The manufacturer, Second Chance Body Armor Inc., has notified hundreds of police departments that it has stopped selling two widely used models of vests after random tests showed that the core material was degrading before their five-year warranties expired. This disclosure came after a law suite. When you're dealing with something as serious as bulletproof vests what margin of error is acceptable? When you got someone shooting at you, you want to know that the armor you're wearing is actually going to work, right?”
Last week we learned that whether we know it or not; like it or not all believers from the moment of salvation are engaged in spiritual war. The enemy has a plan to destroy lives. He never takes a break. He works round the clock. The enemy is busy round the clock aiming at believers with his deceptive schemes. The bible calls them “the flaming missiles.” How can we protect ourselves from the enemy’s attacks?
Let’s read Ephesians 6:10-17.Today we are going to explore the full armor of God. One thing we can be absolutely assured of -- this armor will hold up in the heat of all spiritual battles. What is the significance of the armor? What defensive and offensive weapons will aid us in the fight? What assurance do we have in the battle?
In the passage we read the apostle Paul training the believers, to recognize that the nature of the war is not earthly but spiritual. The battle lines are drawn in the spiritual realm. Vs 12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Some times we mistake people as our enemies, no doubt they could be used as the agents of the devil but our real enemy is not people but the devil and his fallen angels. Since most of our fight does not happen on earth, we can not win this battle fighting in worldly ways, such as “Tit for Tat” or taking revenge, and paying back evil for evil or insult for insult, on the contrary spiritual war is waged by different principles, practices and weapons. II Corinthians 10:3-4, explains the nature of those weapons, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
The strongholds here mean arguments, opinions against the knowledge of God and the plan of salvation through His Son. The divine weapons are powerful to demolish them. In other words nothing that sets itself against God can survive.
In any physical war soldiers know the importance of the armor. They never put themselves in combating situations without the armor because their life or death depends on the armor. Therefore they spend a great deal in studying and understanding the defensive and the offensives weapons, and go through rigorous training with the armor before they ever engage in combat.
It works the same way in a spiritual war. Similarly, provision is made in the Word of God for the assaults of Satan from all directions. Let’s explore the weapons in our combat gear?
I. WEAPONS FOR THE
(Vs 13:17) BATTLE
Using the Roman Soldier's armor as a visual example, (power point) the Apostle Paul describes the Armor of God in the book of Ephesians as both a defense and an offensive weapon. The full armor of God consist of six weapons: three were considered defensive: breast plate, shield and helmet. Two are considered offensive: sword and shoes. One is neutral: loin belt (girdle). We will study them one by one in depth. Today we will talk about the “Belt of Truth.”
II. THE BELT OF TRUTH: (14a)
Vs 14a, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.. in the literal translation, it reads, “having girded your loins” After all, when we think of the armor of a soldier, we immediately think of the breastplate, that covered their vital organs, the helmet that protected their head, the shield which helped fend off the attacks of the enemy. Maybe we think of the sword, a vital part of the armor for defense and counter-attacks. But few of us ever think much about the belt. How important is that?
Interestingly, Paul puts it very first on the list! This means it is one of the most important pieces. Why the belt? What purpose did the belt serve for a Roman soldier? What purpose does the belt of truth serve for us? A Roman soldier’s belt was a multi purpose one, the belt held everything in place. It held the tunics they wore under their armor. It kept the breastplate tight and secure around the soldier, and kept it from banging against his chest when in battle, and the belt also held a sheath for his sword or dagger.
A soldier without a belt amounts to nothing in the battle field in the same way believers can not hold the armor together without the belt of truth. Satan is a master deceiver, after deceiving Eve into committing sin he has cleverly deceived so many people through his lies.
The world we live in teaches that truth is what we make of it, that good and bad are relative and that there are no absolutes, only equally valid opinions.
Ravi Zacharias shares the story of a man who used to go to work at a factory and every day would stop outside a clockmaker’s store to synchronize his watch with the clock outside? At the end of several days the clockmaker stopped him and said, “Excuse me, sir, I do have a question for you. I see that every day you stop and adjust your watch with my clock. What kind of work do you do?”
The man said, “I’m embarrassed to tell you this; I keep the time at the factory nearby, and I have to ring the bell at four o clock every afternoon when it is time for the people to go home. My watch doesn’t work very well, so I synchronize it with your clock.” The clockmaker says, “I’ve got bad news for you. My clock doesn’t work very well either, so I synchronize it with the bell that I hear from the factory at 4:00 every afternoon.” If you’ll pardon the grammar, what happens when two wrong watches correct themselves by each other? They will get wronger and wronger all the time."
In this world of conflicting opinions how do we know what the absolute truth is so that we could hold on to it? Well that begs another question, “What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus the same question; and turned away from him and handed him over to be crucified. Many people have asked the same question but when they are presented with the answer they turn away from it. In order to answer the question what is truth we must turn to scriptures. Jesus said "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."' (John 8:31-32) and '"Your word is truth."' (John 17:17).
The truth is revealed in The Bible as the person and character of Jesus Christ, and His teachings, and the reality of God's promises. Jesus Christ is the truth; He is the absolute standard and embodiment of truth. The Holy Spirit of God gives the revelation of the truth to individual children, men, and women. Anything that does not agree with the revelation of this truth is falsehood, error, heresy, or deception. The Bible does not provide every answer to every question of life, but it does provide us the truth that God wants us to know about Himself, His Son, His Spirit, His purpose and man’s eternal destiny. The Bible provides standards and morals for living; separates truth from error, truth from deception, and right from wrong.
Putting on the belt of truth means embracing Jesus Christ; accepting his forgiveness and abiding in His word. That is why it is so important that we regularly study truth from God’s word the Bible and try to live accordingly. Interesting thing is that the devil too knows God’s word but he twists it where by deceives many. But when we accurately use God’s word against Satan like Jesus did we can over come him. Rev 12:11, “they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony.” May be keeping these words in the background the great Reformer Martin Luther wrote, “The prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure for lo, his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him.” It is only God’s word the truth, defeats the enemy, not our vain efforts.
Coming back to our passage before advising the believers to put on the full armor of God the apostle encourages them with these assuring words. Vs 10-11Paul exhorts the believers, finally, “Be strong in the LORD, and in the strength of His might.” Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
As we conclude, I want us to leave with this advice. We are to never fight the spiritual battle alone. We must count on God. Stand strong in your faith in the Lord. Appropriate His mighty strength because the enemy you are facing is far more crafty, powerful and highly deceptive. But remember one thing, greater is he that is in us than the one who is in the world and through Christ we are more than conquerors. Amen