Thursday, 27 August 2015

Pentecost 13 August 23rd 2015 Ephesians 6:10-20, The Armour of God

Paul wrote Ephesians from Rome between the years 56-60AD. He was in prison as at the end of the book of Acts, a letter addressing the Ephesian congregation.

He encourages us to keep on being strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power, which shows that there is a difference between us being strong in God and in our own strength. He tells us to "Put on the whole armor of God" because we need it, as if we are going into battle like a soldier! The world hasn’t changed there are always troubles, onslaughts, difficulties. This is life. As the writer, Scott Peck begins his book “The road less travelled”, life is a series of problems. Man is born to trouble as sparks fly upwards”. Paul says these troubles are from Satan, the adversary, not people, but people in power, people with authority, spiritual forces.

To protect ourselves from these problems we need to put on God’s protection, spiritual armour, so we can survive these onslaughts and then we need to stand firm and not run! Difficult eh!

So what is this armour?

1.             Truth-don’t lie, tell the truth despite the cost. Put it on like a belt around you.

2.              Put on a top, a tshirt of goodness, a good life, or right living before God. Do the right thing, be just.

3.             Then on your feet put on peace, shoes or sandals, of a peaceful attitude within yourself and with others. Make peace your aim, not arguments and warring, a gospel, good news of peace. Speak peace into situations.

4.             Then in your hand have a protection, a shield of faith against the arrows that pierce you.

5.             Against the attacks on your mind, your sanity put on a head covering of God’s salvation

6.              In the other hand carry a sword of God’s Spirit, so root yourself in the Bible, God’s word.

7.             And pray all the time about everything, lean on God.

And who is our enemy? Not other people, even people who do bad things, but evil itself.
First, note that our struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood, but against cosmic powers of this present darkness.

Evil loves the darkness and lives in a world of lies and disinformation. The truth is sometimes painful, but without it, evil cannot be fought, and healing cannot begin. This lesson is evident in the work of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The good news that God loves everyone and that God wants people to repent and love one another as well may not seem as effective as a weapon, but it's the only way to overcome hatred and prejudice.

We have faith that humans in conflict today can be reconciled to one another. Forty years ago this month Martin Luther King delivered a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in which he described his vision of an America in which people were judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. The world he lived in was far from that ideal, but he had faith in God and in the power of God to change human hearts.

The term salvation meant deliverance. Because we have been delivered from our sins by our encounter with Jesus Christ, we are free to help others achieve a similar deliverance. Their deliverance might not look exactly like ours; in fact, it might be radically different. However, all of us who have experienced God's deliverance have been humbled by the recognition of our own failures, and at the same time we've been energized by the realization that no one is beyond the reach of God's mercy and love.

Finally, we are charged to carry the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Contrary to a common misinterpretation, the word of God, the prophetic proclamation of God's will, inspired by the spirit of God. As Christians who see ourselves as standing firmly in the prophetic tradition, we too must have the courage to speak out against injustice and evil. We have powerful, effective weapons that we can wield in our continuing fight against evil.

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