THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-26-07
LESSON TITLE: "PUTTING ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD: PRAYER IN THE LIFE OF A SOLDIER"
King David once proclaimed, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence...?
Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for The Living Word. I hope everyone had a great week. And I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.
As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
We truly serve a great and wondrous God. He is the provider of all we need and our true caregiver. Let's begin with our first song this morning and focus on this magnificent and glorious God. Won't you join in with the congregation as we together sing, "For The Beauty Of The Earth."
(SONG # 1)
Most of us have brothers or sisters! If not, at least we have lived in households while growing up, where a family learns to live together and share the things they have. At times, all of us have just thought, "I wish I could have my own room, or my own bathroom, or maybe even my own apartment or house. This sounds great on the surface, but sometimes we don't always think through the things we ask for. Why do I say this? Because no one likes to be alone!
God realized this from the very beginning of His creation. In Gen. 2:18, after creating man, God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." Because of this, verse 19 says that God made a woman out of a rib from the man. Even our creator realized that mankind needs companionship.
We must also realize where we can find the greatest companionship - that is in Jesus Christ. In Matt. 28:20, Jesus said "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Here we see that God is with us forever, without end. How encouraging it is to realize that not only is Jesus with us, but he will always be there for us - forever. The word always helps us to realize this point of our discussion. God is always with us, at every moment. How long? Forever. What other companion of ours promises this?
We have a detailed explanation of God's companionship in Joshua 1:9. There Joshua said, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Now we add the ideas that God is with us everywhere we go. Because of this Joshua said we should not be afraid or dismayed, but we should be strong and courageous. I hope we are starting to realize what the Lord's companionship means to us.
Remember what we read from Psalm 139 earlier? The Bible said, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence...? Here we see that David eloquently helps us to understand that God is with us all the time. He further helps us to realize that while God is with us He is caring for us. That's why we are told to cast our cares on Him, because He truly cares for us. Have you put your trust fully in the Lord?
This morning we are again happy to have brother Jerry Sullins with us. Brother Sullins is the director of the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for joining us this day.
Our specific topic of study today will be, "Prayer in the life of a Soldier." This is the next lesson in our series entitled, "Putting On The Whole Armor Of God." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together brother Sullins will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn, "Alas And Did My Savior Bleed!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Jerry Sullins
We're so happy to have you with us this morning and we're happy that you are here to listen to God's Word again. And I wanted to take just a few moments before starting the lesson today to let you know that beginning on September 5th we will start our fourth class at The Bible Institute of Missouri. We are a two-year preacher training program for the churches of Christ. Our men come to us and they study five days a week, six hours each day over 40 Bible related subjects including the Greek language and this happens for about 18 months while they're with us in school and so in less than two years, they get a four year college education on a college level and there is no charge for tuition. Certainly we invite you to make application at our school. You can use the addresses that are shown each week on this weekly television program, and we hope that you will take the opportunity to call us and to discuss with us the probability or maybe the possibility of you becoming a gospel preacher. So we're hoping that you will take advantage of this great opportunity.
We've been studying for the past few weeks, in fact many weeks, on the soldier of Jesus Christ and the armor that a soldier must wear. As you know, we've been reading from Ephesians chapter 6 where the apostle Paul said in verse 11 that, "We should put on the whole armor of God that we will be able to withstand or to stand against the whiles or the schemes 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." Then he goes on to say, "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." Then he goes on and he describes that armor.
One of the last things that he says many times is left off of that armor because basically it is not really a piece of armor but it is something that sustains the soldier. Now I am confident of this one thing that probably our soldiers in Iraq use this more than they might even be using the armor that they have on their body and that is prayer itself. Can you imagine what our soldiers go through in Iraq? All of the moments of thinking, "Is this the day that I will die for this cause? Is this the day that I will cease to live and is this the day that will be the last day that I will breathe my last breath and never be able to go back home and see my loved ones once again?" I'm sure that this invokes many of them and promotes among them prayer by many if not all.
Certainly this is something that the apostle Paul stresses here for the Christian who is in the spiritual warfare. We're not basically in a physical warfare but we're in a spiritual warfare. The apostle Paul made it clear that we "do not wrestle against flesh and blood." He was talking about fighting against Satan and all of the lust of the world, the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh, all of these things, this daily battle that we are consumed in so that we might be able to do what? "Having done all to stand." So that we might have what? "That precious hope of life eternal."
Now, my friends, as we look at the scripture here in this same chapter, chapter 6 and verse 18, the apostle Paul says to that Christian soldier who has put on that Christian armor that he should also or she should also do this, "Praying all ways with all prayer and supplication in the spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and all supplication for all of the saints." Now what was the apostle Paul speaking of here? He was speaking of the need and the necessity and what should be the desire of every Christian soldier and that is to keep in constant communication with our commander, that is our Father in heaven. These prayers offer us an opportunity as we offer them up to God to stay motivated in that welfare. I know sometimes I've been involved in spiritual battles with Satan as it may come from sources of other human beings, as it may come from sources of the television, the internet and other things, and I know that sometimes the only way that I have been able to stand is to just drop my head and sometimes not even drop my head, but to think in my mind a prayer toward my Heavenly Father, to ask Him for the strength and the courage that I need to withstand the temptation that is coming my way. Has this ever happened to you?
Now let's look at this prayer of a soldier because it describes that prayer here in verses 19 or verses 18-20. Paul says that prayer always needs to be offered. In fact, the scripture says, "Praying always." Now a prayerful attitude, a prayerful spirit has always been encouraged at all times by all Christian preachers and proclaimers of the gospel in the New Testament. I mean it is just something they know is necessary as we try to withstand evil in our world today.
Paul was a man of prayer. In the book of Colossians chapter 1 verse 9, if we turn over to that scripture, the apostle Paul mentioned this as it related to the brethren at Colossi where for he said in verse 9 of chapter 1 of the book of Colossians, "For this reason we also since the day we heard it do not cease to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His Will and all wisdom and spiritual understanding." So what was he saying? We are praying to God that you might have the proper wisdom and understanding so that you might do what? To continue to keep God's Will.
And prayer was something that we see also in the apostle's life. Do you remember when he was in that Philippian jail, in that prison and he was praying to God with Silas and those people, those jailers who were observing that as they prayed and sand praises to God were so impressed that he was able to teach that Philippian jailer later and his whole household and they all were baptized that same night. They all became New Testament Christians.
Indeed, Jesus was a man of prayer. As we look at the book of Luke there are about seven different references in the book of Luke alone concerning different times that Jesus prayed to His Father, that is to the one that He respected as His commander. Jesus even said while He was upon the face of the earth that, "The Words that He brought were not His own Words but the Words of the Father." His Father was the one that gave Him all authority as we know, as is stated in Matthew 28 verse 18 where Jesus said, "All authority has been given to me both in Heaven and on earth. So we see Jesus as a man who communicated with His Father at so many different times in his life and Luke only mentions a few. He mentions one at his baptism in Luke 3 when his fame was increasing throughout Judea. In Luke 5, Jesus prayed before choosing the twelve. In Luke 6, Jesus prayed when He was with His disciples alone. In Luke 9, Jesus prayed before the transfiguration. Jesus prayed. He even taught His disciples how to pray and we all know what took place in the Garden of Gethsemene in Luke chapter 22. Jesus offered prayer to the Father during the most time of the most desperate need that He had in His life. He placed His petitions before the Father.
So we are always to pray. In the New Testament in Acts 2 verse 42, we see the early church praying. It says and this is immediately after the church began, the scripture says that, "The brethren there continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine, in the breaking of bread, in fellowship, and in prayers." So they saw the great need to pray before the Father. Then looking throughout the book of Acts and all of the epistles that are found in the New Testament, we see that all of those holy men and holy women of God made sure that they kept constant communication with the Father in Heaven. Why? Because they were soldiers of the cross. They were striving to put on the whole armor of God and they knew that they needed to keep in constant communication with their commander, that is the Father above.
And what did Paul also ask us to pray for or encourage us to pray for back in the book of Ephesians chapter 6? He said this, that "We ought to pray always with all prayer and supplication of spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance." So we ought to be watchful when we pray. Prayer helps us to be watchful. No doubt Jesus when He was giving the parable in the book of Matthew beginning there in chapter 25 verse 1 when He was giving the parable of the five wise and the five foolish virgins. The whole message of that parable is found at the end of that paragraph where it says, and as some versions say, "Jesus said, Watch and pray." For what time? For the time when Jesus will come again. In other words, be prepared. And so the warrior, in other words, the Christian soldier needs to be on his guard. He needs to be watchful, to be sober. As Peter said in 2 Peter 5 verse 8, "For thine adversary, the devil, is a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour." So endurance in prayer and prayer brings endurance. They work hand in hand. If we endure, we must pray. If we pray, it helps us to have a greater endurance as God's servants.
And we need to be steadfast in our prayer. There was a widow one time who went before a judge and Jesus gave this parable also in Luke chapter 18. She prayed or she approached the judge over and over again that he might avenge her adversaries and finally he submitted to her charge. Why? Because she was persistent in her prayer. This was the point. Jesus said, "Don't stop praying." Be persistent in your prayer. If you're having a problem with sin in your life, pray about that sin if you are a child of God. If you're having a problem in your family, pray about that problem. Be persistent. Then what will happen? God will give you the deliverance. God will give you an answer to that prayer.
Another thing that I notice in this prayer of a soldier and most soldiers demonstrate this in their very lives as they're out on the battlefield and that is unselfishness. The soldier should not be selfish. In fact, the apostle Paul said here in verse 18 that, "We as Christian soldiers should pray for all of the saints with all supplication." In other words, not just pray for ourselves, but we ought to pray for all of the saints. Paul ask even here in verses 19 and 20 of Ephesians chapter 6 that they might pray for him and "For me," he said in verse 19, "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." He was actually writing this epistle while he was in chains in a prison, and he said, "Pray for me that I might (what?) speak boldly for the cause of Christ." No doubt, some this morning have even prayed for me that I might speak boldly for the cause of Christ and I appreciate that so much.
Prayer is something that is so necessary in our lives. Do you remember what the apostle Paul said in Philippians chapter 4 verses 6 and 7? He said, "Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord."
I just really don't know of a better scripture in all of the Bible that talks about the need and the necessity of prayer for the Christian soldier to stand for God other than these two passages this morning: Ephesians chapter 6:18-20 and here in Philippians chapter 4 verses 6-7. What did he say? "But in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God." So Christian brother and sister, we have the ability through prayer to conquer Satan in this world today. I'll assure you one thing, without supplication, prayer and supplication, that is making requests to God, none of us will be able to overcome the evil one in this day and time and he so much needs to be overcome not only in our lives but in the lives of our loved ones.
I commit this lesson to your understanding today and pray that you will seek to know God's Will and to do His Will because only then can we approach God in proper prayer when we have done His Will and know that the peace of God which passes all understanding, then and only then will it give us that knowledge and ability to have a heavenly home.
(SONG # 3 - "Be Not Dismayed!")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. 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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How blessed we all are to have a God in Heaven who hears us and listens to our prayers. However, how much greater it is to know that He answers them and always does what is best according to His perfect Will!