800px-helmet_typ_weissenau_01

Ephesians 6

17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The Roman helmet is called the galea. The helmet of salvation. The healing and wholeness that I now experience is my salvation too,because I have come to a living faith in a loving God now and forever. Salvation is not just for the afterlife.

Notice the helmet protects the head. Satan attacks our thinking more than any other place. But we already belong to the family of the risen Jesus and are already rescued from Satan. Because of this we can resist any other lies Satan sends our way. Satan is too late. The devil’s time is up. Now we are just in a mop up period.

All of these parts of the armor of the Roman soldier are defensive by function. Belt, breastplate, shield, shoes, and helmet make it possible to stand firm without being moved. But there is one offensive weapon Paul speaks of. The Roman sword, called the gladius. This is where we get the word, “gladiator.”

When the devil speaks false words against me, I go to the true words of God and I slash them Satan’s way. Isaiah the prophet knows who these words refer to. The Messiah. Jesus is the Word of God and here is what Isaiah says about this.

      The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. (11:5)

or here.

800px-uncrossed_gladius

      He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword. (49:2)

Here is an important way of thinking I use to fight Satan with the Word of God. Whenever I think I am being attacked by Satan in the words I am speaking negatively to myself in my mind, or whenever the attack seems like is coming from someone else who is being influenced by Satan, I have a simple test.

Are the words I am am saying to myself words I can imagine coming out of Jesus’ mouth?

Are the words this person is saying to me words that Jesus would say?

This works every time. The sword of God’s word strikes clean.

ME

Why is it good to keep going back to God’s promises in the Bible? How can you make progress in your self-talk?

1024px-caligae_from_side

Ephesians 6

15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

The shoes of the soldier are called, caligae. These are not as much sandals as they are marching boots. And when your enemy attacks you and pushes against you with his shield, you can stand firm because these shoes have spikes on them, almost like golf spikes.

These shoes of peace harken back to Isaiah were the prophet says,

How beautiful on the mountains

    are the feet of the messenger who brings good news,

the good news of peace and salvation,

    the news that the God of Israel reigns! (52:7)

Because we have peace with God we can have peace with each other. We can experience the Shalom of God, where we know everything is going to be right in the end, even if we don’t know why. We can stand firm.

800px-scutum_in_kelin_1

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

The Roman shield is the scutum. It is used to stop the enemy from pushing you back. The middle part can also be used to batter someone. But, the main use of the shield is to protect from projectiles. Now the word here for fiery arrows is plumbata. This is a dart weighted with lead that soldiers would carry in their shield. These could be thrown at a range of up to 70 yards. To be protected from these darts and arrows, a soldier would lift his shield over his head, or a whole group of soldiers can do this by forming a testuto, which is Latin for “tortoise.” You have seen this tactic used in Roman movies.

The fiery darts are the lies Satan sends our way. Where the devil tries to sow doubt, despair, bad circumstances, and temptations, including arrogance and pride. Faith is confidence in Jesus that says, No!” to all of that. It is having confidence in who Jesus is and my identity through him as having the same loving father. Confidence based on evidence.

Whatever the devil throws your way, you are strong and protected by Jesus. This protection is as it has always been and will be for you forever.

ME

When gets in the way of your sensing the presence of God in your life? What can you do to change this?

roman_soldier_in_lorica_segmentata_1-cropped

 

Ephesians 6

14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.

The first piece of armor Paul speaks of is the cintus, which is the belt the soldier wears around his waist. This belt is used to hold everything else into place.

That is what the truth of God does. It holds everything else into place. Fortunately God gives us access to the truth because he sent Jesus. We can listen to the teachings of Jesus and look at the model of Jesus and here we see God come to focus. Christian faith lived out like Jesus lives it out is true.

This is saying something and also not saying something. What we are not saying is Christian faith is true because it works. What we are saying is Christina faith works because it is true. Think about the difference. With the truth we can live in God’s Kingdom and follow his ways.

Then there is “the body armor of God’s righteousness.”

This armor or “breastplate,” as it is called, is the pectorale. Literally, the “protector of the heart.”

Righteousness= justice

This is the heart of the matter for us.

Our one true God is the one true judge. God intends to put the world right. This is where Jesus comes in. We are already declared right in Jesus and so when we are attacked by Satan we have protection.

Satan is a big fan of name-calling. Satan attacks our identity. “God doesn’t love you.” “You are a bad person.” “You are weak.” “How can God love someone as broken as you?” “How can you call yourself a Christian?”

No, I am the son of a loving Father. Through confidence in Jesus, I am in God’s family forever. I am royalty and my coronation came at my baptism. Through the water and the word God declares me his and I begin to live my life in his kingdom.

ME

The same teaching that would say there is no evil also says there is no truth. Truth is culturally conditioned and what is truth for you may not be truth for me. “There is no truth” is, of course, a truth statement.

 

watching-sunset

Ephesians 6

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

 

 

 

Dallas Willard talks about three kingdoms in existence.

1.     There is the Kingdom of God. Where what God wants done his done.

2.     There is the kingdom of Satan. Where what Satan wants done is done.

3.     There is the kingdom of me (and you). Where what I (you) wants done is done.

My (Your) kingdom is what I (you) can do or control through direct or indirect action. My (Your) opportunity is to bring my (your) kingdom into God’s Kingdom. Right away there is a big problem.

When we exercise our kingdom power and bring it into God’s Kingdom, we are opposed by Satan.

There is a battle. We need the power of God to stand firm against the enemy. Notice, God doesn’t want us to try to run away from the devil. We live in the world where the devil has influence. When human beings live naturally in the world, we eventually work for Satan. Where what Satan wants done is done. The devil has many weapons to fight against us.

Dr. Marcus Warner is a solid teacher on this topic. His writings have informed my thinking on this topic of spiritual warfare.

Yes, we are in a battle. Satan has no power to create it’s own reality and so Satan’s primary weapon is deception. Satan is a liar. The biggest lie is God doesn’t love us. Satan tries to convince us to think God isn’t attractive. Satan’s biggest ally is the world.

     …against mighty powers in this dark world…

If we don’t think God really loves us then we can’t trust him. Then where do we go for love? We look for love and security in all the wrong places. Dr. Warner speaks of this.

     The world captures our imagination with beauty, power and the potential of freedom without accountability. It entices us to sin and blinds us to the fact that sin is spiritual adultery, It is cheating on the most beautiful and amazing person in the universe in order to be with the most despicable creature of the universe. (Toward A Deeper Walk, pg. 75)

ME

What are some ways the ways of the world oppose God?

rare-community-socal-web-banner

Using biblical insight and the latest brain research,  Rare Community is a conference where we will make progress in learning how to increase our emotional intelligence (EQ) and lead with joy in all areas of our life. We will key in on 4 uncommon habits for increasing trust, joy, and engagement with the people around us. It is all about RARE Leadership.

Learn what it takes to be an emotionally healthy RARE leader who models these habits:

Remain Relational

Learning how the relationship is more important than the problem.

Act Like Yourself

What would Jesus do if he were me in this situation?

Return to Joy

Learning what it takes to quickly recover from emotional upset.

Endure Hardship Well

Learning to stay relational and continue to act like the person God made me to be during suffering.

******************

Time – Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 9AM – 5PM

Venue – Redhill Lutheran Church- 13200 Red Hill Ave, Tustin, CA 92780

Price   – Individual – $65 Individual with lunch-$75

Couple – $120  Couple with lunch – $140

(lunch with pre-registration only)

Register directly at JoyStartsHere.com/SoCal

LIFEhouse community please note:

  • Pastor Dana will be one of the keynote speakers at this event
  • There will be a car pool plan with specifics coming soon

psychic

Ephesians 6

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 

Remember the Apostle Paul is a Roman citizen. Frequently in his writings he uses Roman military terms to talk about this spiritual battle that is taking place. Satan has no power against God and so Satan is trying to get us to turn from God and want what Satan wants done in the world. Paul doesn’t recommend trying to run from Satan. He says three times in this passage to stand! Take a stand against the forces of evil. We are in a war, but we don’t see this. A battle, but we only see a glimpse. Here is where Satan steps in and uses two main lies right from the start.

The first lie is that there is no Satan or spiritual forces of evil. Satan wants us to buy into the silly comic, cartoon version of the devil. Or Satan wants us to believe there is no evil. This is the sophisticated view of the university. There is no university course that will compare what is good and what is evil.

I remember being on local task force of academic and community leaders to respond to the attack on our nation on September 11. Someone called the attack, “evil,” and one of our key community academic leaders at the time said, “There is no such thing as evil. It only depends on your context.”

The second lie is that Satan is all powerful and at work everywhere to oppose God and it is a battle of equals. Satan is not all powerful. Satan can’t get you to do anything. Satan has to use deception because Satan is limited. The devil doesn’t know your thoughts, for example. Satan can only figure you out the same as any other creature, though Satan is an expert on understanding the human condition. The Garden of Eden is but one example.

So, what is our defense? Don’t think too little of Satan or too much. Satan is behind all the evil in the world, but just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are necessarily from the devil.

Now it’s time to stand firm.

ME

Are you most likely to underestimate Satan or overestimate Satan’s influence? What has been your experience with evil?

no-favorites

Ephesians 6

9 Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.

In Rome, just like with children, the master is the oldest male in the household. He could punish slaves by mistreating them, abandoning them, or killing them. But, Paul is calling on masters to repent. Turn to the new way in the new kingdom.

Again, for our own practical purposes, it helps to look at this from an employment perspective. Masters are those who supervise and lead in business. So, in other words, business owners and supervisors, treat your employees with deep respect and fear as if you are supervising Jesus himself. Treat your employees as if Jesus is watching you, because he is. Treat your employees the way you want God to treat you. When your employees flourish, you flourish.

We can see that in business as well as family, to follow Jesus is to turn the ways of the world upside down. We are to act as if we are living for God when we live for others. Because we are living for God when we live for others.

You see, with God, not one of us is better than anyone else. Not one of us is worse than anyone else. In God’s eyes, we are all the same. He is to be our God and we are to be his people. And like with parents and children, employers and employees, God has no favorites. We are all precious and we are all equal before him.

This is how God wires the world. This explains why the treatment of children flourishes where Christianity has strong influence, why slavery is condemned and no longer practiced in places informed by Christianity, this explains why the whole human rights movement comes out of Christian teaching in our world. There has always been a minority of Christians who have gotten these things right throughout history. That all human beings are noble in God’s eyes. That God shows no partiality. We are all equal before him.

I say minority because this is where it starts. The world as lived by human beings on human wisdom and by human power is a destructive world and it continues to be the way of the world. But, like Paul with slavery, the seeds we plant by living another way, counter to the ways of the world,  grow into God’s Kingdom influence transforming the ways of our world. The hope of the world is Jesus and the way Jesus works is through us. So, the hope of the world is in the minority of Christians who actually live their family lives and work lives as if they are living for God himself. Because we are.

ME

Look up “William Wilberforce” and reflect on his life as it relates to today’s reading.

working-in-the-field-2961278557235ouvg

Ephesians 6

7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.

When we work we are fulfilling a blessing God put in creation. The first command to humans is, “Be fruitful and multiply.” This is not just having children. To be fruitful is to flourish as God intended from the beginning. To be fruitful is to work. Adam and Eve are to care for the garden. That is their job. It doesn’t work out so well for them because they rebel against God, but work isn’t originally a curse, but a blessing.

In the new Kingdom Jesus has begun, work is becoming a blessing again. We can work filled with the Spirit, the meaning of the word, “Enthusiasm.” We can work in a way that God is blessed by our labor. And good will come out of our work if our work is for God.

Some of you might be thinking, how come work doesn’t look like that for me? Here’s the thing. Short-term you can work any job because you need the money. Whether you like the job or not. But, long-term, your work is to reflect the honor you have for God. It is just like when you serve God by doing good for other people. It is not to get rewarded by God, but the reward is already built in by the way God wires us.
And it is God’s desire that you are blessed by your work. That your work expands your influence for good in the world.

ME

What is the worst job you have had? The best? What is the difference?

 

1024px-mosaique_echansons_bardo

Ephesians 6

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6 Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.

When someone wants to criticize Christianity, a popular target is to mention there are slaves in the Bible. OK, so what point are they trying to make? If you know anything about first century Rome you know slavery plays a central role in society. NT Wright explains.

“Paul could no more envisage a world without slavery than we can envisage a world without electricity. Most of what the modern world takes for granted – television, computers and a million lesser inventions – are impossible without electricity. And yet for most of human history it was unknown. In the same way, the way Paul’s world worked was through slaves taking a vital place in most households except the very poor. Treatment of slaves, and its legal regulation, varied enormously in the ancient world, from country to country and owner to owner. Many slaves were valued, respected and trusted family members – and many were used and abused in every way imaginable by careless and inhumane masters and mistresses. But they were simply part of the way the world worked.”

Slavery in Rome is not like the slavery we had in the United States.  Slavery had nothing to do with race. Slaves came from all cultures in Rome.

You became a slave for one of these reasons. Either you were:

•captured after losing in a war against Rome

•sold as a slave by your parents

•a slave to pay off your debt

Slaves could be freed at any time. Slaves could earn money to buy their freedom or some masters would just free their slaves after a time.

Now, Christianity would eventually defeat slavery, beginning with these first Roman Christians. But, it is a slow process. It isn’t going to change overnight. So, in the meantime, Paul is speaking to the reality of his day and begins with the Romans who are slaves and have become Christian. The way they work reflects on their new faith.

Slaves are to work as if they are working for Jesus himself. This means doing a good day’s work, being honest, and working hard even when they aren’t being watched. This sounds like wisdom for any employee to have, regardless if Paul is addressing slaves here. In fact, slavery in Rome is closer to employment than it is to the slavery of our nation’s history.  Paul is saying how you work reflects on how you are honoring Jesus through your work.

ME

What does it mean for you to put in a good days work?