to trust in the truth of God's Word.
In the Christian life we battle against rulers and authorities (the powerful evil forces of fallen angles headed by Satan, who is a vicious fighter, see (1 Peter 5:8). To withstand their attacks, we must depend on God's strength and use every piece of His armor. Paul is not only giving this counsel to the church, the body of Christ Jesus/Yeshua, but to all individuals within the church. The whole body needs to be armed. As you do battle against "the powers of this dark world," fight in the strength of the church, whose power comes from the Holy Spirit.
These who are not "flesh and blood" are demons over whom Satan has control. They are not mere fantasies-they are very real. We face a powerful army whose goal it to defeat Christ's Church. When we believe in Christ, these beings become our enemies, and they try every device to turn us away from Him and back to sin. Although we are assured of victory, we must engage in the struggle until Christ returns, because Satan is constantly battling against all who are on the Lord's side. We need supernatural power to defeat Satan, and God has provided this by giving us His Holy Spirit within us and His armor surrounding us.
If you feel discouraged, remember Jesus'/Yeshua' Words to Peter: "On this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it"~Matthew 16:18.~
v.14~Stand therefore, having your loins gird about with Truth [the Truth of the Cross], and having on the Breastplate of Righteousness [the Righteousness of Christ, which comes strictly by and through the Cross];
*THE BELT OF TRUTH*
The "belt of truth" was named after the leather belt with an apron that hung in front of the Roman soldier's groin and lower abdomen. Small brass plates were attached to the apron to provide the greatest possible protection.
When preparing for battle, the belt would have been the first piece of protection equipment put on by the soldier. It clung closely to the soldier and shielded some of the most vulnerable areas of his body.
This belt prepares one to be ready for action. Belts were used to tie up the garments so they would not get in the way while fighting. The call to have "your loins girt about with truth" is a call to be prepared. We Christians always need to be ready to defend themselves against the powers of darkness and not be caught unaware.
Knowing the good news about Jesus and explaining why you believe in Him.
Living as a person of integrity-as someone who is honest and trustworthy.
~"Live such good lives...that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God"...-1 Peter 2:12~
*THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS*
Putting on the breastplate of righteous~Ephesians 6:14~
The Roman soldier would have fastened the breastplate around his chest. There were two types of breastplates. The first type of breastplate was fashioned by joining several broad, curved metal bands together using leather thongs. the other was a type of chain mail, constructed by linking small metal rings together until they formed a vest.
Both of these breastplates protected the soldier's vital organs. Not wearing one or the other in battle would mean that an arrow could easily reach a soldier's chest, piercing his heart or lungs.
~Isaiah 59~says the Lord puts on "righteousness as a breastplate," and goes to battle against injustice and corruption, restoring peace and order to the land.
God offers His own righteousness to every believer in Jesus/Yeshua the Christ. No one can gain righteousness by doing good deeds. We receive righteousness by having faith in the Lord Jesus/Yeshua.~Titus 3:5; Philippians 3:9~
Knowing that God promises his protection against the forces of evil for those who have faith in Jesus/Yeshua.~2 Thessalonians 3:3~
"The righteous will live by faith."~Romans 1:17~
~Romans 3:22~ righteousness comes from God through faith in Jesus/Yeshua the Christ to those who believe.
~Isaiah 59:17~"He put on righteousness as his breastplate"
*righteousness as his breastplate. The Lord's armor is compared to the believer's armor in the battle against Satan in ~Ephesians 6:14~
v.15~And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace [peace comes through the Cross as well];
FEET PREPARED WITH THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
And your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace~Ephesians 6:15~
Marching was an essential part of a soldier's life, and no soldier could march far without sturdy shoe. Even before the Romans era, the breaking of a soldier's shoe was a metaphor weakness or defeat.~Isaiah 5:27 The Roman soldier's shoes were fashioned from thick leather and studded through the soles with hobnails.
The studded soles enabled the soldier to stand firm. They kept the soldier's feet from slipping in battle. Without his shoes, a Roman soldier could not maintain his position against his enemy's.
The Greek word rendered "preparation" or "readiness" in~Ephesians 6:15~can also be translated "prepared foundation"-in other words, a firm basis for a soldier's feet.
The Gospel of Peace is the good news that we can have peace with God. Before we turned to Jesus/Yeshua we
wanted to live for ourselves. We did not care about God plans. We were in conflict. But God loves us and made a way of being reconciled with him and living in peace.
The Lord wants believers to live in peace and unity with one another. ~Thessalonians 5:13; John 13:35~This peace is the confidence that God has everything under control.
v.16~Above all, taking the Shield of Faith [ever mankind the Cross the Object of your Faith, which is the only Faith God will recognize, and the only Faith Satan will recognize], wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. [This part of the verse represents temptations with which Satan assails the Saints.]
THE SHIELD OF FAITH
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one~Ephesians 6:16~
The Roman shield was made of sturdy pieces of wood, covered with either goat-skin or calf skin. The shield stood four feet long and three-feet wide. Iron rims were fitted along the top and bottom edges, an iron circle was attached to the center of the shield. The boards curved inward and a leather strap was fastened to the shield's back.
Before a battle the Roman soldiers would drench their leather-covered shield in water, so when the fiery arrows of their enemies struck these soaked shields, the flames immediately were extinguished. Often these shields were interlocked together to make a wall to stop the attacker. With the shields locked it would give the soldiers more protection.
FIRST OF ALL the greatest weapon that we have against Satan, is the truth, the Word of God, TRUTH. Without His truth we will always be defeated by our enemy. We must know the Word of God before we can stand against the devil and his evil ways. God's Word builds your faith. His Word is truth and truth is more important more important than anything, even faith! We receive faith by hearing and reading His Word. Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God! How, then, could the“Shield of Faith”be more important then the “Loin belt of Truth,” the Word of God?
The shield of faith is the Christian's protection against temptation. Whenever we trust God will provide everything we need, "the spiritual forces of evil" cannot tempt us with the lie that sin can provide a better life than God will.~Ephesians 6:12~
v.17~And take the Helmet of Salvation [has to do with the renewing of our mind, which is done by understanding that everything we receive from the Lord, comes to us through the Cross], and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God [the Word of God is the story of Christ and the Cross]:
Take the helmet of salvation~Ephesians 6:17
The Roman soldier's helmet was fashioned from bronze or iron. The helmet protected his skull and neck from the en enemy's weapons and from falling debris. Two hinged cheek-pieces protected the side of the soldier's face. At the time of Christ, a crest made of horse hair was placed on the top of the helmet. By AD 60,the centurion's plumes were dyed different colors to allow soldier's to distinguish quickly between the rank of different officers. Home
The helmet of salvation points to God's victory over the forces of evil. Jesus'/Yeshua' death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead provides the believers freedom from the bondage of sin, and gives eternal life with God in heaven.
A helmet is protective gear worn of the head. Helmets were among the oldest forms of combat protection, and are known to have been worn by Greets, and Romans, throughout the Middle Ages and up to the end of the 1600s by many combatants. Helmets protected the head from cutting blows with swords, and flying arrows.The head must be protected at all times from the evil attacks that comes at your eyes, ears, and mouth, all which are windows to your soul. God wants us under His protection of knowing that you are saved. What you hear, say, and see enters into your heart and soul and produces significant results in your life.
v.18~Praying always with all prayers and supplication in the Spirit [an incessant pleasing until the prayer is answered [Luke 18:1-8], and watching there unto [being sensitive to what the Holy Spirit desires] with all perseverance [don't ever stop] and supplication [petitions and request] for all Saints [Saints praying for other Saints;
~"Take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God".~Ephesians 6:17~
The Roman soldier carried a sword that was a little more than two feet long, and was crafted from iron. The blacksmiths hardened the blade by covering it with red-hot coal dust; the coal dust formed a hard carbon coating on the blade. The handle could be made from iron, bone, ivory, or wood. In the mist of the battle, Roman soldiers pressed back their enemies one step at a time by forcing their shields forward, using their swords to advance against the enemy.
The only offensive weapon mentioned in~Ephesians 6~is the sword. The belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, and helmet were not offensive; their purpose was defensive, to protect against the enemy. The sword was designed to defeat the enemy's and to rescue lives.
The "Word of God" has several meanings-The Gospel, is the message of salvation through Jesus/Yeshua Christ. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus/Yeshua came to save us and give us an abundant life, a life forever with the Lord who loves us."...if you confess with your mouth,'Jesus/Yeshua is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you would be saved"~Romans 10:8-9~.