Ephesians 6:10 …Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints, 19 And on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
A. CHRISTIANS MUST ALWAYS BE CONCERNED ABOUT BOTH THE
QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF THEIR SPIRITUAL STRENGTH...
B. IT IS TO BE STRONG AS THE WORD OF GOD IDENTIFIES AND
C. WE MUST ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING
DECEIVED BY A FALSE STANDARD OF STRENGTH...
I. WE MUST FIRST CONSIDER WHAT STRENGTH IS NOT!
A. IT IS NOT SELFISH PRIDE OR EGOTISM...
Romans 10:1 …Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
B. IT IS NOT HAUGHTINESS OR ARROGANCE...
NOTE: Attitude of prating (to talk idly, to make false charges, tattling,
gossip) against others with wicked words...
III John 9 …I wrote somewhat unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will bring to remembrance his works which he doeth, prating against us with wicked words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and them that would he forbiddeth and casteth them out of the church.
NOTE: It cannot be an arrogant, “closed mind”, attitude...
---Not Being open to investigation – unwilling to evaluate the evidence
– unwilling to evaluate one’s own convictions...
---Being determined to protect those who advocate error or those who are living in sin.
Ephesians 5:3 …But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them; 8 For ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; 11 and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; 12 for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of. 13 But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee.
C. IT IS NOT A FEELING OF SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM, OR
Romans 2:17 …But if thou bearest the name of a Jew, and restest upon the law, and gloriest in God, 18 and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them that are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having in the law the form of knowledge and of the truth; 21 thou therefore that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou rob temples? 23 thou who gloriest in the law, through thy transgression of the law dishonorest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, even as it is written.
D. IT IS NOT THE ADVANCEMENT OF ONE'S OWN PERSONAL
1. The Christian doesn’t operate from an agenda of selfishness...
2. There is no place for a “vindictive agenda” such as “I am going to nail your hide to the barn door”, “I will make you look like a fool”, or “I will destroy your influence or reputation”!
II. WE MUST NEXT CONSIDER THE NECESSARY ELEMENTS FOR US TO POSSESS TRUE SPIRITUAL
A. KNOWLEDGE - WE ARE EXPERIENCING A TREMENDOUS KNOWLEDGE DEFICIT AMONG GOD'S PEOPLE TODAY!
Hebrews 5:11 …Of whom we have many things to say, and hard of interpretation, seeing ye are become dull of hearing. 12 For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. 13 For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. 14 But solid food is for fullgrown men, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.
1. Spiritual food is essential to growth...
I Peter 2:1 …Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation;
2. We are in great danger when we willfully choose to be blind and therefore refuse to hear the Truth...
Matthew 13:13 …Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.
3. Spiritual starvation is the breeding ground for digression!
4. We refuse to preach on sinful or erroneous practice or doctrine - or else we refuse allow anyone else to preach on it!
Note: We may either want to please men or we could have a fear of getting the wrong kind of “attention” when we take a public stand on an issue!
Note: It is easier for some to just pretend that the issue doesn’t exist and therefore ignore it.
Ephesians 4:14 …that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; 15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;
1. Danger of “apathy” and “complacency”--Don’t
rock the boat!
2. Some would hold up a finger to see which way the wind is blowing before taking a position. They follow the path of least resistance!
3. Preaching is strong but the practice is weak. Do we practice
what we preach?
James 1:21 …Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. 23 For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: 24 for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing.
1. Do we possess the courage to examine our own life by using
God’s Word, and are we being willing to make the changes and corrections which are needed!
I Corinthians 9:23 …And I do all things for the gospel's sake, that I
may be a joint partaker thereof. 24 Know ye not that they that run in a race
run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain. 25 And
every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things.
Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I
therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air: 27
but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that
I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.
2. Strength involves being diligent in the Lord’s service and in the practice of the Truth...
I Corinthians 15:57 …but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord.
A. Danger of having a lack of respect for the Word of God ! Danger of continuing
to “do as we please” without regard for Christ or His
Hebrews 10:26 …For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries. 28 A man that hath set at nought Moses law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: 29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
B. The Lord will always supply the strength which we need !
Philippians 4:10 …But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length
ye have revived your thought for me; wherein ye did indeed take thought, but
ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. 12 I know how to be abased,
and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned
the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want.
13 I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me.
We Must First Consider What Strength is NOT!
A. It is not selfish pride or egotism... B. It is not haughtiness or arrogance...
C. It is not a feeling of superior knowledge, wisdom, or experience...
D. It is not the advancement of one’s own personal agenda!
We Must Next Consider The Necessary Elements For Us To Possess True Spiritual Strength!
A. Knowledge - We are seeing a tremendous deficit of knowledge
among God’s people today!
By Ron Lehde
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