Take up the Full Armour of God
This is the 2nd message of a 3 part series that was recorded at the annual newfrontiers international leadership conference, Together On A Mission 2010 in Brighton.
Click here to read a written series based on the 3 messages, Armour of God
Notes taken from www.adrianwarnock.com
The truth that encompasses you and surrounds you sets you up to be part of this great army that is taking a message to the whole world. We are strong, not as Stoics, but as those who know God’s grace is sufficient. Jesus saves us. We have a Savior not a technique. He carries us. He changes us: Jacob from a worm into a threshing sledge. We are meant to be strong in the Lord. We need armor. Put on the armor. Do it. Defense as well as being on attack. Joshua knew the joy of victory, and the sorrow of defeat at Ai. Their defenses were weak. A good team has defense as well as attack. Be strong but also be armed.
It’s God’s armor. He has provided it for his soldiers. It is useless to those who are not saved! The counsel doesn’t work for unbelievers. It’s foolishness for those who don’t know Christ. We are uniquely qualified to put the armor on. We have special armor. You cant tell an non-Christian man to love his wife as Christ loved the church and cared for her. You can tell him to wash and help around the home and have a date night, but Jesus is needed to make sense of so much of God’s armor. You can’t tell a non-Christian lady to submit to her husband. They don’t have the unique thing that we have. We disregard God’s way at our peril. For the Christian, our battle is too real for common sense sayings to help us. As we said earlier, for the kind of battle PJ is facing, you need Romans 8:28 as a fortress. What kind of vision do our churches need? Is it a four year plan? No, it’s hearing from God. Have plans by all means, but ask what the Bible says. It is his Word that will do us good.
We put on the truth as a belt. It is gospel truth, spoken to us through the Son. We are not mystics on a quest. It is the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Absolute truth. We have to help people deconstruct their previous world view. We must walk away from independence and selfishness. Paul is not talking about cold theology. He is looking for behavioral change based on the fact that God became man and dwelt among us, died on a cross, and raised up and glorified. We live in the light of breathtaking truth.
You became obedient from the heart ( Romans 6:17). It was mind, will and heart. We were committed to the word, not the word to us. The Greek word is used for making a mold and pouring something into the mold. We are shaped by the Word. We have a new filter for all our thinking and decisions. The way we evaluate everything has changed. We are to be girded with truth. If you don’t feel like God loves you right now, or if he feels distant, you have to change our thinking and say “that’s irrelevant,” I have been shaped by truth. Don’t waste your time on it. This truth saves you from even going there. Don’t worry about gossip or the way other speak to you. Paul writes about how Jesus emptied himself and the theologians have written many books about it. But Paul wrote that to stop two women arguing with each other. Proverbs says “fools hate knowledge” We must receive the truth with fear of the Lord.
Breastplate of righteousness. Covers your heart and emotions. Satan is an accuser. It is one of his greatest weapons. You are no good. You will never make a good husband. You are a useless mother. Legalistic churches just accept this condemnation. We put on that the Lord is our righteousness. It is nothing to do with your performance, with what you are doing. Paul counted his religious performance as excrement. When he is out with Wendy he sometimes says watch out dear, there is a bit of religion there, don’t tread on it! All of your righteousness is filthy rags. It won’t cover you. You will have evil days when you fail, when you haven’t any confidence in yourself. You must remind yourself, all my guilt was imputed to him, all his righteousness was imputed to me. The purity and innocence and pleasing the father it is ALL accredited to me as though I did it! We are righteous as a gift! It is not the breastplate of performance! When you are frail that’s when Satan kicks you. I have nothing to offer, except the righteousness of Jesus. It’s not the breastplate of spiritual experiences. It wont do it for you! Jesus righteousness is a breastplate that never changes, never wears out, and is spotless.
Shoes for your feet. Apparently Alexander the Great introduced footwear for his soldiers. Stability and mobility. Secure, resolute, assured, rooted and grounded. Not easily shaken. Wise man hears the word and does it. Dig down deep. Stand your ground. As Luther said “here I stand, I can do no other.” When he was at Bible college, someone removed all the furniture from a fellow students room and put that as a poster on the mirror. We must be faithful as well as relevant. We must not abandon ground that was vital to where we are. Our uniqueness makes us relevant.
But we are not stuck in yesterdays battles. We must move swiftly. Alexander the Great could move armies swiftly. When Joshua was told he had been given a city, he then marched all night. We don’t fight the battles of 300 years ago. There are big battles to fight today.
Shield of faith. It is not faith in faith. It is to defend you from fierce hostility. Flaming arrears are destructive. Roman soldiers had shields 4ft by 2ft. They would soak them in water before conflict so they were able to extinguish the fires. Unexpected fiery arrears are terrifying. They hurt, wound, shock, bewilder. You can get scared and think, “i cant keep this up.” Satan sees when you are vulnerable and you can sometimes be shocked by how much something hurts you. You have to fight the fight of faith. Faith in what God says is true is the antidote. Don’t be anxious is as much a command as “don’t steal” Instead we pray our requests with thanksgiving. Fight! Don’t let the arrows take you out. Lloyd-Jones said faith is an activity that we have to exercise. It is not automatic. Romans 4 says Abraham grew strong in faith, fully persuaded that what God had promised he was also able to perform. Enemy will hit you hard when you are down already. It really is a battle. He won’t wait till you are feeling better. You have to take it. Take responsibility for that.
Sword of the Spirit Word of God. The only offensive weapon. You bring it against the enemy himself. Truth that keeps us secure, but there is also the truth that we battle with. He flees from us. Jesus defeated the devil quoting verses from Deuteronomy Satan had to back off. Think biblically. Get into truth. Let it master you and become a weapon in your hand. Divine power is in the words of the Bible.
Helmet of salvation Guard your mind with this. Many faceted reality to our salvation. We have been saved. Our sins were washed away. Our chains fell off. Our heart was free. I am also being saved. Constantly being rescued from myself and my foolishness. Objects of salvation. Ultimately salvation is also future. It is an eschatological event. We are saved from hell. We will not be banished from the presence of God. Everything that goes before is small fry compared to that. Saved into eternal delight and joy. It is a future event for us all. Our salvation is getting nearer. The actual experience of this salvation from God’s cataclysmic judgment on the universe is coming. The night has almost gone, day is at hand. For a helmet take the hope of salvation says in Thessalonians. In hope we are saved. We don’t hope for what we already have. Peter tells us to hope fully for the grace that is coming. Salvation in its fullest sense is our helmet. We will be like him. We will be caught up in eternal glory. Our life on earth will seem like one night spent in a bad hotel. What is mortal will be swallowed up by life. All the enigmas will be put right. All the unanswered, challenging, heartbreaking things will be answered. Christians who suffer now, will be full of joy and life then. There is a salvation coming! Be good soldiers. We will be changed completely. Our bodies will be appropriate for the new Spirit we already have. We must set our hope fully on that. We battle with all kinds of situations. Set your hope fully on the grace that is coming.
Are you putting on the armor? It is a BATTLE. Be strong! We must go on. But we must take seriously the protection God has provided for us. We do not want the cardboard copies, we want the real thing. There is no armor for your back. Don’t run. Don’t turn back. God has fully equipped us with everything we need! God will not leave you. He will not abandon you. Lets fight the fight of faith.