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January 5, 2021 7:05 am
Just before the holidays.
Chuck Swindoll place to study and Ephesians on temporary hold in order to concentrate entirely on the significance of Christmas and preparing for the new year today on Insight for living.
We're pleased to resume charge verse by verse teaching Paul's letter to the Ephesians in this helpful series called becoming a people of grace. It's remarkable to see how Ephesians chapter 6 picking up today contains profound wisdom on how to survive spiritual battles. All of us will face one Chuck titled today's message strong armor.
We want you to hear something that someone gave me several weeks ago. It's called blessed. I think it will encourage you if you own just one Bible, you are abundantly blessed.
One third of the world does not have access even to one. If you awoke this morning with more health than illness. You are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle.
The loneliness of imprisonment. The agony of torture are the pangs of starvation you are ahead of 500 million people around the world today. If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are more blessed than almost 3 billion people in our world. If you have food in your refrigerator close on your back a roof over your head in a place to sleep tonight. You are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank in your wallet and spare change in dish somewhere in your home you are among the top 8% of the world's most wealthy.
If your parents are still living and still married, you are very rare, even in these United States. If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over 2 billion people in the world who cannot read at all.
If you believe in the Lord Jesus as the son of God, you are part of a very small minority in the world and the most blessed is that helpful for prospective we awake in the morning and we immediately if were not careful it way down with what I call the little things the thorns and the cares of this world and the before you know it where all discourage for the day. One quaint expositor once said, as the Psalm ends surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. These are God's sheepdogs goodness and mercy following us all the days of our lives. What you may think it's strange to have that word picture in your mind as we read together. Ephesians 613 to 20 but it's fitting. This passage is not written to those who are strong. It's written to those who are sheep. Strength is never in ourselves. It is always in our God. That's why we are told to stand strong in his might to wear his armor.
I want to read for you. Ephesians 6 beginning at verse 13 down in verse 20 therefore take up the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm stand firm therefore having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. In addition to all taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God, with all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the spirit and with this in view be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf.
That utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains that in proclaiming it. I may speak boldly as I ought to speak to downloaded searching the Scriptures. Studies by going to Insight world.org/study now, let's resume the message titled strong armor for week sheep when I first saw the two words I frowned.
I thought maybe the author head missed titled his book or perhaps the publisher had misprinted the title roaring lambs. Bob Reiner had written the book and by now many in the Christian community have read it but back then it was, well, let's put it this way, the title accomplished its purpose.
It got the attention of the reader. Coming lambs don't roar white lions roar intrigued with the whole idea. I really got quickly rehearsed our favorite song, the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want to remind myself. Lambs were never even called clubs were never called lions and I raced over to Psalm 100 and we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Remember I call it the vacation Bible school Psalm. We all learned vacation Bible school I were told there were sheep and and it's true, and I thought I knew we were and if you are is intrigued by that whole oxymoronic thought as I was. Romans 837 will only or 36 will only drive you deeper if you look at your Bible. Romans 836 states, we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered. Not only are we lambs not only are we sheep were now standing getting ready to be slaughtered in the first century. The apostle was familiar with martyrdom.
He himself was a martyr he was awaiting martyrdom that wasn't uncommon for families to be torn apart by the sword as they committed to Christ as his lambs and she were about to be killed for the faith. So it it isn't just nice words that he's lifted from Psalm 44 verse 22. This is a true statement.
We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
Then when we world war you see why I was confused see what I frowned window lambs for the best we can do is not not very intimidating sound visit will look at the next verse tell you when but this is called a particle of contrast, having given one concept in verse 36. The door turns on the hands of the word, but but even though we are sheep awaiting slaughter, but in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us.
Literally we keep on being conquerors to a greater and greater degree we keep on winning the more glorious victory. How through him.
Look at the words through him, through him.
When the lion roars that he is the lion of Judah right Christ, the lion of Judah when he roars it comes out of our vocal cords.
Lambs do more but it isn't our roar is his roar when it's strength on display. It isn't our strength in its history. And when when the weapons of our warfare become formidable. They're not our weapons. There is weapon and what we need protection. The battle, it is in our shop armor is his armor. It's all about him. Just lands. I love it. Anybody who's traveled from west to east in the southern route has taken Highway 10 and you always get your hopes up because about the time you get from California to El Paso you think were almost there, and only people from West Texas know how far they have to go from El Paso to Dallas or El Paso to Houston and I know you've gone through it like my family and I have you invariably have to stop to eat takes a day to get there. So during the day you stop at one of those West Texas Café every one of them has a postcard right and did every postcard right there was the same ludicrous postcard. There was a jack rabbit with a saddle and cowboy wearing shaft swinging this cowboy hat are shooting his revolver in the air and resend that silly postcard back to people in California like you think you seen big animal that the jackrabbits admit that yesterday I had some firewood delivered and the guys who delivered it were from Oklahoma experience personal took me about 30 minutes to start understanding of and so we got on the subject of red having this thought in mind… Run it by the jackrabbits you seen Jack and we got we call the male stallions and female mayors that create like there's so now where my going with all this on.
Can you imagine the Marine Corps advertising trying to win the attention of a bunch of strong hearted guys by having this advertisement on television with sheet little lambs running around going in the lion coming out saying looking for a few good lambs was wrong with that. It's not a picture of strength we like straight would like sword kill dragons and blood all over the place and time, about these type things in.
We like the Olympics signs of strength. These runners with these washboard stomachs. You notice that we with refrigerators stomachs. Look at these guys with washboard stomach look at Frank of the runners in this mongers and jumpers and the marathoners and the triathletes we likes Frank's so that we get to a passage like lambs and she we want to go on to the next part because that's not very attractive but that's all I have so reason we need armor we are not athletes we don't run fast, for she all we can do is stand and grow full.
We just get thicker and thicker as time goes by. That's what shape do they are, they can't depend themselves. They're not that bright. I mean you've never been to a circus where God says we have trained sheep in the center ring. Katrina knew anything. They just stand and roll will that's all in the Lord has the audacity that he's an audacious God to come to us with words that whole and warfare with an enemy in chapter 6 of Ephesians and and and it's enough to make us think will we cut so all we have got to stay in shape because this enemy is coming and he isn't really need for the list wrong, that's true, the enemy, but you're still she you still she this is what makes the account so fantastic shape. We can't fight we don't run very fast. We can't roar until we have on his armor and they had lands rule our because we are going in the strength of his might.
Were not adequate to get any credit for the win. He doesn't our victory. We are more than conquerors to just read it through him who loved us.
That's why when you turn to Ephesians 6 and you get to verse 10 he says what he is, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of your own lamb like legs will that is not what it says in the strength of his might.
Put on your own rule. No, that's not what it says put on the full armor of God so that you be able to stand firm against the schemes of the wire struggle is not against flesh and blood. You and I don't find an enemy that we can weigh scales or measure with her with our measuring sticks we wait we don't know what a demon ways you would never be able to pick Satan out of the crowd unless he made himself visible he would never see him or anyone of his enemies.
RRR emissaries you'd never see the enemy. So not only are we lambs who were defenseless, can't even roar.
Not only do we have no strength in ourselves. We can even see the enemy so it stands to reason that when he mentions armor it's armor that can't be seen right. That's what's there. She we are so enamored of physical appearance, image, strength that when we get to a warfare subject if we're not careful we will think only in terms of physical strength has it been so long since you have read of one of the strong athletes from the Olympics clock taking drugs.
How many do you know who are strong of physical strength who can hardly pass a temptation on pornography physically very strong, morally weak. This isn't about physical strength.
This is the inverted picture.
It's the strength within all of us lambs it's armor that is within, and he happens to use a soldier in Rome as a model for his word picture, but it's only word pictures these are allegories. These are analogies that illustrate the invisible.
You track it you going with me on this when he talks about a building is in the literal belt when he mentions the breastplate gets an invisible breastplate. The helmet is not a literal hell with the sword of the literal sword. The shield is not a shield.
You could touch or measure. These are all invisible armor pieces of armor because the enemy is not flesh and blood in the best we can do is stand and resist is stand and resist stand and resist. She can do that show you why uses an armor or a Roman soldier is an example of the art. Look at verse 20 into the chapter. Ephesians 6 and verse 20. I am an ambassador in chains, you know what he really was the apostle Paul according to the last few verses of the book of acts spent two years counting two years under house arrest with a Roman soldier chained or locked to him we would call handcuffed, we would say today for two solid years.
He had a chance to look at this soldier part of the crack troops of Caesar's best right there in the heart of Rome standing guard over Paul during this arrest, he saw his helmet. Besides breastplate. He studied his belt. He saw the leggings he saw the boots he saw the shield over there, he saw the sword that was never that far away from a Roman soldier and these became perfect word pictures for an invisible battle but don't get so caught up in the image that you miss the representation of the verse 13 for example, take up the full armor of God.
This is not rooms armor. This is not a soldiers armor, though those are the word pictures take up the full armor of God live so you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything else stand that's what she did stand shout till you're blue in the face and you will never impact the demon swing a sword all across the room or whatever territory herein, and the weather is day or night and you will never slice the demon you will never touch a demon with the shield a little shield or be protected from a demon with a literal helmet. These are all images that represent things that make the demon back off call seeking to stand off. Look at the passage it has to do with truth, righteousness versus port verse 14 piece 15 phase 16 salvation 17. The word of God. 17. That is what is important and it isn't even the printed word of God. It is the saying will get to that in a moment to look at the six picture pen handy. I want you to mark your Bible want you to circle the word truth. Verse 14. Your loins girded with truth circle that circle the last word in the verse righteousness put that on circle the last word of verse 15 piece mark that faith. Verse 16 circle that salvation. 17 and the word 1817 the end of her 70 true righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the word week defenseless she roar when they were this kind of armor because the strength is coming from the Lord. We go in the strength of his might.
We stand against the enemy in the equipment God has provided. Truth is first.
I like that the belt of truth, stand firm.
Verse 14 having wrapped herself around with the belt of truth, menopause, and let you picture it in your mind the Roman soldier didn't wear a decorative belt.
Most of us wear belts that week, take or leave. They're not that significant. These to be able to see mine right here about one on and it goes with this outfit it's maroon and it fits my wife is taught me where things that go together so I got one that goes with this I got a black one. When I wear black shoes were black belt as close as I'll ever be, to being a black belt hug got a black now we can unbuckle our bill, take it off late over there. It's not that big a soldier could never do that for the soldier. It was often a belt of male was wrapped around and kept his pulled the flowing garment that went over his undergarment. It kept it from flying all around and getting caught here were snagged there in the bill wrapped it all around and held it all close. Capt. Ed in the fighting readiness. This is truth. Forget belt now, forget the belt except it's what wraps itself around the believer, and it's not the truth little technical insight here.
The definite article isn't here or in the original it's truth, truthfulness. It's living truth telling truth representing truth.
It's the absence of duplicity and hypocrisy. It speaks of an authentic life and lifestyle. Nothing is hidden, that is shameful when you are girded with truth. If you are going to do battle with the enemy on enemy ground and in enemy terms were going to have to be up lives in and models truth you're listening to Insight for living Chuck Swindoll titled today study in Ephesians 6 strong armor for week she and to learn more about this ministry.
Visit us email@example.com it's challenging to model the truth in a culture that's entirely unsympathetic to biblical values and along these lines triggers picture resource that he believes will help you gain confidence so let me direct your attention to the book Chuck selected for you. It's called a practical guide to culture helping the next generation navigate today's world. Maybe try to engage your children or grandchildren in meaningful conversations about the faith. Perhaps you been stymied by issues they bring up such as sexual orientation and gender identity, racial tensions, to name a few of the authors of this excellent book. John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkel are fully in touch with our times. Their insight will help you speak and to the cultural issues that can't be ignored by anyone living in the real world to purchase a copy of a practical guide to culture. Go to Insight.org/store.
There's a second book that might be helpful as well.
It's for younger ages called a student's guide to culture, to purchase either book. Call us if you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 Insight for living ministries is supported not by the purchase of resources through the voluntary contributions of grateful listeners and we invite you to join our mission to help lead the way life that honors Christ in all 195 countries of the world people in every nation need help knowing how to navigate their way through the powerful currents sweeping through our respective cultures. So to give a donation right now Collis listening in the United States. Call 1-800-772-8888. You can also automate a monthly donation by becoming a monthly companion to sign up.
Just give us a phone call listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 or go online insight.or/monthly companion site for living. The preceding message strong armor for week she was copyrighted in 2000 2001 and 2009 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited