Let’s get right into it today!
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
The Roman soldier had shoes that were made stronger and built for warfare.
– The sole was double the thickness of the normal sandal to protect from hot sand and sharp rocks
– they had nails drive through the bottom for better traction and to help them always advance, you don’t win battles by retreating, these types of shoes kept him from slipping or sliding.
– When on duty, a soldier never took his sandals off, even when they slept they were always prepared for battle because their shoes were on!
Paul saw all of this and so he wrote “shoes of readiness that comes with the Gospel of peace.
We get into most trouble in our relationships when we are weary, worn out, stressed, on our last nerve, in other words when we are not prepared to handle everything coming our way.
We need to be prepared with all of our relationships to respond God’s way! We need to be ready to take some ground.
Often someone will say something to us that is just not right, they are missing the point or have miss interpreted something we or someone else has said, or worse something the Bible says and we let it go.
If we really love someone we can’t allow gossip, slander, misunderstandings or any such thing live in our relationships so what do we do to prepare with peace?
Any relationship that is alive will encounter tension it is the nature of living relationships but if we want the relationships to grow deeper we must be willing to speak the right words into a person’s life at the right time
Bring the truth
Act in faith
Be prepared to answer
If we are going to take ground and advance rather than stagnate or fall backward we have to not allow little things to hurt our relationships
2 Timothy 4:2
“Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”
In order to advance some relationships we have to put things at risk
There are times when something is said that sets a person so far away from being Christ-like that we need to “rebuke” them
Rebuke – is often a harsh warning to someone that they are headed in the wrong direction, or they are simply out of line. As a Christian it is still spoken out of love and concern for the individual but is direct, to the point because the person is in some kind of danger whether it be spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical.
Correction– is similar to a rebuke in that it is a word of correction spoken directly to protect someone but it is followed up with a plan of action that the person speaking the corrective word is willing to help with. Often it is not enough to simply correct someone because many times they are not aware of how to not create the problem so they need someone to lovingly come along side and lead them to the right course.
Encouragement – Every word of rebuke or correction should be followed up with encouragement. Just because someone is doing a bad thing or failing in some way does not mean they are all bad. Encouragement is not simply cheerleading but is coming along side someone for comfort and support. It is something we simply do not do enough of we are either too busy, too insecure, or just don’t think about it but everyone welcomes and is in need of some encouragement.
As I said a couple of weeks ago, truth is our core and to readily advance and walk in peace we must be ready in these three areas to speak truth, lovingly and with mercy.
Next in order to take some ground we must in all readiness, live out our faith before others.
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
Bringing peace means showing the way, we must always be ready to show our faith to our family.
We can’t see someone in genuine need and not do something about it. I say genuine need because we live in a culture of entitlement and there are some that believe they should be always taken care of but God has called them to work.
Our love must be seen not only in words but in action if we want our relationship to grow and mature we need to as the adage says “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”
Take some ground by bringing peace not in word only but in action, that proves the love you espouse.
To bring peace and take ground away from the enemy we need to be prepared to answer the attacks, lies, and misunderstandings of the broken, hurting, angry, and confused as well as the babies, and those that are simply different from you.
1 Peter 3:15b
…always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
I know we want to believe everyone thinks like us, understands us, and looks at the world through the same prism but that is not true.
Our “frames of reference” influence the way we think, act, and react.
We need to know what we believe, why we believe it and be saturated by the presence of God. Our readiness can help bring and keep peace if we know what we believe.
Part of our defense is simply being able to explain to others what we believe the Bible has to say about certain things
I would encourage you as the quote from Rupertus Meldenius states
“In the essentials unity, in the non-essentials liberty, and in all things love”
That is the prepared love we are to walk in, that brings peace but these verses also make a stricter accounting
Both inside and outside of the church we need to have a firm grasp of what we believe, not based on opinion, nor culture but on the word of God
What does God’s word say about?
Foods that we eat
Medicine we take
Treating your spouse
Treating your enemies
Work, work ethic
Aliens (people from outside of our country, not out of this world)
Wealth, how to handle money
Talking to the dead
Basically, any subject that can be brought up today the Bible has an answer and talks about it in at least general terms.
We will be questioned both intensely and inquisitively once people know what we believe.
We also know from this past election that there are people who love Jesus just as much as we do that have differing opinions. Some are anti-biblical and need correcting, but only if we truly know what we believe and why and some are simply points of liberty that we must agree to disagree.
It is always a blessing to love someone enough to allow them to be heard, it helps us to understand people of differing opinions if we allow them to be heard!
We can take ground and bring peace in our relationships if we love enough to
– Speak words or correction, rebuke, and encouragement, in love
– Live out our beliefs, love and truth in a way that everyone can see them and it helps them to live in peace
– We must know what we believe so well that we can easily defend it
If we do these things we will be ready and able to bring and keep peace in our relationships in the church and outside of the church.
If you don’t have peace because of some situation in your life come and allow someone to pray with you.
If you are having some issue with someone in your life please come let us pray for you and believe the Lord to lead you into peace!
Let’s take some ground this morning