Summary: There are a lot of nice things about Christianity, but they mean nothing if the good news of Jesus Christ is not true. The Christian life begins by finding out for yourself that the gospel is true.
Last summer Kathy and I took our son, Justin, to Washington, D.C. One of our stops was a tour of the FBI building. We saw the crime lab, the shooting practice range, pictures of the top ten most wanted criminals and all that. But all the time I was dying to ask if we could see Fox Mulder's office. I knew right where it was, down in the basement. But I didn't have the nerve to ask our guide. He seemed to have trouble adjusting to the flexibility required when even when one person threw off his routine by needing a bathroom stop. And I'm sure we would just get a cover up anyway. He'd tell us that there's no such project as the X-files. We'd get the cover-up, the party line, right?
But I know what we would have seen if we went there. There is a poster on Mulder's wall that says, "The truth is out there." The show, X-Files, expresses some of the modern longing for truth, something to base our lives on. The world seems so twisted and confusing, but there has to be an explanation somewhere. Especially the younger generation has been lied to again and again by government, by corporations. How many respected public figures have fallen in scandals in the last 25 years?
And so it is easy to feel like the truth is very hard to find, like you can't trust anything or anyone. And yet there's this deep down hope that there is truth somewhere, something we can trust. And so we follow Fox Mulder and he hangs in there, just determined to cut through all the layers of deception, and find the truth, the answers for some of the most formative events of his life.
The Bible recognizes that we live in a confusing, distorted world. In our text for this morning, the Apostle Paul describes our world as being like a battlefield, a chaotic and often dangerous place to be. But he also gives us hope. Because God provides the armor that will allow us to stand firm even in the midst of the battle.
Our text for this morning is Ephesians 6:10 17 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
Wouldn't it be great if we could just wade into the chaos of our world, safe and secure, confident that the battle won't hurt us? Like we were driving through a battle zone in a super armored car that no one could penetrate? That's something of what Paul is talking about here. And God has provided the armor that will make it possible for us to stand strong through the hardships of our world. In the next few weeks I'm going to look at one piece of that armor each week. As we go through them, I encourage you to make a real effort to make sure that you are taking advantage of the armor God offers.
The first piece of armor is the belt of truth. A Roman infantry soldier would certainly wear a belt. It would be one of the first pieces of armor he would wear. It sort of held some of the others together. The sword would hang from the belt. The breastplate would be tied to the belt so it wouldn't bounce around. So it started with the belt.
And Paul picks the belt to represent truth. That has to be in place first. No matter how comforting Christianity might sound to us, or practical for daily life, or useful for instilling values in the children, if it's not true, we're wasting our time. If it's not true, I don't want it. That's time to move on, to continue the search. My heart tells me the truth is out there somewhere. And I want something real.