Tags

,

Bible Ballistics: Vol. 7 No. 14 Armor NOT Armaments!!!

I am crucified with Christ:

nevertheless I live;

yet not I,

but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live

in the flesh

I live by the faith

of the Son of God,

who loved me,

and gave himself for me.”    Galatians 2:20

While this is the same verse that we started with last week, it isn’t the same focus or emphasis, but rather a call to remember whose we are! If I belong to Jesus, then I am to “BE” crucified to myself and living for the Jesus to whom I belong. But not just living ‘for’ Him in the sense of giving a bit of my time, but realizing and truly yielding my all—body, mind and soul—for HIM to live through—“but Christ liveth in me”! A life that can only be lived in the power, presence and “the faith of the Son of God” who poured out His own life’s blood for MY sin. What can I rightly and legitimately refuse to yield to Him? I can think of nothing! Why? Because HE is the one “who loved me, and gave himself for me”!!!

What?

know ye not

that your body

is the temple of the Holy Ghost

which is in you,

which ye have of God,

and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price:

therefore glorify God

in your body,

and in your spirit,

which are God’s.”    1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Today we have often reduced the “Gospel” message to a heavenly ‘slot machine’ mentality—you pay a quarter, call on Jesus’ name, and ‘poof’ you have your ticket to heaven with no other obligation or responsibility toward God. NOT!!! Scripture is replete with the call to “BOW” before the LORD JESUS CHRIST—that’s LORD—the one I come to in abject desperation, knowing that only the blood of the LORD JESUS CHRIST can save me from sin, death and hell!!! Only Jesus! That only the LORD JESUS CHRST was, is and ever shall be the SON OF GOD who IS LORD of all and He demands the ‘God-ship’ in the relationship! I must get off the throne of my heart before I can invite the LORD JESUS CHRIST into my heart. There is only ONE throne! There can be only ONE LORD sitting on that throne! And that will be the LORD JESUS CHRIST or ME/YOU!!! It can’t be both. A car can have only one driver, and can follow only one set of directions. Yet we have often watered down the ‘Gospel’ and led people to believe that they can come to “Jesus”, put in your quarter/His name, and expect that you can enter heaven with a dictatorial, demanding perspective of heaven. Well in a word—NOT now, NOT then, NOT ever. Either you “bow” before the LORD Jesus Christ now and trust to HIS exclusive ability to save you here and now; or you will BOW before THE LORD/KING JESUS CHRIST in the time of judgment. And there will be one!

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”   John 14:6

Only ONE way—and that is to come to Jesus in repentance and faith, believing that He died for YOUR sin, that He was buried, and raised the 3rd day, according to the scriptures, for OUR sin! So that we might have life and not death!!!

I am the door:

by me

if any man enter in,

he shall be saved,

and shall go in and out,

and find pasture.

10 The thief cometh not,

but for to steal,

and to kill,

and to destroy:

I am come that they might have life,

and that they might have it more abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd:

the good shepherd giveth his life

for the sheep.” John 10:9-11

HE gave HIS life for you, if you will but come to Him! But if you refuse and/or neglect to hear HIS voice as HE is calling to you. You will still bow before HIM, but for judgment rather than salvation, because “every knee shall bow”!! In speaking of Jesus, Paul clearly reminds us:

And being found in fashion as a man,

he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,

and given him a name

which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

of things in heaven,

and things in earth,

and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue

should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”    Philippians 2:8-11

And there is a day coming when every one who ever lived and rejected Christ, whether by willful rejection or negligent disregard, will give an account!!!

And I saw a great white throne,

and him that sat on it,

from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away;

and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead,

small and great,

stand before God;

and the books were opened:

and another book was opened,

which is the book of life:

and the dead were judged

out of those things which were written

in the books, according to their works. 1

And the sea

gave up the dead which were in it;

and death and hell

delivered up the dead which were in them:

and they were judged

every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell

were cast into the lake of fire.

This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written

in the book of life

was cast into the lake of fire.”    Revelation 20:12-15

Death is real! Hell/The Lake of Fire is hot! And eternity is long! There is opportunity in this life alone to trust Jesus and be saved from our sins. But without Jesus blood applied to our sin, and our name being written in His Lamb’s Book of Life, we will spend eternity away from God, in that place of torment forever—there are no second chances after death!

But what does all this have to do with our title, “Armor NOT Armaments”? Well, I’ll tell you. When we belong to Jesus we’re not just headed for heaven, we are on a journey to heaven and we are in ‘enemy’ territory in this life, while we are in a body of flesh on planet earth. But God didn’t leave us unprotected or without resources, He has given us not only His Holy Spirit dwelling within true believers, but He has given us His Word and His Armor to utilize as we walk through hostile territory, and believe me we are in “HOSTILE” territory and if Jesus delays His return, the hostility will become greater still.

What I’d like us to consider is how we deal with the hostility. While I am firmly in favor of the “right to bear arms”, I am concerned that many Christians today are more focused on protecting that “right” than living for Jesus and depending on HIS ARMOR rather than the armaments that they are amassing! Oh, did I really say that? Am I trampling on “sacred” ground? The Lord knows, and time will tell. Let’s consider what scripture calls us to. I’ll just share the scripture and make a few comments—you must read the Word of God, consider what it says, and choose your response. Don’t “shoot the messenger”! Please? (Pun intended!)

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” Matthew 26:52-54

And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” Luke 22:35-38

Here we have Jesus telling us that “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword”, yet I believe He isn’t telling us it’s wrong to defend oneself or to do one’s civil duty as military personnel do, but He is telling us that the sword is never to be taken to do “God’s” work, and Jesus was doing God’s work in this contextual time and place. When we look at the passage in Luke, Jesus advises them that there are times when they may need to defend their physical person. The thing I believe we must consider is the context of both passages—we are not to “depend” on the physical, but on the spiritual power that God has given us and that is the “Armor of God” and the “Word of God” and the “Spirit of God” who dwells within each and every child of God. We are to remember to walk in His Spirit:

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh…….. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:14-16 & 24-25

If we will but walk in tune with the Spirit of Christ who is within us, and yield to His voice and direction, we will fulfill the laws, principles and desires of our Father God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Our dependence is to be on the Armor of God, not the ‘armaments’ of the world. There is nothing that I can find wrong with having arms/guns, but when our reliance is on these instead of the sovereign control of our God, we are out of balance. Just as there is nothing wrong with having security systems to protect our person and our possessions, they shouldn’t be where we place our confidence and ultimate trust!!! We are to trust in our God, His ability, and His Sovereign control in all things, after all, HE is trustworthy and totally omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent—always present, always all knowing, and always powerful. I believe it was Charles Stanley that I heard describe it as God isn’t everywhere like a spying camera, but that everywhere we are, GOD IS! Love it!!!

My help cometh from the Lord,

which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:

he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel

shall neither slumber nor sleep.”    Psalm 121:2-4

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

God is always there for His own. Even when we think He is far off, and we can’t hear His voice, or see His hand—He is there! And our great intercessor is always interceding for us.

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25

He not only saves us, He not only keeps us, but He is ever interceding for you and me. Praise God for His wondrous grace and mercy. I need Jesus, and I’m glad He’s always there!! Always. But there is a human side to this equation, we are to be diligent to have on the “Armor” of God, we are not to be nonchalant or flippant about life, it’s hard and we live in a very hostile world. A world that calls wrong right, and right wrong demands that we are diligent to have on the armor that God has provided. Realizing that while God fights for us, we must seek His face, know His Word and “suit up” in the armor that He provides.

Finally, my brethren,

be strong in the Lord,

and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God,

that ye may be able to stand

against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,

but against principalities,

against powers,

against the rulers of the darkness of this world,

against spiritual wickedness

in high places.

13 Wherefore

take unto you the whole armour of God,

that ye may be able to withstand

in the evil day,

and having done all,

to stand.

14 Stand therefore,

having your loins girt about with truth,

and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod

with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith,

wherewith ye shall be able to quench

all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation,

and the sword of the Spirit,

which is the word of God:

18 Praying always

with all prayer

and supplication

in the Spirit,

and watching thereunto

with all perseverance

and supplication

for all saints;” Ephesians 6:10-18

So let’s share a little practical help on this armor so that we can all remember to put it on every day. I try to pray it on every morning before I get out of bed—when your feet hit the ground, you need to be ready for the battle with your:

Belt of Truth—Jesus is truth, and He holds all the other pieces of armor in place (in fact you’ll see HE is the armor!):

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

Breastplate of Righteousness—It’s Jesus righteousness given to cover me that is the defense, for my own righteousness is “as filthy rags”:

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace—Not only the “peace of God which passeth all understanding”, but “peace with God”, being reconciled to Him and no longer being His enemy. It is the Good News that Jesus saves, redeems and restores us to a place of “peace with God” rather than being His enemy. Our footprints should leave the message of that Good News everywhere we go!!

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:…But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:1 & 8-10

Shield of Faith—Above all we are to take this shield of faith. That means that every thing that comes as me I am to take through eyes of faith! I am to know that God has it all and that my “faith” is pleasing to God, for without it I can’t even know Him. But when I know Jesus, He is my shield and my defender!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:1 & 6

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…..” Hebrews 12:2a

Helmet of Salvation—The battleground is the mind! I must keep my mind on Jesus and His sufficient grace, power and strength. Remember verse 10, “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might”, it’s all about HIS power not mine. His power to use my frailties to bring Him glory.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” Philippians 2:5-6 (The mind of Christ is always on God and humble in Spirit)

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

Sword of the Spirit/Word of God—The Word of God is that which sustains our Spirit. It is God’s love letter to our hearts and minds, and to know it is to love it, but we must read it, study it, believe it and practice it for it to accomplish it’s full work in us. It is our only offensive weapon. And we are to always use it while “Praying always”, as it is our protection, and strength and our judge and plumb line!

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:12-13

I hope you noticed that the “belt” that we are to have our “loins girt about” with, is what holds it all together, because if I have girt on the “truth” I will already have on the “breastplate” of His righteousness, therefore my feet can be shod with the same salvation, and I will leave footprints as I go. I am also to use the shield as my defense against the onslaughts of the enemy, putting on that helmet to protect my mind, while knowing my only “offensive” weapon, the Word of God, is at the ready. And to have it ready, I must do as the Psalmist did:

““Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm119:11

I hope this will help you be armored and ready for the battle that is at hand, and that you will remember that whether you are “armed” or not with the “armaments” of the world or not, God is your defender and  “the joy of the Lord is your strength. Keep that armor on, and be ready for the fray, for the days are at hand. May God open your eyes and ears to see and know truth—Jesus IS truth, and He will lead you in it if you will but follow HIM!