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Friday, April 2nd 2010

12:31 PM

"The Armor of God is Real !"

By Pastor Bruce Sikes

 

"Do demons exist?" I once overheard a brand new Christian ask his pastor that question. The astonishing answer from this seminary trained mainstream denominational pastor was, "I don't know."  Both I and the new believer were stunned, and frankly my spirit within me ignited! "What Bible is he reading? How can he pastor a church?" May the Lord enlighten him! You see, this is no simple matter of biblical interpretation. In this one statement, every part of his teaching, preaching and ministry is revealed to be weak and flawed. More significantly, it aversely effects the way those under his care pray and interpret the Bible, how they live their daily lives, and the spiritual condition of their very souls.

If this same pastor was asked if he believed in the existence of God and heaven, he would say yes. This is not surprising as such a public acknowledgement involves little risk. Yet, we are reminded in James 2:19:

"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."

The demons believe in more than merely the "concept" of God. God to them is just as real, as the people we see and talk to everyday. In human terms, every second of every day they know how real God is, ironically, that is how "real" we are to think of God as well.

Neither God, nor evil spirits "categorize' or separate the spiritual world from the physical world the way men do.    

Many Christians today have separated their physical lives from their spiritual lives. We have opted for our own personal version of the Separation of Church and State, making it a separation of our Spiritual State from our Physical State. We have chosen to live our Christian lives relying on only what our eyes can see and what we can touch, things that are very temporary, things that will disappear. The Bible says this physical world will pass away, it will end. However the spiritual world has no end.

 

We mainly think the spiritual world is just something we go to when we die. There is no need to think about it except to make sure we're "saved", and maybe when we are praying and asking God to give us something physical. Otherwise, it has no practical day to day application for us. We couldn't be more wrong.

 

Aren't we body, and soul? The soul is just as "real" as the body. We are a soul wrapped up in a vessel of flesh and bone. Our physical body is wearing out and will die and disappear, but our soul is spiritual. Therefore we exist in the spiritual world already, although as of yet, we are neither in heaven or God forbid never in hell. Our soul exists  and lives on this physical earth that God has created for us.

 

Think about it. That means when we move our bodies around in this physical world, we are moving our souls around in the spiritual world as well. Once we accept and understand that we are fully body and soul, so much more of what we struggle with in life begins to make sense. We begin to see all the connects between the spiritual world and to what we do and see happening to us and those around us in the physical world. 

 

God has given us physical eyes, hands, feet and even a brain so we can work to feed and clothe our bodies, to move around in this world and so we can avoid physical dangers. Yet without fully accepting the fact that our spiritual body - our soul, is just as literally real as our physical body, we are walking around naked exposed to spiritual dangers. The Bible clearly tells us that we are in a struggle, a battle against spiritual evil.

 

"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." (Ephesians 6:12)

 

In the preceding verse 11, it tells us the "devil schemes" against us, and  in verse 16 we are told the evil one shoots "flaming arrows" at us. These are not ordinary physical weapons being used against us, ones that we can see with our eyes, nevertheless they are very real weapons of spiritual evil.

 

The question for us is, do we believe these spiritual weapons present just as much of a  danger to us as a man with a gun? Yes/No? What does Jesus say?

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28) 

Clearly, Jesus believes it does. That is why this Christ we have, has given us protection for our souls, spiritual clothes to wear, the full Armor of God. What's more it is Christ Himself who is the maker of our armor and our armor bearer. It is the name of Jesus Christ that gives our armor it's protective power.

"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth" (Philippians 2:10) 

And every Demon recognizes and submits to Him, "When the demon possessed man saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of Him. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" (Mark 5:6-7)

When we bear God's armor, we bear the power and authority of the name of Jesus Christ. Evil is not fleeing from us, it is fleeing from our Master.

The Apostle Paul was not being metaphorical when he told us to put on the full Armor of God, he meant it literally.

It is daily dress for the Remnant. It is our uniform. Do not leave home without it. We dress our bodies each day before going to work or school and/or doing our daily chores. However without putting on the Armor of God each and every day, we are spiritually naked. Some might say, "Well I have Jesus living in me so I don't need to worry about that!" In that case think of it this way, you belong to Jesus, you carry his flag into battle, maybe even you have the helmet of salvation, but you are largely naked in the middle of a battlefield. And if you get killed in the war, which most unprotected people do by the way, yes - you will still go to heaven, but how good of a soldier for Christ were you? Paul tells us to put on the Full Armor of God.

Not so very long ago, although I am not really a morning person, I have made a habit of putting on my spiritual before clothes getting out of bed. Each and every morning I pray on the literal Armor of God as listed in Ephesians 6. I take a moment and carefully consider the power, purpose and reality of each piece as I put it on. It is now a daily routine that I take seriously. For example, one day everything seemed to be going wrong. I was attacked from many directions and I wondered why. Then I realized I had forgotten to put my armor on. I stopped right where I was standing and prayed on the Armor Of God. Things improved immediately and I felt my strength and courage in the Lord dramatically return. Of course there are other days when I am getting hammered and thank God that I am wearing His Armor.  

This is what I pray.

"Lord, please help me this day put on the Full Armor of God.

Help me put the Helmet of Salvation on my head that I might always remember I am saved, and who I belong to, that my mind is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the mind of Christ and that I may think the thoughts of Christ and reject all others.

Help me put the Breastplate of Righteousness on so that I may walk about in Righteousness and others may see your Righteousness in me, and that my heart is guarded in Christ Jesus, and that I may have the desires of Christ and reject all others.

Help me keep the Belt of Truth securely buckled on my waist, that I may always be secure in the knowledge of the Truth and always speak the Truth.

Help me fit my Feet with the Readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace, that I may stand firm in the Gospel, and spread the Gospel of Peace wherever I go.

Help hold the Shield of Faith with which to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one, strengthen my arm and help me hold it high, that I may use it to protect myself, my family, my household and those under my care, and help me use the Shield of Faith to press ahead and push forward for the kingdom of God.

And Lord, help me take up the Sword of The Spirit which is the Word of God, and use it every day, help me us it to protect myself and others from the evil one through the power and authority of Your Word, and to strike the hearts and minds of those who do not know You calling them towards repentance and salvation, help me use Your Word - the Sword of the Spirit - to cause those who know you but are backslidden to repentance, obedience and service, and to help awaken those who know you, but are asleep so they may obey and serve you, and please help me use your Word to bring, encouragement, strength and wisdom to the Remnant of God through your Word.

Help me serve you this and every day. Please use me Lord. These things I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Amen"

Whether you pray this prayer or a prayer like it, or begin each day by praying and reading the Armor of God in Ephesians 6, I urge you to begin today. The war is on, and the day of evil is approaching. Put on the Full Armor of God and be naked no more.

This armor is real.

 

 (Ephesians 6:10-20)

 

The Armor of God

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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 saints.

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

 

For Christ and His Remnant, 

 

Pastor Bruce       

 

            

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