“PUT ON THE FULL ARMOUR OF GOD”
SESSION 2: THE BELT OF TRUTH
JESUS IS THE TRUTH
JESUS IS THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE (JOHN 14: 6)
THE TEXT: EPHESIANS 6: 10-18
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
PREFACE: ENCOURAGEMENT AND CHALLENGE FOR THE CHRISTIAN
When Ephesians 6: 12 says “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” – Paul is talking about “us” as Christians – not the rest of humanity. Now, this is significant: WE are to put on the full armour of God. Humanity is not aware of the devil’s schemes and is not equipped to fight against them. We are! The Bible makes it clear that all humanity suffers from the attacks of the devil, but only Christians can struggle against these attacks. So, all humans are VICTIMS of the battle but Christians are the VICTORS in the battle – let this both encourage and challenge us.
THE TRUTH ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE IS:
“My God fights for me”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1LagOBYFqQ
David and Goliath: human armour was no good to David. He had to take it off and use what God had given him – an ability to use the sling and stones – and to trust in the LORD. My God fights for me against the “giants” in my life (verse 1)
Daniel and the lion’s den: with the full armour of God on, Daniel knew the Truth, would not compromise the Truth and found that His God fought for him. My God fights for me against those who want to rip me apart (verse 2)
The woman with the alabaster jaw of perfume: she knew the judgemental attitude that people had towards her and her lifestyle but coming to Jesus she found this: that my God fights for me against the judgementalism of the world (verse 3)
It can be said that our enemy, the devil, will attack us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and that he will do this by using the “5 D’s” of depression, disillusionment, distraction, deception and doubt. When I am physically or mentally unwell then I suffer “depression”; when I am attacked emotionally I feel lost and inadequate in all I do and suffer “disillusionment”; when I am focusing on all kinds of worries and responsibilities elsewhere then I am “distracted”; when I am told that lies are the truth then I am assailed by “deception”; and when I am attacked spiritually I wonder whether any of it is even true and I suffer “doubt”.
But…my God fights for me!
And I will not be the “victim” but will be the “victor”!
PUT ON THE FULL ARMOUR OF GOD
In each session we are going to remind ourselves of this fact: God, through Paul, exhorts us to:
“Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6: 11)
Every part is necessary. If a soldier goes into battle with just one part of his armour missing then he is vulnerable to the enemy who will exploit the gap. Our armour is not a “pick and mix” choice.
And, if you can understand this, the armour is Christ – it is putting on Christ. Paul says in Romans 13: 14
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ
Christ is the source of Truth (the belt), the giver of righteousness (the breastplate), the Good News (feet shod); the One in whom we put our faith (the shield), the provider of salvation (the helmet) and the origin of the Spirit and the Word (the sword).
We need it all, and so we are going to study each part in turn.
In this session we look at the first part of the armour – that part which has to be put on before anything else can be attached – the “belt of Truth”. And why do we need to put on the “Belt of Truth”? Because our enemy, Satan, is a liar and the father of lies. In this battle he will seek to depress you, disillusion you, distract you, deceive you and fill you with doubts. And he will do this through sowing lies. He will seek to get you to believe things that are false. So we need to base our life firmly on the Truth. We need to hold all things up with the “Belt of Truth”.
IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE TRUTH BEGINS WITH RECOGNISING THE ENEMY
Paul, in Ephesians 6 declares categorically that our battle is against the devil and his demons and NOT against the world of flesh and blood.
The biggest lie of all is that there is no devil.
Next to this is the lie that the problems of this world – social, economic, medical and political – are the fault of mankind. Paul says that this is not so – that behind all these human problems is the devil and his demons.
Yes – we can treat the pain with an aspirin – but this is only treating the symptom. To deal with the medical problem causing the pain we have to dig deep and cut out the cancer. So too with spiritual warfare. The truth is that we are battling against the devil and his demons. And let us not forget it!
And truth means we do NOT give the enemy the glory! Yes, we are called to recognise that he is attacking us in every area. But, we are not therefore to be going around frightened and seeing “the devil under every stone”. Rather, aware of the spiritual battle we go forward prepared and confident in the power of the Lord of Hosts, our great commander who is omnipotent. It is not that we live in fear of the devil, rather it is that we are not unaware of his schemes.
WHAT IS THE TRUTH THAT WE SHOULD GIRD OURSELVES WITH?
Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14: 6)
Jesus is “the Truth” – so walking with Him means we are walking with the Truth
The Spirit is God the Father and God the Son with us – so the Truth is within us
The Word of God – the Bible – is the Truth – so we need to read it and know it and study it and meditate on it.
So, as disciples of Jesus – with the Word and with the Spirit – we have the Truth.
Let us now look at how the “Truth” is the belt that should hold all our spiritual armour up:
THE BELT OF TRUTH
- THE IMAGE
A Roman officer wore a short skirt – similar to a Scottish kilt. Over this he wore a cloak or a tunic which was secured at the waist with a belt. When he prepared himself for battle this tunic would be tucked into the belt so allowing freedom of movement in the fight. It is known as “girding up the loins” in old-speak.
The belt was essential – all other parts of the armour were held in place by it and attached to it – the sword, the breastplate and the tunic.
From the bottom of the belt hung the “sporran” – thin plates of metal to protect what might be called our “delicate areas” (!) – essential stuff!
Paul is saying we can’t go into battle with our enemy until we have surrounded ourselves with the belt of truth.
- THE APPLICATION
When the attack comes – be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual; whether it be discouragement, depression, doubt or distraction or deception – we fight back by remembering the Truth that brought us to Christ in the first place. Jesus IS the Truth.
Every word He spoke is the Truth. Every miracle and deed He performed pointed to Him as the only Truth. Most of all His death showed the Truth of His love for us; and His resurrection showed the Truth that He alone has solved the problem of death.
The story is told of a French marshal, mortally wounded on the battlefield calling out to Napoleon to whom he was totally devoted and in whom he put total trust. He pleaded with Napoleon to save his life. Napoleon looked helplessly at the dying man and replied “what do you expect me to do?” and walked out with the marshal screaming “Save me Napoleon! Save me!”
When we are under attack from our enemy, the devil, we begin by focusing on the Truth, Jesus, and crying out “Save me Jesus! Save me!” to the One who is able to do so. No one else can do this. Everyone else who says they can save us is a liar.
And with the belt of Truth we trust Him to do so.
- WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
When Jesus stood before the Roman Governor of Judea, accused by the Jews, Pilate spoke those well-known words “What is truth?” (John 18: 38). To the Romans then and to the world today “truth” is whatever the state tells you it is, or whatever the individual believes it to be (the curse, I believe, of “post-modernism” – that “if it feels right [true], then it is right [true]”.
This is not right. There is Truth and this truth IS absolute (something is either absolutely right or absolutely wrong). And Jesus IS the Truth.
If Jesus is the “Truth” then I suggest we could answer this question by asking three key subsidiary questions – maybe the 3 questions of life itself:
Who is He? What has He done? Where does that leave us?
- Who is He?
When He asked His disciples “who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16: 15) the answer came back “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16: 16). This is who He is: the One promised from the beginning of time, the “Anointed One”, the only way by which we can be reconciled to the Father and our sins forgiven. He is the One with the words of eternal life, the One who guides us in how to live, our Master, our Saviour, our Friend, our Lord.
- What has He done?
He is the One who loves us so much that He was willing to die for our sins so that they can be forgiven. He is the One who rose from the dead to show us the way to eternal life. He is the One who has made atonement with God, who has paid for our sins literally “on the nail”. He is the One who has conquered sin and death. He is the One who has answered all our questions as to why we are here and where we are going.
- Where does that leave us?
It leaves us “well-loved”. It leaves us forgiven and saved from death and with the promise of eternal life. Our enemy, the devil, will attack us with the “5 D’s” of depression, disillusion, distraction, deception and doubt. But, we know the Truth and with our lives girded up in the Truth we shall be able to resist the devil and he will flee from us.
- THE TRUTH NEVER CHANGES
The story is told of a music teacher who was asked “so, what’s the good news today?” He picked up a tuning fork and struck it and announced: “That is ‘A’. It is ‘A’ today, it was ‘A’ 5000 years ago and it will be ‘A’ 10000 years from now”. Whether the piano is out of tune or the soprano sings off-key, that truth that the note is an ‘A’ will never change.
And Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13: 8). The Truth will not change. Whatever attack of the enemy comes, the Truth of Jesus’ love and salvation will never change.
- SO BEWARE THE SUBTLE ATTACK – THE ATTACK ON TRUTH
From the beginning – in the Garden of Eden – our enemy sought to undermine the Truth by questioning it – “did God REALLY say…” (Genesis 3: 1).
Yes, the Truth never changes.
Today I believe that our enemy, the devil, is seeking to undermine the Truth in the same way – through a growing doctrinal error sown in the church which is known as “progressive revelation” – that things have changed as society has changed, that what was “truth” in the past is no longer “truth” today. And we see our society collapsing as Truth about God and relationships and the relevance of the “10 Commandments” and sexuality are undermined.
- SO WE MUST KNOW THE TRUTH
All Scripture is profitable for doctrine (2 Timothy 3: 16)
The Truth of Jesus is revealed in the Word and through the Spirit.
We must read the Word, listen to the Spirit, not forsake the fellowship of the saints (so that we can talk and discuss and listen and learn from one another rather than do whatever seems right to us)
Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him:
‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8: 31-32)
What does it mean that the “truth will set you free”? Well, many things I am sure. But one thing that it means is that when we know Jesus, when we know the Truth then we shall be set free when our enemy, the devil, attacks us. We shall NOT be “victims” but we SHALL be “victors”.
FOR FURTHER STUDY – EITHER AS AN INDIVIDUAL OR A HOUSEGROUP
In this session we have seen that Jesus IS the Truth that we should gird ourselves with. And we have seen that the truth involves knowing Who He is, What He has done and Where this leaves us. Let us look at each of these in turn and ask ourselves what we understand to be the Truth in each:
- THE TRUTH – WHO HE IS:
Well, we won’t look at this one just now…cos this will be a major theme in our discussion next Sunday when we look at “Jesus claims to be the I AM”
- THE TRUTH – WHAT HE HAS DONE:
Time for a bit of thought and/or discussion here.
- What has Jesus done for us? Why not make a list that you can carry with you
- Can you find the Truth of your beliefs about what He has done in the Bible?
- How is the Truth of what He has done being “attacked” today?
- THE TRUTH – WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?
Our enemy, the devil, is devious and the father of lies. Maybe he will not argue with you over who Jesus is and what He has done, but he will try to make you ineffective by telling you who YOU are – accusing you of not being good enough.
Have a look at the “Freedom in Christ” list of truths about who you are – that you are “significant, secure and accepted”. Be honest with each other about how these make you feel. Hold on to them and regularly refer to them when you are feeling under attack as to who you are.
Now why not have a look at the attached excerpt from a book by Max Lucado – “Doubt” is one of the Devil’s biggest lies to us. How does it affect you? How do we deal with doubt? Maybe watching this clip of a sermon by Francis Chan will help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX-R2ICp2XQ