Armed and Dangerous Part 2
10 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.
There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror, for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest… perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize?
The King chose the second picture. “Because,” explained the King, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.” This is the type of peace that Paul refers to in Ephesians when he talks about the Gospel of peace. Let’s go to work.
Ephesians 6:15 talks about fitting our feet with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace, the third piece of armor. According to Jack Zavada, Terrain was rocky in the ancient world, requiring sturdy, protective footwear. On a battlefield or near a fort, the enemy might scatter barbed spikes or sharp stones to slow an army down. In the same way, Satan scatters traps for us as we’re trying to spread the gospel. Remember Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The Gospel of Peace is our protection, reminding us that it is by grace that souls are saved. We can sidestep Satan’s obstacles when we remember, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV) Fitting our feet with the readiness of the Gospel of Peace is described in 1 Peter 3:15 like this: “… 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…” (NIV) Sharing the gospel of salvation ultimately brings peace between God and men (Romans 5:1). So while you go out to spread the good news Satan is going to throw obstacles in your way, but remember that no weapon formed against you shall prosper.
The weapon will be formed.
The enemy will attack.
The bills will keep coming.
The pressure will continue to rise.
You will lose loved ones.
We will have to battle disease.
We will have heart ache.
But the weapon will not prosper because we are more than
conquerors through Christ who loves us. You have to fit you feet
with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. And these three things will happen.
Peace focuses us. When you have peace you can focus on what really matters because you are not worried about stuff that really does not matter or stuff you have no control over. Think of all the time you waste on things that do not matter or things you have no control over.
Why are y’all getting quiet on me…
Nobody in here wastes time worrying about their favorite sports team.
Or who got voted off of dancing with the stars or big brother.
Why he or she got the promotion over you?
Why the next door neighbors left their garage door open?
What’s going on in Mr. and Mrs. Jones’ marriage?
Not that you’re concerned, you’re just being nosy.
Or why did pastor give them the leadership position?
Peace focuses us so we do not have to worry about stuff that does not matter. And when we are focused there isn’t much that we cannot accomplish.
David defeated Goliath because he was focused on God.
The Israelites defeated Jericho because they were focused on the lord.
Peter was able to walk on water when he was focused on Jesus. But the minute he started to worry about the wind, and the waves he began to sink.
Jesus was focused on the cross, and what he came to do. That is why he was able to say, Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
Peace focuses us.
We can focus on our faith.
We can focus on our family.
We can focus on our future.
Peace focuses us. Peace fulfills us. When we have the peace of God we have everything we need. That is why Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13, 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. I believe this strength comes from the peace of God. Is anyone in the room fulfilled by the peace of God. The peace of God fulfills us!
Peace fulfills us emotionally.
Peace fulfills us physically.
Peace fulfills us spiritually.
Most people that are not fulfilled because they do not have peace. When you do not have peace your mind is never at ease. You are always worrying about this or that.
You are always wondering about that or this.
But when you truly have the peace of God, you will be fulfilled not matter what your circumstance or your situation is.
Peace focuses us. Peace fulfills us. Peace fascinates us and others. Paul also says in Philippians 4:7, And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The simple fact that you, that I, that we made it through what we made it through is nothing but proof that the peace of God transcends our understanding.
Think about that for a moment.
In the midst of the storm you had peace.
In the midst of the divorce.
In the midst of unemployment.
In the midst of a pandemic.
In the midst of folks storming the capital building.
In the midst of social injustice.
In the midst of racial discrimination.
In the midst of chemo.
In the midst of dialysis.
In the midst of bereavement.
You had peace, and that peace fascinates us.
Peace fascinates our intellect.
Peace fascinated our imagination.
Peace fascinates interests.
Has anyone in the room been fascinated by the peace of God?
Let me share this story with you that I found on FB.
There was a survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and everyday he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself, and to store his few possessions. Then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling all the way to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger. God how could you do this to me! He Cried! Early the next morning he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island to rescue him. He asked, how did you know I was hear? Asked the weary man of his rescuers. We saw your smoke signal they replied. It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn’t lose heart because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. This is the time that we should have peace because God is always working behind the scenes. Remember the next time your little hut is burning to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.
So don’t worry about the cancer it’s just a smoke signal.
Don’t worry about being unemployed.
Don’t worry about the argument.
Don’t worry about the court case.
Don’t worry about the friction in the friendship.
It’s just a smoke signal.
And, After all the hell you went through you should have lost your mind, but God.
After the blow you just took you should be off your rocker, but God.
After the storm you just went through you should be going crazy, but God.
After the abuse you suffered you should have been committed to a psychiatric institution, but God.
After all the drama you endured you thought about committing suicide, but God.
And you look in the mirror wondering how in the world did you make it. People all around you are wondering how in the world are you standing and you know that it is the peace of God that passes all understanding. And you can give the Lord a but God praise because you know that if it had not been for the lord on your side you would have gave up a long time ago.
You would have thrown in the towel.
You would have packed your bags and bounced.
You would have taken you ball and went home.
You would have gone postal.
But the peace of God.
Greater is He that is in me than that is in the world.
I’m sorry but I need y’all to give a but God praise.
I was down to my last dime, but God.
I was given an unfavorable diagnosis, but God.
I lost my job, but God.
I almost lost my life, but God.
My marriage was or is on the rocks, but God.
My children were out of control, but God.
My life was on a downward spiral, but God.
I did not know how I was going to make it, but God.
Give the king of kings and the lord of lords a but God praise!
Let’s get armed so that we can be dangerous.
Armed with the belt of truth.
Armed with the breastplate of righteousness.
Armed with the gospel of peace, and give God praise!
If you don’t praise him the rocks will cry out. And I don’t know about you but God has been too good to me to let a rock cry out in my place. That is why the Psalmist said let everything that has breath praise the lord. So inhale, now exhale, you just qualified yourself to praise.
You just passed the test.
Your audition went well.
In other words, if you are breathing you should be praising.
From the rising of the son to the going down of the same the name of Jesus is worthy to be praised.