Standing in the Armor of God (Ephesians 6)

sit-walk-stand

Sermon Series: Sit Walk Stand
Inspired by Watchman Nee‘s book Sit Walk Stand, a study of Ephesians

Message 3 of 3: Standing in the Armor of God
Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-18
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 6/2/19 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Click Here for more information on the Ephesians Reading Challenge
Read the entire book of Ephesians 3 times in 3 weeks

The main theme of Ephesians: Moving with Christ from death to life. Christianity is a movement, a journey of faith.

In his book, Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee divides the book of Ephesians into three main sections.

  • Sit, chapters 1-3
    • Sitting with Christ, Resting in God, Receiving from God, our identity and being
  • Walk, chapters 4-6:9
    • Walking the Walk, Living a life in the Spirit in practical ways, movement of faith
  • Stand, chapter 6:10-24
  • Sit, Walk, Stand seems out of order. A baby learns to sit, then stand, then walk. Yet in the spiritual life, we sit so we can walk. We sit so we can stand.

Walking the Walk – Making an Impression

  • Life looks different because we’re followers of Jesus Christ
  • Our character is transformed, taking on the character of Christ, bearing the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
    • Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self- control
  • Our actions are transformed
    • generous in time talents treasure in serving others, forgiving folks and loving your enemies
  • We start taking our Baptismal Vows seriously
    • We renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of the world, repent of your sin
    • We accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, oppression in whatever forms they present themselves
    • We accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, put our whole trust in His grace, and promise to serve him as our Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to all people.
  • When you start walking the walk the Evil One is going to notice. Walking with Jesus, life becomes better and harder. We’re living a life of integrity plus all the normal trouble of life.
  • Life can feel like a battle.
    • Love is a Battlefield, song by Pat Benatar
    • God is Love. Walking in the love of Christ can feel like a battlefield.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.

  • We take on guilt and shame because we aren’t strong enough, we can’t handle it. It’s false guilt and shame. God knows we can’t handle it. Be strong in the Lord!

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

  • The Evil One wants us to trick us into thinking our battle is against blood and flesh, people vs. people. See people as people, not enemies.
  • The curtain is pulled back. We can see things now we couldn’t see before.

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

  • 3 types of standing- stand, withstand (take the hit), stand firm (push back)

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

We sit with Christ so we can walk with Christ.
We sit with Christ so we can stand with Christ. 

God wants to strengthen you and protect you. 

Ephesians 6:10-11 Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. (strength) Put on the whole armor of God (protection)

How we blow it-

  1. We put on our own armor instead of God’s.
    • financial security, connections, achievement, expertise, stiff upper lip, my big girl pants
  2. We put on some of God’s armor, but not all of it
  3. We put on someone else’s armor
    • Someone else’s prayers, faith, encounter with God’s word, salvation. You need your own.
    • It’s like David going out to fight Goliath, the giant. King Saul wants David to wear his royal armor, his human armor. It doesn’t fit, doesn’t work, weighs him down. David refuses and faces Goliath in God’s armor.
  4. We put on the Evil One’s armor. We choose the ways of the Evil One for my protection and weapons.
    1. The Evil One focuses on attacking because Jesus already brought victory. The armor of God is defensive, not offensive.

Ephesians 6:10-11 Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God

Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus in Turkey from his prison in Rome. He uses the image of a Roman centurion because that’s what he can see.

armor of God centurion

Belt of Truth

  • Like Batman’s utility belt. Holds everything in place
  • The battle for what is real
  • Evil One’s Weapons- lies, falsehood, misinformation, miscommunication
  • God’s Weapons- integrity, honesty, we humbly take the high ground because Jesus is already victorious

Breastplate of Righteousness

  • Righteousness = Right Relationship with God and Others
  • The battle for your heart.
    • Who is on the throne of your heart
    • What are your primary motivations in all you do
  • The Evil One wants broken relationships. Anyone or anything on the throne of your heart other than Jesus. For your primary motivation to be a heart of war, looking at people and treating people as if they are not people. Go to war with flesh and blood.
  • God’s Weapons- Jesus on the throne of our heart. Our primary motivation is a heart of peace- looking at people and treating people as people.

2019 05 17 love neighbor Barbara Brown Taylor

Shoes for the Gospel of Peace

  • How and why we move
  • Battle for our Mission and Priorities
  • Weapons of the Evil One- Busy, Distracted, using our time talent and treasure for missions not of God
  • God’s weapons- bringing glory to God, building up others, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We do this by making peace and offering the Good News of Christ’s peace

Shield of Faith

  • We hold on to faith like we hold on to a shield
  • The Evil One will throw everything at us in order to get us to give up- give up the mission, give up our heart, believe a lie instead of trusting God.
  • We claim who we are in Christ. We claim the promises of God. We hold on to faith and hope. We persevere. We endure.

Helmet of Salvation

  • Battle for your thoughts, your mind.
  • We ruminate- we replay situations over and over. This is not of God. Jesus take the wheel of my monkey brain!
  • Let the same mind be in me that was in Christ Jesus- Phillippians 2:5
  • The Evil One wants us distracted, discouraged, and despairing.
  • I know who I am in Christ- I am a child of God. I am beloved and blessed of God. I am made in the image of God and nothing can separate me from the love of God and my salvation in Jesus Christ.
  • I know it in my head and my heart. Salvation means wholeness and I am whole in Christ.

Sword of the Spirit

  • The Evil One wants us to use the weapons of the world
  • The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
  • We claim the Word of God and pray in the Spirit for ourselves and others.
  • It is always scripture and prayer. Always and forever.

This is why we always sit first. 

  • I need to sit in the presence of God. I need to sit with the word of God so I can walk, live this life so that it’s worthy of Jesus. So it overflows in love and good deeds.
  • I need to sit with the word and in prayer so I can stand when the Evil One takes notice because the Evil One will.
  • This is why we sit first. We receive when we rest- we receive our identity in Christ,  we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we receive God’s strength and power, we receive the Armor of God.

What would it be like if God’s people sit to receive, and then when we’re finished we live in such a way the Devil says, “Oh no, they’re up!” 

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Standing in the Armor of God © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

A Prayer for True Strength (Ephesians 6)

armor of God graphicEphesians 6:10-11
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Lord, you call us to mighty works
To leading
Speaking truth to power
Ending oppression and corruption
Sharing your Word
Helping others find you
Healing the sick
Caring for the poor, the orphan, the stranger
Praying without ceasing
Building your kingdom on earth

Lord, you said that in this world we will have trouble,
but take courage, I have overcome the world

Fill us with courage
Fill us with wisdom
Fill us with humility for this great work
Your work

We try to do things in our own strength
Our financial security
Our connections
Our achievements
Our expertise
Our stiff upper lip and bootstraps and big girl pants

We head into battle wearing our own armor
Or trying to borrow someone else’s

We fall victim to human ways
And the ways of our Enemy

Forgive us
Forgive us and renew a right spirit within us

Clothe us in your armor
Your armor alone
Clothe us in your truth
Clothe us in your righteousness
Clothe us in your Gospel of Peace
Your faith
Your salvation
Your Word
Your powerful Presence

That we may stand
That we may stand and withstand
That we may stand and withstand and stand firm
Strong in you and the strength of your power
For your power is made perfect in our weakness
In our vulnerability
In us claiming our need of you

For the victory and glory are yours,
Now
Forever
Hallelujah!

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This prayer was inspired by by the Ephesians Reading Challenge. Click Here for more information on the challenge to read and reflect on the entire book of Ephesians 3 times in 3 weeks. 

The Ephesians Reading Challenge accompanied a sermon series entitled Sit Walk Stand which was inspired by Watchman Nee‘s book Sit Walk Stand, a study of Ephesians. You will find recordings and notes from this series on the blog as well.

A Prayer for True Strength © 2018, updated 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Sermon Recording- Stand (Ephesians 6.10-18)

feet with shoes

Message: Stand
Scriptures: Ephesians 6:10-18
This message was offered Sunday, 6/24/18 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida.

Imagine walking through the grocery store. You and others are picking out their food as usual. Now imagine every person you encounter is wearing a sign revealing the truth of their life

  • New baby, no sleep for three nights straight
  • Caregiving for a sick spouse
  • Just lost my job
  • Grieving the death of my mother
  • Desperately lonely, how do I make friends?

All of a sudden, that trip to the grocery store is very different. You are seeing what is often difficult to see.

What would be on your sticker?

The truth is we must always be kind, we must always be compassionate because we never know what someone else is going through.

The trust is that when we face trouble there’s far more to it than what we can see on the outside.

Think about a time when you were going through something deep and dark,  something scary. something you have never faced before, or something that’s raising it’s ugly head again. There’s the stuff that you can see, but there’s the stuff you can’t see

  • emotional toll
  • mental exhaustion
  • weariness down to your bones

Then there’s your soul. What is going on with your soul?

Our soul is like an inner stream of water that gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other area of life.– John Ortberg, Soul Keeping

In the midst of this trouble, is this stream of living water getting stopped, dammed up? Is it changing the direction? Is it going deeper than you could ever have imagined?  Is it drying up, like a desert, like a wilderness?

The song I cling to in the midst of trouble: Precious Lord take my hand. Lead me on. Let me stand. I am tired. I am weak. I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

What gets the water flowing in my life is singing. And sometimes I can’t even get the words out and so I just let my soul sing.

What gets the water flowing again for you? Because when we face trouble its far than what we can see.

Sometimes we can see the source of the trouble

  • We’ve brought it on ourselves. The trouble is the consequence of a choice we made.
  • Sometimes its someone else’s choice. They want what they want and we’re an obstacle (through us) or a means to an end (use us). Or we just get caught it the backwash of someone else’s sin, the ripple effect and we’re collateral damage.
  • Or it’s the reality of living this side of heaven, the reality of living in a broken world. The Fall due to Original Sin is a universal condition. Every relationship is broken -with God, with others, with our true self, with the earth. It’s a reality on an individual level, group level, and systemic level.

There are times we can see the source of the trouble and there are times we cannot see it.  It’s far deeper. It’s plain old evil and an Evil One. It’s a cosmic organized struggle against God and the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 

  • We try to be strong on our own. This is not a battle we can win on our own and it’s not a battle we have to win on our own. That’s the grace of it. That’s the Good News of it.
  • Yes we play a part, we make choices, work, and strive but it is also about allowing ourselves to be strengthened by Almighty God. We can refuse or choose the strengthening. (Cooperating and collaborating with God)

Ephesians 6:10 Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God

  • Sometimes life feels like a battle. God wants to strengthen you and protect you.
  • We try to be strong on our own and we try to protect ourselves
    • Put on our own armor – financial security, connections, achievement, expertise, stiff upper lip, my big girl pants

It’s like David going out to fight Goliath, the giant. (That’s how our troubles can feel. King Saul wants David to wear his royal armor, his human armor. It doesn’t fit, doesn’t work, weighs him down. David refuses and faces Goliath in God’s armor.

So much of what we are facing is beyond us, something we just can’t fix in our human strength.

Ephesians 6:10 Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God

The Whole Armor of God – Verses14-17

  • belt of truth
    • God helps us to know what is real and not real
    • God helps us hold on to perspective in the midst of pain
  • breastplate of righteousness
    • covers our heart so we stay in right relationship and have a heart of peace
  • shoes for your feet, make you ready to proclaim the Gospel of peace
    • The Gospel of Peace is the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace
      • who Jesus is, his sacrifice, his salvation, his hope and healing, power, and promises
    • Jesus is the foundation, the strong rock on which we stand
    • Stand on the power of story = Jesus’s story intersects our story, thanksgiving and testimony to God’s goodness in the past and in the present
  • shield of faith to quench the flaming arrows of the evil one
    • Evil One takes sniper shots after us, feels like we’re taking hit after hit after hit
    • Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)
  • helmet of salvation 
    • Who I am in Christ- I am a child of God, I am beloved and blessed of God, I am made in the image of God and nothing can separate me from the love of God and my salvation in Jesus Christ
    • Know God’s voice and hear God’s voice. If I can’t hear it my brother or sister in Christ will speak it to me.
    • My mind stayed on the goodness of God no matter the circumstance. Nothing changes the goodness of God.
  • sword of the Spirit which is the word of God
    • Why we must read the word of God regularly
  • Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. It is always scripture and prayer. Always and forever.        

Call to action- Prayer Care

  • Pray with you after every service: Sundays after the 9:00 am and 10:30 am services, Wednesdays at 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 7:00 pm
  • Become a prayer keeper  

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

Withstand = take the hit, persevering, enduring, resilience

Stand Firm = push back against evil

The Evil One is our real and primary enemy – not other people, not ourselves, not God, not the system.

  • The Evil One devours and destroys and steals
  • The Evil One is a deceiver and liar
  • The Evil One twists situations into something they were never meant to be

That’s why we need truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the word of God and pray, pray, pray. When we face trouble there’s far more to it than what we can see.

You are not alone. You are never alone. You do not have to face it in your own strength. Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God.

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9:00 am or 10:30 am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9:00 am Sundays or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

sermon and prayer © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.