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Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf
Silver Spring, Maryland

ARMOR OF GOD -  #1 INTRODUCTION
Signed Version
Ephesians 6:10-19

Finally, let the Lord make you strong.  Depend on His great power. Wear all of God's armor.  Then you can stand strong against the devil's terrible plans.

Our fight is not against people.  
We are fighting against
    many spiritual rulers,
    authorities,
    and many dark powers in this world.  
We are fighting against
    the evil forces in the spirit world.

So put on all of God's armor.  Evil days will come.
And after you did everything you can [finish], you will still stay standing.

So stand strong.  
[1] Wear the belt of truth around your waist.  
[2] Wear the chest protector of holy living.
[3] Wear on your feet shoes that will prepare you to tell the good news about peace.
[4] Also, pick up the shield of faith.  With it you can stop all of the flaming arrows of the devil.
[5] Put-on the helmet of salvation.  
[6] And take the sword of the Holy Spirit.  The sword is God's Word.
[7] At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit.  Pray all kinds of prayers.  Be watchful, so that you can pray.  

Always pray for all of God's people. Pray also for me.  Pray that when I speak, God will give me the right words. Then I can be bold as I tell the wonderful truth of the Good News.  Because of the Good News, I am being held by chains as the Lord's messenger.  So pray that I will be bold as I preach the Good News, as I should.

____________________________
 
In April 1861 - not 1961 - 1861, began the American Civil War, when the Southern army captured a Federal fort in South Carolina.   Three months later, 30,000 new Yankee soldiers marched from Washington, DC, to capture the Southern government city, Richmond, Virginia.  

Between Washington, DC, and Richmond, a very small Southern army camped near Manassas, Viriginia, about 30 miles from Washington DC.  

The Northern soldiers not-yet had any training.  They really were not ready for fighting.   But, that didn't-matter.  They thought the small Southern army would see that large Northern army (30,000!), the South would become scared and run.   Easy win.

Many other people from Washington DC went with the soldiers to watch the battle.  Congresssmen, government workers, their families, and children.  They brought picnic lunches in their wagons, ready for a pleasant afternoon watching the war.  [Huh?!]

Wrong.

The Southern army had one stubborn officer.  His name: THOMAS JACKSON.  He kept his solders fighting, defending their place near the BULL RUN river for five hours.   That officer got a new name:  STONEWALL JACKSON.

The Northern officers decided to give up, and order the army back to Washington DC.   But the Northern soldiers didn't march back.  They ran back.  The soldiers became mixed-up with the other people, their wagons, their food baskets, everyone tripping and falling.  The confusion made all the Northern soldiers more scared.  The officers gave orders, but the soldiers ignored them, running all-night back to Washington DC.

Today we can look-back and laugh.   After 140 years, now the American army training is much improved.

But that silly way the Northern army tried to fight their war is the same way many Christian people today try to fight in our spiritual war.   We act like our war is the same-as a picnic.  We think, "Easy win!"   Or we only watch, while other people fight for us.

______________________

During the next 8 weeks, we will study the New Testament letter named EPHESIANS, chapter 6, verses 10-20.   (That will be the regular Epistle lesson on the last day for this study.)

For the next 8 weeks we will set-up camp - not in Manasas, VA, but in Ephesians. chapter 6.   
    We will learn about our enemy.  
    We will learn the purpose for this war.
        What is the enemy's goal?
        What is God's goal?

And we will learn our about our basic equipment for living in Christian victory.
______________________

FIRST, before we can win the war, we must know
    Who is our enemy?

Eph. 6 says:
"Stand strong against the devil's terrible plans.
Our fight is not against people.  
We are fighting against
    many spiritual rulers,
    authorities,
    and many dark powers in this world.  
We are fighting against
    the evil forces in the spirit world."


If you research ideas people have about religion - give a SURVEY - and ask two questions:
    (1) "Do you believe there is a God?"
    (2) "Do believe the DEVIL is real?"

How do most people answer?
    (1) Do you believe there is a God?
        Most people answer, YES!
    (2) Do you believe the devil is real?
        Many people answer, NO!

That makes me wonder:  
    Who is their god?  
    And their information is from where?

The Bible says that the devil is very real.
The Bible gives several different names to our enemy.

The Bible names the devil: SATAN.   

That name means "ACCUSER"  (sign: blame-er).

In the Old Testament book of ZECHARIAH, the prophet had a vision, seeing the Jewish priest standing in front of an Angel from God.  The priest had dirty, smelly clothes on.  Those dirty clothes represent his sins.  And Satan stood near, accusing (blaming) the priest for all his sins.
 
The angel told the devil, in the Lord's name, "Shut-up!  The Lord saved this man from the fire!"  Then the Angel told other angels to take away his dirty clothes and put on clean clothes.  The Angel told the priest that God took away his sins.   (Zechariah 3:1-4)

This is a picture of what happens to us. 
    We sin. 
    The devil accuses(blames) us. 
    But God forgives us. 
God takes away our sins.  He nails all our sins with Jesus on the cross.  Then God covers us, "clothes" us, in Jesus' holy life.

The devil continues blaming us.   The devil wants us to become discouraged and give-up.  That is the reason we must fight against the devil's tricks.  We must remember Christ already died on the cross for us.  God forgives us 100%, no-matter what the devil says.

In the last book of the Bible, Revelation 12 says:  "The old snake, the devil, named SATAN... accuses our brothers before (in-front-of) God day and night...  They (Christians) defeated (beat) the devil with the blood of the Lamb and with the message they preach."  (Rev. 12:9-11)

Notice the Bible names the devil as "the snake."  The devil, same-as a snake, sneaks in, and we don't notice.   The devil offers us sweet looking temptation, that is really poison to our soul.

What are other names for our enemy? 
The Bible named the devil:  "Murderer" and "Destroyer."  

Our culture today advertises and sells death.  
The devil succeeds in making death look good:  
    Abortion.  
    Euthanasia -- "mercy killing" sick and old people.
    Suicide with doctor's help.  
Turn-on your TV every night and get pleasure watching pictures of killing and violence.   ...same as old Rome.  Long ago they used lions and soldiers in the stadium to watch people die.  Now with TV, we bring death into our living room!

Other names?   
Jesus named the devil:  "Thief, Robber, and Wolf."  
And people who follow the devil's ways are "wolves in sheep's clothing."

The Bible names the enemy:  "Tempter" and "Liar."

The devil covers some temptations with half-truth.
The BATE for many temptations is 100% lies.

In the beginning, the devil's name was "Lucifer" - "the angel of light" that rebelled against God's authority.   That angel wanted to establish himself with his own authority.  And that rebel angel invites us all to do the same: Reject God's authority, and decide for ourselves.

Eph. 6 says that the devil is very clever.  Same as we saw suicide bombers in IRAQ, the way devil fights doesn't follow our rules.   The devil avoids face-to-face battle.  The devil uses spiritual guerrilla war.  He hides.  He hurts innocent people.  He uses our friends to trick us.

And Eph.6 tells us that the devil doesn't work alone.  He has many rebel angels working with him.


In war, we must know who is our enemy.  
But we must also know who is not our enemy.
Eph. 6 says:
    Our fight is not against people.  
    We are fighting against [the devil and his angles]

If we don't understand this, we will fight the wrong enemy.   
Your enemy is not in politics - not democrat, not republican.  
Your enemy is not someone in your family,
    not your husband,
    not your wife,
    not your parents,
Your enemy is
    not your neighbor,
    not your land-lord.
Your enemy is not someone at work,
    not your boss,
    not your supervisor,
    not other workers.

You may be angry and bitter that someone hurt you very deeply.
    That person is not your real enemy.
You may have continuing conflict with someone,
    But that person is not your real enemy.

The only human person that is our enemy is
    the same person we see in the mirror every morning.

If we struggle against people, we are in the wrong fight.
My real struggle is against my own feelings, against my own bitterness.
The person who hurt me so badly,
    God sent that person only to show me
        what is already in my sinful heart.

Our real enemy, the devil, wants us to look-away from Jesus and His cross.
The devil wants us to join him in blaming other people.
And if the devil wins, we lose,
the same way the federal army lost in 1861 in the battle near Manassas.

In our battle against the devil, we must understand who is our enemy.
We must also understand:
    What is the purpose for our battle?
    We want to win what?
    The devil wants to win what?

What the devil wants most, is your soul.  
    After your body dies, your soul continues living forever.
    The devil doesn't want you to live with Jesus in heaven.
    Yes, the devil wants your soul.

What the devil wants second - He wants the souls of all the people you love.  Parents, that means the enemy wants your children!

Third, the devil wants to you to fail in your Christian life.  The devil wants you to be a lousy soldier for Christ.

Now, what is our goal for battle?
We have two.

First: DEFENSE - same as Officer Stonewall Jackson.  Three time in our Bible verse, Eph.6, says that our goal is to stand.

The Bible gives us examples - both good examples and bad example.   

A bad example is King DAVID.  While his army was fighting for him against the enemy, David was laying in his home with the wife of another man.
 
A good example is DANIELTwice Daniel stood against pressure to COMPROMISE from his faith.   When the pressure hit, Daniel was already ready.

The time to decide what to do with temptation is before temptation comes.  A soldier in war, seeing the enemy come, seeing guns shooting at him, that soldier doesn't begin reading the book that explains how to load his gun.  That's too late!  He must be ready before the battle.  We must also be ready before our battles.  We must read the Book and practice using it in our lives before the enemy attacks us.

Our first goal is defense.   
Our second goal is OFFENSE.   Our Officer, the Lord Jesus Christ, calls us to His army to destroy the devil's kingdom.  How?  We introduce people to Jesus.  Then they can join us in heaven.   Our goal is to reduce the population of hell!

The Bible says we can't do that ourselves.  
    Not our strength.  Not our clever plans.
    Only in Christ.

Eph.6 says:
    Let the Lord make you strong.  
    Depend on His great power.
    Wear all of God's ARMOR.


What armor?  That is what we will study in the next eight weeks.

Part 2 - The Belt of Truth

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