December 2014


Ephesians 6:10-18

As saints, we never leave the front line of spiritual battle. The fight against the powers of darkness can seem more intense during the holiday season. There is usually so much to do. The pressures of time with certain unsaved family members can be very difficult. We sense a heightened need to bring light to our lost neighbors and friends. It is just during this important Christmas season, as we seek to focus on our beloved Savior, that we are tempted to take off our armor. Dear Church family, let us not do that!
1 Peter 5:8-11

Am I Receiving Godís Strength at This Very Moment? [10] Paul
commands us to be strong in the strength of the Lordís might. It is my
responsibility to have Godís power put into me moment by moment. I canít strengthen myself but must make sure God strengthens me.

Am I Aware of How Godís Strength Is Received? [11] By clothing
myself with the full armor, Godís power is put into my soul. If one piece is missing, I will be exposed and vulnerable in battle.

Am I Aware of the Advantage Godís Strength Gives Me? [11-13]
When I am armed, I have the strength of the Lord to stand firm Ė to hold a critical position under fire and advance forward. Godís armor allows me to stand firm against Satanís schemes, to wrestle against the forces of darkness, and to stand firm in the evil day [those critical occasions in our lives when we are most vulnerable and when Satan and his sinister helpers
attack us most fiercely].

THE BELT: Do I Really Want to Fight? [14] The belt of truth is not the content of truth. Rather it is the attitude of truth and sincerity. Standing firm begins with a readiness. It is the genuine commitment which leads toward total preparation and maximum effort.

THE BREASTPLATE: Have I Repented of All Known Sin So I Can Stand in the Battle? [14]: The believerís breastplate covers and protects his heart/conscience. It is the practical, imparted righteousness which is the result of a heart renovated by the Spirit of God. When we are living in daily, moment by moment obedience, Godís power and strength are continually infused into us. When we hold onto sin, we are cut off from the supply of Divine power and rendered highly vulnerable to attacks from the powers of darkness who are alert to our weakened condition.

THE BOOTS: Do I Know Who Is On My Side? [15] When the gospel of peace penetrates through at salvation, the saint suddenly realizes he has been at war with God. But he now knows that that war is over. He has peace with God. God loves him. The Lordís favor is with him. The God who is stronger than Satan and the forces of darkness is on his side. He can walk onto the battlefield and face his adversaries despite their supernatural abilities and his personal frailty. He knows God is fighting on his behalf.

THE SHIELD OF FAITH: Am I Shielded Against Satanís Flaming Missiles? [16] The Christianís shield extinguishes all the flaming missiles. Because these
missiles come from the ďevil oneĒ, they will be timely, relentless, traumatic, painful, cruel, and brutal. They often will come from unexpected sources. We are to identify Satanís darts quickly and take up our shield immediately. When we see the missile coming, we are to: 1. Acknowledge our weakness. 2. Consciously rely on Godís power. 3. Anticipate that the shield will block the flaming arrow. 4. Rejoice when we hear the ďshooshĒ of the arrow as it is quenched.

THE HELMET OF SALVATION: Am I Certain That the Fight Is Worth the Pain and Effort? [17a] The helmet protects the believer from Satanís broad sword of doubt, weariness and discouragement. The helmet of salvation is the hope of the future consummation of our salvation. This hope inspires the believer to resist evil and endure hardship. He knows that the general rewards of salvation given to all believers are far superior to the pain and effort of the battle. And he knows that standing firm in the battle increases the individual rewards of salvation Ė those rewards are specifically given to the soldier who stands firm in the battle with courage and faithfulness. He knows that he will not regret having taken an active role in the struggle. When all is said and done, he will be overwhelmed with gratitude and joy.

THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT: Am I Able to Use the Sword of Scripture With Skill and Precision? [17b] Godís Spirit energizes His Word and makes it razor sharp. When used skillfully, Scripture is a powerful defensive and offensive weapon. Paul is not speaking of the Word of God in general. He is referring to a
precise, skillful handling of specific texts of Scripture. We are to use the Word with razor sharp accuracy. We are to advance forward with the Spiritís Sword in our hand, matching every counter attack of our adversaries with reliance upon particular
passages from Godís Word that are specifically suited for the particular attack.

PERSEVERING PRAYER: Am I Alertly Praying for All the Saints Especially for Those Believers Who Are On the Front Line Teaching and Preaching the Word? [18-20] Paulís call to pray is integral to all that he has said in this text regarding warfare and our need for strength in battle. Understanding the
maliciousness and the power of our enemies, we must be alert to pray in the Spirit with tenacity for the needs of all the saints. We are to be especially involved in persevering prayer for those saints who are teaching and preaching the Word Ė that they might speak forth the Word with clarity and boldness.

Pastor Blain

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427