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.

Walk the Walk (Ephesians 4)

sit-walk-stand 

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

Message 2 of 3: Walk
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-6
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 5/26/19 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, Sitting in Christ, our identity and being
  • Walk, chapters 4-6:9
    • Walking with Christ, movement of faith
  • Stand, chapter 6:10-24

“Walk” is used in the Book of Ephesians

  • Hard to find depending on what translation you use
  • Most often translated life in the NRSV and NIV translations
  • Easier to find in the King James Version and New King James Version (used 8 times)
  • The Ephesians Reading Challenge: Read the entire book of Ephesians 3 times in 3 weeks. It’s 6 chapters long, so read chapter 1 Monday, chapter 2 Tuesday, and you’ll finish on Saturday.

Ephesians 4:1 NRSV
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,

Ephesians 4:1 NKJV
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

If a person is really living their faith we say they’re Walking the Walk. What does Walking the Walk look like?

  • Moral, Just, Trustworthy
  • Commitment to Christ
  • Caring
  • Value fellowship/community
  • Passionate
  • Visible joy
  • Makes an impression – like footprints in the sand

Barefoot-Walking on path

Walking the Walk

  • The practical living of faith in Jesus Christ
  • Our life in Christ out in the world by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us
  • Our lives look different because we are walking with Christ. They make an impression.

Ephesians 4:1 NKJV I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

We display who we are in Christ in our conduct and our choices. It’s for everyone to see. Who we are in what we do. Our being is shown in our doing.       

  • Jesus says, “You are the Body of Christ.” Our faith is lived out in our flesh. Incarnation, skin in the game
  • They will know you are Christians by your love- your loving words your loving actions, your loving choices, sacrifices, generosity, life

Show Me from Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady
Words Words Words I’m so sick of words. I get words all day through. First from him, now from you. Is that all you blighters can do? Don’t talk of stars burning above. If you’re in love show me. Tell me no dreams filled with desire. If you’re on fire show me.

Show that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Show that the Holy Spirit is at work in you. We leave our former walk/way of living for a new walk/way of living with Christ. We turn, we repent and we become a follower of Jesus Christ. Our life looks different because we are moving in a new direction with a new motivation.

Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Ephesians 2:10 NKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 4:1-6 NRSV I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Ephesians 5:8 NKJV For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Ephesians 5:15-16 NKJV   See then that you walk circumspectly (watchfully, awake, intentionally), not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

This is a life worthy of giving your life to.

mlk protesters win by loveRev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quote on Loving Your Enemies
To our most bitter opponents, we say: ‘We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.

There is an idea of Christianity that what it means to be a Christian is to be nice, to follow the laws of the land, to attend church, give money to charity, and do some volunteer work.

That version of Christianity does not require the saving power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. That version of Christianity does not require the power of the Holy Spirit living in you and through you.

It can be done in mere human strength. It is humanism. It is Star Trek. They boldly go where no one has gone before because they’ve pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. They have discovered the technology for it, they’ve learned to be better people who make better choices.

The transformation that happens in a life because of Jesus Christ, because of the power of the Holy Spirit at work, is what Dr. King described. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Christianity is a life so transformed it makes an impression. You walk into a room and people sense the character change in you brought on by the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Christianity is a life that takes our baptismal vows seriously and lives them out

  • I renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of my sin.
  • I accept the freedom and power God gives me to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
  • I confess Jesus Christ as my Savior, put my whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as my Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races.
  • According to the grace given to me, I will remain a faithful member of Christ’s holy church and serve as Christ’s representative in the world.

It is time for a robust, alive faith. It’s time for a faith that does scary things. I want to walk as a child of the light. It’s scary to say this because now you and God can hold me accountable. Ok Jesus, what are you going to ask of me?

And yet, it is what real faith is. I want to be known as a child of the light. I want to be known as a person who walks the walk. I pray you want to be known the same way. This is who you are in Christ. This is the fullness of walking the walk.

Prayer: God we recognize we cannot walk the walk in our own strength. We recognize that it’s so good to just be comfortable. We recognize there’s something bigger and great which you are calling us to. So fill us with your Spirit. Make us alive in you.

Fill us, so it overflows with all we come in contact with. Fill us with your mercy and grace so it overflows as we walk. Fill us with your power so it does abundantly more than we can ask or imagine as we walk.

Lord, we know this filling comes first by sitting in you. We cannot walk unless we sit. We will sit in your presence. We will sit with your Word. We will rest in you and receive so we may walk.

Thank you for teaching us this truth. May our lives bring you glory. May your Kingdom come through us. Amen.

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Walk Sermon © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

 

Sit- We Receive When We Rest (Ephesians 2)

sit-walk-stand

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

Message 1 of 3: Sit
Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-9
Notes from a message offered Sunday, 5/19/19 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: What it means to move with Christ from death to life

Read Ephesians 2:1-3  
Paul describes what life is like before we place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It can look like life- doing, accomplishing, living. In reality, life before Christ is basically the walking dead.

Read Ephesians 2:4-9
The passage now shifts from death to life. Notice the descriptions of God’s motivation, God’s character, God’s heart. God is rich in mercy. Rich in grace. God has great love and uses that great love to love us. God loves us even when we are dead. When we have nothing but death to offer.

Death to Life. Jesus raising us up. We are Easter People.

For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. – Ephesians 2:8

Gift Box Illustration
Jesus offers us the gift of mercy, grace, and salvation. We pass it by again and again. How can we receive the gift of God if we are constantly in motion, constantly striving?

  • We are busy doing life: do the laundry, do my job, go to the grocery store, go to the doctor, cook the meal. We make to-do lists.
  • Busy doing for God: do my devotions, do my volunteer work, do the Bible study, do my duty and invite my new neighbor to worship

You can only receive when you rest– when you sit; when you stop. This is why it is first. Sit Walk Stand. Sitting is our position in Jesus Christ. It is being before doing.

Faith is depending on what Christ has done and is doing before you do anything. Jesus raises us up from death and seats us. Sit- We receive when we rest.

What would it be like for you to do the Ephesians Reading Challenge? For you to read the chapter from Ephesians and just sit with God’s Word. It’s not about acquiring knowledge, not about getting answers, not about checking off something from your to-do list. Read. Sit with Jesus, the Word. That’s the challenge.

What would it be like to sit with Jesus in prayer? The only thing you say is, “I just want to be with you.”

Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

How many of us sit down, even lay down, and we have a monkey mind. Our souls are full of anxiousness. Jesus will give us rest for our body, mind, emotions, and soul. This is why sit is first. We receive when we rest.

Instead of being yoked with the world and the ways of the world, we are yoked with Jesus and His ways. The best way to learn from Jesus is to be with him all the time. Not doing with Jesus or doing for Jesus, but being with Jesus.

Pilgrims progress lay down sin burdenWhat burdens is Jesus inviting us to lie down?
We often think of the burdens of life: sorrow, anxiousness, trouble, stress, pain, overwhelm, grief, worry…

The first burden Jesus invites us to lay down is the burden of our sin. That sin is tied to busyness and distraction.

  • The sin of trying to save ourselves is Pride. I don’t need what you did in your death and resurrection. I can do it myself.
  • The sin of trying to be worthy to be saved is also Pride. What you did in your death and resurrection isn’t powerful enough so I’ve got to help.
  • Can a dead person do anything? No! Jesus makes the first move because we can’t. By grace, we are saved through faith, and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God.

God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:4-6

In Genesis, humans are created and what is the first thing they do? Rest. Created on day 6 and the next day is day 7, the Sabbath, the day of rest. Being before doing. We can only receive when we rest.

Death to Life. See yourself resurrected from the dead and seated with Christ. Receive salvation as the grace gift that it is. You are alive in Christ.

Already Raisen by Steve Garnaas Holmes
Live as if you are risen

The fear-tombed, nay-saying, people-pleasing
prisoner of scarcity, shame, and threat— that one has died.

The stone of Outcomes has been rolled away.
The linen grave-clothes of Consequences are lying abandoned.

You are free.
Forgiven, accompanied, love-enabled, miracle-powered,
you are a member of the risen body of Christ.

You are those hands with holes in them Jesus shows, and says, “Peace.”
You are the flesh the Spirit moves to do her next wonders.

You’ve already died and gone to heaven,
no mere flesh now, but pure love,
unafraid of death and its useless threats,
with unshakable courage,
nothing to lose, everything in your hands.

Don’t live as if you’re afraid to be crucified.
Live as if you’re already risen

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Sit Sermon © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.