THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD
[This tract hasthree hyperlinks which the reader should open.]
"The burden -[or "oracle" - that is, the prophet’s declaration on behalf of God of what the future held prior to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.] - which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear? I cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save. Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and look upon perverseness? For spoiling and violence are before me : and there is strife, and contention riseth up. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth compass about the righteous ; therefore judgment goeth forth perverted"(Hab. 1: 1-4).
"Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers : for there is no power but of God ; and the powers that be are ordained of God. THEREFORE HE THAT RESISTETH THE POWER, WITHSTANDETH THE ORDINANCE OF GOD ; AND THEY THAT WITHSTAND SHALL RECEIVE TO THEMSELVES JUDGMENT. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldest thou have no fear of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same : FOR HE IS A MINISTER OF GOD TO THEE FOR GOOD. BUT IF THOU DO THAT WHICH IS EVIL, BE AFRAID ; FOR HE BEARETH NOT THE SWORD"[ or his batton, handcuffs and gun] "IN VAIN : FOR HE IS A MINISTER OF GOD, AN AVENGER FOR WRATH TO HIM THAT DOETH EVIL. WHEREFORE YE MUST NEEDS BE IN SUBJECTION" (Rom. 13: 1-5a).
Police officers are part of God’s established authority ; they have undergone special training for situations like the one shown in our photograph. They wear protective clothing and helmets; they carry shields, handcuffs, batons, and firearms; and - most importantly - they are invested with divine authority which they are expected to use during the course of their daily duty.
"I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof,"said a Roman Centurian to JESUS, "wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee : but say the word, and my servant shall be healed. FOR I ALSO AM A MAN SET UNDER AUTHORITY, having under myself soldiers : and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh ; and TO MY SERVANT, Do this, and he doeth it" (Luke 7: 6-8).
One word from the highest Authority and the centurian’s servant was instantly healed!
A policeman is employed primarily for the protection of life and property and to maintain law and order: and every Christian’s duty, as a servant of God, is to subject himself to all who are in authority, and to submit him/herself to that authority. If we ignore or disobey, then we must (sooner or later) face dire consequences : "he is a minister of God, an avenger for wrath to him that doeth evil." All who resist the power; resist God!"Put them [regenerate believers (See, 3: 5-7,14)] in mind to be in subjection to rulers, to authorities" (Tit. 3: 1). A lesson urgently needed to be taught and understood (particularly in Northern Ireland) to-day!
To openLawlessness : click here
THE CHRISTIAN’S ARMOUR
"The day in which we are living is a day marked by renewed activity of evil spirits and great manifestations in the spirit world with the result that many people are victims of Satan and his demons. The current rise of psychiatry and psychoanalysis attest the fact that the souls of men are being beset by evil spirits. What is a Christian's recourse? What is a Christian's protection?Ephesians 6:10-18 speaks of these days and of God-given protection. We are urged to put on the whole armour of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. In verse 12 we have a description of the powers against which we are engaged. They come under the heading of five specific individuals or groups.
(1) The Devil. He is a distinct personality, the arch enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ, constantly striving for world dominion. He is described inEzek. 28 as originally the most beautiful, the wisest and most cunning of all God's creatures. He forfeited his right to reign but has not yet relinquished his rulership. That will not be done until the Lord Jesus Christ returns and takes over the reigns of government.
(2) Principalities, or despots. This is a group who stand next in authority to the supreme authority of Satan in his realm.
(3) Powers, or empowers. These are a sort of superior police in whom the higher will is activated in carrying out orders.
4) Rulers of the darkness of this world. This is an order of vice-regents whose sphere of operation is only in the world.
(5) Spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies. This is a vast array of spiritual hosts of heaven arrayed in a heavenly warfare.
No matter how diverse these orders, Paul tells us that they are all connected in one confederation which we might term "The great empire of heaven." Realising the force and power of this confederation, the Lord God Almighty has provided armour for those who are His children, and He has exhorted us to put on that armour. He does not put it on us - We must do it ourselves. It does not necessarily follow that because one is a Christian he is clothed in the whole armour of God, for one can be saved and not put on this armour. Such a one would readily fall victim to the wiles of Satan. Let us consider the various pieces of armour.
Gird your loins with truth(v. 14). (Note that the definite article is not used with truth - it is not the truth, which is the Word of God. We have that later.) For one to gird his loins about with truth is to gird himself with earnestness and sincerity. The leather girdle was put on first by the soldier that he might affix the other pieces of armour to it. For one to be girded with truth is for him to enter the conflict against Satan with all sincerity. How many people have at one time or another approached the Christian life with doubtful disputations and with a lack of earnestness and sincerity. They therefore cannot stand before the enemy. It is very well illustrated in the lives of Joseph and Daniel in their sincere determination to live for the Lord. This is what it means to gird your loins with truth.
Put on the breastplate of righteousness(v. 14). Confusion confounded reigns among Christians today because of the failure to distinguish between the righteousness of God which is imputed to us when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the righteousness of the saints which is a composite of the righteous deeds of the saints (Rev. 19:8). This breastplate of righteousness is something that the Christian is to put on himself. Righteousness is simply right living. If one earnestly and sincerely enters a conflict with Satan, it will be manifested by his right living. Do not resort to subterfuge by asking, "How do I know what is right or wrong," because we are told in James 1:5 that the Lord will give wisdom. We have never had difficulty in distinguishing between right and wrong. Our difficulty has been in always doing what we knew to be right.
Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace(v. 15). Rom. 10:15 speaks of the beauty of the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things. As there are two sandals for the normal individual, there are two aspects of the gospel of peace. We have peace with God when we are justified by faith (Rom. 5: 1) and are forever safe with the Lord; but we have the peace of God when we learn to trust Him completely in all things (Phil. 4:5-7).
Concerning these sandals of the preparation of the gospel of peace, it is doubtful if one is thought of as being shod with them unless he is carrying the gospel of peace to others. InRev. 12:11 we learn that one of the ways of overcoming Satan is by the word of testimony, which definitely is telling others the story of Jesus.
Take the shield of faith(v. 16). How often the Lord rebuked His own disciples after this fashion: "0 ye of little faith." The weakness of the average Christian is lack of faith. In Hebrews 12: 1, we read: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." The sin which does so easily beset us is one which is common to all believers. Many people speak of this sin or that sin as being their besetting sin, but the Word speaks of THE besetting sin as pertaining to all Christians. That sin is set forth in the epistle of Hebrews as unbelief or lack of faith. The greatest hindrance to Christian testimony is lack of faith among its adherents. Someone said, "Pray for me that I may have a deeper faith"; but that will not get it, because "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). If one wants more faith, one must live more in the Word of the Lord, and then he will be able to quench the fiery darts of the Devil. On each occasion when the Lord was tempted He repelled the attack with His faith which was based on the Word of God. Christian, go back to regular, prayerful study and meditation of the Bible.
Put on the helmet of salvation(v. 17).The helmet protects the head from the attack of Satan and enables the Christian to press forward. In I Thess. 5:8 we read that the helmet is the hope of salvation. This is the salvation which is to be revealed at the Lord's return, and the hope which Christians possess is that of having a part in this salvation by occupying a position of rulership with Christ in the coming Kingdom. There is no doctrine in all the Word of God that has sustained, encouraged and inspired Christians to renew and redouble their efforts in the service of the Lord as the doctrine of the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. Satan hates that doctrine worse than any doctrine in the experience of a Christian. If Satan can encourage the Christian to give up the hope of occupying a position with Christ in the Kingdom or neglect that hope, then he has one before him who has not on the helmet of salvation.
Christian, do not for one moment relinquish your hope in the soon coming of the Lord even though it involves the loss of friends and church relationships. Jesus Christ himself put a premium on watching for the coming of the Lord.
Take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God(v. 17). Notice in this connection that no provision has been made for the armour to cover the back of the Christian, signifying that he is to keep his face toward the front and there is to be no retreat. In Luke 9:62 we read, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." The only weapon of offence is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. David said, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psa. 119:11).
Again, referring to a Christian's temptations, I call your attention to the fact that the only defence and offence of our Lord was to quote the Word of God. One of the greatest testimonies to the inspiration of the Scriptures is to be found in the fact that when Satan felt the power of the Word as the Lord used it against him, he tried to use that same Word against the Lord(Matt.4:6).
Surely, the one pressing need of the majority of Christians today is to know and use the Word of the Lord. Having armed oneself with the whole armour of God, he is then to be"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Eph. 6:18). A. E. WILSON.
THIS CAN’T GO ON . . .
For God has spoken through His prophet Habakkuk : -
"Behold ye among the nations, and regard, and wonder marvellously : for I work a work in your days, which ye will not believe though it be told you"(Hab. 1: 5).. . . "FOR THE EARTH SHALL BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLORY OF THE LORD, AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA" (2: 14).
So the pull of God’s hand is on the nations ; but the hour will not last - "this can’t go on." In the words of Max Muller :- "We are on the eve of a storm which will shake the oldest convictions of the world" or, as Principle Forsythe has expressed it, - "The Gospel is fighting for its life inside the Churches, as well as outside." "The opposition to Christianity," says Sir W. Robertson Nicol, "will become more manifest, more fierce, and more deadly than it has ever been." "We stand on the brink of a day," says D. M. Panton, " in which the struggle will be more desperate and terrible than any that has gone before, because it involves no less the destiny of the world, and the supremacy of God."
To openCivil War : click here
Two facts are prominent.
The first is that the policing of the world, until the Millennium arrives, is necessary; for without it there would be anarchy - a condition of society in which there would be no governing body - and political and social chaos, lack of order, lawlessness and confusion would be the result. Every world’s statesman are aware of this fact; even if they do not believe in a coming Messiah. Policing the world is a duty that has to be discharged.
The second is that there can be no lasting world peace until the return of the Prince of Peace - our Lord Jesus Christ. "The tragedy of the situation today," says Mr. Panton "is that if Calvary is not the world’s salvation(Rom. 8: 19-22), if fallen man cannot be regenerated and the Second Advent is only a dream, nothing remains but to pool the world’s power for the enforcing of righteousness." This is exactly what the prophets of God have foretold will actually happen. But "World-menders (as someone has said) constantly forget that their plans are laid for a race of logical, reasonable, and kindly men, whereas they are worked out by ‘a seething, struggling rabble of capricious, weak, and often corrupt schemers and dreamers, whose principles are wax, whose blood is hot, and whose very breath is folly.’"
What is actually happening today - supported by Christian forces (through ignorance) seeking to establish a lasting world peace, without the bodily presence of the Prince of Peace - is humanity’s creation of the "‘Monster of prophecy’: with shattering power, and horrible savagery ; a collective European executive, with ten associated, or loosely federated, Great Powers ; a central control of all commerce, so as to wield a world-wide food and trade boycott ; the establishment of a universal religion, with the stamping out in blood of all minority worship : a Power not named as the Roman Empire, though it is that Empire, both in succession to Greece(Dan. 8: 21), and yet to rise from the dead (Rev. 17: 9-11) ; yet more than Roman for it is rather all human power pooled, and grown savage and Satanic. "Behold, a fourth beast, terrible and powerful, and strong exceedingly ; and it had great iron teeth : it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet : and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it ; and it had ten horns. BUT THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH SHALL RECEIVE THE KINGDOM, AND POSSESS THE KINGDOM FOR EVER, EVEN FOR EVER AND EVER" (Dan. 7: 7, 18). " (Panton).
Solemn hour : thus on the margin
Of that wonderous Day
When the former things have vanish’d,
Old things pass’d away ;
Nothing but Himself before us,
Every shadow pass’d
Sound we loud the word of witness,
For it is the last.
One last hour of solemn warning
To the world below ;
One last shout, that all may hear us
Once more let that name be sounded
With a trumpet tone, -
Here amid the deep’ning shadows,
Then - before the Throne.
"Therefore the hour is momentous for us all. ‘The crisis of the battle,’ said Napoleon, ‘is the moment in which to throw in all your reserves’. The supreme urgency of the crisis is a final proclamation of Christ." HE IS COMING AGAIN TO REWARD HIS FAITHFUL AND OBEDIENT SERVANTS!
"Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is"(Rev. 22: 12).
"Let us not stand idle when there is work to be done. If we neglect HIS word surely we shall endure a great loss?* "The millennial day is a day of recompense for our works, whether good or evil. A thousand years is time enough to mark God’s pleasure in our works or His displeasure against them. As eternal life shows His pleasure in the work of Christ, and in those who by faith are one with Him, so will the recompense of the millennial day, for good or for evil, display His sentiments concerning the special work of each believer.
The worldly often cry our against professors of religion, as guilty of cheating and taking advantage in business. It is doubtless too often true. Not a few converted persons offend thus. Here then is the threatened justice of God against such. If His saints sin they shall not go unpunished. He hates the offence in them, as truly as in the worldly. He has devised a way whereby He will make His displeasure visible to all intelligent beings, and felt by themselves.
Let all believers then keep this first truth clearly before their eye.‘Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well with him, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings’ (Isa. iii. 10.)"
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