Some have mistakenly identified this as the Gospel of Peace. It is not. It is Readiness, and it comes from the Gospel of Peace.
It is a readiness, a willingness to speak to others of the Gospel unashamedly.
1st Peter 3:15: But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
We are to be Christ's Ambassadors, fearlessly proclaiming His Gospel to all men.
2nd Cor. 5:20: We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
If we are afraid or ashamed to speak to others of the Gospel, then we are weak, ineffectual Ambassadors. We are soldiers who are afraid to use our weapons. We are Generals afraid to make a decision.
Romans 1:16: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Phil. 1:20: I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
2nd Tim. 1:8-16: So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you-guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.
1st Peter 4:16: However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
Being always ready to share your faith with others builds up a spiritual protection. If we are afraid to speak the gospel, then we are easily mocked. This type of person does not want to be singled out as a Christian. He does not want the embarrassment of being different.
Matthew 10:32, 33 says that: "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
A person without the readiness to acknowledge Jesus as Lord will be easily knocked around by the enemy. His effectiveness will be stripped from him, and he will find himself in the camp of the enemy - a casualty whom not even the Lord Jesus will acknowledge.
Faith, quite simply, is belief. Jesus said if we only believed it was possible, we would be able to uproot a mountain and cast it away. This is faith. (Matt. 17:20,21)
Faith is the core of our being. It is belief. We either have it or we don't. This is one reason the scripture tells us to: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6.
It is much easier to be raised to believe something, than to believe in it later on in life.
This goes much deeper than simply believing in the existence of a God. That would simply be Truth. This is the type of belief that the three Hebrew Children had, when they said that God had the power to rescue them from Nebuchadnezzar's furnace. It didn't matter whether the Lord would actually deliver them or not, the fact remained that they believed that the Lord possessed the power to save them if He desired to do so.
It is this type of belief. Belief that the Lord is Sovereign, and Omnipotent, and Loving, and Just, and All-Powerful. It is the belief that He can deliver us from overwhelming circumstances. He can save us from impossible situations.
The type of belief that can cause a mountain to rise out of the ground and be thrown into the sea.
It is this type of belief, this type of faith, that protects.
This type of belief keeps us from backsliding. By that, I mean that it keeps us from remaining in sin, because we know that if we fall, He is able to lift us out of our sin and restore us to Himself. We don't have to remain in sin, worried that He will not accept us. He will accept us, and He will deliver us.
People like to go to extremes so often, when looking at examples, so let us go to an extreme. Let's look at homosexuality. Do you believe God can deliver a person trapped in this vile lifestyle? Of course He can. Do you believe that God can save a murderer? What about a rapist? How about a child molester? A bank robber? A prostitute? A drug addict?
Of course He can. The bible even says, in 1st Cor. 6:11: And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
But most likely, you are not involved in such things. You do not have to go to such an extreme. You may be falling into sin on a daily or weekly basis, but the sin is not as great.
Now let me say this: It is true that the bible lists some sins as greater than others. (John 19:11 - Jesus talks here about a "greater sin") That does not mean that engaging in the smaller sins leaves you any better off. The wages of all sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
But if you can believe that the Lord can deliver a person from sins such as those mentioned above, then how easy it would be for the Lord to deliver you from your little sin! Believing that the Lord can save, even from such terrible, impossible sins, should make it easy to believe that there is hope for your situation as well.
So don't remain in your sin, afraid that the Lord will not accept you. He will accept you, and with open arms. If you doubt this, just read the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke chapter 15).
Let's look at the three Hebrew Children once more, and let's view Faith as a mathematical equation.
You in your sin, (let's say it happens to be swearing, or lying, or gossiping, or lusting) when you fall, are on the wrong side of the equation. You want to get onto the other side of the equation.
The Hebrew Children were also on the wrong side of the equation: a blazing furnace!
There are two parts to this equation of Faith: You, and God.
With the Hebrew Children, they believed that God had the power to save them from their impossible situation. They told the king that it didn't matter if He actually delivered them or not, they still refused to bow before him. The Lord was still mighty to save.
Now let's parallel your sinful situation. First of all, theirs was an impossible situation. Yours is not.
Even though they had the more dire situation, they still believed that God had the power to deliver them. Now look at your own situation. Do you believe God can deliver you from your not-so-impossible circumstance?
Of course you believe He can. It would be ridiculous to try to indicate otherwise.
With the Hebrew Children, the X Factor, (themselves) had already been taken care of. They believed in the delivering power of God. The only unknown factor left, was God. Would He, or would He not, deliver them from the furnace?
With you, the Y Factor (God) is what has already been taken care of. God does not want you to remain in sin, but died on a cross that you might be saved! He wants to take you back! It is not His will that any should perish (2nd Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.).
With you, the only Factor undecided is You! Do you believe that the Lord can save people from impossibly sinful lifestyles? Then how can you possibly believe that He would be unwilling to save you from your little sin?
All you have to do is have Faith! Believe! Once that happens, both parts of the equation come together, and you find yourself on the right side of the problem! Safe, and protected!
This is the power of Faith!
This belief, this Faith keeps the doubt at bay. When you stumble into sin, the Lord wants to help us right back up and out of it. But the devil is there to attack us, to kick us when we're down. He whispers to us that God could not possibly want to have any association with such a vile sinner. He whispers that we are not even worthy of coming before His presence to ask for forgiveness, and so we should stay away from Him for awhile, until we can get our lives back in order, until we can regain a measure of righteousness.
This lie only serves the devil's purpose! It keeps us isolated from the only help that can save us! And the cunning part of this lie, is that we can never regain any measure of righteousness while we're off on our own, afraid to ask for God's hand in deliverance!
The best thing we can do when we fall is to run straight back to the Lord, confess our faults to Him, be forgiven, and move on with our lives. Wandering around in a wilderness of sin only gives the devil more time to prey on us.
Faith is what gives us strength in times of trouble, just as it did for Elisha and his servant in 2nd Kings chapter 6, when there were more "with us than against us".
It doesn't matter how bad the situation looks, God is able to deliver us out of the hand of the enemy. And if the situation doesn't look so impossible, then how much easier are we able to be delivered!
If we can have faith in the impossible, then we can believe in the possible!
When Satan tells us we are unable to be saved, when he says that we are unworthy of God's attention, Faith is the power that will protect us!
This is not just knowing the Truth, but obeying it, and living it.
It is not just living righteously on the outside (as they did in Matt. 15:8,9), to fulfill a requirement, but it is taking on Christ's righteousness as a garment.
It does not mean going through the motions of Christianity, as the Pharisees did, it involves fulfilling the most basic commands of the Lord: Repenting, being Baptized in Jesus Name, and being filled with His Holy Spirit.
In other words, you don't just look the part, you become the part!
Salvation gives you a modicum of protection all by itself, since you now belong to the Lord, but you are weak as a baby, needing the milk of the Word. (1st Peter 2:2: Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,)
You must grow strong in the Lord, by putting on the other pieces of the Armor of God.
You are bought with the blood of Jesus, and this does give you the protection of telling Satan that you belong to the Lord, but if salvation is the only protection you have in your life, you are as a small tree that can be shaken by the wind. You need to be deeply and firmly rooted.
Salvation gives a measure of protection all on its own, but it is not enough to stand against the wiles of the Devil.
It is a starting point, a stepping stone. We are supposed to continue in the faith and become strong. Unfortunately, many Christians do stop at this point, believing that this is all the protection they will ever need.
These are the ones who end up lukewarm. These are the ones unto whom the Lord will say on the Day of Judgement: "'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" - Matthew 7:23.
The Word of God -
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
The Word of God is a strong protective covering. Jesus used it effectively when dealing with the temptation of the Devil, and was successful in turning the enemy aside. (Matt. 4:1-11)
Romans 10:17 tells us that: Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Our faith can be built up through the hearing of the Word of God. So we see that some of our armor can be strengthened by having other parts of it active in our lives.
Proverbs 27:17 says that: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Not only do believers strengthen each other, but the individual pieces of the Armor of God also work to strengthen the other parts.
Prayer in the Spirit -
This is our offensive weapon! We are not just to be well fortified, or well protected, we are to attack! There is an old saying that "The best defense is a good offense".
Once we are well protected, firmly ensconced in the Armor of God, we need to attack, through prayer.
This isn't simple prayer, it is prayer that is done through the Power of the Spirit! We are told to launch a veritable wave of aggression and oppression against the Powers of Darkness!
We are to be bold, fearless, relentless, praying on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
The Prayer of the Spirit is to be used as a shotgun - repeated, continuous discharges that blanket the spirit-world with powerful, effective blasts.
Pray at all times, in the morning, noon, evening, and night. Pray on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. Pray at mealtimes and before bed at night. Pray on Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and Halloween! Pray when you're happy, pray when you're sad. Pray when things are going great, and pray when things are falling apart around your ankles.
Pray at all times and on all occasions and do not let up for a second against the enemy!
Pray for physical needs, pray for emotional needs, pray for financial needs, pray for victory over the enemy, salvation for your family and friends, pray for your politicians, pray for your co-workers and your company. Pray for spiritual gifts, pray for the homosexual, the battered wife, the drug addict, and pray for the lonely, the sick, and the elderly. Pray for your country, and pray for the world. Pray for the missionaries on foreign soil, and pray for the soldiers that are defending your freedom. Pray for the sunshine, and pray for the rain, and pray for the farmer and his crops, and pray that God will allow you to see another day.
Pray in thanksgiving, thank God for your blessings, thank God for the answers He has given to previous prayer, and for the answers He has yet to give.
Pray, pray, and pray!
This is the state in which we need to find ourselves: Fully armed with the Armor of God, and relentlessly assaulting the kingdom of darkness with the powerful, effectual prayer of the Spirit!
James 5:16: … The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Article 4: Implementation
Paragraph 12; Subsection 4
How To Use The Armor
We will go over each piece of armor once more, this time instructing you in each item's use; how to go about implementing these things in your daily life and really affecting the Kingdom of God for good.
The Truth can be added to your life through reading the Word of God, hearing it preached, praying to God for instruction, and seeking the scriptures to make sure that what you are hearing (both from man and God) is correct.
Don't have a closed mind to the things of the Word. Don't be afraid to challenge the traditions you have always held, or things that the "church" may hold to. Make sure that you accept as Truth nothing except the Word of God.
Do not be swayed by the eloquent words of others. Some things sound very nice and very good, but can they be backed up by scripture?
Remember that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, and that it does not contradict itself. If you hear things through the "Spirit" that contradict the Word, then you have not heard from God - the enemy has attempted to infiltrate your ranks. Do not allow him to gain access!
Galations 1:8,9: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
If you find things in the bible or hear teachings that seem to cause the Bible to contradict itself, search very hard into these things! I tell you the truth, the Bible does NOT contradict itself. What may appear as contradictions to some are merely the result of a lack of the Truth in their lives.
The explanation can be found. Search for it! Once you understand scripture in a way that allows each verse to exist in peace with the others, you will have found the Truth!
On your quest, employ the use of bible study groups, preachers, and prayer to help you uncover the Truth. The Lord is faithful to reward those who diligently seek him (Heb. 11:6).
Matthew 7:7,8: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
"Do it". Live it. Ask for prayer in this area. Get encouragement from the Body. Don't despair when you fail (and you will at first), but get back up and try it again. Don't stay in sin.
Once you begin to live righteously, it will become easier and easier. Resolve to do better. Just do it!
Read and memorize the Word of God. Again, just do it! Speak to others about the Lord. Practice with the Body of Christ, by testifying to the group of believers. Then when you become comfortable, move on to sharing your faith with others.
Don't worry about success. Don't worry about whether you will actually reach the people you speak to for the Lord's Kingdom. Just do it to be exercising your readiness. Remember, where one sows, another one reaps (John 4:37,38).
In other words, just witness, and don't be worried about the outcome. If you go throughout your life planting seeds in the lives of others, the Lord may have another believer come along and reap the rewards of what you sowed.
To paraphrase an old military slogan, "Speak to them all, and let God sort them out".
Do this as unto the Lord. Everything you do should be as unto the Lord.
Romans 14:6-8: He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Ephesians 6:7,8: Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Colossians 3:23,24: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
1st Corinthians 10:31: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatever ye do, do all things to God's glory.
Do not do good deeds to others in expectation of some reward. Do it so that your Father in Heaven may be pleased with you, and you will store up much treasure in heaven as a result.
If people ask you why you are doing good to them, you will then have an opportunity to speak to them about living after the example of Christ.
If they mock you, then consider yourself fortunate, and take pleasure in it, for Jesus was also mocked. (Matt. 5:11,12: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.)
Share your answered prayer with others. Start with the Body of Christ until you are more comfortable. Listen to the testimonies of others.
Depend on the Lord. Allow Him to work out your problems, and don't try to solve everything on your own.
Go through some tough times. Moses, Jesus, John the Baptist, Elijah… they all went through a wilderness experience, a time of hardship where they grew close to the Lord.
Fast. Pray. Read the Word of the Lord. Sell what you have and give to others.
As God begins to intercede in your life, your faith will be increased.
Obey Acts 2:38.
Word of God -
Read the bible. Memorize it. Study it. Write your own bible studies.
Pray in the Spirit -
Pray. Pray always. Pray about everything. If you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, then you will have the power of the Spirit in which to pray. Use it. Allow the Spirit to take over, and pray in other tongues.
Article 5: Conclusion
Paragraph 19; Subsection 5
Where To Go From Here
After being fully armed, expect a fight. The devil is not going to allow such a strong bastion of righteousness to go unchallenged.
Keep alert, keep on your guard, and keep praying for everyone else, so that they will become as strong in the faith as you have become, and then strive to become stronger.
Refine your knowledge. Hone your skills. Draw closer to God.
You will become as strong as you can possibly be!
Satan may still stomp on you (as he did the Church of Smyrna in Rev. 2:9,10), but you will have a wealth and a power through the spirit that he can never touch or take away from you!
Remember, the Armor of God is not a guarantee against failure. Once clothed in it, you will still be expected to fight with it. But the stronger your armor, the better your chances.
A Christian without the Armor of God can be assured of disaster. Remember, we are at war! So do not stop at just learning about it. Learn to use it!
Arm yourself, put on the full Armor of God, and then stand and fight! Do some damage to the Powers of Darkness!
Chad J. McCoy
Dark Savant Ministries
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