FINALLY MY BRETHREN, BE STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT. PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THE WILES OF THE DEVIL. FOR WE DO NOT WRESTLE AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD BUT AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES, AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS AGE, AGAINST SPIRITUAL HOSTS OF WICKEDNESS IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES. THEREFORE TAKE UP THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY AND HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND. (Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV)
As we witness the worldwide events of a viral pandemic, and the shutdown of business and economies all over the world, as well as, the upcoming political elections in America, we are seeing the need for the whole armor of God. In the 5th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Church of Ephesus he says, “....the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16b NKJV)
We are not engaged in a “political battle”. Indeed, the great Apostle to the gentiles, Paul, says, “....we do not wrestle against flesh and blood….” in the verses set out above. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there are not men and women (flesh and blood) arrayed against us, but that we need to recognize that the “real power” as stated above, is that of powerful spiritual beings that are under the control and “wiles of the devil”.
I. THE EXAMPLE OF DANIEL (HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH)
Daniel had been taken captive along with others in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, King of Judah. This was approximately 605 BC. Daniel was taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, and God gave Daniel the meaning and interpretation of the King's dreams and God gave Daniel favor and position in Babylon. In 536 BC, the Babylonian Empire was captured by the Medes and Persians, and Daniel was still in Babylon and was about 84 years old. He had studied and read Jeremiah’s writing and understood that 70 years was set by God for Israel to be in captivity.
Daniel set his face to the Lord to pray and make supplication to the Lord for Israel. (Daniel 9) The angel Gabriel was sent to give Daniel understanding. In Daniel Chapter 10, approximately 2-3 years later, we can see that Daniel was again praying and fasting and again a messenger was sent to him. This messenger may have been Gabriel, but we are not told. Some commentators, such as E. J. Young, think this was the Son of God. However, the messenger says that the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia “.....withstood me one and twenty days…”
In view of what is written in the 4th chapter, it seems more likely it's an angel- not the Son of God: “(God) rules in the Kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will …...He does ….His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him what doest thou?” (Daniel 4:17)
The significance here is that the messenger tells Daniel that he was delayed by “the prince of the Kingdom of Persia” for 21 days. Then, He received help from Michael (another archangel)”, (Daniel 10:13) and in Daniel 10:20 we read that the “fight with the prince of Persia continued and he also had to fight with the evil angel behind the kingdom of Greece”. Man alive, we must recognize that the battle, the war, is not merely with other humans, but powerful forces in the heavenly places; principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this age. We live in an evil day. What can we do? Humanly speaking, we are no match for these powerful evil beings! We must do what the Word of God says!
II. THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD
God’s Word tells us, “take heed that you be not deceived.” (Matthew 24:4) Take up, or put on the whole armor of God. What is the whole armor of God?
First, we have our waist or loins girded about with Truth. A Roman soldier had a leather belt which supported and protected his lower abdomen and held his sword. In this evil day, many are “ungodly, unrighteous, and suppress or hold down the Truth. We see the lies put out by many politicians and by many in the news media. Some are so atrocious that they epitomize what my daddy used to say about some who “would lie when the truth was better.” In John 17, The Lord Jesus Christ calls unto the Father to “sanctify them in your truth. Your Word is Truth.” In John 14:6, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ says that He is ….”Truth” itself.
Second, we have to put on the breastplate of righteousness. This is the Righteousness of Christ. We are told in 2nd Corithians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin (The Lord Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” We hear and receive the glorious Gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-11 is a concise synopsis) that God sent His only begotten Son into the world to bear our sin and to bear our punishment because of His great love wherewith He loved us. It is knowing God’s Holy Truth that brings to us the Glorious Gospel of Christ. We receive Him and believe His Holy Truth. (John 1:12-13) In true hatred of our sin, we repent from our sin, surrender our will to God’s will, and place our total trust in Christ alone; in His death and resurrection, as did Abraham, who we read in Romans 4, “believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.” This is written not for his sake alone, but for ours.
Third, we then have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. We read in Romans chapter 5, verse 1, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ….” This is the cessation of war with God! Later in the 5th Chapter in verse 10, we are told, “For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by His life.” So this is peace with God, which readies us for the battle against the wiles of the devil.
Fourth, we take the shield of faith so that we can “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” The shield of faith enables us to resist the devil, and quench all the fiery darts of the devil. In Romans chapter 1, we are told that “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17, quoting Habakkuk 2:4) This is not only saving faith by which we are justified (just as if I had never sinned) but also, living faith - or, faith by which we live.
Fifth, we put on the helmet of salvation. Notice how all of this mighty armor is directly related to our salvation. Salvation is justification. It is not by anything we do! It is a sheer gift of God. “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24) We are saved, not by teaching, philosophy, or our good works. We are saved by God alone! It is by grace alone. All of God. He gave His only begotten, dearly beloved Son, who was delivered up for our transgression and raised again for our justification, that whosoever believes in Christ - just as Abraham - is given everlasting life. “Faith alone in Christ alone!” “For God commendeth His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “In due time, while we were yet without strength (dead and helpless) Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6)
Sixth, we put on the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. We are enabled by Christ, in union with Him, to use the Word of God as Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-11.
Seventh, we are praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching with all perseverance and supplication for all saints everywhere. All prayer and supplication and all perseverance! Even as Daniel did.
When we realize the powerful spiritual beings that are controlled by Satan, that are arrayed in battle against us, we should want to have on this “whole armor” of God.
All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Second Person of the Blessed Holy Trinity. He is our righteousness. God loves us with an everlasting love and we are purchased with a great price - the precious blood of Jesus. We are not our own. He has ransomed us. Therefore, Put on the whole armor of God and get into the battle. There are powerful evil forces arrayed against us. Not just evil men and women. Let’s put on the whole armor of God and pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit with perseverance for all saints everywhere. Knocking in Jesus’ name. Seeking in Jesus’ name. Asking in Jesus’ name.
Remember Isaiah 46:9 and 10, where the Lord our God says:
“Remember, the former things of old; for I Am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My Counsel will stand, and I will do all My pleasure.”
Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever! Amen. (JUDE 24 & 25)
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