Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 – The Armor of God

Paul wrote the letter of Ephesians while he was imprisoned in Rome.  He sent it to the church in Ephesus and probably to all the churches near Ephesus.  He knew that Christians were constantly in warfare with evil forces as we are today.  The power of these forces is very strong so Paul tells how to prepare for and how to go into battle with the evils of this world. 

We are to put on the Armor of God so we can stand against the devil’s schemes.  He encourages us to wear it every day, because evil will come every day.  Our struggles in this world are not against men and government, but against the darkness of this world – the devil.  Put on your armor as a soldier does.  No soldier can win battles unless he is prepared.  He trains before going into battle and he carries with him what he will need to fight the enemy.  Paul tells us that we need to train and take with us the full Armor of God.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”Eph. 6:10-18.

What exactly is the Armor of God?

The Belt of Truth – Truth is everything God has told us about Himself and about Jesus.  This truth is in our hearts and minds.  It holds our armor in place.  It secures our armor, but allows us freedom.  Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32.  With it around our waist, we are prepared to defend against the devil’s lies.  We will be able to see through his lies and deceptions.  It helps us see that power, materialism, money, and pleasures are not important in life as the devil would have us believe.  We should commit ourselves daily to walk in the light of God’s truth.   

The Breastplate of Righteousness –Righteousness comes from God.  It is our justification making us right with God.  It covers our hearts and all vital organs and stops the enemy from hurting us.  We are to go into battle with confidence and not fall for the devil’s lies and accusations.  With this breastplate, his lies and reminders of our past sin will not penetrate our hearts.

The Shoes of Readiness and Peace – Shoes allow us to step freely without fear adding to our movement and defense, because we know the good news of Christ which gives us peace in Him.  We can move in obedience to Christ and flee any temptations as we walk doing whatever He has called us to do.

The Shield of Faith – This shields our bodies.  It extinguishes all the fiery darts of evil.  These darts could be doubt, fear, angry words, reminders of our past sins, or any evil thoughts the devil puts in our minds.  When the devil attacks us, our strong faith in Christ enables us to withstand all his attacks.  The Roman soldiers would fix their shields together to make a wall so it would cover more soldiers at the same time.  We Christians should join together, which makes us stronger and safer against the attacks of the enemy.

The Helmet of Salvation – Your mind is the devil’s target.  He wants you to doubt your salvation, but the helmet will protect your mind.  Jesus saved you by His love and gave you the gift of salvation.  This knowledge protects and assures us for our eternity.  Our minds are protected because of Jesus’ work on the cross. 

The Sword of the Spirit – This is the only weapon of offense in the armor.  It is the Bible, God’s Word.  There is power in the Word of God.  It is also the Holy Spirit.  When the enemy tries to use arguments and our thoughts against us, we are to trust in the truth of God’s Word and let ourselves be guided by His Spirit. 

Pray and Stay Alert – We are to pray constantly and for everything.  We are to pray for all Christians.  Prayer should become a habit.  It is essential in using the armor.  We draw strength from God and rely on Him.  It really activates the armor.  We are to be alert like a sentry on duty.  We must be alert and watch for any signs of infiltration by the enemy and then go immediately to prayer.

The Christian life is not about making yourself happy and comfortable.  It’s a daily battle with unseen forces of wickedness.  Satan isn’t concerned with unbelievers of this world.  He already has them and they are headed for destruction.  He hates those who are trying to live a holy life.  The Armor of God is our spiritual defense against his attacks.  The armor is invisible, but it is real and when used and worn daily, it provides solid protection again the enemy.  Jesus has already won our victory on the cross and Satan knows it so he is working extra hard to deceive us.  We need to put on God’ Armor to keep Satan out of our minds and hearts.  We need to stay alert because we never know when he will attack.

How are you putting on the Armor of God?
Are you in the Word daily?
How is prayer a big part of your daily life?

Thanks for stopping by my site.  Have a blessed day, stay in prayer, and stay alert.  See you next time.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Future End Time Events Explained

What is the Rapture?

The word Rapture is not mention in the Bible.  But the Bible tells us that all believers since the birth of the church in Acts 2 both dead and living will someday disappear instantly.  Why?  The purpose is so believers will avoid the horrifying disasters that will occur during the Tribulation – things like earthquakes, fire, and all kinds of natural disasters like the chaos referred to in Revelation 6-18. 

Jesus will descend with a shout and the trumpet of God will sound.  Believers will immediately meet Him in the air and be taken into heaven to be with Jesus.  Unbelievers will remain on the earth to experience God’s wrath.  This will happen before the Tribulation breaks out all over the world. 

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.”1 Thess. 4:16-17.  This sounds like Jesus is coming back then, but He is not coming back at this time.  As Jesus sits on the right hand of the throne of God, He will get up off the throne and initiate the Rapture just at the right time.  He Himself will draw believers into heaven.

The dead believers will rise first, while the unbelievers will remain in their graves until judgment.  The believers’ spirits are already in heaven, but as their bodies rise they will be united with their spirits.  “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”1 Cor. 15:52. 

The Rapture can happen at any time.  There are no events that must occur before the Rapture.  Are you prepared for the Rapture?

Once believers are in heaven they will be rewarded according to what they have done on the earth.  This is called the Judgment Seat of the Christ. (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom 14:10).  Another event called Marriage Supper of the Lamb (2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:6-8) will occur later to celebrate the fellowship with Jesus in heaven.

What is the difference between the Rapture and the Jesus’ Second Coming?

The Rapture occurs first.  Then as in the book of Revelation at Jesus’ Second Coming, Jesus will return with all the saints (all those who were Raptured).  The Rapture will be witnessed by believers only, but the Jesus’ Second Coming will be witnessed by all people.  “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him: even they who pierced Him.  And all the tribes of earth will mourn because of Him.”Rev. 1:7. 

Christ’s Second Coming will happen 7 years after the Rapture.  His coming will be at the end of the 7 year Tribulation.  When He returns the Old Testament saints will be resurrected, which marks the end of the Tribulation. The Tribulation will usher in the Millennium. 

What is the Tribulation?

The Tribulation is the 7 year period described in Revelation 11-18.  During the first 3 ½ years life on earth will get worse.  The second 3 ½ years is known as the Great Tribulation when God’s anger against the wicked will be the greatest.  The Antichrist will be empowered and will be the center of evil.  It will be a time of great deception by the Antichrist.  It will be a time of devastation, disease, disasters, death, and many false prophets who will deceive many people.  There will be greed, immorality and all kinds of wickedness.  During this time there will be those who will come to believe and be saved, but many will not believe.

There will be natural disasters that occur.  These are found in the book of Revelation.  The sun will turn black, the moon will turn red, and there will be great earthquakes. The stars will fall from the sky.  Mountains and islands will move.  The oceans will become blood.  The water will become poisoned.  This will be a time of great suffering and persecution.  During this time more than half of the world’s population will die.

Who is this Antichrist?

He is the person who is against Christ.  There have been many so-called antichrists, but this Antichrist  will be “The Antichrist”.  He will be controlled by Satan.  He will be the most powerful dictator who persecutes, tortures and kills God’s people.  He will promise world peace and security.  People will flock to him and do anything he asks.  The book of Daniel calls him the prince that shall come, a fierce king and a master of intrigue, and a despicable man. (Dan. 8:23; 9:21; 11:21).  In 2 Thessalonians he is referred as the one who brings destruction, the lawless one, the evil man. (1 Thess. 2:3,8,9).   In Revelation he is referred as the beast. (Rev. 13:1).  He will set himself up as god.  All people will worship him. (Rev. 13:8).   

Helping the Antichrist is the false prophet.  Satan attempts to be like god and presents himself as a false trinity which Satan is god, the Antichrist poses as the Messiah and the false prophet is like the Holy Spirit. (Rev. 13).

What is the Millennium? 

At the end of the Tribulation Christ will return as He promised, which is called the Second Coming.  He will bring with Him all the believers who were Raptured.  The Antichrist and his armies will wage war against Him.  This is called the Battle of Armageddon. (Rev. 14:20; 19:15).  But we know who wins – God of course.  The Antichrist and the false prophet will be captured and thrown into the Lake of Fire.

Christ will bind Satan for 1,000 years then Satan can no longer deceive the people.  Christ will set up His 1,000 year reign on earth called the Millennium.  He will rule over the earth as King of the New Jerusalem.  All the believers will rule with Him.  There will be 1,000 years of peace.   During this time all the believers who survived the Tribulation will of course have earthly bodies.  They will continue to marry and have children, and their descendants will need salvation.

When the 1,000 years is over, Satan will be released for a short time to go out and deceive those who were born during the 1,000 year kingdom.  Some of these people will be influenced by Satan and choose to reject Jesus as the Messiah.  Then Satan will be stopped by God and thrown into the Lake of Fire.  All those who has ever died, from the beginning of creation and throughout all of history, and has not trusted God’s provision as the atonement for his sins, will be resurrected and stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment.  They too, will be thrown into the Lake of Fire as their final judgment.

What are the New Jerusalem, New Heaven, and the New Earth?

God will destroy the old creation (earth) that has been corrupted by sin and replace it with a New Heaven and a New Earth that is pure and holy and will stand forever.  The capital will be the New Jerusalem.  There will be no need for the light of the sun and the moon, because Jesus Himself is its light (Rev. 21:23).  All believers throughout history will live in God’s eternal kingdom and will serve Him forever and ever. (2 Peter 3:3-13; Rev. 21-22; Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Matt. 24:35)

Living on this New Earth will be the Old Testament Saints, believers who died and were raptured, believers who did not die and were raptured, believers who came to faith and died as martyrs during the Tribulation called Tribulation Saints, survivors of the Tribulation with earthly bodies, the remnant of Israel who were saved at the return of Christ, and the Gentiles who came to faith during the Tribulation and survived until Christ’s return. 

All believers who returned with Jesus and those resurrected to life have been given new bodies.  They will serve the Messiah.  They will be both Jew and Gentile.

Now you know the future.  If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, will you consider it now?  Turn to God in prayer and confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you.  Believe in Him now before it’s too late.  See more on “How to be saved” at the bottom of this page.

Wow!  I know there is a lot to take in and I’ve only touched on this topic.  To dive into this in more detail, you must read your Bible.  See Daniel 7; 8; 9; Matthew 24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation.

Thanks for stopping by my site.  Have a blessed day.  See you next time.

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

What is the Gospel?

The gospel is the story of Jesus.  It means “good news”.  It’s God's plan for salvation.  The Bible says that we are all sinners.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”Rom. 3:23.  We have all done wrong things called sin.  This has offended God and has broken our relationship with Him and separated us from Him.  We must pay for those sins.  We can’t save ourselves from punishment by our own efforts so we are hopeless.  God didn’t leave us hopeless.  He sent His Son, Jesus who is God in the flesh into the world to take the punishment we deserve.  Jesus was sent by God, born of a virgin, was crucified, died on the cross & was buried.  Then 3 days later He was raised to life.  He did all this so man could have a renewed relationship with God.  All we have to do to be saved from the punishment we deserve is to believe in Jesus and His story. 

Salvation means to be rescued from God’s wrath and the judgment that we deserve because of our sin.   It means to be delivered from the penalty of sin.  This happens the moment we first believe.  We can’t attain salvation by our own efforts or good works.  If this was the case, then Jesus would not have had to die on the cross.  Salvation is received by faith alone.  Belief in Jesus is a choice.  It’s a choice that each person must make on their own.  You must personally believe in Christ.

Jesus is the only way to salvation. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.” John 14:6. 

If you desire to receive Jesus as your savior and escape God’s punishment, here’s what you need to do:
1.       Acknowledge God as Creator
2.      Admit to God that you are a sinner
3.      Confess your sins
4.      Repent from your sins
5.      Believe that Christ died on the cross for you and was raised to life

Then there are things to practice daily for spiritual growth:
1.       Find a Bible-believing church – a place where other Christians encourage each other
2.      Be baptized – do this as a public testimony of your salvation
3.      Pray – talk with God often
4.      Read your Bible – let God speak to you and guide you how to live
5.      Witness – you talk for God telling others about Him

Scriptures about salvation:
Isaiah 59:2
John 1:1; 1:14; 3:16; 5:24; 8:58; 14:6
Acts 4:12; 17:30; 20:21
Romans 3:10-11; 5:8, 12; 6:23; 10:9-10, 13
1 John 1:8-10
Luke 13:5 

Once we believe then we will have eternal with God in heaven.  “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remain on him.”John 3:36.

The gospel message isn’t believed by everyone.  Some say it is foolish thinking.  Jesus knew that many would be ashamed to follow Him.  He knew it would be hard to be His follower.  People would laugh at them and tell lies about them just as they did Jesus.  He warned that we should not be ashamed of Him.  “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes to his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”Mark 8:38.

The world is opposed to God’s gospel and ridicules it.  They did it in Jesus’ day and they do it today.  We are all tempted to be ashamed of the gospel at one time or another.  Maybe you don’t want to admit that.  It is the power of God for salvation for anyone who will believe.  We need never be ashamed of it.

Do you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ?
How are you tempted to be ashamed of the gospel?
Do you still believe when you fail and Satan accuses you?
Is your salvation evident in your relationships?

See you next time.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.

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