"Fighting the Good Fight of Faith"
1. You are well over a month into your life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you have been serious about it, this month should have been one in which you faced many things about yourself that need changing. It also should have been one filled with joy because you know that God is for you and Jesus Christ is with you to help you become like him. 2. Look at Paul’s words about joy in Philippians 4:4-6. How often does it say we should "rejoice?" Compare this with I Thessalonians 5:16-18. When should we rejoice? Be thankful? 3. If you have been guilty or complaining or being negative about your life, seek out another disciple or those you have hurt and let them know that you are sorry because you have all the reason in the universe for joy.
1. The image of a soldier or a warfare is often employed in the New Testament. The reason is: we are at war. The ways of God and the ways of men (influenced by Satan) are totally opposed. Our culture is constantly bombarding us with its message of how to find life, but God’s message is totally different. One cannot survive in warfare unless he is equipped and knows how to do battle. For the rest of this week we will look at this matter. 2. Start with Ephesians 6:10-18. There is enough here for several days of study, and we will take a little at a time. 3. First of all in warfare, we need to clearly identify the enemy. Verses 10 and 11 make that identification very clear to us. Who is the enemy? What are some of the schemes that you can see him working out in your life to take you out of the light of God? 4. Please realize now and always that your boss is not the enemy, your parents aren’t the enemies, your husband or wife is not the enemy. Flesh and blood people are not the enemies, and any time we identify them as the enemies, we fall into Satan’s scheme and begin shooting at the wrong person. List some times recently when you may have done this or come close to doing it. 5. Set your mind against the real forces of darkness that Satan commands. Pray for strength and for God’s mighty power to overcome it.
1. Read Ephesians 6:10-18 again. 2. Satan’s power is described in real terms and you will be so vulnerable to him if you are not aware of his power, but why is it true that we don’t have to be fearful in this warfare? 3. We don’t have to be fearful, but we do have to put on the full armor of God. Without the protection and the spiritual weapons he supplies, we will be overcome. Let’s look at them one at a time: a. The belt of truth — where do you find truth? (John 17:17) b. The breastplate of righteousness — read Philippians 3:8-9. c. The gospel of peace — read Ephesians 2:14-18. d. The shield of faith — how does it put out the fiery darts of Satan? e. The helmet of salvation — read Romans 8:1-2. f. The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God — Hebrews 4:12. g. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions — how has your prayer life developed? 4. Who are the people around you? Write down their names. they need to hear the answer about Christ as Lord in the spirit of the passage you have just read. You now know what the armor of God looks like, but please realize that like any good soldier, you will have to put it on anew everyday. One of Satan’s schemes is to make you believe once will do for all time. Every day you need to be into God’s truth, reaffirming the gospel, reclaiming your righteousness and salvation in Christ, restating your confidence in prayer and in the God who answers prayer.
1. Begin today with II Timothy 2:1-7. 2. Focus in especially on verses 3 and 4. To be a Christian is not like going to a picnic. It is like enrolling in an army and like taking upon (spiritual) weapons and going into training and then going into battle. If you are really walking with Jesus Christ and waging His warfare, you will experience HARDSHIP. Look at II Timothy 3:12. What does this promise say? What are we assured of? 3. Because of this passage we can say with confidence that the person who never experiences any persecution from the forces of the enemy must not be fighting against the enemy. If the attitude of the people of this world toward you is that you are really great and an okay person, then you need to examine your commitment and your boldness for Jesus Christ. Look at Jesus Himself promised in John 15:18-21. 4. Returning to II Timothy 2:4 we see that the warfare is going to be so serious and so intense that the Christian soldier must not get involved in "civilian affairs." There are a lot of things to do in the world that are not "wrong." But they are wrong for us if they take us away from the front lines and from fighting the good fight. Are there some things in your life that need to be given up because they are "involvement in civilian affairs?"
1. Your study guide ends today, but may your study never end. You are on your way to things too glorious and enriching to even describe. Never, never, never, never give up. 2. Read carefully the call of these passages: I Peter 2:1-2, Hebrews 5:11-6:3, and Colossians 2:6-10. 3. Keep studying, keep confessing your sins, keep encouraging others, keep sharing your faith, and whatever you do in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him.