Studded Shoes and a Soaked Shield
15 And your feet shod with the preparation/readiness/foundation/steadfastness of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to put out all the fiery darts of the wicked.
I wear the belt of truth by surrounding myself with the truth of my new corporate rather than individualistic identity.
I protect myself when my guard is down with the breastplate of righteousness by developing the disciplined habits of godliness.
I keep from slipping by digging my heels into the good news of the peace God has created & planned between myself and others.
I stay safe from Satan's deceptions with the shield of faith by believing & pursuing the promises of God with like-minded saints.
I. The Gospel of Peace keeps one's feet from slipping in the slime of sin
Bad Peace is: a compromise of convictions for comfort, resulting in a guarded wallowing in the lowest common denominator.
Biblical Peace is: a rethinking or removal of the cause of hostilities to embrace the ideal, resulting in unity.
The good news (gospel) is not just that God has reconciled man to God but in the process, man to man, giving all believers a joint present purpose and shared future destiny.
2:14 For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; to make in himself of two one new man, [so] making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having in himself slain the enmity: 17 And came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to them that were near. 18 For through him we both have an access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now therefore you are no more strangers and aliens, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom you also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
1) It doesn't have to be this way; 2) Disunity is not God's intent; 3) Jesus has eliminated the necessity of living as an independent person; 4) It is possible to live as Jesus would have with this person; 5) We share a common heritage of undeserved forgiveness; 6) Both of us are in need of God's forgiveness on occasion/continually; 7) We're both God's children and have access to His ear; 8) We share the same Spirit; 9) We share a common destiny; 10) We have a common task to do that depends upon our unity.
II. The Shield of Faith keeps one from being skewered by Satan
Bad Faith is: Immature - wishful thinking
Immaterial - leap in the dark
Invisible - Clairol (Only God knows for sure)
Impermanent - disloyal
Inexpensive - worth what it costs
Biblical Faith is: believing that God is who He said He is and will do what He said He'll do Heb 11:6
Hebrews 11 faith is marked by an active self-denial in the pursuit of God's commendation and blessing
Find out the Facts: about who God is, what He likes, how He acts, what He's promised, what He requires
Ask, Adjust, Act as if: Ask God to fulfil His promises; Adjust your sights according to His will; Act as if He's answered "yes"
Inspire yourself with Imagination and Insight
Take steps according to the Truth as you Take God at His Word (Trust & Obey)
Hang on through Hell and High water
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. When jostled or jolted by another believer's behavior what's your immediate reaction? What's a Biblical reaction?
2. What are some of the missles Satan can launch to disrupt or destroy unity?
3. Where are you on the continuum of: faith..conscience/obedience..pure heart..fervent love? 1Tim 1:5
4. What are some of the ways that the Good News of Peace has effected your life? How should it effect your life?
5. How does our faith effect the unity and growth of our Body?