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This is War, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 24, 2023 9:00 am

This is War, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 24, 2023 9:00 am

As Pastor J.D. continues in this message from the “Love Incorruptible” series, he shows us why feeling weak and unqualified makes us more likely to lean on God’s power and how, when we apply gospel truth to our lives, we are strengthened knowing we are fighting from a victory Jesus has already won.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Prayer is where we say, God I really believe you are as compassionate as the cross demonstrates that you are, as powerful to save as the resurrection proves that you are, and that you ask God to release his power and when you do he opens up heaven's gates and he begins to pour it down.

Prayer is the first thing that we do and it is the most effective thing that we do and it ought to begin in the middle and end everything. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor and Author J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. So it's February. How many of you out there are still going to the gym every day? You see, many of us have grand plans for our physical strength, but do we think about what it looks like to be spiritually strong? Thankfully, the good news today is that if you don't think you have the strength to engage in a spiritual battle against you, then you've actually got an advantage and that sounds backwards, right?

But it's true. Today Pastor J.D. shows us why feeling weak and unqualified makes us more likely to lean on God's power and how when we apply gospel truth to our lives, we are strengthened knowing we are fighting from a place of victory. So when we are weak, we're actually strong.

Let's join Pastor J.D. in Ephesians Chapter 6. Satan's first attack on the human race was to say, has God really said this? And in several thousand years he hadn't come up with a new line yet.

He doesn't need to come up with a new line because we still fall for that one. His goal in your life is to make you do one of two things with the word of God, to either doubt it or to neglect it. He doesn't care which one because both of them are going to have the exact same effect in your life. What do you believe about this book?

It may be more important for you. How you treat this book, is it reflective of what you say you believe about it? There's a very famous skeptic over at UNC Chapel Hill named Bart Ehrman. He teaches New Testament over there. He calls himself a happy atheist and every single semester he convinces hundreds of UNC freshmen to depart from the faith they grew up in. And what he does in the first class is he usually asks a question like this. He'll say to the class of several hundred people, how many of you believe the Bible is the word of God? He always says about two thirds of the people in the audience will raise their hand. He will say, okay, of those who have your hand raised, how many of you have read it cover to cover? He says out of several hundred students, there's usually one or two that will say that they've read it. And so he says, really? You say that you believe this is the word of God and you haven't even read it? See, you don't actually believe it's the word of God because how could you believe a book is written by Almighty God and not read it? Your heart knows it's not true. And I'm just going to spend the rest of this semester convincing you, your head, to acknowledge what your heart already knows. So here's my question for you.

Does the way you treat that Bible acknowledge that you actually believe it is from Almighty God? Are there actually parts of it you're like, yeah, I don't really know that and I don't really care. How would you say that we understand these are not education things that we get together and we're not tips for life. These are spiritual life to you.

This is life. And your life depends on your knowledge of the belts of truth, the word of God. Here's the second piece of armor. Take up, he says, verse 14, the breastplate of righteousness. Now breastplate is going to cover your vital organs, right?

Your heart and your lungs and your stomach and all those kinds of things. So what does he mean by you covering your vital organs with righteousness? Well, again, listen, for Paul being covered with righteousness first means embracing your identity in Christ. I think the breastplate gives us a really interesting picture here because you've seen Roman breastplates, right? And Roman breastplates, watch this, you've already got the abs and the pecs already cut in, right? Which means that if I put on the breastplate of righteousness, you're going to see perfect pecs and abs regardless of the jiggle that's going on behind the breastplate. Now, was Paul actually thinking about that?

I don't know, but you have to admit it makes for a really interesting metaphor. Second Corinthians 5 21 tells us that God made Jesus who knew no sin. He made Jesus to be my sin so that in Christ I could become his righteousness. He got my sin, I got his righteousness. The love handles of my sin became his, his perfect abs of righteousness became mine, right? You have never heard that gospel analogy before ever. That is a J.D.

Greer original right there. So first, I think it means taking Christ's righteousness as our own, but I think there's also an obedience element there. Not only are we covered by Christ's righteousness, we now bring our lives into conformity with his righteousness. Again, Satan's going to use whatever part of you is not surrendered to God and not conform to his truth as his focal point of attack. Maybe that's a bad habit you have that you know is sinful, but you just don't take it seriously enough to really devote the energy to breaking it. Or maybe it's a temptation that you just can't say no to. Maybe it's somebody in your heart you won't forgive and you're like, well, I just don't know if I can't forgive them and I'm just going to nurse this grudge and that's fine. That's fine you think until Satan decides now it's time for me to take that foothold that you gave me and I'm going to use it to destroy your whole life.

Maybe it's just some part of your life that you don't trust God enough yet to surrender to him, your dating life. Maybe what you do with your money and you're like, yeah, I mean, I want to be surrendered to God and everything, but I don't know if I can trust him yet in those areas. And that is going to become the place where Satan gets his foothold and tears you apart. Whatever part of your life is not brought into obedience to God's word will be Satan's focal point of attack in your life.

What do you think that would be for you? Some friends of mine and I, when we hold each other accountable and we ask this question, if you knew that next year, this time, Satan would have taken you down, taken you out. If you knew that, what area would it have been in? What area do you think it would be in? Because that's probably the area where you are least surrendered to God. What would it be for you if you knew Satan was going to tear you down?

What area would it be? Here's your third piece of armor as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. So we're talking about shoes now, okay? The third piece of armor. Now I've often heard that the sword of the spirit, which we're going to get to in a minute, is the only offensive weapon in the Christian arsenal, but that's not true.

Your feet are also offensive weapons because they carry you forward into battle. Paul is saying that the way we overcome Satan is by going on offense with the gospel. Going on offense with the gospel, listen, overcomes both Satan's work in other people that you share the gospel with, and it overcomes Satan's work in your life.

Let me kind of break those apart real quick. First, sharing the gospel with other people is how we counteract Satan's work in them. Sometimes we only want to share the gospel with people who seem interested in it, but isn't that put in the cart before the horse?

How can they get interested in it until it's had a chance to go to work in their lives? The message of the gospel has in it the power to set the captive free. The gospel message has in it the ability to give sight to the blind. The gospel has in it to give spiritual life, spiritual interest to those who are disinterested, and those things can happen to people who've never heard it. One of my good friends who may be the most effective person I've ever been around at bringing other people to Jesus, he says, you know, somebody who shares Christ with other people only has to believe really two things.

Only two things you got to believe. Number one, you got to believe that salvation belongs to God, which means it's not on you. You don't have to persuade.

You're not trying to convince them. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit's got to do that. He says that takes the pressure off of you because if you don't know that, then you're going to get overwhelmed and you're going to quit. He said the second thing you got to believe, though, is just as important, and that is that faith comes only by hearing and hearing by the word of God, which means that it's impossible for faith or spiritual interest in somebody to grow until you've planted the word of God inside of them. I mean, isn't that how you were? You remember before you became a Christian, you weren't interested in the Bible? You didn't memorize scripture. You didn't like sermons.

Somebody had to sow the word of God in you, and then that began to grow and it created in you that spiritual interest. You need to learn to share the gospel, right? You know, when I'm on a plane, my first question, the person next to me is always, what do you do?

Because I know that just out of politeness, they got to ask me back and I get to tell them I'm a pastor, at which point the whole temperature in the entire cabin changes, right? And I'll look at them sometimes be like, yep, I'm a pastor, which means, you know, we got to have this conversation. Do you want to go ahead and have it now? Or you want to wait till later?

Just you tell me when you're ready, right? Sometimes I'll say things like, you know, where do you go to church? And they'll say, you know, they'll tell me. And if they say they do go to church, I'll be like, well, have you always gone? Do you feel like God is becoming more real to you right now?

Or is it becoming less real? And see where that conversation goes. So if they say, no, I don't go to church, I'm like, well, you know, tell me about, you know, how do you see the universe? How do you see God? And we just get in that conversation. It's that simple.

All right. So it's how you counteract Satan's work in people's lives, but it's also how you counteract his work in your life. Because see, listen, we are the easiest prey for Satan when we're bored. Isn't that how King David fell to Satan's temptation? When he fell to temptation, Samuel 11 says that all the other armies of Israel were out fighting battles where David should have been, and David was a home lounging. They were fighting, he was lounging.

So it made him a perfect target for Satan to bring along Bathsheba. Well, see, for many of you, not just men, but let me talk to you men for a minute. For many of you men, the reason that you are so bound up in Satan's deception is that you're bored. And the reason you're bored is because you're disengaged. You're disengaged from God's plan for your life and that is to use you in mission, which is why we say around here, we don't want a big audience to be entertained.

We think you're an army to be engaged. The picture of the church that we see throughout the New Testament is not a hovel of saints cloistered together, trying to keep out the barbarians, but a missionary people that are battering hell's gates. Only then will you be healthy. Above all, here we are, fourth piece, above all, taking the shield, above all means, this is probably the most important, taking the shield of faith by which we extinguish the fiery darts of the wicked one. Now, this is really a way of summing up all the other pieces.

Satan's main weapons are the lies that he throws. You see, they're like fiery darts that come into our hearts. Listen, you're not supposed to try to out reason those darts. The image is not that you are some kind of like ninja that's able to, you know, very mysteriously move as they come at you. What do you do when you're in the presence of a fiery dart being thrown at you?

You cover yourself, you hide from those darts behind the shield. That's what Paul is telling you to do. Don't try to out reason Satan. Don't try to argue with him. You hide from him behind what you know to be true in the gospel. Use the gospel, what you see is true about God in the gospel, to extinguish the fiery dart. So for example, Satan hurls at you, you're no good. You're nothing.

You're pathetic. After what you did, you really feel like God still loves you. You can never make a difference. He'll never use you. Your marriage will always be bad. You'll never be a good parent. You'll always be sick.

You'll never get out of debt. Boom, you put up that shield and you say, oh no, surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Joshua tells me I am blessed coming in and blessed going out, which means there ain't no time in my life that I'm not walking in the blessing in favor of God. And greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world and all the promises of God are yes in Christ Jesus. And God has plans to prosper me and give me a future and a hope. And I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

And I know that God is working and all things together for good in my life because I love God. I know he'll never leave me and forsake me and his eyes on the sparrow. And he knows how many hairs are in my head. And if I got how many hairs are in my head, I know that he's watching me. And I can assure you that when you get done with a montage like that one, Satan won't be anywhere near, not a place. This is Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. One of the things we hope to impress upon you as we wrap up this teaching series is that you must love Jesus's kingdom more than your own.

And let's be honest. If your heart's cry is my kingdom come, whatever you do will not truly be effective for him. God has to take our eyes off of our kingdom before he can build his through us. Ephesians is a book that transforms our view of the church. It thrills us as we see our part in God's amazing plan. And it challenges us about our day to day lives and more specifically our lives as church members. And as our thanks for supporting Summit Life, we are offering an eight session study guide that will take you or a group of friends through the book of Ephesians.

It's called Your Place in God's Plan. And we'd like to encourage you to reserve this study guide today. It's your last chance by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or visit us online at jdgreer.com. Even one other thing before I go on here. Everything's really interesting angle. A Roman soldier's shield in those days was created to be linked up with his brothers next to him. Right?

You've seen them. And they make these shield walls, which means like the 300 movie or Gladiator or something like that. And what I think it shows you is that sometimes your own faith is not enough to get you through a situation.

It was never meant to be. You're supposed to be part of the church so that in one situation somebody else's shield shields you and your shield will shield him in another situation. Maybe you ought to end every small group by yelling Spartans or something like that.

That'd be cool. And it'd probably help you remember it. On piece number five. Take up, he says, the helmet of salvation, verse 17. Now again, this just repeats in a new way what he's already said.

But specifically here, your head is where you think. Paul is telling us to let the truth about our salvation permeate or cover, control everything that we think. Every morning there are two things I try to tell myself. It's part of a gospel prayer that I wrote several years ago to saturate my heart and mind and God's grace before I even start the day. The first phrase is, because I'm in Christ, there's nothing I could do that would make God love me more.

There's nothing I have done that would make him love me less. His acceptance is a gift given in Christ. And I just embrace that for a minute because I don't want to go through life that day thinking I got to earn God's favor. The second thing is, Lord Jesus, you are all I need for everlasting joy, which means I don't need other people's approval. I don't need success. I don't need a claim. I don't need creature comforts.

I just need you. That's what one of the first books I wrote called Gospel is all about, how to put on the helmet of salvation every day to guard your mind and your heart so that you think about your day through the lens of the gospel. Here's your sixth piece in taking the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Now we're going to transition to exclusively offensive weapons.

We've already talked about our shoes. Now we've got our sword, which is the word of God. Of course, the word of God has been in each of the other pieces already. But see, Paul is telling us again to so master this book, to so master it that it'll give us the ability to counteract Satan's lies. Your ability to overcome Satan is directly proportionate to your knowledge of the word of God. Parents, your children's ability to counteract the lies of Satan is directly proportionate to how well they know the word of God.

So yes, have them involved in castle and have them involved in dance, but you make sure that they graduate out of your house with a thorough knowledge of the word of God because those things might help them get a better job, but the word of God will save their soul and deliver them from Satan. So you learn it, you meditate on it, you memorize it, you read it, and you sing it. It's like I often say, be so saturated with God's word that when life cuts you, you bleed God's word.

Now in order to be a good disciple maker, you got to first be a good disciple, which means you got to know the word better than you know anything else in your life. Finally, he says, look at that verse 18, I'm praying at all times in the spirits. Here's our other primarily offensive weapon, prayer, prayer. A lot of people don't include prayer in the list of weapons, but Paul puts it there as the thing that you do after you get dressed for battle. And that's really important I think because most Christians see prayer, watch this, as what they do to prepare for battle. Paul sees prayer as what you do after you've gotten dressed and go into battle. Prayer is not preparation for battle. Prayer itself is the battle.

The book of James tells us the same thing. It says that the most effective weapon that a believer has in their hand is prayer. And it uses a guy like Elijah and it says Elijah changed history through his prayer.

Elijah changed the weather patterns through his prayer. Prayer is where we put into practice what we believe about the gospel. Prayer is where we say, God, I really believe you are as compassionate as the cross demonstrates that you are.

I believe you are as powerful to save as the resurrection proves that you are and that you ask God to release his power. And when you do, he opens up heaven's gates and he begins to pour it down. Prayer, summit church is not the only thing that we do here, but it is the first thing that we do. And it is the most effective thing that we do. And it ought to begin in the middle and end everything. One of the examples I've used in the Bible on this for you is the way we see the early church behave in the first chapters of Acts.

So, you know, Jesus gives the great commission, take the gospel to every nation on earth. Can you imagine, has a more overwhelming assignment ever been given to a less qualified group of people? They literally have no education. They got no money. They got no jobs.

Their pets heads are falling off. They've never been outside of Israel. They literally have not been outside of Israel. And Jesus said, yep, you're going to take the gospel to every nation in the world. And so what do they do? Well, they do what Jesus tells them.

He says, I want you to go and do nothing for a while. I want you to just wait, wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. And while you're waiting, I want you to pray. And so they did. And if you add up the days that they waited, this unspecified amount of time, it was 10 days.

They prayed for 10 days. Then the Holy Spirit came. Peter stands up in Acts 2. He preaches a sermon.

You read it from start to finish. It'll take you 10 minutes. Peter prayed for 10 days. Peter preaches for 10 minutes. 3000 people get saved. I've told you before, this is what we do. We pray for 10 minutes. I preach for what feels like 10 days and three people get saved.

It's because all of our zeros are all in the wrong places. You see, prayer becomes this weapon by which we release the almighty power of God. You understand what I'm getting at there?

You see, some of you have this as a gift and it's the greatest gift you could have. You're not that impressive looking on the outside, but you have a gift of intercession and you need to use it. For all of us, it should be the primary and most effective way that we fight.

It's the point where you begin to apply the gospel, what you believe, and release God's power in the world. My friend, Joby Martin, Joby was a former bodybuilder. He says a lot of Christians are basically like bodybuilders. He said that when I was a bodybuilder, I never did anything with my strength. I worked out all the time, but I never fought anybody.

I never played any sports. I just showed up and flexed. That's all that I did with my strength. He said a lot of Christians are like that. They puff themselves up with doctrine, but they never actually do anything. They know all this stuff about God, but they never exercise that belief in bold, frequent prayer. Prayer is how you use the gospel and release its power. You see, there's a lot of you that, listen, you know a lot about the Bible, but your prayer life is nothing to speak of, and you're just a Christian bodybuilder.

You just show up at church and flex, and you need to start using that stuff that God gave you and applying it by releasing the power of God in the world. Do you understand how much power and compassion God is ready to pour out if you will just pray? Jesus says, ask, ask, ask. Specifically, He says, He says, pray, make supplication for all the saints. It means your people in your small group, pray for them by name and also for me. I don't think we're supposed to be paying for Paul, but let me translate that for you, that words may be given to me and opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel to you. I think that means you pray for me, me, because I'm the one who usually every week stands up and gives you the word of God. And fortunately or unfortunately for you, I'm never short on words, right?

But you don't need me stand up here talking for an hour. What you need is the words of God to be given to me for you because my words might educate, His words will liberate. My words can fill up your mind, His words can save your soul. So you need to pray that God will give me the words so that I can lead this congregation to know God, to know the gospel better.

That's not going to happen except that you pray for me. So see, listen, Paul's last words are to tell us that yes, life is war. Life is war, but we can and should be confident because we have a God who is willing to fight for us. And these pieces of armor are just learning to think about the strength of the gospel in your life. The way to fight Satan is not to engage Satan.

The way to fight Satan is to cover your life with the gospel. Luke chapter 11, Jesus said this from a little different angle. It's a great little parable. He said, there was a man who had a demon living in his house and he drove the demon out. And so then he went to his house after the demon had gone and he began to clean up the house and the demon had made a mess.

And obviously it's a metaphor for his life. He'd made a mess of his life, so he begins to clean it up. But the demon goes out and finds seven of his buddies who were just like him and comes back and finding the house swept in an order. He reinhabits the house now with not one, but seven.

And now the last state of the man is worse than the first. And then Jesus says something that a lot of times people don't put together with the parable. But Jesus then says this, he says, you know, when you drive out a strong man, which is the demon, in order to be able to really fortify the house, you need to have a stronger man who lives in the house. The strong man is Satan. The stronger man who occupies the house is Jesus. So it's not about driving out the demon.

It's about letting Jesus fill the house of your life so that there's not a single place that Satan can touch you. You need to be able to resist the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit and the gospel in your life. The way to resist Satan is not to engage Satan, it's to get filled with the presence of Jesus, the stronger man.

Charles Spurgeon used to say the preaching of Christ is the whip that flogs the devil. Do you want the devil out of your head? Do you want him out of your home? Do you want him out of your family? Do you want him out of our church?

Do you want him out of the community? Then preach Christ, trust Christ, abide in Christ. As a Christian, we don't have to fight for victory over Satan in our marriages. Praise God. We don't have to fight for victory over Satan in our church. We don't have to fight for victory over Satan in our lives.

Listen, we fight from victory. Amen. The last verse in Ephesians, the last verse, look at this. Grace be with all you who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. What a great title idea for a series.

What do you think, huh? God's love is the only incorruptible, everlasting, immutable, all powerful, unchangeable thing in this corruptible, following, ever-changing world. And with that, we've come to the end of our study titled Love Incorruptible. If you'd like to listen to any part of our series through Ephesians again, you can find the full programs online at jdgrier.com. As we look around our landscape, there are many vibrant, healthy churches, but it also seems there's just as many that are just plain stuck. In fact, that might be your church.

And I encourage you to look back at your beginning. Your church was founded on the hope that Jesus brings and the hope of reaching a specific community with the good news of the gospel. I encourage you to study the book of Ephesians on your own. And to assist you with that, we have a Bible study that we are offering called Your Place in God's Plan. Today is the final day to reserve your copy of the study guide. And it comes with our thanks when you donate today to support this ministry. Give and request the eight-part Ephesians study when you call 866-335-5220. Or you can request the study when you donate today online at jdgrier.com. Now, before we close, let me remind you that if you aren't yet signed up for our email list, you'll want to go online and do that today. It is the best way to stay up to date with Pastor JD's latest blog posts. It's quick and easy to sign up at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us again next week as Pastor JD kicks off a brand new, never before aired teaching series. Exciting days to come here on Summit Life with JD Grier. Today's program was produced and sponsored by JD Grier Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 10:47:04 / 2023-02-24 10:58:36 / 12

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