Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. As believers, we are well aware that the walk of faith will involve struggle. We will encounter a worldly system of thought that is contrary to biblical truth. Though the enemy works to undermine our faith, God has lavished us with abundant resources to stand and resist. Rich examines Ephesians 6, 10-17 to show us how we have been equipped for the hardships ahead. Let's listen to the third and final segment of this message titled, Walk Worthy of Your Calling in the World, first preached on January 21st, 2017. He wants whatever he throws at you, he wants it to become more important to you than God.
Do you see that happening? And he will cater to our desire to please self. That's the flesh. The flesh is inherently selfish, and he caters to that. He caters to busyness. He caters to keeping us so busy that we don't have time for God.
We don't have time to commune with him in the prayer closet because we're so busy. He wants us to believe in our own self-sufficiency. What is God's defense of us against this? It's the breastplate of righteousness.
The breastplate covers, and it's speaking of covering us. It speaks of the imputed righteousness of Christ to protect the heart, the seat of desire. This is God's requirement, listen, listen, met in Christ. That's imputed righteousness credited to us. So keep on that breastplate of righteousness. It's God's requirement of us met in Christ.
That's life God's way. And he's given you a new heart, which is the desire to please God. That new man in you to understand who we are in Christ, the newness that God has there for us, that he's made us new. God's righteousness is his defense imputed to us, is his defense of us against the distractions that surround us.
You need to think through this. What are the distractions? What's more important to you than God? It's an idol.
Has it become an idol of your heart? And they might be good things, but if they become more important to you than God, they become an idol. They become a distraction away from God. Tactic number three, disdain.
Disdain. This comes from self-righteousness. When you consider yourself to be a good Christian and you're doing such a good job walking the Christian life and you're obeying all the rules, and because you're doing such a good job obeying all the rules, you are comparing yourselves to other people. And because they're not as good as you are or they sin differently than you do, you condemn them. It's Phariseeism.
Phariseeism is a tactic of the adversary and it is especially powerful. Listen to me. If you have grown up Christian from a very, very young age, this is one of his chief tactics against you because you've followed the rules ever since you were a little child.
You're a good kid. Did you know you can be a good kid and not know God? Disdain. Comparing ourselves and condemning others. When we exercise disdain against any other people, group of people, label of people, when we experience disdain against any other group of people, we have forgotten grace.
We have forgotten God's goodness and we dehumanize others. And what is God's defense against this tactic of the adversary? It is the gospel of peace, the footwear, being prepared, your shoes on, ready to go. How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring the message of peace. We are to be ready and prepared with anybody, any time to communicate reconciliation and peace with God. Christians, you and I were not called to disdain other people. We were called to love them and give them the gospel of peace. And this is especially powerful tactic of the adversary to lure us into thinking that other people are my problem.
Whatever other group of people, whatever other label of people, if only those people would go away, so would my problems. Not true. And if you believe that, you're believing a lie and you're being drawn in by the enemy of your soul. So we should be ready to communicate the gospel of grace. Tactic number four, despair, despair, despair because of the fiery arrows of the enemy.
They're fiery because they're destructive, they're consuming. I believe this one deals directly with direct attacks on people physically. Do you have any idea how many people around the world today receive physical attacks because of their faith? It's going to increase. In Bolivia just this last week, they have outlawed evangelism.
It's already true in many countries. The fiery arrows, they are direct attacks on people where their lives are threatened and they're actually threatened with physical harm. And Paul says we were despairing of our lives, meaning we expected to die. And if your adversary can get you preoccupied with trying to protect yourself against death, then you're letting him be successful. What is God's defense of us against this despair? It is faith, the shield of faith.
It is trusting him. It is the confidence in who God is and what his purpose is, even in the context of physical harm. Listen folks, if you don't have it yet, get Voice of the Martyrs and read it.
We are so comfortable in our prosperous culture. We don't know what it is to experience this. Get Voice of the Martyrs and read it. The shield of faith to fully entrust yourself to the sovereign one who cares for you. As Jesus said, I am the resurrection in the life. Whoever believes in me will never die. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. We need to understand the difference between the two deaths that he's talking about there and what it really means to live.
Though he die, yet shall he live. Listen, the blood of the martyrs is the seat of the church. What an awful, awful heresy it is for preachers to be preaching that God wants you to be healthy and prosperous and comfortable.
It is a heresy and don't buy it. They are being used as tools to the enemy. The shield of faith protects us. It's God's defense against despair. Tactic number five, very quickly, we're out of time. Tactic number five, just plain old discouragement. Plain old discouragement, guilt, frustration.
You know, I'm following Christ, but I'm not sure this is what I signed up for. It's just, you know, things aren't happening the way I thought they should, the way I thought they would. You know, there's no real, you know, all the activity, all the spiritual activity that I'm doing.
There doesn't seem to be any return on investment, ROI. I'm not feeling it. I'm trying hard. Really, I'm trying hard and I still feel so overcome by so much darkness in my life.
Just plain old discouragement. What is God's defense for us against this? The helmet of salvation. The helmet of salvation. God's redemption and rescue of us. Plain and simply folks, it's the gospel. Preach the gospel to yourself. The helmet of salvation.
It's a helmet because it guards your mind and your thoughts. You are purchased. Listen to me.
Never forget this. You are purchased. You are therefore precious.
Remember that. You are purchased. You are therefore precious. Remember the grace of God, the grace that he has lavished upon you, the ways that he has invested himself in you. You have been rescued from the domain of darkness and translated, transferred into the kingdom of the son of his love.
So yes, there is a struggle and the struggle will continue, but you're not on your own. Your adversary wants you to believe you're on your own. He wants you to believe that you're experiencing something that no one else has ever experienced.
Not true. Don't believe his lies. Go through this list of his tactics.
Know them. Be able to identify where he's attacking you in these ways. And then know your defense before God because it's not you trying harder to be strong. It's you resting in the grace of God.
Isn't that good news? Rest in the grace of God. He is your strength. That's why the apostle says be strong in the Lord. Be strong in the Lord. Walk worthy of your calling.
Know your calling. Be strong in the Lord. Father, your word is true. Your word is clear. Your word is powerful.
Your word is transforming. Your word is given to us under the illumination of the Holy Spirit. And so Father, by your Spirit, take your word, plant it deep in us, these seeds of truth. Form and fashion us in your likeness, Father. Help us to know, to understand the tactics of the adversary, to know where the struggle is, to know what the struggle is not.
Because Father, if we misunderstand the struggle, it simply means that we are falling prey to the tactics of the adversary. So Father, teach us, inform us from your word this morning and guide us, strengthen us by your Spirit that we indeed, as your people, the church can be strong in the Lord. Work in our hearts, I pray this morning, Father. Thank you for what you have done and for what you will do. If you're here this morning and you feel like you need to talk through some of these things, you need to seek understanding, or you want somebody to come alongside you and pray for you with a struggle that you're facing, I encourage you to meet me up front. I'll stay up front for just a few moments afterwards. But listen, let the Lord work in your heart.
Don't leave here today and let this be water off the duck's back. There is a struggle and you're in the struggle. And the enemy is wielding his tactics upon you in one way or another. Do you know the defense that you have against him in Christ? Father, thank you for your truth. Thank you for the strength of your word and your Spirit. In Jesus' name, Amen. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-19 23:00:50 / 2023-02-19 23:05:26 / 5