Ephesians 6:13-17; The messenger of the gospel of peace has enemies in this world.
length: 69:09 - taught on Apr, 28 2022
Thursday April 28, 2022
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;
We saw last time that the reference to God’s armor is in Isa 52, which in the midst of the four Servant Songs leads directly into the fourth where the full suffering, sacrifice, and victory of the Servant is on display. The believer who girds himself with truth, who rests and walks in divine righteousness, joyfully brings the good news to the world. In light of the illustration in Isa 52 we saw the jubilant messenger running over the mountains with the good news in his lungs and the joy that came to both him and the destitute people who so badly needed to hear the good news.
Now, what we see, is there is an enemy lurking amongst the people to whom the messenger is sent. At the same time, more enemies from the same organization are working, covertly and overtly, to stop the messenger from making it to his destination.
When the devil uses his schemes to attack the messenger, he stands firm, knowing that people’s souls are on the line, which are far more important than his earthly reputation.
How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
Human history is not some fun little experiment that God is doing. The eternal fate of people are in the lurch. Questions surrounding God’s sovereign decision to do this are impossible to answer and so they become moot. After we pile up all the unanswerable questions, we have not slowed for a moment our date of reckoning with God, which will be either with the Lord Jesus Christ in us, or, for the case of the unbeliever, standing alone against God. Life and history are extremely important.
The gospel of peace gives us peace, but the emphasis, our feet, is on our strength in shining forth the light into a dark world.
We rejoice in our own salvation. We should not forget that joy should accompany salvation. We are also the messengers sent to tell the people what is the result of God’s work. The completed work of Christ means faith in Him or rejection of Him is the means of judgment or salvation; doom or eternal life. We are sent to them with the good news from God of their deliverance, and even if they have taken the stance of our enemy, with light, happy, and swift feet, we run over mountains in order to tell them.
We are now the happy servant / messengers who are willing to climb mountains in order to tell, even our enemies, the good news from God.
It is not hard for us to imagine what schemes Satan uses against the church and her members to prevent them from being these swift, happy, and persistent messengers of the good news. But it would do us a lot of good to consider them. The most dire need of the world is the salvation of Jesus Christ and the only vehicle for that is faith in the gospel. The gospel must resound from the roof tops.
Schemes against the messenger of the good news.
Shame from others (ROM 1:16).
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith."
Schemes against the messenger: ruin his reputation.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 7 You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ's, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ's, so also are we. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat further about our authority [apostle], which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I shall not be put to shame, 9 for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10 For they say, "His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and his speech contemptible."
Paul reveals that our weapons are not of the flesh, but spiritual. And while the Corinthians looked at things outwardly, the spiritual know that their strength is from God within. By faith, Paul courageously claims the truth, that he has an authority in his ministry that has been graciously given by God for building up and not tearing down, and he will continue to proclaim the gospel of peace with boldness, not concerning himself with the accusations that other people have hurled upon him.
Schemes against the messenger: false gospels, false Jesus.
But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. 5 For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. 6 But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.
Schemes against the messenger: physical and material intimidation.
Paul was beaten and whipped in the synagogues. He was in constant danger while traveling. He ran out of food and water. He was stranded at sea. Riots broke out against him in various towns. His new converts were threatened physically, and more dangerously, spiritually.
Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? 30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, 33 and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.