Strength for the Journey

     
     
     
     

    Bible Study Pastor Eric C. Carson

                                                                     APRIL BOOK OF THE MONTH-      
                                                                        Just Walk Across the Room,
                                                                               by Bill Hybels


                                                 *************************************************************************************


                                                                                                  Bible Study

                                                                                              Warfare Series
                                                                                               Part 6
                                                                                        The Shield of Faith
                                                                                           Ephesians 6:16
     
    What Does The Shield Of Faith Picture?
    The shield of faith pictures a life of protection based on our
    faith in God’s character, Word and deeds.
     
    Roman soldiers sometimes used a small, round shield, but the Greek word translated here describes a shield large enough for several soldiers to crouch behind to protect themselves from volleys of arrows coming from enemy archery divisions. The surface of these large shields was either metal or leather –covered wood that could also repel or withstand flaming arrows. These were arrow that had been soaked in or wrapped with flammable material and were then set on fire and launched by the enemy—they were doubly lethal.
     
    In spiritual warfare the enemy of our soul launches his deadly missiles at us, and it is faith that protects us. Faith is our shield.
     
     
    What Is Faith?
    Faith is believing what God has said and committing ourselves to His Word.
     
    Faith is believing what God has said.  For example, God has said He will never leave us or forsake us.  He has said He will take care of all our needs.  So anytime we are believing something God has said, we are exercising faith.
     
    Faith goes beyond mere belief.  Faith is not faith until it exercises commitment.
     
    The question becomes do you believe in Jesus? That is intellectual belief, and it is not enough.  That is believing about Jesus.  You must believe in Jesus.  Only when you have committed your life to Him and to the truth He taught do you believe in Him.  That is faith.
     
    What Are the Flaming Arrows?
    The Bible does not tell us specifically what Satan’s flaming arrows are, though
    they can be anything that causes us to doubt or disobey the truth
     
    Satan’s flaming arrows are doubt, discouragement and bitter thoughts against God. These kinds of fiery darts Satan delights in hurling at believers in the midst of extreme suffering. These are the kinds of evil-inspired flaming arrows that can be extinguished and vanquished by faith: doubt, discouragement, bitterness, and hate.
     
     
     
    How Do We Use The Shield Of Faith?
    We use the shield of faith when we commit ourselves to live according
     to the truth of God’s Word instead of Satan’s lies.
     
    Flaming arrows are thoughts and feelings that Satan projects into our minds to get us to doubt what God has said.  Often Satan or his emissaries hurl their fiery darts in such a way that when they enter your mind, you end up saying, “I think this… .” or, “I feel that…”
     
     
    How should the Shield of Faith be used in the following areas?
     
    Discouragement
     
    Temptation
     
    Immorality
     
    Doubt
     
     
    Questions
     
    Can you think of any areas in your life where you have believed Satan’s lies?
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
     
     
    What is the truth that contradicts those lies?
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
     
     
    Supportive Scriptures on Faith
    Matthew 17:20; Romans 5:1; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1; Hebrews 11:6; James 1:3
     
     In order to exercise biblical faith, you need to know what it is and what it is not.  To be able to exercise biblical faith, you need to trust in the character of God.  You can never trust fully someone whose character you doubt.  Satan and his demons will try their hardest to get you to doubt God’s Character and give up on faith.  To be forewarned is to be forearmed.  You need to know this so that Satan will not get the upper hand in your life.
                                                                     ****************************************************************


                                                                                 Bible Study
                                                                             Warfare Series Part 5
                                                                  The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
                                                                              Ephesians 6:15
      
    What Do The Shoes Of
    The Gospel of Peace Picture?

    The shoes of the gospel of peace picture a trusting confidence in the

    promises of God, and the sense of peace that such trust brings.
     
    What does the gospel of peace refer to?
    The peace that is our when we believe the promises of God and act accordingly.  This is the peace suggested by Ephesians 2:14, where it describes Jesus Himself as being our peace.  This is reinforced in John 14:27, where Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
     
    This peace is central to fighting effectively in the spiritual war.  Which means, the peace of God in your heart, which comes by resting in His promises, helps you stand firm in spiritual battle.
     
    When we believe what God says and trust Him, then we have the personal inner peace that enables us to keep our footing in the daily spiritual battle (s). If we no do not believe the promises of God, we will become agitated,weakened, and confused when that happens, we are likely to lose our footing, lose ground, and eventually be defeated in the war against Satan.
     
    How Do God’s Promises Give Us Peace?
    God’s promises give us peace by answering our greatest fears.
     
    1. God’s Promise to Give Us Eternal Life:
    • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
     
    1. God’s Promise to Guide Us in Daily Life:
    • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and learn not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
     
    1. God’s Promise to Gives Us Peace in the Midst of Pain:
    • And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
     
     
    Over
     
     
    How Do God’s Promises Lighten Our Load?
    God’s promises lighten our load by helping us lay down
    burdens that God never intended us to carry.
     
    Why is life so heavy and feels as though it about to crush us?  (Matthew 11:28-30)
     
    • We are trying to carry a burden Jesus never intended us to carry.
    • We are trying to control people, possessions and (or) circumstances to make life go the way we want it to go.
     
    The burden of trying to cope with pain is often greater than we can handle by ourselves. If we trust Jesus to carry the load and give us the grace to face what comes, moment by moment, we can have peace in the midst of pain.
     
    Many of us must be brought to the end of our own spiritual and emotional resources and strength before we will lean back into Jesus, believe His promises, and rest in them.  When we do, He gives us the peace that puts our feet on solid ground and enables us to stand firm in the spiritual battle.
     
     

    Questions

     
    What one thing do you fear most about totally trusting God? What would you need to do to totally trust Him in that area?
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
     
     
    Do you think it is “safer” to trust God and obey Him or to distrust Him and disobey Him and try to control your own circumstances? (This is especially difficult to answer when you think of something that God might be asking of you that you don’t want to do).
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
     
    Additional scripture readings that speak of the peace that comes from trusting in the promises of God.
    Matthew 11:28-30  John 14:27  Philippians 4:7  2 Thessalonians 3:16
     
    When we put on the shoes of the gospel of peace, we are saying, “I believe the promises of God and count on them to be true for me.  And when I do, I can have His peace in my life”.
     

                                                                                   

                                                                    ******************************************     
                                                                                           Bible Study  
                                                                                  Warfare Series Part 4
                                                                        The Breastplate of Righteousness
                                                                                     Ephesians 6:14
     
     
    What Does the Breastplate of Righteousness Picture?

    The Breastplate of righteousness pictures a lifestyle of trusting obedience to God
     
    The breastplate of righteousness is for our protection. It is defensive armor that protects us in three ways.
     
    • Righteousness protects us from the harm and damage and violent ravages of sin.
    • Righteousness guards us from the hardening and choking of the spiritual arteries that suffocate the spiritual life more slowly and less violently than overt sins, but which render us lifeless, nevertheless.  It keeps us from drifting away from God and dying a slow, cold death.
    • Righteousness defends us against Satan’s deceptive methods by giving us discernment.
     
     
    There are Two Dimensions of Righteousnes

    Righteousness is both imputed and imparted.
     
    Imputed Righteousness:
     
    • Imputed Righteousness refers to Christ’s righteousness that was applied to us when we became Christians.  Imputed righteousness was affixed to us as a breastplate at the moment of salvation; it is a gift from God. On the basis of Christ’s work in our behalf we have been made righteous fit for heaven, acceptable to God. We are covered, protected with the breastplate of righteousness.
     
    Imparted Righteousness:
     
    • The Bible instructs us as Christians to, “Put on the full armor fo God, so that you will be able to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:11 NASB) And, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NKJV). Meaning, we don’t passively rest in God’s protection we must also actively engage the Enemy in both offensive and defensive warfare, which mean we need a second layer of protective righteousness.  That is imparted righteousness: the active living out of a righteous lifestyle as a result of the working of God in our lives.
     
     
     
    How Do We Put On The Breastplate of Daily Righteous Living?
    We put on the breastplate of daily righteous living by being faithfully obedient to all we understand Christ is asking of us.
     
    When we become Christians, we begin to desire to do good things and avoid bad things that’s- the Holy Spirit working within us. This desire grows as we study the Bible and are challenged by the lives of others around us.  The seeds of spiritual maturity must be watered and tended so that they take root and bear fruit in due season.
     
     
    How Does Sin Hurt Us?
    Sin hurt us by inflicting predictably painful consequences.
     
    Today, there is a greatly diminished concern about righteousness.  Christians tend to be more concerned about “not hurting” and about being personally fulfilled.  They often follow non-scriptural means to achieve these two ends.  However, God is concerned that we live righteous lives, and may bring whatever is necessary into our lives in order to lead us in that direction. We should be concerned about living righteously not only because that pleases God, but also because to fail to do so brings unnecessary and avoidable pain into our lives.
     
    Question
     
    How have you seen God’s commands protect your life?  Have you experienced harm when you disobeyed His commands?
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
     
     
    Scriptures that speaks of the importance of righteousness
     
    • Romans 12:1-2
    • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
    • Ephesians 6:14
    • Philippians 4:8-9
    • 1 Peter1:15-16
                                                   *******************************************************************************

                                                                           Bible Study

                                                                                              Warfare Series   Part  3
                                                                                             The Belt of Truth
                                                                                              Ephesians 6:14
     
                                                                                What does the Belt of Truth Picture?
    The belt of truth pictures a commitment to the truth of the Word of God.
     
    “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth… (Ephesians 6:14)
     
    The first of spiritual armor is the belt of truth.  The Roman solder wore a thick leather belt to hold his tunic in place and to which was attached the sheath for his sword.  When the Roman soldier “gird his loins” he tucked his long outer robe under his belt so that it hinder him in running or fighting.
     
    In similar fashion, the Christian must prepare himself for spiritual battle by fixing in place his commitment to the truth of Scripture, and setting his mind to follow that truth. This  prevents folds of falsehood from entangling his legs and tripping him, making him vulnerable in battle. The Christian must prepare himself for battle by making a total commitment to the truth of Scripture and by being determined to follow that truth.
     
                                                               What must our level of commitment to truth be?
    Our commitment to truth must be total and unending.
     
    “Do not be deceived God is not mocked for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap… (Galatians 6:7)
     
    We count on God to be true to every aspect of His word.  As God is true to His word, we are to be like Him and must be true to our word. This means that;
    • We must embrace the total truth of Scripture
    • We must speak the truth and be true to our word
    • We must back up what we say by how we live
    When we are committed to believing the truth, we believe the promises of God and rest in them; we believe the commands of God and obey them; and we trust the truth of Scripture and order our lives according to it.
    This is what it means to buckle on the belt truth.
     
                                               Why must a Christian tell the truth in word and in deed?
    The Christian must tell the truth in world and deed, or else his character, the credibility of the gospel, and the reputation of God Himself are compromised.
     
    These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him; A proud look, lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren…(Proverbs 6:16-19)
    Over
    We must, therefore, be committed to the truth in word and deed. We must be people of the truth, not people of the lie.  We must be people of integrity. To be a person of integrity has come to mean being an honest and ethical person, which has evolved from the ideal of being a whole person.
     
    To be a whole person, there must be consistency between what we say and what we do.  We cannot be duplicitous, two sided, hypocritical, we cannot say one thing and do another. A person of integrity puts his life where his mouth is.
     
     
                                                                                              Is Truth Absolute or Relative?
    God’s truth is absolute, eternal, and unchanging.
     
    Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.  (Psalm 43:3)
                                                                 
    Absolute means to be complete, whole
     
    Relativism is the belief that all truth is relative.
     
    When people wonder what is wrong with America, the answer is people have forgotten God. And with the forgetting of God comes the loss of absolute truth, and with the loss of absolute truth everything disintegrates.
     
      
    Truth and a love for truth are important because Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).  One of his primary goals is to twist the truth, to conceal the truth, to tell half-truths that act as lies, and to deceive us into believing something false.  He a deceiver and a destroyer.  He deceives in order to destroy. We must therefore know the truth, be committed to the truth, live the truth, and declare the truth.  Truth is the only way to victory in the spiritual war.  We must buckle on the belt of truth!!
     
     
     
                                           >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Bible Study
    Spiritual Warfare Series
    Part 1
    The Make Up of Spiritual Warfare.

     

    The meaning of Spiritual Warfare

    Spiritual Warfare is the Christian concept of taking a stand against preternatural evil forces.
     
    Three Battlefronts in Spiritual Warfare:
     
    1. The World  (1 John 2:15-17)
     
    The World is the social battlefront, where believers battle sin and evil confronting them from “without.”  It is a battleground of external powers, values, influences, and temptations.
     
    In this battle, the Bible admonishes us to be in the world but not of the world and to resist the pressure of unredeemed society that would force us into it mold.
     
    1. The Flesh (Romans 7:14-25)
     
    The Flesh refers to an inherent bent toward sin that every human being inherits from Adam.  It refers not just to action s (sex, money, and power), but also to attitudes (lust, greed, and all kinds of selfishness). The Flesh is the personal battlefront, where believers battle sin and evil “within” themselves, a battleground of internal powers, values, influences and temptations.
     
    1. The devil (1 Peter 5:8)
     
    The devil refers to a supernatural battlefront where believers battle Satan and other evil supernatural beings, whom the Bible identifies as the source of evil.  Satan and his allies use the world and the flesh to keep us from doing the will of God.
     
    What is the source of our strength in a spiritual warfare?
     
          The source of our strength in the spiritual war is God alone.
     
    In spiritual warfare God does the work of God, Man does the work of man.  Man cannot do the work of God, and God will not do the work of man. 
     
    God’s work--- spiritual warfare--- has to be done God’s way.  The work of humans is to learn and employ God’s tactics and rely on God---and God alone---in the spiritual war.
     
    over
     
    What are the weapons of war?
     
    Our weapons of war are the pieces of spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6:10-18.
     
     
    What are Satan’s methods of deception?
     
    Satan deceive us by appealing to “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16), he makes bad look good, false appear true, wrong look right, ugly seem beautiful, hurtful feel helpful, and painful look pleasant.
     
    Satan employs two particularly effective means of deceiving us:
    1. he gets us to sin
    2. he keeps us mired in guilt
     
    How can we get the power to overcome?
     
    We are able to overcome Satan by realizing that his only power over us is that of:
     
    1. Deception
    2. Fear
    3. Resisting him
     
     
     
    Questions to Ponder
     
    1. Reflect on situations in your experience when you should have fought but you fled, and vice versa. What can you learn from this?
     
     
    1. In what area of your life are you lost susceptible to Satan’s deception? What will you do now to avoid being deceived?
     
     
    1. In what area of life are you most tempted to try to do the work of God while ignoring the work of man?

     
     
    Therefore submit to God.
    Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
    James 4:7

     

    *********************************************************************************************** 

    Bible Study
    Warfare Series
    Part 2
     
    The Unseen Forces In The Invisible War
     
    What are Good Angels?
    Angels are spirits who live in an unseen realm and do the will of God.
     
    • Angels were created by God to do His will.  (Psalm 103:20-21 148:2-5)
    • They are spirit beings and usually unseen (Number 22:22-31; Hebrews 1:7, 13-14)
    • Sometimes, however, they take on the form of a human being; whey they do, we may not know they are angels just from looking at them.  (Genesis 19:1—5; Hebrews 13:2)
     
    Who is Satan?
    Satan, probably the highest good angel before he rebelled against God, is now the enemy who opposes the will of God.
     
    • The name Satan means adversary or enemy. The Apostle Peter even calls him “your adversary the devil.” (1 Peter 5:8)
    • Originally called Lucifer, which means Day Star (Isaiah 14:12), Satan is a spirit being and was possibly the highest angel in God’s created order. (Ezekiel 28:14-15; Luke 10:18-20)
    • He sinned by rebelling against God. His sin was pride.  He wanted to be like God, not in the sense of possessing God’s holy character, but by possessing authority equal to God’s. (Isaiah 14:13-15; 1 Timothy 3:6)
     
    What are Demons?
    Demons are probably the angels who sinned by following Satan in his rebellion against God.  The now opposes the will of God and do the will of Satan.
     
    • Demons are spirit beings, probably the angels who followed Satan’s rebellion against god and joined him in opposing eh will of God. ( Luke 10:17-20; Revelation 12:7-9)
    • They have their own “doctrine,” which they promote among humans to deceive and destroy them. (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
    • Demons can exert various degrees of control over individuals, inflict physical maladies, cause insanity or derangement, give a person extraordinary strength and seemingly supernatural abilities, and take over a person’s life and destiny if allowed. (Matthew 9:32-33; 10:8; 17:15-18; Mark 6:13; Luke 8:26-31; Acts 16:16-24)