MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Worship Sunday August 22 2021
      • Bible Trivia
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      • Bible Trivia
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  • Come Christians Join To Sing (Madrid)
  • A Shield About Me
  • Seek Ye First
  • In Christ Alone
      • Ephesians 6:13ESV

  • I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we live in challenging times. With a 24 hour news cycle it is next to impossible to not have some knowledge of, or at least be aware of challenges around the world. Just this past week, some off the top of my head are:
    A 7.2 earthquake devastates Haiti.
    Hurricane Fred, turning to a tropical storm and hitting our southern gulf states.
    Hurricane Grace hitting Haiti and then Mexico leaving destruction in her wake, and complicating the search and rescue efforts in Haiti.
    The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and the growing crisis as countries from around the world work to aid their citizens out.
    Troops and veterans struggling with the apparent defeat suffered by the US.
    Missionaries, US AID Workers, and others trapped inside Afghanistan.
    The ongoing argument over masks and vaccinations and the political theater surrounding so much of it.
    COVID continuing to impact families we know - the death of Pastor Wendy’s son Philip, of John and Olive Orr.
    This was only added to the daily, and weekly responsibilities of work, family, and our daily life.
    These are the things that have weighed very heavily on me this past week as I have continued to try and pastor our congregation, and live as a faithful Christian and disciple of Jesus Christ.
    I have no doubt that many of you could recite your own lists perhaps with many of the same items, and it can feel overwhelming. No, strike that, it is overwhelming were it not for the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    We read in 1 Cor 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
    Paul understood overwhelming challenges himself. Christians of the time did as well. They knew what it was to be persecuted not only by the Romans, but also by the religious establishment of the Jews. They did not have 24 hour news nor the internet, but they knew the realities of the world they lived in, and Paul writes to the church at Ephesus.
    Our text this morning comes from Ephesians 6:10-20.
    Ephesians 6:10–20 ESV
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
    This is a reading from God’s Holy Word.
    Thanks be to God.

    The Battle is Real

    As I have talked with many of you this past week, in texts, phone calls, emails, I know I’m not the only one who has felt this past week was heavy.
    The weight of it all can feel quite literally as if it is pushing us down, it feels heavy on our hearts. And then we remember Paul’s words to the Corinthians: God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability…but will provide a way of escape, that we may be able to endure it.
    So what is our way of escape?
    I think the first thing we need to do is recognize the battle.
    In verse 12, Paul reminds us that our battle is not in the temporal; it is truly in the eternal realm.
    Paul writes: Ephesians 6:12
    Ephesians 6:12 ESV
    For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

    Recognize the Battle

    Sometimes we get caught up in what is going on around us, and we forget that the real battle is in the heavenly places. It’s truly a battle for your soul. Where do you put your trust?
    Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
    After we have recognized that our life and this earth is only the beginning of our life in eternity, we need to recognize our strength. Paul writes:
    Ephesians 6:10 ESV
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
    It is not by our strength that we battle these things. It is by the Lord’s strength.

    Recognize Your Strength

    The Lord is our strength. The Lord is the one who gives us the power, the strength, the wisdom to stand up against anything we might face in this life.
    I think that is why so many Christians when they are facing difficult situations in their lives they will say that it “drove them to their knees.” Not in surrender to whatever the challenge was, but in trust in the Lord Jesus.
    Zechariah 4:6 ESV
    Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
    Those are powerful words. It is not by might, nor power, but by the Lord’s Spirit.
    I don’t only believe that to be true for Zerubbabel, but for us as well.
    And Paul reminds us of our protection is not our own, it is God’s. It is the armor of God.
    Ephesians 6:11 ESV
    Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
    and verse 13
    Ephesians 6:13 ESV
    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 firm.
    Standing firm. Well grounded. On Solid ground. We’re not building on a foundation of sand, but on solid ground. And Christ is our cornerstone.

    Recognize Your Armor

    We already know that the armor is not really our own, it is the armor of God.
    As I was reflecting on this passage this week I thought of David taking on Goliath. He tried on Saul’s armor and it didn’t fit. Then, he simply went at Goliath with what he knew, his God, and his sling shot.
    Think about that. Goliath was huge and he was armed to the teeth.
    1 Samuel 17:4–7 (ESV)
    And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. (That’s about 9 feet 9 inches!)
    He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. (That’s about 125 pounds!)
    And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders.
    The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. (That’s about 15 pounds!)
    And then this is what David says to this behemoth,
    1 Samuel 17:45 (ESV)
    “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
    Paul begins then to describe what our Armor is:
    Ephesians 6:14 ESV
    Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

    Belt of Truth

    We don’t typically see armor anymore. But if you were to look at the armor in the Roman times you would know that the very foundation of it all is the belt. Everything is grounded by the belt.
    In this case we are to fasten on the belt of truth.
    Jesus said in John 8:31-32
    John 8:31–32 ESV
    So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    The belt is the foundation of our armor; abiding in the Word, being a disciple of Jesus is knowing the truth, and that truth sets us free. Free to stand against the dark forces of our day.
    This is the foundation upon which we are able to fasten the breastplate of righteousness.

    Breastplate of Righteousness

    It’s not by our own works, our own fighting that we’re going to win the battle. No, it’s by the work that Jesus has already done.
    Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    You and I are made righteous - not by our own works but by God’s work through Jesus Christ.
    Romans 8:35–39 ESV
    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    And our feet are shod with the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

    Gospel of Peace

    Do we truly believe the Gospel?
    Do you believe that God really does love you? that God sent Jesus to come and die for your sins, so that you wouldn’t have to? That because of Jesus you have eternal life?
    That gives you a whole different perspective on all that is happening in our world.
    Then we also have a shield.

    Shield of Faith

    There are those that will accuse some of hiding behind their faith. Well, yes, sort of. That’s what you do with a shield. You get behind it. Our faith is out front blocking all the flaming darts of untruth from the evil one.
    Ephesians 6:16 ESV
    In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
    And I’m glad that Paul finishes with the last two items, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.

    Helmet of Salvation

    One might say, “Keep your head about you.”
    It’s easy to get rattled by all that is going on around us. The Helmet of salvation reminds us in our head that we are saved. Sometimes it may not “feel” that way. We are to be thinkers as well, not just “feelers”.
    Our faith is not a mindless trust. It is not whimsical fantasy. It is grounded in the truth - the belt. Our heart is protected by the breastplate of righteousness. The Gospel gives us peace, and the helmet of salvation protects our minds as well.
    Ephesians 6:17 ESV
    and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
    Then we have one offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

    Sword of the Spirit

    Now it is clear that a sword is an offensive weapon. Yet, Paul makes it clear who our enemy is in verse 12.
    Ephesians 6:12 ESV
    For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
    And as we continue in our passage in verses 18 we’re guided again as to where our sword of the Spirt, the Word of God should not be aimed:
    Ephesians 6:18 ESV
    praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
    God’s Word is not meant for us to have self-righteous arguments against fellow believers. It is a weapon against that which is of this present darkness.
    Church, it has been a difficult week. And I have no doubts that there will be others in our lives here on this earth. But our view is not to be limited to this world and this temporary affliction, but to be focused on the eternal.
    In all things, we can recognize the Victor.

    Recognize the Victor!

    Jesus has already won the battle. Sin has been conquered. Death has been overcome. What we see now, we see dimly, but then we will see clearly. Now we know in part, but then we shall know fully as we have been fully known.

    The Battle is Real

    Yes, the Battle is real. but we do not fight that battle alone.
    This is Paul’s message to the Ephesians, and God’s message to us.
    Amen.
      • Ephesians 6:10–20ESV

      • Ephesians 6:12ESV

      • Proverbs 3:5–6ESV

      • Ephesians 6:10ESV

      • Zechariah 4:6ESV

      • Ephesians 6:11ESV

      • Ephesians 6:13ESV

      • 1 Samuel 17:4–7ESV

      • 1 Samuel 17:45ESV

      • Ephesians 6:14ESV

      • John 8:31–32ESV

      • Ephesians 2:8–9ESV

      • Romans 8:35–39ESV

      • Ephesians 6:16ESV

      • Ephesians 6:17ESV

      • Ephesians 6:12ESV

      • Ephesians 6:18ESV

  • We Are an Offering
  • Living for Jesus

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