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Lies, Lies, Lies!

"Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness"

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's Day
We're so glad that you are with us today.

As we said last time, the whole world is engaged in a battle. The biggest issue being, that most people are completely unaware that such a battle is taking place, including many Christians. Battles between God and Satan, holy and unholy men, angels and fallen angels, political leaders set against the church, widespread hatred from the culture for those who value the truth of God's Word, et cetera. Christians are being inundated with attacks from all sides.

I can’t possibly overemphasize to you enough that we are engaged in a real battle. And when we fail to enter into the wars God has commanded us, the consequences are most serious. Like it or not, followers of Jesus are enlisted in a spiritual battle against Satan and his world system.
Let us bow our heads.
Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the truth contained in Your Word. We are so grateful for it's clarity, that we might only know the truth, but that we would make application to our own lives. Lord, we know the battle is real. And those of us, who have lived long enough, there have been many casualties along the way. Help us to stand firm, in defense of the gospel, even as those committed to Satan, seek to advance his kingdom of darkness, come forth with their attacks. 

Father, we thank You for those who know and uphold the truth. We pray that You would strengthen them through Your Holy Spirit, to speak more boldly, more courageously in the days ahead. Remind us, Your children, Your church, of the protection that our faithfulness and obedience provides. Help us to be faithful soldiers, armored up, always prepared for battle against the enemy.
We pray this in Christ's name

Today's Message: Lies, Lies, Lies!
Beloved, I believe that this is such an important issue that I’m going take some time on this verse alone. Open with me your Bibles to the sixth chapter of Ephesians. Though I'm going to read this passage from verse 10, just to refresh our minds, reading through verse 18. However, our study will only involve one verse, verse 14. I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read. Ephesians 6:10-18.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints."

Paul lets us know, in this simple passage that we are engaged in a serious battle. And as long as we remain in this world, we are engaged in a very serious, serious warfare. In many ways, it's a battle of life and death. Ways a life-and-death struggle, a struggle with the unseen throngs of wickedness behind the visible evil in the world, and these are demonic forces that control the minds of men and the cultures of the world to activate the purposes of their ruler, who is none other than Satan himself.
I'm sure you have already come to the conclusion, that the armor Paul is speaking is a symbolic, for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Romans 13:14, Paul says "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."
In other words, we are engaged in a battle with enemies we can’t see, enemies we can’t touch, enemies we can’t outwit. In short, we need protection, strength and a wisdom exceeding far beyond ourselves. As Christians, we must come to terms that as long as we're living in this world, we live in a dangerous environment. Satan and those belonging to his kingdom of darkness hide behind their masks of deception, transforming themselves, disguised as angels of light.

However, being aware of this, we must remember the words of Jesus Himself, in John 10:29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand." In other words, we may lose battles from time to time, temporary moments of defeat, however, we will not lose the war! Satan cannot over power Christ!
There is a misconception among many Christians, that all angels were created equal. However, God organized the angels. In Scripture, we see that there are for example, cherubim and there are seraphim. There are archangels and there are super archangels, who were given names, such as Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer, each with unique powers and abilities.
If we look closer at verse 12, we are reminded that our struggles is not against flesh and blood, simply humans. In fact, we see a hierarchy, "against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."
Notice that Paul ends verse 12 with "spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places," indicating a spiritual dimension, above and beyond us, outside the dimensions of this world. So we need to be aware of the fact that we are dealing with a very, very powerful spiritual system.
And according to Revelation chapter 12, when Satan fell, he took a third of the angels with him, and they fell with the same variation of abilities and powers that were in the original creation, except now in a fallen condition, and there is still an order among the demons. And the angel over all of them, who is not different in nature, but certainly is in power, is none other than Satan himself. Fallen angels being imperfect themselves, operate imperfectly. They are by nature rebellious, evil, wicked in nature and resist the very structure of their own hierarchical system.

That is why Paul, in verse 14, teaches us to "Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness." Because Satan has placed them in very strategic locations. We know that Satan often places these very powerful demons in positions behind governments, such as in Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14, Daniel 9 and 10.
Some translations have it, "having girded your loins," and the readers of Paul's day would have clearly understood what he was saying. In his day, men typically wore long, flowing robes. Even the Roman soldiers wore a long tunic. And when they got ready for some kind of vigorous action, or battle, they would tuck their robes or tunics into their belt, so that they wouldn’t get in the way and impede them.
However, we don’t use the phrase "girding the loins" a whole lot in our culture today, is it? In fact, I'm pretty sure that people would look at us rather strangely if we said, "Well, I have to be going, I’m going to gird up my loins now. So I'll talk to you later." The idea of girding your loins, is to say, "Prepare for battle, be sure get any impeding things out of your way before hand." In other words, Paul was instructing us to prepare our minds. 
Similar to the instruction Peter gives us in I Peter 1:13, "Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Which is translated in NKJV as "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
In either translation, the message is the same. Peter clearly is writing here about preparing the mind for action.
Jesus gave the same kind of warning to His disciples in Luke 12, "Be prepared, and keep your lamps lit."
I believe that Paul is being very careful here to describe the armor in exactly the order that a Roman soldier would have put it on and is the same order in which we need to as well. Unfortunately, in our culture, the idea of a belt makes that harder for us to understand, since our belts are typically one of the last pieces of clothing we put on. However, what Paul is describing here is actually more like a girdle.
The belt of the Roman soldier was made out of thick leather. It protected the abdomen and the lower back and actually provided support for the lower back in order to help him stand as he carried all the rest of the heavy armor. The belt also had clips on it that were used to carry the sword and to fasten the breastplate in its proper position. The belt was not just an adornment, but an essential piece of the armor that held everything else together. So it's not surprising at all that the first piece of armor that we are to put on in preparation for our battle with Satan is the "belt of truth." 
Paul's warning to us is clear, Satan is a liar and his choice of weapons is his deceitful schemes. The truth is the primary weapon needed to stand firm against his lies and deceit. Which is why I believe that sound doctrine and truth matters in the church. The church is God’s divinely ordained means of manifesting the truth. The church is God’s divinely ordained means of manifesting the truth. 
Satan is powerful, devious and he is crafty. Which is why it is beyond my comprehension, that in understanding this, the church can act as if this battle does not even exist! I find it ludicrous. Because in order for Christians to be able to deal with it, we have to take up the full armor of God.  
Let's be honest, in His infinite wisdom, God could have chosen any method he wanted to manifest the truth in this world. However, He divinely ordained the church to not only manifest the truth but to demonstrate the truth to the world around us.
So how can it be the church is not addressing this today? 

A 2004 Barna Research survey may give us some very helpful insight into why this is occurring. In that survey, a startling half of all Protestant Senior Pastors, just 51%, actually met the criteria for having a biblical worldview. Defining such a worldview as believing that absolute moral truth exists, that it is based upon the Bible, and having a biblical view on six core beliefs. 

I'm glad you're sitting down, the results may shock you! Allow me to list some of those for you:

God is the all-knowing and all-powerful creator of the universe who still rules it today; Jesus Christ never sinned; Satan is real; Salvation is received through faith in Christ, not by good deeds; Every follower of Christ has a responsibility to share their faith with non-believers; The Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; Absolute moral truth exists; Absolute moral truth is described in the Bible.

Seriously? Is it then any wonder the church has become so impotent! How can we possibly be God’s instrument for manifesting truth when a large majority of our members, don’t even believe in truth and half of those are supposed to be the spiritual leaders of the Body of Christ, either don’t have full knowledge or even believe in truth themselves? This is inapprehensible! 

There is no way there can ever be unity in the church unless we all have a common truth that unites us. Unfortunately, today, the church has largely ignored the importance of doctrine. In an effort to be culturally sensitive, socially relevant, seeker friendly, non-offensive institution, where there is, at best, a tendency to focus on application without the necessary foundation of proper doctrine. Like many other areas of our lives, we just want to ignore the instruction, toss aside the manual and get right to the application.

I'm going to say this as boldly, as calmly and as clearly as I can; Doctrine matters! Beloved, there is an obvious reason why Paul spent three chapters writing about truth before he ever started teaching about application in his letter to the Ephesians. Doctrine matters. Doctrine matters!  

There is a superficiality in the church, even a frovality in the modern church. Rather than being teachers of the Word of God, many pastors have transformed themselves into standup comics, philosophers and public speakers, pushing their latest book, while occasionally touting the words "Jesus" and "God", in order to keep their religious denominational affiliation and public standing as a "church." Where by some standards, they may consider themselves a church, they are certainly not a House of God.

I have a revelation for those pastors, while this new way of "doing church," may indeed fill the pews and the collection plate, however, it is not the kind of worship that God desires. He requires truth, sound doctrine and praise! It would seem as though many pastors, once bold and fiery, speaking on behalf of God, have attempted to usurp His supreme Authority.

Remembering the words of Jesus with the woman of Samaria at the well, in John 4:23-24, "But a time is coming, and even now has arrived, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

I fear many Christians today, are left as Pilate was in John 18:38, when he asked Jesus, "What is truth?"
And, as with many of us, the answer was literally staring him in the face, as he asked Jesus that question. You see, truth is not a philosophy, truth is not even a principle, truth is a person – Jesus Christ.
In John 7:45-46, "The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?” The officers answered, "Never has a man spoken in this way!"
Every word He spoke, every miracle He performed, and when He rose from the dead, it defied human philosophy and understanding. By definition, these are not truth. They're principals are constantly adapting in attempt to remain relevant in an ever changing culture. The truth never changes. The truth is the truth, regardless of the changing culture. 
In Closing...
Thoughts enter into our minds from all different sources, through books, radio, TV, movies, the internet. So we need to consciously evaluate every one of those sources and determine if they are filling my mind with truth, or with falsehood. And then we need to avoid, the very best we can, those places where we are going to be bombarded with falsehood and to gravitate towards those places that reinforce truth in our mind.  

John 17:17, just before Jesus went to the cross, as He was praying in the Garden, He prayed this prayer on behalf of His followers: "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth."
We don't use that word, much outside of church circles. It’s a word that means "to be set apart" or "to be made holy." From the very moment that we commit our lives to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are sanctified in the eyes of God once and for all because of the blood of Jesus Christ. We call that positional sanctification. But there is also an ongoing process that we enter into at that point in which we are to become more and more like Jesus each day as we mature in our faith.
It is a fact of life that we tend to become like those with whom we spend the most of our time. That is especially true in marriage. I’m constantly amazed that the longer a couple are married, they become more and more like each other. Often, even beginning to look like one another. Even consistently coming up with the same thoughts, at the same time.

So if we want to become like the truth, more like Jesus, then it only stands to reason, that will only happen as we spend time with Him, which we do primarily through His Word and prayer. That is why Jesus asked his Father to sanctify His followers through the truth of God’s Word. It is impossible to keep on the belt of truth without spending time with the truth in order to become more and more like Him

Jesus is truth, He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. However, knowing the truth is not enough, it is up to each and every believer, to put the truth into practice, and then make the final application in their own lives. Even though, I have spoken to you the truth, I cannot complete the required process for you. It is my prayer, that each of you will do it for yourselves.
May it be so..
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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