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Our Only Strength

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
February 1, 2021 7:00 am

Our Only Strength

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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February 1, 2021 7:00 am

People will go to great lengths to ensure their own security. Some learn self defense techniques and others install alarm systems in their homes. But when it comes to defending ourselves against spiritual attack, there’s really just one thing that we need to succeed... the power of the same God who created the Heavens and the Earth.

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People will go to great lengths to ensure their own security. So learn self-defense techniques and others install alarm systems in their homes.

But when it comes to defending ourselves against spiritual attack. There really is just one thing we need to succeed will learn what that is. On this broadcast of the Bible study hour is Dr. James boy shares a message entitled, our only strength.

Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. Satan is a real and powerful enemy.

If we had to fight him on our own. We would be doomed to failure.

We have a secret weapon on our side. The power of the same God who created the heavens and the earth whenever I talk about the devil as I did in our last study of Ephesians 6, always try to point out that is a finite and therefore a limited being is not spiritual equivalent of God. He is not omnipotent as God is not on the present as God is is not omniscient as God is, the devil can't do all things. He can only do what God permits the devil is not in all places, says God is the only temp one person in one place at one time the double does not know all things.

Above all he does know the future.

Although he can certainly make shrewd guesses about it but decided to double his limited and finite to say that he has not omnipotent from the present and omniscient, does not vain where the is not dangerous because although he is not omnipotent on the present or omniscient, he is nevertheless quite powerful. Very wicked and sly. That means that when we think about the devil we have to be on guard against him.

We have to be reminded that he is a formidable fall on that if we are to stand against his power is going to be by the power of God only. The devil is so powerful. Although is not as powerful as God, even the Archangel Michael were told in June when he contended with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself, rebuke him, but instead said as Joe recounts the story, the Lord rebuke you he is so wicked that we are told he's the father of lies and murder from the beginning he so sly that when Paul writes to elders, he says, an elder must be constantly on his guard, lest he be trapped by the devils wiles well this is what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 6 he warning us against the devil and he saying that if we are going to triumph against them. It is going to be by the strength of God alone.

Only God strength is adequate to resist the devil box strength of God is available to us and it's what we need, whenever I think about this spiritual warfare in the power of God, which is on the side of the Christian I suppose I inevitably think of that great story that involves the prophet Elisha when he was at Dothan. These were days in which Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel were at war.

Syria was a more powerful of the two countries and under the leadership of its infamous King Ben Hayden added with have made short work of Israel. If God had not been intervening to protect the king of Israel and his army widened Ben Hayden at the king of Syria would lay a trap for the king of Israel God would reveal the nature of the trapped Elisha like she would tell the king the king would redirect his army and so Israel would escape naturally been a dead thought he had a traitor in his high command. So we got all of his officers together and he said why don't you tell me what's going on. Certainly one of you was a traitor.

They said no that's not the case. It's not that it's this prophet who lives in Israel licenses nine. He is so close to God that God reveals them everything you say. Even the private things you say when you're in your bedroom well that night. I didn't want that sort of news getting around so he recognized that if he was going to have any success in his battle against Israel.

He was going to have to capture Elisha so he went from that meeting he got his troops together. They moved by night and surrounded this city of Dothan where Elisha was staying at the time were told story unfolds early in the morning. The servants of Elisha got up to go outside the city and saw all of these armies gathered round about now doesn't give us a great deal of detail about them. I would assume that he was a younger man. I can even imagine him getting up to go out early in the morning sleepy, perhaps rubbing his eyes. His job probably was to go out get water from a well and I can imagine that he might not even have seen the Syrian armies at first because they were not making Boyce. Of course I can see him drawing water up out of the well splashing on his face looking up, and then suddenly noticing all the Syrian armies were told that he was terrified and he turned and ran back into the city and he said to Elisha that they were surrounded by soldiers. Oh my Lord, he said, what shall we do Elisha wasn't disturbed at all. Instead Elisha had what is surely one of the great statements of faith in all the Bible. Elisha said do not be afraid because greater are they who are with us and they who are with them. Many paraded the young man's eyes were opened and were told that he saw the hills filled with horses and chariots of fire around about Elisha. That's an interesting formula you say it's a formula that takes into account not only the forces that are engaged on the human level where their visible by the forces of the spiritual world which are invisible and not formula greater they who are with us and they who are with them them was the Syrian army and in the context of the revelation of the young man they that are with them must mean the spiritual forces of evil. Paul talks about in Ephesians 6 that stood behind in the certain sense empowered Syrian forces. I was one side of the equation. On the other side on the visible human level were two people, Elisha and his servant. The young man you look at that on the human level and you say, my goodness, that is terribly unbalanced on the side of the Syrians, but that feels that they can count the spiritual forces that are with the people of God. And when Elisha said greater are they who were with us. That's what he was thinking of, and when he prayed that the young man's eyes reopened.

He saw all those spiritual forces that were on their side and when that was taken into account. Well, the equation was woefully unbalanced on the side of Elisha and his young servant.

This is what's involved here. When we look at the forces of the world. We look at all the powers that we can see all of the political power all of the power of the media. All of those things that make our world and ungodly place are constantly trying to draw people away after materialism and self worship. All of those things we say how can we possibly stand against that we can stand against it. Even as a united church, let alone as individuals. Why the powers of evil are just too overwhelming to see wow that is true in the human level. It is not true on the spiritual level on the power of God really is available to those who follow him. Notice how many times the apostle Paul talks about the Lord in the passage clear the very beginning. Verse 10 introduces the subject. Finally he says, be strong in the Lord and his mighty power. It's true, and he begins to talk about the armor is in the next verse put on the full armor of God so you can stand against the devil's schemes. And in verse 13 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've done everything, to stand. The word Lord is very important. You know, I'm sure that that word Lord has a breadth of meaning sometimes it's used just on the human level as a term of respect for one who has a position over another person. This is the way Elisha's servant used it when he rushed back into the city and said oh my lord, what shall we do, we usually indicate that my pretty Lord with a small L that same word as I'm sure you also know is used characteristically in the Greek translation of the Old Testament as an equivalent for the great Hebrew name for God, Jehovah, that word occurs in the Old Testament. Characteristically, the word Lord occurs in its translation and so word Lord generally involves for a Greek reader everything that that great Old Testament name for God involved, one who spoke Hebrew. This is the name God used to reveal himself to Moses at the burning bush, Moses said, is all right that you're sending me back to Egypt to say let my people go about when the people say to me. Who is to send you and who is to says let my people go, what shall I say what your name God used a great name, which she defined as meaning I am what I am. I am the eternal self existent self sufficient 11 was together to myself and upon whom everything else that exists depends is worth looking at that just a little bit of detail. I am that I am means primarily that God is self existent. That is, he doesn't depend on anyone else. Nothing was required to get God into being everything else does have a cause when we think of ourselves were here because our parents and our parents are here because of their parents and so forth. And what is true human level terms of the human family is true of all the things we see everything we see everything we know everything we think is causing antecedent God has no antecedent so when the apostle Paul says be strong in the Lord is saying, be strong in this unique person. This one exists without depending on anything else. Recognize that it's in a God like that picture to find your strength. You see when you begin to think that way. The spiritual warfare falls into perspective because even Satan depends upon God's sake wouldn't be here unless God sustained his very existence. I create some problems for us. We might say, for example. Well, why does God allow them to exist. Do you recognize we are also sinful and same question could be applied us. Why does God allow us to exist. We may not have answers to all of those things, but it does put it into perspective. To realize that God controls it all.

This is who Jehovah is.

This is the Lord whom Paul speaks her again.

Not only does that name mean that God is self existent. It also means that he's self-sufficient first means that God has no origins. He doesn't depend on anything. The second means a God has no needs.

Nobody can really do anything for now it pleases God to use us one of the greatest words in the Bible is that word coworker or were told that as Christians we become coworkers with God and with Jesus Christ. That's an astounding thing to think that God can stoop to use people like us to actually work with him and that he works through us. That's amazing. But as God is in himself. He needs nothing at all.

He does not need helpers. He does not need anybody to prop him up.

He does not need anybody to defend his truth God has no needs. That's the kind of God we worship God, who is absolutely powerful. I think of this character of God and his power.

I often think of that interesting little play on words that you find in the first chapter of the book of Jonah. Jonah was a prophet who ran away from God you know and were told early in the story. In fact in verse five. While he was running away from God and God sent his great storm after the ship, which he was trying to get to Tarshish at the Mariners who were trying to man the ship were afraid of the storm let perfectly understandable. Here was a storm of such fury that they thought the ship would sink the ship sank, they would all lose their lives naturally they were afraid there's no problem with that, then the story goes on just a few verses later in verse 10 of that same chapter just after Jonah has been brought up on board the ship and has given his testimony saying I'm a Hebrew and I worship Jehovah the God of heaven and earth. We read in the very then the Mariners were exceedingly afraid or terrified to some elaboration say that creates a problem doesn't and why in the first instance when were told that they were in danger of their losing their lives from the storm were told that there afraid, but in the second instance after Jonah given his testimony. We read in the Mariners were very much afraid were exceedingly afraid or terrified what's the difference the answer I think is to be found in the fact that the sailors undoubtedly knew something about Jonah's God, they being sailors and probably traveled all around the Mediterranean gone from port to port the ports they had heard all of the pork gossip. I probably heard what this God of the Jews, Jehovah had done in order to save and protect his people when they were in Egypt that would earn all the stories that had to do the Exodus. This was the God who sent the plagues on the Egyptians. He turned all the water of the land in the blood and any multiplied the frogs and the flies and the mats and anything plagues on the livestock can be destroyed. The crops that he sent locus, and finally in the end he blotted out the sun. It became pitch black in Egypt for three days after that very end of the story he killed all the firstborn throughout the land. When the people finally standing there at the Red Sea were about to pass into the desert. This Jehovah part of the water so they could go across and when the Egyptians suddenly realized they were getting away and had a change of heart began to pursue the God allow the water to come back in and drown the Egyptian troops as God, Jehovah kept his people in the desert gave Amana to each get the water to drink, covered their troops with a great cloud protected them from the heat of the sonnet might change to a pillar of fire that gave them light and warmth finally came to the Jordan River, and God did the miracle of the Red Sea all over again. He divided the water in the past across on dry land and then got back down the walls of Jericho and God gave them victory in the land. Finally, on occasion, even stopping the sum of the moon in the sky in order to prolong the day while they had a total victory over their enemies. This is the God of the Jews. This is a God that these martyrs must've heard about and so when Jonah is brought up on board and he said I'm a Hebrew and I worship Jehovah God of the Jews who made heaven and earth. They must've said all my guns Jehovah Jehovah is the one that's behind us. This is a God, we heard about this is no God to fool around with and they were very, very, much afraid now it's true that the power we need to defeat Satan is greater, even the power that was seen in the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt and the strength it brought them into the promised land. But the God who did that is able to give us victory over Satan to this is the strength we have and about which the apostle Paul speaks something else when he talks about this source of our strength. He says that it is not only the Lord but that we are to stand in this God's armor says it twice put on the full armor of God. In verse 11 and again in verse 13 put on the full armor of God. What does he mean by that. I suppose that I have never heard a sermon on these verses that is not at some point or other in the context of the sermon said well Paul probably got his idea from the fact that he was chained to a Roman soldier during the years of his imprisonment wasn't a whole lot he could do in those circumstances, except steric soldiers armor bodied did having a gift for illustration. He began to think what that armor might possibly represent, so he looked at the soldiers helmet and said now wonder what in the world elected representative.

We're going to talk about spiritual warfare. Maybe because ahead is an important part of the body that helmet should represent salvation.

As always I write that down so we put down, put on the helmet of salvation.

Then he looked at the breast plate and he said no.

What in the world cannot represent really said that's what turns aside the arrows and so on.

Maybe that could be righteousness, so we wrote down word righteousness was possible. That's the way Paul got his ideas, but you know I don't think so. And the reason I don't think so.

Is that in the 59th chapter of Isaiah. There's a description of God putting on his armor, in which at least two of these phrases occur. Always great Old Testament scholar. You know, and I think this is where he got his imagery 59th chapter of Isaiah. Verse 17 is a description of God putting on his armor and here's the verse he put on righteousness as his breastplate and the helmet of salvation on his head, since those are the exact phrases that we have in Ephesians 6 I think that that is what was in Paul's mind. All he might've broadened it a bit as he began to think about various parts of armor but you see, it was this description of God putting on God's own armor. My judgment must of been in his mind is very important because it's not as if he says put on the armor of God, meaning the armor that God gives you his in the sense that he's the one who gives it, but rather put on the very armor which God himself uses in his battles.

I guess when we think that way. Our natural reaction is to be overwhelmed by it. So how in the world can we possibly put on God's armor, but what we find when we do is that by the grace and wisdom of God. That armor is perfectly suited to us and is exactly what we need, always tempted to put on other kinds of armor, which, in the final analysis are always inadequate.

I think David David was a young man he had come up to garbage to visit his brothers were serving King Saul and when he was there learned that there was this great stalemate between the Philistines and the Israelites in the cause of it was this champion of the Philistines, the Rambo of his day, whose name was Goliath. And David wanted to gunfight me thought it was a disgrace that the armies of Israel should be held up by this giant Goliath.

I said I was invited Saul did want to do it himself, so he said well, all right, but you must put on some armor so he got his own armor out and he put it on David. There was Saul's helmet on. David said there was Saul's breastplate on David's chest and so on. With all his other pieces of armor and when it was all Anna didn't fit.

It was too big. David must've looked like a Muppet clothes in the football uniform of William Perry and the those of you don't know who William Perry is you need to watch the game since the refrigerator. David was closed in the right armor so he laid it all aside. He took the one weapon he knew his sling. He went out to meet Goliath and he defeated in that way, you say well yes, but that was only a sling really only a sling. David was closed. It was the armor of God, because you see if there was ever a man at all. The Old Testament who was offended by the truth of God by the righteousness of God by the gospel of God by the peace of God by the faith of God and by the word of God. It was King David and I kind of armor he was invincible. He was invincible. Not only, and he went out to fight those physical battles. He was invincible for all spiritual battles as well. Some years ago we had a Philadelphia conference on reformed theology on the language of the Bible describes salvation. We talk about the language of the marketplace in different things, and Dr. John Gerstner, who was one of the speakers on that occasion was given the topic.

The language of the battlefield as he developed that he talked about for great spiritual battles that involve Satan. The first was the battle of Satan against God way back at the origins of the universe in which Satan was soundly defeated. The second was the battle of Satan against Adam man when Adam was not depending upon the strength of God went as Gerstner put it, he was not united to the God man, Jesus Christ, and in that battle.

As we know Satan was triumphant. The third battle was the battle of Satan against God man himself, that is against Jesus in which probably in the beginning Satan thought he had one.

After all, you brought about the death of Jesus, but in which he actually lost. He had his head crushed, though he had managed wound price healed and then there was the fourth battle which was the battle of Satan against Amy and Peter in which Satan lost because though Peter was weak, he was joined the God man, even Jesus, who interceded for it as Gerstner developed this particular handling of the subject. He made the chief contrast between that second battle in which Satan prevailed against Adam and the last battle in which, by the grace of God. Peter prevailed against Satan and he pointed out that look damp from a human point of view. Everything would've been in favor of Adam and nothing would've been in favor of Peter. After all, Adam was tempted when he stood in his pristine glory. He was strong then holy and had no inclination whatsoever evil, and that he fell he fell quickly.

Peter, by contrast, was the opposite. Peter was simple and brash and arrogant and he even was so proud as to say to Jesus even though all these others should fall away from you yet. I will never do that why I am prepared to go with you to prison and even unto death. Jesus said Peter, you're going to deny me three times in the fall, but you're not to be knocked out.

You're going to turn aside but the time is going to come when you will be turned back on.

The reason for that is that I've prayed for you. He said, Simon, Simon, Satan desired to sift you like wheat, but when you are turned back some of our version say when you're converted when you're turned back, strengthen your brethren see what Jesus was really saying the Peter was as Peter, you're so weak you're like chaff and here's Satan wanting to get at you and Satan is saying let me just blow on Peter a little bit why he will scatter the four winds he so insubstantial, even though he thinks he's solid into Peter. The rock, but I blow on it just popped out of a little bit is going to blow away. And Jesus said to Peter, Peter, that is what you're like and that is what would happen but you're united to me by saving faith and because so bad.

I'm praying for you because I'm praying for you even though you're going to be knocked down. You're not going to be knocked out in the end you'll prevail and you'll be even strengthened by the experience and because your strength and you're going to become a pillar of strength to your brethren see how it works. Gerstner referred at that point in his sermon to him that we sometimes sing it has within it.

The line Lord, we are able and Gerstner pointed out that it was Peter wrote that originally Peter looked at himself and said, Lord, I am able.

But when he was tempted by Satan. He didn't take very long to discover that he wasn't able at all. He couldn't stand even for a minute he fell and so he rewrote that him and Peter's revised version of that hymn reads Lord we are not able and it is true we are not in ourselves. The very fact that Adam and his pristine glory.

All the strength the intellect and character that he must've possessed, having been made by God himself when tempted by Satan could fall teaches us that we have not the slightest hope of overcoming Satan and ourselves. We are weak and vacillating and we are doomed to destruction if our strength, our strength is all we have. But on the other hand, Peter week vacillating, prideful, arrogant, the fact that Peter could stand when supported by Jesus Christ teaches us that no matter how weak we may be, no matter how sinful we may know our hearts debate, no matter how many times we've fallen slip and stumble in disgrace ourselves, nevertheless can be sure that we will stand in Christ because United of the God man united the one who cannot be overcome. United to the Lord. We have the privilege of being clothed in his armor and being victorious in his battles. Spray our father. We asked for grace to so stand even though we know that we are joined to Christ.

We recognize in a passage such as this, we are nevertheless encouraged to put on the armor so have the responsibility of seizing upon and living in the strength of that which you provide. We know that Satan tempts us. We know that when he tempts us and we stand alone strength we fall as Peter did, but at the same time we know that we can stand even against that kind of onslaught. If we stand, closed with your provision of truth and righteousness and peace and faith and the gospel of our God our father strengthen us in that wrath, we might be victorious in the spiritual warfare for the sake of Jesus are great commander in our Lord.

Amen. You are listening to Bible study hour with a Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia PA 19103 or you can visit us online@alliancenets.org for Canadian gifts mail those 2237 Ruse Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON, and 1C2Y9 ask for your free resource catalog between books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and thank you again for your continued support and for listening to Bible study


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