THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 4-20-03

LESSON TITLE: PAUL'S LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS: CHAPTER 6: "PUTTING ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD"

WELCOME

Let me welcome you to our program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. I hope all of you are well and that you are prospering greatly, in your physical lives according to what you are giving to God spiritually. It is wonderful to be a part of God's family and to have opportunities such as this to come before Him and learn more about what He wants of us, as well as praising His name through song. As we begin our homage to God this morning, won't you bow with me in prayer?

(PRAYER)

Our first song of the morning reminds us all that we need to give the proper glory and honor to our God. Furthermore, this song tells us why we need to do so, that is because God has truly done so many great, mighty and wondrous things for us. So, won't you join in with the congregation today as we sing these magnificent praises to our God. The name of the first song, "To God Be The Glory."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

What a crazy, fast passed society we live in today. Every day we see people driving by in a hurry or rushing to get through a store. It seems like we have lost our ability to slow down, really enjoy life, or to stop and smell the roses. In fact, I think most of us have allowed ourselves to be taken over by life and controlled by it, rather than us being in the driver's seat.

I read an article the other day that reminded me of the fact that Jesus always had time to stop and help those who needed it. Even though he had the greatest task ever known to man, he still had time to stop and give time to others, as well as to give time to God. Think about the many times we read about Jesus stopping to heal the sick or to care for the needy. Think about the times he was willing to stop and listen, and furthermore, willing to give his time in answering questions when he was asked.

His type of living brought joy, peace and a calmness to life, unlike the hectic and frenzy living of today. We need to all take a deep breath, reevaluate, remember that there is nothing in this world worth loosing our soul over. Jesus said, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul," Mark 8:36? The next verse goes on to say, "Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

I fear many of us have been willing to jeopardize our own souls for the sake of the things of this life. What have you been willing to sacrifice your soul for? Choose today to put God first, and get your priorities in order. Let's all slow down enough to study God's Will, to realize what He wants, and to live lives that are pleasing to Him. Always remembering, there is nothing in this life worth loosing our souls over!

Today, we will be completing our study together concerning "Paul's Letter To The Ephesians." Our last lesson in this series is entitled, "Chapter 6: Putting On The Whole Armor or God." So please stay with us and after our next song I will lead our thoughts in this study of the morning. Now let's again join in song together. The name of our next hymn, "Amazing grace."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now have an opportunity to summarize a lot of the book that we've been looking at, the book of Ephesians, Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Then we'll also consider chapter 6 which is the last chapter in this great book of our God.

You might remember as we have looked together at the book itself, we've really just seen a wealth of information in relationship to living the Christian life. You might even recall that in chapter 1 we saw the great plan of redemption being introduced to us by Paul here, a man, as he talked to the church at Ephesus and trying to remind them really just how blessed they were because God had redeemed them through the blood of His son Jesus Christ.

That was further seen in chapter 2 where he talked about the great grace that had been given by God and how that through our faith, our part of the equation, our working and obedience and living for God that truly God does extend a grace, a grace that we might receive and know that even though we don't deserve it, God will save us in the end. So that redemption is ours. The price has been paid, and truly that grace then has been offered and we receive it through our faith, our part once again of what we should do towards God.

Then in chapter 3, we talk even further about how that these things that we now partake of, and really take for granted in so many ways, are mysteries that now have been made revealed, things that were not known before of old, but today are well-known and actually give us a chance of life today and life forever with God. So the mystery has been revealed.

Then in chapter 4, it talks about how that mystery creates in us a new creature, a new individual, no longer like the old man, the sinful ways, but rather like the new man, that is again striving to be like Christ Jesus.

And then last week, we looked at chapter 5 together. We began to see the unfolding of that new man. I believe chapters 5 and 6 are closely tied together as we've seen in chapter 4 that the new man introduced and the concept of putting away the old and becoming new like Christ. Then as I said in chapter 5, we see that unfolding and how that they had left, as it says there, so many of the old, wicked ways and all the sinful ways in order that they might walk in God and they thus walked in Him by loving Him as He loved them and by living as He also lived and left them the example in scripture. And not only that but how he goes on there, that is the apostle Paul, the inspired man of God, and told them about the need for understanding and knowledge and wisdom in that same passage. And then as all of this unfolds, the new man, the concept of how that we must walk in God as the new man. Near the latter part of chapter 5, we then see the unfolding even further of this picture of the church and Jesus Christ and how He is the purchaser and the owner of the church and how really that it is so similar tot he relationship of a husband and a wife and how the husband loves the wife and the wife loves the husband and how there is submission there. That's certainly how Christ loved the church. He submitted to the Will of the Father by giving Himself for the church. And then in turn, the church must submit itself, that is as individuals, to the Son.

So there we have it. Walking in Christ. Walking according to His knowledge and wisdom and doing what He has asked us to as the church, as those who are followers in His kingdom.

Well chapter 6 picks up right there because we've looked at what walking in God is all about, what is entailed in being the new man. Then in chapter 6 as we have just been introduced to the relationship of husbands and wives and how they must act in this new walk, in this new life as the new creature in Christ. Then we see in chapter 6 the introduction to the family situation. How do we act as a family of God, a physical family of God who is also a spiritual family of God? Well children are first addressed there in chapter 6 and verse 1 where it says, "The children must obey their parents in the Lord for this is right." It's always been a command of God that a child should obey his parents. "A child should honor his father and his mother," as it states there also in the scripture. And if they will do so, there is a promise attached to that. So here children are to be obedient. They are to be good workers. They are to be good followers of what the parents have put before them and they must be obedient and they must be submissive to their parents. But then after we consider that, we also see that if they will do so, that there in verse 3, it says that "they will live long on the earth and all will be well with them" as a direct blessing to this command. In fact in the Bible, we find very few, especially in the New Testament, direct blessings that are received on this earth instantly if we are to do something as we follow our God. Well here we have it where children are given a direct blessing that seems instant as they are obedient and as they follow the rule of their parents.

Then the duty of parents, yes at the end of chapter 5, we saw husbands and wives. But parents are once again addressed here in this text in verse 4 of chapter 6 where it says that "fathers (that would also entail that mothers would be bound by the same type of principal) should not provoke their children to wrath or to do bad things, but rather they should train them up in the Lord in the admonition and encouragement of the things of God." So there we have it. Being a new creature. There we have the concept of walking in the light as God is in the light, being Christ-like as this new creature, being good husbands and wives and being disciplined in our work and love one towards another, being good Christians in the church as Christ is head of the church, being good children in the home as we are a godly home, being good parents in the home as we guide and take care of our children.

And then after it looks at all of these things, it says, "Well maybe you don't fit into those categories." So it seems that Paul backs up a bit and says, "What about those of you who are servants? Workers? Those of you who might in a sense be slaves under a master?" But I think this would also be carried out into any part of life. Not only that master and slave relationship but to that boss and that worker and that co-worker relationship. As he says here in verse 5 that "as bondservants that we must be those who are obedient, that the masters must be able to see a sincerity of heart," he says, a genuineness that is truly there. Why? Not because of us. Not because of just the job but because God is in us, the new man, the new creature, the one walking in Christ, the one who is a good parent, a good husband, a good wife, the one who is truly striving to be what Jesus wants them to be. Well obviously, if we are that type of an individual from the inside and the heart, even in our work, the boss will see that. Even in our work, if we were to be even enslaved as bondservants owned by another man, still they would see Christ in us owned by our obedience, our sincerity, our ability to do what God has asked us to do not only for Him but to treat all men as we would want to be treated.

But then in verse 6, he even takes a broader step I would say as he says, "Don't just do it because you have to." There he says, "Do it because it is right to do it." Don't do it as I service or something that you do out of obligation to God but he says rather do it because it is the Will of God and it's from your heart, because you love God. And just as God, that is Jesus Christ in the flesh, humbled Himself to come and to die on the earth, why then would we be so proud that we couldn't humble ourselves to be a good slave, to be a good worker under a boss, to act as we should on the job, to do that and to treat our fellow man that truly shows others that we are of Christ and that we are from Christ? That's exactly what he's talking about here in verses 7, 8, and 9.

Now then as we focus on the primary part of our lesson, we see here the armor of God and to me again it is just a natural progression as we've looked at each of the parts that we might can fall in. He says that "overall is the new man, the new creature, the one walking in God." He says, "What you must do is to put on the armor of God if you're going to be effective. If you're going to be effective in staying away from evil and in doing good," he says, "you must equip yourself just like a soldier in battle." He says you must equip yourself. But the difference is this is a spiritual battle where in verse 7 he says that "we must put on the whole armor of God." And why? He says there "so that we might withstand the fiery darts of the devil. We must put on certain things so that we can keep evils and sin and devil and Satan and his messengers away from us. Why? Because God is at the heart of our lives. He is the essence of what we are all about. And we do this because that's where there is power," verse 10 says. The power we have is equipping ourselves with God, covering ourselves with the Lord and His armor and therefore nothing can hurt us, even the fiery darts that will later be mentioned there in verse 16 in relationship to the work of the devil.

But notice the different parts of the armor that we must have that will help us to endure in this life, to put away the sin and the old and to live strongly for God. He says there in verse 14, he says, "Stand fast, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel." He goes on to say that "we must take the shield of faith which is able to quench the fiery darts of the devil." The fifth thing: "the helmet of salvation, wearing proudly that which protects the head and the mind that surely will save us," which obviously will be encompassed in the Word of God which is the final thing, the sixth part of the armor that is mentioned, that is once again "the sword of the spirit," that which is in our hand to defend the Word as well as to go on the offensive and as we are even using the introduction to our program here in the book of Hebrews chapter 4 that "will even divide the bone and the marrow and give us the ability because of its power to even reach the depths of every soul that is here on this earth."

So here we have it. To equip ourselves, to make ourselves ready for the defensive, for the offensive with the armor of God as we walk in the Spirit, as we walk in Christ Jesus, as we are new creatures. And we do this because when we have that armor on, we are much more effective as servants in His kingdom.

What about prayer? The next idea mentioned there in verse 18 is that "we must pray always. We must make our requests of God and that we must always watch to the end and not only pray for what we have need of and our requests that we want and that we need in life, but also pray for others." He says that prayer is important. As we have the armor on, pray and God will help you, He will secure you. The book of John tells us over and over there, the gospel of John, that if we pray, God hears, and if He hears, He will answer our prayers and He will give us what we ask if it's not against His Will. So prayer is powerful and prayer is an important part of living in that life as a Christian.

He then begins to finalize some of his thoughts that "we must be then as soldiers of Christ in the spiritual warfare, bold in nature," as he says in verse 19, "knowing not only ourselves but telling others about the mystery of the gospel and being ambassadors of Christ." That is one sent by Him to others to let them know about God so that we might therefore be able to help one another, that from our hearts live with all purpose according to what God has designed. Then he gives some farewell greetings in reminding the brethren to truly show their love not only for God, but for one another.

So as we look at this chapter, we again see the beauty of it and in fact now that we have been presented by a new man, a new walk in Christ Jesus that we might see the parts of it no matter who we are in this life. Everything goes back to the same place, Jesus Christ. And we must live as He would have us to live and always exemplify in our lives that He is not only the Son of God but that we are His followers.

(SONG # 3 - "Anywhere is Home!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

I hope our time together this morning, has been an encouragement and blessing to all. Thank you again for choosing to be with us in giving this time to God. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!

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Let's all put on the necessary armor of God, as proper soldiers of Christ. Furthermore, may we fight the good fight which God has set before us - that in all things we may accomplish His Will.

(Program closing)