The Armor of God, Part 1: Truth
Posted on 03/11/2012 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
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I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE
I love to be in your presence
with your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
lift my hands and raise my voice
You set my feet to dancing
you fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice,
EVEN THE MOUNTAINS
We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high
Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name
I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above
BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL
Bless the Lord O my soul
and all that is within me
bless his holy name
For he has done great things
he has done great things
he has done great things
He's so good to me
He saved my soul
he saved my soul
he saved my soul
He's so good to me
He is coming soon
he is coming soon
he is coming soon
Bless his holy name
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
Last week, we talked about demons and evil spirits, and saw that they are not necessarily the same thing. We read from Ephesians chapter six, and saw that our real battle isn't against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.
This passage is frequently taught as referring completely to demonic entities; but does that mean that if, for example, we get in a disagreement with someone, and we are tempted to say something we shouldn't, that a demon is sitting on our shoulder whispering in our ear?
Well, James 1:14 (NKJV) says this:
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
And I wanted to start off today by pointing this out, since I mis-spoke at the end of last Sunday's message, and I made it sound as though demons are our ultimate battle. They're not. Yes, they do tempt people and try to control their actions and choices; but even then, they are playing on the person's own desires, and using those desires to entice them.
So while our battle IS against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places, other passages of Scripture, combined with a little bit of common sense, would tell us that not all of these things are necessarily demons.
However, regardless of what these things are, the way to fight and overcome them is the same.
Let's read last week's passage again. Ephesians chapter six, verses 10 through 18:
Ephesians 6:10-18 (KMV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, so you may be able to stand against the deceitful trickery 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 For this reason, put on the whole armor of God, so you 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 you will 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, being attentive to this, with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
This says that we should put on the whole armor of God for this reason: that we may be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil.
That's interesting, don't you think? Of all the threats we'd expect from the devil, this doesn't mention sickness or disease, it doesn't mention poverty or loss of property, it doesn't mention harm done to our friends and loved ones.
We SHOULD pray for health, we should pray for provision, we should pray for our friends and our family. But this passage is talking about armor, and armor will not protect us from these things, just as prayer alone will not protect us from that which only the armor can prevent; and what is that one thing that prayer alone cannot protect us from? It is the deceitful trickery of the devil.
Now don't get me wrong, prayer is very important. It is vital. And verse 18 says that through all of this, we are to be very watchful that we pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
But prayer alone is not sufficient. This says that the only way we will be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil is to put on the whole armor of God.
How many people have you known who say they talk to God every day, and have a close relationship with Jesus, and yet they are badly deceived? Perhaps they are living a sinful lifestyle of drunkenness, adultery, or homosexuality, things the Bible clearly says exclude us from the kingdom of God, and yet they are convinced they are right with God and have an ongoing dialog with him and are on their way to heaven.
Well, people like this have fallen to the deceitful trickery of the devil. They did not put on the whole armor of God every day, and now are under satan's spell of deception and delusion.
So, whatever this armor of God is, it must be pretty powerful, and it must be pretty important. After all, without it, you will not be able to keep standing against the deceitful trickery of the devil, and that could even result in walking away from the Faith, and the eternal consequences such a choice would bring.
Not only does this say that the whole armor of God will enable you to stand, it also says that the whole armor of God will enable you to stand AGAINST the deceitful trickery of the devil.
Have you ever known someone had fallen for satan's tricks, or seen or heard that deception being taught to others, but not known how to stand up against it?
Well, the whole armor of God will enable you to not not only stand and not be deceived yourself, but will also enable you to stand AGAINST the deceitful trickery of the devil, and raise up a standard of truth and spiritual vision. It's that good. It's that powerful.
I think sometimes we try to battle deception with logic. I know I do. And reason is NOT a bad thing, God created it and gave us the power of intellect to use; but we shouldn't depending on it. After all, we don't wrestle against arguments. We don't wrestle against intellect. We don't wrestle against common sense.
Instead, verse twelve says that we wrestle against principalities. We wrestle against powers. We wrestle against the rulers of the darkness of this world. And we wrestle against spiritual wickedness in high places.
These things are not flesh and blood. It's not people who ultimately deceive us -- they are only vessels who themselves have fallen to the deceitful trickery of the devil.
Rather, it is principalities, spiritual powers, rulers of this world's darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places.
Do you think that Islaam or Bhudism or Mysticism are just other paths to God? Then you have already fallen to the deceitful trickery of the devil, and hopefully today you will start the daily, moment-by-moment lifestyle of putting on the whole armor of God.
Do you think that you were born with weaknesses to certain sins and therefore that's the way God wants you to live, and you can live a lifestyle of stealing, cheating, fornicating, or committing homosexual acts, and still have a relationship with God and get into heaven? Then you have already fallen to the deceitful trickery of the devil, and I pray that today the Holy Spirit will remove the veil from your eyes and you will be set free to walk daily in the whole armor of God.
And are you wearing the whole armor of God every day? Not just some of the time, but all the time? And not just some of the armor, but all of the armor? If not, then chances are pretty high you have already fallen for some of the deceitful trickery of the devil, and you have been losing battles, seen or unseen, with principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.
So let's really dig into the Word of God concerning the whole armor of God, until each piece is real and alive to us, and we grasp hold of what it means to put on the whole thing, and apply it to all of our lives.
In today's passage, we see eight things mentioned, and whether we can get to all eight today or we have to continue next week, those eight things are as follows:
The Word of God
Praying Always (and)
The first six are the pieces of the armor. The seventh bathes the other and helps to apply them to our lives. And the eighth ensures they all stay in place, protecting us and enabling us to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil.
And the first piece of the armor of God is Truth.
It's interesting that Truth is the first piece of the armor mentioned. Of course it makes sense, considering it's supposed to enable us to stand against deceitful trickery. But some of us in the Church today would have put Faith first. Or Salvation. Or even prayer.
But the Holy Spirit directed the writing of God's Word in this particular order for a reason. Just as the second part of the Ten Commandments seem to list sins from most severe to least -- Murder, adultery, stealing, false testimony, and coveting -- so the armor of God is listed in a particular order for a particular reason.
And while that reason may or may not be an order of strength, it just might be an order of importance.
So when the list begins with Truth, we should take notice.
In much of the Church today, Truth has been pushed to the back burner, or has been redefined as something that is relative to the individual or the situation or the time in which we live.
It's no wonder the devil attacks Truth, for it's our first line of defense against his deceitful trickery. Without Truth, we are wide open to being deceived.
Now, it's interesting to note where we wear Truth. All the parts of the armor are presented as being applied to a certain part of the body, just as physical armor is worn to protect certain parts.
And when we think of Truth, we generally think of our heads, or perhaps our hearts. But that's not where this word picture paints Truth.
Instead, Truth is described as a belt, and we gird it about our loins.
Now, the loins refers to the area around the waist. The Hebrews believed it was the area from which the reproductive elements flowed. It also is the area which holds some vital organs, including the kidneys, the liver, and the pancreas, organs which are vital for cleaning the blood, turning glucose from digested food into energy for battle, and other functions that are necessary for us to live.
The belt might have also held extra protection for the reproductive organs. Take note here that when a Christian is poisoned spiritually in that area, he or she might still be able to reproduce. We see this in Matthew chapter 23 and verse 1, where Jesus says this:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you travel around sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." (KMV)
So even though they did not have the Truth, even though they had rejected the Truth, namely Jesus, they were not sterile. They still gave birth to spiritual children. The only problem was that, not having their loins girded with the protective belt of truth, their spiritual seed was poisoned, and they produced stillborn offspring, born under the shadow of the deceitful trickery of the devil.
The belt also might hold weapons, such as daggers, and may connect with the sheath which holds the sword. Later today or some time very soon, we'll talk about the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; but the belt is an important part of keeping the Word of God safe and available for fighting the right battles.
Have you ever known people who can quote verse after verse, but they do not have the truth? Even if you are holding the sword of the Word of God, if you are not wearing the belt of truth, the enemy can use your own sword, the very Scriptures, to poison your offspring and to inflict great damage on your spirit man.
And it's interesting to notice that a belt, when not being worn, forms a line. It has a beginning and it also has an end. But when the belt is fastened around your waist, it is a never-ending circle.
I think sometimes we approach truth as a line. Once we get to the end of it, we think we've arrived. We accept a doctrine, and hold fast to it even if it disagrees with other parts of Scripture.
The idea that a woman is commanded by God to always zip her lips in Church is one such doctrine. But when the belt is worn, the pursuit of truth does not end when we think we have it all figured out. Rather, we'll keep on humbly studying the Word of God; and when we see examples of women in Scripture who were ordained of God to hold authority over men, or prophecy over men, or hold some other position of authority in the Church, the belt of truth is girded about our waist. We have not taken it off. And it is an unbroken circle.
Another thing the belt does is to keep your pants up. I don't mean anything inappropriate by this, but there are too many people in the body of Christ today with their pants down. And they keep on tripping over them. They're bloodied up from falling so much, and they often are convinced that it's impossible to overcome the sin that so easily besets them.
And if any of you identify with this, then before you leave here today, stand still in the presence of the Lord, and gird your loins with the belt of Truth.
Some Christian leaders loosen their belts in an effort to be "seeker friendly." So they refuse to have a doctrinal statement because, according to them, "doctrine doesn't really matter." But because they are loose with the belt of truth, their pants are down, and while they think they are tollerant and "with the times," they are spiritually put to shame.
And to those who have been lax with the truth and have loosened it for whatever reason, I would entreat you to gird your loins with the belt of truth; tighten it up, baggy britches, and let's be good soldiers, wearing the whole armor of God, polished and properly fitted, so we are able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil.
Know what you believe, believe what the Bible says, and what the Bible says, work dilligently to know. Without it, you have no real truth, you cannot stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil, and you're going to be caught with your pants down. But with it, you will be able to stand, and will lead others to be children of the King.
In John 8:31-32, Jesus says this:
31 ..."If you continue in My word, then you are truly My disciples;
32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
How do we know the truth? By continuing in God's Word. The word used for "continue" can also be translated as "abide, remain, to journey, to not depart, to continue to be present, to be held or kept continually, to not perish, to last, to endure."
But some of us can quote Oprah better than the Bible. We continue in this or that idea, or we journey on this or that path, or we continue to be present for this or that "entertaining" and "feel-good" pseudo truth. But there is only one true spiritual belt, and that is the only true spiritual truth; namely Jesus, the Word of God.
Of course this crosses blades with the the sixth part of the armor, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and we'll talk about that later. But what's so interesting about that, is that the armor begins and ends with the Word of God. The Word of God is Jesus, who is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the one who was, and who is, and who is to come.
He is our foundation, the one who keeps us from being brought to shame.
He is our protection, the one who keeps our spiritual vital organs and that part of us which creates spiritual children and disciples from being poisoned by the enemy.
He is the one who holds the Sword of the Spirit close to our side where we can wage war with it at a moment's notice.
Are your loins girded with the Truth?
You know, we could almost say the belt of Truth is made out of a vine. And here's what I mean by that.
In John 15:5-8, Jesus says this:
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, brings forth much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.
6 If a man does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch, and withers; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you will, and it will be done for you.
8 In this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.
So what does it mean to "abide in Jesus?" What does it mean to have the truth wrapped around your waist? How can we daily gird our loins with the belt of truth so we can stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil?
Perhaps it will help us understand an important part of what this means by considering that Jesus both walks with us and also leads us. If you're leading someone, you are walking with them only as long as they are walking with you. If they want to wander off the path or go somewhere you are not leading, they are not "abiding" with you.
So how do we abide in Jesus and keep our loins girded with the belt of truth? We study the Word, we meditate upon it, we put it to memory; and then we walk in it.
When you wear a belt, you are "in" it; it surrounds you. If you go one way and the belt goes another, you're no longer "in" the belt, and it no longer surrounds you.
And to add to that, if you live in "some" of the truth, but choose to not walk in some part of it you don't like, then your belt is not fastened, and you are not walking in the truth; you are not abiding in the Vine.
That's the Word of God, and it says the same thing to all of us. If we want any hope of standing against the deceitful trickery of the enemy, we have to gird our loins with the belt of truth; the whole truth, not just the parts we like; the unending truth, not just a line with a decisive end; and the whole Word of God, not just the parts we like, or even just the parts we know.
Which brings us to a final point about this first part of the armor: walking in the truth, abiding in the Vine, isn't limited to what we already know or what we already understand. It is an ongoing pursuit of truth, daily studying and meditating upon the Word of God, reading it for ourselves and girding our waist with it by fastening it around us, which we do by obeying it and living by it.
God doesn't expect us to memorize the entire Bible and perfectly understand the meaning of every single verse. But if we are to continue in Jesus' words, to abide in the truth, to persist and endure in it, then we should realize that today, there is something for you in the Word of God that you don't have yet.
You may read things in Scripture that you think you already understand and know by heart, but the Word of God will not return void; it will accomplish that for which it has been sent. And, perhaps even years later, the unperceived mana deposited within you today may be the very thing you need down the road, the only thing that will enable you to stand against some deceitful trick of the devil.
And it won't happen by accident. Whether you get what you need from the Scriptures is NOT left up to chance. When we do our part by reading God's word and searching for the truth, the Holy Spirit will do His part by leading us and opening our eyes to exactly what we need at this place and time in our lives.
One thing I almost forgot to mention that the belt does is this: the belt holds your cell phone. Of course in Bible times it didn't, simply becaue the cell phones were bigger and had to be kept in the chariots. But the Bible tells us, in John chapter 4 and verse 24, "God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." (KMV)
You see, truth is even an important part of the communication, the communion, with God called worship. And what does worship include? Everything. We should worship God with our songs. We should worship God with our words. We should worship God with our actions. We should worship God with our attitudes. We should worship God with our relationships. We should worship God with what we do on the weekends.
And to worship God, we MUST worship him both in spirit and in Truth.
Are your loins girded with the belt of truth today?
We're not going to have time to go into the other parts of the armor today, but I believe we now have a really good foundation in place, and we'll continue this topic next week.
Let's go ahead and close today's service with a time of prayer, worship, seeking, surrender, and ministry.
And I'd like to ask you today: are you walking in the truth? Are you abiding in the Vine? Do you have the belt of truth firmly encircling every part of your ideas, your perceptions, your outlook on life, your politics, your beliefs, and your actions? Have you been dilligently strengthening your belt by daily studying God's Word? Have you been walking in all the truth from Scripture that you know, and have you been adding to that knowledge dilligently and with purpose?
If you'd like to dedicate yourself to either start or to continue actively pursuing Truth, then you're invited to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front.
*** listen to the audio to hear the closing ***