Super Christian Beachwear (Armor Of God) (Spiritual Warfare)
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 round 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. Ephesians 5:6-10
The Basic Bible Truth
We live in a politically correct world that does not like to talk about the concept of fighting hand to hand. Our generation has been taught conflict management. But Satan does not “conflict manage” well at all. We are in a war, a battle, like it or not and the world, our unsaved friends and neighbors, are at stake. We must take our stand against evil, but are fools to do so without the proper garb. We must be prepared to fight, one on one if necessary.
Miscellaneous Swimming Gear: A Mask And Snorkel Hawaiian Shirt Yellow Ducky Wrap-Around Blow-Up Floaty Toy Sand Bucket Shovel Flippers Bible
This lesson came about as a result of a promotional evening called “Beach Night” in our AWANA program at church. We were to all come dressed, conservatively, to go to the beach. No swimsuits, of course, but sunglasses, towels, flippers and such. I developed a beachwear version of the spiritual armor mentioned in Ephesians 6. Following is an outline of the presentation.
A. The Mask and Snorkel of Salvation—Swimming in a salty ocean burns my eyes. My mask is the solution. “I once was lost, but now I am found. Was blind but now I see.”
John spends an entire chapter telling us of this healing moment. I find this healing fascinating. There seem to be so many odd things going on here. I believe there is a reason for each strange behavior. (1). Jesus made mud with spit and put it in the man’s eyes. Jesus had just claimed to be the Light of the world—God—and now Diety touched this man with the very real physical hands of a man. Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. (2). He had touched this man and had given him a command that he must obey if he wanted to see. (3). John made the point of giving us the name of the pool, Siloam, and even translating its meaning for us. It meant “sent”. Even in the name of the pool we find mention of the truth that Jesus was sent by the Father to bring us the Light. And finally (4). the water of the pool represents the Word of God. It wasn’t until he applied the water and washed off the mud that he could actually see again. God’s Word is a key, integral part of salvation. It brings us to the point of conviction and is an important part of the entire process of giving us spiritual sight.
He was miraculously healed and eventually brought before the religious leaders of the day and asked about his healing. His reply, “I was blind but now I see!” They asked him repeatedly how this had all come to be and he told them the same story each time. God must have sense of humor, because the healed man answered them in a priceless way. Finally in exasperation he replied, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?” I can just see the anger in their red faces as they responded to this little jab.
And we cannot miss the final scene in this episode of Jesus’ life. After all of this has transpired, Jesus went looking for the man. You see, up until now, the man had not actually seen Jesus. It is significant that Jesus went to him. God comes looking for us. And when He found the man, Jesus asked him the most important question of his life, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” The man’s answer was a resounding yes. It is a very sweet moment we are observing here—Jesus leading a man to salvation. It is a moment that we should never forget.
B. The Hawaiian Shirt of Righteousness—contrasted to a nasty old t-shirt that I wear to work often. The best we can do on our own is filthy rags compared to the perfection of God. At salvation, we receive the righteousness of Christ, and that beautiful condition is ours to have.
At the moment of salvation, God does an amazing miracle. He imputes the righteousness of Christ into our hearts. That does not mean that we no longer sin. Picture it as the perfect blood of Jesus covering our sins so that God can look at us and no longer have to see the sin, but He sees the righteousness of Jesus blanketing our sin completely.
C. The Yellow Ducky of Truth—Without it I would sink like a rock. We stay afloat in this world based upon the one thing that we can trust to be true—the Bible. God’s Word is what we carry around as our life preserver. Without it we have nothing.
I had occasion once to observe a murder trial. I spent nearly two weeks watching everything from the opening statements of the prosecution and defense all the way through to the closing arguments and the eventual jury decision and judge’s sentencing. It was fascinating to watch, as each piece of evidence was painstakingly entered and corroborated by experts or eyewitnesses. There were interviews and rebuttals surrounding the nearly 300 total pieces of evidence entered during the trial. There was not one single piece of evidence entered that was the sole deciding factor in the case. I talked to one of the jurors later, and he voluntarily told me that they had deliberated for many hours over every piece of evidence and that there was not just one that decided the case for them. It was the preponderance of evidence that was striking. Everything pointed to the defendant’s guilt and they returned with a unanimous guilty verdict.
At center stage is the Bible. If the world can sufficiently discredit it, everything that Satan has strived for would come true. Our understanding of God, salvation, eternity, good and bad, right and wrong—they all hinge on the written Word of God. God has taken great care to make the Bible unique. It is dramatically different from all other books, both in content and how it came to be. The sheer numbers alone are striking. God has made it very clear that the Bible is unique and different than any other piece of literature ever printed in history. There is a preponderance of evidence.
From our vantage point in history, the aggression towards Scripture is very noticeable. The Bible is under assault every day. Even in the church there are those who pick and choose the parts that they feel are believable and they leave difficult topics under the heading of “Mythology”. When it is considered acceptable to embrace one passage and throw out another, we tread into very dangerous territory. Satan knows that if he can discredit the Word, he can cast doubt on anything contained in Scripture. And if he can cast doubt, he can reinterpret it to suit his devious plan. That reinterpreted language always embraces sin and wrong, and therein we see his specialty—taking that which is good and pure and adding just enough wrong to make it seem palatable, but in reality, sinful.
It is a choice to believe and totally trust the Word of God as perfect and without compromising flaw. It has held up to intense scrutiny for many years, and will, without a doubt, continue to do so for all of eternity.
D. The Sand Bucket of Faith—I use my bucket to carry stuff in. It carries all of the stuff I believe in, the stuff I have faith in, my beliefs. And I use it to throw water on the fiery darts of doubt of the devil.
Faith is a direct gift from God. As strange as it may seem, we would not have the capacity to believe in God were it not that he gives us that capacity. Do you have doubt? Honestly ask God for faith. He will deliver. Understand that not every question will be answered this side of the grave. If that were God’s intent, He would have left us a huge library complex instead of a single book. Part of the challenge of being a child of God is accepting on blind faith that His promises about our present and our future will hold true no matter what.
E. The Shovel of the Spirit—It’s the only real tool we have. We need it to dig deep into the Word of God. That is where we find everything that we need for life.
One of the great mysteries of God is His triune essence. How He can be three distinct, unique persons and yet be one person is beyond the comprehension of our feeble intellect. It is sufficient that God says that it is so. Perhaps the eternity of Heaven will shed light on the subject for us. Until that time, we have a few hints in the Bible to help expand our understanding of this very difficult concept. The Tabernacle pictures for us all three Persons of God working in concert. Above the Ark of the Covenant, on the Mercy Seat, the very presence of God the Father was manifested in a blinding light display, called the Shekinah Glory of God. God the Son is seen in the Lampstand, voluntarily beaten for us, a beautiful example for us to behold and see, God in human form. God the Holy Spirit is pictured in this room as well. The Holy Spirit is never calling attention to Himself, but pointing us to Christ, and illuminating Scripture. The oil in the bowls illustrates for us how The Spirit works. Odorless, tasteless, and colorless, all but invisible, but still there, the oil is expended in a chemical release of power we call fire and light. That light illuminates the Lampstand for all to see, making something beautiful even more so. The Holy Spirit works similarly. He is always pointing us to Christ, illuminating the Word of God for us, making God more amazingly beautiful to all who are looking.
F. The Flippers of the Gospel—They may be ungainly on land, but get them in the water and watch them go. The world does not understand the Gospel, but God has commanded us to tell other about Him. His Word is effective and it changes things.
That truth is the same today as it was then. When we get below the tough exterior, people not only need the Lord, they want Him and are often actively engaged in looking for something to fill the void in their lives. They just don’t always realize what it is that they need. We all have a God-shaped void in our lives. The Bible says that we are born with a sin nature—spiritually dead, and that part of us, needs to be made alive. Without it, we are empty and incomplete.
And I find no age limits in the Bible as to who can witness and who cannot. We have the story of a little slave girl telling the Gentile man named Naaman about God. And we have the story of an 80 year old man named Daniel, informing Belshazzar that God is in control of this world. We are not responsible for their acceptance or rejection of the truth, we are only asked to tell our own personal story to the world.
G. Prayer—are we scared of the water? Do the giant salt-water crocodiles and great white sharks out there frighten us? Sure they do, but God……….the two most important words in the Bible. “But God” changes everything about life. Our God is everything and we can rely on Him and talk to Him personally in prayer. A very special item to always carry to the beach.
Prayer is our side of relationship with God. He has given us His Word, His Holy Spirit living in our hearts, and informed us of His desire to have a relationship with us. The next move is on us. Talking to Him in prayer is how that is accomplished. I know of no friendship that lasts long when one of the parties involved fails to talk or communicate. So it is with prayer. If we do not communicate with God, we put a precious possession in peril.