Morning Musing: Ephesians 6:14-18 (Part 3)

“Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit–which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For much of the last week now we have been unpacking Paul’s description of the armor of God together. This is the protection afforded us as followers of Jesus in the great spiritual battle we are engaged in with the powers of this world. We first clarified that the battle is not against the people around us. They are never our enemies. We’ve also settled the fact that our primary task is resistance to the enemy’s attacks. Then, for the past couple of days, we have examined each of the pieces of armor themselves. We are covered from head to toe by the various spiritual blessings available to us when we are found in Christ. We even have an offensive tool in God’s Spirit which is accessed through His word. This is all well and good, but if we are in a battle, that implies we are occasionally going to have to do some fighting. We are tasked with advancing God’s kingdom which means moving forward into enemy held territory. The enemy is not going to simply give up the ground it is holding and walk away. The question that has been hanging over the top of all of the conversation we’ve been having is this: How do we actually fight? This morning as we wrap up this short series, I’m going to seek to answer that question for you. Let’s dig into it.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 6:14-18 (Part 2)

“Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit–which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We are in the midst of a conversation about the armor of God that Paul describes at the tail end of his letter to the Ephesian church. In the first part (here), we looked at the background of the battle for which we need this armor. Our battle is not against people. Ever. And our tactics are to be focused on resistance, not being offensive. We hold ground God has won and advance the kingdom by the means of love. Yesterday, then, we started talking about the armor itself. We covered the first three pieces–the belt (truth), breastplate (righteousness), and footwear (the Gospel of peace). This morning, let’s look at the next three pieces.

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Digging in Deeper: Ephesians 6:11-13

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Following Jesus in this world is to become acquainted with battle. This is because following Jesus means advancing the kingdom of God while living in the kingdom of this world. Advancing the kingdom of one ruler from within the kingdom of another is asking for a fight. And indeed, a fight is what we will face if we do it consistently and well. That means when you sign up to follow Jesus, you are signing up to be a warrior. One thing every warrior needs is armor. Armor protects you and allows you to sustain attacks that would otherwise wipe you out. Because the battle we are in as followers of Jesus is not like other battles, though, neither can our armor be. Let’s talk this morning about our armor and the nature of our battle.

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Morning Musing: Mark 10:32

“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever gone into an experience you knew was going to be a battle? How’d you feel? If you’re at all like me, you felt almost more things than you could process at one time. Your mind was racing. Your heart was beating fast. Your senses generally were heightened. Your stomach was churning. Your body was sweating. Your veins were flowing with adrenaline as you anticipated what was to come. You felt a mixture of fear and excitement that really didn’t make sense and you couldn’t have explained to anyone else. In short, you were ready for battle. As Jesus made clear He was heading for Jerusalem, the disciples and others who were following Him were ready for battle. So was Jesus. The battle He was preparing to fight, though, was not the same one they were expecting. Let’s take a look at this and see what it might mean for us.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 5:2-5

“As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him. He lived in the tombs, and no one was able to restrain him anymore–not even with a chain–because he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We’ve talked before about the interest people have long had in the spiritual world and specifically the demonic. There is enough out there that is nothing more than wishful thinking and unhelpful. When we encounter real information in the Scriptures, then, it is worth our time to try and learn what we can from it. When Jesus and the disciples arrived in Gentile territory they were met by a demon-possessed man. Let’s talk about how Mark describes this scene.

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