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“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord & 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 & 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, & having done all, to stand” (vs10-13).
Satan is tricky, and we need power to stand against Him, and this power is from God. He says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (vs11). If we are looking to ourselves, then we cannot survive. We must walk by faith alone, going to God in Christ (Eph 3:16-19). He must be the Savior, or we will fall, and we must have reconciliation to bind us to Him and to keep the promises real. The fear of death haunts us, but Christ’s death brings forgiveness, and this is where we start. We are reconciled to God for the help that we need. He is FOR us, rather than against, and we have His power, so we can win. Do not believe in yourself or Satan has you, and do not think that you’re not in a battle, as if holiness is unimportant. Take God’s armor, which is His power, by faith, so you can do what man cannot do, which is overcome sin and the wiles of Satan. and promises to keep us. There must be FORGIVENESS of sins. We can only conquer by faith, but conquer we must. So, let us believe early and often, going to God for all strength and never trusting ourselves. (vs10-11)
We must stand by doing ALL that He tells us and fighting with our weapons. He says, “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” (vs13). We can’t go to war unprotected, but if we do exactly what He says, then victory is guaranteed! Be sure of this. Do everything. Don’t just trust Him in part and expect it to work, but follow His formula exactly and intently, training yourself day by day with gospel obedience. Give yourself to this mission and against Satan. Do not let him tempt you into sinning.
Secondly, here is how we stand:
Be ready to preach Christ to others. He says, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (vs14-15). The best way to have Him for yourself is to get enough gospel for others, to have His peace in your heart, so that you can preach and speak in peace to those who ask. A selfless life will lead me to Christ to get the selflessness and the love that I need. When I’m ready to preach, I’m already in the Spirit, and we should be preaching the gospel to ourselves, so that upon notice, we can give it boldly unto others.
Take salvation, believe that you are saved, and use His word against your enemy. He says, “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (vs16-17). Fight them, as Jesus did, by “thus says the Lord”. Let them condemn, but come back with “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Rom 8:33-34). Let them assault your weaknesses, but come back with promises of strength to the weary, for “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Is 40:29). Let your fears be handled by the gospel and conquer by the word of God, plunging your sword into the enemy, believing upon Christ more than Satan.
Pray for all of God’s people – the ones that you know and the ones that you do not - simply because they are elect, the family of God, and they are your brethren in like struggles. He says, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and begging for the saints”. The gospel makes us GET things for others, as we GET them for ourselves. Recently, a brother in distress, with great emotion and feeling, communicated how blessed he was by the saints’ praying for him. Our prayers reached up to God, and He touched our brother with comfort, confirming our love to him. Paul said, “[pray] for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (vs19-20).
Being BOLD about God’s love to sinners, and boldly proclaiming salvation isn’t easy, and it takes prayer! The preacher is as weak as you are. Therefore, pray for yourself, plead for others, and plead for your pastor and the preaching. God will give us the power to do the impossible, to actually preach and walk in love, as we actually come to Him for it, not assuming or disbelieving, but coming on a day to day basis.
Thirdly, even in prison, Paul’s concerned about the comfort of his church family, and this shows the love of Christ, as the body sacrifices for each other (vs21-22). We read, “But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychichus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts”. We are not seeking our own, but the things of Christ (Phil 2:19-30). We cannot love God who laid His life down for us without loving people enough to lay our life down for them, so we forsake our comforts, even in tough times, just like Paul did while sitting in prison, giving up his beloved companion Tychicus, for the welfare of the saints. It breaks my heart that many people claim the name of Christ, but they have no real love for God’s people the church, no visible commitment to the assembly, and no real sacrificing for the body of Christ. A religion of selfishness is not the gospel, and it reveals a deep misunderstanding of grace.
Finally, peace, love, and faith are God’s gifts to us, so let us RECEIVE them (vs23). We read, “Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. Do not be a discouraged Christian, because nothing is more contrary to the gospel than bitterness, complaining, and unbelief. Paul wants us to have God’s blessings, and this is our heart too – we wish that your body may be in health, even as your soul prospers, but it is peace, love, and faith that we are desiring for you. I spoke to a new saint who mentioned who he “mean mugged” people, walking around angry and ready to fight. But now, he has peace and love to give, a smile on his face, and he wants others, like Paul, to have the highest blessing. This has happened to you. You wish men goodwill from the heart. But, only those who truly love God in sincerity with a love that will never turn away from grace and godliness, these alone have the blessing. He says, “Grace with be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility. Amen.”
These blessings don’t belong to hypocrites, nor can we have them by “loving God” on our terms! Grace is upon the godly, so guard your steps. Be sure that your love is real, by going back to His love continually, daily, and getting the strength that you need to love God and prove it in your life.
Heshimu Colar, Pastor of The Gospel Church, faithfully proclaims the saving message of Jesus Christ, continually exalting Him in God's word as the Savior of...
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