No claims of absolute originality are made for this material. As one man said, "I milk a lot of cows, but I churn my own butter." Please use these sermons as the Lord leads, but nothing on this site may be used for profit without my expressed, written permission!
SPIRIT-FILLED WARFARE - PART 2b
THE BELT OF TRUTH
Intro: The verses before us speak about spiritual warfare. They remind us that we are in the fight of our lives. Against a relentless, powerful enemy. We are engaged in battle with a spiritual being who is intent on our destruction. We are fighting against an enemy who hates our God, and who hates us too. He wants to devour our families, destroy our testimonies, devastate our church, and discredit our God. But, this enemy of whom I speak is not all-powerful. The God we serve is, 1 John 4:4.
While Satan is intent on our defeat, the Lord is interested in giving us the victory. The Bible tells us very clearly that, in the end, God will have the last word, and Satan will be forever defeated and banished to the Lake of fire, Rev. 20:10-15. In the meantime, God has provided us with everything we need to stand for Him against everything the enemy can throw at us.
Today, we will begin to consider the resources the Lord has given to us to help us stand for Him, and to enjoy victory in the spiritual battles of life. Lets begin to study the pieces that comprise the whole armor of God. Ephesians 6:10 and 13 both tell us to utilize this armor in our daily warfare with the our enemy. The enemy is identified as Satan in verse 12. This passage teaches us that the only hope of victory we possess if or us to be adorned in the whole armor of God.
Verse 13 tells us to take unto you the whole armor of God. This literally means to take up. It is the image of a soldier standing amid the pieces of the armor. He only has to appropriate what had been proved for him. When the take it us, verse 10 says that he is to put it on. Armor does no good in the armory, and armor does no good until it is put on the soldiers body.
This armor, if utilized properly, will enable us to do what verses 11, 13, and 14 say we are to do, and that is stand. This armor will also make it possible to withstand, or resist, the daily assaults that come our way from the enemy. Lets begin today to examine the pieces of the whole armor of God.
I. V. 14a THE BELT OF TRUTH
The standard garment for the Roman soldier was a loose fitting tunic. It was really nothing more than a large, square piece of cloth with holes cut for the arms and head. It was usually worn loose, allowing it to drape over the body. When it came time for battle, that tunic would prove itself to be very dangerous for the soldier.
Since most combat was hand-to-hand in ancient times, giving the enemy such an easy handhold would mean certain death. Not only that, but the tunic, if left loose, would hinder the soldiers freedom of movement. So, before a battle began, the soldier would carefully gather the tunic around his body and hold it in place with a heavy leather belt. The phrase girt about literally means to fasten ones belt.
This practice was common among ordinary citizens as well. The people in that culture wore long, flowing robes. When he had to move fast, or do some sort of physical work, the robe would be tightened about the body so movement would be unhindered.
When the Lord would bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, and gave them His instructions concerning the Passover, He told them to eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORDS passover, Ex. 12:11. They were to be ready to go.
The Lord Jesus told His people to be ready to go as well. In Luke 12:35 He said, Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning. That is, we are to be ready to go all the time. Our spiritual loins are to be girded, as we are to be looking for the coming of the Lord.
We dont wear robes today, but we are to be girded up as well. Our girding is not physical, it is mental and it is spiritual. Here is how Peter said it: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 1:13.
The belt we wear in our spiritual battles is not a belt of leather, it is a belt of truth. The word refers to the content of that which is true. If we are to stand in the evil day, then we must stand in the truth.
When Paul speaks of our being girt about with truth, he is referring to a couple of specific areas of truth. Let me mention them to you today.
First, there is the truth found in the Word of God. Jesus said, Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth, John 17:17. Without a working knowledge of the truths of Scripture, the child of God is easy prey for the enemy. Paul has already told us that there is a great danger if we do not know truth. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, Eph. 4:14. That is why the Lord gave us His Word, and that is why He gave us preachers to explain it to us. He wants us to know His truth so that we might stand in the evil day. Without the truth, the saints of God have no foundation, and they are easily led astray.
The only way to combat error is with the truth. It is the devils desire to defeat us, to destroy us, and to distract us. He does this by peddling lies. Like he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan is still seeking to altar the Word of God. He wants wants us to ignore the truth God gives us and embrace his lies that are designed to lead us away from the Lord.
As I said, the only way to combat error with truth. The only way to know the truth is to be exposed to it. The Bible is truth. The Bible is reliable. It is accurate. It is to be read, and it is to be believed. Those who read it and believe it soon discover that, All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works, 2 Tim. 3:16–17.
Those who dont soon find that they are casualties in the war between God and Satan. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, 1 Tim. 4:1.
So, the Bible is truth.
- It teaches all we need to know about life and death, Heaven and Hell, God and Satan, and sin and salvation.
- It reveals our condition before God, Rom. 3:10-23.
- It reveals His solution to our problem, Jesus Christ the Son of God, John 3:16.
- It reveals the way of salvation, Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9.
- It reveals the final destiny of the saints of God, John 14:1-3.
- It reveals the final destiny of the lost, Psa. 9:17.
The Bible is a book to be read, believed, obeyed, and loved. Those who do will be led into the path of life. Those who dont will spend eternity in death. If you own a Bible, you should praise the Lord for it, and you should soak in the truth it contains daily. Let it shape your life, feed your soul, guide your steps, and lead you to Jesus Christ. It is truth, and in its pages are life everlasting. Make the Bible your foundation and stand on it!
Second, not only does truth refer to the content of that which is true, it also refers to the very attitude of truthfulness. This thought seems to get to the heart of what Paul is teaching us here. So, in this context, it speaks of an attitude of commitment and preparedness. It is the primary characteristic of a true believer, of one who serves God out of sincerity and not out of hypocrisy. For this believer shabby service is not tolerated, but they gather up the loose clothing of their lives, and bind it with total commitment to the will of the Lord. Thus, they are enabled to stand.
Far too many in our day allow the loose folds of their lives to blow around them, hindering their walk with the Lord. Like the ancient soldier whos loose tunic would allow the enemy to easily them and pull them down in battle, many believers allow the cares of this world to enfold their lives. Their habits, cares, and interests entangle them prevent them from faithfully serving the Lord as they should. Half-hearted commitment is not true commitment at all!
That is not to be the way believers live their lives. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier, 2 Tim. 2:4. Those who are girt about with truth, those who are true, committed believers, prepare themselves for the battle they are in, and they stand for His glory.
When we are girded with truth, it means that we are walking with the Lord in total commitment and discipline. The committed Christian is prepared in the day of battle, because he has set his heart on the Lord in total commitment. He is true in his profession and he is disciplined in his walk. Thus, the enemy cannot easily trap him, or defeat him in the day of battle.
Athletes demonstrate this kind of commitment and discipline. In Pauls day they would train their bodies and sacrifice everything to win a small laurel wreath that would with away and perish in no time at all. They train, they work, they endure, pain, suffering and deprivation, all for the hope of winning the praise of men. For an athlete, there is no guarantee that they will be successful. They must compete against every other athlete in the contest for the victory.
Christians are fighting for something far greater than a perishable crown. We are fighting for the very glory of God. We are to stand for Him in the day of battle, because it is His will for our lives. Those who know Him will be committed to honoring Him with the lives they live and the battle they wage. At the end of the way, when the battle ends, and the noise of warfare is lost in the anthems of His praises, the faithful, true believer will receive a crown that will never fade away. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible, 1 Cor. 9:25. Every saint of God can have this crown, not just one. It is guaranteed to the faithful saint.
If an athlete can give everything just for the hope of possibly winning a perishable crown, how much more should we, the redeemed saints of God sacrifice everything to stand for Him? How much more should we be faithful, committed, and true?
To be girt about with truth is to be renewed in the mind and it is to be absolutely committed to Gods will for our lives. It is to be the faithful, true disciple Jesus mentioned when He said, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me, Matt. 16:24.
It is to be the living sacrifice Paul wrote about in Rom. 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God, Rom. 12:2. Thus, it makes the truth of God visible, by allowing others to see that truth in shoeleather.
To be girt about with truth means that we embrace the truth as it is reveled in the Word of God, then it means that we live out that truth in our lives day by day. It means that we are real.
The belt around a Roman soldiers midsection did more than just bind his clothes close to his body. The belt provided him with stability for his back and abdomen. It helped him to stand in the day of battle. When we embrace the objective truth of Gods Word, and when that truth becomes subjective by being lived out in our daily lives, we will be a hard target for the enemy to bring down.
By the way, if a soldier failed to protect his loins, he would not be able to produce offspring when he returned home from the battle. If the church does not stand on the truth, guard the truth, and wear the truth as a belt, we will not have a credible witness before those lost in sin.
Conc: When our loins are girt about with truth, we will have taken up the first essential piece of the whole armor of God. It will mean that we will be true in our profession of Jesus Christ as our Savior and as our Lord. We will be enabled to live for the Lord day by day.
In some ways, living for the Lord is harder than dying for Him. Many millions have given everything for the Lord. They were burned alive. They were fed to wild beasts. They were brutally slain in the name of religion and entertainment. Thank God that they remained faithful unto death! If you give your life for the Lord, the pain of death will last but a short time, and you will be in the presence of the Lord. However, if you live for Him, the battle against sin, evil, Satan, and the struggle to walk in obedience, and to render faithful service endure day after day. Living for the Lord can be painful in a world that hates Him and His truth.
Im not taking anything away from the faithful martyrs who have given their lives for the Lord over the centuries. I am saying that a faithful life, lived in obedience, over many long years is a wonder to behold. A life of truth that bears faithful witness to the life changing power of the Gospel, brings great glory to the name of God.
Thats why many of Gods precious saints, people who were not known outside their church and local community, will hear Him say well done at the end of the way. They were faithful to live their lives for Him. They walked in truth, and God will honor them for it some day.
Are your loins girt about with truth?
Are you a faithful, true servant of the Lord?
Does your daily walk bring glory and honor to Him?
If you have never embraced the truth of the Gospel and you need to be saved, come to Him and He will implant truth in your soul and change your life.
If you are saved, come ask Him to help you take up the whole armor of God, that you might be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.