Rejoice Now – Cry Later or Cry Now – Rejoice Later

(Seven Rules for Personal Revival)

James 4:7-10

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

YOUR PARTGOD’S PART
Submit to God – Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.He will direct your paths.
Resist the devil – James 4:7 – Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from youThe devil must go in the name of Jesus.
Draw near to God – James 4:8 – Draw near to God and He will draw near to youHe will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands – James 4:8 – Cleanse your handsHe will bless the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 28:12
Purify your hearts – Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.He will cleanse and restore – Psalm 51:17 – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.
Lament, mourn, weep – James 4:9 – Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  1 Corinthians 4:17
Humble yourself – 1 Peter 5:6 – Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,He will exalt you – in His time.

THEREFORE…

James 1:21-22 – Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

THEN…

2 Chronicles 7:14 – If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Do You Want to Be Blessed?

James 1:12-14

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

  • Endure temptation – You will be blessed
  • Do not give into Satan – You will be blessed
  • Do not give into temptation – You will be blessed
  • Live a holy, Godly life – You will be blessed

Ephesians 6:11-13 – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.

Matthew 4:4 – But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:7 – Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Matthew 4:10 – Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

2 Timothy 2:22-26 – Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

  • Temptations are like a Lay’s potato chip bag…you can’t eat just one!
  • Temptations are like a snowball rolling down a hill…it grows and grows and grows more and more when we let it have its way!
  • Temptations are like a bag of chocolates when you skipped lunch because you have just gone on a diet!
  • Temptations are near impossible to resists…but we are able to resist through the strength which God has given us.  Yea God!
  • Four steps to temptation
    • Enticement
    • Ensnarement
    • Entanglement
    • Enslavement
    • Final aim of Satan – Eternal torment!
  • Seven steps on your Christian journey
    • Encounter – Meet the risen Christ
    • Receive the engrafted Word of God
    • Let the Word be engraved in your heart
    • Be enabled through a relationship with Christ
    • Encourage one another
    • Endeavor to keep the peace with all men
    • Endure to the end
    • Eternal joy with the Lord

Remember:

  • Temptation comes from Satan, your foe, your enemy, your adversary.
  • Satan’s purpose is to pervert, corrupt, steal, kill and destroy.
  • Temptations were experienced by Adam and Eve, David, Christ, Paul the Apostle, and you will experience temptation…but if you do not yield to those temptations you will be blessed.

1 John 4:4 – …greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!

Seven Tests of Our Walk With God

2 Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

It is so important that we “rightly divide” God’s Word.  Paul is telling Timothy how important it is to study God’s Word.  It takes effort (be diligent).  We need to be committed to knowing God’s Word.  

Paul commended the Christians in Berea because they did not take what they heard lightly, they studied to see if it was true according to scripture.

Acts 17:11 – These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

In 1 John we are shown seven tests of our walk with God.

  • They all begin with one of two phrases:
  • “If we say”
  • “He that says”
  • It’s not what you think
  • It’s not what you believe
  • It’s not what Grandma taught you
  • It’s not what you see on television
  • It’s not what the church might tell you
  • It’s not what your Sunday School teacher might tell you
  • It’s not what your Pastor may tell you
  • IT’S WHAT “THUS SAYS THE LORD!”
  • It’s what God’s Word states – not one verse out of context but the whole of God’s Word rightly divided.

.

  • False fellowship

1 John 1:6 – If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:  “I will dwell in them and walk among them.
I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

  • False sanctity

1 John 1:8 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

James 3:2 – For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

  • False righteousness

1 John 1:10 – If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

  • False allegiance

1 John 2:4 – He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

John 15:4-7 – Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

  • False behavior

1 John 2:6 – He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

John 13:15 – For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

  • False Spirituality

1 John 2:9 – He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.

1 Corinthians 13:2 – And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

  • False Speech

1 John 4:20 – If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

James 1:26 – If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.

The Whole Armor of God – Prayer

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  • Prayer is spiritual warfare.  It is the supernatural provision of the Christian soldier—prayer, not just of the moment…but a constant spirit of prayer.  Prayer and the Word of God are the best things you have going for you. 
  • The Word – God talking to you. 
  • Prayer – you talking to God.
  • With all the armor mentioned in this passage of Scripture, it does no good if we neglect our prayer life.  We enter into spiritual conflict fully dressed and fully armed.  Prayer is essential.  We all live in a busy world, but not making time for prayer will hinder our walk with God and ultimately, if neglected for a long period of time, we will fall back into sin. 
  • Trust, confidence and assurance are necessary as we pray.  If we pray and do not believe our prayers will be answered, why pray?  We must face our spiritual battles with courage, and courage only comes by way of prayer and faith believing that God hears us and will answer.  Job’s faith was demonstrated in that he trusted God.  In Job 19:25 he said “I know that my redeemer lives.”   He did not have the law, not any part of the bible, but he had a relationship with his God.  Do you?  How close is it?  Could it be closer?  Well……make it closer.
  • Quick, minute prayers as a continual substitute for a consistent time alone with God will not work either.  We will very easily fall into the trap of Satan that we do not have time, too many distractions and on and on and on.  We then become a fast food prayer – instant gratification – order up – get our answer right away.
  • We can also become a bell-hop prayer.  “Go here – do this – I need – I need – I need – you provide – you provide – you provide.”
  • If our prayers are not continual, we will lose the assurance and confidence of God’s protection.  We must always maintain a constant unbroken sense of God’s presence and care; therefore we must not let our mind dwell on the things of this world.  We need to keep our communication line open with God.  As it is between spouses, if God never hears from us, He might question our love for Him. 

Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” 

Philippians 4: 6 – “Be anxious for nothing (don’t let anything bug you), but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” 

1 Chronicles 16:11 – “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” 

John 16:24 – “Ask and you shall receive so that your joy may be full.” 

James 5:16 – “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” 

  • All the above require our action…IF we do what we can do…God will do what we cannot do.
  • Be mature – no “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayers.

Hebrews 5:13-14 – “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” 

Isaiah 55:6-7 – “Seek the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.  Let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy upon him and to our God for He will abundantly pardon.” 

  • The Christian soldier must be willing to pray and, if necessary, give up sleep and food.  We must concentrate and persevere in prayer, sometimes being so intensely at prayer that we forget about the necessities of life, such as sleep, food, rest, and entertainment.  These activities are not in and of themselves sinful, but prayer must become a more pressing priority.

Matthew 26:41 – “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.”  

  • We are to pray for those with authority over us…civil leaders, the President, our governor, our senators, our representatives, military leaders and soldiers, mayors, school officials, law enforcement, judicial system….pastors, deacons, elders, musicians, instructors, school teachers, work place supervisors, anyone that has a position of authority.  Whether you voted for them or not, whether they are Democrat, Republican or Independent.  God says pray for them.
  • The soldier must pray unselfishly.  The soldier is not in battle alone…for all of God’s people are facing similar situation.  We need to pray for each other.  We must pray for each other.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.” 

Luke 22:26 – “Pray always.” 

 Ephesians 1:15-16 – “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.”

1 Samuel 12:23 – “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you.”

THE TEN-FINGER PRAYER

  • Hold up your hands – you have ten fingers – this verse has ten words. 

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

  • Yes I can, but I need to cover the situation in earnest prayer.

The Whole Armor of God – Sword of the Spirit

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  • The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  The sword was a weapon used for both defense and offense.  The sword was used both to protect and to fight off and slay the enemy.  The sign of the Christian soldier is his use of the Word of God.  By living in the Scriptures, he protects himself from the onslaught of the enemy; and he fights and wins battle after battle, day after day.  Remember:  Jesus Christ Himself overcame the onslaught of the devil by using Scripture.

Matthew 4:4 – “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:7 – “Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” 

Matthew 4:10 – “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Hebrews 4:12-13 – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. 

Psalm 119:9 – “How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.”

Psalm 119:11 – “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”

Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

1 John 1: 5, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

  • The Word is your true offense/defense.
  • In Matthew 4:  “It is written; It is written; It is written.”
  • Psalm 119:89 – “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.”
  • God said it, that settles it!!!!

MY NEVER AGAIN LIST:

  • Never again will I confess I can’t, for “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13
  • Never again will I confess lack, for “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19
  • Never again will I confess fear, for “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7
  • Never again will I confess doubt and lack of faith, for “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”   Romans 12:3
  • Never again will I confess weakness, for “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1; and “the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”  Daniel 11:32
  • Never again will I confess supremacy of Satan over my life, for “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  1 John 4:4
  • Never again will I confess defeat, for “God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.”  2 Corinthians 2:14
  • Never again will I confess lack of wisdom for “Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God.”  1 Corinthians 1:30
  • Never again will I confess sickness, for, “by His stripes we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5; and “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” Matthew 8:17
  • Never again will I confess worries and frustration for I am “casting all my care upon Him, for He cares for me.”  I Peter 5:7
  • Never again will I confess bondage for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”  2 Corinthians 3:17
  • Never again will I confess condemnation, for “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:1

The Whole Armor of God – Shield of Faith

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  • The word “shield” does not mean the small round shield which the soldier held in his hand to fight off the enemy.  That is called a buckler.  The shield is a large oblong shape worn by the soldier to protect his body from the fiery darts thrown by the enemy.  The darts were dipped in pitch or some other combustible material and set afire.  When they struck, they served the purpose of small incendiary bombs.   Satan has his fiery darts—those things that cause the believer…
  • to question his salvation
  • to question his call
  • to question if he is worthy
  • to question if he can really serve
  • to question if the project can really be done
  • to question, doubt, and wonder
  • to become discouraged, depressed, and defeated
  • to burn with passion and desire.
  • Such fiery darts often assault the mind—one doubting and evil thought after the other—fighting against the will—struggling to get hold of the mind and subject it to doubt or evil.
  • However, the sign of the Christian soldier is that of the shield of faith.  Faith in God—a complete and perfect trust that God will quench the darts of doubt and evil that attack him, that God will help him control his mind and conquer the evil doubts and thoughts.  The Christian soldier’s consciousness of God’s presence is so great that God’s presence itself becomes his shield and defender.

Genesis 15:1 – “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

Psalm 3:3-4 – “But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.  I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.  Selah”
 

Psalm 84:9 – “O God, behold our shield, and look upon the face of Your anointed.”
         

Psalm 84:11 – “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Romans 10:17 – “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Romans 1:17 – “The just shall live by faith.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 – “We walk by faith, not by sight.”

2 Timothy 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

  • Hebrews 11 has much to say about faith.   In Hebrews 11:6 we are told “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
  • After hearing of all the great men and women of faith in chapter 11, Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Endure to the End – Enter into His Rest

Hebrews 4:11-15

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Be diligent, keep the faith, hold steady, keep on keeping on.  The end is in sight, keep your eyes on the goal, the race is almost run.  Hear what God is speaking to us through His Word.  Note the signs of the times (but the real signs are as stated in God’s Word

Speculation is constantly going on about the end of the world.

  • Planets lining up – What does the Word say?
  • False prophets saying this and that – What does the Word say?
  • Apocalyptic (end time) teachers and groups and movies – What does the Word say?

Be diligent, careful, watch out, be on guard.  The Bible is our sole source.  Any other source must line up with the Word of God.  “You know not the day nor the hour.”

Matthew 24 gives us Jesus words to His disciples about the end time.

  • Verses 3-14 – Signs of the time and the end of the Age.
  • Verses 15-28 – The Great Tribulation
  • Verses 29-31 – The Coming of the Son of Man
  • Verses 32-35 – Parable of the Fig Tree
  • Verses 36 – No one knows the day nor the hour
  • Verses 37 – As it was in the days of Noah (eating, drinking, marriage, violence)
  • Verse 44 – KEY – Be ready!!!

Many of the Scriptures telling about end times (Matthew 24, Daniel, Revelation) are difficult to understand.  They are open to a lot of various interpretations.  In all of the Scriptures we can read, it comes down to this final analysis.

  • Be watchful – Be careful what you get involved in that you are not totally consumed and lose sight of the time and lose your vision.
  • Be holy – “Be holy as I am holy.”  No clothesline doctrine, no manmade rituals, no rules.  Just ask yourself “Should I or would I do this, go there, say this if Jesus Christ Himself was with me.  Well, he is.
  • Be ready – Be forgiving, be without sin, be like Christ. 
  • Have the fruit of the Spirit in your life

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

  • Put on the whole armor of God.

Ephesians 6:10-14 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness

Note:

Ephesians 6:17 – And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Word of the Spirit – the Word of God –

  • Divides, cuts away the truth from the lies (Beware of half-truths, you may have heard the wrong half)
  • Divides, cuts away the important from the trivial
  • Divides, cuts away the specific requirements from the optional
  • Divides, cuts away the “must do” from the “can do”

The Whole Armor of God – Sandals of the Gospel of Peace

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  • The first thing that comes to mind when we think of sandals and a soldier would be that the two really do not go together.  Sandals do not usually provide a lot of protection to one’s feet.  They can easily slip off and many do not have straps around the back of one’s heel.  But the sandals the Roman soldier were not flimsy sandals.  They were a sign of readiness for marching and to do battle.  The Roman sandals were made with nails that gripped the ground firmly even when the ground sloped or was slippery.  The sign of a Christian soldier is also readiness to go as the Lord directs and be a witness for the Lord.  Wherever the Christian soldier’s feet take him, he/she should be ready to share the gospel that can firmly ground a world reeling under the weight of sin and desperation in a world in much need.

Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

  • An old adage says:  Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.  Don’t walk in from of me, I may not follow.  Just walk beside me and be my friend.
  • The French Foreign Legion’s motto:  “If I stumble, help me.  If I fall, pick me up.  If I retreat, shoot me.”

I am not advocating that we shoot our brother or sister if they fall into sin.  But we need to realize if we turn back from serving God we are spiritually dead.  No one has shot us, but just the same we are dead.

2 Peter 3:14-18 – “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.  You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever.”

  • What actually is the gospel of peace?   When you became a Christian, the peace you experienced came as a result of the peace of God that flooded your soul.   That is the peace you are to transmit to others.  The gospel is not witnessed by brow beating,damning someone to hell or shoving the Bible down someone’s throat.  The Gospel is shared best with a healthy dose of humility and a quiet and peaceful spirit.
  • Our principle warfare is not against our circumstances or opposition from people who seem to stand in the way of our progress.  Our true enemy must be identified and then assaulted with the spiritual weapons at our disposal.  Your neighbor, boss, husband, wife, children, mother-in-law are not the reason you may be having a tough time serving the Lord.  Instead of getting upset with them, use your God given authority against the real culprit, the devil. 
  • Satan wants you and me to think that telling others the Good News is a worthless and hopeless task.   He wants you to think the task is just too great and all the negative response are too much to handle.  But God has given us power, along with the command, to charge forward with the message of salvation.
  • Remember the weapons of this spiritual warfare are both defensive and offensive.  We stand firm on the Word of God.   We fight this war on our feet.

Romans 10:14-17 – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:  ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘LORD, who has believed our report?’  So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

  • Remember this:  It is not your task to make someone repent.  It is only your task to be a witness.  He is the Lord of the harvest and He knows how to reap the grain.   

Isaiah 6:6-8 – “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.  And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.’ Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’” 
      

God’s Love and Our Response

Titus 3:4-7

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

  • Because of God’s love, we need to confess our sin.
  • Do you confess your sin by name? Or, do you generalize?
  • Do you confess AND then forsake your sin?
  • Are you willing to give up all sin for God?  To live a holy life

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • Because of God’s love, we need to always endeavor to keep our relationship with others free of offenses.
  • Do you consistently seek forgiveness from those who you wrong or offend?
  • Can you say that your conscience is clear with everyone?

Acts 24:16 – This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

  • Because of God’s love, we need to make sure that all we do, all we say, all we think brings glory to the name of the Lord Jesus.
  • Do you love what God loves?  Hate what God hates?
  • Do you value highly the things that please God?
  • Do I forgive others as God has forgiven me? 
  • Do I value the Word of God, taking time to read/study/absorb the truths in the Word?
  • Do I teach and caution others? 
  • Do I give thanks to God?

Colossians 3:12-17 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

  • Because of God’s love, we need to be sensitive to the conviction and prompting of God’s Spirit.
  • Are you quick to respond to the voice of God?
  • Are you willing to seek reconciliation with someone who is offended with you?

Matthew 5:23-24 – Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Titus tells us we have become heirs of God and have the hope of eternal life.  As we receive that great love and gift of God, our hearts should be so grateful that we will joyfully and lovingly want to follow God’s Word in all we do, all we think, all we say, all we are.

The Whole Armor of God – Breastplate of Righteousness

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

The breastplate covered the body of the soldier from the neck to the thighs.  It was used to protect the heart.  The heart of the believer is focused upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness, and that focus must be protected.  The sign of the Christian soldier is righteousness.   When a man is saved, God imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ to him, or to say it another way, God counts him righteous.  It is not enough to stand in the righteousness of Christ.  The Christian soldier must protect his heart.  This he does by living righteously.  Righteousness keeps the heart from ever being wounded and losing its focus.  The Christian soldier is to strive after the very righteousness of Jesus Christ and lives righteously in the present world.

Matthew 5:20 – “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Romans 3:21-22 – “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”

1 Corinthians 15:34 – “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.”

Philippians 1:11 – “being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

Philippians 3:9 – “and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”

Ephesians 6:14 (Amplified Bible) – “Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God.”

  • Moral Rectitude – The quality of being morally straight and right with God and before all man.
  • Integrity – Being honest in all things before man and God.

If we have confessed our sins and are living righteous before God in this present evil world, then we are children of God.  But have we been living up to His standard?  We are the righteousness of Christ.  We are the empowered, overcoming, supernatural, ever victorious, devil stomping, mighty warrior.  We are not the always defeated, weak-kneed wimp that we act like sometimes.  If we are who God says we are, we should act like it.  We have fallen prey to Satan’s tactics.  We are the righteousness of Christ.  We are morally straight with God.  We are ambassadors of Christ representing His kingdom and His royalty, His might, His principles.

  • How do you measure up?
  • How is your righteousness before man and God?
  • How are you overcoming sin?
  • How are you as a witness by your words and actions?
  • How are your thoughts before God?
  • How do you live at home in front of your family?
  • How is your focus?
  • As God looks at your life, is it pleasing to him?  It does not matter if you fit in with the crowd, at school, work, or wherever you go.  It does matter if you fit in with God’s plan. 
  • Is your focus clear and bright or is it a little fuzzy, perhaps a big blur and you can’t distinguish any thing of value.  What does God see if He looks your way?
  • Are you seeing His plan?  Is your life measuring up?  We need to get a new view of who God is and what He wants us to be. 
  • What does His word say and what is His will for our life?  Our best solution is to put on His breastplate of righteousness. 

The breastplate of righteousness not only protects the heart…it protects the emotions, the desires, the aspirations, the concerns.  He is able to take care of whatever concerns you today.  All of the anxieties, all of the desires of the inward man, the cares, the hopes, the hurts, longings.  No one else may understand you, but God does and His breastplate of righteousness, His covering, His great love surrounds you and will keep you.

Let the breastplate of righteousness be a part of your armor.  Don’t leave home without it!!!