Preparing or Sunday (week of September 25th)
Weekly Devotional Email for Sunday, September 25, 2016
Ephesians 6:13 (NKJV)
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Dear Church Family,
A couple of weeks ago we began our new Sunday morning series entitled ‘STAND’ taken from Ephesians 6 on the Armor of God. I’ve been so excited about hearing from you how this series is helping and encouraging you. In this weekly devotional you’ll find a review of last Sunday’s message, a preview of this coming Sunday’s message, Bible verses for you to read to prepare your hearts for Sunday and questions for your own personal growth and discovery. If there’s anyone that you’d like to share this information, feel free to do so! Just copy this link and send it to them and they can subscribe via email going forward, if they’d like.
REVIEW FROM LAST SUNDAY’S MESSAGE, ‘THE BELT OF TRUTH’
We are not unarmed.
Last week we discussed that in this spiritual warfare we find ourselves in, we are not unarmed. God has provided us with spiritual weaponry that has the ability to counterattack and defeat any scheme that the devil would try to use against us. In fact, in Ephesians 6 the Apostle Paul lists for us the weaponry God has equipped us with: The Helmet, the Breastplate, the Belt, the Shield, the Sword, the Shoes & the Lance.
The Belt of Truth is the written Word of God, the Bible.
The first piece of armor that Paul gives us to take note of is the Belt of Truth. For the Roman Soldier the belt was the most significant piece of armor. It held all the pieces of his armor together. He would have all of his weaponry ready, but if his belt was not in place, everything would fall apart.
For example, the Roman soldier’s shield was attached to the belt. If he didn’t have his belt in its proper place there would be no resting place for his massive shield. If he no belt, he had no place to hang his sword. If there was no belt, there was nothing for his lance to rest upon. If he didn’t have a belt, there would be noting to keep his breastplate from flapping in the wind. When we don’t pay attention to the belt of truth, the written Word of God in our lives several things will start to happen:
We will lose our sense of righteousness.
We will lose our sense of peace.
We will lose our sense of joy.
We will lose our sense of confidence.
We cannot function without the belt of truth. If we remove our belt from our armor – if we remove the Word of God – from our lives it will only be a matter of time until we begin to fall to pieces spiritually. If we fail to make the Bible part of our daily lives, we are entering spiritual warfare on a daily basis completely unarmed. The person that fails to grab a hold of the written Word of God daily has put himself in a dangerous position where the enemy can come to strike with temptations and troubles.
If we choose to ignore the Word of God and try to go through our day with another approach we are setting ourselves up for spiritual loss. We cannot function with the Belt of Truth because the written Word of God supports everything else (to listen to last week’s message click here).
SUNDAY’S MESSAGE: The Breastplate of Righteousness
It’s not just about a warning, it’s about winning.
This Sunday we take a look at the second piece of armor mentioned, The Breastplate of Righteousness. As we begin to look at these pieces it’s vital that we understand that this passage on the Armor of God is not just about a warning about spiritual warfare. It’s about winning during spiritual warfare. The warning is very evident. We are in spiritual warfare against powerful forces. The Apostle Paul describes these forces this way:
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
And yet, we have been equipped and armed with everything we need to claim spiritual victory. As we saw last week, it starts with the Belt of Truth. Now the Belt of Truth is the written Word of God, the Bible. Everything rests on the Word of God. Equally, everything falls apart without the Word of God. We talked about the fact how that a Roman Soldier wouldn’t be able to go very far without his belt.
And he wouldn’t be able to carry everything else he needed without the belt.
It was central. It was significant.
Without the belt, everything fell apart.
The Belt of Truth has to be where our armor starts. With the Belt of Truth in place we move to the Breastplate of Righteousness. The breastplate was the shiniest, most beautiful, and mot glamourous piece of weaponry that the Roman soldier possessed. When people walked up to a Roman solider they notice the breastplate first. As we talked about last week, the belt wasn’t the first thing they noticed.
As we think about the breastplate for a Roman soldier, here are some things to consider:
- The breastplate was massive. It covered the Roman soldier from their shoulders down below the waist. It was the first thing people noticed when they saw a soldier.
- The breastplate was heavy. It weighted (at the very least) 40-50 pounds.
- The breastplate was shiny. It was normally made up of brass or another type of metal and it shined brilliantly in the outdoor sun.
We’ll look at the details closer of the breastplate of righteousness on Sunday and look to make practical applications to our daily lives. Righteousness is defined as having a pure heart and living in a way that is morally right.
As we study the Breastplate of Righteousness we’ll look at a couple of passages and study them more on Sunday. There are two portions that are particularly helpful when considering our identity in Christ and our righteousness in Him. We’ll look at these a little closer on Sunday.
Romans 8 (NCV)
1 So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not judged guilty.
2 Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free from the law that brings sin and death.
3 The law was without power, because the law was made weak by our sinful selves. But God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son to earth with the same human life that others use for sin. By sending his Son to be an offering for sin, God used a human life to destroy sin.
4 He did this so that we could be the kind of people the law correctly wants us to be. Now we do not live following our sinful selves, but we live following the Spirit.
5 Those who live following their sinful selves think only about things that their sinful selves want. But those who live following the Spirit are thinking about the things the Spirit wants them to do.
6 If people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, there is death. But if their thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace.
7 When people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, they are against God, because they refuse to obey God’s law and really are not even able to obey God’s law.
8 Those people who are ruled by their sinful selves cannot please God.
9 But you are not ruled by your sinful selves. You are ruled by the Spirit, if that Spirit of God really lives in you. But the person who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ.
10 Your body will always be dead because of sin. But if Christ is in you, then the Spirit gives you life, because Christ made you right with God.
11 God raised Jesus from the dead, and if God’s Spirit is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies that die. God is the One who raised Christ from the dead, and he will give life through his Spirit that lives in you.
12 So, my brothers and sisters, we must not be ruled by our sinful selves or live the way our sinful selves want.
13 If you use your lives to do the wrong things your sinful selves want, you will die spiritually. But if you use the Spirit’s help to stop doing the wrong things you do with your body, you will have true life.
14 The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them. 15 The Spirit we received does not make us slaves again to fear; it makes us children of God. With that Spirit we cry out, “Father.”
16 And the Spirit himself joins with our spirits to say we are God’s children.
17 If we are God’s children, we will receive blessings from God together with Christ. But we must suffer as Christ suffered so that we will have glory as Christ has glory.
18 The sufferings we have now are nothing compared to the great glory that will be shown to us.
19 Everything God made is waiting with excitement for God to show his children’s glory completely.
20 Everything God made was changed to become useless, not by its own wish but because God wanted it and because all along there was this hope:
21 that everything God made would be set free from ruin to have the freedom and glory that belong to God’s children.
22 We know that everything God made has been waiting until now in pain, like a woman ready to give birth.
23 Not only the world, but we also have been waiting with pain inside us. We have the Spirit as the first part of God’s promise. So we are waiting for God to finish making us his own children, which means our bodies will be made free.
24 We were saved, and we have this hope. If we see what we are waiting for, that is not really hope. People do not hope for something they already have.
25 But we are hoping for something we do not have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently.
26 Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain.
27 God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way God wants.
28 We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan.
29 God knew them before he made the world, and he chose them to be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn[f] of many brothers and sisters.
30 God planned for them to be like his Son; and those he planned to be like his Son, he also called; and those he called, he also made right with him; and those he made right, he also glorified.
31 So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can defeat us.
32 He did not spare his own Son but gave him for us all. So with Jesus, God will surely give us all things.
33 Who can accuse the people God has chosen? No one, because God is the One who makes them right.
34 Who can say God’s people are guilty? No one, because Christ Jesus died, but he was also raised from the dead, and now he is on God’s right side, appealing to God for us.
35 Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can troubles or problems or sufferings or hunger or nakedness or danger or violent death?
36 As it is written in the Scriptures: “For you we are in danger of death all the time. People think we are worth no more than sheep to be killed.”
37 But in all these things we are completely victorious through God who showed his love for us.
38 Yes, I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers,
39 nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
II Corinthians 5:17-21 (NIV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
QUESTIONS FOR PERSONAL GROWTH & DISCOVERY
- How important is the Bible in discovering and living a righteous life?
- What does righteousness mean to you?
- How can righteousness be a weapon?
- Have you ever had a moment in which you doubted your identity in Christ? How did that doubt affect how you behaved?
- Why is believer who lacks understanding of his/her righteousness such easy prey for the enemy?
- How might a greater understanding of your righteousness in Christ affect the way you go about your daily affairs and how you relate to other people?
Have any questions about this study?
Email them to email@example.com or text them to (541) 530-4912.
I’m looking forward to continuing this study with you on Sunday. PLUS – our Annual Church Picnic follows our service on Sunday morning. For more details, click here.
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