FEAST 2003 – THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD

 DAY 1

 GIRDLE OF TRUTH

YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.  John 8:3 RIGHT THUMB

                                 WELCOME    What a joy being at the Feast is.

                               Last year we did the “I AM’s”.  Very quick recap.

                                This year another them. Whole armour of God

 God wants us to be part of his kingdom and we gain lots of benefits from that. But He also asks us to be part of His army to defend & fight for His kingdom. Last year we sang “I’m too young to march in the infantry”

                                    This Feast we will learn how God has equipped us for this.

                                    Competition as to who can guess the next piece of armour

 PAUL              Who remembers about the apostle Paul?  How he ended up in prison in Rome because he stood for God’s kingdom and what is right.  Seems a bit tough but that was the only way God could keep him still long enough to write letters to people and that is how we got the epistles.

 While he was in prison he was guarded by roman soldiers.  Now these men were probably the best soldiers the world has ever seen. They captured the whole of the known world and held it for almost 1000 years.  The main reason they could do this was their armour, which was made up of 6 basic pieces.  This gave the men great protection and yet was comfortable to wear and allowed them to join together to form a massive wall of force which was almost unbeatable allowing them to extend their kingdom as they fought their enemies.

 Now Paul had time while he was in prison to really examine this armour and he could suddenly see how important it was to the men’s safety and their being able to beat their enemies and how this applied to us as Christians.  So in Ephesians 6:10-17 he told us to “Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might, put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”

 So who is our enemy?  The devil or Satan. 1 Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour".   Pretty scary eh?   We know that Satan is an archer.  How?  Well Ephesians 6:16 tells us that we can use our shield to extinguish the fiery darts of the wicked.   You have seen movies where the Indians fire flaming arrows into a building and if they catch on fire they can burn the whole building down.  Well Satan’s fiery darts are the same.  He tosses them at you in the form of a temptation and if you don’t get rid of them straight away they take root and grow and become a sin.  If you let them grow they will kill you.

 Now you can see from this picture the Roman soldier had his armour to protect him from the weapons of the enemy and so do you.  Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us of an armour that God has provided for you to wear to protect yourself from the Devil and his fiery darts and we are going to look at that during the Feast.   I have found ten pieces of armour you can use and we will talk about one each day for six days then two each day on the other days. Luke will model the armour for us and there will be a prize for the kid who can guess what the next piece I will talk about on the next day.  The last four pieces are really hard.

 Now we have ten pieces of armour and we have ten fingers.  Today we start with the right thumb because this is the most important finger.  We need our thumb to be able to use our hand properly.  We need the thumb to grasp things.  Try to eat you lunch without using your thumb. So our right thumb is probably our most important finger.

 The first piece of armour is the girdle of truth.  It is really like a belt and it goes right around the body. It was called the cingulum militare.  It is really important because some of the other pieces of armour are carried on it.  The sword hangs from it.  The breastplate is stabilised by it.  When the soldier is marching he hangs his cooking pot etc from it.  So it is really basic to his needs.   You can see it has flaps of leather hanging down to protect that most sensitive area and yet still enable the soldier to walk and fight and move.

 Now Paul tells us that the girdle in our spiritual armour is the girdle of truth and it is the most important piece though it looks so insignificant.  See, if you are not dealing in the truth you are wasting your time. You can do great projects but if your basic idea is not correct (the truth) the whole thing will be wrong and useless. You can have all the faith in the world and believe as hard as you like but if what you believe is not based on the truth it is nothing.

 Would someone like to drink my coke?  I didn’t get time to drink it before service.   Perhaps you had better test first to see if it actually is coke.   It doesn’t matter how much you believed that that can contains Coke the truth is that it contained something else that may have poisoned you.

 So you must start with the truth or else everything else will build up on a false foundation and be wrong.  That is pretty simple eh?  Pretty obvious?

 Now each Roman soldier was allowed to decorate his girdle with whatever he felt like.  Usually they put on medals to mark the big battles they had been involved in.  So in the same way as you seek the truth and learn to suss out Satan’s tricks and extinguish the fiery darts before they take hold and so learn more and more of God’s truths, and win more and more battles  you will accumulate more and more medals on your girdle.

 People will sense if you are a seeker of truth and they will like you and feel safe with you because they know they can trust you because what they see is what they get.  There are no nasty secrets.

 Also if you always tell the truth it makes like much easier as long as you use wisdom when you say what you think cause some people don’t want to know the truth. The Bible says speak the truth IN LOVE. 

 My mother used to say that if you want to tell lies you have to have a good memory.  Living in the truth is easier in the long run.

 So how are some of the ways you can wear your girdle of truth

 

         Be sincere.   Speak the truth in love

·          If you have nothing good to say, say nothing.

·          Don’t think, say or do what the gang thinks simply because they do. Seek the truth and follow it.

·          Be true to yourself.  If you have faults or sin, face up to it and admit it.   80% of dealing with a problem is admitting that it exists.

·          Don’t play emotional games.  These are very complex patterns of behaviour we use to avoid facing the truth in our lives

·          Don’t be hypercritical.  Don’t criticise others for what you do yourself.

·          Don’t say what you think others want you to say.

·          All this ties in with the apron of humility we will do later

 YOU WILL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.  John 8:32

                                                        For the older kids:

Remember last year we talked about the “I am’s” that Jesus called himself.  Well I left a big one out.  He said, “I am the way, the truth and the light”.   So Jesus was the living truth.  So when you wear your girdle of truth you are putting on Jesus.  Seek it (Him) and live it (Him).   When you get home do a word study on “Christ” and “in”.  There are 227 references to this using “in Christ Jesus” or “in the Spirit”.  It is a weird concept but Romans 13:14 tells us to “put on Christ” almost like a garment so we are actually “IN” Him.  We live in Him but at the same time He tells us that we need to be IN him as He was IN the Father.    That is how we have our salvation and protection etc.  So when you put on your spiritual girdle of truth you are putting on the truth which is Jesus and so you are IN Him.  You’ll work it out.

 

                                       FEAST 2003 – THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD

 DAY 2

 BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

 ‘DO THE GOOD ACCEPTABLE AND PERFECT WILL OF GOD”

Romans 2:12

 LEFT THUMB

 Remember yesterday we talked about the whole armour of God and how we can use it to protect us in our spiritual walk which is really a battle with Satan just like it protected the Roman soldiers in their battles.

 The next piece of armour that Paul mentions is the Breastplate of righteousness. We remember this with our left thumb.  The left thumb is the most important finger if you are left-handed and the second most important finger for the rest of us.  We need our thumbs to hold anything.   The breastplate the Roman soldier wore was called Lorica segnentata and was made from strips of iron laid in an overlapping fashion secured by leather straps.  This made it an extremely strong yet flexible defence against enemy swords and stabbing weapons.  The soldier could move freely and use his sword and shield without the breastplate getting in the way.  See here how the iron strips are hinged on the shoulder.

Now as the soldier’s breastplate protected his main body so to will our righteousness protect us from the attacks of the enemy?  Remember Satan’s fiery darts only affect the castle if they take hold so they only affect you if you allow them to take hold in your life.  The Bible has another name for the fiery darts.  It calls them temptations.  Now a temptation is something which looks really good but is against the law of the land or God’s law or the GAPWOG.  Believe me a temptation will never look awful.  You will want the temptation.  You will never have to force yourself to accept a temptation.  There is no sin in being tempted because Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness and He was without sin.  A temptation only becomes a sin when you start to think that you might go along with it and then do it.  Later when we do the Helmet of Salvation you will see how thinking of accepting a temptation is the beginning of sin.

 So we have three ways of knowing if something could be a sin if you do it.  The law of the land, God’s Law and the GAPWOG.  If what you are thinking about doing goes against one of these then it is a sin.

 So you can see how the fiery darts don’t stick to the breastplate but they do to the tunic.  Well if you do not sin and are righteous then the darts cannot grow in you. If sin grows in you, you become spiritually sick and this cuts you off from God and eventually if you don’t do anything about it you will die.  Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death.

 So just as the breastplate protected the soldier against swords etc so your righteousness will protect you against sin.  Simple.  If you do the right thing you won’t get into trouble.  If you do stuff up and manage to sin then the girdle of truth will be the next thing to help you.  Tell the truth to yourself and to God and to the people you have hurt and then make things right.   That is repentance.  God gives us a way out if we choose to accept it.

 The other day I was driving to an appointment and I was late as usual.  I looked in the rear vision mirror and saw a police car.  Immediately I felt frightened because I was speeding!!! He stopped me and fined me.  I had sinned because I had broken the law.  I was frightened because I had a guilty conscience and knew I had sinned.  It cost me heaps of money.   I had had no breastplate on that day to protect me.  If I had argued and told him I had not been speeding I would have ended up in court so I told the truth and paid the price.  My girdle saved me from more trouble.

 Now with God you can repent and ask forgiveness for that sin and He will remember it no more and it will not affect your relationship.  That is how you put out the fires when the fiery darts take hold.  But it does not affect the outcome of your sin.  You will still have to live with the consequences of that action.  I told the policeman I was really sorry I had been speeding and asked him to forgive me.  He said he did but I still had to pay the fine.

 Now who would like a chocolate frog?  Why do I use frogs?  Cause they are cute of course but FROG means Forever Rely On God.   Here have a frog.  I’ll even let you eat it here.   Oh did I lie to you?  What a pity.  How is my righteousness status?  Pretty bad eh?  How do you feel about me?  Do you trust me after the frog lie and the coke lie yesterday?  If I gave you a sweet now would you take it?  No.  I wouldn’t either.  So my breastplate of righteousness is broken and it affects the way you feel and think about me, doesn’t it.  Well it is the same with God and with other people.  If you sin by telling lies or stealing or being unkind which is breaking GAPWOG people will not trust you and find it difficult having a relationship with you.  …don’t you know what GAAPWOG is?  It the Good Acceptable And Perfect Will Of God and we know what that means because Jesus lived it to show us how.

 So we have the law of the land which you learn about from the media and reading; we have the Law of God which we read about in the Bible and we have GAPWOG which we understand by reading about what Jesus said and the way He lived His life and most of all by having Him living inside you and being friends with Him. 

 So if you wear your breastplate of righteousness you will be safe from the enemy’s fiery darts.

                                                  FOR THE OLDER KIDS:

Some sins you will be tempted with are not in the Bible.   There was no heroin or dope or speed in those days.  There were no fast cars but I guess fast chariots were probably a temptation.   There were no STD’s then either that we know of.  There were other gods but it was easy to see what was an idol and what was not. You have temptations that are much subtler.  The occult is so sinister and easy to get trapped into if you don’t know your Scripture.  Satan is now a terrorist while in those days he was pretty open.  It is all pretty scary.

 However, if you have Jesus IN you as your friend and Him On your as your armour, you should make it through with the support of your family and friends and heaps of prayer and thinking about what you do.  If you get in a mess call for help and don’t worry about how stupid you have been.  We have all make mistakes.  It is better to look a dope than end up a dopehead.

                                   FEAST 2003 – THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD

 DAY 3

 GOSPEL OF PEACE ON YOUR FEET

 RIGHT INDEX FINGER

 THY WORD IS A LAMP UNTO MY FEET AND A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH

Psalm 119:105

 Remember we are doing the armour of the Lord and how it can protect us spiritually just as the Roman soldiers’ armour protected them physically.

 What did we do the first day? Right thumb. Yes the girdle.  What did that represent?  The truth.  Right.

 What did we do the second day?  Left Thumb.  The breastplate representing righteousness.

 Today we are going to do the third piece, the sandals or shoes that a Roman soldier used to wear.  They were called caligae, caligae because they were plural for the Latin buffs.  They look pretty flimsy don’t they?  Just bits of leather sewn onto a bigger piece of leather.  But they were practical.  They were open so they could be worn all day without discomfort or sweating so getting tinea.  The straps are made so they don’t rub against parts of the feet and cause sores.  The soldiers could march up to 40K a day.  They had aching feet but no blisters.  It was easy to take them off and dip his feet into a river to cool them off.

 Now the underside was fitted with studs.  The soldier had to buy these for himself and they protected his shoes and feet over rough ground.  They used to stomp the enemy as well.  Nice people!!

 Now you use your index finger to point a direction you want to go.  You use your feet to take you there.  If you need to go somewhere you must know where you are going and you need your feet to go. Imagine trying to get to school or doing a bushwalk without shoes. You have to contend with stone and sharp rocks, bindis and hot roads, even cigarette buts which are one modern version of Satan’s fiery darts. You can get to where you want to go without shoes but it will be a lot more painful and much slower than if you wore shoes. 

 So just as you need shoes to protect us physically as we go on our journey so we need the gospel of peace to protect us spiritually.  Now the word gospel just means good news because it is such good news because it gives us a WAY to

·        tell when Satan is sending a fiery dart. A temptation.  We have God’s Law and the GAAPWOG.

·        Salvation and forgiveness if we let those darts take hold.  Remember Jesus said “I am the WAY, the truth and the light”  (John 14:6)

·        Stomp on Satan like the Roman soldiers did to their enemies.  The best way to defeat him is with obedience and prayer and Scripture like Jesus did.

·        Light our path.  Do you remember the story about us going bushwalking at night to see the glow-worms and the torches all went out?  Well see me later and I’ll tell you.

·        Live the GAAPWOG and showed us the WAY to live.  His life was the gospel

·        Walk away from temptation.

 Now Jesus provides the shoes but we have to do the walking so it not just a passive thing.  Do you remember that I said the Roman solder had to provide his hobnails to give him protection?  Well you have to provide your will to make the shoes work.  You decide how much protection you will get from the shoes by how many nails you add… how much you want to make them help you.

 They are the gospel of PEACE.  This means that if you use them you will have greater peace

       with God as you live by His Law and GAPWOG

·        with yourself as you have a clear conscience and don’t have to worry about what will happen because of what you have done.

·        with others as you don’t sin and offend them as much as if you don’t use them

 Always keep them on so you can be ready to go anywhere you are asked to go quickly and so you are protected all the time and every day.  Not just on Sabbath.

                                                FOR THE OLDER KIDS

There is a programme out there in the wider Christian called WWJD.  What Would Jesus Do? You can get badges and books and stickers etc etc with these initials on them.   It simply means that you wear the badge and take the concept with you wherever you go and if you are faced with a decision, any decision you apply the yardstick of WWJD. Some people in this tradition have been critical of the programme and I agree it has its faults but this is just a modern way of saying GAAPWOG.  We know the good and perfect will of God by looking to Jesus.  He upheld the Law.  He obeyed the laws of His land and He did what the Father asked.

If you take the gospel of peace with you wherever you go as GAAPWOG, as WWJD, as God’s Law you will stay out of trouble. You may even be a shining light to the paths of others and help them find the gospel of peace

               FEAST 2003 – THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD

 DAY 4

 SHIELD OF FAITH

 LEFT INDEX FINGER

                      YOUR FAITH HAS SAVED YOU    Luke 18:42

 Who knows what we are to do today? It is the left index finger we are using.  The shield of faith.  Why do we use our left index finger?  Because we hold our shield in the left hand.

 What do we use a shield for?  Of course to protect us.  The Roman soldiers shield was called a scutum and was held in the left hand so his right hand was free to use his sword, which we will talk about later. The Roman shield was unique among shields, as it was big and rectangular and curved, almost semicircular.  It was designed this way so that missiles (fiery darts) thrown at the soldier would be deflected to one side so it was less effort for the soldier to defend himself.  If it had been flat like the Celtic soldiers’ shields were, a rock hitting it would have direct impact and the soldier’s arm would have to absorb the shock so he would get tired more easily.

 The shield was made of layers of wood like our plywood, which then pressed in a hot mould so that when it cooled it retained its shape. It was strong and flexible and still light enough for them to carry on a long march.

 In the centre was an umbo made of iron or brass which they used to shove into an enemy’s face so disabling them so the soldier could then use the sword.  Nice people.

 Another major reason for the shield being rectangular rather than round was that the soldier would line up in rows linking their shield together in front of them.  This made a big wall with the men behind it or a square with the men in the centre. Any missiles would bounce off the shield.  When the arrows etc came the soldiers just crouched down behind their shield and let the barrage pass.  They could also put them over their heads to make a roof if they were attacking a castle.  Pretty clever eh?

 Well this one is easy to see how our faith is our spiritual shield isn’t it?  Just as the shield protected the soldier against attack from the enemy, from fiery darts from a long way off or sword or spear when closer, so your faith in God and your reliance on Jesus Christ will protect you from the fiery darts from Satan and the attacks from your enemies.

 Now this is your first defence when you are in battle.  You hold it in your left hand out in front of your body so your right hand is free. Why would you need your right hand free? So you can use your sword.  You can move the shield to where the attack is coming from.  It fits around the front of you like a force field and covers you from any type of attack.  You can block a firey dart with a shield but you can’t with a sword.

 Remember I said that the soldier’s shield was made of many layers of wood bound together?  Well you can use your shield of faith in any situation – if you are tempted to do something wrong you can have faith that God’s Law and GAPWOG will show you that it is wrong and that you can have forgiveness if you repent and so you will know how to manage that temptation. If you are afraid you can have faith that Jesus said He would never leave us or forsake us and that He will be there to protect us.  If you are sad, you can have faith that Jesus is there to comfort you.  The ways you can use your faith in Jesus to help you goes on forever.  So like the layers of wood made the shield flexible and light and easy to use, so the layers of faith can give you protection anywhere, anytime and in any situation.

 In some ways your shrilled of faith is your most important piece of armour because unless you actually believe, have faith that God exists then cannot have a relationship with Him.  Some people can be seek the truth and be very righteous but unless they include God they are missing the main point. You can be very righteous and keep the Law big time and still not know God or Jesus as a friend. There is a big difference between knowing about God and knowing God.  I knew about Mrs Ross before the Feast because I had read about her and had had e-mails from her but I didn’t KNOW her until she came all the way from the States to be here and I had talked to her and laughed with her and worked with her that I knew her.  She is now my friend and I know that she has green hair and etc etc and I know that if she says she will do something she will.  It is easy to know about God.

 So faith is active.  Abraham didn’t know where he was going but he knew whom he was going with. He had faith in Him and so went way away from his home and comfort zone because He had faith in God and trusted Him. God kept him safe and he was very blessed.   At a church I heard about they had a big prayer meeting for rain cause it was a bad drought.  One lass took an umbrella.  Who had faith?

 So you have to make faith happen.  You have to hold and move the shield to make it work.  You have to decide to trust God. You have to DO faith.  It is an active thing.   It is not just a thinking thing.  When the Lord prompts you, and He will, you have to make the decision to believe what He says or reject it. You have to decide for Jesus.  Then you have to trust Him and test Him that what He says He will do He will do.  He will but that’s another story. Then you have to act.  You need to learn about Him, read Scripture, pray etc so you can help your faith grow.  I have found that my spiritual shield changes in shape and size. Most of the time it is like a force-field around me and nothing bad can penetrate but occasionally when things get on top of me I have only the handle in my hand so I hold that up and pray like mad and it grows strong again.  Praise God.

 Ok Your shield will protect you but only if YOU use it.

                                                     FOR THE OLDER KIDS:

Remember I said the Romans used to form walls or squares with their shields on the outside and the men inside the wall of shields.  They were safe as long as they stayed inside the wall and they all depended on each other and defended each other and helped each other.  If one was wounded the others pulled him back into the centre of the square and they closed up the defensive walls again.  Can you think what the spiritual analogy is here?  What, to you, is the wall of shields?    The church.  So stay safe inside the square  (You can think outside it) but stay inside it.  Only a fool goes racing off in the middle of a battle to face the enemy alone.  He won’t last long.  That is Satan’s plan to pull you away from the safety of the wall of faith.

                                       FEAST 2003 – THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD

 DAY 5

 HELMET OF SALVATION

 LEFT MIDDLE FINGER

               BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWAL OF                   YOUR MIND  Romans 12:2

 The next piece we are going to study is the helmet. It had a bright red plume on the top made of horse’s hair and when they were marching these all bounced and shone in the sun and looked great. They took that off when they went into battle.  The helmet was called the cassis or galea. It was made of cast bronze or iron and was actually about 5cm taller than the soldier head.  This was done for two reasons.  It made him look taller than he was, so more frightening and also inside the helmet were leather straps, which sat on the top of his head like a hardhat.  This protected his head if he was hit on the helmet. Otherwise the blow would have gone straight through the metal into the head. It also made it cooler.  There are two hinged sidepieces to protect the jaw.  These were tied together under the chin.

 At the front and rear of the helmet were bits of metal sticking out to deflect sword blows and protect the neck but didn’t stop him moving his head.

 OK so what do we use our heads for?  Mainly for thinking.  Our brains are in our heads and control our whole body.  You cannot do a single thing without using your brain. Every decision, every movement, everything you do uses the brain to make it happen.  Every single thing you do begins with a thought.  Every single thing man has done as a society begins as a thought. This building here had to begin with the idea that they should build it. An architect listened the IDEAS the council had about what they wanted.  Then he had an IDEA of what the building should be like.  Then they discussed it to make sure his IDEA was the same as their IDEA.  Then the architect had to think about how the building would look, where the rooms went etc.  Then the builder had to THINK about how he would build it and the ….  So it took a great deal of thinking before this building happened.   You think how much thinking went into the opera house.

 So nothing happens in the world or your body without it having to be thought about.  So if we can protect the way we think, we can stop all sorts of problems before they start.  We know that Satan is our enemy and that he has control of the world and works very hard to get us to THINK and live like he does.  Every, and I mean EVERY sin begins with a thought and you have the opportunity to stop the sin there before it develops into a full-scale problem.   The thought that something might be nice even if you may wonder if it is wrong, is the fiery dart of temptation that you must pull out before it takes hold.   Romans 12:2 tells us to And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.   Boy I think we have heard about this good and acceptable and perfect will of God before haven’t we? 

 So if you have a problem with a sin you have to transform or change the way you think or else the problem will continue.

 So if you wear the helmet of salvation, ie having faith in Christ to save you and protect you and help you, knowing GAAPWOG and the Law you will be able to recognise the fiery darts of temptation and protect from your thoughts that begin sins.

 In 1Timothy 5:8 Paul talks about the Helmet of the hope of salvation. If you know you have salvation through Jesus Christ you have a glorious hope for so much, for protection, resurrection, blessings etc.  This is available NOW but also for the future. Hope is what makes us go in life and strive for goals.  Sports champs work so hard because they have a hope of glory.  We make plans and work because of the hope we have for what life will bring when we reach those goals.  You go to school because you hope that one day you will finish and be able to do something better.

 Hope helps us in trouble and allows us to move on to new things, something better.  Hope is what tells us that nothing lasts forever, either good or bad.   A sheep may fall in a ditch but a pig wallows there.  Hoping for better things gives us a reason for living.

 Now have you noticed that when you think about something your eyes automatically go up at an angle of 22 degrees actually?  You try it…LATER!!!  Scientific studies have shown that when we hold our head up we think better and generally feel better. When Jesus was telling us in Luke 21:28 about some of the scary things that would happen He said  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.  I know He was saying that we should look to the sky for Him to return and on another level to look to Him to help you with your dramas remember the hope He gives us.  You may need our shield of faith to help here because you will have to decide to focus on the hope and not the helplessness.

 Now what happens when you give up your hope and give into despair?   We hang our heads.  And what happens to the helmet?   Oh it falls off!!!  Now what happens if you sin and feel shame?  What happens to your head?  It goes down and what happens.  No helmet of salvation.  No protection and Satan can have a field day.  What happens to the shield when we drop our heads too?  Wow how can that help you?

 So you need to hold you head up and look to Jesus. Hold your head up and be strong. Hold your head up and THINK about what you are doing or going to do.  It can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

                                                 FOR THE OLDER ONES:

Think carefully about the concept that every sin begins with a thought.  Some people say that they couldn’t help it when they do something dumb, that there wasn’t time to think, etc.  If you are honest with yourself there is always a point of decision and you must think to make that decision.  No matter how great the temptation, you have to make the decision to step over the Law or Gaapwog.  If you use the What Would Jesus Do concept and remember that you don’t HAVE to commit to something if you are unsure.  It is OK to not have an opinion, to be neutral, to simply say “I don’t know” or “ don’t know yet”. You won’t look a dope.  You are putting on the girdle of truth.  Jesus will help you in these awful situations if you recognise that you can ask Him in a split second.  One thought is all you need.  Nehemiah prayed like that when the king challenged him and changed history.  Look it up. Nehemiah 2:1-5 Your helmet of salvation may be the only thing between you and disaster one day, probably night.  No matter where you are, what you are doping, how dumb you have been, use it.  Jesus will honour it.  I know He saved me HEAPS of times.

                                FEAST 2003 – THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD

 DAY 6

 SWORD OF THE WORD

 RIGHT MIDDLE FINGER THE WORD OF GOD IS QUICK & POWERFUL, SHARPER THAN ANY TWO EDGED SWORD   HEBREWS 4:12

 Go through the fingers…

 OK boys this is the part you have been waiting for.  We can actually do some fighting back.   The last big piece of armour we look at is the sword.  This is called the gladius.  Can you think of the name of a type of famous person from Roman times which developed from this word?  Russell Crowe.  Gladiator…because they use their swords to fight with.

 This was carried on the right side of the body whether they were left handed or not. As soldiers fought battles not indiviually but as a unit, standing shoulder to shoulder. There would be up to 500 men in a line touching the one on eaither side so it was impossible for the enemy to get through. So it was imperative that they all use the same hand so in training any left handed man would have his left arm starrped to his body  and made to practice using his right hand until it was second nature.  Wearing the sword on the right side meant they could draw their gladii in a compact manner without interfering with the man next to them or making them have to lower their shields or being caught up in the shiled.

 Now the gladius was short and compact and veryu sharp.. The used short stabbing action to kill their enemy not the hacking blows of others.  This made their job quicker and was energy efficient.

 Now Paul tells us that the word of God is like a two edged sword, like a gladius. piercing  even to the dividing asunder of( soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow.   He knew what the Romans could do with their gladii and he knew how powerful the word of God was.  To him it was the same thing.  So God is telling us that when we need to fight we need to use His word, not fists or nasty worldy words but His word.    When we fight Satan and his firey darts we use God’s word.  Jesus did when Satan tempted Him in the desert and He beat Satan.

 Just like the Roamns used short sharp stabs to overcome their enemies Jesus used a single verses from Scripture to overcome Satan. When was debating with the  pharasies he used short succinct stories and simple quotes from Scripture which illustrated His point perfectly.

 Now the Roman sword was a two edged sword. It is said it could cut a man’s leg in two or a silk scarf falling over the blade. So is the Word of God.  It can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you stand with God.  If you have sinned then it will cut you to the quick and make you feel like you have been chopped in half.  If you are suffering and drawing close to God it can be comforting as a silk scarf on a wind-chafed face.

 Now like any sword it must be kept sharp or it is useless so you must know you scripture well so you can use it to defend yourself.  If you don’t know Scripture then how can it help you when you are in trouble,  how can you know what is the truth, how can you tell what is a sin?

 Now you need to be careful that you don’t use the sword of His word on it’s own.  Many people know God’s word and use it for all the wrong things.  If you use it without the helmet of salvation you will be condemned by it and see only the harsh convicting side of it and say that it is just full of criticism of you. 

 If you use the sword without  your girdle of truth you will end up with some very weird ideas and in some very dangerous and time wasting places. If you use it withoput the breastplate of righteiousness you will be a hypercrit and people can’t stand hypercrits and will reject you and your message.  Jesus was very much against hyypercrits.  If you use the sword without the guidance of the gospel and the fact that you can approach God in prayer to find out His GAAPWOG for you, you will head in the wrong direction. If you use it without the shiled of faith people will laugh at you because you can’t practice what you preach. So you can see why Paul says put on the WHOLE armour of God.  You need it all the be really safe and effective.

                                                      FOR THE OLDER KIDS.

You will remember how the Roman soldiers who were left handed had to learn to use their right hand to fight so that they could fit into the ranks and contribute to the overall effectiveness of the group.  They had to do this so that the unit survived.  One left-handed soldier would create a weak point where the enemy could attack and get into the centre of the wall of shield and so attack the vulnerable areas.  The safety of every man depended on the actions of every other man and many had to give up their indivuidual  differences and ?????? for the good of the group.

 Now in our society the emphasis has moved from the good or survibval of the society to the expression of the individual.   This on one hand is a good thing as much creativity and personal desires have been supressed in the past. Howvere  the society or unit that we live in has all but fallen apart as indiviuals go their own way seeking their own satisfaction and the weak and vulnerable are put at risk.  I am not saying the Roman system was a model to follow but any society which puts the indiviual before the unit will disintergrate.   Modern thinkers tell us that we have permission to seek personal happiness at the expense of considering the consequences of those actions.  The Bible tells us that we must always thionk of the consequences when we act and that certain acts are basically unacceptable. This society has been going down the path of self gratificataion and the pursuit of happiness for about 50 years.   If this process is successful why are 30% of our people on antidepressants, Why have  ??% of kids tried drugs?  Why are ??% of our youth psychotuc?  Why do we have the third highest suicide rate a the world where the suicide rate is the hhighest it has ever been.

 Sometimes we have to put our own personal expression aside for the greater good of the society in order that the weak among us can be protected.

                                    FEAST 2003 – THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD

 DAY 7

 BARE BACK

 RIGHT RING FINGER

          RESIST THE DEVIL AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU.  James 4:7

 OK so we have looked at all the pieces of armour that Paul talks about in Ephesians.  Repeat the verses and finger thing.  Go over the bits and what they are for.

 So we are well and truly protected from Satan’s darts IF we put the armour on and the way we do that is to ask Jesus into our hearts, ask Him to be our special friend all the time and take Him with us where ever we go, ask Jesus if we can become part of His team, join the King’s army.  There are hundreds of ways you can become part of His kingdom.  NOW.  While you are kids.  I did when I was seven.  I could see that He was God and that if He wanted me to be part of His kingdom I wanted IN and so I asked Him (quietly one hot afternoon at the beach in the Christmas holidays) to be my King.  He never says no and so He has been with me in my heart ever since.  Sometimes I pretend He is not there and get myself into trouble but he always loves me and helps me sort out my messes or shows me ways to manage them.

 If you have friends you like to spend time with them and talk to them so I do this everyday when I read His word and pray. .  The Roman soldier could only wear the armour and have its protection while he stayed in the army.  If he left then he couldn’t have the benefit of the armour.  So everyday I ask Jesus to give me His armour.  His whole armour and I imagine that I am putting it on piece by piece like I put on my clothes for work.  Sound dumb but it works.

 So you have Jesus in you and on you.

 Now for the next piece.  Can anyone guess what the two pieces are today?  OK Luke show them.   What had Luke got on his back to protect his back?    Nothing.  OH!!  That is a bit scary.

 The Roman soldier had nothing to protect his back.  He was only safe while he faced up to his enemies.  If he turned his back and ran away and didn’t deal with the battle he had no protection and was much more likely to get killed.   So it is with our spiritual armour.  We only have protection while we face up to the Devil and use the whole armour of God to protect us.  If we turn and run by denying God or refusing to do the GAAPWOG or saying it isn’t true etc, then Satan will know we have no armour to protect us and he will be after us.

 Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

 BANNER OF LOVE

 LEFT RING FINGER

 How many of you have seen the soldiers marching on Anzac Day?   Well when they march in the big cities there is a big colourful banner that they march behind with the emblem of their unit or ship. This banner is called the regimental colours or just The Colours and some of them can be very beautiful.  The Colours tell about the unit, ie the eagle for the Airforce tell that they fly, and the navy ones have pictures of the ships they served on and the army can have strange emblems or mascots and have a list of the places where they have served.

 Well the Roman soldiers did the same thing but their banners were not as elaborate as the Anzac Day ones.  They were smaller and were held up on a stick by one person but they did the same thing.  They told the world who the unit was and what they stood for.

 Now believe it or not the main role of the Roman soldier was to keep their peace in their territory. We have talked about all the awful things they did to their enemies but that is the horror of war.  They liked nothing better that not to have to go to battle but enemies kept rising up against them.  Despite their cruelty they brought about a society which was very stable for a long time where much beautiful architecture was built, great literature was written, wonderful carving and the most amazing system of roads and bridges and aqueducts. was built that are still there and we still use some of them today.  This society was very just to its citizens (but not to outsiders) and was only possible because these soldiers maintained the peace called Pax Romana.

 So what do you think our main role as Christians and part of God’s kingdom?  To love.  To love God and to love other people. The whole law and GAAPWOG are aimed at that.  Love is really our reason for living.  Human beings will die from lack or love.  There was a King in Bavara in Germany called Mad King Ludwig who did an experiment with some children in his court.  He put the babies in a special nursery with the best food and clothes and surroundings but forbade the nannies to touch or love the babies.   They all died within three months.  We see the same thing in premmie nurseries where in the past they thought the babies are too small to be touched as so they left them in the special cribs with food and warmth etc but no touch and they just didn’t grow.  Now they have special ladies that go into these nurseries who just sit all day and cuddle or stroke these tiny babies and the difference is amazing.

 So love is real reason for living. 

 In the Song of Solomon 2:2 it says, “His banner over me is love”.  So the banner that we march under as part of the King’s army is “love”.  That is what we really stand for.  Of course this takes in righteousness, truth, the gospel, faith and His word and The Law and GAAPWOG and all the other stuff. Love summarises what God planned for His creation and us.

 John 4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love

 John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life

 1Jo 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begottenSon into the world, that we might live through him.

 Jo 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

 1Jo 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

 Why do we use the left ring finger to show the Banner of Love? Because that is the finger we wear our wedding ring on.  So whenever you see a wedding ring think of how much God loved us.

                                                   FOR THE OLDER KIDS.

You can use the Law of Love to make any sin acceptable.  Adultery involves love so it must be OK. Etc.  God’s Law of Love NEVER breaks His written Law.  So if anything you are contemplating goes against His written Law it is a sin and you will need to use your armour to defend yourself from it.

 

                          FEAST 2003 – THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD

 DAY 8

APRON OF HUMILITY

 RIGHT LITTLE FINGER

  PUT ON THE APRON OF HUMILITY TOWARDS ONE ANDOTHER 1 Peter 5:5

 Now God has given us a special piece of His armour that we can wear over the top to protect us even more.  Who has seen a butcher with his blue and white striped apron? And the people who work in the fish processing factories with the big white ones?  And surgeons in the operating theatre?  Whose Mum wears an apron while she is cooking?  Well I do sometimes.  Why do we do that? To keep our clothes clean. 

 Now my version of the Bible 1 Peter 5:5 say “put on the apron of humility towards each other because God sets himself against the arrogant but He gives grace to the humble”.   The KJV says be clothed with humility: from the darts.

 Who knows what humility means?  Right.  It means not thinking that you are more important than other people are.   Everyone is terribly important to God, especially you little ones. But you must wear your girdle of truth when you do this.  Some people really think they are important but say they are not so others will tell them they are!!! That is false humility.  What Peter is talking about is not making a big deal about what you are and what you do.  Just be yourself and do what you need and want to because it is what God wants for you and because it is right.  Don’t look for attention or approval of other people. You must always take into account how your actions will affect others and consider them but don’t think how good you are for doing what is just your duty.

 It is when we think of ourselves and seek for ourselves that we get proud and God doesn’t like proud people. He likes humble ones.  Somehow Satan can smell pride and he comes running to throw fiery darts at you.  Pride is when we think we are crash hot we use to say.  How do you kids say it?

 If you have humility it is easier to tell the truth in all things, easier to fess up if you have sinned and so stomp out the fiery darts before they take hold.  Thinking of others follows the Law of Love and helps you to take the gospel with you on your feet wherever you go and that makes God really pleased with you.

   FEAST 2003 – THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD DAY 8

                              CLOAK OF SINFULNE

                             LEFT LITTLE FINGER

        NOT USING YOUR LIBERTY AS A CLOAK OF      MALICIOUSNESS  (COVERTNESS)  1 Peter 2:16, 1 Thessalonians 2:16

The last garment we are going to look at is not part of the armour.  It is a cloak which people use to keep themselves warm.  It covers the whole body and wraps tightly around you.  Evil and bad people in the movies often wear a black cloak which they swish with great terror!!   You can use a cloak to hide a lot of awful things, which can be pulled out at the last minute to attack someone, or if you are stealing something you can hide it under the cloak.  Somehow cloaks always seem to have horrible things associated with them.

 Now both Paul and Peter talk about cloaks as evil things.  Peter talks about a cloak of maliciousness.  That means when you think or want or do something awful to other people.  Paul talks about the cloak of covertness, which is when you want something that belongs to someone else.

 Ok so now that Luke has his cloak on. Lets see how he can get his shield and sword out to beat Satan.  He can’t can he.  So if you put on God’s armour you cannot then cover it with a cloak of sinfulness.

                                                          FOR THE OLDER KIDS.

 Peter says that we shouldn’t use the wionderful liberty or freedaom that we have through Christ as a claok of maliciousness.   What I am going to say is really awful but you need to be aware. Most people think that if someone is openly a Chruiistian they must be good and this should be true. However, some people with really awful intentions, deliberatly pose as “good righteous Christians” and join churches or youth groups like the Scouts etc when their intentions are to prey on the young people there.  Being part of a group of “good” people acts like a claok to hide their evil intentions. The world calls theses people “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”.  Peter talks about using our freedom in Christ as a cloak of maliciousness so they existed in his time.  You will find these evil people to be very clever and you need to remember that no matter what they say you can judge them by the fruit of their actions. Regardless of what the animal says it is, if it walks like a pig and smells like a pig and lives like a pig and grunts, it’s a pig!!!   So be careful.  It can and does happen still.

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