Summary: This continues our look into what it means to put on the Armour of God
How many guys had GI Joes when you were kids? They weren’t dolls they were action figures. Ken was a doll, and GI Joe was cooler and had cooler stuff. I was an army brat so the only GI Joe I had was the army one, but a friend of mine had all four, and he had all the equipment that went with them, jeeps and guns, belts and packs and holsters, it was so cool.
It there had of been action figures 2000 years ago I bet that the Roman Solider one would have been a big hit. He would have come with armour, and a helmet, a sword and shield and you would be able to get accessories like chariots and Christians to feed to the lions.
We started this series two weeks ago when we looked at an overview of the entire passage. Paul had been arrested for preaching the Gospel and as a Roman citizen he appeals his arrest to Caesar and has ended up under house arrest in Rome. He uses his time to write letters of encouragement and correction to the various churches that he has helped to start across Asia and Europe. One of those letters was the Letter to the Ephesians and in this section Paul focuses on what he perceives to be a critical area.
In our first week we focused on how We Need to understand There is a Battle, Sometimes in 2015 we find the entire concept of a spiritual battle something that we might read about in a Stephen King novel but Paul wanted us to know that it is real We Need to Know Who The Enemy Isn’t, The enemy isn’t other believers or even those who say they don’t believe, they are distractions who we don’t focus on who the enemy really is and that was the next point We Need to Know Who The Enemy Is, The enemy is the one who wants our souls and that is Satan, the Devil. And then I spoke about how We Need to Dress for Battle and finally We Need to Remember Our Secret Weapon, which of course is prayer. And while we were on the fourth point I said that we would come back and revisit it, and last week we came back and started to look at what it meant to dress for battle.
Now understand Paul wasn’t teaching a lesson on Roman armour, it was just a convenient illustrative device. 2000 years ago everyone knew what Roman armour looked like Paul wouldn’t have had to explain what it meant to gird your loins, or what Roman breastplate looked like or a Roman helmet. People just got it. But 2000 years later while we might know that the guy with Sajonna is a Roman soldier we’ve probably never thought all that much about what he was wearing. And here it is for those who asked for it, the only picture of a Roman Soldier wearing pants, yep that’s the Duke.
So last week I told you that It’s Not Some, it’s All, You can’t simply pick and choose which parts of the armour you want to wear and what parts you’d rather leave behind and you need to Stand Your Ground, each Roman soldier was given a spot in the formation and his sole responsibility was to defend that position. As Christians the primary spiritual battles that we will fight will be personal ones, what we believe and how we behave.
And so the first thing that Paul tells us is essential is we need to Put on the Belt of Truth. And it really doesn’t matter if we use the newer translations which talk about the belt of truth or the older translations that remind us to girt our loins with truth, the main thing is Truth. And that is the understanding and acceptance of Jesus’ words in John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
There are moral truths that are unchanging, regardless of what society says, regardless of what popular opinion says and regardless of what the Supreme Court says. And that is why Jesus told us in John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
So once we have established the truth we are told Ephesians 6:14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness. Put on the Body Armour of God’s Righteousness In some translations it simply says righteousness, and because of that some folks feel that Paul is taking about how we act and how we live. That we cover ourselves in our righteous behaviour.