Sermon:  God's Armor

Summary:  Because there are spiritual threats from Satan to our Christian walk, we need 
to see our Christian life as a struggle and incorporate truth, righteousness, faithfulness, 
the Gospel, salvation as a lifestyle and the word of God to combat the lies, deceit, and 
pressure that the enemy places on our faith.  Every single one of these are imperative, 
and none are optional.

Know:  We need to see our transformed lives, thinking, and activity as "armor" against 
the enemy who will try and undo God's new creation in our lives.

Feel:  A sense of struggle, and a sense that there is a war going on to try and win our hearts 
away from God.

Do:  Take inventory of the "darts" that Satan uses to try and draw your heart or mind away 
from God, and take inventory of how the various pieces of "armor" as a single unit can help 
you, and which pieces of the unity might be missing or weak.  Commit to a plan to strengthen 
the weaknesses in the armor.

Text:  Eph 6:10-17

Scripture Reading:  1 Thess 5:7-8

1.  Do you know what this is?  As a child, it was a weapon
	a.  Used to play war as a child, got mad because enemy refuse to die
	b.  Used to use anything we could find as a weapon
	c.  God does not leave us to find our weapons, but provides an arsenal
2.  Text:  Eph 6:10-20
	a.  This text recasts everything in terms of spiritual warfare
		- Redeemed and formed into one body
		- Stewardship of grace
		- Unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
		- Gifts for maturity, mission, and ministry
		- Marriage, family, and work relationships that glorify God
	b.  Satan will try to prevent you from living up to the picture God gives
	c.  Satan doesn't want you to see that there is a war going on
3.  God gives us equipment to fight this war

I.  God provides us the equipment to fight this war
	A.  Paul gives quite a list
		1.  We are going to take inventory of these items
		2.  Probably don't want to press the order to much
	B.  The items include the following
		1.  Truth and the Word
			a.  John 17:17 - "Your word is truth"
			b.  In churches of Christ, truth has been a big concern
				- Our history has been strong on good Bible teaching
				- A mark of our heritage was a return to pure Bible 
				  teaching, not the traditions of men
			c.  Interesting Paul associates girding with truth
				- People wore clothes that were flowing
				- Girding meant to tie up loose ends
				- Meant you were getting ready for action!
			d.  Truth is more than just a cerebral exercise
				- Sword of the Spirit - the Word
				- Cannot stand up to the subtle, deadly lies
				- Truth is what we live our lives by
		2.  Righteousness and Faith
			a. Paul often associates faith and righteousness
				- Paul calls one a shield and the other a breastplate
				- Faith and righteousness both have a shielding effect
			b. How faith shields
				- Greek - The verb and noun are the same root
				- "To believe" and "faith" from "pist" group in Greek
				- Two aspects of faith:  Belief and trust/faithfulness
				- Abraham had faith in God - He was faithful
			c.  Righteousness - In this case means doing righteousness
				- How do you determine what is right?
				- Goes back to truth and the word
				- God is the creator, he determines what is right
			d.  ILL:  My old Maverick
				- Used some keepers on the valve stem from the junk 
				   pile when I rebuilt the heads
				- Worked for awhile, then they popped off, car could 
				  barely run after than
				- I didn't follow the instructions of the designer!
				- God is the designer, we must follow his instructions
			e.  What does it mean to do righteousness?
				- Often think of this in legal terms, moral behavior
				- Bible also speaks of it in social terms - Amos
				- Righteousness and justice spoken of together
				- Jer 9:24 - It stems from the character of God
				- Isa 1:17 - Involves defending the orphan, pleading 
				  for the widow
			f. James 1:27 -  2 Aspects of pure and undefiled religion
				- Visit orphans and widows in their distress
				- Stay unspotted by the world
		3.  Gospel			
			a.  Gospel means good news
			b.  1 Cor 15:1-4 - If I were to ask you what is the Gospel? 
			     Here it is.
			c.  Paul connects the Gospel with shoes?
				- Gospel is more than just facts
				- It is something that must be lived out every day
				- 1 Thess 1:7-9; Rom 6 - Must obey the Gospel 
				   through dying to self in baptism
			d.  Wait a minute, that doesn't make sense!
				- God told Israel to march around Jericho, did that 
				   make sense?
				- They were faithful, they believed and trusted God's 
			e.  Paul's Gospel shoes took him all over the world
				- The Gospel is not to stay in the church building
				- Where will your Gospel shoes take you?
		4.  Salvation --
			a.  It is our helmet
			b.  Get conked on the head, will get knocked out, or killed
	C.  It is important to never leave the house without these
		1.  Christianity Today, 1992 Tells story about Stephen Belynski, a 
		     teacher in a confirmation class
			a.  Always begins with jar full of beans
			b.  Students to estimate how many in the jar, write it down
			c.  He reveals it, and class sees who had correct answer
		2.  Next, he would have them write favorite song
			a.  He then would ask who had the right answer?
			b.  They would protest that there is no "right answer"
			      because it a matter of taste
		3.  Then Belynski, a PhD. in Philosophy from Notre Dame asks:
			a.  "When you decide what to believe in terms of your faith, 
			      is that more like guessing the number of beans, or more 
			      like choosing your favorite song?" 
			b.  Always, most will say that it is more like choosing a 
			     favorite song
	D.  This is why the armor is so important
		1.  In fighting a battle, strategy, choice of weapons, etc. is NOT like 
		     choosing a favorite song
			a.  The wrong choice could be fatal
			b.  The same is true in our faith
		2.  Darts of lies, wrong information, peer pressure, shot every day
			a.  Nadab and Abihu - No big deal if I don't use the fire from 
			     the altar that God specified for burning insence
			b.  Ahio - No big deal if I steady the ark on the cart
			c.  Achan - No big deal if I keep some plunder
		3.  Same sorts of darts today
			a.  No big deal if I play along with the crowd
			b.  No big deal if I accept sinful lifestyles as normative
			c.  No big deal if I talk bad about parents, friends, the church
			d.  No big deal if I cheat, tell a lie, take something

II.  The equipment comes as a single unit
	A.  Paul said to put on the "FULL" armor of God in order to stand
	B.  ILL:  Once the Devil walking along with a cohorts
		1.  Saw a man pick up something shiny
		2.  What did he find?  Asked the cohort?
			a.  A piece of truth.  Replied the Devil
			b.  Doesn't it bother you that he found a piece of truth?
			c.  No, I will see that he makes a religion of out it
		3.  Then Devil said - A piece of truth changes nothing
			-  It gives him a false sense of security
	C.  In the same way, the Devil only wants us to take up a piece of the 
		1.  If you were to see a soldier with no equipment, would he last 
		     very long on the battlefield?
			a.  Let's add a helmet - Salvation, many of us have this
			b.  Let's add breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith
			c.  Let's add gospel boots, sword of the Spirit, the word
		2.  Can't do it with just a helmet, need the WHOLE armor
		3.  Song: Soldiers of Christ
			a.  Talk about the panoply of God
			b.  Panoply means the whole armor
	D.  Satan doesn't mind if you are saved
		1.  Just as long as you don't put on the full armor
		2.  He can shoot his darts at you and get you
1.  First piece to put on is the helmet of salvation (Invitation)
2.  ILL:  Outfitted Jeremy with equipment for Civil Air Patrol
	a.  Had to go through a checklist to make sure everything in his pack
	b.  If you don't have something, it could be bad
3.  We need to take a similar inventory of the rest of our armor

Discussion Questions:  God's Armor

Summary:  Because there are spiritual threats from Satan to our Christian walk, we need to see 
our Christian life as a struggle and incorporate truth, righteousness, faithfulness, the Gospel, 
salvation as a lifestyle and the word of God to combat the lies, deceit, and pressure that the 
enemy places on our faith.  Every single one of these are imperative, and none are optional.

Open (choose one):
- How do you protect your home from danger?
- Growing up, what were some of your favorite costumes or outfits?

Explore:  (Eph 6:10-17)

1.  From what Paul says in the passage, what does it look like a Christian should expect in life?

2.  What appears to the be nature of the battle for the Christian?  In what ways should a Christian 
fight the battle?

3.  What armor analogies or their connection to a Christian trait seem unusual or meaningful to 
you?  For instance, does it seem unusual or meaningful that "truth" would be associated with 
"girding the loins?"

4.  Which is the most important piece of armor in this passage?  Explain your answer.


5.  As you take inventory of ALL of your armor, what parts are in good shape?  What parts are 
weak or missing?

6.  What evidence do you see of the battle in your life?  In your group?  In the church?  What 
are some of the "darts" that Satan has been shooting?  Do some of them seem painless or 
subtle and in what way?

7.  What would it mean for you to "stand firm?" in these battlefields?  

1 Thess 5:7-8