July 7, 2019
Survival tips for dark times… part 1
By: Jim Eschenbacher
This is the beginning of a new series molded around the cultural difficulties of this present age. Pastor Drew is very thoughtful in what he gives us each week; this series is well crafted and well timed.
Ephesians 6:10-20… Paul begins this section of scripture with … Finally, be strong in the lord and the strength of His might.
With that simple sentence he lets the reader know where strength comes from. It is from the Lord; it is in the Lord. The man with the mansion outside of town is not where we get strength. The size of your bank account does not make you strong or weak.
The letter of Ephesians was written to the church at Ephesus. Ephesus was a powerful city with many influences. Apparently a meteorite had hit the ground nearby, and Ephesus was the place where it was kept safe. Religious people thought it to have been hurled by a god, and by protecting it they were appeasing the god. The Christians were learning the Truth and part of that was that there is only one God. Those same Christians interacted with believers in the god who threw the meteorite. Paul was giving very practical and also very spiritual advice here.
Verse 12…For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.
The church in Ephesus did not wrestle against people who believed such hogwash; they wrestled against the spiritual forces behind the lies. We get the same instructions. We, in Arizona, don’t have a meteorite we are protecting, but there are some strong evil forces at work here. I have noticed that there is a strong bent toward lethargy, which Jesus called lukewarmness.
People work hard during their lifetimes to build up enough money to get them to the end. For many, “retirement” is the word that describes one’s final years. People who reach that designated time want to not have to do anything. That is well and good in the business world but in the church, we are still part of the body of Christ, which is still functioning. Paul instructs us to not face evil forces without armor.
Verse 13… Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
I am not an original language scholar and I don’t know what word was translated “withstand”, but I have stood on the Oregon coast in severe winds. Sometimes they are so severe I have to lean into them to stay upright. When winds of adversity blow against you, don’t pretend like you are strong. Armor is often defensive.
Verse 14… Stand therefore having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breast plate of righteousness.
The belt of truth…
John 17:17… Sanctify them in the Truth; your word is the truth.
John 17 is, in its entirety, Jesus’ prayer to His Father on the night He was betrayed. Notice the role of truth in Jesus’ own words. The truth sets us apart from all lies and deceptions. When you step into this dark world, always wear the truth. And as a flak jacket, wear righteousness.
The righteousness we put on must not be our own righteousness; it must be Jesus’ righteousness. He must put it on us. Drew gave us another Scripture to fit in this teaching
It begins… He who dwells in the shelter of the most high shall abide in the shadow of the almighty.
When someone is sneaking up on another person, he will often try to hide in the shadows. When you live in Christ, you abide in God’s shadow. Jesus doesn’t take us to a store and get us a breastplate. He walks with us; He is our righteousness. Abide in him .
Ephesians 6:15… And as shoes for your feet having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
Drew didn’t develop this completely; he plans to continue it. But he made one very significant point: shoes are made for walking. Be prepared to walk by being armed with the gospel. I might add that Paul included “peace” which in my mind is one of the things most missing in humans today.