“Battle Ready, Putting on the Belt of Truth” Eph 6:13,14a
We have spent the last few weeks becoming “Battle ready” and we have seen a number of reasons why we need to be ready for the ambush of the enemy.
Today we have finally made it to the point where we begin to apply the necessary gear of the warrior of God.
Look at verse 13: Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God. Why? So that we may withstand, or survive, the evil day.
Well what is the evil day?
1. Paul says the evil day is right now. [Eph 5:15-16 NKJV] “15 See then that you walk circumspectly, [Carefully] not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
2. It can refer to trials and temptations that arise at any given moment, during the day. In order to be God’s warriors, equipped for battle we must be ready at a moment’s notice for anything the enemy throws at us.
3. It can also refer to unusual temptation and trials, those special circumstances that the enemy uses to knock us off our feet.
Paul tells us to “withstand” but unless we are battle ready we will not be able to resist any attack of the enemy.
Last week we said that if our hearts are not prepared the armor will not do us a bit of good.
Today I want to begin looking at the armor of God’s warriors…what it is, how we apply it and what it does to protect us.
Remember that Paul is in prison. Being surrounded by soldier’s 24/7 he is able to study their armor, up close. As he studies, he begins to understand a great deal about the Roman soldier’s battle gear and how it protect them in times of war. He then begins to put a picture together, in his mind of the armor the Christian soldier needs in order to face the evil that surrounds each of us.
The very first piece of armor that he tells us to put on is probably the most important piece. None of the other armor will help much at all if this first piece is not properly installed.
1. We are to put on the Belt of Truth: verse 14a
The belt of a Roman soldier was not like the belt you may have on today, which keeps your pants firmly in place. It had a number of practical purposes.
a. Paul sees the practical military Purpose of the belt.
The belt was a very important piece to the Roman Soldier's armor. The belt was the first piece of armor the soldier would put on. It was used to keep the clothing close to the body, so nothing would be flapping around.
When we run power tools, such as saws, we are told not to wear loose fitting clothes. Why do you think that is? Do you remember when I came to church with my face all bruised and busted up, because I was wearing a loose fitting T-shirt that got caught in the wire brush of my drill? That drill cracked my eye socket, busted my face up pretty bad and now my nose is a little odd…
Not only does the warrior’s belt keep everything in place, it was also used to strengthen the body as well. You might compare it to the weight lifters belt.
There may have been a loop, or hooks for holding the dagger and one for his sword. Other loops held ropes and a way for him to rest his shield. The belt covered the abdomen and protected the soldier’s vital organs against the sharp edge of the enemy’s blade. The belt was tied in several places to stay in place, so that no matter how the soldier moved his belt was always in place. If the belt were not on straight, then everything would be out of place and the soldier would be in danger of losing his life.
The belt was the first thing the soldier put on and many of his weapons and his own protection depended on the belt…So what about the “Belt of Truth”?
If the belt of truth is not in its proper place we, as believers, have no foundation on which to base our warfare with the enemy. Just as the belt held things in place and kept things where they needed to be. The belt of truth does the same for us.
I want to look at two things this morning. First, what the belt of truth is and second, what it does.
1. What is truth? Would you believe me if I said that truth is a who?
a. Truth is Christ Himself.
If we are to be battle ready warriors, we must FIRST of all put on Jesus Christ!
Unless He is the One who is calling the shots we will never win the battle.
[John 1:14 NIV] “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
[John 14:6 NIV] “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
b. Truth is the Word of God.
Every believer is to “put on” the Word of God. That means we are to be sanctified [consecrated, purified or made holy] by the Word of God.
Flip back to John 17, for a moment and read with me verses 14-17.
In Ephesians 5, Paul gives some instructions to husbands about loving their wives AS
[JUST LIKE] Christ loved the church… [Eph 5:26-27 NKJV] “26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
c. Truth is speaking and living, like Jesus.
[Eph 4:25 NKJV] “Therefore, putting away lying, "[Let] each one [of you] speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another.”
Grandma Bessie used to say that the truth hurts BUT the truth is welcome in heaven…
[1Pe 1:22 NKJV] “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,”
[Mal 2:6 NKJV] “The law of truth was in his mouth, And injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, And turned many away from iniquity.”
So that’s what truth IS. Now let’s see:
2. What truth does.
a. Truth, when properly applied, keeps the believer from flapping around, loosely connected to the body.
[Eph 4:14-15 NKJV] “14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ…”
b. Truth keeps the believer from becoming entangled with the affairs of this world.
[2Ti 2:3-4 NKJV] “3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of [this] life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
c. Truth supports [HELPS] the believer in every battle and every trial of life.
[Heb 2:17-18 NIV] “17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
[Heb 4:15-16 NIV] “15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”