MZC Service Times
Family Service Sunday 10:45 - 12:00
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
1st September 2018
BELT OF TRUTH
The first part of the armour of God is the belt of truth. When preparing for a battle, a soldier would put on his belt first, because it was designed to keep the other pieces of the soldier’s armour in place.
Satan is the great deceiver, who often attacks truth with lies.
· Adam & Eve
God “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”… “You will not certainly die.”
The Devil wants us to attack truth with lies, to make us doubt who we are in Christ. And he often does this by planting thoughts or ideas into our mind, as if they’re our own. For example, the thought may come: "My life isn't worth living.", "God doesn't care about me," “I’m no good.” “I’m a failure and disappointment to God.” The devil knows we are far more likely to believe his lies if we acknowledge the thoughts as our own.
We need to put on the belt of truth. We need to be firmly established in the truth of God’s word, so that we can resist Satan’s lies and deceit. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
This is why knowing God’s word is so important, so that we can resist the attacks of the enemy, by knowing and abiding in the truth.
BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Next is the breastplate of righteousness. The breast plate protected the vital organs, like the heart and lungs.
Righteousness is one of those strange words we use in church, but it simply means to be in a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with God. We nurture a right relationship with God through prayer, worship, being open to God’s Holy Spirit, walking in faithful obedience to God.
We are then called to have our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. In the imagery that Paul uses, there is the idea that we have to go out and face the enemy face on. And as Christians the way we do that, is to always be ready to carry the message of God’s love to the world.
When we carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the world, the message of love and peace, we are taking the battle to the enemy, we are building the Kingdom of God, tackling head on the forces of darkness in the world. Because even the smallest candle dispels darkness.
SHIELD OF FAITH
Next comes the shield of faith. The purpose of a shield is to deflect missiles. So when we come under spiritual attack, the shield of faith is there to protect us.
Carrying the shield of faith is about placing our faith, trust and confidence in God, and knowing who God is, and what He is like, because our enemy will try to attack and distort our perception of God, in the hope of diminishing our trust in God.
The devil tries to create a credibility gap between what the Word of God says and our actual experience. Satan may point his accusing finger at God while planting doubts in your mind such as, "What if God has forgotten about you?" Or, "If God really loved you, He wouldn't have allowed this." If the doubts go unchecked, they will tear down your confidence in God and bring about worry, uncertainty, fear, and unrest in our relationship with Him.
This is why, rather than allowing life’s circumstances to dictate our perception of God, we need to allow God’s Word to tell us the truth about Him.
HELMET OF SALVATION
Satan wants us to doubt Jesus and the salvation that he has won for us on the cross, which is why the next piece of armour is the helmet of salvation, because this protects our minds from doubting God’s saving work for us.
Wearing the helmet of salvation is also about the conscious decision to focus our minds on God, because many of Satan's battles against us happen in the mind. Whether that be immoral thoughts, lies, doubts, or anything else to discourage our faith. Which is why Paul tells us to “not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT
The final piece of the armour of God is the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. A sword can be used for defence and also offense, which is a reminder that we are called to take the battle to Satan.
Any soldier, before entering into battle, first has to learn how to use their weapon. And so we need to know how to handle God’s Word properly, because it is a powerful tool. The Word of God is described as living and active, and sharper than a two edged sword, so it has the power to penetrate the heart, and lay open the motives and feelings of those it touches. The more we know and understand the word of God, the more effective we will be in standing against the enemy of our souls.
Many thanks to Reverend Simon Bickersteth