This program is a rebroadcast from March 7, 2020.
Armor of God, Part 2
This week, we continue our series on the armor of God. Chris will take each piece and explain the reason it is vital to our Christian walk. The armor belongs to God but it is our responsibility to put it on. In Ephesians 6:14-17, Paul speaks of the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, sandals of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit.
God is the one that supplies this armor. The question is: Are you wearing your armor today? Don’t miss this important truth from God’s Word!
If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can Listen Now.
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover, and with me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. Right at the top I’d like to encourage you to visit our website foiradio.org. You can find out more information about The Friends of Israel Today radio program or you could browse our archive pages and listen to six years’ worth of Chris’s teachings. Again that foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, the new year is all about resolutions and getting our life organized for 2022. Well, I want to take some time to get our spiritual life in order. Especially knowing that Satan is always on the prowl. He is always ready to pounce on Christians, to divert them, to direct them away from the Lord. That’s why Ephesians chapter 6 is all about putting on the armor of God. God gave us the armor to be able to stand up against the schemes of Satan. And that’s what we’re going to talk about for the first three weeks. We’re entering our second week here of the year, so that we can prepare our hearts. We can prepare our minds to serve the Lord.
Steve Conover: But first, in the news, 2021 was a great year for Israeli tech. Raising a staggering $25.4 billion between January and November. Up 136% from 2020, which itself was a record breaking year. As of December 15th, Israel is home to 79 Israeli startups or privately held companies that are valued over $1 billion. 41 of them came into existence in 2021. Israel believes 2022 will be a record breaking year of Israeli startups buying other companies. In order for Israeli companies to grow faster, they will need to make several acquisitions.
Chris Katulka: Steve, here’s my take. Israel is benefiting from decades of proving to the world that they are the center of tech innovation. This is why Israel is called not the Silicon Valley, but the Silicon Wadi. While the rest of the Middle East made their money in oil, Israel was developing a tech hub. Today, countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain are struggling to catch up to Israel’s burgeoning tech empire.
Last week, we started a series on the armor of God from Ephesians chapter six. And friends, we determined that, as Christians, the battle is real. It's not a physical battle. It's not a physical fight. It's really much deeper than that. In Luke's gospel, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is being approached by the soldiers and some of the leaders of the Pharisees. He had been sold out and bought by Judas. And seeing what's going on around him, Peter takes a sword and begins to defend Jesus. And he attacks the high priest's servant, Malchus, and cuts off his ear. And Jesus commands Peter to stop. Why? Because, see, Jesus knew the battle isn't a physical one. It's much deeper than that. Jesus really knew that this battle is a spiritual one, and it would be solved at the cross, not in a physical battle between the guards and Peter. Jesus, according to Luke, heals the servant's ear, because Jesus really knew this was a spiritual battle.
It's the schemes of the devil that are moving in and among the world on a macro level. It's the big picture stuff. Governments that are hostile towards Christians, and other religions that persecute and kill Christians. A very external battle that is driven spiritually. And yet, at the same time, the battle that we're talking about is a battle that's warring in places that we least expect. Places like your family, places like your church, or your workplace. Satan is working in those areas as well. And what I love about the God that we serve is that he's given us a strategy. He didn't just save us and leave us in the wilderness to die. He actually provided us a strategy. He prepared us for the battle. He identified the enemy. He details the enemy's plan. He put together a proper strategy to defend his people, to withstand the enemy. And this is why we're continuing our teaching on the armor of God from Ephesians chapter six.
Last week, we outlined and determined that the battle is a spiritual one, that it has a direct effect on our walk with the Lord. All throughout Ephesians, Paul uses this idea of walking. It's the way that we relate with God. It's the way that we connect with God. It's the way that we behave as believers. We are to walk in unity. We are to walk in holiness. We are to walk in love. We are to walk in light, and to walk in wisdom. But the moment that we begin to get to Ephesians chapter six, this closing portion, the verb changes from walk to stand. Satan wants to break down our walk with the Lord. He wants to creep into the areas of our life where we are walking with God. And that's why we have to be able to take a stand against his schemes. Paul says God provides the armor to defend ourselves, and that's what we're going to look at today.
Ephesians chapter six, verses 14 through 17. Listen to what Paul writes here. "Stand firm, therefore, by fastening the belt of truth around your waist, by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, by fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace. And in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, fitting feet with peace that comes from the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit that is the Word of God."
Where did this concept come from for identifying armor with spiritual defense? Well, there's passages like Isaiah 11 and Isaiah 59 that talk about how the Messiah has a belt of righteousness and faithfulness, and even a connection with the idea of a helmet of salvation. There are also Jewish texts outside of the Bible that talk about armor being used to identify spiritual defenses. But then, on the other hand, Paul was writing this letter, remember he's writing this letter from a house prison in Rome, probably surrounded by Roman guards wearing the armor Paul is alluding to here. So let's dive in here and look at the full armor of God. Remember, from last week, the panoplia, the full armor of God, and the spiritual characteristics that Paul gives each one, defines each one, to help us stand against the evil one.
The first is the belt of truth. Christians are called to fasten on themselves the belt of truth. Now, here's what's interesting with the word that Paul uses for fasten. The way Paul uses the word is, in the Greek, a middle voice. And I know this can sound weird, but this actually gives the idea that we have to put on the belt. It's our job to put it on. God provides the armor, but it's your job to put it on. It's not just going to pop on you. You have to make the choice to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life and to fasten the belt to yourself. It's the belt of truth. And think about what a belt does. A belt holds everything up. Without the belt, everything falls down. To stand against the devil, you must fasten truth to yourself. Truth holds everything up.
Now, for Paul, in Ephesians, truth was the gospel of our salvation, when you go back to the beginning of Ephesians chapter one, verse 13. But at the same time, the belt of truth is being trustworthy and faithful, just as God is. John says, in John 8:44, that Satan is a liar. Satan works in the realm of falsehood and deceit. So to stand up against these lies that Satan will use against you, you must fasten truth around you. Truth is going to hold you up and help you stand against Satan.
The next piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. Paul calls us to put on the breastplate of righteousness. And again, that word put on is used in a way to show that it's a believer's job to put on the breastplate of righteousness. God is not going to do it for you. You seeing the pattern here? You have to put it on yourself. The breastplate was either a coat of mail, or a solid piece of metal, like a solid plate that would cover both the chest and the back, to protect one of the most important parts of the body. It's the heart. Paul is trying to show us that you have to guard your heart from Satan's attack that can really come from any direction.
Now, the righteousness that protects the heart isn't only your positional righteousness. And what I mean by that is this, the way that God sees you in Christ. If you're a believer in Jesus, God sees you as righteous. But that's not what Paul's actually talking about here, in the full picture. The righteousness Paul is talking about is him believing that you can guard your heart daily by living a righteous life. And I know that can sound like, "Are you saying that I have to do works to receive God's favor?" No, that's not what I'm saying. It's only faith that does that.
But when we talk about righteous living, we're talking about the kind of living that God wants a believer to walk. The way that you deal righteously with God, and the way that you deal righteously with your neighbor will really have an effect on whether or not Satan is creeping in to get to your heart. He's finding those weak spots in your breastplate of righteousness. Listen, if you lie and you cheat and you steal, if your motives are impure, if you do things out of selfishness, bitterness, rage, what it is really showing is that the heart is corrupt. And Satan thrives in those moments.
But Paul is saying, if you're living righteously, you're a truth teller, you give, you do things for the glorification of God, you love others, you're patient, you're kind and you're forgiving, then you're actually putting on righteousness. Satan can't work in that lifestyle. So righteousness protects from Satan's ability to corrupt the heart, and that's exactly what this idea of the breastplate of righteousness is. You are guarding your heart.
And Paul moves from the breastplate of righteousness now, down to the feet. Paul calls on believers to “fit their feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace.” This is such an interesting line, because, you see, sandals were the common way of protecting the feet in the days of Paul. That's what you would put on the bottom of your feet to walk around, were sandals. But the Roman army actually had a special sandal that they would use. It was a low, half-boot kind of sandal that had wool in them to protect your feet, to pad them, and to keep them safe. These were not the type of sandals for running. These were the type of sandals for digging in, standing in defense. They had what would kind of be like cleats on the bottom of them. So as the soldier wore the sandal, he could dig in during battle and stand firm during the attack.
Now, here's what's interesting about Paul's connection with the preparation of the gospel or the good news of peace, with this sandal, with the feet. It's often thought that it's sharing the gospel of Jesus that's connected with the feet, because the feet bring you places to share the good news. But that's not what Paul's talking about here. He's actually talking about defending yourself against Satan, not advancing the gospel. Here's what Paul is actually trying to say. The good news of peace is the reminder that you and God have been reconciled. You are God's child through Christ. It's peace and tranquility and security that the gospel brings in a believers' life that enables them to stand ready for any attack.
Think about this. A person who is stressed, who is anxious, who is nervous, that's not the kind of person that you want to be next to in battle. You want the person who is confident, who's got a sense of peace, and an understanding of what's going on. Somebody who's anxious and stressed and nervous, they could actually inflict more harm than help. Those whose feet are dug in and ready for the attack, that have peace, they're able to make clear decisions. They're able to provide better wisdom for what's going on. See, the gospel brings peace to the life of a believer, and peace in battle gives us the confidence to stand up against Satan's schemes.
Now, when we come back, we're going to continue our look here at the various different pieces of armor that God has provided for us, and his call for us to take them up, to put them on, to fasten them on our feet, all the different ways. But when we come back, we're going to finish up, and I hope that you join us.
Steve Conover: Let me ask you a question. If Christ were to return tomorrow, would you be ready? Join us online on March 4 and 5, 2022 for our free two-day conference where you will be encouraged to awaken and open your eyes to the promise of Christ’s return. Hear your favorite FOI speakers dive into first and second Thessalonians, and they’ll teach about how Christ’s imminent return can impact your life today. Visit lookup.foi.org to learn more.
Chris Katulka: Steve, I’m excited about this conference. The Awaken conference. Yours truly will be emceeing the conference. In fact, I’ll be speaking about Christ’s return from First and Second Thessalonians, which I’m very much looking forward to. Especially with the times that we live in today. There is a hope, there is a longing for the things that are wrong to be made right. And all of that takes place at Christ’s glorious coming. So that’s what we’re going to be studying as we look at First and Second Thessalonians.
Steve Conover: Register for Awaken today and you’ll receive a free one-year trial subscription to our digital Israel My Glory magazine. That’s for first time subscribers only. Prepare for the coming Day of the Lord. Visit lookup.foi.org to register or to learn more.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back, everyone. We've been diving into the different pieces of armor that God graciously provides for us, to defend ourselves from the attacks of the evil one. That we're supposed to take these up. It's our job to put them on. God provides them, but we have to have the diligence to put them on. And we just left off by standing our ground with the good news of peace.
But now, we're going to look at the shield of faith. Paul encourages believers to take up a shield of faith in addition to all the other defenses we just talked about. The other pieces of armor were fitted. They were worn by a soldier. The shield is one that you carry. It could have been one that covered the whole body, actually. It would have been made of wood and actually covered in leather. The shield, during battle, would have actually been dipped in water in order to protect the soldier from flaming arrows, and the leather would have also helped to put the flaming arrows out as well.
And Paul equates this shield to the faith of a believer. Faith is believing that God is on your side. Faith is believing that God is defending you, that he's protecting you, that he's strengthening you from opposition. Even though you can't see him physically, you believe that he's with you. I think of young David going up against the giant Goliath. He was a young man with the faith to know that God was going to protect him and his people, because he knew God was on their side. Whatever Goliath would hurl his way would never upend the faith that David had in the Lord's protection.
Friends, faith is a shield. When those arrows are shot at us, we have a defense that protects us right away, and that's our faith in the creator God of the universe. Faith that even when things don't go the way we want, we believe God is still in control. God is still working. God is sovereign, and his will is the best for us. This type of faith actually extinguishes the flaming arrows of the evil one. So you got to make sure that you have that shield of faith that's protecting you.
Finally, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. These are the last two pieces of armor that a soldier would take up, and they were only ever used for battle. The helmet can mean the difference between life and death. When Paul talks about salvation, he is talking about present day salvation. Better yet, maybe a better word would be present day deliverance. God desires to protect you, and to keep you, and to deliver you from your enemies. It's the reason that he provides the armor, and he wants you to put it on. God can deliver you from your enemies. And in those moments of actual battle, you need to have the helmet on, the helmet of deliverance, knowing that God is going to deliver you from your enemies. And he's also given you an offensive line of protection. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of the Lord. The sword of the Spirit is the offensive weapon, the spoken Word of God to be used against the spiritual wickedness of the devil.
And Jesus demonstrates this, during his life, on the three encounters that he has with the devil at the time of his temptation, where he used the written Word of God against the devil. You remember, Matthew chapter four, verses one through 11. He replies to the devil's first temptation by Jesus actually quoting Deuteronomy chapter eight, verse three. Remember, he says, "Man shall not live by bread alone but every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." This is not preaching the gospel, but speaking God's word against his foes. God's Word is our offensive strategy when it comes to the schemes of the devil. So be reading God's Word and use it against Satan.
Put on the armor of God, my friends. The belt of truth that holds everything up. The breastplate of righteousness that protects us from Satan's ability to get into the heart. Put on the peace in battle that gives us the confidence to stand up against Satan's schemes. Put on that faith that extinguishes the flaming arrows of the evil one, the helmet of salvation that delivers you from your enemies, and the Word of the Lord that can silence the threats of the devil. Friends, God gave us the armor. We have to put it on.
Steve Conover: Chris, in today's study, you talked about putting on the armor of God not being about works. And I noticed in verse 10 of this passage that we're to be strong in the Lord, and further in the passage we're to be praying in the Spirit. This really requires a greater dependency on God, doesn't it?
Chris Katulka: That's what this whole thing is about. It's about depending on God. It's about the fact that God doesn't just leave us out to fend for ourselves. He provides the tools that we need, with the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. He provides those tools for us, but it's actually our job to utilize those tools to be used. I always like to say, when you get saved, it's not like God only gives you little bits here and there. He actually gives you the full backpack to know him, to understand him. The Holy Spirit comes in you. The Holy Spirit from the beginning is the Holy Spirit to the end of your life. He's the same Holy Spirit. You don't get a little bit and a lot, and a little bit and a lot. He gives you everything that you need, from day one, to have a life that is pleasing to the Lord, of dependency on him, and trusting in him.
Steve Conover: So he provides for us both salvation and transformation.
Chris Katulka: Exactly.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: In these times of great uncertainty in Israel, the rabbis of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, have decided to compose a new prayer, a poem to comfort the people of Israel. One is the leader of a large synagogue in my neighborhood. For a long time, he would not even look at me because of my faith in Jesus, but when members of his synagogue told him I often make repairs to their homes for free, he gradually changed his attitude. We have since become good friends. When I met him recently, he was the first to say Shalom, and I knew immediately he wanted my help. I was happy to do the work he requested, and as always, I did not charge him.
When I was finished, he asked, "Zvi, have you lost your head, believing in this man, Jesus?" Because we were in a synagogue, I pointed to the extensive library and said, "Can you show me even one copy of the Bible here?" He answered, "Most of the books are prayer books. Other rabbis and I are trying to compose a new prayer. Could you offer any help in composing the new prayer?" I replied, "If you want to know how to pray, you must ask God directly for his help. All of the poems and prayers in the world will not help you if they do not come from your heart. They are nothing more than what King Solomon called vanity, in Ecclesiastes 1:2."
The rabbi was listening intently, and then he asked, "How do you pray?" "I opened my Bible to Psalm 25 and read, "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. I trust in you. Show me your ways, O Lord. Teach me your paths, for you are the God of my salvation." I told him, "These are the words of King David. He prayed all that was in his heart without worrying about whether it was a nice poem. Use David's words as an example of his simplicity and humility before God." The rabbi asked, "How do believers in Jesus pray?" I replied, "We pray what is in our hearts at any given time, in any given situation. The ability comes through the Holy Spirit of God, as people place their faith in the Lord Jesus. Hannah prayed silently in the temple at Shiloh, but her petition came from deep within her heart. God heard her prayer and gave her the desire of her heart, and the result was the birth of Samuel. We come before God with open hearts, and he answers our prayers according to his will."
The rabbi was surprised I read from the Bible, because he was sure believers in Jesus did not use the Bible. He said, "I have learned much today, but the distance between us is still very great." I said, "You must not try to bridge the distance between you and me, but between yourself and God. As it is written in Isaiah 53, 'He was bruised for our sins and crushed for our iniquities,' and because of all he has done for us, we must come to him in the way he has directed in his Word." The rabbi and I parted on a very friendly basis that day. I trust the Lord to do a work in this man's heart.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us today for week two in our current series. Chris, where are we headed next week?
Chris Katulka: We’re continuing our study on the armor of God and something that often becomes a backburner part of the Christian life, and I’ve experienced this, is prayer. Oftentimes prayer becomes secondary, when really the thing that Paul encourages us to do is pray unceasingly. All the time be in prayer with the Lord. That’s what we’re going to talk about, the value of prayer, especially as we enter into 2022.
Steve Conover: It’s an important subject. We hope you join us then. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
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Apples of Gold: How Do You Pray?
During times of great uncertainty in Israel, the rabbis of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) decided to compose a new prayer – a poem to comfort the people of Israel. One of the rabbis was the leader of a large synagogue in Zvi’s neighborhood. For a long time, he would not even look at Zvi because of his faith in Jesus, but one day a kind gesture opens the door for Zvi to share with the rabbi about prayer and the Messiah.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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