Sun, Sep 06, 2020
Teacher: Mark Hull
Duration:24 mins 37 secs

Message text

Suit Up
Ephesians 6:10 – 20

OPEN: It was an early morning in Los Angeles, CA several years ago. A motorcycle policeman named Bob Vernon saw a red pickup truck speeding through a stop sign, and he turned on his siren and gave chase. When the pickup pulled over, and Vernon approached the driver’s side door to ask for ID. But what the police officer didn’t know was that driver had just engaged in an armed robbery at a convenience store and had a sack of stolen money on the seat beside him.
No sooner had Vernon approached the driver and said “Good morning, sir, may I see your ...” than the driver pulled his gun and fired into the policeman’s chest from just 4 inches away. The force of the blast pushed the policeman backwards 7 feet where he fell to the ground.
Believing that the officer was dead, the driver prepared to drive away... but then, Vernon stood up, pulled his service revolver, and fired twice. The 1st bullet went through the open window and smashed the windshield. The 2nd tore through the door and ripped into the driver’s leg. The driver began to scream “Don’t shoot!” and he threw his gun and the money out the pickup window and was placed under arrest.
But now, wait a minute! That robber had just shot Vernon in the chest from 4 inches away. There was no way that police officer should have been able to recover from that. Except that Vernon was wearing a Kevlar vest. It was only 3/8 of an inch thick... but strong enough to stop a bullet.
In our text today Paul tells us to put on our Kevlar
- Ephesians 6:10-11 10 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.
The policeman in our story had put on HIS armor, and that allowed him to stand up and stand firm. And Scripture says we have armor that allows us to stand up and stand firm.
The problem for a lot of church-goers, is that there’s kind of a “disconnect” going on. This passage seems to imply that there’s a fight going on - that we are engaged in something of a holy war - and that whether we win or lose may depend on how prepared we are. But many church-goers often don’t grasp the reality that we are to be on guard daily.
ILLUS: A mother told of calling her son – who was deployed to Iraq, to say hello one weekend. She asked if he had to work on Sundays and he replied: “Mom, we have to work every day... it’s a war.”
WE ARE AT WAR! We are called to be prepared to engage our enemy every day of the week – not just on Sundays. And - if ever WE forget that we are at war with our enemy - there will come a time when we’re not going to be wearing our armor and we are gonna get hurt! So, don’t forget – you are at war, and you have an enemy!
But, who is our enemy? Who are we fighting? In our day and age, many people would say the pandemic dreaded Corona virus.
Before leaving the house for this church service this morning ... we had to make sure we had a clean face mask to wear, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, etc.
The items we arm ourselves with on a daily bases to protect ourselves.
Listening to the news, or just reading comments written on various social media sites you can draw the conclusion that...
Many Christians may believe that their enemies are the folks in some “other” political party. Or that their enemies are folks who don’t dress or look like them. Or that the enemy are folks who don’t agree with them in a certain event like what is currently happening here in Chardon over the carrying of a thin blue line flag at a football game.
But in reality, God tells us that those OTHER FOLKS are not our enemies. These OTHER FOLK may be really annoying to us at times, but they are not our enemies.
Paul writes in Ephesians 6:12 “... we are NOT contending against FLESH AND BLOOD (mortal people), but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
You’re fighting “Spiritual hosts of wickedness!” You can’t even SEE who you’re fighting!!! But then – you can’t see this Covid virus thing either. You can see (and even experience) the damage and death it inflicts - but you can’t see the virus. And leaders across the world are gearing up to fight this virus they can’t see, and they’re committed not to give up the fight until THAT enemy is defeated.
That’s what Paul is telling us here. You can’t see the enemy, but you better believe it’s there. And you may not be able to see Satan, but you can see the death, disaster and damage and he has inflicted on people’ lives. So you MUST make up your mind to not give up the fight until he is defeated. And you do that by being prepared to fight ... with the proper armor.
That brings us, of course, to our armor.
And the first 5 pieces of armor are these:
Belt of Truth. Someone has noted that this “belt” was a sash that designed to keep every part of the armor in its place.
One commentary believes that what Paul’s telling us that it is our honesty and sincerity and TRUTHfulness that holds our armor together. Thus, if we’re faking our faith, all the rest of armor will fall apart. If we’re hypocrites, our armor will be useless.
Breastplate of Righteousness. Not our righteousness, but Christ’s. This is the ultimate in Kevlar vests. Christ’s righteousness protects our breast area - that’s where you heart is, and thus the righteousness of Jesus protects your heart.
Sandals of Peace. It literally says “as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15)
There is a story about two friends who were walking through the desert.
Halfway through the journey they had an argument and one friend slapped the other in the face. The one who was slapped felt hurt, but without saying anything he wrote in the sand: "Today my best friend slapped me in the face."
They kept on walking until they found an oasis where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped began to drown and his friend saved him. When he recovered from the ordeal, he wrote on a stone: "Today my best friend saved my life." His friend asked him, "Why, after I hurt you, did you write in the sand and now you write on a stone?"
The man, smiling, replied: "When a friend hurts us, we should write it down in the sand, where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away. And when something great happens, we should engrave it on the stone of the memory of our heart, where no wind can erase it."
As Christians we need to take our stand on the Gospel. Nothing else matters if we don’t do that.
Romans 1:16 declares: “I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL (I will proudly proclaim the death, burial and the resurrection of Christ), because it is the power of God unto salvation ...”
Shield of Faith. Your FAITH in Christ is your shield. If you don’t TRUST Jesus - if you don’t rely on Him - you don’t have a shield, you won’t stand a chance because Satan will take you out.
Helmet of Salvation. A helmet protects your head. That’s where your brain is located and your brain controls how you think. This helmet protects my thinking because now I’m a forgiven man, I am a changed man, I am a saved man. That’s the helmet of my salvation!!! His salvation is reflected in my life because I now know that his salvation now defines WHO I am.
Some have noted that most of this armor is “defensive.” The belt, the breastplate, the sandals, the shield and the helmet - they’re all designed to “PROTECT me.” But, not just me. This armor is also designed to protect those around me. Back in the days of Rome, other armies had swords and shields and helmets and such.
But the Roman legions had an advantage – they fought as a unit and they protected each other. Their shields would interlock, and they marched as ONE BODY into battle.
That’s why Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us “24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
We NEED each other if we’re going to fight against Satan. We NEED to have each other’s backs. We NEED to fight as ONE BODY if we’re going to defeat our enemy.
And that brings us to our weapons... because you can’t fight without a weapon. And Paul describes our weapons in this way:
The 1st weapon is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17) You just gotta have a sword, but this isn’t just any old sword. This is the Word of God – the Bible!
This is your weapon. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
There’s power in this book, and that’s because it’s the sword of the SPIRIT. The power comes from the words the Spirit has infused into your Bible. God even says “my word that goes out from my mouth... will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) Every time you quote Scripture... you unleash the power of God’s Spirit in a conversation.
2nd weapon: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:18-19)
There are people who don’t think of prayer as a weapon, but Paul believed it was. He said “pray that words may be given to me.” He believed their prayers had power to give him an edge.
ILLUS: Think about it this way. In the US military, there’s someone called a “forward observer.” Basically he calls in the location of a target for artillery or airstrikes. This is a powerful weapon, because he’s calling in the big guns. Think of prayer as calling in an airstrike. When you pray, you’re calling in the big guns. You’re not just doing what you can do; you’re unleashing the power of heaven to do what God can do.

ONE LAST THING: Notice that Paul asked the church PRAY that “words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel”
Paul wrote: “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,
correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him (the devil) to do his will.” II Timothy 2:23-26
Did you catch that? We’re not to get into arguments and controversies with other folks. Our goal is NOT to win arguments about politics.
Our goal is not to share insulting memes about folks with disagree with. Our goal is not to win arguments, our goal is to win souls for Jesus Christ!
ILLUS: August 3rd of this year, a Chinese man named Chen Wensheng was arrested for doing “Street Evangelism.” on the streets of his town. In other words he was talking to people about Jesus... and the Chinese government was not pleased. He ended up being jailed for 10 days.
When the officials arrested Chen he’d just been released from a previous arrest. In fact, getting arrested for preaching has become a habit for Chen that the local authorities know him by name.
And how did Chen respond to this injustice? He responded by witnessing to the officers who arrested him encouraging THEM to believe in Jesus.
We’re told that when Paul was arrested and jailed in Rome he converted a number of the Praetorian Guard. How could he do that. He was chained to those prisoners every day and held inside a prison day after day. But that’s not the way Paul thought about the situation. He didn’t see himself chained to guards... he saw the guards chained to HIM and they couldn’t get away, as day after day he witnessed to them about Jesus. They weren’t his enemies – they were his audience, and he worked at winning them to Christ. (Philippians 1:13 and Acts 28:30-31)

Sermon Contributor: Jeff Strite


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