- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2003

The following are excerpts from a sermon yesterday by the Rev. Mike Minter at Reston Bible Church.

Many who profess to know Christ struggle with a true understanding of spiritual warfare. They either see a demon behind every bush or relegate this whole subject to a superstition of the Middle Ages. The truth of the matter is clearly laid out in Ephesians, Chapter 6. The beauty of Scripture is that it reveals to us things that we would otherwise have no way of knowing through our five physical senses. This is why God gave us His word. If we could discover this on our own, there would be no need for the Bible. Lets take a look at this difficult subject.

Paul tells us that we dont wrestle against flesh and blood, but against demonic forces that cannot be seen. He then goes on to tell us how to suit up for the battle. When reading Scripture, always look at what is implied with equal diligence as you look at what is explicitly stated. For example, when Paul speaks of the armor, he explicitly states what to wear, but what is implied by each piece of armor speaks of what kind of ammunition the enemy will use against us.

The first piece of armor to put on is truth. He speaks of having our thigh muscles sealed in truth. But what must this imply regarding the enemys weapons? He will launch an all-out attack with lies. The world lies to us daily about many things. We must therefore know the truth in order to know when we are being lied to. When we lack discernment, we find ourselves in a great deal of trouble. It may be financial, marital, moral or ethical.

The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. God speaks quite clearly about human righteousness, and what He says is not flattering. He refers to it as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). He speaks of His righteousness as pure. When we call upon Christ to save us, He gives us His righteousness as a gift. This is how we enter into His kingdom. Paul now tells us to live it out. The implication is that we will be facing evil. This world is filled with wicked ways, thus we must live out what God says is true of us. We are righteous.

The third area to be covered is our feet. They must carry the Gospel of peace. Since the word gospel means “good news,” then we must deduce from Pauls words that the assault will be bad news. Since the gospel brings peace, we must assume that the world lacks peace. It is not good news to be told that you have to be good to get to heaven but not told how good. Thats not good news. Good news is being assured of heaven when I die because Christ has given me His righteousness.

The fourth piece of armor is the shield of faith. Since faith is believing what God says, then the attack must be darts of doubt. These were the first words of Satan spoken in the garden, “Yea, hath God said” (Genesis 3:1). There is a dart of doubt thrown at our original parents. When we hear in our mind words of doubt, they are coming from the enemy. Faith is believing what God says, not what the enemy says.

The fifth part of armor is the helmet of salvation. What is implied are doubts about your salvation. To put on the helmet is to believe what God says about you as being His child when you hear words such as, “You couldnt be a Christian and act like that” or “You have no victory in your life.” Now I want to be careful here and not give false assurance where it is not warranted. If you have unreservedly placed your faith in Christ for your salvation and are trusting Him and Him alone to take you to heaven when you die, then on the authority of Gods word you are born again into His family. However, though there will be struggles along the way in overcoming sinful habits and being victorious, there should be signs or evidence of change. If you call yourself a believer and have no spiritual interest, then you should take the Apostle Pauls warning to “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13: 5).

The sword, which is the word of God, is not part of the armor but is the weapon which helps us defeat the powers of darkness. Spend time daily in Gods word and learn how to wield the sword effectively.

I trust this has been an encouragement to you as you live out your pilgrimage in this very short life.

The Rev. Mike Minter

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