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Absolute Truth and the Armor of God

“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth… Mph 6:14a

Why do we need the Armor of God?

Its an interesting question because it is one of those times that the “churchy” answer seems like the correct answer. We need the Armor of God because the Bible tells us that it is important.  We need the Armor of God because we are in a fight for our souls. How many of us, however, actually on a daily basis fight for our Christianity?

Most of us I would venture to say could live our current lives without the Armor of God because we don’t ever find ourselves in a war with this world.  If the world or the spiritual powers that Christ calls us to stand firm against attack we are all to happy to just move on down the line thinking “I’ll fight the next one.” After all the world might be correct on this issue.

That is the bottom line.  Most christians today, whether they would admit it or not, do not believe in the absolute truth of the Bible.  If the bible is in contradiction with what the world tells us we are quick to align ourselves with the world.  We don’t investigate, we don’t struggle, and we don’t pray over these issues because there truth may be just as valid as ours.

The absolute truth of the Gospel is the only reason we have to fight.  Take away that truth and we may as well hang up all the other pieces of the armor because no one fights for something they know is not true.  Without the Absolute Truth of the gospel every part of our armor is weekend to the point of being harmful to us.

The Belt of Truth

Truth in life as with the Armor of God is the single thing on which we hold up ever part of our lives.  If you have ever had a belt that you thought would hold give out on you then you know the danger you can be in if a truth that you held give way.  No mater if it is serious or silly when something you know to be true is proven false it can reck your beliefs.

This is why Paul set up the truth of the gospel as the belt for our spiritual Armor.  If for any reason the bible is not true than ever thing that we hang on that belief becomes useless in the fight.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Righteousness is the defense of the major part of our body.  The largest thing that can be attacked is our actions and attitudes.  This is why it is good that we are not clothed in our righteousness but in the righteousness of God.  However, if the truth of the gospel is not absolute  than we are counting on our own righteousness to save us and that would be worse than useless in the spiritual battles we fight.

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

We can have peace in God because we are comforted by his grace.  The protection we have in Him gives us “a peace of God that surpasses all understanding”.  We walk in that peace daily and take comfort in the fact that we can live worry free because God is in control.  If truth is not absolute, however, than we will live in worry over our salvation and our lives needing to control everything or risk loosing it all.

The Shield of Faith

We use our faith in the gospel as a shield to fight off the “flaming darts of the evil one” that when we are attacked by worry, guilt, or shame we can defend ourselves with the knowledge and faith in the Armor of God.  If truth is not absolute, we are not defended by a shield, but instead hobbled by a crutch that slows us from taking actual control of our lives or as Paul puts it.

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1Cor 15:19

The Helmet of Salvation

It is the knowledge of salvation that protects and transforms our mind.  We are ultimately not afraid of the things of this world because we know that we have be saved for a future place.  If truth of the gospel is not absolute then we have only a wisp of protection and are in danger of grievous harm because of the snares of this world.

Why do we put on the Armor of God?

Because the Truth of the Gospel is our reason to fight, our reason to go to war, and in war we must be protected from the evil one.

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Through the Bible, Uncategorized

 

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Enslaved -Mastered by Sin

Enslaved -Mastered by Sin

 

Slavery is perhaps the most common problem on the planet.  There has been to my knowledge no time in human history in which at least one person has not been enslaved.  (Except perhaps before the fall)  This makes slavery the longest running problem we have yet to solve.

To truly do a discussion of slavery justice we need to define our terms.  There are actually in just about every culture two types of slavery.  Its important to distinguish between these two things because many of us may be fine with and even have experienced one form of slavery.  While the other form has much worse implications.

Indentured Servitude

Indentured servitude is the most accepted form of slavery, and many of us have experienced it at some point in our lives.  The basic idea is that you are a slave in order to pay off a debt.  This has looked different in different cultures but the most relatable version would have to be what happens to middle class children!

No! you did not read that wrong.  Middle class children and teens are the largest segment of our american population that deal with this form of slavery.  You in fact probably experienced a form of it when you were young.

Take yourself back to the young headstrong child you once were and think about that time we all had when we (or more likely our sibling who pinned it on us) got into trouble.  Specifically remember when you broke something or destroyed property.  If you had a family like mine you were marched over to whoever owned said destroyed property and told that you had to pay them back for there “stupid whatever” that you broke that shouldn’t have even been there in the first place.

Now as a child or teen, again if you were like me, you didn’t have a whole lot of money.  What this led to then was the next four weekends of your life mowing grass, doing dishes, and washing clothes all for no pay until finally you have worked off your debt to old lady “what’s her name”.  That in a nutshell is indentured servitude.

Oppressive Servitude

Oppressive servitude is the type of slavery however that most often keeps us up at night.  It is an inhuman act of betrayal and violence that has been practiced for almost all of time.  It is the taking of another person or people from there life, at no fault of there own and forcing them to work in terrible conditions, until they are no longer of use.

This type of slavery has taken many forms from sexual slavery of young girls, to the enslavement of africans as cheep labor.  Each of these is despicable and causes a deep yearning in my soul to seek out and to save those who find themselves captured.

It is in this mindset of yearning that we should consider our spiritual lives and the role Christ plays in this world.

See the Bible makes clear that we enter into this world enslaved to sin. (John 8:33)  Make no mistake if you are reading this you were enslaved to sin. (Rom 6:5-7)  This means that by the very nature of slavery we are oppressed by sin and we do many things at the call of our “dark master” of which we should be ashamed.

Its at this understandable point that we start to compare ourselves to the above descriptions, and because we all think of ourselves as generally good and decent people who have never murdered, cheated, or stolen we put ourselves into the category of the oppressed servitude. In delusion we consider ourselves simply victims of chance.

How could sin have done this to us?  Dragged us out of our comfort and contentment and enslaved us!

However, look again at the descriptions that were given, and search your heart for the truth.  None of us were dragged kicking and screaming into slavery.  Sure we were born bad, but we were created for righteousness.  It is in an examination of the evidence that we are forced to admit, we are not oppressed but simply indebted to our “dark master”.

See we all committed acts that have run up our account.  We owe more than we could ever pay and because of that debt we were turned over from birth to our “dark master”.  We are then starting in a world trying to work off a debt that can never be payed only increased.

It is in this reality that we see the true beauty of God.  Who did not rescue us from random chance. Who did not rescue us from an enemy force.  We see the beauty of a God who rescued us from a debt of our own creation.  Who rescued us from our own pride and self worth and asks nothing of us in return except to trust in Him.

Make no mistake you are enslaved….but you do not have to be.

unchained

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2016 in Uncategorized, Unchained

 

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Count The Cost And Come

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28

Ten years minimum is how long Naomi had spent in the far country of Moab.  Ten years that from what we know had brought her nothing but heartbreak and misery. She has spent enough time away from God to know what it means to be under his favor. So it should be no surprise that when Naomi hears in the fields of Moab that the LORD has returned to his people and they have food again, she wastes no time delaying but sets out for home.

It must have been a strange sight for anyone that day to see three women hauling all the possessions they had in the world down the road that led out of Moab.  Even stranger when, for what to passers by must have seemed like for no reason, these three women stop moving completely and have a “sob fest” right in the middle of the road.  As a man I can tell you I would have just felt absolutely awkward even walking near a group of crying women.  Why are they so sad? Why are they in the middle of the road? How do i keep from making this more awkward? All these and more would have been questions going through my mind.  Yet what happened in that road is probably one of the most profound moments in the Book of Ruth (a book just jammed with profound moments.)

Naomi doesn’t want to be a burden. Like so many people, older people especially, she just wants to finish out her life with a little dignity.  She doesn’t want to drag these young ladies down with her to a situation that they were in some ways obligated to follow.  Naomi decides to give them an out. If you have ever seen, Harry and the Hendersons, you will know the situation well.  Naomi knows how hard it is to join another culture first hand, and so she is throwing all the facts at these women she can to get them to run away, “for there own good.”

There is allot you can unpack from this segment of scripture, but one I want to focus on is this, Naomi is telling these girls to count the cost of giving up everything, and at the same time telling them what they will have to endure.  To come with her means conversion to Jewish tradition, laws, and religion.  There is an undeniable cost to that situation.  How often are we then this honest with people about the cost of following Christ.  Christ himself was very clear that it was a hard road.  Do we tell people what to expect and what will be expected, or do we try to hide the details until we think they are ready?  What is amazing is that as Naomi describes the struggles we see the very two reactions that come from honesty about the cost of A life with Christ.

Orpah (The Realistic World)  Orpah gives us a picture of, if the scripture is to be believed, is the majority of our worlds response to the Gospel.  She is in no way an evil person she loves Naomi, weeps over her leaving, and kisses her goodby in a genuine way.  Orpah’s problem is the same as many of our friends in the world they may “believe” in God and even think his way of life is best, but when the cost is laid out for them they find that they love there life in the world much more than they love God.  If only they didn’t have to give up their pleasure, their power, or there free will to follow Christ.  If only the cost was not so high.  Instead they leave like the rich young ruler,  “But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.” Mark 10:17-27

Ruth (The Blessed Believers)  Ruth is the beautiful opposite to Orpah.  Orpah took the easy way out and went home.  Ruth throughs all her previous life at Naomi’s feet and tells her that all she ever was or had know was now her past and her future is all with Naomi.  What Ruth did was brave, and also scandalous.  Just like that we as believers were once presented with the truth and had to count the cost.  It was laid out in Mat 10, “For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”  To follow Jesus is to abandon anything we once had and any family who does not believe and take up our cross and follow Him.

That is it then as we go through our lives we have been presented with an honest choice, and are obligated to give others the same honesty.  Go back to the world and live in peace till judgement, or take up your cross and follow Christ.  The second is infinitely harder, but also infinitely better.

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Ruth, Through the Bible

 

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The Life

I am…, the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father but through me.”  John 14:6

In previous posts we have talked a lot about Christ and what He said about Himself in John 14:6.  We went over every detail of the names He gave Himself to his followers so that they would be able to know more about Him, and we talked about the implication of those names.

He called Himself “I AM” which showed how He is always the same and can sustain and save us.  He called Himself “The Way” which showed He gave direction to the lost, safety to the traveler, and rest for the weary. He called Himself “The Truth” which showed He gives freedom from worry, death, and pride.  Now we get to the most important of them all “The Life.”

Life is such an important concept, in fact, the right to life is one of the only truly universal beliefs.  There is no culture where life is not held sacred. Now certainly there are those who take the right to life more seriously.  We in America for example, hold it to be one of our “big three” rights along with liberty and happiness. Without life we would literally not exist.

So what is Christ implying when He calls Himself “The Life?”

1. He Implies A Connection To All Things.

There is nothing in this world that does not connect to God. Whether it is a slug on a leaf or a king in his castle, God is intimately acquainted to all the world. Not only is He connected but he cares about all things. Luke 12:6-7 even tells us that God knows every sparrow sold at market, and every hair on our head.  God is intimately connected to this world!

2. He Implies A Ownership Of All Things

If Christ is “The Life” then that implies a certain amount of ownership. The psalmist says,”For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills” (50:10). The implication of this verse is that all the world belongs to God.  How then can we expect to ever repay God for all the good things that he has given to us?

3. He Implies A Purpose To All Things.

If Christ not only has a connection with us and an ownership over us, then it must be to that he has a purpose for us.  Think of all the things you have owned.  They were created with a purpose and bought for that purpose.  Now if we as people do not create things without purpose why then do we believe our God would do so? The bible itself proclaims: “For I know the plans I have for you says the LORD, plans to prosper and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

Christ, however, does not finish this statement with names.  He finishes with a purpose, and that purpose is to lead all who would be seeking to His father, the author and perfecter of our faith.  The Father in whom our salvation lies!  So no matter if you are seeking who God is (I AM), where God is taking you (The Way), the mysteries of the gospel (The Truth), or the meaning of life (The Life); remember this.

No man comes to the father but through me.”  John 14:6

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in John 14:6

 

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The Truth…(Part 2)

I am…, the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father but through me.”  John 14:6

So if this is true (see The Truth…Part 1), if we truly are afraid of God because of the truth He knows about us.  Then what is he telling us by saying that he is “The Truth”.  Surely it is more than just a quaint nickname or a halfhearted metaphor. Is He possibly revealing apart of his nature?  Is He saying that He has nothing to hide from our searching of Him?

What Christ is ultimately saying then when He gives himself this “nickname” is that we can search, ponder, and question Him all we like.  That no matter what accusation or slander we as people can throw at Him, He can take it all and not be changed!  Because as we said before “The Truth” is the most accurate interpretation of all of the facts, and when you put all the facts together the only interpretation you can have is that God is in control!

So what comfort does this truth give us?

1. This Truth Gives Freedom From Worry.

On the subject of worry Billy Graham had this to say: “Anxiety (worry) is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and his will for us” When we worry we are taking our sites off of God and putting them on the troubles of this world. “The Truth” is that if we do as God has told us in his word (Phil 4:6-7) we can be free from the stress that worry brings!

2. This Truth Gives Freedom From Pride

Pride is a cancer of the mind that allows us to believe that we are above God. It allows us to say that we know how to run our own lives and no one can tell us any different. This stems from what gamer’s like me call the illusion of choice, the idea that we can change the ultimate outcome. “The Truth” is that anything that has been done was already know at the beginning of time, and nothing we can do can change the outcome that Christ will win!  When you understand that, you are free from the pride that control can bring.

3. This Truth Gives Freedom From Death

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

The saying goes that the only things for certain are death and taxes.  The story of the bible is one of redemption and salvation from death.  Not from physical death as some skeptics say, but from a death of the soul.  This death is caused by a complete separation from our God.  None of us will know how this truly feels on earth because we are all connected in a small way to Gods love.  “The Truth” is that God, taking on the form of a man, came down to this earth to save us from this separation!

So what is “The Truth”?  The truth of God is this, that He loved this world and everyone in it so much that he was willing to sacrifice His flesh and blood.  He did this even after we as a people had turned our backs on Him and distorted His perfect world.  “The Truth” is that His salvation is free to anyone who will come and ask it of Him.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in John 14:6

 

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I AM…..

I AM..,the way, the truth, and the life; and no man comes to the father except through Me.”  – John 14:6

God has used this statement over and over again in the bible to sum up His very existence…I AM. Even put into just two words, God seems like one of the most complex personalities of all time. What does that mean exactly? Does it mean that God is in everything? Does it mean God is everywhere? Maybe it means God is in us, people, like so many religions believe, or maybe, just maybe it means God is a fact!

I AM… It is not a question, just a statement that no matter what I AM.  Perhaps God’s intention in describing Himself that way was to indicate that among all the absolute facts that can be argued back and forth in religion and philosophy one remains fixed and that is that He Is. I AM indicates that before there was anything I AM, that after it is all gone I AM, and when our strength is not enough I AM.

So how has God used His name in the Bible?

1. God Is Always The Same

In the Book of Exodus, God gives his name for the first time to Moses and he says, “I AM who I AM.” With this simple statement God was indicating to Moses that He was the same God who was with his forefathers. Moses was then told by God to go back to his people and if they asked to tell them one thing if they questioned who sent him….I AM. (Ex 3:14)

2. God Will Sustain Us

In John we see God once again begin to use his name for the purposes of teaching the people.  After having fed the people on the shores of Galilee, Christ went off by himself to pray and avoid his ‘adoring fans’. After a while, they find Him on the opposite shore and begin comparing Him to Moses because He gave them bread to sustain them, but Christ then connects Himself to God His father once again by saying, ‘”I AM the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger..”  Christ says that He will sustain us the way only food can but His provision will be forever. (John 6:35)

3. God Will Save Us

Finally, God uses His name to show that He is our only way to salvation. “I Am, the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the father except through me.” The next few blogs will go through this in a deeper manner, but the point that Christ is making here is that There is no other way that we can get to salvation except through Him.

With two simple words God managed to say so much about His life and character. He will never leave us, He will never change, He will give us sustenance in the desert of our lives, and He will save us from coming judgement.  So what does God say with his name?  I AM all you need!

If you enjoyed this check out my other blogs at ministryinreality.wordpress.com 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in John 14:6

 

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