‘Stand fast!’ February 26th 2023

‘Stand fast!’ February 26th 2023

STAND FAST (First Sunday of Lent, 26th February 2023)

Matthew 4:1-11

Ephesians 6:10-18

Three things about the Gospel reading (:

  1. He’s JUST had the Holy Spirit descend on him.  Here Satan faces a new foe: a man with the Holy Spirit.  Just like you and me!
  2. Satan says “if” – it should read “since” – Satan knows exactly who Jesus is.  Dutch: indien, ‘onder de voorwaarde dat’; Jesus is not some random person.
  3. Jesus quotes scripture at Satan – it works well and Satan gives it a try, but, as with Eve he misquotes God.
    1. Ps. 91:11,12 11
    1. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (and ONE MORE verse?)
    1. Reading the NEXT verse:
      1. Example: John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
    1. Reading the NEXT verse:
      1. Lord’s prayer in Matt. 6 – the next verse expands your understanding and colors the text!
    1. Curious to know what THE NEXT verse is from what Satan quoted??
      1. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Well, I’m glad I don’t have to fight against Satan!

Eph.6: “10 Finally, be strong(endurance) in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor (panoplia) of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God (Christ Jesus), so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Here is Paul, in prison and he looks at his Roman guard and uses his uniform as an analogy for putting on Christ Jesus!

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist”: “The quickest way to meet the devil is to take a stand for Christ”

  1. What is Truth? Pontius Pilate CONSCIENCE
    1. You say I’m a Christian, so I can rely on my Conscience – MAYBE – 1 Timothy 4 warns against the Apostacy that we see today.  Those who were once believers have “their conscience – their Christian, Biblically-based conscience – SEARED with a hot iron”!!  Faith takes refuge in a good conscience, but a bad Conscience finds refuge in Apostacy and Heresy!
    1. Movie Inception: dream of a dream of a dream; was he in a dream?  The dream seemed so real! – Leonardo di Caprio had a top, a truth, because he didn’t know truth within himself, he needed an external standard. 
  2. with the breastplate of righteousness in place” – this is the righteousness accorded to us as members of the One Body.  We have not earned God’s righteousness, but we have it, we are granted it.  Your heart is protected when you put on Christ Jesus!
    1. Satan will encourage you to remember your sins and try to compensate them with WORKS
    1. 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
  • and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” – Philippians 4:7: the peace that passes understanding, it is the Gospel, and the readiness – as Peter says – to give reason for the hope you have! (1 Peter 3:15).
    • Paint “PEACE”: calm, warm, beautiful, still – another – chaotic, tumultuous, dark, stormy,… but with a ray of light touching a small bird singing in the corner.  Peace in spite of everything!
  • In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” – and you Trust your Shield!  You have faith in your Shield – what is Faith?  “Faith is believing in what you know ain’t so…” NO!  The FAITH that comprises your shield are all the promises of God!  Promises He has kept, promises that show he is who he says he is – as the song goes – your FAITH is based on facts, not feelings, and any feelings you have should be based on the Truth of Christ, not your feelings about the world.
    • Hebrews 4 on faith – Abraham, Moses, David, etc – Tells who they were and what they did.  Faith is a movement and an action based.  Rev. Tony Evans: “Biblical faith is acting like God is telling the Truth… 
    • 1 Peter 5:9 – 8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
    • The very next verse?? 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
  • Take the helmet of salvation – this is the last piece of kit a soldier puts on.  It guards the “MIND” – Matt 22:37 “Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”  Bring your thinking in line with God!  We are saved and seated in heavenly places at the right hand of power.  Do you act like that?
    • Acting like that means that you know you will not perish, but have everlasting life.  What if you really believed that?
    • Acting like that means – look around – you will be with these people FOREVER.  What if you really believed that?
    • Acting like that means that you are on the side that is right and true and cannot lose!  What if you really believed that, what would your life look like?
  • and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” – now to the only weapon!  The short Roman sword.  Not attacking people, but the powers that BIND people.
    • Not graphe – text; Not logos – content and meaning; but rhēma – the word spoken; declaration, saying, speech, a command, mandate, direction, a promise.  Are we being asked to quote scripture to the world and the Devil?  Jesus did: man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  Are we using the Bible as if it is contemporary, actual, real, and final TRUTH?
    • When I respond on my YouTube channel with my own intellect, it just becomes a “did too/did not”, “welles/nietes”, but when I use scripture with those who are insincere or of the Devil they go quiet.
  • 18 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 Lord’s people.”

So now we “STAND”??  We are told to pray – this is the CORE of spiritual warfare.  Be properly equipped!

Belt of Truth – Bible, Breastplate – Righteousness from God, Shield – your Faith in God, Shoes – walk in Peace and Readiness, Helmet – confidence in your salvation and thinking like God, Sword – speak the Word of Truth!

  • The cowboy said to the old Indian – “What is your name?”
  • Indian said – “Two Dogs; means I have two dogs fighting for my soul.”
    • “One dog is scared, unsure, forgetful, easily distracted always on TikTok…”
    • “One dog walks in truth and leans on the Word and Promises of God…”
  • The cowboy asked – “Which dog wins?”
  • The old Indian groaned – “The one I feed the most…”

Let us pray,

Father we know, for each of us, which dog is winning.  Father, be with us as we engage with Your Truth – let our Consciences be filled with your Word; may the Bible be our touchstone.  Help us to pray, not just for ourselves, but as you command for those in authority and all our brothers and sisters in Christ across the world.

Help us grow in the knowledge of the hope of our calling.

Grow in the knowledge of the riches of Christ’s glory…

Take a stand and act in the greatness of Christ’s power and might by putting on the whole armor of God: Christ Jesus.

And it is in his holy name we pray. Amen.