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19 November 2012

Spiritual Warfare - November 19

If you were a 60s kid and went to Sunday School or Vacation Bible School, you sang songs based on Scripture and you may remember singing about the armor of God. As a kid, it was fun to “put on the armor” and pretend to fight. As an adult, we realize that although the armor is not literal

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 ye 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. Ephesians 6:11-18 (KJV)

Our spiritual struggle is with the devil. It takes place in high places – in the heavenlies. Satan constantly wrestles with God, and as we will see later, occasionally God allows Satan to do terrible things to people to prove their faithfulness and to further God’s plans.

Satan is always out to get believers. If he can get a pastor (or you) to have an affair which is uncovered and plastered all over the news (or to ruin your testimony), he is gleeful. If he can get you to do something that “proves” the hypocrisy of Christians, his demons have a field day. If he can simply put things in your way to keep you out of God’s word, he is happy, for if we don’t have the Sword of the Spirit, we don’t know what God expects of us.

In what ways does Satan work in your life? What temptations or trials does he place in your path that will keep you from the Word, from prayer, or from being a good testimony for Christ? Take some time this week to pray and ask God for His help in overcoming those devilish schemes. The way we live DOES matter to God, and the apostle John discussed that with his disciples.

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:7-10 (ESV)

As Christians, we are to stop making a practice of sinning. This does not mean that we are perfect, and it doesn’t mean that if we sin we aren’t a Christian. However, if we are (for instance) a bank robber before we find Christ, He expects us to turn from our life of crime. Same goes for any intentional sin. Paul discusses intentional sin. We were all something that caused us to be unrighteous, and we still are today. But we are expected to live as Christ-like a life as possible, and that includes turning away from our most cherished sins.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV)

Can you see why we need to put on the whole armor of God every day? We need to have protection from practicing sin each day and we can’t do it on our own.

I know many people who won’t get out of bed in the morning without reading Ephesians 6:11-18 and “suiting up” by pretending to place a helmet on their head, etc. it’s not a bad way to start the morning!

On Thursday, I will talk a little about how Jesus rescued us from our own depravity. Americans are preparing for our Thanksgiving holiday, where family and friends gather around a table and thank God for His provisions. Take some extra time this week to thank Him for the completion of the work His Son did on the cross.  I’ll see you Thursday.

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