Tag Archives: standing firm

Ephesians Study: Prepared for Battle

[Ephesians 6:10-24]

“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

“He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.” (Isaiah 59:17)

11, 13 – Put on the WHOLE armor of God – Don’t walk around half-dressed, under-dressed or naked

WHY? You put on the whole armor of God TO STAND AGAINST THE SCHEMES OF THE DEVIL (v. 11), to WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY & TO STAND FIRM (v. 13) [SATAN]

12 – The battle is not against flesh and blood. It is against: rulers, authorities, cosmic powers over present darkness, spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places [DEMONS]

14-18 – The Whole Armor:

  • Belt of Truth (v. 14) – Ephesians 4:14 – “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.”
  • Breastplate of Righteousness (v. 14) – Righteousness of Jesus – Romans 3:22 – “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.”
  • Shoes of the Gospel of Peace (v. 15) – Inner peace and readiness – Confidence of God’s union with – Ephesians 2:14 – “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.”
  • Shield of Faith (v. 16) – Trusting God – walking in faith – Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
  • Helmet of Salvation (v. 17) – Salvation through faith in Christ – Great hope of salvation – 1 Thessalonians 5:8 – “But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.”
  • Sword of the SpiritWord of God (v. 17) – Countering deception and accusation – Hebrew 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
  • PRAYING AT ALL TIMES (v. 18) – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”

With JESUS – VICTORY [STANDING FIRM]

But it’s not automatically passed down – must take possession. Even after conversion Satan can still defeat you if you disobey God.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7)

Stand firm – “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

 

Bible Study Questions

The Helmet of Salvation (v. 17) is crucial for battle. A soldier does not enter battle without proper headgear, just as a football player would not run on the field without his helmet. A helmet is crucial to life, protecting your head from fatal blows. Why is the Helmet of Salvation crucial to battle?

Read Ephesians 6:16. This verse speaks of the flaming darts (fiery arrows) of the devil.

  • What are the flaming darts?
  • How does the shield of faith stop them?

Righteousness is important. We cannot be righteous. We clothe ourselves in the righteousness of Christ. We are called to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness for battle. Read Colossians 3:2 and Philippians 4:8. What does this have to do with putting on the Breastplate?

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace are the footwear for battle. The Bible reminds us that because of Christ we are at peace with God. God is for us. Through Christ we are no longer separated from God. How do the Shoes fit us for battle?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

 

 

 

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Passionate Patience

Recently I shared a message on passionate patience. I was reading about the church in Philadelphia and I came across this verse. The people kept God’s command to endure patiently. There are many times in this phrase “endure patiently” or “passionate patience” or “enduring patience” is mentioned in the Bible. John, Luke, Peter, and Paul all use the same word to mean this phrase.

We each can have passionate patience. Hebrews 12 tells us to remove the hindrances around us and fix our eyes on Jesus. The only way you can endure—the only way you can persevere is to keep yourself on the path Jesus has for your life by keeping your eyes fixed on Him.

The world will continue to tell you otherwise. The world will continue to try to pull you in different directions. I pray you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. May you press forward in the race He has for you, not swerving or slowing down for the roadblocks of the world.

“Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I’ll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test.” – Revelation 3:10 [MSG]

Being Faithful to God Outline

Here’s a sermon outline on Being Faithful to God. You may download the outline below.

Being Faithful to God

Definition of faithful: Loyal, constant, steadfast, devoted, committed, dedicated, unswerving.

Revelation 19:7-9 ESV Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”      His Bride has made herself ready

Matthew 25:1-13 – Parable of the Ten Virigins

  • BELIEVE – you must be saved. What is holding you back? Disbelief / fear / doubt
    1. Double-minded – James 1:6 NIV But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Double-minded – “dipsuchos” / dis meaning “twice” and psuche meaning “mind.” – divided in interests, uncertain, two-faced, half-hearted. You can’t half believe God.
  • ACT – you weren’t saved to stand still – This is how you get to know God better.
    1. Bible – Read it / Study it – Individually and in Group – only offensive weapon
    2. Prayer – Prayer is a two way conversation. (ex: Bro Lawrence)
    3. Church – Worship / Community
  • DRESS – you must be dressed to stand firm  
    1. Ephesians 6:13 NLT Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. – God’s own nature / Dressed for battle – battle for souls
    2. Clothed in Righteousness – “I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise from deep in my soul! He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara.” (Isaiah 61:10 MSG)

 

Lamentations 3:25 MSG “God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the    

                                                                                                                woman who diligently seeks.”

Act Justly / Love Mercy / Walk Humbly – Micah 6:8 NLT

Love God. Love Others ( Deuteronomy / Gospels)

 

“‘I came by again and saw you, saw that you were ready for love and a lover. I took care of you, dressed you and protected you. I promised you my love and entered the covenant of marriage with you. I, God, the Master, gave my word. You became mine. I gave you a good bath, washing off all that old blood, and anointed you with aromatic oils. I dressed you in a colorful gown and put leather sandals on your feet. I gave you linen blouses and a fashionable wardrobe of expensive clothing. I adorned you with jewelry: I placed bracelets on your wrists, fitted you out with a necklace, emerald rings, sapphire earrings, and a diamond tiara. You were provided with everything precious and beautiful: with exquisite clothes and elegant food, garnished with honey and oil. You were absolutely stunning. You were a queen! You became world-famous, a legendary beauty brought to perfection by my adornments. Decree of God, the Master.”

(Ezekiel 16:8-14 MSG)

Download Being Faithful to God Outline

 

Treat Them Gently

When a person holds a young baby, they hold it differently than something less fragile. You support the head. You wrap both arms around the baby. You keep the baby close. You protect the baby. You treat the baby gently.

In Romans 14, we are told to treat other believers gently. People will not always share the same opinions. People will not always understand a passage in the same way. People might have a different opinion when it comes to what music they think should be played at church or which Sunday School curriculum to use. Some people will want to stand firm on a particular agenda while others are more focused on other things.

The bottom line is we are to “treat them gently.” We are not to “jump all over them.” We are to be gentle. When you try to push your opinion so hard, it is more about being right (pride) then it is about Jesus. When you get all caught up in rules and regulations and agendas, Jesus is lost in the shuffle. So today, as fellow believers will come in your path and possibly not agree with you on some matters, remember that each of us is on our own walk with Christ and treat everyone gently. Encourage. Equip. Embrace. Empower. Show love.

“Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.” – Romans 14:1 [MSG]

Tooth and Nail

Did you ever fight tooth and nail for something? Perhaps there was some injustice in the world that caused you to stand up and boldly state your resistance. Maybe you had a circumstance arise that demanded you fight hard. Today’s passage speaks of a love for God’s law, a love that causes one to fight tooth and nail.

Fighting tooth and nail means fighting with every means available. You don’t hold back. You use everything you got in the fight. You put it all on the line because you care so much. Today’s passage says that if you love God’s law, you will fight just like that to defend it, to stand up for it, to uphold it.

Did you realize you were in a tough battle in this world? Not only is there a battle for your soul which Christ already sealed as a victory so long as you believe, but there is another battle all around this world. People are battling to knock God out of His creation. People are trying to take away public prayer. People are trying to ban people from practicing Christianity. People are stealing Bibles, twisting Scripture, and improperly representing Christ. If you love God’s law, if you love God, I pray you fight tooth and nail. He doesn’t need you to fight for Him—you need you to fight for Him. It’s about passion. It’s about love. It’s about being all in though many in the world are totally out. You can sit on the sidelines and desert God and His Word—“you’re free to embrace depravity,” or you can fight. You can stand firm. You can boldly declare the Name of Christ and embrace His will for your life.

“If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.”

-Proverbs 28:4 [MSG]

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The Cost of Integrity

When Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man and the people began to call the duo gods. Paul and Barnabas tore their clothing as a sign of mourning and shouted at the crowd that they were only human. They could have accepted the glory for themselves. They could have allowed the people to sacrifice to them as they had wished. Instead they spoke of the living God, and things changed.

Even as they spoke the words, the people still attempted to sacrifice to them. But then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium. The Jews influenced the crowd and the men that were once considered gods were now looked at differently. Paul was stoned. He was stoned so badly that they thought he was dead (see Acts 14).

Integrity is rare today. Here we see Paul and Barnabas standing firm. Paul might not have been stoned if he had accepted being called Hermes. But then the message he was sharing all over would not have meant much. The message never changes. The Bible never changes. To be taken serious, we must walk with integrity. We must stand firm even if the stones will come flying. If we present anything but the Truth, we won’t be taken seriously. Integrity costs.

“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” – Titus 2:7 [NLT]

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Gold Calf Assistance

Providing gold calf assistance is not something we should strive to do in life, but sadly it happens very quickly. Every time I read Exodus 32, I get upset to see how fast Aaron was to lead the people to sin greatly without hesitation. We do not read of any attempt to sway the people. We do not read of any dialogue he had with the people of Israel. Yes it could have been left out, but whether there was hesitation and then folding, or he simply agreed immediately to follow their wishes, either way he helped them to make an idol knowing that it was a sin.

We all have the option of following God’s Word, standing firm in Christ, or swaying and giving in to people around us. We also have the opportunity, whether in a leadership position or not, to speak out when we see another Christian going down the wrong path. Jude mentioned snatching people from the fire. That is something each one of us can do by simply speaking up and reaching out to those who are heading down the wrong path.

Aaron helped people –joining in with this great sin. Perhaps it was because it was him versus the large group of people. Perhaps he was looking at things with his own strength. Perhaps he thought like them and desired the same thing. Whatever it may have been, he folded and offered gold calf assistance. We find ourselves doing the same thing at times. Today, find your strength in Christ, stand firm, and thank God that He has provided us with His strength and His forgiveness. Aim to point others to Christ.

“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ Aaron answered them, ‘Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’” – Exodus 32:1-4 [NIV]

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Five Times Nehemiah

“Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.” – Nehemiah 6:4 [NIV]

People were trying to intimidate Nehemiah so that the building project would cease. The Bible says that messengers came down a total of four times to basically harass Nehemiah, and his response was that he couldn’t come down because he was doing a great work. Then Sanballat, the governor of Samaria, sent his aide with a letter and again with the same message. The fifth time, the response didn’t change. Nehemiah was not leaving the project to meet with the group trying to halt the work. He sends a message, a very short message (why waste time writing a dissertation when there is no need) back telling Sanballat he was making things up. He prayed and continued to work.

Talk about standing firm. Nehemiah understood what he was supposed to do and he did not let anyone try to tell him otherwise. He kept pressing forward with the project God gave him to do and allowed God to handle the rest. He did not leave his work for a moment to go talk to these troublemakers to try and change their minds. He didn’t spend time pointing fingers at those trying to cause friction, but kept on pressing forward.

When we are doing a good work, we too have people around us trying to get us to stop. Whether it is on purpose or without thinking, people do try to thwart our good works at times. The question is, do we respond like Nehemiah, firmly planting our feet to get the work done? Do we allow the threats, the lies, and the words spoken to simply roll off our backs and continue onward? Or do we stop the project to spend time defending the project and ourselves? Remember, this isn’t about us—and God does not need us to defend His work.