Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Put on the Full Armor of God."

HBS Group Genesis 3:15-24 (Continued)
Lesson 12
Thank you Ken for making Bible study a priority and for being here tonight.
During our time off, I started teaching a new series called “Christian Basics.”
To access this information please go to: GHeitzman.Blogspot.com
Please remember, you can find these lessons on Genesis posted to the other web site at: HBSGROUP.BLOGSPOT.COM
I intend to keep writing and posting to both of these websites, so feel free to visit them whenever you can, and I hope they aid you in your Bible study.
Thanks for being here tonight and making Bible study a priority. There aren't many who do!

Too many Christians are content to occupy a church pew week after week, listening to sermon after sermon, without taking the time to investigate to see if what they are hearing matches what is in the Bible. And Most Christians are not involved in Bible study.
Because of this, most Christian adults today have a limited amount of Bible knowledge. I’ve had fourth graders in my Sunday School Class demonstrate far superior Bible knowledge than their parents. Statistics show that the parents of Christian children shy away from talking about or teaching the Bible at home because they lack the knowledge to do so. They simply are not comfortable with the idea.
How will these same parents recognize false teaching if they don’t understand the truth? Many people today rely solely on their pastor, minister, etc. to teach them bible truths. That’s not what God had in mind. This is one of the reasons we have the written Word of God. It’s our responsibility to know it well enough to share its truths with others.
A preacher taught his congregation one Sunday morning that there were many paths to heaven/salvation. After the service, a man approached this pastor and asked him, “What about John 14:6?” In this verse Jesus states, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” This pastor replied, “Well, that doesn’t mean what it says.”
There is ONLY ONE WAY to obtain salvation and Jesus Christ is the way.
Go to the book of Acts, chapter four. We’ll begin at verse twelve.
Acts 4:12
“And there is
(What?) salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Hello! It means exactly what it says my friends.
Statistics show that a Bible can be found in nearly every home in America. The Bible is on the best seller list year after year averaging 100 million units sold annually. Incredible but true. Here’s something else you should know. The Bible is one of the most unread, and misunderstood books ever printed.
Speaking from my own childhood experience, I grew up in a home that had a very large family Bible. I mean it was huge. It held a prominent place on the coffee table in the front room. My mother religiously marked births, marriages, and deaths in the front section of the book, and it was dusted regularly.
However, I do not recall one single occasion when, as a family, my parents read Scripture to us. I never experienced my parents reading Scripture, talking Scripture, or teaching us Scripture. This they left up to the church, the nuns, and the priests. My parents were comfortable with that plan; and that’s the plan they followed. I see this same plan being followed by parents today. How sad for the children. To this very day I still have siblings who have not accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. They continue to walk in darkness.
And I believe this is the end result of that plan.
Unfortunately, their poor choice fell right in line with Satan’s plan.
Satan doesn’t want you to read this book.
Satan doesn’t want you to study this book. Why?
Because this book is about SALVATION!
Satan doesn’t want you to know you're a sinner and that you need to be saved.
In our last Bible lesson, we studied the origin of Satan.
Self -pride led him to rebel against God. Lucifer’s uprising failed.
The rebellious angels were cast down to the earth, where God keeps them in “eternal bonds” until the Day of Judgment.
Lucifer remains free to roam the earth. And we know because of Adam’s disobedience in the garden, the devil (Not man) has dominion over the earth and God’s entire universe.
Satan is the prince of this world until the Lord Jesus Christ returns.
The devil is still trying to thwart the plans of God today.
Therefore, Satan is without doubt PUBLIC ENEMY #1!
Now all is not lost; certainly not.
Because God comforts all His children with this knowledge:
Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble
.
John 14:1
“Do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”
Remember I am showing you that Satan’s plan is to steal your joy and your peace, and one more thing. If you remember, Satan began his attack on the Woman in the garden by questioning what God had said. He caused the Woman to doubt God, and he wants you to doubt God too.
If he can do that, then he has succeeded in drawing one more soul to him.
We know that Satan (The devil) is a determined and powerful spirit being.
We know he hates God and anyone who has a relationship with the Creator.
These are the facts my friends. So here’s the thing.
What can we do against such a powerful and determined enemy?
What weapons will work against the devil and his schemes?
Here’s some good news. God has not left us alone and defenseless.
Please turn with me to the book of Ephesians.
Paul wrote this epistle during his first imprisonment in Rome around 60 AD.
While imprisoned in Rome, Paul’s was chained to a Roman soldier around the clock. (See Acts 28:16). Paul spoke to these men and he studied their uniforms and their implements of war. Paul chose the Roman soldier’s battle gear to illustrate for us how we are to prepare for spiritual warfare. Of course before you go into battle it is wise to know your enemy.
Our last lesson was devoted to “unmasking” Satan and revealing his true nature, and his capabilities. We also uncovered Satan’s plan.
His desire is to disrupt and destroy anyone or anything connected with God.
Phase I involved the gathering of intelligence. Now we are ready for phase II.
Preparing for Spiritual Warfare
All believers are part of the Great War between God and Satan.
Question: What weapons will Satan use against us?
The enemy can’t have our souls, but he will stop at nothing to destroy our lives and our testimonies. He has two main weapons in his arsenal.
External Pressures: The world and its lies.
Internal Desires: The flesh and its lusts. (Those things we covet).
These two weapons are subtle in nature but very, very effective.
Now when you think about battle gear, weapons, and the such, you're thoughts are drawn to those who utilize such articles. Again Paul used the Roman soldier.
The Roman army created the Roman Empire! In its time, it was the best trained and most disciplined fighting unit on the field of battle.
When a person is going into battle, they want the best gear available for protection but they also require tools to rout the enemy. And this is why each and every Christian has received this command: “Put on the full armor of God.” Nothing else will give us success.
Ephesians 6:10 - Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might, 11: Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13: Therefore, (because you understand that you are involved in this conflict) take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14: Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREAST PLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15: and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16: in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish al the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17: And take the HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(And finally, verse) 18: With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Notice the first command. “Put on the full armor of God.”
We can’t pick and choose our battle gear. Every piece of armor has a function in enabling us to stand against the evil day and is necessary. When is the evil day? Every day is the evil day!
Can you name a day in which you are not tempted to sin? I didn’t think so.
We all struggle against sin IE our “old Adamic nature” continually. Paul wrote,
For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. Romans 7:19
Paul teaches us that there is an ongoing spiritual battle between the Spirit of God within us and our fleshly desires/lusts. Satan cannot win the war, but he can win a battle or two.
This is why the Holy Spirit tells us to “stand firm!”
Note that this command is repeated in verses 11, 13 and 14.
When something is repeated in Scripture, it is for emphasis. We need to “read and heed.”
When Martin Luther was condemned as a heretic for proclaiming that FAITH alone in Christ brings salvation, he said, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God…Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.” Martin Luther declared his belief and stood by it to the end.
I wonder if we were under persecution, would we do likewise.
Sadly, we may find out one day.
Let’s compare Scripture with Scripture.
1 Corinthians 15:1 - Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel
(Not a gospel, but the one and only gospel) which I preached to you, which you received in which also you stand…,
The word “stand” is a positional term. It means, “An attitude that somebody adopts.”
We are to “put on the full armor of God.” Paul describes our battle armor and mentions six specific pieces. We will study these individually.
The Belt of Truth (verse 14a).
A belt was an essential part of the Roman soldier’s equipment. His belt gathered his armor together and held his sword to his side. It also served to secure his robes which might interfere with his movements in battle. The belt tied it all together.
14a: Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, Truth is the foundation of the believer’s armor. In our spiritual warfare against Satan and his demonic followers, a warfare in which deception and deceit are commonplace, it is TRUTH that illuminates our way and enables us to stand. The truth of God is both living and written and there are two entities through which God reveals truth.
The Living Word (the Lord Jesus Christ)
The Written Word of God (the Bible)
God’s truth is essential. Truth is the essential piece of the Christian’s armor. We must be grounded in truth or else our lives will be meaningless. The Roman soldier’s belt was of no use to him unless it was tightly drawn around his waist. So our belt of truth must be tightly fastened around our waist. When we stop playing games and walk consistently, whether people see us or not, then we are using the belt of truth. The first step is to “put on” the belt of truth of God’s Word and deal truthfully with others. When you live in honesty and integrity you defeat Satan!
The Breastplate of Righteousness (verse 14b)
14b: “HAVING PUT ON THE BREAST PLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS”
The breastplate was a vital piece of armor that covered the chest and the back, like a modern warrior’s body armor or flak vest. Its purpose was to defend the soldier from arrows, spears, and sword thrusts to the vital organs ie the lungs, liver, and the heart.
The Christian’s heart is the primary target of Satan. That’s why Proverbs 4:23 warns, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” What protects our hearts from attack? Righteousness!
This is not referring to self-righteousness. Another word for that is PRIDE. We must be wary of becoming prideful. The Bible teaches us that to God “all our righteousness is like filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6.
Self-righteousness is one of Satan’s greatest deceptions.
What Paul is talking about here is Practical Righteousness. Our self-righteousness obtains for us nothing of consequence. However, it is our faith in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ that obtains for us believers those eternal heavenly rewards which the Bible speaks of.
The Boots of Peace (verse 15)
15: and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; The Roman soldier in battle dress wore a certain kind of shoe, a caliga. They were open-toed spiked shoes that laced up past the ankles. This boot was an important piece of equipment. It helped the soldier dig in defensively and move forward offensively.
Most combat was fought hand-to-hand. Armies would surge toward one another and be locked in combat. A soldier could not afford to be pushed backwards. He could not afford to slip and fall. And neither can you. Part of your equipment for battle is to have your “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” It is this gospel of peace which enables you to stand firm. We can stand secure knowing that we have peace. There are two qualities of peace that we as Christians experience:
Peace with God.
Paul says in Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because of the good news of the gospel, we can now experience harmony, fellowship, and peace, with God.
Our eternal destiny is settled and is secure.
The Peace of God.
Philippians 4:7 reads, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Not only do we experience peace with God, but we also experience the peace of God.
Peace with God means that our struggle with God is over.
We are no longer an enemy of God.
The Peace of God means that we experience His peace even in the most trying of circumstances.
It is the peace of God that causes us to have that calm, assured confidence that enables us to cope with any situation or any trial. When trying circumstances come; and they will come, it is not unusual for people to fall apart. In fact, you may hear someone say to such a person,
“Hey, get a grip.” Well, how can someone get a grip if they have nothing to grab onto? Knowing Jesus gives us something substantial to hold onto!
The night Jesus was arrested and then crucified, He told His disciples,
Peace I leave you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
The peace of God will:
Enable you to stand firm.
Give you traction in life.
Enable you to advance against the enemy on any terrain.
Whatever your situation or circumstances, you can stand firm!
Please note: Our duty is not to attack Satan, or to defeat him, but rather to withstand his attacks. Our task is defensive, not offensive.
Those who would attack Satan do not understand Satan’s power, or God’s plan. It is not we who will defeat Satan, but Christ. Our duty is to resist Satan, not to remove him.
The Shield Of Faith (verse 16)
16: “In Addition to all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
The Roman army used small round shields and large rectangular ones. The large curved shield which Paul refers to in the Ephesian letter was about four feet tall and two feet wide. It was made of layers of laminated wood covered by linen and leather. A brass or bronze rim covered every edge as protection against sword attack. It was generally painted with traditional Roman symbols such as eagle’s wings and lighting bolts. Shields were primarily used as individual protection, but could be overlapped to form a large wall of protection. As a walled city was being attacked by the Romans, archers along the walls would rain down flaming arrows. The Roman soldiers with overlapping shields could continue advancing toward the gates of the city despite the arrows.
Does the Christian today face “flaming arrows?” Yes.
Flaming Arrows: is an attack on our faith and are meant to create:
Doubt- Destroy confidence in God’s abilities
Discouragement- Destroy commitment to the cause
Depression- Destroy the desire to go on
Faith: Is not blind.
It sees the future thorough the eyes of God’s promises.
II Timothy 1
12: For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13: Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
II Timothy 4
16: At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me;

(Paul writes from a Roman prison and shortly before his death) may it not be counted against them. 17: But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth.
18: The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
And hHere’s David’s testimony from the Psalms:
Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
The only protection against the flaming arrows that rained down from the sky in ancient warfare was the shield. If used correctly, it was a trustworthy piece of equipment. If dropped, it became useless and the soldier’s fate rested with himself. We trust in Jesus alone as our shield. We cannot rely on our own abilities in this battle.
The Helmet Of Salvation (verse 17a)
17: “Take the helmet of salvation…”
The Roman army helmet was usually made of bronze, although iron and leather were also used on occasion. To protect the sides of the face, “cheek–pieces,” hinged to each side, hung down and were secured with leather straps under the chin. A “shelf” on the back of the helmet protected the neck and shoulders from arrows that fell from above. The helmet was essential equipment for the survival of a soldier in battle. The importance of the head does not need much convincing. A soldier can survive a broken arm, but a broken head, depending on the severity of the wound, can be life threatening.
By calling salvation a helmet we have a clear understanding of what salvation refers to here.
What is the helmet - the hope of salvation?
The hope of salvation is for the head. It covers our minds, intellect or reasoning. Hope has a very different meaning from what we use the word for in the normal sense of the word.
When we say 'I hope it does not rain' the very sentence itself contains doubt and an expectation we cannot do anything about. Hope from the Bible's point of view is much more powerful. Hope is one of the three essentials. Listen to the following scripture.
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Faith, hope and love are all essential. Faith is of the heart. God gives it to us. We may not entirely understand all that God does but we can still put our faith in Him.
Titus 1
1: "Paul a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness.
2: in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,”
Colossians 1
21: And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22: yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond approach.
23: if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
The above two scriptures help shed light on God's definition of hope. Our hope is based on the eternal life of God. Our hope is held out to us in the gospel. An understanding of what God has promised us brings us hope. God does not lie. Our hope is based on Him. A Christian with the helmet of the hope of salvation will not get confused with the fleeing pleasures of sin. Nor will they trade their birth right (salvation) for the temporary lusts of the world.
The Sword Of The Spirit (verse 17b)
17b: “…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The Roman soldier carried a small dagger and a large double–edged sword used for thrusting.
The sword was usually about 24 inches long, and 2 inches wide with parallel sides. This particular weapon was developed after the Romans observed the effectiveness of the short sword in the hands of the battle–hardened Spanish mercenaries. This new shorter and more pointed “piercing” sword proved to be much more effective in close–quarter combat.
In an era when almost any wound could be fatal, this short sword was the power behind the Roman army machine. The sword and scabbard were usually attached to either the belt or to a leather strap worn over the shoulder. When used at close range by a skilled soldier, the sword was a deadly weapon.
Paul tells us that the sword represents the Word of God, the written picture of Jesus. He is the living version of everything God wanted to say to mankind. God’s Word is a powerful weapon against our enemy when it's used under the spirit's power and direction.
It is noteworthy that there is only one weapon of offense provided, although there are several pieces of armor. The Roman soldier usually carried a spear as well as a sword. We have seen frequent representations of the legionary standing upon guard as sentry, and he almost always stands with a spear in his right hand, while his sword hangs at his side. But Paul, for excellent reasons, concentrates our offensive weapon in one, because it answers for all. We are to use the sword and that only. The Word of God in the hand of the Spirit-filled Christian wounds very terribly, and makes the heart of man to bleed. Do you not remember, some of you, when you used to be gashed with this sword Sunday after Sunday? Were you not cut to the heart by it?
It is the very Word of God that is able to slice through the darkness in this world and expose those who forsake the Light.
John 1
4: In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
5: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Skip on over to John chapter three.
John 3
19: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”
20: “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

The Word of God is a powerful Spirit-filled weapon. We should avail of this tool more often, not to hurt, but to help heal all those who need to hear the truth.
Once again it is not our role, in this spiritual battle with the devil, to defeat him. That battle belongs to the Lord. Christ Jesus is already the victor. Humanity is simply waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ to return to claim His victory. This will be accomplished at His second coming.
At our next session, we will return to finish up chapter three of Genesis. I know we have spent a lot of time there, but I wanted to give it the attention it deserves because it is important.
See you there.
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