RECAP: SUIT UP based on Ephesians 6:10-18
In this world, if we are following Jesus, we will have trouble. If they persecuted the master, they will also persecute the servant. Our very presence as a follower of Jesus will incite challenge. In as much as we might be a peace church, when it comes to spiritual matters, we are at war.
But who is our enemy? Our enemy is not people. Our enemy is not those with different beliefs than us, nor is it those who choose different lifestyles. Our enemy is not flesh and blood, but as Paul declared, against the devil and his schemes, against the rulers, the authorities, the powers in this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil at work in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:11-12). The devil’s goal is to steal, to kill, and to destroy, to disrupt, to confuse, to stop us from living into what God has created us for. And there is nothing the enemy desires more than for the people of God to be silent, and to be completely on the sidelines, useless and ineffective.
And so, if we are in a war, in order to defeat our enemy, we need to be properly equipped to be able to stand our ground. Paul used the familiar garb of the Roman soldier to illustrate to the church at Ephesus the armor that God has given us. With what should we suit up?
1) Belt of Truth. It starts with the belt because it is the belt that is at the center of who we are and holds up our core. If we don’t have a belt, we run the risk of being caught with our pants down. When the belt is on, we don’t have to worry about the freedom to move and respond, for everything is secure.
Truth is our security. It is what centers us. We live in a day where truth is always under attack and questioned. How many people unravel every day as their world crashes around their feet? But we have the Truth in our lives as a believer–the Truth of the Word of God, and the Truth in the person of Jesus Christ. If we center and anchor ourselves in those sources of truth, we can move freely, for we are grounded, and we won’t unravel when the liar comes!
2) Breastplate of Righteousness. The breastplate covered and protected the major organs, especially the heart. Righteousness is what covers and protects our hearts. But it is not our own righteousness, for no human being is righteous within themselves (Rom 3:8). Rather, we became the righteousness of God through the salvific work of Jesus on the cross (2 Cor 5:21). And because of his work, we can stand in righteousness, because we have been washed, sanctified, and justified by his blood (1 Cor 6:11).
But in order for it to work, it has to be worn! We can have the righteousness of God, but if we are not wearing it, we are not protected. And so to wear righteousness, we have to live in righteousness. That means our lives must be in harmony with the holiness and righteousness of God, and we have to be extending righteousness (or justice) to the world.
3) Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. The Roman shoe was a heavy sandal with hobnails on the sole. The reason was two-fold: to be able to march or advance in any terrain, and to protect the feet from obstacles meant to injure and slow down (broken glass, pottery, shrapnel, etc.). These shoes gave the soldier a sure footing no matter the situation.
What gives us sure footing, no matter the situation? What helps us to navigate whatever terrain we might face? It is the gospel of peace. This is not a peace as commonly understood today, where everyone gets along, or a message of compromise or tolerance. Rather, this peace comes from a life that has known the God of Peace and living in the gospel of peace. It comes from right relationship with God and a knowledge of who we are in Christ. The enemy tries to slow us down with the booby traps all around us; it is God’s peace that gives us sure footing at all times, even under attack.
4) Shield of Faith. The shield was a vital piece, for often the enemy attacked with projectiles. Often, they were set on fire. But the shields were soaked in water before battle, so they would quickly extinguish the flaming arrows.
Our enemy fires those flaming arrows toward us to keep us far away from achieving our God-given destiny. But we can extinguish those arrows with our faith. When we place our confidence in who God is and what he has declared us to be, it gives us a narrative to extinguish the lies that are hurled our direction!
5) Helmet of Salvation. The easiest place the enemy attacks us is in our thoughts. When we allow those voices in, they can confuse us, talk us out of God’s plan, and provide us with an alternative narrative. So we protect our head with salvation. We keep at the forefront of our minds exactly what Jesus has done for us, and what that means. We declare we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that we are a new creation, that the old is gone for the new has come. We remind ourselves that God has removed our sin from us. Keeping our salvation keeps us focused on what God is doing.
6) Sword of the Spirit. The Sword is the Word of God. It cuts through the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, and cuts down the enemy’s schemes. How did Jesus defeat the enemy in the desert? With the Word! But the Word of God is not just the written Word, but also the spoken Word as well. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us (Romans 8:11). It is that Spirit that will speak when we don’t know what to say (Matt 10:20), that intercedes with groanings words cannot express (Rom 8:26-27), that reveals the attitudes of humanity and knows exactly what needs to be said at the time it is said. And when we are equipped with the Spirit, not only are we flowing with the written Word of God, but the very authority of God!
We have a real enemy. God has given us the tools we need to be equipped to fight. And where is our battlefield? In prayer. Fight the enemy on our knees. We are more than conquerors, and the battle is the Lord’s! Let us fight for our church, for our community, for our nation, that God’s kingdom may reign, and let us fight on our knees!
Questions for Reflection
1) Where have you seen a battle in your life?
2) What lies of the enemy have you engaged?
3) Which piece of the armor do you need to take up and put on?
4) Where would you like to see victory in your life? How about collectively as a church? Let’s take it to the Lord in prayer!
This Sunday, Chris Dastoli is our guest speaker. He will preach the sermon titled “What is Grace?,” based on Ephesians 2:8-9. What is grace? And how do we live in it? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for November 9 – 15
November 9: Romans 6:15-23 What should be our healthy attitude toward righteousness?
November 10: Romans 12:9-21 How do we live in a state of peace?
November 11: Romans 4:1-21 How was Abraham an example of a life of faith?
November 12: Luke 15 What is the depth of salvation?
November 13: Hebrews 4:12 What is the power of the Word?
November 14: Genesis 2:1-17 How was the principle of stewardship present at Creation?
November 15: Genesis 39:1-6 How was Joseph a faithful steward?
This Week’s Events:
Tuesday, November 9–Women’s Fellowship @ 1:15 pm @ Winnie Wilfong’s
Thursday, November 18–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Sunday, November 21–Stewardship Sunday
Sunday, November 21–Called Council Meeting @ 12 pm
Sunday, November 28–Hanging of the Greens Celebration
Saturday, December 4–Women’s Fellowship Auction
Saturday, December 11–McAvoy/Over Wedding @ 4 pm
Hanging of the Greens
Hanging of the Greens will be on Sunday, November 28, starting during morning worship and concluding with a fellowship meal afterwards. Each family should bring: a carry-in dish to share; a Christmas ornament to be exchanged; a Christmas card for Beaver Creek Congregation; a donation for the amount you would normally spend on Christmas cards; children’s winter clothing items for the Mitten Tree; and food pantry items. You can bring a donation that Sunday, and also build a box of items as a reverse advent calendar this year!
Question & Answer Sessions
Thank you for all who attended the question and answer sessions. If you have additional questions, please reach out to Pastor Ryan. If you would like a visit to ask some questions as well, please reach out to the office so a visit can be scheduled.
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer & Discernment
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
In addition, if you have questions and would like answers for clarification, please reach out to the office, Ann Healy, or Pastor Ryan. The Leadership Team will inform the congregation of the entire process in this season of discernment despite the rumors spreading in the community. But if you do have a question, please reach out!
Book Study during Sunday School–all who do not have a class are welcome to attend!
The Fidelis Class has begun a new book study for Sunday School called Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel. If you are not actively involved in a Sunday School class, you are invited to participate in this book study!
Misti Wheelbarger is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Norman Clark (COVID)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Gene (?) LaPrade (health)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Forest & Marlene Miller (COVID)
Mary G Miller (health)
Tom Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Morriss family (loss)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Victor Samalot (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Stan Suter (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB