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The Belt of Truth (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
June 22, 2021 4:00 am

The Belt of Truth (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 22, 2021 4:00 am

Christians are involved in a spiritual battle. As soldiers in God’s army, we must dress for combat. How do we prepare to face the enemy? It all starts with a foundational piece of armor. Hear more when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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The as believers in Christ we are engaged in your virtual battle. We are soldiers in God's army and we have to be prepared for combat. So how do we get ready to face the enemy today on Truth for Life.

Alister bag introduces the belt of truth and explains the ultimate purpose for this foundational piece of spiritual armor Ephesians 6 and reading from verse 10 finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness and shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace in all circumstances take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God, praying at all times in the spirit with all prayer and supplication.

To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Amen we come gracious God entirely dependent upon the work of the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the truth of your word to grant us grace, in order that we might believe and rest in it, so accomplish your purposes. We pray for Jesus sake. Amen.

While I hope by now we are clear about a number of things.

One that the same grace which reconciles in Jesus as to God is the same grace which antagonizes us to the evil one, that as we are reading here were involved in a spiritual battle battle which is being fought against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, and that is of significance because earlier in the letter, Paul has explained to his readers that in our union with Christ, we have been raised up and seated with him in the heavenly places, and in the heavenly realms. And so, having been removed as it where to the reality of being included with Christ our union with Christ has brought us immediately into conflict with the devil and this picture of warfare although it is shied away from even in the church today is nevertheless swollen. It is clear and there is nothing that is if you like any fairy about it. Although we are seated in Christ in the heavenly places. We are also living down here on earth.

The initial readers were in Ephesus we are in Cleveland. Some of you are from different parts of the world and it is in the routine of life if you like in the humdrum nature of life that we face the challenges that are described here in the section were considering, and we've tried to make sure. So far, that we are not separating this section at the end of Ephesians from all that is gone before, and particularly from all that we had been considering beginning halfway through chapter 5 because it was there that we began to see what the Bible was saying concerning the nature of marriage and then the realities and responsibilities of family life, and then the privileges and challenges in our everyday work events and we tried to make the point. I reiterated now purposefully that it is in these very aliens not exclusively, but definitely in these very areas that many of us become most aware of the fact that we are up against the devil's schemes.

And so I find it helpful to realize just how solidly realistic.

Paul is in teaching us in this way, saving us from any sense of naivety or superficiality. I remember years ago reading a description of troops who had embarked upon a ship in the United Kingdom, heading for friends and the writer describing the scenes on board wrote as follows.

If from a group here and there came a song, or noisy demonstration.

It was from the young soldiers going out to the front for the first time. The others remained impassive, silent experience had taught them that mere knowledge of their duties and the fleeting devotion would not suffice to bear the long and bitter ordeal of battle. They required a spirit proved in the crucible of discipline. I find it very helpful as I think about spiritual warfare. The idea that if I just do what I'm supposed to do or if I have a strong surge of emotion.

This will manage to sustain me in the warfare that is nave and those who have backed along with the evil one who live there Christian life over a period of time. No, I just how nave it is and is for that reason that Paul is urging his readers here to make a stand to take a stand. We've noticed that it comes again and 11 and then and 13 and then in 14 and he doesn't just say to them now. Go ahead and stand he always does what he does here and that is that he reminds them of how they can stand, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might is already back in chapter 1, prayed for them that they might have an understanding of the strength and power of God, the immeasurable greatness of his might. He says towards those who believe that has been manifested ultimately in the raising of Jesus Christ from the dead, and so from the very beginning of his letter he has wanted his readers to understand their identity in Christ. To understand what it means to be in union with Christ, so that when the expectations come there aware of the fact that divine equipment is required is essential if we are going to be successful in dealing with the evil one. That's why, in the him that we have just sung you have a lovely couplet there. The arm of flesh will fail you. You dare not trust your own. You just can't get by by saying you know if I feel strongly enough about this. I'm sure I will handle it.

So the encouragement to be strong in the strength of his might is then followed by his exhortation to take up the armor of God, and to put on the armor of God in passing is important to remind ourselves the picture here is a united picture. Although we tend to think of this in individualistic terms as we must, in measure, while what is it mean for me in actual fighting story about the United front is it where all of the believers in Ephesus make sure he's saying to them that together you are equipped for battle and what he provides us with is an illustration or a picture and we are looking only at this one phrase in verse 14, having fastened on the belt of truth, having fastened on the belt of truth that we know Paul enough to know that his imprisonment meant that he was in the company of soldiers when he wrote to Philippi, a garrison town. The Roman soldiers were everywhere. He knew that his readers understood the battle equipment that a Roman soldier enjoyed and so there is little doubt that that is in his mind as and in the mind of his readers when he speaks. In this way, but I don't think it is actually Paul's underlying picture as I'll point out to you. Presently parts of although the belt that was worn by the Roman soldier was not a belt that was provided for decoration. I was in the store in the last two weeks and there were a whole series of belt buckles that were quite magnificent and I thought about you know I was going to buy one that I thought I suppose this individual doesn't really where the belt to keep their trousers out as much as to where the buckle so that you can say what what an amazing buckle, yes, but doesn't cater to designate your trousers about the real question so what he's talking about here is not is not something by way of decoration. We can walk around and display it, but rather it is foundational at the Roman would be dressed in flowing garments that would be over armaments many times and so the did the potential for progress being impeded as a result of tripping over your stuff was a real one, and therefore part of the function of the belt was to be able to secure all that might otherwise affect our ability to move in our readiness and that of course is a picture that runs through the Bible. At one point Moses is giving instruction to the people of God concerning the eating of the Passover and the word to them is in this manner.

This is Exodus 12. In this manner.

You shall eat the Passover with your belt fastened is an interesting thing you're going to eat the Passover with your belt fastened. Why why is that all because of the potential threat of antagonism around them and therefore they want to be engaging in the pursuit of God in a way that they are ready to take a stand for God and that's the picture here in the English standard version, which were using its fastened on the belt, perhaps in the NIV it's buckling. I don't actually recall but I do recall that in the King James version with which many of us were brought up. The phraseology is having your loins girt about with truth and so that's as good an argument for a more modern translation as any I know you assess your teenage son is is going out for the evening with his girlfriend.

Let me just ask you before you go.

Do you have your lines yet about with truth. Now they may come by chance are not sure what that means you tell my let me tell you exactly what it means.

That is the picture that Jesus uses when he speaks to his disciples.

He says let your loins be girded about translated make sure that you stay dressed for action or in first Peter when you have the same phraseology phraseology turning up the loins of your mind peters. It is applying the picture that his readers would understand. You know what it is to grab a hold of things and tuck it into your belt so that you don't trip yourself up and fall over and and cause others difficulty.

Sorry saying the same thing in relationship to your minds. In other words, in essence, it is a metaphor for preparedness for preparedness.

There's no sense in which now as you read the letters of the New Testament. The call to the Christian is anything other than really a call to warfare. I know it's not a very contemporary and acceptable picture but nevertheless it is impossible to read the Bible without understanding that that is what is being said there's no sense of dreamy carelessness is rather a decisive readiness. We understand this in our own day in some measure. Don't wait our cars on ring bells to make us buckle up, you will be more secure and other people would be more secure if you will buckle up before you take off on an airliner. They almost inevitably will say make sure that your seatbelt is fastened low and tight across your lap and if you hit turbulence on the way is not uncommon for somebody to come on and say you might want to give your belt. Just another little talk, which is usually as a warning for you might want to give it a very very big time by the fact of the matter is we get the picture.

There is a measure.

There's a sense of readiness.

And when you think in terms of a stare at the reuse of phraseology tightening ones belt so that is the picture and that is understandable to us all. What I want to say to you, and suggest to you and this is to come back to what I mentioned earlier that while there is no question that the picture of the Roman soldier is before us. I'm not so sure that that was what under what what was underlying Paul's emphasis here as as a Jewish man who had a solid understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures because you see the battle with the devil and victory in battle with the devil has been secured, accomplished in the Lord Jesus Christ. And when we study the Bible together.

We've often said to one another in the Old Testament. Jesus is predicted and in the Gospels he's revealed he's predicted anticipated in the Bible and all kinds of pictures. One of them being that of a mighty warrior. So for example in in Psalm 24 that is often sung and to family when it is sung in the metrical form.

The question that is asked by the worship leader who open up the gates so that the King of glory may enter the one person says who is this King of glory, the response comes the Lord strong and mighty in battle, he is the King of glory, while Lou is that ultimately that is Jesus.

He is the mighty warrior.

He is the one who is valiant in battle what you have in the Psalms. You have also in the prophecies and this I suggest to you underlies what Paul is saying here.

For example, we read Isaiah 11 routinely and we often stop short of verse five where we have this picture of the mighty warrior striking the earth with the rod of his mouth and then it says righteousness shall be the belt of his waist and faithfulness the belt of his loins in Isaiah 52 it is it it describes the shoes that are worn by the mighty warrior pointing forward how lovely on the mountains are the feet of them to bring good news and it is and and posting a little later on he says in your feet need to be short of the gospel of peace.

In Isaiah 59 you have you have the same thing. I mean, you can search for this and and find it on your own with with a with a good concordance.

Isaiah 5917. He put on righteousness as a breastplate and a helmet of salvation on his head and he put on garments of vengeance for clothing and he wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak when you read the Old Testament is always the Bible is pointing forward to the fulfillment in the Lord Jesus is the reason I mention this is because it seems to me that the basic elements of the armor of God, if you like from Paul's pen, not simply in light of the picture of the Roman soldier, but in light of his knowledge of the Lord as the divine warrior, why would this matter and how would it help me tell you, do you remember when we studied in the fruit of the spirit and when we study the fruit of this. We were at pains to make sure we understood that this is actually fruit and we said when we read concerning the fruit of the spirit. This is not things characteristics designer labels that we attach to ourselves spiritually, but it is rather that which is produced by the Holy Spirit within us and so we start to warn one another against an approach to the Christian life, which essentially said what you're supposed to do is try and be as much like Jesus as you can and if you hang a few of those things on yourself than you will look far more like Jesus than you will if you don't, which is, of course, futility. Similarly, here in this wire pointed out, is possible to read this section as though what Paul is doing is simply urging us to be good.

You see, wearing the armor here is not about becoming enough like Christ to defeat Satan you need to understand that it's not about trying to become more like Jesus, so that I might be victorious in the back.

It is about standing confidently in Christ's triumph, which has already taken place over Satan in the cross that Jesus Christ is the volume warrior who is to come, he is gone toe to toe with the evil one in the wilderness in the temptations he has answered him in the same way that we are to answer him.

As we will see later on by taking the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. That's how Jesus handled that there and in going face-to-face with him in the cross, he has triumphed over the evil one over death over Satan over the grave he has accomplished all of it. In other words, when the evil one comes to insinuate to attack to say I can't believe that you think those thoughts.

I can't believe that you left undone. I can't believe that you are as you are and so on. The answer does not lie and are saying overweight a minute I had a very good week, two weeks ago did you come that or I'm doing this rendering that know the answer is to confront our accuser and tell him Jesus die because what you say you're saying you to your best shot evil one. And Jesus died for our sins, triumphed over them and we are now in him we are united in it. Some of you will have those goals at home, identical them Russian dolls and I I have some with Gorbachev on it and and Yeltsin and and some others and and when you are fun to play with.

You know how the are you take it you take them apart and then you go further and further down and eventually got a tiny little fellow in here who doesn't come apart anymore and then when you've done that then you put them all back together again. It's about the fun of it for for an afternoon five, but there there is something of a picture and that is in there that I am the tie. I am the tiny little person include enclosed in Christ. As you enable and comes Mrs. know I'm I'm I'm I'm very strong I'm I'm I'm making great progress. I'm feeling amazing.

You know the will knows this. This fall is going down for sure.

Noisy. There's only one place. The place is safe in the arms of Jesus is hidden in the gospel listen to Alister bag on Truth for Life. Continue this message tomorrow. Our current series is titled strength for the battle from Alister's teaching in the book of Ephesians.

If you'd like to hear the complete series that covers all six chapters in the book of Ephesians.

You can on this study called grace and peace and it's available on a USB drive search grace and peace online@truthforlife.org/store.

We've been learning from Alister that in the Christian life. The battle is real. Believers are in a daily struggle against Satan and sin, but God does not leave us to fend for ourselves. He has provided all the protection we need. Our focus today was on the belt of truth, but God's full armor includes other crucial elements like the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation the sword of the Spirit.

If you'd like to learn more about each piece of our spiritual armor. We want to recommend to you a book called the whole armor of God, how Christ's victory strengthens us for spiritual warfare you probably heard me mention this book. It's the perfect supplement to what Alister is teaching us. This book reminds us that life is not a picnic.

Instead, it is an armed struggle against the powerful enemy in this book you will be challenged to stand to fight to wrestle which will also be assured that we can rest in Jesus finish the requester copy of the book the whole armor of God when you make a generous one time donation to Truth for Life.

You can give your gift by tapping the image you see in the mobile app by visiting us@truthforlife.org/donate. If you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book the whole armor of God, write to us the Truth for Life or address is PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 from Bob Lapine as we been learning this ongoing spiritual battle. We have to constantly be on guard. We have a deceitful enemy who wants to see us fall.

So how do we stand for truth in a world that is filled with lies. Listen tomorrow as Alister explains why we need to give the belt of truth little extra talk the Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living


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