In this sermon Pastor Babij teaches how Christians lay aside sin by putting on Christ, who is the armor described by Paul in Ephesians 6:10-20. Pastor Babij exhorts believers to embrace by faith God’s provision for their growing holiness and not to believe Satan’s lies to the contrary.
The word of God says all that has breath praise the Lord. It’s good when God’s people sing. In fact, we have been given voices so we can sing to the Lord. Let’s take our Bibles and turn to three sections. I’m still spring boarding off the passage in 1 Peter 5:9:
But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
We will also look at Ephesians 6:10 and some Old Testament passages. Before I look at these things, let’s have a word of prayer:
Lord, thank You for bringing us here to worship You and to sing praises to Your name. I pray, Lord, that those words that we sung would resonate throughout the week and that they would be in our mind and heart. Lord, that we would always want to from Sunday all the way until next Sunday have an opportunity just to lift up our voices from our heart to thank You, rejoice in You, pray to You, to know that You are God, and to know that You are our Savior through Christ. We want our lives to count for You. Lord, we want to give ourselves over as living sacrifices. We know it’s our reasonable service of worship because of Your mercy of not giving us something we deserved. You gave us Your grace. Lord, don’t let us be tramped, pushed into the world’s mold, but let us be transformed by the renewing of Your word, so we would know the good, the acceptable, and perfect will of God. We ask You in Christ’s name, Amen.
As I have been going through 1 Peter, we have been looking at the Christian’s obligation for resistance. So far, the exhortation of humility to vigilance to would result in stability. If we are resisting the enemy properly, then we have stability and victory over Satan strategies and tactics. Actually, I have increased this to eight ways to resist, which I will be adding on for next time.
First, we are to resist in the faith. God has given us the body of Truth. He’s giving the church the word of God from Genesis to Revelation, so we would understand it and know it. We can have the light of Scripture to be able to detect the darkness a half truth and lies of the enemy. Secondly, we are to resist by discerning our own strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies towards sin. We want to recognize our own patterns of sin, which is what we need to work on. As they are exposed more and more by Scripture and Spirit of God, then we would be able to discern those patterns of sins, lay aside those patterns, and put on righteousness.
Thirdly, we are to resist by maintaining a sanctified imagination. The imagination could be fed by bad things or good things. What we feed the imagination is of a maximum importance in the pursuit of Kingdom righteousness. The redeemed mind should be continually transformed and bent toward desiring, dwelling upon, and discovering the will of God. Christians are to take an active part in this process in order to stand against the devil.
We want to take meditation very seriously. We are to think and chew upon what we’re learning from the word of God until it becomes part of our spiritual digestive system, gets into our soul, and transforms our soul. Lastly, we are to resist by putting off sin and putting on righteousness.
The first thing to put off is the old way of life. Those strong, corrupting desires and affections that exercise power over us no longer has power over us. We can say no to it. Secondly, we are to go on being renewed to a Christ-like way of thinking. Ephesians 4:23 says:
and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Thirdly, there is evidence of a constant interchange in thinking, outlook, and behavior for the believer. Learning Christ is the key to the Christian Life, which is the ever-growing knowledge of the Lord, Jesus Christ, that rises up out of the pages of Scripture. Meaning, we come to the place where we are done with the old kind of life that we used to live, we’re done with the old kind of thinking that we used to think, and we want to take on the new life.
This leads us to the fifth way where the believer is to resist the devil by putting on Christ.
This whole concept of putting on Christ may seem strange and you will ask the question: what does it mean to put on Christ? Romans 13:12-14 says:
The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
If you notice, putting on Christ also means laying aside the sin that would cause your flesh to lust. Lay aside sin, put on the armor of light, and then put on the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, you can’t be loving your sin and putting on Christ. One or the other will take place. Ephesians 6:10 says:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Christians must be strong enough to do what is right and what the Lord wants them to do no matter how difficult the task may seem. The adversary walks up and down the Earth to spy out the weaknesses of God’s servants to pursue those who are not standing their ground, who are weak, careless, world-influenced, and lead in regard to their lusts.
However, this passage says that we are to do this not in our own strength, but in the strength that God gives us. One of the most unusual creatures of the sea is the lobster. I love Lobster. It tastes good with hot butter. I don’t understand people who don’t like lobster.
What is so weird about lobster is that they run backwards, they hear with their legs, taste with their feet, and they chew food with teeth in their stomach. Because the lobster is such delicious food for us, it’s also delicious food for other sea creatures, so the Lord gave the lobster a full suit of armor.
The thick plate covers its claws and its body overlapping sheets of armor encased in its lower body and tail. Although many old lobsters have numerous scrapes and gorges in their shells, they survive attacks from most predators because the armor that God gave them protects them. Well, the Lord supplies us also with a suit of armor. He supplies us a helmet, a breastplate, a shield, a belt, and shoes. He does this to keep us safe from the attacks of our powerful spiritual foes.
The Apostle Paul commanded us to put on the whole armor of God. If we do, God promises that we will be able to stand against Satan’s attacks. Of course, the adversary is not fair. He is not an honorable combatant. He is sly and fires off fiery arrows of temptation when we least expect it. Sometimes, it’s when were the strongest, weak, or in between.
The Lord knows that we cannot stand against this enemy unprotected, so God provides the protection for us. He provides Christ as the protection. Christians are inadequate to stand alone against demonic assault, so God provides defense so that temptations will not hurt, destroy, or make us useless in the kingdom of God.
The armor of God is given to Believers by the Lord so that they may stand firm. In other words, the armor of God will make you able to stand firm. Again, Ephesians 6:11-12 says:
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For 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.
That’s where our battle lies. Therefore, we cannot fight that battle by our willpower, strength, or by any earthly means. It must be in the power of the Lord himself. When they put their armor on, the believer can stand defensively against these satanic hosts. The strength of the Lord gained by utilizing the full armor of God is stronger than all the power of the wicked one and his minions.
Christians are to hold fast to the territory that God already won for us, not give it away or let it be taken from us, and we are not to give place or ground to the devil.
In this passage, some believe that
in the evil day
is the day that the enemy decides to point you out and attack you personally. So, are you ready for that? We should be ready for that. For our strength, education, and learning, let’s look at Ephesians 6:14-17:
Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16in 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. 17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
These six pieces of armor present a different aspect of the way Jesus Christ is the protection for His own children. In other words, Christ himself is every part of the armor for the believer. In fact, if we look at other scriptures, we will find out that Christ is the armor, which means He is protecting us His children. First of all, Jesus is the Girdle of Truth. He is the truth. John 14:6 says:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Secondly, He is the Breastplate of Righteousness. He’s our righteousness. It is imputed righteousness that’s imputed to our account when we believe in Christ. Also, once we are in Christ and have the righteousness of Christ on our account, then the Lord begins to impart practical righteousness, so we can live the Christian Life, which is called imparted righteousness. Both of them come to us from the Lord himself. 1 Corinthians 1:30 tells us:
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.
Christ is our righteousness. Without his righteousness, no one could be saved, and that righteousness protects us from the attacks of the enemy where the enemy cannot do anything to you. Satan cannot take that righteousness that God’s put on your account away from you. You are protected by that, which must be in our mind every day.
When we live our life of these particular doctrines and truths that strengthen us against the enemy, then as we go on, we see that the Lord is our peace. He is the shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Ephesians 2:14 tells us:
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall
The groups he is referring to is the group of the gentile and the group of the Jew. Thus, the Lord breaks down the wall for both of them, so they can be made right with God. Also, He is the Shield of Faith. Revelation 19:11 tells us:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.
Jesus Christ is the faithful one. The fifth piece of armor is the Helmet of Salvation. He is our Salvation. Isaiah 59:17 tells us:
He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.
He is our Salvation. Meaning, he has come to save His people from their sin. Lastly, in Ephesians, He is the Sword of the Spirit. He is the word of God, which is the sharp sword. In Ephesians 6, the sword is not a longsword. It’s actually a short sword that is eighteen inches long.
When we’re talking about the Sword of the Spirit in the Ephesians, then we’re talking about how the enemy has gotten so close to you that you have to do close combat with him. In fact, soldiers have a bayonet on the weapon. When you hear the command “fix bayonet,” then it means that the enemy is so close to you that you are now going to fight with him with a bayonet.
Meaning, you see them eyeball-to-eyeball and nose-to-nose. It’s either them or you, so that’s what it’s talking about when Scripture is referring to the Sword of the Spirit. I’m taking out my close combat sword and I’m able to detect, to slice, and to see where Satan is lying to me, where he is attacking me, and then being able to resist him in that place where I have the armor of God on.
In summary, Christ is our armor. He is the truth. He is our righteousness. He is our peace and good news. He is the faithful one. He is our Salvation. He is the word of God. He is our protection in warfare. It has always been the lot of God’s children while they’re here on Earth to engage in some kind of spiritual warfare. Some to a greater extent and some to a lesser extent.
Nonetheless, everyone at some time will engage in some attack against their remaining corruption and their flash where they are dealing with loving the Lord and loving sin, or where they’re being attacked by the world and we know it is wrong to think that way even though the crowds going that way to be able to stand alone. We know that the enemy himself is against us.
An important lesson that we must all learn is that spiritual warfare, for the believer and for God’s children, is never fought alone ever. It is the Lord that fights with us and delivers us. At this point, I would like to consider three Old Testament examples to encourage us in our battle and in our struggle in this world.
As God’s children, we are not alone and that’s always been the case. Our first example is in Joshua 5:13-15. One could imagine how Joshua felt when he found out that the great Moses was not going into the Promised Land. When he found out the weight and responsibility for leading Israel to the promised land, he dropped his feet.
He would have to lead the people in battle. He would have to go from city to city and take that city in battle. He had to take the land that God said he gave him and give it to the people. It was very important for Joshua when he found that out. Maybe he thought in his mind:
Is the God that was with Moses going to be with me the same way? Because if He’s not, I’m in big trouble. Is He going to be with me and for me?
In Joshua 5:13-15, we’ll answer that question:
Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
What do you think Joshua got from that? This happened before when Moses was before the burning bush. In Exodus 3:5, God told Moses:
“Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
At that moment, Joshua knew that the God of Moses is with him. We know from the rest of got Joshua that the Lord let Joshua know that He would be with him and fight on his behalf as He did for Moses. Subsequently, the city of Jericho fell, and Joshua and the people were given one Victory after another after another. At that point, the Lord wanted him to know that the captain of the Lord’s army was on his side fighting alongside of him to take all those battles.
In Joshua, they were outnumbered most of the time. They were not an army. They just came out of the desert. They were going up against walled cities, who had armies with armor, swords, spears, catapults, and all kinds of instruments of war. We’re good at making things that kill people, aren’t we? Sometimes, it’s necessary to keep us safe, but in this case, it’s not necessary. When the Lord’s on your side, the Lord will win for you.
Secondly, in 1 Samuel 17, this is the example of David. What made David able to stand against a much stronger, well-trained enemy like Goliath. God started teaching David, while just a young shepherd boy, about the protection and deliverance that the Lord provides for those who seek Him and are His children.
As Christian soldiers, we can never forget that the enemy wants to give us a strong sense of hopelessness, especially in close combat where he will sense our weaknesses, our vulnerability, and how the enemy looks way stronger than we do. 1 Samuel 17:32-44says:
David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” 37And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.” 38Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. 39David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off. 40He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. 41Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. 42When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.”
Here’s this giant standing before you with armor on, his spear, and his armor bearer because it was so heavy. Meanwhile, David is standing like a little kid with just as a shepherd with no physical armor on. So, was it Saul’s armor he wore to fight? Since his armor didn’t fit right, he put it off.
He did not wear any armor, nor Saul’s armor. However, he did come with armor. 1 Samuel 17:45-51 says:
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46“This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.” 48Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. 50Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. 51Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.
In this battle, we see the very presence of the Lord with David by letting him know he was not alone. Joshua needed to know that that he wasn’t alone, David needed to know that that he wasn’t alone, and there’s another person that needed to know that.
In 2 Samuel 23, Josheb-basshebeth was David’s special warfare operator. He was one of the hardest men in the Bible. He was part of an elite squad of military specialist, whose loyalty and warcraft were unparalleled at this time. These mighty men were divided into two units: “The 30” and “The 3”.
Out of the three, there was this exceptional warrior. He was the best of the best and he was the chief. 2 Samuel 23:8-10 says:
These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, chief of the captains, he was called Adino the Eznite, because of eight hundred slain by him at one time; 9and after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there to battle and the men of Israel had withdrawn. 10He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword, and the LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to strip the slain.
In other words, the Lord was with Josheb-basshebeth when he killed all those eight hundred at one time. Now, that’s an incredible feat. However, he did not do that in his own strength. He did that under the command of King David, who trusted in God’s protection. Josheb-basshebeth also learned to trust in God’s protection. In fact, David lived as if he was invincible because of his understanding of God’s protection. In Psalm 18:29-34, David is giving a sense that he felt invincible because of God:
For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. 30As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. 31For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God, 32The God who girds me with strength And makes my way blameless? 33He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me upon my high places. 34He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
This is how David felt when he came against his enemy knowing the Lord was with him and for him. God was fighting both with and for him, which made him bold enough to take on an entire army of men single-handedly. That’s the same for his chief of command, Josheb-basshebeth. David focused on God’s superior power. David held firm to God’s promises that he would be with him. 1 Samuel 18:14 says:
David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him.
Josheb-basshebeth trusted in God’s protection also. This man lined himself with the God of the universe. When God is on your team, the odds totally are different. Eight hundred versus one equal certain death, but eight hundred to one plus God equals no contest.
Actually, Josheb-basshebeth came face-to-face with eight hundred savage opponents. There were three options he probably had available to him: he could cower, run away and hide, compromise, surrender, or he could fight and engage in combat, which is what he did.
He didn’t focus on his own strength. He did not focus on the Ruckus that raged around him. Rather, he focused on the awesome God that David served and obviously he served knowing that he could not go into battle, fight, and win without God being for him. He did not go alone.
See, faith is when we practice looking beyond the things that would prevent us from having faith in God such as things that are against us. Faith is to fix our gaze on the awesome God who is for us. In fact, the most awesome description of God can be found in Isaiah 42:13:
The LORD will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies.
Meaning, trust in God’s protection should also exemplify the Christian – you and me. As the scripture tells us when God is able, then putting on Christ, the armor of God, makes us able, which is said three times in Ephesians 6:11-16:
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For 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. 13Therefore, 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. 14Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16in 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.
Immortal, immense, unrivalled, and unstoppable is our God. The mighty warrior is Jesus Christ, the King, who is on our side. Paul says in Romans 8:31:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Nobody can be against us. That’s how we have to live our Christian Life. We have to set our fix on our Lord Jesus Christ. Because our Lord set His face to crush sin. He set His face to crush Satan on the cross. He obliterated our greatest enemy, which is death, by rising from the dead and ascending into heaven?
Jesus is the one who fought for Joshua, King David, Josheb-basshebeth, and He is the one who fights for us. From the beginning of the Bible until now, it has not any been any different.
Our God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever is going to be the same for us. He will not leave us alone. He will be for us. Nothing can rob what God gives to us. Remember, there is a power at work in you that is more than a match for anything Satan can hurl at us at any time and any point in our journey and race to the kingdom of God.
Bottom line, putting on Christ, the armor of God, makes us able. Meaning, you’re not alone, so don’t ever say I’m alone in this because you are not. If you do, then you’re believing one of his lies. It’s always about what lie you are believing or what truth are you shunning, right?
Taking you down this path is giving you a sense of what it means to put on Christ knowing that he has fought the battles and he fights alongside of us in our Christian struggle against the enemy. That battle has already been won, but just like Joshua had to go fight for the city, salvation is already ours, but we’re going to fight and struggle for it, and God will be with you. It’s already yours, but you have to know the struggle and what it takes.
We have to know that this is no simple thing that’s happened to you in God granting you salvation, and the greatest warfare combatant who ever lived was Jesus Christ, our Lord. Let’s pray:
Lord, thank You. What You did, Lord, we’re still learning. The promises, Lord, that You’ve given us in the word of God, we are also still learning those. Lord, I pray that You would enable us to learn well. That we can be like those Warriors of the Old Testament that went into battle with all odds against them, but they win in the name of the Lord their God, and they came out Victorious. Not because they had anything in themselves or any kind of special ability, but their strength came from their relationship with You knowing that they serve a powerful God. They serve a God who was with them and personal. They serve a God when they lifted up prayers, they knew their Lord would listen. They serve the God who has given the word of God, so we can know the will of God. Lord, make us strong and make us able believers, so that every day we would be firm in the truth. Whatever is thrown at us, whatever circumstance we may find ourselves, I pray the, Lord, that we would know You will never leave us or forsake us. Even in the baptismal formula, the Lord said to His disciples before He left, “I will be with You until the end of the age.” Then, You’ll bring us into Your presence and that’s the day we’re looking forward to more than anything else. Oh Lord, make us aware of the battle in. Make us strong soldiers for Christ. I pray this in Your name, Amen.