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!!!

The Whole Armor of God – Application

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.

I have posted seven articles on the Whole Armor of God. I hope you will take time to read them. As you read them – or as you just study the passage in Ephesians listed above some application tips.

In Ephesians 6 we are told to:

  • “Take up” the whole armor of God
  • “Stand” with a girdle of truth.
  • “Stand” with breastplate of righteousness.
  • “Put on shoes” (your foundation) of the Gospel.
  • “Take” the shield of faith.
  • “Take” the helmet of salvation.
  • “Take” the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
  • “Praying always” with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
  • “Be watchful” with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

Some questions to be asked during your reading of your Bible are as follows.  

  • Is there an example for me to follow?
  • Is there a sin for me to avoid?
  • Is there a command for me to obey?
  • Is there a promise for me to claim?
  • What does this passage tell me about the Holy Spirit, about Jesus, about God?
  • What prayer should I pray in light of this Scripture?
  • What action do I need to take to avoid, to correct, to ensure my obedience to this Scripture?
  • What action do I need to take to avoid, to correct, to ensure that I will not be tempted to do wrong?

The Whole Armor of God – Helmet of Salvation

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 helmet covered the head and the mind of the soldier.  The head is the soldier’s power to wage war.  His thinking ability is the most important factor in determining his victory of defeat.  How is your thinking ability when trouble comes?  The solider needs a helmet to protect his mind.  The sign of the Christian soldier is the helmet of salvation (deliverance).  He must protect his mind and its thoughts, keeping all thoughts focused upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and His objective of reaching the world with the glorious news that men can live forever.  With salvation comes deliverance from sin habits.

The helmet that protects the mind of the Christian soldier is salvation.  Unless a man has been saved, his mind cannot be protected from the fiery darts of temptation.   The mind of an unsaved man (the carnal man) is focused upon this earth; it is normal and natural for him…

  • To seek more and more
  • To possess more and more
  • To look at the opposite sex with desire
  • To taste and indulge the good things of the earth
  • To feel and experience, satisfying his desires and passions
  • To have and hoard even when others have little or nothing

We must use the helmet of salvation to protect our mind, to keep our thoughts intact and on track spiritually.

The unsaved man sees nothing wrong with being his own person and doing his own thing just so he is reasonably considerate of others.  His mind and thoughts are upon the earth; and the fiery darts of extravagance, indulgence, pleasure, self-centeredness, worldliness, license, hoarding, and immorality.

But this is not so with the saved man.  The mind of the saved man is focused upon Christ and His mission of sharing the good news of life, both life abundant and life eternal.  Because of this, Satan launches his fiery darts of temptation against the mind of the believer, trying to get his thoughts and attention off Christ and the conquest and ministry to souls.  The Christian soldier desperately needs the helmet of salvation.  The helmet of salvation means the knowledge and hope of salvation – knowing that we are saved and hoping for the glorious day of redemption.  The power of the Holy Spirit in us stirs us to keep our minds and thoughts upon Christ and off sin and this world, arouses us to focus upon Christ and His mission to carry the gospel to a needy and dying world.

Romans 8:6 – “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 – “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Isaiah 26:3 – “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You.”

The mind must be filled with good things.  The Word of God must be your daily diet if you are to succeed in warding off the temptations and schemes of the devil.  Dieters do not eat chocolate pie, cake, food with high fat content. 

Questions:

  • How much difficulty do you have with temptation? 
  • How much difficulty do you have with doing things you know are wrong?
  • How much difficulty do you have with fantasizing about things that are inappropriate for a child of God?

Your difficulty with living an overcoming Christian life is in direct proportion to your spiritual walk, your spiritual diet.

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.”

Hebrews 4:13 – “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 90:8 – “You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.”

Psalm 51 seems an appropriate prayer to pray, especially verses 1-4, 7-12

“Have mercy upon me, O God,
    According to Your lovingkindness;
    According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
    Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    And cleanse me from my sin.
         
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
    And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
    And done this evil in Your sight]
   And blameless when You judge.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    Make me hear joy and gladness,
   That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
   Hide Your face from my sins,
   And blot out all my iniquities.
         
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
     And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

   Do not cast me away from Your presence,
   And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
         
 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
     And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Romans 12:1-2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Romans 12:9-18 – “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;  rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.  Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

You must have your mind renewed, changed.  Without the mind of Christ, you cannot following His teachings.

Walking in Wisdom

Ephesians 5:15-21

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

WALK CAREFULLY – The word “circumspectly” means to “walk carefully accurately, sensitively as a person would walk through thorny terrain.” 

  • Foolish man walks unthinking, thoughtless.  He gives little thought to his daily routine – where he should go – what he should do.  If he makes a mistake, he does not matter much to him.  Making mistakes is just the human way of life.
  • Wise man walks carefully.  He knows he is on a mission.  He knows God personally and he knows that he is on earth to show forth the love and the righteousness of God.  Mistakes matter to him.

Galatians 5:16 – “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust (the strong desires) of the flesh.”

Colossians 2:6 – “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established (made firm, secure) in the faith, as you have been taught….”                    

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

USE TIME CAREFULLY

  • Do not waste the days/weeks/months/years God has given us.  We have all been given the same number of hours in a day.  We will give an account to God of how we used them.

Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Ecclesiastes 12:1 – “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth; before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.” 

  • Use the time because the days are evil and the opportunity to do well may not last.
  • Opportunity to witness will pass.
  • Opportunity to speak up will pass.
  • Opportunity to love will pass.
  • Opportunity to work hard will pass.
  • Opportunity to give will pass.

UNDERSTAND GOD’S WILL – To “understand” means to “grasp, perceive, comprehend.”

  • Know God’s Word

John 8:31-21 – “If you abide (take up residence, live in) in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know (perceive, understand, come to know, realize) the truth, and the truth shall make you free (liberate, deliver).

2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent (exert oneself, make every effort, strain every nerve) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

Psalm 119:9, 11 – “How can a young man (or woman) cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.  Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

  • Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you.

John 14:26 – “But the Helper (from Greek parakletos means “called to one’s side)”.  The word signifies an intercessor, comforter, helper, advocate, counselor.  An attorney who appears in court in another’s behalf.), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

John 16:13 – “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come.”

Romans 8:14 – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

  • Leave drunkenness alone.  The Greek here refers to being intoxicated with drink or drugs.  This type of sin is so wrong for the Christian because it leads to other sins of the flesh.

1 Corinthians 6:10 – “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards…shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

  • Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you.  The infilling of the Holy Spirit is the personal manifestation of Christ to the believer.  It is a consciousness of His presence, of His leadership–moment by moment.  However, this is an automatic experience.  The responsibility of being filled with the Holy Spirit rests with the individual. 
  • The term “be filled” is in the present tense which means “to continually being filled”.  It is not a one time experience.  It is an ongoing life of daily yielding to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to lead and guide each aspect of our life.

John 14:21 – “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.  And he who loves me will be loved by My Father and I will love him and manifest (to cause to shine to reveal, to presents oneself to the sight of another) Myself to him.

Walk in the Light

Ephesians 5:8-14

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:  “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

  • The believer is to walk as a child of Light

1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 – “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.  You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober (self controlled).” 

  • Light bears the things of life – the Fruit of the Spirit.  Just as plant life requires the light to produce, so when we have the light of Jesus Christ in our heart, we should bear fruit.

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.

  • Light changes things – Even a small light in a dark room will brighten the room, will allow you to see.  When we allow the light of God into our lives, we can see the areas in our own life where we need to change.  We can show the world what it means to be a child of God.

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

Matthew 5:14-16 – You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

  • Light always chases away darkness.  

John 1:5 – And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

  • Light comes from a source – that source is Jesus.  Just as our light comes from the sun, so we will find our source of light in Jesus.

John 8:12 –  Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

In order to obtain that light from Christ, we need to be awake.

Luke 21:34 – But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-7 – But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.

James 1:22-25 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

One Thing I Know

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought a 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.

There are several helpful truths we learn from Paul in this portion of scripture.

  • Finishers focus on the finish line.  Paul never lost sight of the finish line.  He knew that, beyond this short life there is a great life of joy that stretches forever into eternity, and that those who are faithful here will enter that life and get a crown of righteousness.  We have a tendency to forget that the real finish line is not in this life.  That’s the clear truth from the Bible.  The real finish line is after this life is over.  Unless you want to stagger through the gloom of a senseless existence, hold on the promise of the hereafter.  Without that hope, nothing else makes sense.
  • Finishers stay in proper spiritual shape to stay the course.  Do not waste your time arguing over foolish ideas and silly myths and legends.  Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit.
    • Are you in proper spiritual shape to stay the course?
    • Are you giving God enough time?  We live in a hurry, hurry life and sometimes God even has trouble getting through to us.  We have instant messaging on our computers, cell phones that we take with us everywhere, even to church.  We have microwaves, two jobs and instant entertainment in our homes.  Somewhere in today’s fast-paced society we must learn to slow down and listen to God and wait on Him.
  • Finishers maintain their passion.  Do you have a passion for serving the Lord Jesus Christ?  Paul had a purpose, a plan, and he maintained his passion.  He had no intention of disappointing the One who had done so much for him.  He knew he was running the race, not just to win a prize, but to bring glory to Christ.  Doing God’s will was his passion!  Is it yours?

Do you know what God’s will is for your life?  The old hymn says:

                                    I know not why God’s wondrous grace

                                    to me he hath made known,

                                    Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love

                                    redeemed me for His own.

                                    But I know whom I have believed

                                    and am persuaded that He is able,

                                    To keep that which I’ve committed

                                    unto Him against that day.

Are you persuaded?  Are you convinced you are in the race to stay?  Are you convinced you are on the right track?  Are you striving toward that goal?  Is that the ONE THING  that is first and foremost in your mind?  Is that the ONE THING that takes priority over all else.  Hang on to it and do not let it go.  Your eternal life depends on it.

  • That ONE THING could be called passion or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called drive or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called hanging on or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called determination or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called righteous stubbornness or commitment.
  • That ONE THING could be called hardheadedness or commitment.
  • Whatever that ONE THING is, hide it in your heart and do not let go.  It will get you to the finish line and help you reach the goal.

You probably need to know that finishers do not have an easier race than others.  It is easy for all of us to justify our quitting attitudes with statements like, “If only I had it as easy as so and so, I’d be successful too”  But if you read about the lives of successful people, you will find they did not have it any easier than the rest of us.

Take John Wesley, for instance, one of the greatest preachers of the last millennium.  Here is a single page from his journal:

  • Sunday AM – May 5 – Preached in St Ann’s; was asked not to come back anymore.
  • Sunday PM – May 5 – Preached in St John’s; deacons said, “Get out and stay out.”
  • Sunday AM – May 12 – Preached at St Jude’s; can’t go back there again either.
  • Sunday PM – May 12 – Preached at St George’s; kicked out again.
  • Sunday AM – May 19 – Preached at St Somebody Else’s; deacons called a special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
  • Sunday PM – May 19 – Preached on the street; kicked off the street.
  • Sunday AM – May 26 – Preached out in a meadow; chased out of meadow when a bull was turned loose during the service.
  • Sunday AM – June 2 – Preached out at the edge of town; kicked off the highway.
  • Sunday PM – June 2 – Afternoon service, preached in a pasture; 10,000 people came.

You see, finishers are not folks who do not run into difficulty.  Finishers are folks who run over difficulty.

  • What ONE THING do you think it was that kept John Wesley going on in spite of difficulty?  Whatever it was, it worked.
  • What ONE THING motivates you to come to church?
  • What ONE THING would it take to get you more involved in serving Christ?
  • What ONE THING would the Lord have to do in your life to get your attention and cause you to do more for Him?
  • What ONE THING makes you want to keep going when trouble or opposition arises?
  • What ONE THING makes you keep pressing on when others are ready to quit?

Look at the ONE THING in the following:

Mark 10:21 – Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

Luke 10:41-42 – And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Philippians 3:13-14 – Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 27:1-5 – 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?  When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell.  Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.  One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek:  That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.  For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

Thanksgiving

Ephesians 5:20

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 34:1 – “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Isaiah 63:7 – “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.”

Hebrews 13:15 – “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

I Peter 2:5 – “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Colossians 3:17 – “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.”

INSTANCES OF THANKSGIVING

  • Jacob – Genesis 32:10 – “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies.”
  • Samuel – 1 Samuel 7:12 – “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
  • David – 2 Samuel 9:1 – “Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
  • Daniel – Daniel 6:10 – “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”
  • One of the ten lepers – Luke 17:15-17 – “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.  So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”
  • For victory over death – 1 Corinthians 15:57 – “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

For Me To Live is Christ

Philippians 1:12-26

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.  Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.  For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again

THE WITNESS OF THE BELIEVER

  • The Example of Paul, the Apostle
  • Circumstances were bleak; he was a prisoner in Rome.  The circumstances were immediate, not something in the future.  He waited for trial, day after day, not knowing the outcome.  For over two years he waited.  One of the most difficult of all circumstances is knowing the problem is there, but not being able to do anything about it except to wait and wait for the final resolution.   
  • Note the following:
  • in spite of waiting trial,
    • in spite of being under house arrest,
    • in spite of false accusations,   
    • in spite of trumped up charges,
    • in spite of not having his freedom;
    • Paul did not grumble or complain,
    • he did not question God and wonder why,
    • he did not whine and murmur,
    • he did not fall to pieces,
    • he did not curse God and give up his faith.
  • Paul, instead, used this two years, with a dark cloud hanging over his head, to spread the Gospel.
  • One of the saddest verses of Scripture is found in Jeremiah 8:20 – “The harvest is past, the summer has ended and the gathering of fruit is over, yet we are not saved!”  Paul used the time that he had to the best of his ability.  He could not go to distant cities and spread the Gospel message.  He could not travel land and sea as he had done before.  He could not because of his imprisonment but yet he used the time he had to do all that he could.  He realized that he might not have much time left to do the work to which he was called.

Matthew 9:37-38 – “Then He (Jesus) said to His disciples. The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Mark 4:26-28 – “And He said, ‘The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.  For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.  But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.’” 

Luke 10:2  – “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months, and then comes the harvest?  Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’”

  • Perhaps, we should follow Paul’s example.  Maybe we could use the short three phrase statement that in times past we have mentioned.
  • START WHERE YOU ARE!
  • USE WHAT YOU HAVE!
  • DO ALL YOU CAN! 
  • If you have not yet done what you are to do as a Christian, witness, invite, and tell others of His great love, START WHERE YOU ARE.
  • If you don’t seem to have any strength, no power, no energy, no talents, no nerve, USE WHAT YOU HAVE.  As you begin to exercise the little bit of ability that you do have, God will give more ability as you begin to do for Him.
  • Then, you must DO ALL YOU CAN for the Lord, everywhere, every time, anyway that you can do. 

Acts 28:30-31 – “And Paul lived two years in his own house, (he was under house arrest), and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” 

Mark 16:15 – “And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” 

John 20:21 – “Then Jesus said to them again Peace be unto you: as my Father has sent me, even so send I you.” 

1 Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 

OUR STATEMENT OF FAITH BEFORE THE WORLD

  • Are we positive, upbeat, joyful, at peace, or are we negative, down, sad, in turmoil?   In our behavior, actions, lifestyle, are we at peace with ourselves or are we always in a dither?  When we are conducting ourselves in any position of authority, small or great, do we come across to others as God’s great gift to humanity in our know-it-all style or is there a prized possession of humility at work?
  • Paul stated “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  We all know of course what the last portion means.  It will definitely be our gain when we go to be with Christ.  No more problems, heart-ache, pain and trials will we have to go through.  But what did he mean “For me to live is Christ?”  What does that question speak to you?  I believe Paul was saying that he had a purpose in life.  He had a reason to live.  Christ was his most prized possession.  Christ was first in his thoughts.  Is that our feeling about life?  Is life more than a meager existence on this earth, then it is over?  Is life drudgery?  Is life something that must be endured or is it to be lived – lived in its fullest sense, in Jesus Christ?   

Romans 14:1 9 – “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

Romans 15:2 – “Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.” 

  • Let us be ready to always glorify Christ in this life by the way we live.  Let us be ready to hear Him say – “Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things; enter into the joy of the Lord.”  Matthew 15:23