The Whole Armor of God – Belt of Truth

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.

John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

John 1:14 – “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.”

John 17:17 – “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

Ephesians 5:26-27 – “That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”

  • TRUTH:  Over one hundred years ago a French atheist stated that in 100 years no one would read the Bible and it would only be found in museums.  Today Voltaire is wrong – the Bible is and has been the best selling book in the entire world, printed in practically every language of the world and preached and quoted more than all the other philosophies combined.
  • TRUTH:   The Russian Revolution in 1917 was to be the beginning of a world-wide cause that would stamp out religion (the opiate of the masses) around the world.  Khrushchev stated on a visit to the United States when Nixon was President, “We will bury you.”  He was talking about the United States while banging his shoe on the desk.  Today, where is the Russian Federation called the USSR?  Disbanded…we now have military bases in some of those countries.
  • TRUTH:  We now have missionaries and churches and Bible Schools of various denominations in some of those countries.  Romania alone has a much larger Christian population in some denominations than does the US.  Indonesia, the most populated Moslem country in the world has two of the three largest Christian Churches in the world.  One of these churches has over 50,000 members and another has over 80,000 members.
  • QUESTION:    Why should we read and study or listen and hear the Word of God?  I’ll answer that question with another question.  What else are you going to read and study or listen to and hear that will do for you what the Word of God does for you?

Psalm 119:11 – The Psalmist David said “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You.”

John 14:6 – Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me.”

John 8:32 – Jesus said “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

  • TRUTH:  God’s Word will stand the test of time.
  • TRUTH:  The Word of God will set you free.
  • TRUTH:  The Word of God will deliver you from all kinds of bondage.
  • TRUTH:  The Word of God will be your stay in time of trouble
  • TRUTH:  The Word of God will do for you when all else fails.
  • TRUTH:  The Word of God will do when you are dying.
  • TRUTH:  The Word of God will be your comfort in the storm.
  • TRUTH:  The Word of God will be your strength in times of stress.
  • TRUTH:  The Word of God will be your hope when all else is hopeless.
  • TRUTH:  The Word of God will be your help when all seems helpless.
  • TRUTH:  The truth is God’s Word.

When the Baptist and the Methodist disagree, when the Catholic and the Lutherans disagree, when the Pentecostals and the Nazarenes disagree, we need not look at their various denominational rule books but look at the Word of God.

God’s Word will stand the test of time.  God’s Word is the final authority. 

  • The truth is not what you think.
  • The truth is not what you believe.
  • The truth is not what you have been told.
  • The truth is not what you have heard.
  • The truth is what “Thus says the Lord.”  That truth you will find in the pages of His Word.

God’s Word is our only source.  It will keep you on track.  It will keep you from straying.  It will keep you from guessing.  It will keep you from questioning.

Hide the Word of God in your heart.  Make it your guide.  Make it your source book.  Let the Word of God dwell in you richly.

  • Truth does several things for the Christian solder.
  • Keeps him from being deceived by false teaching
  • Helps him grow up in Christ

Ephesians 4:14-15 – “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love may grow up into Him who is the head – Christ.”

Ø  Gives him freedom

John 8:32 – “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

Ø  Sanctifies him

John 17:17 – “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your Word is truth.”

Ø  Helps him truly worship God as God requires

John 4:24 – “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Ø  Is his protection

Psalm 91:4 – “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge;  His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD IS THE ANSWER!

The Soldier’s Charge – Part II

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 SOLDIER’S ARMOR

  • When we go into the military service of our country there is a basic instruction period so that we will be able to grasp all the “do” and “do not” rules of our training.  If we are to be successful in our service to our country we must follow the rules.  So it is with serving our God.  There must be a basic understanding of the rules if we are to be successful Christians.
  • Our rule book is none other than the Word of God, the Bible.  It is our source.  It is our guide.  There are other books and helps that we may find beneficial along the way but there is only one book that will give us the direct, unbiased, distinct, truthful message that we need. 

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.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

  • 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?
  • Other practical commitments and spiritual disciplines must also be adhered to as we put on the armor of God.  Just reading the Bible will not change our lives.  We must study it; we must absorb it into our very being.  Then we must make some practical commitments and spiritually discipline ourselves in the way we conduct our lives.  All the armor in the world will not help us if we deliberately and carelessly walk right into the enemy’s camp.  We must be “street smart” to the tactics of our foe.  Some of the things we need to do are as follows.
  • We need to learn to depend on God. 

James 5:13-16 – “Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Matthew 6:15-15 – “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.   Amen.”

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Luke 11:5-8 – And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’?  I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”

  • We need to learn submission. 

1 Peter 3:8-9 – “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 

Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

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.”

  • We need to confess our sins.

John 1:9-10 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

1 John 2:1-1 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

  • We need instruction.

Joshua 1:8-9 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” 

2 Timothy 2:23-26 – “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.”

Psalm 1:1-2 –  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

Test of Faith

James 2:19

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble.

What is true of biology is also true of faith:  If it is not growing, it’s probably dead.  If someone tells you, “I believe there is a God in heaven,” you can be sure that person is one of the following:

  • a Christian
  • a user of some devotional guide
  • an individual who attends church, or
  • none of the above. 

Pick an answer, and then let us look at a scripture in chapter 2.

James 2:19 – You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

Do you tremble at the awesome power and presence of God when you are out of line according to the Scriptures?  Do you fall under conviction at the reading of certain verses of the Bible when you know you don’t measure up?

James speaks out strongly against a “faith of God” that merely professes with the lips without practicing with the life.  You might summarize his book this way:  “If you believe as you should, why do you behave as you shouldn’t?”  We might say, “Your actions speak louder than words”, or “put your money where your mouth is.”   True faith is more than words or even profession.  It is a vital walk that shows God has truly invaded your life.  If you have truly been changed, your life will demonstrate that change and it will show that change as it “breathes” in unmistakable ways.  And that raises a timely question….

Since you trusted Christ as your Savior, how has your lifestyle changed in the troublesome areas of some of the following categories?  You don’t need to raise your hand or say Amen to any of these areas of questionable actions: 

  • prejudice
  • profanity
  • gossip
  • argumentative
  • giving to God in time, talent and finances
  • planning for the future
  • accepting unpleasant circumstances?

What is that one area that, with God’s help, you will move from being a hearer to a doer of God’s Word?

James 1:22 – But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves

Taking both of these scriptures into account, what is James trying to tell us?  I believe that he is trying to say “If you call yourself a Christian or a child of God, then you ought to act like it.  You ought to speak like it.  You ought to think like it.  You ought to dress like it.”

Does the Bible not say?

Romans 12:2 – 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.

Question:  James 2:19 states that demons tremble in the presence of Jesus. They did when He walked the face of this earth and they do when you invoke His mighty Name in prayer.  Did you know that when you are living an overcoming, consistent Christian life, you have the power to use the Name of Jesus in prayer and temptation must go?  Most who call themselves Christian, live shallow, inconsistent lives of continually falling into sins they seemingly have no control over.  The truth and answer to this dilemma is simply that they fail to obtain victory because they do not know the privilege of using the King of Glory’s Holy Name when they go to prayer.   Prayer is answered when you go to the Father in the Name of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit within you begins to His work.  

Just as a human body that fails to breathe is labeled a “dead body,” so too a faith that fails to “breathe” is labeled a “dead faith.”  And the breath of faith in the Christian life is good works: demonstrating concern for the poor, controlling the tongue, exhibiting a spirit of humility, building up others.  If you think you have faith but there is no living demonstration of that faith in your life, James has news for you:  Your faith is worthless. True faith and good works cannot be divorced, for your life is the laboratory in which your faith is shown to be real.

James 4:2-3 – You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

There may come a time in your life when you wonder why you are not growing in your faith.  Or you might wonder why you do not ever have the opportunity to lead others to Christ.  When you ask yourself these kinds of questions, you may be able to answer them with another question:  “Have I asked God to help me in this area?”

Understand that this passage does not advocate that you “demand” things from God as though He were some “cosmic butler” prepared to answer your every beck and call.  Yet it is equally wrong to fail to ask Him to help meet your needs.  God wants to bless your life and spiritually strengthen you.  God wants to bless you because you are His child.  Unfortunately, many of us fail to receive all of what God has for us because we do not pray. 

Take a moment to look at your own spiritual progress.  Do you want to have a better understanding of the Bible?  Are you looking for some Christian friends?  Do you want the Lord to show you what your spiritual gifts and talents are?  God wants to bless you, but He may be just waiting for your invitation to do so.

While you do not need to change your lifestyle before you come to Christ, once you do come to Christ, your lifestyle should show tangible changes.  If it does not, then one could doubt whether Christ has really come into your life.  The way you live, act, think, should reflect what you believe. 

Luke 3:8 – Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance…

James brings out another important reason for backing up our faith with our actions in the following passage. 

James 3:13-17 – Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.  For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

When people see that we genuinely care about them as individuals, then they will be much more open to hearing about what motivates us.  Can people see Jesus in the way you live?  If not, it is time to move Jesus into the “driver’s seat” of your life.

I Have A Destiny

Ephesians 2:10-22

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

YOU ARE NOT OF THIS WORLD – YOU ARE A CITIZEN OF HEAVEN, OF ANOTHER KINGDOM

1 John 3:2-3 – “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 

Luke 20:38 – “For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.” 

Romans 6:8-14 – “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.   Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” 

            Verse 11 – dead to sin – alive to righteousness

            Verse 12 – sin no longer in control if you are alive in Christ

1 Corinthians 3:16 – “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

1 Corinthians 6:13-20 – “Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!  Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”  But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.  Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 

ONE SPIRIT – THE HOLY SPIRIT

  • If you are in Christ the Spirit of Christ lives in you
  • You are united in thought, action, and purpose with God!  You are the righteousness of Christ.
  • You are bought with a price

“Nor silver nor gold hath obtained my redemption.” 

  • I am redeemed, but not with silver
  • I am bought, but not with gold
  • I’m bought with the price – the blood of Jesus.
  • Oh precious price of love untold!

WALK IN THE SPIRIT, WALK IN THE TRUTH OF GOD

Galatians 5:16-17 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

WALK IN THE WORD OF GOD

Matthew 4:1-4 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple …

  • Know where the different books of the Bible are located
  • Know where the Beatitudes are located – and become familiar with them
  • Know the gifts of the Spirit
  • The Love chapter
  • The faith chapter

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 NOT ENOUGH TO TURN AWAY FROM SIN, BUT YOU MUST TURN TO GOD

  • No reservations
  • No regrets
  • No retreats

In Matthew 12 Jesus told the story of a man who was set free from demons.  However, he did nothing to fill his heart with good things and the demon returned bringing more with him.

Matthew 12:43-45 – “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

Get full of God/stay full of God.  Get so full of God there is NO ROOM for the devil.  You don’t have to worry about falling into sin when you are full of God. 

Romans 6:14 – “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” 

Sin shall have NO dominion over you.

Say NO to sin and YES to God!

Made Alive

Ephesians 2:1-6

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Jesus Christ’s work on the cross has made us alive.  Now we no longer walk in the culture and thinking of the world.  Now, unlike before, we walk in obedience to God’s Word.

  • Obedience is required:  

Psalm 66:18 – If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.

 But obedience according to whose standards:  Not by man-made rules and regulations.

  • Obedience to God’s standards.  

James 1:22 – “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” 

James 4:17 – “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

  • How do we know God’s standards?

Through His Word.

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

John 8:31-32 – So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

2 Timothy 3:15-16 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Through fellowship with other believers.

Hebrews 10:25 – not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Ephesians 4:11-13 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Through seeking God in prayer for guidance in your personal life.

James 1:5 — If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.

Proverbs 3:6 – In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Exhortations for a Life Pleasing to God

1 Thessalonians 5:14-23

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Warn those who are unruly
  • Comfort the fainthearted
  • Uphold the weak
  • Be patient with all
  • Do not return evil for evil
  • Pursue what is good
  • Rejoice always
  • Pray without ceasing
  • In everything give thanks
  • Do not quench the Spirit
  • Do not despise prophecies
  • Test all things
  • Hold fast to what is good
  • Abstain from all evil

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 2:19-26 – “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.  Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.  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.”

2 Timothy 4:1-5 – “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.  But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Titus 2:1-8 – “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:  that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;  the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.  Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 – “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.  For in fact the body is not one member but many.”  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?  But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.  And if they were all one member, where would the body be?  But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.  And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”

Warnings to Christians

2 Peter 1:16-21

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.  And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

In today’s culture there is so much false teaching, so many claiming to be speaking for God. Be careful! We were warned by the writers of the Gospel false teachers would come. Everything we hear must be held to the standard of God’s Word.

2 Peter 2:1-6 – But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.  For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

1 John 2:18-23 – Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.  But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies. And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.  (New Living Translation)

1 John 4:1-6 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.  You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

1 John 5:19 – We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

2 John 1:7-9 – I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son. (New Living Translation)

Jude 1:5-16 – So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great Day of Judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.  In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.  When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.  Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy onesto execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

What Kind of Person Are You?

2 Peter 3:1-13

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

  • What kind of man/woman are you?

Many things we read in the newspaper, magazines, see on television and hear people or even churches say about the end times are not accurate.  Many of them said nothing about Christ’s return for the church.  The people who are living for Christ, who have confessed their sins and are doing the best they can to walk, talk, act, and be what Jesus wants them to be.  These people will not have to worry about a lot of the calamities that are going to come upon the earth.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 – But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 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. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

  • So this Day should not overtake you

What day?  The Day of the Lord.  The catching away of the church to heaven.  Then comes the tribulation, the period of Revelation and all of its trouble, all of its times of difficulty.

  • What kind of man/woman are you?

If you are ready when the Lord comes, you do not have to worry about all these things

  • What kind of man/woman are you?
  • God’s Word is true
    • If God’s Word says it is going to take place, it will.
    • First thing on the agenda, regardless of when these things will begin, be ready.  Confess your sins. 
    • Live right
  • According to the Word
    • Not what seems okay
    • Not what is convenient
    • Live right to the Word of God
  • Then, when Christ comes as a thief in the night, you do not have to worry.
  • What kind of man/woman are you?

You are taking a math class.  You know the test is coming.  You skip most of the classes.  When you do attend, you do not listen to the teacher.  You do not do any of the assignments.  Are you going to pass the test?

You skip going to church.  When you are there, you do not listen to the preacher.  You do not do any of the assignments (read, pray, confess your sins, live right).  Are you going to be with Christ?

  • What kind of man/woman are you?

When your kids do not do their homework, you encourage them, you discipline them, and you may even raise your voice. 

“I’m telling you NOW – get right with God!”

Matthew 24:36-44 – But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

  • What kind of man/woman are you?

One Gospel

Galatians 1:6-10

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

THE GOSPEL – WHAT IS IT?

  • The Bible, God’s Word and His message is not “a gospel,” and not “one of many gospels.”  It is THE GOSPEL!
  • Old adage:  “If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it must be a duck.”  Just because it looks like the truth, sounds like the truth, and is dressed up in religious garb doesn’t mean it is the truth.  
  • It is NOT TRUE that it really doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere.  IT DOES MATTER: 

Revelations 22:18-19 – For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Deuteronomy 4:2 – You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

John 14:6 – Jesus said to them, I am the way the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.

Ephesians 4:4-6 –  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

John 10:16 – And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

OTHER SO CALLED GOSPELS:

  • Moslem – The Moslems have a book called the Koran.  Their founder was Mohammed and they call their God Allah.  Allah and our Heavenly Father, the First Person of the Blessed Trinity, are not one and the same.  Allah, according to the Bible definition, is an idol god.  They have a collection of writings, or a holy book to the followers of that faith, it is called the Koran; but IT IS NOT THE GOSPEL!
  • Buddhist – Buddhism has a book of the writings of Buddha (not a brother of Jesus Christ as some would suppose).  Their book is called the Bhagavad Ghita.  IT IS NOT THE GOSPEL.
  • Jehovah’s Witness – The father of the Watchtower Society, or Jehovah’s Witness as we know them, devised a book much like the King James Version of the Bible.  It is not an accurate translation, nor is it a version of the Bible that we can base our lives on for it is in great error.  Its errors are there deliberately to defend and promote the thinking of the warped mind that fashioned it.  Without careful scrutiny it appears to be just like the King James Version but certain scriptural passages are changed to promote the false doctrine that it is.  IT IS NOT THE GOSPEL.
  • LDS – The LDS, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormons, have a book called The Book of Mormon.  They also have other writings with various names including The Pearl of Great Price and they refer to The Book of Mormon as another Gospel.  It is in error based on the writings of one man Joseph Smith who was a bigamist with over 30 wives and is supposedly based on information provided by the Angel Moroni.  No proof of which has ever been substantiated.  It is not the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • In the 2008 Presidential primary of the Republican Party, Mr. Huckabee stated “The Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers.”  Of course, it caused uproar from many, especially the Romney supporters.  It backfired on Mr. Huckabee so he made an apology to smooth ruffled feathers because of “political incorrect statements.”  Only one minor problem.  Mormons do believe and teach Jesus and Satan are brothers.  Are you surprised that a politician would do something like “the truth is not really the truth even though it is the truth?”  No wonder we are all fed up with politicians.

Galatians 1:8-9 – But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

  • Christian Science teaches that you do not get sick…it’s all in your mind…  I suppose that Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this organization must only think she got sick and died.  I do not know about you but when the Word of God declares “I am the Lord Thy God which healeth thee.” must be some kind of indicator that we get sick from time to time.  Otherwise, why the need of a Healer?
  • The Gospel of Self Sufficiency – My Gospel – It’s all about my interpretation and my thinking.  This kind of thinking is flawed.  Most of the time this kind of thinking is based on someone’s own justification for sinful acts or sinful lifestyle.  It’s based on the attitude “If it feels good – do it.”
  • Solomon and all his riches stated in Ecclesiastes 2:10-22 – “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.   I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.  There was no profit under the sun.” 

It is not your own private understanding of the Word of God for in II Peter 1:20 it states that “Knowing this first that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation.” 

  • IT IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK.  IT IS NOT WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN.  IT IS NOT WHAT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED…IT IS WHAT THUS SAITH THE LORD! 
  • REMEMBER THIS:  One ounce of arsenic in your thanksgiving turkey will kill you.  Following another gospel will separate you from a loving God for all eternity.  REMEMBER JIM JONES!

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

  • There is only one Gospel message where by men must be saved.  There is only one doctrine, one Lord, one Savior – Jesus Christ.
  • Hosea 13:4 – I am the Lord your God…and you shall know no God but Me; for there is no Savior besides Me.
  • Jesus Christ’s words and the Gospel He taught is the one and only Gospel.  It is the Gospel of Good News.  The gospel is this:
  • Jesus Christ left the splendor of heaven.  
  • Jesus Christ came in the form of sinful man, yet without sin.
  • Jesus Christ came as a servant.
  • Jesus Christ hung on the cross.
  • Jesus Christ gave His life for you and for me.
  • Jesus Christ defeated death.
  • Jesus Christ rose again from the grave.
  • Jesus Christ was victorious over death.

Jesus Christ’s message was the Gospel, the truth, the only Gospel.  It is our only hope.

Because He was victorious over death we have forgiveness of sin. 

Because He was victorious over death we have the hope of heaven. 

Because He was victorious over death we are victorious in life. 

Because He lives I live also. 

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus is the only Gospel

  • This Gospel is true.
  • This Gospel will stand the test of time.
  • This Gospel will never change.
  • This Gospel will never pass away.
  • This Gospel will never pass away.
  • This Gospel will guide my every step.
  • This Gospel is my rule for living.
  • This Gospel is my daily comfort.
  • This Gospel is my only hope.
  • This Gospel is the sum total of God’s love for all mankind and for all time.

This Gospel is summed up in one verse that most church going folks have learned at an early age:  

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.