Giving in Worship

In the last three weeks we have looked at the Word and prayer as it relates to spiritual warfare. 2 Corinthians 10:4 KJV “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;” Ephesians tells us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood but with principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness. Part of our warfare is worship and giving. Many times we have a tendency to separate these two things, yet Scripture says God loves a cheerful or worshipful giver. In the Jewish culture, giving was a very intentional part of worship.

The Church also sees giving as worship but in many cases giving has been removed as a part of actual worship, through online giving, boxes in the back and other things, I think we have lost a worshipful expression in giving. Look at Malachi 3:11 KJV “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake…” When we give, God Himself does battle on our behalf. This is a key element of our warfare.

Worship defined in the Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary is extreme submission. Yes, worship is singing, clapping, raising our hands, etc. it is also giving and much more. James 4:7-8 KJV ” submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Part of our warfare is submitting to God. We cannot resist the devil if we are not first submitted to God. Part of that submission, our worship to God is found in Malachi chapter 3:8-11 KJV “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Before we break this down, notice it is tithes and offerings. When we give our tithe so that the house of God is taken care of but it is our offerings that open the windows of heaven and get the devour rebuked. many of us have wondered why we give but are not prospering, the key of prosperity is not found in the tithe but the offering. Each of us will walk in a level of blessing when we tithe, giving offerings take us to another level.

The Lord works with each of us where we are at; if you’ve never tithed to your church, start there. If you’ve tithed but have never consistently given offerings, begin to give. If your church has a missions program, begin giving to it. If a particular ministry is a blessing to you, sow into them. If your city has a food bank, take some can goods. Giving is not always money. We can give of our time, our talents and monetarily. Giving, true giving from the heart and not out of compulsion is joyful, we will enjoy giving if it’s in our hearts to do so. When we give out of guilt or pressure there will be no harvest that comes from that. If we are giving with no joy but only to receive, there will not be anything coming back to us.

Worship and giving are weapons in our warfare but in order for them to be effective we must use them properly and that means worshiping and giving with a right heart. Let’s take a moment today and examine our motives in giving and in our worship. Let’s look at the regularity of our worship, is it a church thing or a daily thing? Is our giving regular, are we praying about what and where to give? are we doing both of these things with joy in our hearts?

Prayers That Produce Results

The last couple of weeks I have been praying/telling allergies to leave me and I have continued to deal with them. This morning the Holy Spirit said, the reason you are still dealing with these allergies is because you address them once a day and you are not in the Word concerning your healing. Needless to say, I paused after hearing this and the verse from James, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much came to mind. I wondered what the words effectual and fervent really meant so I a grabbed my concordance to look them up.

The word effectual is Strong’s #154 and means to be active, efficient, to be mighty, and to show forth self. The word fervent is Strong’s #2205/2204 to be hot. It wasn’t heard to see that my believing for allergies to be gone was not falling into this category. I share this story because it is easy for our prayers to become routine and to actually lack any faith being behind the words we are speaking. To be active and efficient in prayer means not to give up, to constantly speak the Word over a situation. To show forth yourself is to continue believing and speaking no matter what things may look like.

Prayer is a spiritual weapon that many of us don’t use. many are familiar with the armor of God in Ephesians chapter six but many times we stop with the sword of the Spirit but Ephesians 6:18 KJV says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” The heading in my Old Scofield says, “The warrior’s resource”. Prayer is a resource in our life. The Amplified Bible says praying with all types of prayers. There are different levels of prayer and different ways to pray. We shouldn’t pray the same way over our food as we wood someone believing for healing of an incurable disease. We don’t use the same Scriptures believing for finances as we do family. The verse also says praying in the Spirit. Many of us don’t use the gift of praying in tongues as we should.

So how do we keep from having a mundane prayer life? One thing I suggest is having a designated time of prayer that is separate from your morning prayer time which for most is during your ride to work and that is great. Along with that we need a time set aside for deeper and more concentrated prayer. I’m not saying you have to start off with an hour start with thirty minutes, which is split with fifteen minutes; five spent in worship, five spent in reading a couple verses and five praying. Pretty soon your fifteen minutes will become thirty, becomes forty-five, becomes an hour.

The reason I suggest worship and reading as part of our prayer time is because worship slows us down and gets our minds set on God. Reading a few verses refreshes our minds and puts us in a place of faith which lends to more faith filled praying.

I know I have caught myself even when I have put specific time aside when I pray that at times I will ramble and not know the direction I need to be going. It helps to focus our prayers by having Scriptures that pertain to that area so we can pray the Bible. James says we can pray amiss, when we are basing our prayers from the Scripture it guards against that as well as helps provide direction in our prayers.

I want to close out this post by talking about a form of prayer that is not utilized among many of us as believers. Jude 20 KJV “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost”.

Praying in tongues and speaking in tongues are two totally different things. Speaking in tongues requires an interpretation and is meant as edification and instruction for the church. Praying in tongues is personal, private and builds up our own faith. When we pray in the Spirit we are causing the Word in us to be built up and come alive.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation not knowing what to pray or how to pray? Romans 8:26-27 in the Amplified Classic has the answer, “So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer, nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings  too deep for utterance. 27 And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.”

For us, prayer should never become mundane, boring or “routine”. Our prayer lives should always be fresh, praying in the Spirit helps keep a freshness to our prayer lives. As the Holy Spirit reminded me today, there has to be faith behind prayer. My prayer for healing of allergies was just words, I didn’t have my eyes on the Word, I wasn’t feeding on healing Scriptures. As Brother Jesse Duplantis says, “faith doesn’t store up, once you use it for a situation, you have to get back in the Word and get more.” Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by God’s Word. In order to have a producing prayer life we must have faith and there is great faith, little faith and no faith. To have great faith we must be in the Word.

This all sounds so simple because God made it so, it’s just at times we forget the simplicity. Let’s be reminded of basing our prayer on the Word, being in the Word so the Word can come out of us and produce prayers that see answers.

 

Resources to develop your prayer life:

Prayers that Avail Much by Germaine Copeland

The Power of Your Words by E. W. Kenyon and Don Gossett

Putting The Word to Work

Last week we talked about how the Word will work for us in any situation and how it is important that it is a revelation in our own hearts and minds and not just something we heard from someone else or read in a book. I enjoy listening to good Bible teaching and reading books but unless I am in reading and studying the Word for myself, taking what I learn from others and studying it out it hasn’t become revelation it’s just information and it’s revelation not information that leads to transformation.

Ephesians 1:17-18 KJV says, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”

Let’s break this down. The spirit of wisdom and revelation – In the knowledge of Him.

Why? That the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened.

For? That we know the hope of our calling and our inheritance.

This is a snapshot of the Christian life. We grow in wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus who is the word of God (John 1:1, 14; Revelation 19:13) and in knowing the Word and applying it in and to how we live we can know our calling, fulfill our destiny and have an inheritance now and in eternity.

The Greek word for revelation in this verse means an uncovering, a manifestation, a coming to light. As we read and study there needs to be an uncovering of truth that produces light in our lives that causes transformation which leads to the manifestation of the goodness of God in every area of our lives.  Many believers though can have a hard time knowing where to start, what to do and how to apply what they read. This is the reason why so many of us at times have tried to copy our favorite teachers and wonder why it doesn’t work. Copying what someone else did does not necessarily mean we have a revelation of what we’re doing, we could be doing something without understanding the why behind it.

The Apostle Paul commended a particular church group for studying out what he taught. Paul would come in and preach but in turn the congregation would review their notes, study and apply the teaching to their lives. We can be great note takers but unless we’re reviewing our notes and studying them out during the week it does us no good. Today I want to help us put the Word to work in our lives by talking about how to read, study, confess and pray the Word of God. I also want to end with an ancient secret in the Bible about a very special portion and promise in the Word of God.

Reading a chapter a day

The easiest way to develop the habit of Bible reading is to make a quality decision to read a chapter of the Bible every day. Proverbs is a great place to start; it has thirty-one chapters and can be read through each month. There are many daily Bible reading programs available on the Bible app you use. While it is good to read through the Bible at least once, I personally do not encourage it yearly because if you miss a day or more it can get frustrating and often times we can tend to hurry through the reading.

Reading and studying are not synonyms, when reading make note of things you would like to study later.  It is also good to read through the gospels, Paul’s epistles (excluding First and second timothy), and first five books of the Bible, this gives you 364 readings.

The benefit of developing and maintaining a daily reading habit is found in Proverbs 3:-2 AMPC “My son, forget not my law or teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of a life [worth living] and tranquility [inward and outward and continuing through old age till death], these shall they add to you”. And Proverbs 4:20-22 AMPC “My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.”

Studying the Bible

In the summer we will do a series covering each Bible study method, today, we will do an overview of how to study the notes we take from a message and/or study the message of a book or devotional you may be reading. Many pastors provide outlines of their messages so it makes studying a bit easier. if your Pastor does not give out outlines make note of the title/topic, each Scripture reference and main points.

To study read the chapter of each text. It is important to note that studying isn’t done in one day but it is done continually over several days. Some studies will be short and others will take more time based on the interest you have in the subject. It’s important not to rush studying but take your time and allow yourself to dig in to the material.

To help you study I recommend:

A Bible with cross-references, if not a study Bible

Concordance (Strong’s Concordances come available in many translations

Pen and highlighter(s) – I color code by subject.

As you read write down words that stick out to you and look them up in the concordance (find the word and the verse, and look up the number next to it in the back of the concordance, Old Testament is Hebrew and the New Testament is Greek. Example: (Faith – Mark 11:22 – 4102, I’ll flip back to the Greek and look for 4102). This helps understand the deeper meaning of words in the Bible, the Amplified Bible is also a good tool to help you dive deeper.

Bible study can sometimes feel like you are chasing rabbits with going from verse to verse using cross references and looking things up in a concordance but we are actually following the thread of Scripture connecting one verse to another and one promise to another. You can study a chapter, a verse, a book, a character, or a subject and we will go over all of these in the summer. Using your pastors notes or a devotional to base your study off of will help guide you in what to study and give you deeper insight into the message, so take the verses and look up key words and find others that relate to it. This brings us to the next area.

Confessing and Praying God’s Word

When something sticks out to you in a message, relates to something in your life, or just encourages you, take that verse and make it into a confession.

Psalm 107:20 says that God sent His word to heal and deliver us. Mark 11:23 and 24 says we have what we say and what we pray. It is important for us to speak the Word over our lives and pray the Word of God into situations. If you don’t know where to find a verse on a particular situation look up the subject or word in your Bibles concordance, get a book of Bible promises at your local Christian bookstore or visit the Real Help section of Kenneth Copeland Ministries website .

find a verse or two and make it part of your prayer life and confess it over yourself. For example if you need healing take Isaiah 53:4-5 in the Amplified and make a confession like this, “Jesus bore my sicknesses and weaknesses, He carried my sorrows and by His stripes I am healed and according to Mark 11:24 I am praying in faith and I believe I receive my healing and I call it done.” no matter what the situation is you can find some verses to pray and make a confession with. When we speak God’s word instead of negative things we get good results.

An Ancient Secret, An original Bible Teaching  

All the Bible is available to us but like we talked about in the beginning there are things that must be revealed to us. Just as Jesus taught in parables because it was given to the disciples to know mysteries, they had to search out the meaning of the parables. many things in Jesus day were understood so Jesus didn’t go into a lot of detail but we have a Western-Greek mindset while Jesus and his listeners had an Eastern-Jewish mindset so much of what was known then has become lost to us, so many of us are rediscovering the Bibles original teachings for the first time. One of those teachings is the Mezuzah.

In Deuteronomy chapter six the Hebrews were instructed to teach the Word to their children at home, on the road, when they wake up and when they go to bed. They were also instructed to put the Word on their doorposts. Today this is observed with the use of a Mezuzah a container that is attached to the door frame of the doors of the home (all except the bathroom). The Mezuzah contains a parchment with the words of the Sh’ma of Deuteronomy 6:4 CJB “Sh’ma Yisra’el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad (Hear, Israel! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is one).

Moses received the Torah (first five books of the Bible) on Mount Sinai, this is the written Torah, but there was also the Oral law which taught how to live the Torah which was not officially written until the destruction of the Temple, these writings are known as the Talmud. The teaching is, the home is a mini sanctuary and by placing the Mezuzah on your doorpost your home is dedicated to God and the enemy is not allowed to enter. It is also customary to put the Mezuzah on every door frame inside the home except the bathrooms. this is a reminder of the Word and presence of God in the home. You attach it slanted as a sign of love, compromise, and that differing opinions are both correct in some manner.  Think about this, if every time we walked in and out of a room we paused for a second and honored the Word (you do this by touching your fingers to your lips and then touching the Shaddai), how much more peace would we experience in our home? How much less strife and anger would be present if we were constantly reminded of the Word and presence of God?

This is not a legalistic thing, God intended for this to help remind His people of His Word and presence not just in the Synagogue but in their homes as well. Just as the blood stopped death at the door during Passover, so dedicating our homes, placing Mezuzah’s and making the quality decision for God to be the center of our homes stops the enemies plans in his tracks. All this because we devout time to reading, studying, speaking and praying God’s Word.  

Identity Theft

identity theftI admit, this isn’t a great introduction but, we have an enemy. We hear much today from people about the love of God, and the need for Christians to love and accept those who don’t believe and live like they do. I agree with that to an extent. Where I stop agreeing with that is when we reach the point and say love is acceptance of beliefs or behavior that go against the word of God.

 
John 10:10 NIV “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life; and have it to the full”.

 
This verse shows us the objectives of both the enemy of humanity and the creator of humanity.

 
Let’s go back to the beginning. In Genesis 2:16-17 NIV “And the LORD God commanded the man, “you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; (17) but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

 
People often wonder why God would even create that tree in the first place if He didn’t want us to eat from it. The answer, while simple, is not often received. God did it because of love. If God made us totally submissive that would make God controlling, not loving.

 
God gave one rule in the beginning for out benefit, not to keep something from us.

 
Then in Genesis three the devil came and asked the question, “did God really say?” The enemy of Adam and Eve’s paradise caused them to question the goodness of God.

 
Once Eve doubted God’s goodness and love in her heart the enemy was able to manipulate her mind. She responded and said exactly what God said, except she added, “and you must not touch it”. In order to tend the garden you had to touch it. The enemy then lies once again and says if you eat it you will be like God, knowing good from evil.

 
God didn’t want them knowing of evil because once they knew of it they would have to deal with it. What’s more is they were already like God, being created in His image.

 
Sin, doubt, sickness, death, and separation entered the world at this point. God had to create more rules to combat the sin problem but when Jesus came he summed up all the rules in one word, love.

 
Guess what, the enemy has perverted the meaning of that word to bring forth sin.

 
The enemy is all about stealing our identity of being made in God’s image. Even if you do not know God, you are created in His image and to walk in how you were created you need to know your creator.

 
Transgenderism is identity theft! Homosexuality is identity theft! Abortion is identity theft before identity even comes forth!

 
Bruce Jenner is God’s creation and “Caitlin” is identity theft. Even as sad as that is, I am even more grieved at how the enemy is using Jenner, exploiting Jenner for their own agenda. The devil, nor the media care about him as a person, they just want to use him.

 

Think about it, how many people have done this and not been in the media or lifted as a hero. The enemy is just robbing Jenner’s identity and purpose even more.

 
God is not the author of gender confusion, he is not the maker of crossed wires in the brain, all of this is the work of the enemy of humanity. The devil who wants you to be confused, depressed, lost and empty doesn’t care if the lie you buy is transgender, homosexuality, lying, stealing, he just wants to take you off the path of destiny.

 
Jesus came and died and rose again for one reason, to restore our identity.

 
Jesus restored the ease of God’s commands for our good life.

 
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to love God, love our neighbor, and fulfill God’s plan for our life.

 
Confusion, sin, sickness, depression, divorce, and identity theft are not part of that plan.

 
Does God love transgender people? Yes. Does God love the homosexual? Yes. God loves everyone and He loves each of us enough to tell us the enemy of our humanity is stealing from us, even to the extent of taking our whole identity.

 

Come to Jesus and get your identity back. Come to Jesus and be truly who you were created to be.

 
If you are someone who is dealing with these lies ask Jesus to help you. If you don’t know Jesus just tell Him you want to know Him and have a relationship with Him and that you want to be free from the lies of the enemy.

 
If you are a Christian, don’t buy the lie that says love accepts things contrary to the Word. As believers we need to help protect from identity theft.

 
How do we protect ourselves from identity theft? by knowing who we are in Christ, by being in the Word and communing with God daily not just in church services.

 

Tools to help prevent “Identity Theft”:

Renewing your mind in the Word of God

New Creation Realities by E.W. Kenyon

God’s Master Plan for Your Life by Gloria Copeland

Battle at the Gates

warriorOver the last several weeks I have written on believing for the supernatural, specifically, the direction we will be going on this blog and in teaching in 2015. Two weeks ago on a Tuesday I began having issues with a sore throat and a cough.

I know we will never obtain something or go to the next level without a fight. When the cough began I immediately began to pray the cough has persisted. I have had friends come into agreement with me concerning my healing and I continue to battle through this cough.

Last night the phrase “battle at the gates” came to my mind and the Holy Spirit spoke and said, “Casey if you are going to contend for the supernatural and the miraculous, this is your battle at the gates. It is a small battle, but it must be won, you must always contend to go through the gates.”

The word contend means to strive for, to compete for a prize, to contend against falsehood.

I realized if I was not willing to spiritually battle this cough I would not see the greater healings and miracles in the coming months. If we allow the enemy to knock us out on small matters of faith how will we stand for big ones like the healing of cancer or the raising of the dead?

If we are so easily moved to accept something as little as a cough and say it will run its course how will we stand against the bigger attacks?

I also noticed something else in these last two weeks. Many of us would have prayed one time to be relieved of the cough and when we immediately don’t receive relief we quit praying for and declaring healing for our bodies. This is the very reason why many of us don’t see the miraculous in our everyday life.

I know this may sound trivial and even ridiculous to some but to the measure we are willing to accept defeat is the measure we will receive it and be trained in our minds for it.

If I am willing to accept a cough my mind will be forced to accept cerebral palsy, cancer, or death, because after all, those things are much bigger than a cough.

For me, in front of the gates of the supernatural life of miracles is a cough. If I am willing to stand in prayer and declaration for its defeat my faith will be built to see greater things. If I cower at a cough I just built my doubt reservoir.  

What “little” thing are you facing today that will either be the seal of doubt or the stepping stone of faith to the “bigger” supernatural in your life?

Today, I encourage you to pull out those healing scriptures, declare those prosperity scriptures, declare the Word concerning the small stuff so faith is built for the big stuff.

The battle at the gates is always a smaller one, for inside the gates are bigger ones. the more small ones we win the more confidence we have when going to face the “bigger” ones.

We all remember Mark eleven, have faith in God. We all remember, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed. But we also remember the where is your faith stories too. It is the small stories that lead to the big stories.

It was the lion and the bear that prepared David for Goliath. If we cannot contend against the little we will not be able to contend against the big.

Part 14: The Armor of God

imageToday is the last post in the In Christ Series as you can see by the title we are talking about the Armor of God. If you have read this passage before and/or heard messages on the armor before I humbly ask that you not pass over this post, not because I have some great new things to share with you, but because I may look at some aspects of it in a different light.

Holy Spirit, I ask that as people read this post they would have fresh eyes to see and hearts to receive the truth you have for each individual person in this post today.

I want to begin by looking at Ephesians 6:10-13 in the New Living Translation and I want us to specifically notice the language of victory. “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

Too many times people look at it like its a fair fight, its really not, the devil is already defeated, Jesus defeated him when He rose from the dead.

Don’t allow language like “evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places”. Don’t allow the enemy to use the language of Scripture to scare you.

When Jesus was tempted the devil misused Scripture to get Jesus to jump, I believe the devil was really hoping Jesus would fall to His death, but the enemy said to Jesus, God will give His angels charge over you so you wont get hurt. Jesus responded with Scripture, don’t test God.

We too, can respond with Scripture because directly after those words we read, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

Have you ever seen a football game that all week people are talking about how one team will dominate the other in an easy win and when game time comes, they still have to play the game, the underdog may get a few scores, but in the end it was a blowout just like everybody had been saying.

That’s kind of what I’m talking about, we are the favored team, the enemy may get a few scores in some temptations but we will ultimately have the victory. For those saying, what about when it goes the other way, don’t mess up my good illustration 🙂

When we look at the armor we must come from a place of victory not a place of uncertainty or defeat.

We will notice the lack of back covering, I believe that is because we are never to run from the enemy but face him, defeat him, and take ground from The Kingdom.

Look at verse fourteen, now reading from the NIV, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,” Truth is the Word of God, in John seventeen, Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified (set apart) by the truth.

The Word is what keeps us from sin, Psalm 119:9, 11 AMP “How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed and keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it]. (11) Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

We stop the lies of the enemy by believing truth, the only truth is the Word of God and there are times when the enemy presents facts that aren’t truth.

One of the most useful things to the enemy has been to get Christians to call themselves sinners and to say things like I’m a sinner saved by grace. That is not true, I am not A sinner, I WAS a sinner, Christians may at times sin but we are not living or should not be living in perpetual sin.

This leads us to the second greatest lie of the enemy which is, even though we are saved Christians will sin daily. We cannot find any validation for that in the Scriptures.

Go with me to Romans chapter six, if you do not have your Bible out right now I ask you to get it so you can mark this in your own Bible.

Romans 6:1-7 NIV “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? (2) By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (3) Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (5) For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (6) For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— (7) because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

The new life mentioned in verse four is the life of holiness. The body ruled by sin, or the old man “represent[s]…the whole pattern of sinful living before conversion, as well as the spring/root from which it comes…the scope goes beyond the past life of sinful activity. Putting off the old man and putting on the new points to the ultimate plan of God for the Christian: a divine cure for the acts of sin.” (The Wesley Study Bible).

Romans 6:11-14 NIV “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (13) Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (14) For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

We do not have to sin, we do not have to live in bondage, this is the fulness of THE BLESSING, this is the privilege of the sanctified life (or the Spirit-filled life).

The point of the Armor of God is to equip us to live the life of victory, that is the Christian life, the victorious life, not the life of defeat, not the life of debt, sickness, fear, unforgiveness. The victory life, the more than enough life, the holy life, the sanctified life, the healthy life, fulfilled life, this is the life we have been called to live!

Verse fourteen continues and mentions the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate protects the heart, and a breastplate of righteousness enables us to have a right heart. We are to guard our heart from all unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, and hatred.

Proverbs 4:23 NIV “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Psalm 51:10 NIV “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Ezekiel 36:25-29 NIV “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. (26) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (27) And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (28) Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. (29) I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you.”

This what happens when we are sanctified or filled with the Holy Spirit, our heart becomes purified. To be sanctified simply means giving all of yourself to The Lord. Many people know Jesus as Savior, but there are places of the heart they have yet to give to Jesus, sanctification is simply letting Him in “that last room” it is a full devotion to God.

To be sanctified is to simply surrender all of yourself to the work and direction of the Holy Spirit. After the moment we make that decision we grow in that sanctification daily, this is also known as the life of holiness.

Isaiah 35:8 tells us that believers are to walk on the highway of holiness.

We know that Malachi 3:6 tells us God does not change and Hebrews 13:8 tells us Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. Having this established in The Word we no that God’s intention for His people has never changed and His intention for us has always been to be holy as He is holy, we see this in both Covenants in Leviticus 20:7 and 1 Peter 1:16.

Going back to Ephesians, the next piece of armor mentioned is the shoes of the Gospel of peace. This speaks of the importance of ministering the Gospel which is the love of God, the Gospel of peace is to walk in love.

Verse seventeen using the shield of faith. What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 AMP “NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”

Faith stops the fiery darts of the enemy, what are the fiery darts of the enemy? Lies, lies of fear, doubt, and unbelief.

Faith believes, faith receives, faith talks, it declares those things that are not as though they are.

Mark 11:22-24 NIV “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. (23) “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. (24) Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Faith is words, what we have faith in we speak, our words either agree with the enemy or they stop the enemy. Declare victory over sin, don’t come into agreement with it by saying how hard something is to overcome. Don’t say you can’t meet your bills, declare God meets all your needs according to His riches and glory. Don’t speak the doctors report, declare His report of healing.

We receive when we pray, we must believe that and speak that, we can’t pray then talk like we don’t have an answer, that statement of doubt cancels out the prayer of faith.

Ephesians verse seventeen tells us to take the helmet of salvation, having right thoughts. Salvation makes us new creations and at that moment we need to begin renewing our minds in the Word of God and thinking according to Philippians 4:8, whatever ever things are good, righteous, praiseworthy, and of good report think on these things.

Lastly, taking the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. As said a moment ago the Word in our mouth stops the enemy. The Word in the mind stops the worry of the mind, the declaration of the Word stops the doubt flowing from the world.

The Word in our minds, ears, and mouth, and lived out in our life stops the enemy. Mental ascent does not stop the enemy, a heart and mouth full of faith does.

Many say they have faith but what they choose to think about, listen to, and speak of many times shows a life of fear, doubt, and unbelief, and not the life of faith.

We will finish with this, verse eighteen, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

Mark eleven told us faith and prayer must be connected and the Word and prayer must be connected. While prayer is not a “piece” of armor it is part of the armor.

Use your armor, use every piece of it! Line up with the Word, have a right heart, walk in love, live by faith, stop the lies of the enemy and think on the Word, and declare the Word out of your mouth.

In wrapping up the message on the armor and the In Christ Series we will close with a final Scripture.

James 4:7-10 in The Message Paraphrase, “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”

That is the in Christ life of victory!