Posts tagged ‘Christian living’

Wearing the Full Armour of God!

Mat 7
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

John 14:26
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I am writing this because I thought I should exposit a little on spiritual warfare for the benefit of Christian Living. We must remember that we live in a fallen world that hates truth, and this is evident by the fact that the people of the world don’t mind it so much if you use the foulest language on them but tell them the truth about themselves and they are agitated enough to get rid of you for good. The armour of God is the battle raiment of every Christian in a world where the battle is not just against the reprobate but also against Satanic spiritual forces that has the masses in their sway. The armour of God is therefore a Biblical discipline we are given to have in righteously reclaiming the stewardship of this world from self-serving fools, who use everything that is around them including people to serve their sinful appetites. We were made in the very image of God, meaning we share in His very nature. We are obviously not omnipotent, omniscient & omnipresent but we were made to share in the very nature and character of God but after Adam sinned against God by eating the fruit of knowledge of good and evil despite being warned not to; but in doing so Adam forsook the Law of God to become a Law to himself which he passed to us all through procreation and we have all sinned in Adam because just as the Levites paid Melchizedek their tithes while still in the loins in the Abraham (Heb 7:9-10). So too, all of mankind sinned against God in the loins of Adam during the fall. For those of you who are still on spiritual milk, please note that even though am going to be quoting outside Jesus’s word in the 4 Gospels, this is still very much Jesus speaking because scripture itself says that all scripture is written under the influence of his spirit (2Timothy 3:16-17).

Ephesians 6
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Now Ephesians 6 sites the full armour of God and this is what I will be expositing. It starts with verse 13 & 14 saying that we are to stand our ground and gird our loins with the truth. If you have heard the term, he’s got balls then this is easy to understand because from the testis flows a man’s masculinity, so too when the believer girds his loins with truth, he is able to look another in the eye and speak the truth without even flinching because in learning to be unashamed of the Gospel, which is the truth concerning God, a person also learns to be unashamed of the truth concerning himself. So, while the world emasculates themselves of the truth, the Christian learns to man up and gird his loins with the truth because he draws his strength from the teachings of Christ that is in the Gospel, which is the ultimate truth.

Jeremiah 9
23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

Coming to the breastplate of righteousness, we all know a man will only puff his chest up when he is proud of some thing and so to where the breastplate of righteousness is to wear that pride of knowing God, as mentioned above in Jer 9:23-24, & reformed theology is therefore more like having 6 pack abs where knowing we are heirs in Christ of God who is sovereign, gives us the attitude that says as Paul said in Rom 8:31… If God is for us who can be against us! It is a pride backed by our very heart… not the heart of stone from the fall of Adam but the obedient heart of flesh and enjoys the exercising God’s pleasure (Ezek 36:26-27) because on this new heart God wrote His Law that we may die to being a law to ourselves and live for the Lord (Phil 1:21). This breastplate doesn’t just protect our heart, it reflects that righteous pride we have in God which we puff up as we march against self-serving unrighteous goats and the dark forces that accompany them to their destruction.

Rom 10
14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

Coming to Eph 6:15, where the believer is called to wear shoes on his feet alludes to being ready to go out and preaching the Gospel of peace as mentioned Rom 10:14-15. As believers we called to live in peace with everyone if possible (Rom 12:18), after all as adopted sons of God in Jesus we are called to be peace makers (Mat 5:9) but very often you come across people who hate you, simply because the nature of Christ you exhibit convicts these self-righteous fools as sinners, which is unbearable for them as they go about life serving their own selfish interests. Eph 6:15 therefore very much bears reference to the Great Commission mentioned in Mat 28:18-20 where we are called to bear witness for the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and the hope of Salvation that is in the Gospel while making disciples at every opportunity that presents itself from God and teaching them His commandments. I am reminded of Deut 29:5 at this time because after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years the footwear of the Israelites did not wear out, which brings Isaiah 40:31 to mind because it was God who sustained them through all the hardships they faced. So also, God will see us through all the hardships which serves to sanctify us instead of wearing us out, in our passionate labour for His Gospel. After all we are His Church, the new Israel who have overcome all by the saving power of Christ, having striven against God & men because after all, salvation is about God saving you from Himself as the wages of sin is death and it was Jesus who graciously substituted us in death by taking the wages of our sin upon Himself.

Psalm 91
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”

5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;

1John 5:4
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Coming to the shield of faith that extinguishes the flaming darts of the evil one as mentioned in Eph 6:16, we understand from Psalm 91:2 that it is our faith in God which is our refuge and fortress. It’s as 2Cor 4:8-10 says, though we are hard pressed on every side, we not crushed; though we are often perplexed, we are not in despair; though we are persecuted, we are not abandoned; because through faith we carry the death Jesus died for our sins, so that His righteousness and life may be revealed in our bodies. This how we walk in faith and not by sight (2Cor 5:7) and not even the gates of hades shall prevail against such faith (Mat 16:18), which is established on the rock that is Jesus Christ (Mat 7:24-25).

Mat 16
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Coming to the helmet of Salvation mentioned in Eph 6:17, we understand that just as a deadly blow to the head can be fatal. So also, spiritually the helmet of salvation says that even if one were to lose his life for standing by the precepts of God, so be it, though he may die in the body, he shall live with God forever and when the new heavens and new earth is created, he will receive a new body, one which is not tainted with sin. The helmet of salvation is beautifully reflected in Ps 84:10 which says that better is one day living in the courts of God than living a thousand in the tents of the wicked… because His court is symbolic of God’s presence in our lives and a particular moral discipline we are to live by in his presence. Remember, in life we have only two choices either we worship God in His righteousness as revealed to us in Christ or we suck up to people in their sin as revealed in our fallen Adamic self-righteousness.

Hebrews 4:
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

2 Timothy 3
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Come to wielding the World of God that is the Sword of the Spirit, we understand that the knowledge of God’s word is a formidable weapon because as shown to us in Hebrew 4:13, it exposes the wicked intentions of people, as Scripture is the very life breath of that gives life to His elect and condemns the reprobate. To explain this to you in a manner you would understand, I would compare the piercing discernment the believer is blessed with through his knowledge of scripture to the Eye of Sauron in Mordor in the Lord of Rings story from whom little is hidden. It’s like the sea of glass the ungodly masses of this world are compared to in Rev 15:2-4, which is mixed with fire indicating their persecution of believers. The reason these masses are called a sea of glass over whom the elect are victorious is because before the sight of God these self-righteous fools can’t hide anything. Their intentions and their sin is all laid bare before God. This power is given us in the knowledge of scripture where the believer can slice through the deceit unbelievers operate under and exposes the spiritually rotting corpses they really are deep down in their hearts and minds.

1Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

To conclude, just like martial arts encourage a combination of different blows, kicks, headbutts and throws, so as a believer matures in the Lord, he is to master the use of his heavenly armour in his life as mentioned in above in 1Timothy 6:12.

Shout out their Conviction from the Roof!

Mat 10
26 “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Have you ever heard that story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, it took a kid to tell the emperor he was parading naked! The people of this world vehemently despise those who are morally straight, it’s almost as though the righteousness of God which is revealed through the Spirit of Christ working in the believer, convicts the unbeliever of his sin and in that moment the unbeliever’s heart is either hardened (Rom 9:18) or his unbelieving heart is pierced with the weight of godly sorrow that brings him to repentance (2Cor 7:10-11). Today, Christianity for many namesake Christians is just a story but for those who really believe in the Lord Jesus, this religion is an original filled with substance. Take a look at Stephen (Acts 6:8 – 7:60), the first Christian martyr, when he was brought before the council, he spoke boldly of his faith in Jesus Christ before the pharisees and the apostate Jews, to the extent that their hearts were hardened and they took his life because God did not grant those poor fools the capacity to repent and be saved from their sins. Look at the average Christian witness today, does his life testify of the righteousness of Christ working in him, does it convict the unbeliever as Stephen did. No! To a great extent, unbelievers see namesake Christians living the same lives they are living but only believing in a different story and there is really no conviction in that. So, what is the point am driving? I am certainly not implying that the true Christian must be on a suicide mission. This is not Islam, where you can excuse yourself from the hardship of life by blowing yourself up in the midst of non-Muslims and fool yourself into thinking this is your straight ticket to heaven because that’s more like going from the frying pan into the fire.

Mark 1
14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

“Until Sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” Thomas Watson

If we are living by what is right in God’s sight then we are walking by faith and not by sight, knowing that the righteousness of Christ we are called to exercise in this world, will be met by hostility, but our lives and theirs, is in God’s hand and they shall be able to nothing to us, until and unless God decrees that we suffer martyrdom for His namesake. After all, if Christ could suffer and die at the hand of sinners what right do we have to consider ourselves as more privileged to lead a Godly life without paying a dear price, which even if it be we lose our lives, it is nothing compared to what Jesus endured. Think about this, God’s wrath was not satisfied when He destroyed all of mankind in the days of Noah but His wrath was satisfied when He poured out the wages of all sin upon His Son Jesus Christ, who suffered the humiliation of this world leading up to death on the cross and then 3 days in hell. Look at us, we have a rough week at work and an anxiety filled weekend and we start grumbling against God. What we are going through for the sake of Christ is nothing compared to what Jesus went through, He was born in the stable because there was no room in the inn, Joseph and Mary had to flee to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill Him when He was a child, in the wilderness in His weak state (from His 40 days of fasting) he was tempted by Satan, during his ministry the pharisees in their inability to deal with their own guilt claimed He performed miracles by the power of the leader of demons, the foxes have their holes and birds have their nest but my Lord Jesus had no place to lie down, then His own disciple Judas betrayed Him and He was slandered, whipped, scourged and put to death on the cross among two thieves and then after He died He went to hell for three days. So, if the Captain of our Salvation could go through all this why should we surprised when affliction visits us as the means of perfecting our faith in Jesus Christ and proving our religion as genuine.

John 16 (Jesus Speaking About the Holy Spirit)
8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

The world garnishes their sinfulness with hypocrisy, it’s like the unbeliever sins against his neighbour in the full view and knowledge of his neighbour, so as to subdue & assert his godless authority over his neighbour, which is in keeping with the ungodly leadership this world resorts to, in controlling their environment through tyrannical/unholy fear (Mat 20:25). However, if you have the courage to confront them with what is clearly evident, they will be taken aback because somehow it seems they have no problem with sinning against God and their neighbour but tell them about it, and God will either harden their hearts to hate you or God will take away their hearts of stone and give them a heart of flesh to obey His Law (Ezek 11:19). So what God reveals to you in your quite reflection of scripture, it is good to hide in your heart & keep your peace (Ps 119:11), till you confront your neighbour in the light of that knowledge at an opportune time as guided by the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:2). Remember, the world’s people are neither your standard nor your audience, whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord (Col 3:23-24). When God is your audience and standard, your hands and tongues will not be tied to speak out against the sinfulness that plagues the whole world, instead you will be shouting out their judgement from every rooftop for the Glory of God alone.

Yes, this is all possible when you are in Christ (Mark 3:27).

What we as His Church should learn from the bombings in Pakistan!

Exodus 1
5 All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. 6 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. 7 But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.

In our calling to be Christlike we ought to remember that as much as Jesus is the Lamb of God, He is the Lion of Judah. When I look at the bomb blasts in the two Churches in Lahore – Pakistan, it seems that these Christians are calling for the world to sympathise with their circumstances but as such if a Church (body of believers) is truly from God then the world would hate that Church for bearing the righteousness of God, as over supporting and empathising with it.

John 15
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

Today the circumstances are such that if we eliminate one threat of terror, many more arise, which is as though these favour God’s justice upon a world which has turned slothful in its faith in Christ. Take a look at the record of Exodus 1:5-12 and you will know that such multiplication of people is given by God, to meet His purpose (Prov16:4). Now we can either glorify God’s grace and mercy through genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn14:1) or we can glorify God’s justice and wrath from heretic notions concerning God, which never defined true Christianity.

What Christians mostly perceive about God today is nothing but heresy, which for most part is because these do not know their Bibles from cover to cover. The plight of the Christian Church is such that if Christians were to go through the list of predefined heresies, they would realise that they do ascribe to some of them concerning what Christianity teaches, when in truth Christianity teaches none of these. Such is the spiritual sloth the Church is dealing with today. The truth is people are not bored about God, they are merely fed-up with the same old repetitive lies they fabricate concerning God. After all unlike the truth, lies cannot be enjoyed like they were an original.

Concerning the two blast in Lahore, which targeted Christians on Easter (Resurrection Sunday), I am sceptical about how many from these masses who were targeted, were living their lives for Jesus Christ as over merely living for themselves. In most cases of Christian heresy I have observed that these so called Christians are spineless and compromise their Christian lifestyle from unholy fear of godless fools. Yes, I know of Pakistan’s blasphemy law and it reminds me of how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego defied the State in its apostasy by refusing to pay homage in any form to the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan3:1-18), which was initiated by political mischief.

For most part people are ashamed of the Gospel only because they are ashamed of the truth. It’s true that it takes an individual a whole lot of courage to speak out against the masses who err with great passion. Some of the famous passive thought trains among humanists are:
· if you can’t beat them, join them
· when in Rome, do as the Romans do

This is merely because people comprise on the reverence for God out of fear of the people. It happens even here in India that Christians receive/eat the sweets offered to Idols out of fear of the people but such fear estimates that these people are the ever present standard to these Christians as over God, whose good pleasure is set aside because these Christians fear the people as over fearing God.

Rom 13
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behaviour, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

To conclude, if the Christians in Pakistan start living out their Christianity as over cowering under the lies of Islam, while still trying to appease people around them, then they shall inherit the blessing of Ex1:12 by grace as over being made subject of God’s justice. The Christian code is a moral code and though the Pakistani government may ascribe to Islam, its function is to maintain Law and Order in the country, which is impossible under Islam because Islam lacks the idea of what defines a society, while its teachings promote anarchy and disestablishment of a nation. So if Christians were to exercise their faith in their nation, Pakistan will not only become more tolerant to the Gospel but would also flourish as a nation.

Ezek 36 (God’s promise to His elect)
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.

The Right Pride

“Pride” in today’s world is misunderstood. The Bible however does bring clarity into this topic as it does completely (1Cor 4:6) with everything else. Many godly people resent the very word “pride” but frankly zero pride only means zero respect. Let us take a look into a few scriptures that show us the type of pride that God resents.

Psalms 10:4
The wicked do not care about the LORD; in their pride they think that God doesn’t matter.

Isaiah 13:19
Babylonia is the most beautiful kingdom of all; it is the pride of its people. But I, the LORD, will overthrow Babylon as I did Sodom and Gomorrah!

Jeremiah 50:29
“Tell the archers to attack Babylon. Send out everyone who knows how to use the bow and arrow. Surround the city and don’t let anyone escape. Pay it back for all it has done, and treat it as it has treated others, because it acted with pride against me, the Holy One of Israel.

Obadiah 1:2-4
The LORD says to Edom, “I will make you weak; everyone will despise you.
Your pride has deceived you. Your capital is a fortress of solid rock; your home is high in the mountains, and so you say to yourself, ‘Who can ever pull me down?’
Even though you make your home as high as an eagle’s nest, so that it seems to be among the stars, yet I will pull you down

Do you notice here that the pride that God despises is the pride a man takes in himself and the work of his own hands? This was the very reason for which that mighty angel (Satan) was condemned (1Timothy 3:6).

So what do you think? Should the people of God totally do away with pride? I don’t think so because the Bible says so. Tell me, would you have cough syrup anytime other than when you have a cough? If you did, that would be a perversion of the medicine’s purpose to suit you for whatever reason….mostly probably to get high but we see so much of that in the world today. Another instance of such a case can be seen in the beggars of my city, who actually hire doctors to amputate their healthy limbs or have their eyes scooped out, so that their pitiful state will get them more money; which here is clearly a perversion of charity. The funny thing is what the world considers a new trick to pervert the ways of God is not new at all (Jeremiah 4:22). After all how far can a man go when everything he does centers around himself?

Habakkuk 1:7
They spread fear and terror, and in their pride they are a law to themselves.

Coming back to the topic of pride, if you say pride is to be fully rejected in view of God and his Law then I would like to ask you: Is it wrong for a father to be proud of his son (Proverbs 23:24)? Or is it wrong for a spouse to be proud of their faithful partner (Proverbs 12:4)? Are you now beginning to see the right application of pride and not the perversion of it?

There is a difference between being puffed with conceit and being filled with godly pride but here is the punch line: The best use to which a person can put their boasting is taking pride in knowing and exalting God. Allow me support my statement with scripture.

Jeremiah 9:23-24
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,
but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

Have you be ever been blessed with this kind of righteous pride? Let me tell you then that this blessing is a gift from God this is not the work of your own head and heart. For Jesus says that only His people hear his voice (John 10:27) and only they will confess Him before men (Mat 10:32) i.e. take pride in Him. At the end of it all: man should exalt only God and be humble concerning everything else, including himself.

Isaiah 2:17
Human pride will be ended, and human arrogance will be destroyed. Idols will completely disappear, and the LORD alone will be exalted on that day.

To conclude I would like to quote what the greatest man of God (Luke 7:28): “John the Baptist” said about Jesus Christ in John 3.

John 3:27-30
John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
He must increase, but I must decrease.”

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