May 18, 2014
John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
Amidst the sin, evil, and brokenness of life, Paul tells us that we can be “strong in the Lord” because our God is “mighty” in power (Ephesians 6:10). Our job is to take and hold ground for God’s kingdom “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph.6:12)
God provides the armor (Eph.6:13); each piece we receive from God. Then we go forth with Him to the battles, e.g.: wrestling with temptation, conflict, doubt.
Three Pieces of the Armor of God
I. The Breastplate of righteousness (Eph. 6:14)
The breastplate is to protect our vital organs. Once protected, we can step forth to do what is right: both right “being” and right “doing”. When you do something wrong, you open yourself up to all kinds of damage which only expands into more damage for your self and those around you.
II. Shoes with readiness to make peace (Eph. 6:15)
Roman shoes were “fitted”, tied under like cleats, ready for action. Shoes are fit with readiness to make peace, breaking down walls of hostility with one another.
We need to be eager to reconcile with others, even taking the initiative. Making peace protects us from spiritual damage. Satan especially loves it when Christians turn on each other. Resolve conflict! Strife damages us.
III. The Shield of Faith (Eph. 6:16)
The shield of faith extinguishes the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). It encourages us to believe in God’s goodness. Our part, our “doing” is believing in God’s goodness, no matter what adversity or pain is shot at us. There is great temptation to give into fear, exhaustion, etc. We must take our eyes off our circumstances and truly believe in God’s goodness.
We already know to do what is right. The problem is doing it! What is it that actually enables us to put on the armor and do what we know is right?
It is the Gospel, the story that the world is broken and only Jesus can fix it. He gave His life for ours through obedience, death, and resurrection. The Gospel we receive makes it possible for us to do.
As Christians, we willingly exchange our life daily for Jesus’ life. Only then can and will His Spirit change and transform us to be more like Him. When I am reconciled to God, I want to forgive others and pursue peace. The Gospel itself makes us believe in God’s goodness. Indeed, God shows his goodness when He uses ultimate ugliness (Jesus’ death) to make ultimate beauty (Jesus’ resurrection).
Where is the battle in life for me now? Meditate on the Gospel, put on the armor of God, and step forth with Him…..