VIDEO New Kind of Armor

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11

When we think of “armor,” our mind goes immediately to the shiny metal suits worn by European combatants in the late Middle Ages. But armor is older than that. In the Old Testament, Goliath was covered from head to toe in various kinds of bronze armor (1 Samuel 17:5-7). And Saul tried to clothe young David in his own armor (1 Samuel 17:38-39). Throughout history, armor has served to protect the wearer physically.

But Paul wrote that we Christians “do not war according to the flesh [physically]. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [physical]” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). For the first time in history, a new kind of armor was introduced to protect the Christian: spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-18). Like physical armor, our spiritual armor—the “armor of God”—covers us from head to toe. Our armor consists of truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. Clothed in this armor, we are “able to stand.”

Do not consider spiritual battle (the daily Christian life) without being fully dressed in the armor of God. Fully clothed, we are prepared for any spiritual challenge!

Our enemies are on every side, and so must our armor be. William Goral


Ephesians 6:11 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

God of Justice

I trust in your unfailing love. Psalm 13:5

She was perhaps the greatest “scapecow” in history. We don’t know if her name was Daisy, Madeline, or Gwendolyn (each name has been suggested), but Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was blamed for the 1871 Great Chicago Fire that left every third resident of the city homeless. Carried by strong winds through wooden structures, the fire burned for three days and took the lives of nearly three hundred people.

For years, many believed the fire began when the cow knocked over a lantern left burning in a shed. After further investigation—126 years later—the city’s Committee on Police and Fire passed a resolution exonerating the cow and her owners and suggesting the activities of a neighbor warranted scrutiny.

Justice often takes time, and Scripture acknowledges how difficult that can be. The refrain, “How long?” is repeated four times in Psalm 13: “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (vv. 1–2). But in the middle of his lament, David finds reason for faith and hope: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (v. 5).

Even when justice is delayed, God’s love will never fail us. We can trust and rest in Him not just for the moment but for eternity.

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

In what ways has God shown you His unfailing love? How will you demonstrate trust in Him today?

Loving God, help me to trust You even when I can’t see what You’re doing. I’m thankful I can rest in Your goodness and faithfulness today.

Watch “What Is Justice?” at go.odb.org/WhatIsJustice.

God’s Good Plans

Jeremiah 29:4-14

Has your life turned out as you expected? We would probably all have to answer no to that question. Only God knows the future and the plans He has for us. But even though we face unexpected disappointments and hardships, there is one thing we can know for certain—God’s plans for us are always good (Rom. 8:28).

Since the exiled people of Judah wanted to return to Israel as quickly as possible, they started listening to the bad counsel of false prophets. To correct this, Jeremiah told them to settle down and pray for the welfare of their place of residence. This was God’s best for them at present and was a part of the good plans He had for their future restoration.

If we want to discover the Lord’s best for our life, we must trust that His way is better than our plans and desires. We like to think that we can figure things out on our own, but there is truly no one who understands our needs better than He does. Our heavenly Father sees what lies ahead and knows what He wants to accomplish in every situation of our life. And by spending time regularly in His Word, we’ll find our trust in Him growing as we learn His ways and plans.

The Secret Things

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

This portion of Scripture follows a lengthy restatement of the covenant of God with His people, Israel. In this chapter, Moses reminded the people of the works that God had wrought on their behalf in their deliverance from Pharaoh, in His provision for them in the wilderness, and in His protection on the battlefield (vv. 2-8).

In this final address, he encouraged them to “keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do” (v. 9), and stated the various blessings that would be theirs if they would do so. Lastly, he described, in graphic and burning words, the results of breaking the covenant and incurring the judgment of God (vv. 18-27). “And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day” (v. 28).

In recognition of the limitations of humankind, Moses wrote in our text that there are certain things known only to God, which He has veiled—things that cannot be understood by the human mind—things that He simply chooses to keep to Himself. But he goes on to say that He has revealed certain things to us, and these things we must obey. Consequently, our text consists of a great principle of life: We must do what we know to do. We don’t know everything, but we must act responsibly and properly on what He has told us, leaving the “secret things” and their consequences to God. Elsewhere, He promises that even the secret things will “work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28) in His sovereign plan. We must obey, doing what we know to do, and leave the results with Him. JDM

The Unmerciful Servant

Matthew 18:21-35

AFTER recounting the incident of the little children, Matthew records further teaching of our Lord upon the same occasion (Matt. 18:15-35). He gives us the procedure we should follow with an offending brother in the church. Strange that we should overlook such plain instruction in our church discipline nowadays! The offended party is to go to the offender alone; if reconciliation cannot be effected that way, two or three others are to be taken along the second time; if that fails, the church is to act; and if he hear not the church, he is to be treated as an heathen and a publican—not despised, but as one outside the fold.

Then follows the word of authority about “binding and loosing” which we considered in our study of Peter’s confession. Next is the promise that where two are agreed as touching anything they shall ask, it is granted of the Father, and that where two or three gather in His name, He is there. Another glorious check we fail to cash! We roll it under our tongues as a precious promise, but it is not a motto for the wall but an endorsed check to present at the Bank of Heaven.

Peter asks about forgiveness, and our Lord tells the story of the unmerciful servant who, himself forgiven of a great debt, chokes a fellow servant who owes but a mite. We believers are forgiven of an incalculable debt against God, but “Jesus paid it all.” Shall we not freely forgive again and again those who wrong us? Of course, this is primarily kingdom teaching and does not mean that we are lost if we do not forgive others. Rather, we are bidden to forgive one another “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven us.” The absence of a forgiving spirit shows that the professing believer does not have the Spirit of Christ and is none of His.

Going back, it is interesting to note the place our Lord claims for Himself in the promise that where two or three gather in His name He is there. If He were not the Son of God, what comfort would there be in knowing He was there when we prayed? How precious to know that He Himself intercedes as our Advocate before the Father!

This Christ is with us when we pray, and if we hold malice and will not forgive, He knows it. Peter, of course, was still on Jewish ground, for the fuller light of grace had not yet liberated him. The rabbis taught that trespass should be forgiven three times. Peter, no doubt, congratulated himself that he would be willing to make it seven. But in the Spirit there is no limit to forgiveness nor any Christian mandate. When we set a limit to how much we will forgive, or to any such matter, we lapse back into legalism. Our Lord answered Peter in kingdom terms, but today we must remember that the reason for our forgiving others is not that we may be forgiven but because we are forgiven.

Completing the Framework

Wisdom resides in the heart of the discerning; she is known even among fools.—Proverbs 14:33

It is important to build a biblical framework for generosity. First, give at least a tithe of your earnings to the Lord’s work. The giving of a tithe is seen by many as legalistic, but the tithe is really a symbol of acknowledgment that the nine-tenths belongs to God. The Hebrews waved the firstfruits of the harvest before the Lord as an acknowledgment that the coming harvest belonged to Him. Some will be able to give far more than a tithe, but the tithe is a good place to begin.

Next, make your will under God’s direction and maintain a balance between responsibility for your family and the continuing work of God. Make sure your relatives don’t waste what God has given you to invest in His kingdom. You might need advice here from a wise Christian.

Also, remember that the principle of generosity applies not only to your treasure but also to your talents and your time. Each day ask God to show you ways of using your talents and time for Him. John Wesley’s advice is worth repeating: “Make all you can; save all you can; give all you can.”

Finally, accept the smallest opportunity to be generous as a proving ground for faithfulness. “You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things” (Mt 25:21). Don’t wait for the big opportunities to be generous but start with the next opportunity that comes your way—no matter how small it may be. Get ready for the bigger by doing the little well. Why does the Bible make much of generosity? Because the truly generous are the truly wise.

Prayer

Father, just like Simon Peter, who gave Your Son his boat from which to preach, I give You my treasure, my talents, and my time for You to use as Your pulpit—today and every day. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Further Study

Gn 14:20; Lv 27:30; 2Ch 31:5; Mt 3:1-10

What principle did Abram follow?

What is your response to the biblical principle expressed by the tithe?

The Feast of Celebration

John 2:5

Jesus begins His earthly ministry in the company of two young lovers, and by His presence gives the pledge of God to marriage (John 2:1-11). It is His intention to be identified with people, and if with them in their sorrows, why not in their joys and legitimate pleasures?

But vexing problems can arise, even in the presence of Jesus. It is so on this occasion. The dilemma? There is no more wine. The celebration of life and love threatens to become the disaster of the empty cup. The cup is empty, and no human hand can fill it.

Is it not the same in the life of the soul. We allow the happiness of our first love for God to dribble away. The enthusiasm we once had for reading the Word of God vaporizes. The refreshment of prayer and meditation, which once seemed so necessary to growth in grace and in a deepening knowledge of the Savior, drains into dullness. The cup is empty.

The calamity of the empty cup brings a worried Mary to her son. After a brief exchange, Jesus leaves His mother and the celebrants. At the entrance are six stone pitchers. The instructions of Jesus are cryptic. “Fill the pitchers. Take a sample to the head of the house.” The directions are followed, and the miracle happens. When the water/wine is tasted by the governor of the feast he announces rather headily, according to The Living Bible, “This is wonderful stuff!”

The presence of Christ makes all the difference. He changes the lower into the higher, the poorer into richer, the sour into sweetness, the spiky Mosaic law into the congenial law of liberty, the baptism of John into the baptism in the Spirit. The new wine of God’s kingdom bursts the old wineskins of Judaism filled with the water of ritualism.

Perhaps Mary is our mentor. What she told the servants is the message we too should hear: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5). If the poor water of our lives is to be transformed into the rich wine of love and service, and if the soul’s cup is to overflow with a divine infilling, then entire obedience to Christ’s will is required. “Whatever” means exactly what it says.

There must be not only entire obedience, but also exclusive obedience. It is “whatever He tells you.” Other influences will try to trespass in the holy places of our heart. But it is what God in Christ by the Spirit says that must be obeyed. And obedience must be not only entire and exclusive, but it must be specific.

“Do whatever He tells you.”

Arnold Brown, With Christ at the Table