TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Ephesians 6:10-18
“The State of the Church” Website [by Ed Stetzer]: http://tinyurl.com/jgdhnpc
BOTTOM LINE: The attack from Satan is coming! Not IF … but WHEN? Are we prepared? Have we suited up in the Amor of God?
QUESTION: Are We Willing to be an Agent of Gospel Transformation? Have you put on the Belt of Truth today?
Now … one of my favorite articles that I’ve read [and I’ve read a ton of them, I actually put the link to this one on above], but Ed Stetzer tried to address some of the challenges in attendance and I think my heart resonated w/ this 1 particular article the most.
Ed brings clear consensus that the Church in America is not Dying [especially if you hold the belief that Christianity is represented by those who are living life In-Christ, not just checking the box on a Survey form]! However, we are in transition.
And here’s the reality behind the #’s we’re seeing when it comes to Church in America … the 25% of Convictional Christians, those experiencing a vibrant Faith, are not dying off! The Church is not dying, it’s simply being more clearly defined.
I don’t think we have panic by any means. Jesus’ example for us was so powerful right? He used examples like Yeast which change things from the inside out. He talked about small, tiny mustard seeds that would be planted in order to grow up and out.
I don’t think we have to man-up and armor-up to go to battle, and be out picketing and pro-actively trying to make our statement or stand so to speak in an aggressive way. However I do think we prepare for battle and Armor-Up in a way that moves us into intentional and strategic agents for God’s Kingdom.
And we’re not going to move the line closer to those who are offended by The Gospel, that’s not the answer. However, the answer is for God’s people, [those transformed by the power of the Gospel in our lives] to be propelled by Love, and move into the Mission Field prepared and w/ our Armor on to help deflect the arrows coming our way … and to serve as Agents of Gospel Transformation.
So how do we prepare? Paul told the church in Ephesus …
Ephesians 6:11 … “11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes!”
We have the Full Armor of God available to us every single day. And again … don’t miss this … the attack IS COMING [both personally and collectively]. Satan is fighting hard, with all his might, and he has some of the greatest sharp-shooters and snipers around. If we’re not suiting up in the Full Armor of God, we’re exposed … and will probably get hurt.
There are 7 pieces to the Full Armor of God. Some of you are going, I just underlined 6 in my Bible as you were reading [vs. 14-17] … and here’s a pretty easy way to remember those …
B B S S S H … or B-Bisssh
B – Belt of Truth
B – Breastplate of Righteousness
S – Shoes for the Gospel
S – Shield of Faith
S – Sword of the Holy Spirit
H – Helmet of Salvation
#7 is in Eph 6:18, PRAYER. although God didn’t give us a specific name for it, Prayer is not only Essential … but it covers everything doesn’t it? I’m going to go w/ The Force Field of Prayer [a Force Field envelopes and protects someone], and that’s what Prayer does. So the Full Armor of God can be remembered:
B B S S S H F … or B-Bissshf
And today … we’re going to quickly talk about The Belt of Truth … now … what does a Belt do? A belt holds everything together and it wraps completely around the body! We are to put on the Belt of Truth … wrap it around us and let it hold everything together!
The word Truth is found in Ephesians 7 different times [Ephesians 4:20-21; 5:8-9]. Jesus said in John 14:6, … I am the Truth.
And I think when we look in the complete context, what we discover is The Belt of Truth is Jesus Himself & what He Says. It really makes sense when we think about it. Jesus is to wrap around us, and He holds everything together.
As Followers of Jesus, when we put on The Full Armor of God, the 1st thing we put on is JESUS. What Jesus Says, The Belt of Truth. We’ve got to wrap ourselves up In-Him every single day as He Holds Us Up!
Can you picture Iron Man putting on His Armor? Iron Man literally refuses to go into battle w/o his armor. How about You? How about Me?