Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Whole Armor of God, Part 13A

Today I continue my series of articles commenting on the concept and principles involved in the Armor of God, which the Apostle Paul described in the New Testament. This is the topic of the Sunday school lesson, which I am currently teaching.

Stand against the wiles of the devil, Ephesians 6:11.

To “stand” means to remain in an upright position. To remain unchanged in one’s opinion, attitude, point of view, to resist hostilities, and to hold one’s ground. Not giving in to contraction.

In this passage, Ephesians 6:11, a person is standing against the wiles of Satan. These can come into a person’s mind as thoughts or suggestions from others. You may wonder, “Where did that thought come from,” or may even think it is your own thought. Satan can insert thoughts into our mind. On the other hand, you may hear what someone else says. They both can be a wile of the devil.

In one such case God has recorded for us in the Holy Bible found in Acts 4:32-37; 5:1-11. People were selling property and bringing the whole amount of the sale to the Apostles and giving it to the church. Ananias and Sapphira evidently wanted the prestige of giving 100% of the sale of their property, but they also wanted the money. They came upon a plan to sell their property, give 50% to the Apostles and the church, and say it was the total price of the land. This way they thought they would get both prestige and money. It never occurred to them that this was a wile of the devil. The first key they failed to notice was that they had to lie to carry out their plan. Of course they may have thought, “Who will know the difference.” Evidently, they figured God would never notice or even care.

When Ananias brought the money, Peter asked him why Satin had filled his heart to lie to the Holy Spirit. Peter told him that he had not lied to man but to God. Upon hearing this Ananias fell down dead at the feet of Peter. God had recognized the wile of the devil and stood against it. Sapphira came to Peter three hours later and Peter asked her if the property was sold for such and such a price. She said that it was the price. Peter asked, “Why did you agree with your husband to test the Spirit of the Lord?” Then Peter said, “The feet of those who buried your husband are at the door and they will bury you also. Then she fell down dead also.”

Another wile happened in Ephesus when the Apostle Paul was there. We read of it in Acts 19:23-41; 20:1. Demetrius, a silversmith, figured out that if images made with hands are not considered gods by the masses of people the lack of demand for his images of the goddess Artemis would put him into finical ruin. He told the other silversmiths that their livelihood depended on this traffic of the images of Artemis. Furthermore the temple would fall into disrepair. They stirred up several people of the population of Ephesus to riot against the Christians shouting “Great is Artemis of Ephesians.” The town clerk said that the courts were open and they could bring any charges to the court but there was no reason to riot. Paul then left for Macedonia.

We may remember the stages of a wile.

1. Being approached with a false front. 
2. Close approximation to the truth exaggerating the negative. 
3. Total lie exaggerating the positive. 
4. Enamored by the wonderful prospects 
5. Forget and disregard the truth; believe a lie and disobey God.

One must know and believe the truth. The battle ground is in our mind, which directs a person’s actions. This is where knowledge of scripture is necessary. As is written in Psalms 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

There must be a desire to do God’s will. A person must have a desire to do God’s will. Jesus has this desire. Scripture records this in Psalms 40:8, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Notice that the delight to do God’s will is accompanied by knowledge of God’s word in the heart. Paul writes that Jesus was obedient to the point of death. Philippians 2:8, “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross.”

The person who loves God will want to know what He says and will desire to do what He says. Jesus states in John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:”

Do you love God? If not, you can pray and ask God for help in loving Him.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:44 PM

    Good post! Is that your artwork (the knight in front of the cross)? I would like to use that on a poster at my church, and would like permission to do so. Could you lead me to the creator of that artwork?
    Thank you so much!!

    Soli Deo Gloria,