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The Need for Spiritual Armor

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
December 10, 2021 7:00 am

The Need for Spiritual Armor

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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December 10, 2021 7:00 am

If it feels like Satan has you backed into a corner, Dr. Tony Evans says you have things backward. In this lesson, he’ll explain who the real hostage ought to be as he talks about how to avoid getting distracted by the spiritual battles going on around us.

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I'm not saying you won't be tempted. I'm not saying you won't have problems. I'm not saying you won't have fears. I'm saying they won't have the last word. Dr. Tony Evans reminds us we don't have to be victims of spiritual attacks. They will no longer be the dictator. They will no longer be the controller of your life.

They may show up, but they will no longer have finals say-so. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Dr. Evans has said spiritual temptation and opposition can't be avoided, but they can be overcome. Today we'll hear about how to do that as he takes us to Ephesians chapter 6.

Let's get started. A lot of us have been duped in the thinking that the devil is winning. We've been duped in the thinking he's running the show, calling the shots, and we are puppets on his string. We've been duped in the thinking that he is the final decision maker about our joy, our happiness, our well-being, our spirituality, and all the other elements that make life work because he seems to be running the show.

Well, I came to you with some good news today. Wipe the sweat off your forehead, dry your weeping eyes, and take those jittering fingers out of your clashing teeth because you, not he, gets to make the final move. No matter what's going on in your world, that move, that move, the accomplishment of the cross and the resurrection was God's final move that is your move for victory. Now, I don't know what's going on in your world, your life, your struggles, your mind.

No matter what it is, I'm going to share with you today and throughout this series how you use the final move. In the passage that we are introducing this with today. Finally, brethren, chapter 6, verse 10, be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might put on the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Here it is, for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.

People are not your problem. Now, I know you think they're your problem because they're what you see, feel, touch, taste, and hear. But according to verse 12, whatever is going wrong in your world, people are merely the conduit for the root.

They are the fruit. He says, we wrestle not against flesh and blood. The battles we have in life, whatever they may be, are not fundamentally physical in nature, flesh and blood. He says, our battle is against principalities and powers and world forces of this darkness located in heavenly places. The word heavenly places means the spiritual realm. Whatever is going on in your world, your life, has going on, is going on, or will go on, is rooted first in the spiritual realm. Spiritual warfare can simply be defined as the conflict in the invisible realm that affects what you're going through in the visible realm. It is the battle in the unseen that is responsible for the battles in the scene.

If you don't know how to navigate that realm, you can't fix this realm. That's why he says in verse 10, be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. Translation, not your strength or your might. Not your strength.

Why can't I get him off my back? Because you've been using your strength. And your human strength doesn't work in that realm. That realm, your strength can't work in. That realm can't use your strength. You aren't strong enough for that realm.

Now watch this. Please notice what he says over and over. In verse 11, stand firm.

What has he done that I need to stand firm in? Stand firm in the Lord, or he says, be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. Not your determination, power of positive thinking, promises, a grit in your teeth, saying I'll never do it again.

Oh, that's you. That's just you trying to be a better you. And for a while, you can be a gooder you than you were. But you discover that your strength keeps getting overcome. Because the evil world can feed off of that. Because they know your strength is giving them strength.

So your strength is only helping them to become stronger. Be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. So what happened? What happened when Jesus Christ died? Listen to me. The Bible says in Colossians chapter 2 verse 10, you are complete in Him.

No additives needed. When you accepted Jesus Christ, Colossians 1, 13 and 15 says, you are transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. You are relocated. Hebrews chapter 2 verses 14 and 15 says that Jesus Christ by His death rendered Satan powerless. So that's why He can't beat you with power.

He can only beat you with deception that looks like power. It says that He is no longer in control. In fact, Colossians chapter 2 verse 15 says that when Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, He conducted a victory parade in heavenly places.

He went public with it. In the spiritual realm, there was a Macy's parade. And the spiritual realm, the Bible says, paraded the triumph of Jesus Christ, declaring Satan and his demons a defeated foe. Jesus Christ declares He has been victory over them. So that Ephesians 1, 22, 1 Corinthians 15, 27 says that everything is now under His feet.

That Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ has defeated Him once and for all. Therefore, He cannot whip you with power. He must whip you with permission that's been handed to Him by us, by our own strength.

Be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. What His power gives, not what your power can conjure up. See, Satan doesn't want you to know that. He does not want you to know that he's already been whipped. Because you're going to treat him different. You're going to look at him different.

You're going to talk to him different. See, you're not going to go around saying like Flip Wilson, the devil made me do it. Because as long as you grant him that power, he's going to use it. See, Flip was wrong. The devil can't make you do anything. But he can take your permission for him to do it and use it against you.

He doesn't want you to know that. You know, I have on TV, as many of you do, the NFL Network, because I love football, and the NFL Network will show you last year's games. They'll show you games from last year. But when they show you last year's game, they'll tell you the score at the beginning of the game. They'll say, let's look at last year when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Houston Texans, or let's review the game when the Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Jets. They will tell you, they will put the score up.

Now the game hasn't played yet, but they're letting you know how this is going to wind up. In other words, you start with victory. You know where the victory is. So you're not going to get all shook up when you see a fumble or an interception or a block or a tackle.

You ain't going to get all, because you know where this thing is going. You've already discovered in advance where victory lies, which change your approach to how you view the game, because you are viewing it from victory, not to determine victory. Stand firm in the Lord, be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. You are not trying to win.

He has already won. You are to view your life through the eyes of the victory of Christ, not through the eyes of something you're trying to win. See, God has already played this thing in advance, and He's already put it on tape that victory has already been declared, victory has already been won. So when you talk to yourself or when you talk to somebody else, if you're a Christian, you're not supposed to be talking as one trying to locate victory. You're supposed to be talking as one who has already declared victory, because you are using the Lord's strength, not your strength. Victory is yours, but we don't talk like that. We talk like, I'm trying to make it. I hope to do better. One day this will pass. I think God doesn't want me here.

I hope next year is better than last year. We're talking as people not knowing we have victory, so we talk in uncertainties. We talk in hopefulness.

We talk in desire. We do not talk in victory that has been achieved. We quote the verses, but we don't believe the verses we quote. We talk about greater is He that's in us and He that's in the world. More than conquerors in Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us. That's religious speech.

That's not victory parade. You're supposed to be parading as a victor, because then Satan knows he can't piggyback off of what you're loaning him. Because if you loan him a stick, he'll beat you over the head with it. He says, I want you to be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. He does not want you to come out from underneath the umbrella of God's perspective on a matter. But what God wants you to know—you know, there was this movie, The Exorcism of Emily Rose. If you haven't seen that, next time it comes on, you need to watch that. The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Emily Rose has a demon, and Emily Rose can't get rid of this demon. She calls the priest over to get rid of the demon. The priest tries to get rid of the demon, but the demon won't go anywhere. A trial is held against the priest that's trying to do the exorcism.

They call in an expert on demons and exorcism to testify at the trial. The lady sits on the stand and says, there most certainly is a demon in Emily Rose. There's a demon that won't go away. And the priest did what he was supposed to do to get rid of the demon that's terrifying Emily Rose. But the reason why the demon won't come out of Emily Rose is that Emily Rose has been medicated with Gametrol. And Gametrol dulls the thinking and the mind so that she's not thinking right, so that the demon doesn't have to react to her thoughts, because her thoughts have been confused by the addition of the medication. The medication is really locking the demon in. What she has gone to on the human level has kept the demon functioning in her because it's dulled her ability to react to the spiritual impulses that would remove the demon. And since the spirit can't be gotten to because of this intrusion of the medical, it's caused the demon to be trapped inside of her.

What many of us have done is gone to man's way of thinking, introduced that way of thinking to us, and wonder why the divine power is not working, because the human has trapped the demon in so that the divine can't free the person out. We have introduced alien elements to the spiritual realm so that we're no longer strong in the Lord. We're strong in the Lord mixture.

We want to mix the human and the divine and hope that it all works out in the end. He says, be strong in the Lord, and I want you to stand firm. Dr. Evans will come back with more of our message in a moment, including a look at how the spiritual realm affects our day-to-day lives. Stay with us.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed right now, but God is bigger than any obstacle you face. We want to encourage you with truth by sending you the best of Tony Evans 2021 on CD and digital download, featuring 20 of Dr. Evans' most popular messages from this year. This series is our thanks for your year-end gift to help the urban alternative stay on the air, bringing messages of hope and life in our confusing, out-of-control world. Go online to TonyEvans.org to request yours. That's TonyEvans.org. Tony has said that the more people who meet Jesus, the more lives will be transformed, and that's the driving purpose behind this ministry. Please visit TonyEvans.org today or call us at 1-800-800-3222 and make a year-end contribution to help keep this important ministry moving forward. When you do, we'll say thanks by sending you the best of Tony Evans 2021. And as an added bonus, we'll also include an additional resource. Choose from the popular Kingdom Men Rising devotional, Tony's children's book, Made by God, or his latest release, Kingdom Race Theology.

The best of Tony Evans' 2021 audio collection and the bonus resource you choose can make a perfect Christmas gift for someone you care about. Just make your contribution online at TonyEvans.org today, or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you after part two of today's lesson. At Communion, Jesus said in 1 Corinthians 11, He says, Do this in remembrance of Me, and then He says an interesting phrase. He says, when you take Communion, and proclaim My death till I come. Now the question is, proclaim your death to who? To the spiritual realm.

That's who. Because the spiritual realm don't want to hear that, because now you're standing firm. See, when you bring up Jesus Christ to the spiritual realm, when you bring up what He accomplished, Satan, you've been defeated. And what you're doing to me has already been defeated. You're telling me I gotta be on drugs. That's been defeated.

You're telling me I have to be immoral. That's been defeated. You're telling me I have to be a liar. That's been defeated.

You're telling me I have to be depressed day in, day out, year in, year out. That's been defeated. And so what you're telling me is a lie. So let me proclaim to you what happened to you on the cross of Jesus Christ in case you forgot.

We don't proclaim His death, because we have relegated it to history. Something that happened 2,000 years ago, so we stopped standing firm on it. We come up with new tricks of the trade, new gadgets and gimmicks. We're trying to find something new. We want to be entertained out of our problems. We want to look at signs in the sky.

We want to find out what the horoscope is. And all the time while we're singing Jesus is enough. Introducing that which traps the demonic inside and keeps us from being free. If you are tired of being trapped in that realm, you've got to stop using this realm to fix it. Because this realm can't fix that realm.

Your point of reference has to be what God has provided. The Bible says in Romans, Satan is now under your feet. He's supposed to be your hostage. You're not supposed to be his. He's not supposed to be running your life, running your emotions, running your passions, running your... He's not supposed to be doing that.

If he's doing that, I'm not hating. If he's doing that, you stop standing firm. I've stopped standing firm.

We have relocated our position, and we're now out in the rain. You say, okay, well, what do I do? What do I do? He tells you. Look at what he says. He says, verse 11, Put on the full armor of God. He says in verse 13, Take up the full armor of God.

This is sweet. The armor of God are spiritual resources. In other words, dress for success.

Okay? It's all about what you're wearing. It's all about what you're wearing. He says put on the full armor of God.

Okay, so let's get this straight. It's not your armor. It's not your clothes. It's God's clothes.

Why? Because God lives in that realm. So he knows what you're supposed to wear. So he wants to tell you how to dress for success. He says, I want you to put on the full armor of God.

And when you get dressed for success, what will happen when you get dressed for success? You will be able to handle anything Satan throws at you. You'll be able to handle your temper. You'll be able to handle your addictions. And I'm not saying you won't be tempted. I'm not saying you won't have problems. I'm not saying you won't have fears.

I'm not saying you won't have frustration. I'm saying they won't have the last word. They will no longer be the dictator. They will no longer be the ruler. They will no longer be the controller. They will no longer be the the emperor of your life.

They may show up, but they will no longer have final say. final say-so, but you got to dress for success. Now we're gonna go over six things. There's six things there, six items of apparel that you've got to wear in that realm if you want that realm to submit to you. Notice the difference between the first set and the last set. The first set all begin with the word having. Stand firm verse 14, having girded your loins, having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Verse 15, having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel. They all begin with have, but the next three don't begin with have. They begin with another verb. Notice it says take up the shield of faith.

Verse 17, take the helmet of salvation, take the sword of the Spirit. He moves from have to take. Six items, two different categories of three. The first group says have. What does have mean? It's from the verb to be.

It means the state of being. It means the first three you wear all the time. You don't take off.

It's like your wedding ring or a ring you wear that you never take off. He says those you never take off. The last three you pick up as needed. You take them. You have to go get those three, okay? So whenever you need it, need the last three, you go get the last three, but you don't take off the first three.

So we're gonna understand how all six of those work as we go through this. But here's the point I want to make to you now. God gives the armor. He doesn't put them on you, okay?

Watch this now. He tells you to put on the full armor. He—don't say, God, dress me. He will not dress you. He will give you the attire to be dressed in, okay?

How does this work? In grace, God has supplied everything you need. Grace is all that God has already done. God can do nothing new for you.

He can do nothing more for you, because everything He's ever gonna do 10 years from now, He's already done. So to even ask God to bless you, it's kind of a misnomer, because Ephesians 1 3, you have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings, but where are they located? In heavenly places.

So let's get this straight. Everything God is ever gonna give you, He's already provided it. It's called grace, what God has already provided. That's God's responsibility. What's your responsibility and my responsibility is faith. Faith is reaching back to grace and grabbing what grace has provided.

Faith is reaching back to the spiritual so that it's made manifest in the physical. God won't do that for you. That's your response to what God has already done. So He says, I will in grace supply the armor. You must in faith put it on. If faith doesn't put on grace, grace won't be beneficial to you. Not because it's not available, it's because you didn't wear it.

I could buy you something, pay for it, but if you don't put it on, it's of no use to you, even though it has been completely supplied. So we're asking God for stuff He's already given. We're asking God to do stuff He's already done. We're asking God to accomplish victories He's already provided. But because faith hasn't grabbed it, we haven't gotten it yet. He says you are going to have to put on the full armor, and when you get through these six pieces, not only will you understand what the armor is, you're gonna understand how to strap it up, put it on, so that you can now walk out dressed for success, at least permanently dressed in three pieces, but have three other pieces nearby in case you need to pick it up and use it at a given moment.

He says you must put on the full armor of God. So what I'm trying to tell you maybe is something you've not known before or not known deeply before. Your problems aren't in this realm.

They just show up here. The root of your problems are all in the spiritual realm. So if you want to fix what's visible and physical, you've got to address what's invisible and spiritual.

But here's what the good news is. When it gets addressed, you will know it's nothing but God. You remember that woman? She was sick for 18 years, but the reason she was sick was a demon? But when she stood firm on what Jesus says, it says immediately she was healed. Immediately that thing left her.

Let me know when you know it's God. When you've been struggling with it for years and immediately that thing changes. Immediately those taste buds changes. Immediately you can turn off that computer. Immediately you can deal with that sin or that struggle or whatever it is. When you know that, because you know you're not an immediate kind of person.

That's why I've been there for 25 years, because you're not an immediate kind of solver. But when God shows up and you find out that you only needed two of the 12-step program, you know that that was a supernatural invasion of God. Dr. Tony Evans, talking about how God's armor equips us to attack our problems at their real root. Now before we go today, let me remind you to take advantage of our special year-end package, The Best of Tony Evans 2021. 20 of Tony's most popular messages on CD or digital download, plus your choice of one of three popular and powerful books and devotionals. You can get the details and select your favorite bonus resource at tonyevans.org. This special package is yours as our thank-you gift when you support Tony's work here on the radio and television, as well as with pastors, their families, and churches around the world.

Get Tony's Best so you can be your best. Make the arrangements when you visit tonyevans.org, where you can find a huge selection of great life-changing gifts for the people you care about. That's tonyevans.org, or call our 24-hour resource center at 1-800-800-3222.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Too many Christians build their lives around what people say about the Bible instead of what the Bible says about people. On Monday, Dr. Evans will explain why that's such a dangerous temptation, as he talks about the real authority for Kingdom Christians. I hope you'll be back with us. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative, and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-10 15:14:23 / 2023-07-10 15:25:19 / 11

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