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Never Fight your Battles Undressed

MESSAGE TRANSCRIPTION: 

Well, if you’re new around here, let me just say welcome to Eastside. I’m Virgil Grant. I’m one of the leaders around here. And today, I get to close out the sermon series that we’ve been in for the last several months called Winning the War in Your Mind. So if you have your Bible or your Bible out, let me ask you to turn or click to Ephesians Chapter six. And the reason why I’m going to ask you to do that is I want to ask you to do something with those verses here in a second. So we’ve been talking about winning the war in your mind. We’ve talked about life is difficult because of three enemies, the world that’s around us, the culture, the Devil himself who comes up against us, and then the flesh, the carnal nature inside of us that we deal with. Now next week, I’m going to be launching a brand new sermon series called Grace Is Greater because we’ve talked about how to be prepared and how to win the battle. Now we’re going to be looking at the beautiful aspects of Grace, and we’re going to be looking at Grace going all the way up through Easter.

Now, Ephesians chapter six is a passage that’s often referred to as the prayer passage, the spiritual armor passage. But I want us to read it together. Ephesians Chapter six. We’re going to begin in verse ten. And Paul says, finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Now notice what he says, do not be strong in your own power. Do not be strong in your own talents and strengths. He doesn’t say that. He says be strong in the Lord. Put on the full armor of God.

And why do we need to put on the full armor of God? So that you can take your stand against the Devil’s schemes. So apparently, the Devil has some schemes that he uses against us. And notice what Paul says for our struggle. Our battle is not against human beings. It’s not against flesh and blood. But notice this. He says it’s against the rulers. It looks like there are different authorities, there are different protocols, and there are different titles in the evil forces because there are rulers against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes. And as David just said, Dave Cheney, is that where the evil comes? Satan always comes. So it’s an ongoing thing. So we have to put on the full armor of God. So when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.

And after you’ve done everything to stand, stand firm. Then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with a breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, next slide. In addition to all of this, Paul says, take up a shield of faith with which you can extinguish. Notice this, all the flaming arrows of the evil one. So apparently, the Devil has some arrows that are flaming that he launches at us. So what are those? We’re going to talk about those in a moment. Take the helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And then Paul closes out and prays in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Now we’re reminded that the mind is the battlefield, that the battle that we are engaged in happens in the mind, and Satan wants to engage us in the battle. Now how does he engage us in the battle? Well, Satan does a couple of things. You might just want to write these down. This is not on the overhead, on the screens. But what we have to do is that Satan wants to battle us with discouragement. He wants to bring discouragement against us so that we will throw in the towel. Satan will battle us with doubts. He will cause doubts to come into her mind. He will call despair into her mind. He will call depression into our minds. He will bring the darkness of the world into our lives to try to discourage us. He will bring delays, he will bring difficulties into our lives, and he will even bring dead ends. And all of these things, if we’re not careful, are the schemes of Satan that causes us to go down the dark path. And so the reason that I wanted you to turn or click to Ephesians six is if you have it on your Bible app, you can click on that passage, and you can highlight all those verses.

And then, later on, when you need those verses, you can do a search on your Bible for the highlighted verses, and you can pull them up. Now Paul tells us if we’re going to win this battle, we have to know some things. And Paul gives us a couple of things that we need to know upfront. And then, at the end of the message today, I’m going to help you to put on the full armor of God in a way that you can do it every single moment or every single morning. So there’s to win the war, I must, number one, do this as it comes up. I must get dressed for the battle. Now, this is what Paul says. Now, there’s no NFL player who would ever go on to a football game or the football field and engage in an NFL game and not have the proper equipment, not have their helmet on, their shoulder pads, their knee pads, and whatever else they have. And this is what Paul is saying. We have to be prepared to look with me.

In Ephesians six, verse ten, Paul says, finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power put on the full armor of God so that you can stand so that you won’t slip, that you won’t fall, that you won’t stumble against the Devil’s schemes. Now, I hate to tell you this, but you were born into a battle. You did not ask for this battle, but you were born into a cosmic battle. And the cosmic battle that you were born into is a battle between good and evil, darkness and light, in between God and Satan. Satan and God are not equals, my friends. God is a zillion times stronger than the Devil. And the Devil is a creative being. But here’s the thing that you need to understand you do not need to joke about Satan. Now, in our minds, at least in my mind, we have this funny image of who Satan is, right? I don’t know about you, but he’s got a pair of red pajamas on. Anybody else got the same image. He’s got BD eyes, right? He’s got a tail; he’s got horns coming out of his head. And what is he carrying around with him? What is it? A Pitchfork? Right? And that’s not who the Devil is. Folks, listen to me.

Satan is not someone that you should mess with. And here’s the reason why you shouldn’t mess with them is that Satan hates you. Satan wants to destroy your life. Satan wants to destroy your marriage. Satan wants to destroy your children. Satan wants to destroy your career, your job. Satan would love for you. My friends, listen to me. Satan would love for you to take your life to end it and to get it over with. Satan takes you so much that he wants to completely take you out. He will mess you up if you allow him. Satan is strategic. He is subtle, he is smart, he’s intelligent, and you are no match for Satan whatsoever. And so here’s the thing. You think that you can outsmart Satan. You can never outsmart Satan. And here’s the thing. Here’s the bad news you and I were born into a battle. Are you ready for some good news? Two people. Okay. Are you ready for good news? Yeah. The good news is that we have already won the victory, my friends, through Jesus Christ. Because look what it says in one, John. Chapter four is greater is he who is where in me than he that is in what the world is that Satan may not be afraid of you, my friends, but guess who Satan is afraid of? And it is God who lives within you. And because of that, we have nothing to be afraid of. But we have to understand that we are in a battle. The second thing I want you to understand is that I must know the real enemy.

Now, we must understand who the real enemy is. One of the reasons why you and I walk around defeated, discouraged, down, and out all the time is that we don’t understand who the enemy is. The question is, who is the enemy? Who is responsible for the state of our nation and our country? Now, some of you would probably say it was other people. Some of you would say it was corporate executives. They’re greedy. They keep raising prices on goods so they can get a bigger and bigger salary. Some of you will say no. The real problem is the Democrats, and others of you go, no, the real problem is the Republicans, and some of you go, no. The real problem is the atheists in the world. No, it’s not the atheist. The real problem is that social media, ever since we got Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, all of that, that’s the real problem. No, it’s not that. It’s the media. It’s because they just slant everything to the way that they want it. Some of you would say, no, no, it’s the Liberal agenda. Some of you would say it’s the right-wing activist that’s who to blame. And the list goes on and on and on. 

Can I just say something to you? If you said any of those were our problem, then you would be 100% inaccurate. None of that is our problem. Folks, listen to me. The moment that you think that another individual is your enemy listen to me. This is an opportunity for you to say, Amen, I’m just teen you up for success? Because I want you to win in life. Okay? So the moment that we believe that another individual is our enemy, the Devil has won because no individual is our enemy. Because look what Paul says. Paul says this in Ephesians chapter six. For our struggle is against our wife.

Do you know what it says? For our struggle is not against flesh and blood. It’s not against any human being. It’s not against any individual. It’s not against any political party. It’s not against anything. The struggle that we have is not against flesh and blood, but it’s against the rulers, against the authorities, the powers of this dark world, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. He said, folks, your enemy is Satan, and you are no match for Satan. Now, when you came in, you noticed on your seat rubber band; that it’s latex-free, by the way. So if you’re allergic to latex, you don’t have to worry about that. But I want you to pick up the rubber band. I want you to hold it up. Now I want you to take this, and I want you to put this in a visible place that you’re reminded of what I’m about to tell you.

You are no match for Satan. Just like if we were to take this rubber band out and we were to say, I’m going to use this rubber band, and I’m going to defeat a battleship with a rubber band. Now, imagine the question, what kind of impact is a rubber band going to have on a battleship? Nothing. And when you decide that you are going to go up against Satan in your own power, guess what kind of impact you’re going to have on Satan? Nothing. We have to remember that Satan is the enemy and that he is not afraid of us, but he’s afraid of the one who lives within us. Does it make sense? Now, folks, Satan cannot attack you physically. He cannot punch you. He cannot slug you. But what does he do? Everything is subtle and suggestive in mind. The battle is either won or lost in mind. And the third thing that Paul tells us very quickly is, I must use every piece of the armor.

And Paul says in verse 13, he says, put on the full armor of God. In a moment, I’m going to walk you through how to put on the full armor of God because God wants us to understand that we are winning the battle from victory, not for victory. We don’t engage in the battle to try to win victory. Victory already belongs to us. Now, the last thing that you see there on your outline is that I must know when to use the armor of God. And folks, there’s a reason why God gave us the spiritual armor. We have to know when to use it. The first opportunity that you need to use the armor of God is when sin has a stronghold in your life. Now, the word stronghold is a word that we don’t use very often. It’s a word that we don’t know very well, but a stronghold is exactly what it says is that it has a stronghold in your life. Now, we don’t even understand this spiritually.

So let me just tell you what one author says. He says a stronghold is a Satanic lie. Now, what do we mean? It’s a lie that you believe that’s not true about God or true about yourself. Now, here’s what I just said. It’s a lie that you believe because of a wound in your life, and you are leaving something that’s not true about God, nor true about yourself, but operationally, you’re actually operating and living your life based upon that lie. Here’s how the scholar says it. He says this is a generational mindset. What is this authentic lie? It’s a generational mindset. The generational mindset is that you’ll never be worth anything, is that we’ll never amount to anything. You are no good. I mean, whatever it may be, it’s a human wounding that you have listened to long enough and believed strongly enough. And now you own it deeply enough that it’s become the part of your identity is that you don’t know yourself apart from this sentient life. You don’t know yourself apart from this stronghold that Satan has in your life.

It could be a thousand different things. It could be shame, it could be guilt, it could be all kinds of things. Notice it has fortified itself in you. It has solidified, it has taken root in your life, and you believe it, and it dictates your thoughts, your beliefs, your actions, and reactions. In other words, it controls everything about your life because why it has a stronghold in your life and because it has a stronghold in your life.

That’s the only way that you know how to operate. It operates through this lie, this generational wounding that’s happened to you. And many of us are here today, and we have that, and we don’t even understand it. The second time that you need the armor of God is when Satan attacks you. Now, do you understand that?

Satan attacks you. He doesn’t literally come after you. He doesn’t literally slug you. He doesn’t literally wrestle you to the ground. Here’s how Satan does it. He does it in mind. Now, how many of you were inspired earlier this month? How many of you are here? All right, the rest of you follow your needs and repent for not being here. Okay, now listen, so here’s what happens. We had inspired on the first Wednesday of the month. On Thursday, I was speaking to a member of our Church, and the member of the Church said, well, how was inspired last night? They knew that I knew that they weren’t there. I said, oh, it’s fantastic. And then here’s what they go. They go, well, I was going to come, but then I had a long day. It was cold; it was rainy. I got home, I got warmed up by the fireplace, and I thought, well, I’m just going to spend the rest of the evening snuggled up next to the fireplace, and the person didn’t show up to inspire. Now that sounds so legit in their minds, but do you understand what that person just believed? She believed in the lies of Satan.

Satan told her in a very subtle way. See, we don’t even recognize that. Hey, honey, you don’t have to do anything tonight because you’ve had a long day. You know what? It is cold. Who wants to go out? There’s not going to be anybody at Church anyway. It’s not going to be any good anyway. And Satan just talked her out of coming.  But Satan came up against her. Satan is trying to come up against you. Now, the third time that you need the armor of God is when you go up against Satan. When you go against Satan. And some of you are saying, well, when do I ever go against Satan? Well, anytime that you present the plan to be born again, the plan of Salvation.     

Satan has thrown every distraction he can so they will not listen to what the gospel of Jesus Christ has to say. Satan does not want them to be transformed from his Kingdom into God’s Kingdom, and he throws every single destruction at them. And when you attack Satan, you need spiritual armor. Another way that you need a spiritual armor when you attack Satan is when you have a spiritual conversation with someone when you sit down and talk to them about baptism or taking the next spiritual step or stepping into generosity or stepping into a life group or whatever is that you are attacking Satan? And friends, listen to me. Our vision statement as a church means that we are storming the gates of hell. And here’s what I honestly believe. I’m not trying to be arrogant; I’m not trying to be proud. But we have a vision of seeing thousands and thousands and thousands of people in Madison County who will one day be living and all in life for Jesus Christ. They’ll be completely sold out to Jesus Christ. And do you believe that Satan is happy about that? Do you think that Satan is excited for us? Absolutely not. And here’s what I believe. 

I believe that Satan is attacking our Church more than any other Church in the community because we have a white-hot, clear vision of seeing thousands of people come to know Jesus Christ and one day live all in life for him. And Satan is attacking us because we’re attacking him, and we’re not going to back down, right? We’re not backing down. Yet another thing that happens. Here’s another thing that happens. A couple of weeks ago, I had 25 meetings in like four days. So I’m always preparing for a meeting in a meeting or coming out of a meeting like that is my life.

And so I had 25 meetings. And in every one of those meetings, I would go, I’m going to pray for these people. And the moment that I would say, Kevin, I was going to pray for him, you know what would happen? Satan would go, hey, Virgil, those people, they don’t want you to pray for them. They will laugh because you want to pray for them. It’s going to be awkward. You don’t need to pray. And what was Satan doing, Satan? I was trying to attack him. And then immediately, suddenly, he comes in and says, don’t pray for them. Don’t do that. Does it make sense? Do we need the full armor of God when we are dealing with a stronghold in our life? When we’re attacking Satan when Satan is attacking us. 

Now, you understand when Paul writes the Book of Ephesians, Paul is chained to a Roman soldier 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Paul is trying to communicate what does it mean to be engaged in a spiritual battle? And as a result of that, he goes, I need a prop. He goes, oh, there’s a Roman soldier in all of their garb. I can use that. And so Paul takes his circumstances, and he turns them into a biblical truth for us to remember.

Now, folks, I’m going to give you the spiritual armor. And the spiritual armor is something that I put on every morning before my feet hit the ground. Now, it’s not going to be in the order that Paul presents it. This is the way that I learned this probably 30 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it, and I just want to teach it to you even though it’s out of order. It’s a way for you to remember it. Is it okay if I do it that way? Okay, good. So here’s how we had to put on the spiritual armor. Why do we put on spiritual armor? Is because we needed to deal with strongholds. We need to use it when we attack Satan and when Satan attacks us. First of all, the first piece of equipment that I put on is that I put on the helmet of Salvation. Why do I put the helmet of Salvation on? It is because it protects the mind. Now, when I put the helmet of Salvation on, I do three things.

Number one, I just say, God, thank you that I’m your child. I thank you that you’re pleased with me, that you’re happy with me. When you look at me, you smile, and you find complete joy in me. I belong to you. I’m totally forgiven, totally accepted by you. So I just remind myself that I’m a child of God because what does Satan want to do? He wants to say to you that you don’t belong to God. The second thing that I do I say not only am I glad that I’m your child, but I’m thankful for my security of Salvation, to have the assurance of Salvation, that I belong to God. I don’t have to worry about fighting the Devil. I don’t have to worry about going up against him because my Salvation is secure.

The third thing that I do and put on the helmet of Salvation I claim the mind of Christ. And Paul says in one Corinthians, chapter two is that we can possess the mind of Christ. Now, folks, you need the mind of Christ because why? Because Satan is throwing all these lies at you one after another. And so the first thing I do every morning is I put on the helmet of Salvation.

So everybody says it with me. Helmet of Salvation. The second piece of equipment that Paul talks to us about is the breastplate of righteousness. Now, folks, righteousness is a big word. We’re going to talk about that in a second. But the breastplate Paul says that when you put on and it covers your chest, your stomach, and that is where you find the vital organs of your life, your heart, your lungs, others. Right. And Paul says that we’re covered with the righteousness of God. And notice what Paul says in two Corinthians five, God made Jesus, who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Jesus we might become what the righteousness of God. And what is righteousness? Righteousness is the purity of heart that we are pure in heart because we’re covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. Now, the third piece I put on, the first piece is the helmet of Salvation. The second piece is the breastplate of righteousness. The third piece is the belt of truth. For me, the belt of truth is integrity. And you have to have integrity in your life. You’ve got to have moral integrity. You’ve got to have relational integrity. You’ve got to have financial integrity. You’ve got to have sexual integrity. Integrity is just knowing the truth and, more importantly, living the truth out. And when I think about the belt of truth, I think about being Truthful, first of all, with God. I think about being Truthful with others, and I think about being Truthful with myself. And so, the belt of truth is integrity. So the first piece of equipment I put on every morning is the helmet of Salvation.

Then I put on the breastplate of righteousness. Then I put on the belt of truth. And then the fourth piece I put on is the gospel shoes and the gospel shoes of peace. Now, how many of you played baseball in high school or Little League, or you played Pwee football or whatever? How many of you played football, golf, or any of that? How many of you do that? Anybody. So you understand what a football cleat is? Do you understand what baseball cleats are? Well, a Roman soldier on their feet would have something similar to football cleats, but instead of little cleats, they would have long nails that would come out of the bottom, and it would stick out. And the reason why is because when the Roman soldier went to war, it was hand-to-hand combat, and it was important for the Roman soldier to establish his footing. And he didn’t want to slip. He didn’t want to slide. He didn’t want to fall down. In other words, let me just say like this, you would never find a Roman soldier fighting in a pair of Crocs, okay. It would be like just some cleats. And so it’s very important that they have it. But notice what it says, the gospel of peace. Now, what does it mean, the gospel of peace. He’s saying, if you want to stand in life and you want to stand up under the storms that you’re going through, you’ve got to have peace.

Now, folks, let me ask you a question. What is the one thing that gives us all unrest and no peace? Broken relationships, right? It’s tension in relationships. It’s when we have anger and bitterness and turmoil, and we have disagreements. When relationships are not correct and not going well, what happens? We have no peace. So he talks about the gospel of peace. Obviously, he’s talking about the plan of Salvation and knowing Jesus Christ. But there’s also the gospel of peace, of being at peace with God, with yourself, and with others. And whenever you have tension, whenever you have broken relationships, whenever you have anger, animosity, you know what you’ve done, you have flung open the door of your heart for Satan to come in into wreck havoc. And how do you establish peace with other people? How do you establish peace with yourself? How do you establish peace with God? What Psalm 119 tells us?

Psalm 1:9 says this there is such great peace and well-being that comes to the lovers of your word. Notice what happens when you understand the word. When you’re living in the world, guess what happens then? There’s not too much that will ever offend you. Because why? Because you understand what Paul says as much as it depends upon you. Do what? Live in peace with one another. And so Paul says, you know what? God’s given us all the equipment. He’s given us the helmet. He’s given us a breastplate. He’s given us the belt. He’s given us the gospel. And then he’s given us the shield of faith. The shield of faith is the defensive part of the armor. It is the part of the armor that is certainty in your life. It represents the promises of God. It represents the presence of God. It represents that whatever is going wrong in your life, you do not stand and do not base your feelings upon the circumstances of the day, but you base your feelings upon the promises of God.

Now, do you understand that? It says that Satan will send your way flaming arrows. Now, what did Paul mean when he said that you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one with the shield of faith? So the shield of faith is the promises of God. So that’s a certainty. So you can quench you can extinguish the flaming arrows through the shield of faith, which is a certainty, the promises of God. Well, what are some of the flaming arrows? I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about this, but one of them is doubt Satan will go like this. Did God really say that? Can you really trust God? Tell me, do you really need to step into generosity? Do you think God’s going to take care of you? I mean, look at the financial mess that you’re in right now. Did God really tell you to reach out and reconcile that relationship? You know, if you try to step out and reconcile that, nothing’s going to work. Satan throws the flaming arrows of doubt all the time. He throws the flaming arrow of delay. God, where are you at? Where is God? God’s never own time, is he? Why is it that he’s taking them so long? If God really loved you, he would already have done something about this.

Do you know what I’m talking about? This. Does anybody know what I’m talking about? I’m just preaching to myself here. Difficulties are another flaming arrow. Satan goes, I thought you were a Christian. Why are you dealing with all these difficulties? Why are you dealing with all these problems? I mean, if God was really God and he was really the God who he said he is, then why are you dealing with all these difficulties? Don’t you think that God should be protecting you from all these difficulties?

Then there’s depression, the flaming arrow of depression, where we feel hopeless. We feel like life is not worth living. And on and on. The flaming arrows come from Satan. And every time that Satan launched a missile at you, you take the shield of faith, and you do what? You deflect it, and you go, you know what? That’s not what God says. Here’s what God says. And you repeat the word of God. And then the last piece of the armor that you were to pick up is the sword of the Spirit. And Paul tells us the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. And the word of God is the only offensive weapon that we have it’s. Our only offense is the word of God. The word of God is the offense. The word of God is how we charge the gates of hell. The word of God is how we reclaim the things that Satan is trying to take away from us. See folks, when you use the offensive weapon as the sword of the Spirit, what you’re saying to Satan? You’re saying to Satan. Satan, you’re not taking any more territory from me. Satan, you’re not taking anything from me. In fact, Satan, I’m going to start expanding the territory. I’m going to start taking back what you’ve stolen from us. I’m going to start taking it back from God. Let me just tell you something, Satan. You have no claims on my children. Satan, you have no claim on my marriage. Satan, you have no claim on my career, on my job. Satan, you have no claim on my future. I’m taking back what rightfully belongs to me through the word of Jesus Christ, and the word can never become the sword until the word moves from here to here. This is the reason why you have to memorize Scripture.

That’s another whole sermon for another whole day. But you have to get the word of God into your heart. This is the reason why we encourage quiet time, a daily quiet time. This is the reason why we encourage you to read the Bible. And so this morning, here’s what I want you to do. I just want you to practice with me, putting on the full armor of God. Okay? So in the morning, you wake up, and the first thing you do, you put on the helmet of Salvation. Why do we put on the helmet of Salvation? To remind ourselves that we’re God’s child, that our Salvation is secure, and that we can have the mind of Christ.

The second piece of equipment after we put on the helmet of Salvation is the breastplate of righteousness. Remember that we’re covered by His righteousness. We’re saved by his righteousness. Our heart is pure because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We put on the belt of truth. We’re going to have integrity. We’re going to put on the gospel shoes of peace. We’re going to live at peace with God, with ourselves, and with others. We’re going to take up the shield of faith, and we’re going to use that to extinguish all of the flaming arrows that Satan will launch our way. And the last thing that we’re going to take up is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

If you notice something about the Roman armor, there’s nothing that protects the back. There’s nothing that covers the back of the Roman soldier. There’s nothing that covers the back of the spiritual soldier. Do you know why that’s the case? Because we’re never to retreat. We’re never to take, tell and run. We are designed to charge and storm the gates of hell. And friends, we as a Church we’re Crystal clear on the vision is to help more and more men, women, boys, and girls to live an Allin life from Jesus Christ. And one day, we’re hoping there are thousands of people who are living the all-in life right here in Madison County. So let me pray for you, father; thank you that we have victory. We don’t have to work for victory. Victory has been given to us through the blood of Jesus Christ. Father, thank you for that. You have given us everything that we need in order to prevail to win this battle. And so, Father, right now, I just ask that we would make a new habit, a new commitment, that every morning before our feet hit the floor, that we would just take a minute, 60 seconds, and that we would put on the armor of God and the Father, that we would be reminded by just putting on the helmet of Salvation, the Bread’s plate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the gospel shoes, the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit that the battle is not ours but it’s the Lord’s. But we just have to do our part, and our part is to put the equipment on.