You can't use human tools and win a spiritual war. Dr. Tony Evans says your only hope to defeat the devil is to suit up with God's armor. The battle is not yours but the Lord's.
You must learn to dress for success. 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 he'll tell us about the biblical survival gear that helps us attack our problems at their real root. Let's join him. Why do we need God's armor?
I'll tell you why. You are fighting angels. The worst situation that you're facing right now is not your problem. It is only the vehicle that Satan is using and his angelic host to get to you. And many of us for most of our lives have been fighting people when we all have been fighting angels. Paul is concerned in Ephesians chapter 6 that we understand the tools of authority.
He wants to get us back to the source. He wants us to understand what is the cause of our greatest dilemma, greatest issue, and greatest problem, because he says you wrestle not against flesh and blood, you wrestle against the principalities and the powers, that is, the angelic world. You can't use human tools and win a spiritual war.
He says that you must use the armor of God. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4 18 that we do not look on the scene, but we look on the unseen. We fight an invisible war against an invisible enemy in an invisible sphere, but it affects us in our earthly realm. This cunning is so crafty. It's called the wiles of the devil. It's called the schemes of the devil. He is cunning.
He has underground minds that you don't know are there, and you step on them, and all of a sudden they explode. And what does God want you to do? He wants you to, two words, stand firm. He wants you to stand firm. Now why would he tell you to stand firm in a war? Don't you want to go out and fight in a war? Don't you want to go out and win?
Don't you want to storm the enemy's camp in a war? Why would he say, stand firm? Well, I'll tell you why he wants you to stand firm, and there's been every sermon I preached up to this point, he wants you to stand firm because Jesus has already won the offensive victory.
That's why I want you to stand firm. You're not in this war to fight to win. You're in this war to take care of the ground already won. Victory has already been won for you at Calvary. That's the problem why we have so many defeated Christians. They're still fighting to win. If you're fighting to win, you're not fighting the Battle of Jesus for it, because the Battle of Jesus for it was already won at Calvary.
We saw it in Colossians chapter 2 verses 14 to 15. He has already embarrassed the principalities and the powers. He's defeated them. So what must you do? Stand firm. We are like a football team where our team is up 72 to nothing. We don't have to score any more points. We just have to stand firm. We just have to stop the other team from doing what they want to do.
Why? Because victory has already been won. It means to hold on to the territory that Christ has already conquered. The offensive work was done by Jesus Christ on Calvary. Satan is trying to rob us of the spiritual blessings we already have. Did you know that you don't have to ask God to bless you?
Tell me you didn't know that. You get on your knees every day and say, Lord bless me today. Lord bless me today. Not Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who have already blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.
Everything God is ever going to do for you, he's already done. So if you going out trying to find blessings, then that means you're missing what you already have. Why go out and borrow money if you already have a million dollars sitting in your bank account?
Why go out and say, do you have a dollar if you are a millionaire? Some of us are walking around like spiritual paupers when Jesus Christ has accredited our account with all of the power of the heavenlies. But because we don't understand the victory of Christ and understand our position in Christ, we can't stand firm because we don't know we won.
The victory has already been won. So stand firm. Why? Because of the evil day, he calls it in verse 13, that you may be able to resist in the evil day. What is the evil day? That is the day when your number comes up. Every Christian in here has a number.
That is a number when Satan is going to unleash hell after you. You having a good day today? Good.
Enjoy it. Because tomorrow may be the evil day. Ask Mr. Job. He'll tell you about the evil day when God let Satan come after him, when his whole world fell apart.
There is coming a day when Satan, even at the permission of God, in order to win the angelic conflict, will let Satan give you an evil day. And your job, like Job, is to what? Stand firm. He couldn't do anything about the loss of his kids. He couldn't do anything about the loss of his health. He couldn't do anything about the loss of his job.
He couldn't do anything about the loss of his career. All he could say, though, is, though he slay me, yet while I trust him, he stood firm. He did not let Satan budge him off of his spot. And so what God says is that you need the armor of God to stand firm in the victory that has already been won. And that's why we spend so much time giving thanks.
We want to thank God for the victory to remind ourselves we have won even when it looks like we're losing. So you have to stand firm when hell is unleashed against you. So now he moves from the need for the armor to the nature of the armor, and now he gives six names of the armor. Verse 14, stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth. The truth belt. Peace number one, if you're gonna dress up in Jesus tomorrow morning and you don't have to wait that long, if you're gonna dress up in Jesus, you need a belt.
You need a truth belt. Now the Roman soldier had this long tunic that flowed down to the ground, but when it came time to fight, he couldn't really maneuver with that thing, so he would tuck that thing up underneath his belt. So he would have mobility. The belt had loops on it which would carry his sword, for example, which would carry some clips so he could connect his breastplate into it.
It was the fundamental peace because everything else connected to it. Everything else hung on it. In other words, if he didn't have his belt he couldn't wear his breastplate. If he didn't have his belt, he couldn't carry a sword.
If he didn't have his belt, he couldn't hold everything together. To stand firm, hold on to God's ground that Satan is trying to take from you. He's trying to take your joy. He's trying to take your family. He's trying to take your meaning. He's trying to take your purpose.
He's trying to take your future. He's trying to take your life, he's trying to take all of that, and God says if you just get dressed and stop trying to live a naked Christian life, he won't be able to take stuff anymore. Which means the first thing you got to have on is your belt. Second piece of armor, look at it. Having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Now what did the breastplate cover? It covered your chest.
It hooked into the belt and it covered the chest. You start with truth, then you move to the heart. The Bible says set your mind on things above where Christ is. 1st Corinthians 5 21 says that Christ is our righteousness. So you still talk about getting dressed up in Christ. To put on the breastplate of righteousness means to commit yourself to a holy life. Righteousness. Predicated on the imputation of righteousness that you receive when you receive Christ.
Now what am I saying? Most Christians don't know what happened when they got saved. Most Christians only know he forgave my sin.
No, that's not all that happened. Something else happened when you got saved. If you're here today and you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, two things happened. He took away your sin, but he gave you his righteousness.
That's called imputation. That is, he credited to your account the righteousness that belongs to Jesus Christ. So you don't get up in the morning saying, I'm just gonna be righteous today, because now you can jump back to human effort. You get up in the morning to say, because of Christ I am righteous today. You start with your position in Christ before you hit your actions for Christ, because if you start with your action for Christ without understanding your position in Christ, then it's going to be your own human effort with no divine supply. But if you get dressed up in the morning saying, thank you, Lord, that I am clean in Christ, and I use 1 John 1 9 confessing any uncleanness in my life that doesn't reflect my cleanness in Christ, you're gonna find your ability to be more holy than you ever were before, because it's based on who you are and not just what you're trying to do. That's why the book of Ephesians spends the first three chapters telling you who you are, and then the last three chapters telling you how to act, because if you know who you are, you'll have the ability to act like you should act. The reason many of us act like we act is because we don't know who we are. We eagles hanging around with turkeys, okay?
Eagles hanging around with turkeys. And because we don't know who we are, we don't soar. Get up in the morning and after you put on your truth belt, Lord, today your standard governs my life based on your Word. I thank you that I am already righteous so that when I step out here, I want to look like what I am. So get up and put on your breastplate, because if you don't, you will have an environment where demons can foster. Demons can always foster in an environment of unrighteousness. That is their environment. So if you're in an environment of unrighteousness, they can foster. That's why the Bible says, Grieve not the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit can keep the demons from fostering in this arena, because He can apply and has applied the righteousness of Christ.
Now let me tell you something. Anything that God doesn't want you to have is only because it's not good for you. Teenagers, anything that God says don't do isn't because He doesn't want you to have fun, it's because that particular thing is not good for you, which is why the Bible says, Whom the Lord loveth He disciplines. That's the only reason He says don't do this, don't do that.
He's after our good. So dress up in the morning with the righteousness of Christ. Lord, I thank you that you have already made me righteous, so let me live up to what I already am. Not, Lord, help me don't do this today and help me don't do that today.
Uh-uh. Lord, thank you you've already given me victory over this and already given me victory over that. You just dressed up with Christ. Thirdly, the gospel of peace.
Notice what He says. He says in verse 15, having already shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel which gives peace. Gospel of peace. You know what the Bible says, don't you? The Bible says Jesus is our peace. Ephesians 2 14. Christ is our peace. So we talk about getting dressed up in Jesus again.
Christ is our peace. The Roman soldier wore shoes with cliques on them. Why? Shore-footedness.
That's why. Shore-footedness. In other words, being able to move about to march forward without slipping and sliding. You know, some of us live our lives slipping and sliding, you know?
That James Brown thing. Just be slipping and sliding, you know? Every time we step out, we slip—oops, did it again. Oops, did it again.
We don't have any cliques on the bottom of our shoes so that we have shore-footedness. That's what He means by having your shoes with the gospel of peace. When you live on truth and you live in righteousness, the peace of God will guard your hearts. It is the good news of Jesus Christ—and let's deal with a little theology here—there is the peace with God, and there is the peace of God. Many of us want the peace of God, you know, that good feeling of peace, before we've understood the peace with God. Peace with God means that God is now on your side.
That's what it means. When you're not a Christian, God is not on your side. The devil is on your side. If you're here today and you don't know Jesus Christ and the pardoning of your sins, the devil is on your side.
But when you come to Jesus Christ, guess what happens? You now have peace with God, which means that when you get up in the morning and say, thank you, God, that as I start this horrible day in front of me, you are on my side. When that happens, the peace of God, that feeling of peace you want, will begin to take over, because you started with the understanding that today, as you go through this wicked day that you face, and you're gonna face these wicked family members, and you're gonna face this wicked job, that God is on your side.
So since you have that, you don't need to pop a pill anymore, you don't need to drink that get up juice anymore, you don't have to do any of that anymore, because God is on my side. Dr. Evans will have more on the tools God gives us for our spiritual defense and triumph when he returns in just a moment. But first, I want to let you know that today's lesson is part of Tony's 12 message audio series called Spiritual Warfare.
In it, he looks at the nature of the unseen battle and helps us realize that many of our physical troubles essentially spring from spiritual roots. These messages will not only help you learn to recognize the spiritual origins of the problems that plague you, but will teach you how to tackle those issues using God's methods and power. We want you to have this collection of biblical teachings on spiritual warfare as our gift. Just visit tonyevans.org, make a contribution, and we'll say thanks by providing you all 12 messages in this two-volume collection on your choice of either CDs or instantly available digital downloads. And as an added bonus, we'll even include a copy of Tony's popular and powerful book called Victory in Spiritual Warfare.
Or if you'd prefer, you can choose to receive prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare. Both of these books will help you stand against the enemy's attacks on your spiritual life, family relationships, and more. Again, visit us at tonyevans.org or call 1-800-800-3222, where resource team members are standing by around the clock to assist with your request. I'll have that information for you again after part two of today's lesson and this.
It was my first time meeting Jesus in the Bible. That's what one student is saying after studying bibliology through the Tony Evans Training Center, taught by renowned theologian Dr. Tony Evans. These online courses feature compelling and exclusive video and audio teaching, plus an interactive scripture-based curriculum you can access online or through the mobile app. Sign up now at tonyevanstraining.org. Take a course with Dr. Evans and explore the kingdom anytime, anywhere.
tonyevanstraining.org. Next, Roman soldiers didn't walk around with the shield. They only walk around with the shield when it's time to fight. Take your shield of faith—now get this one—with which you will be able to extinguish all the fiery missiles of the evil one.
That's deep. He says, take the shield of faith. This thing was four and a half by four and a half.
This is a huge thing. It would even cover part of the body of the soldier fighting next to you. So the Roman soldiers would line up, body to body, and they will all be covered because the shield was so broad that it covered the whole group as they marched forward. He says, take your shield of faith. Now, why must you take it?
The other three you must dress up in every day, all the time. But this one, you pick up as you need it. What is then the thing that you're picking up? What is this thing that's gonna protect you from everything Satan has ever gone through at you? It is acting on the truth that you said you believed. Believe it. That's the bell of truth.
Act on it as you need it. That's the shield of faith. The shield of faith is when you take the truth that you amened on Sunday and you walk it out on Monday. You know, when Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, God says, now I know this is a heavy enemy out here, but I tell you what, I want you to walk around this thing, you know, once a day for seven days, on seven days, walk around seven times, and God says, and I'll take care of the battle. I will fight the battle for you.
Now, the argument would have been, but that don't make sense. Absolutely. Let me tell you a couple of things about walking around this wall looking like a fool. One is it's embarrassing. Sometimes to do it God's way is just downright embarrassing. You know, you can be embarrassed. I'm out here looking like a fool. Told Naaman, God told Naaman, if you want to be clean from your leprosy, go dip in the Jordan River seven times.
Jordan River is a dirty old river. I mean, you want me to go as captain of this army with all these soldiers watching me and dip seven times? That's embarrassing. And sometimes the act on what God says, where God is gonna protect you with his shield, and what Satan is gonna ask you to do, it's downright embarrassing. And sometimes it's dangerous. Can you imagine them walking around the walls of Jericho with the army of Jericho looking down on them? Dangerous.
Dangerous to do that. And yet that's what God, and then sometimes it's just difficult. But you said you wanted a miracle. Do you want a miracle or don't you? You can only get a miracle if you act on the truth.
You say you believe. So that's not something you're doing every day, because all the time you're not faced with that. But when the devil attacks and God says, this is what to do, do it. We had a couple, I was counseling the other day, and they were having some marriage problems, and I was talking to the guy, I said, now I know, trust me. I just said, trust me.
I know this is gonna be hard, what I'm asking you to do, just trust me. Based on the Word of God, he came back to me and said, if just doing that little bit brought this much, tell me some more stuff I can act on. What the Bible is saying is sometimes it's embarrassing, sometimes it's difficult, but it'll quench the fiery darts of Satan. Now what's the fiery darts of Satan? Arrows.
But not just arrows, arrows with fire. Satan wants to shoot fiery darts at us. He hits us with three, four, five things at a time, knowing if we focus on one, he can hit us with another. If we focus on that one, he can hit us with another. Anybody have any days like that? He just hitting you all over the place, and they coming all over the place, and you want to know, how can I handle all of this?
I got a problem with my husband, problem with my child, problem with my finances, problem with my child. I got a tax coming every which way. How can I extinguish them? Answer, you can, but the shield can. So if you act on what you know, God will be out there with his angelic hosts as the arrows with fire come on, I'm going... He'll put out all the fiery darts of Satan. He will cover, see you can only maybe hit one or two things, but you may have 20 things at you.
Who's gonna blow out the other 18? He told Nathaniel, the angels of God will come up and down Jesus Christ if you're wearing him, and he'll cover the rest. Next, the helmet.
We're almost through. The helmet. Helmet of salvation.
What's the helmet for the head? One of the difficult diseases of our day is Alzheimer's. Why? Because you lose your mind. Your mind no longer works, and what happens when you lose your ability to process thoughts? You lose your ability to live life. See, when the mind goes, everything else goes.
Football players wear their helmets in order to absorb the shock of the blows on their head. The helmet of salvation, the helmet of salvation, when you are facing a conflict, to take up your position in Christ rather than simply take up the circumstances that you're facing. We got the po-me Christian. Woe is me. Boy, this is... Well, how you doing? Not good.
Under the circumstances. Well, get from under there. Listen to me. Circumstances are bad. I'm not asking you to play like you're not going through a rough time. You're going through a rough time. Say, I'm going through a rough time, but to pick up the helmet is to say, even though I'm going through a rough time, my position in Christ because of my salvation, because of what He has done for me on the cross, He has given me victory over this problem, so I'm gonna face my circumstances from my victory stance, not from my circumstantial stance.
We let circumstances become God, and when circumstances become God, God can't be God. So put on your helmet. I'm not saying that you're not in a war. I'm not saying Satan is not trying to bust your head wide open. I'm saying the helmet of salvation is something that can absorb the blow. The helmet says, well, Satan, you're messing with me right now, but let me tell you about my position in Christ. My position in Christ says that I can handle this. My position in Christ says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. My position in Christ says that that Jude 24 and 25, to Him who is able to keep me from falling.
My position in Christ, according to Hebrews chapter 2, 8, and 9, is that even though I don't understand everything, we see Jesus. He says we see Jesus, and I'm gonna begin to focus on Jesus Christ and not focus on what you're doing to me, and since you're scared of Jesus, as I focus on Him, He's gonna wipe you out of the neighborhood. I'm gonna pick up my helmet and absorb what you're throwing at me right now.
Husband getting on my nerves, kid getting on my nerves. Let me put on my helmet and absorb it. I'm gonna absorb it. I'm not just gonna react.
You're getting on my nerves. Let me put on my helmet, because the helmet says that you have self-control. The helmet says you have patience. The helmet says you have endurance.
Put on your helmet. Finally, the Word of God. And take the helmet of salvation and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. It's not a sword sword, this is a dagger sword.
This thing is about 10 inches long, needle-like point sharp on both sides. It'll cut you coming and going. The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, Hebrews 4-12 says. It is the Word of God. It will slice the enemy.
It will cut him in two. Now this is different than truth. Truth refers to the body of God's truth, the Scriptures, but the sword refers to the use of the dagger.
One deals with the body, the other deals with its utterance, its use. Many of us walk the church every Sunday with the Bible, we just never get around to using the Bible that we carry. You can own a Bible factory and it never become a sword. You can have Bible sitting on your coffee table, on your mantelpiece, by your bed, and it never becomes a sword and it never cuts the devil in half. This is the word Rhema.
It has to do with that which is declared. Satan tried to attack Jesus and Jesus said, it is written, men shall not live by word of law. Moses tried to deliver Israel by the sword, but it was the Word of God that opened up the Red Sea. Listen to me, Jesus did not dialogue with the devil. He didn't say, devil leave me alone, devil get off my back, devil you're no good, devil I'm greater than you. He never had a conversation with the devil. He simply said, have you read?
It is written. Every time Jesus quoted the Bible, bam, whap, whap, whap. I mean, he couldn't hang with the Word of God. Satan loves to hear you talk to him because he knows your word doesn't have any power. Some of you can quote a hamburger song who can't quote the Word of God. No wonder you're defeated in your life.
Some of you knew Burger King commercials and Coke commercials, Dr. Pepper commercials. You can quote them, you can sing them, but when you're in a pinch, you don't know where to go to in the Word of God to cut the devil in half. No wonder you're defeated. If you don't know how to utter the Word of God, use the Word of God.
Take it and use it when you need it. You're going to be defeated because he can handle your word. He can't handle God's Word.
And if you never use it, even if you hear it preached, you're wasting your time. Dr. Tony Evans, presenting God's provision for spiritual victory in our lives. And he'll be back in a moment with a final question and challenge for each of us. First though, don't forget we'd like to send you a copy of Tony's current 12-lesson audio collection on spiritual warfare, along with your choice of one of two of his companion books on the topic. They're our gift to you when you make a donation to help keep this broadcast possible each day. Just visit TonyEvans.org, or if you'd prefer, give our resource request line a call at 1-800-800-3222, and let one of our friendly team members help you with your request.
Again, that's TonyEvans.org, or by phone at 1-800-800-3222. They say getting things done isn't always a matter of what you know, but who you know. Well next time, Dr. Evans will show us how that principle comes into play.
Right now though, he's back to leave us with this final observation. So let me ask you a closing question. Are you, are you a butterfly who simply drops on a flower and just flitters from flower to flower?
You know, you just sort of drop, you turn on TV, here, preacher here, here, preacher there, drop here, drop there. Or are you a botanist who has a notebook and a microscope and he analyzes the flower, but the notes may never be opened again, or are you a bee? Because a bee will dive down in the flower, get the pollen, get juiced up, and then be able to produce some honey. See, some of you are like butterflies, you just bounce. Others of you are like botanists, you take notes, but they're no good to you. Others of you are like bumblebees, you dive in there, get that pollen, and then you have a sweet life producing honey. What kind of word Christian are you?
Because if you don't use it, you lose it. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
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