Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lesson 12: Ephesians 6:10-24 (“The Armor of God”)

It is official! Debbie can start cashing checks. Gastonia Evening Class will not close. Thank you, Ladies for rallying to the cause. 57 ladies registered. Ladies this is our last lesson this year. Next week is Sharing Night; we will eat 6:30.

Ephesians was so rich through these 12 lessons; I hope you enjoyed this study as much as I did.  Next year we will begin with 12 weeks in the study of Deuteronomy; followed by six weeks studies of Job, Philippians, and Colossians. By offering three-six week’s studies we hope that other women who find it hard commit to 30 weeks will join us during the year.

Writer Watchman Nee summarizes Ephesians with three verbs: SIT, WALK, STAND. Chapters 1-3 remind us of our position in Christ, no longer strangers and aliens. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit guaranteeing our inheritance.

  • SIT in this knowledge.
  • WALK in the way worthy of Christ.  Ch. 4-5
  • STAND dressed for battle. Ch. 6

This last lesson in Ephesians is probably the most important tactical study in the Bible.  God has gifted us with defensive armor to protect us in our personal battle with Satan and his demons.  Throughout the Gospel of Mark, we witnessed Jesus defeat demons using the authority of His name
Tonight we will learn to appropriate our gifts and put on each piece with care as we ready ourselves for war.STAND FIRM


Lesson 12: Ephesians 6:10-24 (“The Armor of God”)
1.     First we must recognize the enemy.
2.     Then we must use all the equipment God has given us to fight.
3.     Finally we must depend on the energy and power that God Provides.

1-Recognize the Enemy
Christians have two equally harmful beliefs concerning the devil. One is to deny his presence. The other is to be paralyzed by fear.

Throughout the Bible beginning in Genesis 1: 2 we are taught “the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the water.” Spirits are mentioned 587 times; Satan, devil, demon another 155 times. (Satan is named 14 times in the book of Job.) In Ephesians 2:2 he is called “the prince of the power of the air.” Ladies, if we believe the Bible is the Word of God, we cannot deny Satan exists?

The second belief gives Satan too much power! He is not equal to God. Satan cannot read your mind. He can tempt you, but he cannot control you. As children of the Almighty Powerful God, Satan must come through our Father to reach us. He can only be in one place at a time. So probably your fight will be with his demons not Satan.

As young school boys may challenge, “My dad can beat up your dad.” Sisters, our Father created the world. He created the angels and Satan. Yes, He is more powerful than anything Satan can throw at us.

Warren Wiersbe wrote “Be Rich”, a commentary on Ephesians, and a small book, What to Wear to the War,” focusing on the Armor of God. Much information and quotes are taken from these two books.

Ladies, let’s look at our wardrobe and get ready for battle!
Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, be strong in the LORD and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

Watchman Nee says in His book Sit, Walk, Stand-“You pray, you fast, you struggle and resist for days, but nothing happens. Why? You are trying to fight into victory, and in doing so are relinquishing to the enemy the very ground that is yours.”

Jesus said “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Wiersbe says; “We don’t fight for victory- we fight from victory.”

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 the heavenly places.
When we are enraged by terrible crimes and act of terrorism, Satan is the force of evil!
Verse 12 sounds like a fictional movie. But know this, Satan is alive and well on planet earth. Paul in  
Ephesians 2:2 calls him “the prince of the power of the air.” He is the accuser in the book of Job, the adversary, enemy of God. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us “he prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Matthew 4:3 says he is the tempter, and John 8:44 he is a murderer and liar.  Do you have any loved ones who have tried to make a deal with the devil? Thomas Brooks says

Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst;
he promises honor and pays with disgrace;
he promises pleasure and pays with pain;
he promises profit and pays with loss;
he promises life and pays with death.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; but Christ came that we may have life, and have it to the full.”  Choose Christ, Choose Life.

2-Use all the equipment God has given us to fight.  Do not trust in yourselves and your own power to defeat the devil.
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.

In the same way Joshua brought the Israelites through the Jordan River to possess the Promise Land, now we must appropriate what God says belongs to us. Put on every piece of armor. We cannot leave any area uncovered. That is where Satan will take his first shot.

When I go outside in warm weather I must use Bug Guard on every part of my body. Although ankles and arm are prone to bites, I’ve had bites on my face, neck, and head. Anyplace not covered is prone to attack.

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, our first piece of armor.

Why did Paul start with the belt? That seems like a small unimportant item in our wardrobe. But without the belt of Truth encircling our waist, we would have no offensive weapon. The Roman belt often called the sword belt and had a scabbard which holds the short sword used in close combat.

Also the Roman soldiers had flowing robes that had to be gathered up and tucked into the belt so they could move freely and run unencumbered. In the KJV a girdle pulls everything together. The girdle of truth holds our life and minds together ready to serve Christ our LORD. Unless we walk in the TRUTH we cannot use the WORD of Truth in battle.  All Satan needs is a chink in our armor, an opening where he can accuse us.

A church sign reads: Fight Truth Decay; Read the Bible! We best do some memory work; in this area knowledge is power. STAND FIRM in the TRUTH which is Christ.

Second piece of armor v.14- put on the breastplate of righteousness,

The breastplate often made of metal plates or chains covered the front and the back of the body from the neck to the waist. It is Christ’s righteousness that protects us from the accusation of Satan. Satan will not accept that he has been defeated at Calvary. He keeps trying to tempt us, weaken us, and discredit the children of God. We need to display a practical righteousness in our daily lives so Satan has no reason to accuse us. STAND FIRM with the breastplate covering your heart.

The third thing we need 15 shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 

Ladies, we know about shoes. You will need sturdy, but comfortable shoes to fight in the war. Roman soldiers’ had hobnails in the soles of their sandals to ensure firm footing and good balance. If a soldier cannot stand, he cannot fight well.

v. 15 says put on readiness. 1 Peter 3:15 says always be ready to witness for Christ. The soldiers sandals in were designed for mobility to move forward to spread the gospel.
The problem in many churches today is too many believers are standing still (more often sitting still.)

We are to be marching out with the gospel of peace. When it comes to our message we need to be unmovable and inflexible. STAND FIRM on the unchanging Gospel of Christ.

Romans 5:1, 2 Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ. Through Him we have this grace in which we stand.

verse 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
Our fourth piece of armor is about 4 ft. x 2 ft. large enough to hide behind. When we stand together with fellow Christians, we can build a wall of defense. If our voices unite what a difference we could make in Washington.

Be sure you know who to put your faith in: not in yourself or your equipment. Your faith has to be in the LORD.

When we are emotionally crippled by divorce, financial worries, or sickness; our defenses are down. Satan doesn’t play fair. He hits us with his emotional darts of anger, fear, doubt, depression, or self-pity. Depend fully on your Heavenly Father. Call out to Him for help. He will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrew 13:5

STAND FIRM  under the shelter of His wings (Psalm 61:4)

Skateboarders and cyclist wear helmets to protect their heads in case of an accident. This lightweight accessory can make the difference in life and death.

V.17 and take the helmet of salvation,It protects our head, but also our mind.
Our salvation is from the LORD. Ladies all your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus. Satan wants to bring up your past and make you feel unworthy, but God has removed your sins as far as the east is from the west, Psalms 103:12, washed them whiter than snow, Isaiah 1:18, cast all our sins into the depths of the sea, Micah 7:19
Satan has no authority to judge you. Put on that helmet and block out all his chatter.

3-We must depend on the energy and power that God Provides.

The last piece of equipment is the only offensive weapon, v.18 the sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD of God. 

Jesus defeated every effort of Satan to tempt him during the 40 days in the wilderness by using the Word of God. To use the Word of God you have to know the word of God.
Being in the WORLD can keep you out of the BIBLE; But being in the BIBLE will keep the WORLD out of you. CBS is one of the best ways to stay grounded in the WORD of God..

 STAND FIRM  Anchored in Bible Study and Prayer.

In addition we are to18 pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those in danger or in prison for their faith.

Verses 19 and 20 twice Paul asks for prayer to enable him to speak boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel. Paul did not ask for prayers for his comfort or safety, but for his effectiveness in his ministry and witness

When we pray: Pray to the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit
Pray always; pray with all types of prayers; adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication, watch and pray; keep on praying with perseverance.

Robert Law "Prayer is not getting man's will done in heaven; it is getting God's Will done on earth.” Most of us quit praying just before God is about to give the victory. Keep on praying until the Spirit stops you or the Father answers you. 


Paul sent Tychicus his friend and faithful minister in the LORD, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.
23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the LORD Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our LORD Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Your commentary states Ephesians is called Paul’s epistle to the community of faith. The Roman Empire like a bad apple was rotten to the Core.

Ladies can you see our nation as the recipient of this letter? Paul seeks to stir up good Christian people for the sake of their nation. It's not too late for us to take back our nation, a nation established under God.

 Satan, soundly defeated at the cross, is still kicking and screaming. He is fighting guerrilla warfare and we are still in the battle.  STAND FIRM

Our battle is spiritual—it’s a battle of faith, and faith comes from hearing (studying) the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
Are you building up the faith you need for the inevitable battle?
Will you choose to build your faith so that you can stand firm in the day of battle?

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lesson 11: Ephesians 5:21 – 6:9 “Divine Rules for Human Relationships”

Lesson 11: Ephesians 5:21 – 6:9 “Divine Rules for Human Relationships”
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Before I made Christ LORD of all of my life, SUBMIT was not my favorite word. In my earlier year of reading the bible Paul seemed chauvinistic. “Submit to your husband!” made me dislike Paul. That was before Community Bible Study. Ladies, if you are fervent in preparing your lessons, I promise, you will gain so much knowledge. And when you submit to the Holy Spirit, He will give you discernment and wisdom. If we look at submission as an expression of love for Christ, we can sweeten the word a bit.

If you are approaching a grocery line and someone arrives at the same time, when you courteously allow them to go first you have performed a submissive act.

A fast food restaurant in Belmont now has two lines for ordering. The cars must merge to pay. When you surrender to the other car, allowing them to go first you are also submitting.

The town of Cramerton has two railroad underpasses so narrow they only allow one car to pass through at a time. Every day there is a chance to submit.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Submission is not that hard—it’s simply a matter of being humble and gracious.

1 Peter 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
“Divine Rules for Human Relationships”
·        Submission to our Spouse
·        Submission in the Family
·        Submission in the World
Most of us don’t have such a hard time with the earlier examples of submission. But when Paul tells 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands. Wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Taken out of context women of this decade may get their back up! Let’s read what’s in between those verses.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Paul is not defending abusive relationships. He is not demeaning women or inferring that we are not equal in God’s eyes. Paul lived and worked with Aquila and Priscilla. In fact he wrote: “To Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house."
In v. 25-28 Paul is writing in the context of a Christian marriage to a Godly husband. If we think about it, the man has the harder responsibility of being the head of the family, willing to sacrifice himself for her as Christ did for the church. Paul commanded husbands to love their wives as their own bodies.
32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
However, Paul speaks of this submission as a profound mystery, this amazing agape love that keeps no record of wrong. A love that nourishes, cherishes. Putting another’s needs above you own.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Marriage is important to God. Once I took a course called, “Marriage- God’s Way.” The Bible was our textbook.
·        God’s Word starts in Genesis 2:22 with the creation of marriage.
22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made8 into a woman and brought her to the man.
24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
·        All through the Old Testament God cherishes His beloved Israel. However in Hosea Israel is shown as a wayward wife; bought out of prostitution only to keep returning to her old ways. Jeremiah and Ezekiel tell us is very descriptive language that the nation of Israel committed adultery by following other gods.
·        The marriage feast of the lamb is heralded in the book of Revelation 19:6-8
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready;

it was granted her to clothe herself
    with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
Ephesians 5:33 in Amplified version33 However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband ]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].
When the teacher of the Marriage God’s Way read v.33, I was sure he was making that up. I had to find me a comparative study Bible with the Amplified version.
 Women, we are exhorted to respect our husbands and support them, partnering in the ministry of the LORD. I confess I was not obedient to God in this respect. Submission is difficult when we are unequally yoked with a non-believer. We must counsel our daughters and granddaughters to pray and ask God’s guidance before they choose a mate.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
·        Submission in the Family
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Your commentary explains “the Greek word for obey, hupakouo, is a less demanding than the word for submit. It come from the root to hear, but can be translated hear; follow; or obey.” The key phrase is in the Lord.
God commanded it; it is right; and it comes with a promise. What else is there to say!
How many of you are grandmothers? No one could explain the immeasurable pleasure of being grandparents. The grumpiest man can be turned to mush with a baby in his arms. I think grandchildren are our reward for parenting through the teen years. If that projector was working you would see an abundance of photos of my grandsons. They are joy to my heart. Too bad we couldn’t have this experience first. I think I would have been a better parent!
The next verse is aimed at fathers who were the disciplinarian in that day. But the same applies to both parents.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
It is easy at the end of a long workday to forget the source of your aggravation is a child. Remember age appropriate behavior. A toddler cannot be expected to remember the warning from last week. Conversely a child in middle school should not behave like a toddler. Sure, they need discipline but remember not to cause resentment or destroy your relationship for the future.
Spending time with my son was such a joy. We have a mutual admiration society. He respects me and deferred to my pleasures when we were together. Although teen years were tough, God delivered us both, with our relationship intact.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Submission in our World
We can change this wording in verse 5 to reflect our own situation in 2013 obey your employer, pastor, government leaders with a sincere heart, xas you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as ypeople-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, zknowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord
D.L. Moody said, “Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.”
Colossians 3:12-14 ESV  Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
 “There is a sign at the entrance of a large manufacturing plant that reads:
‘If you are like a wheelbarrow—going no farther than you are pushed—you need not apply for work here.’
Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance(A) from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Your commentary states that in the last 100 years slavery had been outlawed in the civilized world. Ladies, it may be outlawed but it is not gone.
Force 4 Compassion 300,000 American children are at risk of child sexual exploitation and about 55% of runaway girls living on the streets are engaged in sexual slavery? They can start as a troubled youth or as a valedictorian -- the crime of trafficking is about opportunity, not about the child.” Copyright © 2010-2013

NC may be in the Top Five in human trafficking, but I found some good news. Things are changing for the better.
The Polaris Project, a leading organization in the fight against modern-day slavery, rated all states. There are four tiers, one being the best, based on anti-trafficking measures to stop the crimes. NC is in the first tier for taking concrete steps to address human trafficking along with South Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio. Massachusetts was named among the most improved in the U.S. in 2012 after it passed wide-ranging anti-human trafficking laws. As a teacher that translate into an A for North and South Carolina. Let’s praise the LORD for that.
 Gary Haugen, President and CEO of International Justice Mission, a human rights organization founded in 1997. Gary Haugen has built a global team of hundreds of lawyers, investigators, and social workers. Directed by their faith and commitment to global justice, IJM staff partner with local governments to rescue and provide aftercare for victims and prosecute traffickers. After four years partnership with Philippines, the availability of minors for sex decreased by a stunning 79 percent.
How Can We Ladies in Gastonia Help  
1.     Public Outreach: Focus on raising awareness.  Use FB or other social media.
By increasing understanding of human trafficking, more victims will be rescued and protected and more traffickers will be identified and prosecuted.
2.     Donate to programs that Rescue and Restore victims. Buy products from the organizations. Norma gave us lists; or just Google.
3.     Fair Trade & Supply Chain Transparency: Raise awareness among consumers to select vendors who support fair trade standards. Make informed buying decisions in refusing to purchase items made by slaves. showed my footprint at 36 mostly because of clothing.
Ephesians 6:8b warn the slave owners “He who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
Isaiah 3:11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.
“Are you willing to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ and seek ways help defend the helpless.”

This Sunday our bible study was on the sins of commission (what we do) and the sins of omission (what we fail to do.) We are not perfect. We are merely jars of clay. We are chipped and cracked, but only when we are broken can the light of God shine through us. Think! Is there something you are failing to do for Christ?

Ezekiel 24:14 I am the Lord. I have spoken; it shall come to pass; I will do it. I will not go back; I will not spare; I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord God.”

Thank God for Calvary and for Jesus’ precious blood shed for me.
Now I can face eternity for I was bound in sin, but now I am free.