CHAPTER FOUR: THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD!
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CHRISTIAN FORUMS-PRAYER REQUESTS-QUESTIONS-COMMENTS!
Our Lord, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Deliverer, our Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." He was speaking directly to me 2000 years before I would need Him to set me free and if I wasn't a blind, broken-hearted captive that needed deliverance I would hate to see one.
THE ARMOR OF GOD
As I told you earlier, I was very encouraged when I found out that God has armor for us and I want to begin to show you what God has shown me about the armor of God that is found in Ephesians 6:10-18, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
There are seven pieces or stages to the armor of God:
One-The belt of truth.
Two-The breastplate of righteousness.
Three-The gospel of peace.
Four-The shield of faith.
Five-The Helmet of Salvation.
Six-The Sword of the Spirit or The Word of God.
You will find out as we study the armor that God is a God of order and our armor is in that order for a reason. Remember, born again, overcome and salvation are separate words with separate meanings. We must be born again [gennao] to learn to overcome [nikao] and obtain salvation [soteria and soterion]. God's armor can't do us a bit of good if we don't understand what it means and how to apply it in our everyday lives. When I was in the army if they gave me a tank and sent me into battle it wouldn't do me any good if I didn't know how to operate that tank. Before they would issue you a piece of equipment they send you to class and teach you how to operate that piece of equipment. It is the same with God's armor and when we get through we will be equipped for battle. My knowledge of God's armor encouraged my heart, but until I understood what each piece stood for, what it entailed, it really couldn't protect me like it was designed to protect me. I had head knowledge of God’s armor during my marriage but, as the parable of the sower tells us, when affliction and persecution entered in I was offended because I had no foundation based on the Word of God. I needed the truth about God’s armor based on the Word of God.
Verse 14 of Ephesians six says, “Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth.” We must have the truth of God's Word on any subject to be able to apply it to our lives. Second Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” When we combine what we learned earlier in John 1:14, “And the Word [Jesus] was made flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth.” and Revelation 19:13, “And His Name is called The Word of God.” that Jesus is The Living Word, The Word Of God, the Son of God full of grace and truth that came to live among us with John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” we get a clear picture of the truth. Jesus, the Word of God is the way, the truth, and the life that came to live among us and must be our only source of the truth.
We must learn to speak the truth in our everyday battle with satan’s wiles and realize we are more than conquerors through the Word of God just like Jesus was in Luke 4:1-14, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days did He eat nothing: and when they were ended, He afterward hungered.
And the devil said unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God. [This is Deuteronomy 8:3]
And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give thee; and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thou God, and Him only shalt thou serve. [This is Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20]
And he brought Him to Jerusalem, and set Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto Him. If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. [This is Psalms 91:11-12] And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. [This is Deuteronomy 6:16]
And when the devil had ended all temptations he departed Him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.”
We are doing the same thing when we fulfill Second Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal; but mighty through God [The Word of God] to the pulling down of strongholds ;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God [The Word of God], and bringing every thought into the obedience of Christ [The Word of God].” Our thoughts need to line up with God’s Word-the truth.
We need to speak to the Father through His Word and fulfill John 4:23-24, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” First Corinthians 14:15, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:”
See how important it is to know the truth of God’s Word and if we don't we can't really worship and fellowship with our God with the freedom that we need to be able to help set ourselves free with the truth of God’s Word so we can help set others free. John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” The Word of God-Jesus-the Truth.
We learned earlier in First Corinthians 1:30, “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom.” This is how we are able to learn the Bible when we are first born again and how I could begin to read my Bible and learn how I was born again. We must then desire to fulfill Colossians 1:9-10 and be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth [rebukes] not; and it shall be given him.” Don't be afraid to ask for wisdom, God's way is always the best way and it might not be what we want to hear, but it is still the best way. Remember, all scripture is given by the inspiration of God and Second Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD THROUGH CHRIST JESUS
The next piece of God's armor is also in verse 14 of Ephesians six, “and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” Righteousness! A very misunderstood piece of God's armor and as you might have noticed in Second Timothy 3:16, it said that scripture is given by the inspiration of God for instruction in righteousness, the end result being perfection and good works. Romans 5:17 tells us that righteousness is another gift, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)” Jesus, salvation, righteousness, grace, eternal life and the Holy Ghost, and, of course, the “Starter Kit”, are all gifts.
Hebrews 5:11-14, 6:1, talking about Jesus, “Of whom we have many things to say and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principals of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection;” We must become skillful in the word of righteousness or our understanding of righteousness and not be babes in Christ and go on to perfection. Remember, the perfect, “artios”, in Second Timothy 3:17, is complete, sufficient, completely qualified, one with all the parts which are complete, whole, what they are supposed to be so that they might serve their destined purpose. The perfect in Matthew 5:48 is “telelos”, adult, full-grown, of full age as opposed to little children, mature and in Hebrews 6:1 perfection is "teleiotes" a completer or finisher. We are close to being ready for battle.
God wants us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Second Corinthians 5:21, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” First Peter 2:24, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins should live unto righteousness.” Colossians 1:12-14, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet [qualified] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
There are two kinds of righteousness and the first is the “Starter Kit” righteousness that is found in Second Corinthians 5:21, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” This is the Greek word “dikaioaune”, equity (of character or act); spec.(Christian) justification:-righteousness and is the righteousness we obtained when Jesus died on the Cross and gave us our “Starter Kit.”
A RIGHTEOUS PERSON
The other righteousness is found in James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” This righteous is the Greek word “dikaios”, equitable (in character or act); by implication innocent, holy:-just, meet, right (righteous). He gives us enough to get started and then we build on His righteousness, “dikaiaoune”, so that we can become righteous, “dikaios.” First John 3:7, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
Ephesians 2:18-22, “For through Him [Jesus] we both [Jews and Gentiles] have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” First Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.”
As we are learning God gave us a Starter Kit by Jesus when we were born again and then we take the “Starter Kit” and use it to build a holy temple ready for the Masters use with the Cornerstone being Jesus and what He did at Calvary. Once we become the righteousness of God by what Jesus did, taking our sin nature away, we then can begin to become the righteous man that James 5:16 is talking about as we learn more and more about God's ways through the Holy Spirit. We can't do anything without Him, but then again, He needs righteous people to help Him change this world.
I have met an unbelievable amount of people that think all that they need is the “Starter Kit” righteousness instead of realizing that God has a plan whereby we come to Him and He gives us the “Starter Kit”, and then through the “Starter Kit” and the Holy Spirit, He molds us into the righteous person He wants us to be as we submit ourselves to the regenerating powers of the Holy Spirit.
our righteousness is as filthy rags to God
I have heard during sermons and read many times that our righteousness is as filthy rags to God. Really!
I looked up the scripture that pertains to righteousness as filthy rags, Isaiah 64:6, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." and as I searched for the scripture under righteousness I began to read all the scriptures pertaining to righteousness in the Old Testament. God was interested in His people being righteous then and, now that He has sent His Son to enable us to become righteous by Jesus taking away our sins and making us dead to sin, He is still looking for righteous people.
Psalm 5:11-12, “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield”
Psalm 37:25-31, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not His saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.”
Psalm 55:22, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved”
Psalm 64:10, “The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in Him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.”
Psalm 68:3, “But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.”
The complete scripture pertaining to: our righteousness is as filthy rags;
Isaiah 64:4-12, speaking to God, "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him. Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways:
Behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
But now, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our Potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.
Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? Wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?"
In the Old Testament they didn’t have First John 1:7-10, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” First John 2:1-2, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." to go to for repentance so this is Isaiah confessing and asking God for forgiveness for the sins of his people. The huge difference between their covenant and ours is that Jesus took away our sins which enables us to become the righteous person of James 5:16 through the works of the Cross, the Starter Kit, and the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost. We can be in the same condition as the people Isaiah was praying for when we let satan come between us and God with his fiery darts.
Our righteousness is very precious to God. It means His plan of redemption, "The Starter Kit", is working. This is what the "Holy Ghost and Fire" is all about. First Peter 1:6-9, "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
We can always look at the parable of the sower and, if we are honest, can figure out where our righteousness and prayer life is and begin to battle and correct the problem(s). We are either in stage one and two, intellectual and temporary faith or stage three, where the tremendous amount of things that distract us, plus worry, complacency and lust of the flesh hinder our prayer life. Let’s try to get to stage four and have a fruitful prayer life, a prayer life that will change not only our lives but also the lives of the people around us.
THE FOUR STAGES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS;
Stage one is found in Mark 4 verse 15, “And these are they by the wayside, where the Word is sown; but when they have heard, satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the Word that was sown in their hearts.”
Stage two, verses 16 & 17 of Mark 4, “And these are they likewise which are sown on stoney ground; who, when they have heard the Word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the Word's sake, immediately they are offended.”
Stage three, verses 18 & 19 of Mark 4, “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the Word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becometh unfruitful.”
Stage four, Mark verse 20, “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the Word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”
Romans 7:25, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 8:1-4, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Don't confuse righteousness and justification, they are not the same. Justified as used in First Corinthians 6:11, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” is “dikaioo” to render, show or regard as just, innocent. Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38 tells us that, “The just shall live by faith.” This Greek word just is the same as the James 5:16 righteous, “dikaios”, equitable in character or act. “Dikaioo” is the “Starter Kit” justification, “dikaios” is the finished product as we yield to the Word of God and have our minds renewed. The righteousness of God through Christ Jesus is taking on the very nature of God, an aversion to sin. When we become “dead to sin” we become “God-like” in the sense that we don't want to sin anymore. Justification, ”dikaioo”, is being declared not guilty of our past and future sins that we no longer want to commit because God has changed our nature from sinful to Godly and we can then become the righteous, “dikaios”, and just, “dikaios” [innocent] person God has ordained us to become.
In the Old Testament or under the law they couldn't be just, because the works of the law justifies no one. Galatians 3:11-12, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith:” One of the two times the word faith is used in the Old Testament is in Habakkuk 2:4, “but the just shall live by his faith.” The word just here is the Hebrew word “tsaddiyq” and it means just, lawful, righteous. Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38 tells us that, “The just shall live by faith.” This is what God was saying in Habakkuk 2:4, “but the just shall live by his faith.” in the Old Testament, but now we are able to become just by faith through the works of the Cross, God’s “Starter Kit” by Jesus.
THE LAW IS ESTABLISHED
Moses has just given the Israelites the Ten Commandments or the law and he says in Deuteronomy 6:24-25, “And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He hath commanded us.”
Matthew 5:17-19, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Romans 3:20-28, 31, “Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no man be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation [an atoning victim] through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. ,,, Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
The book of Hebrews is difficult to read if you don’t have a general understanding of the Old Testament. When Hebrews speaks of the law or sacrifices made by priest and the use of the blood of animals to take away sins, remember that was done away with when Jesus died on the Cross and took away our sins by making a one time sacrifice and shedding His blood. The Old Testament or Covenant has been replaced by the New Testament or Covenant.
Colossians 2:13-15, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Hebrews 10:1-23, For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Psalms 40:6-8]
Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said He, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first that He may establish the second [Testament or Covenant].
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.
For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. [Jeremiah 31:33-34]
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh;
And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)”
He is faithful that promised. As I lay in bed one night talking to God I bragged about the commitment that I had made on October 18, 1983 and was very quickly reminded that the important commitment that was made was His to me. He is faithful that promised and that is why we can hold fast to the profession of our faith and establish our hearts with the truth of His Word.
The law is established without the law because we have been made alive unto God by the blood of Jesus and seated together in Heavenly places so that we can be His workmanship unto good works that God ordained that we should walk in them before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 2:1-10, “And you hath He quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [the devil], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works least any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
We are His workmanship through His “Starter Kit” by Jesus once we obtain enough truth to repent, repent, thereby being born again and become a new creature and become dead to sin because we have been translated into the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus and God then imparts to us wisdom through Christ Jesus so we can obey the “Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven” and receive the Holy Ghost so He can teach us that we have been sanctified, washed and justified and become the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus and redeemed by Jesus paying the price for our sins and justified by being declared not guilty of our sins and begin to understand the third piece of the armor of God, peace.
THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
Ephesians 6:15, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Looking up the word preparation in the Greek dictionary of the new testament this word is “hetoimazo” which means, to prepare:-provide, make ready and is from the Greek word “hetoimos”, which is from an old noun “heteos”, (fitness); adjusted, i.e. ready:-prepared, (made) ready. The dictionary makes a comparison to “kataskeuazo”, which means to prepare thoroughly (properly by external equipment; whereas “hetoimazo” refers rather to internal fitness); by implication to construct, create:-build, make, ordain, prepare.
From this definition we can conclude that peace with God is going to be something we are to build on and make our peace with God. Once again there are two kinds of peace as we receive peace with God as part of the His Starter Kit by Jesus and take this peace and construct, create, build and make our peace with God. Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified [declared not guilty, innocent] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And then, as Romans 14:17-19 says, we must follow after those things that make for peace, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
The word peace as used here in Romans is the Greek word “eirene”, (to join); by implication prosperity-one, peace, quietness, rest, + set at one again. As we read the Bible story in Genesis 3 that tells how the serpent deceives Eve into partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and she then gives it to her husband Adam and he partakes they are basically separated from God by the knowledge of good and evil and you can see that their peace with God has been severely hampered. The same can and does happen to us even after we are born again and become God’s child, but now, unlike Adam and Eve, through the glory of grace, First John 1:9, we can get back to God as quickly as we choose to get back to God, because God has sent His Son to restore our broken fellowship that occurred in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:1-8, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” First John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” When we fall we need to get back up and trust God!!!
King James Version
Living Bible Version
Romans 5:12-21, 12 Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:12-6:11, 12 "When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned. 13 We know that it was Adam's sin that caused this because although, of course, people were sinning from the time of Adam until Moses, God did not in those days judge them guilty of death for breaking His laws-because He had not yet given His laws to them, nor told them what He wanted them to do. 14 So when their bodies died it was not for their own sins since they themselves had never disobeyed God's special law against eating the forbidden fruit, as Adam had. What a contrast between Adam and Christ who was yet to come! 15 And what a difference between man's sin and God's forgiveness! For this one man, Adam, brought death to many through his sin. But this one man, Jesus Christ, brought forgiveness to many through God's mercy. 16 Adam's one sin brought the penalty of death to many, while Christ freely takes away many sins and gives glorious life instead. 17 The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to be king over all, but all who will take God's gift of forgiveness and acquittal are kings of life because of this one man, Jesus Christ. 18 Yes, Adam's sin brought punishment to all, but Christ's righteousness makes men right with God, so that they can live.
19 Adam caused many to be sinners because he disobeyed God, and Christ caused many to be made acceptable to God because He obeyed. 20 The ten commandments were given so that all could see the extent of their failure to obey God's laws. But the more we see our sinfulness, the more we see God's abounding grace forgiving us. 21 Before, sin ruled over all men and brought them to death, but now God's kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:1-11, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Now we need to take the glad tidings of peace with God to the lost and undone, Romans 10:13-15, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
I was on the way home from church one night and my car lights started going out and as they began to get dimmer and dimmer I began to pray as hard as I could because I didn't want to be in darkness in the middle of nowhere. God spoke to my spirit and told me if I would pray like that all the time we could get something done. We must do everything we can to keep our light, the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, from getting dimmer and dimmer and going out by learning the promises of God through His Word and how to stay close to Him and fellowship with Him. God had a plan whereby we could keep the law and His ultimate goal was to open the door to the Holiest so we can fellowship with Him. Hebrews 10:19, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,” James 4:7-8, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” First Peter 5:5-11 says, “For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion [not a roaring lion, but as a roaring lion], walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all GRACE, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” When you fall get back up and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.
During my marriage, when I was in constant turmoil and strife, I didn't feel as if I had much peace with God. I had come to God on October the 18th, 1983 and told Him I was sorry for the way I had lived my life and determined to do things His way and now, here I was, dead to sin, wanting to serve God with all my heart and suddenly found myself to be worse off than I was before I came to Him. I didn't want to be arguing and fussing and getting divorced and going broke and feeling separated from God and not having a church to call my own. I was ignorant of and defenseless against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
I had intellectual knowledge of the armor and I knew that on October the 18th, 1983 at 3 pm I was born again, but I was ignorant of my spiritual battle and the cleansing blood of Jesus through First John 1:7-10 and it is an understatement to say that I had allowed disobedience to come in and disturb my fellowship with God. James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” When I was trying to figure out what was going on in my marriage I thought I was submitted to God, but I needed to learn to not only recognize sin, but the unbelievably huge amount of things satan can come up with to break our fellowship with God. Mark 4:18 & 19, “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the Word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becometh unfruitful.”
Remember the definition of peace was “set at one again, to join, one.” When Adam sinned we were separated from God by sin and he and Eve lost their fellowship with God that they enjoyed, but now Jesus has come and restored our broken fellowship with God when He nailed our sin-loving nature to the cross. I was in the same condition as Adam was in after he disobeyed God for the first 43 years of my life and Jesus made it possible for me to become one with God again when He came and died for me. At this point it was satan's job to do the same thing to me that he did to Adam and Eve and try to separate me from God. We must always remember that we may feel separated from God but, Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
When we find ourselves at odds with life, things just aren't going the way we know that they should be; we immediately begin to question what is wrong. Why is their darkness in our lives? When we find ourselves at odds with anything, our own flesh, our mind, spouse, child, parent, co-worker, computer, people we do business with, our car, mechanic, boss, friend, etc., etc, etc., we are no longer in agreement and suddenly have lost our oneness with that entity. We immediately begin to try to find out the cause of the problem and we must learn to do that in our relationship with God and always remember to go to James 1:5 and ask God for wisdom and He will give us wisdom and rebuke us not, because God doesn't want us being complacent in our relationship with Him, He wants to fellowship with His children.
First John 1:3-10, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
MERCY AND GRACE
The word grace is the Greek word “charis” and comes from “chairo”, which means to be cheerful, i.e. calmly happy or well-off; impersonally especially as salutation (on meeting or parting), be well:- farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hail, joy(fully), rejoice. Charis means, graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstractly or concretely) literally, figuratively, or spiritually; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude);-acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, grace (gracious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thanks (thanksworthy). You could write a book on just the definition of grace.
The word mercy in the Greek is “eleos, compassion (human or divine, especially active):-(+ tender) mercy. The word “eleeo” that comes out of 'eleos' means to be compassionate (by word or deed, specifically by divine grace):- have compassion (pity on), have (obtain, receive, shew) mercy (on). Luke 18:9-14, “And He [Jesus] spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto Heaven but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
God gave us the “Starter Kit” through His Son Jesus so He could set us free to be what He wants us to be and we need to remember that we are sinners and when we do have the urge to sin we need to humble ourselves under His mighty hand and trust Him and remember that our mission is to bring the Gospel of Peace with God to a lost world. Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” First Peter 5:7 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."
Another mercy scripture that comes to mind is John 3:16 & 17, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” Another good grace scripture is Ephesians 2:1-10 on page seven of this chapter.
There are two kinds of mercy and grace, one for the sinner and one for the saints. When we were sinners we needed to know that God had forgiven us and loved us even when we were dead in our sins. Romans 5:8, “But God commandeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” and Ephesians 2:4-5, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” Mercy and grace when I was a sinner gave me the opportunity, regardless of what I had done as a sinner, to come to God and repent and have the sins He had already forgiven me of remitted and be delivered out of the kingdom of darkness into His marvelous light. First Peter 2:9, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:" and Ephesians 1:6-7, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;”
Mercy and grace, to me as a child of God, is the time God gives us until we catch on and He will tolerate certain behavior and is quick to forgive us that behavior, so that we can allow Him to show us the truth and help us to be what He wants us to be and that might not be what we envision He wants us to be, but what He has predetermined He wants us to be. Ephesians 2:6-10, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
He has taught me to be comfortable in asking Him to forgive me my indiscretion or, unfortunately, indiscretions. I then ask Him to show me what I did to allow satan to be able to get me to do whatever it is I have done, because I need to know how not to do whatever again. What is the sense in Him forgiving me over and over for the same thing? We must learn to yield to the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost and confess our sins and be forgiven and stay cleansed from all unrighteousness. When you are striving to serve God to the fullest the devil is going to fight you to the best of his ability but remember, First John 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He [The Word of God] that is in you, than he that is in the world.” You are going to lose and you are going to win, but,,, never give up you can not wear out First John 1:9.
Second Timothy 2:19-21, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet [profitable] for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work.”
James 4:5-8 says, “Do ye think the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that liveth in us lusteth to envy? But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” First Peter 5:5-11 says, “For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion [not a roaring lion, but as a roaring lion], walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all GRACE, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Grace is the time God allots us to become what, not only He wants us to be, but since we have determined in our hearts to do things His way, what we want to be and is why God is able to show us so much mercy and grace. The word grace appears 122 times in the New Testament and mercy 58 times. We won't be able to really have peace until we draw near to Him and allow Him to complete His work and make us perfect, grownup, mature. When we don't seem to have peace with God or any other entity we have allowed the devil to come in with his wiles and we have begun to wrestle like Ephesians 6:10-13 says and then is when we can take the weapons God has given us through the works of the Cross and the Armor of God and stand in the evil day.
Romans 8:28-30, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate [determine before, ordain-God had a plan for those that put their trust in Him] to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.”
There are two kinds of glorified, honored or trustworthy. Glorified in Romans 8:30 is the Greek word “doxazo” and means to render glorious, make, to have glory or honor and is another piece of God’s Starter Kit by Jesus. The Greek word “endoxazo” is found in Second Thessalonians 1:12 and is derived from the Greek word “endoxos”, which means, noble, glorious, honorable, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power That the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jesus gave us wisdom so we could become wise, sanctification so we could be sanctified, washed us in His blood so we could be washed in His Word, righteousness so we could become righteous, justification so we could be just, redemption so we could be redeemed by the works of the Holy Ghost, peace so we could be peacemakers, grace so we can humble ourselves and grow to be compassionate, mercy so we can be merciful and honor so we could become honorable-trustworthy.
KNOWING YOU HAVE A PURPOSE THROUGH FELLOWSHIP BUILDS FAITH AND PEACE
As we move from peace to faith I would like to illustrate how peace with God can help build your faith in God. In Acts chapter 16 we read where Paul cast a spirit of divination out of a woman who brought her masters much gain by soothsaying and since she could no longer be of use to her masters we read in verse 19-34, “And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains were gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers. And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison was shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house. And they spake unto him the Word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes: and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
Acts 9:15 & 16, Jesus was talking to Ananias about going to Paul and laying hands on him so that he could receive his sight. Paul had persecuted the Christian church and Ananias wasn't so sure he should do what the Lord was telling him to do and Jesus told him, “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.” Paul knew that God was with him even in stocks and chains and was able to praise God in even the most trying of circumstances and he knew God was up to something, and, as it turned out, God wanted to save the jailer and his family. Sometimes when we are going through trials we think that it is something that is “bad”, but it could be that God is up to something. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore! When having done all-Stand!
Onward to the Shield of Faith.