Walking Worthy of the Gospel: Put on the Armor of Readiness and Faith
-We are to stand against the schemes of the Devil.
-We are to stand by putting on God’s complete and supplied armor. Father has given us all we need.
-We are to put on the armor through the discipline of prayer.
-We don’t make too much out of the metaphors. The metaphors are not the armor. The armor is the armor, so we have focused on the armor not the metaphor.
-Truth is the framework, or metanarrative (NOUN), from which we answer all of life’s ultimate questions. The “noun” of truth determines the list of adjectival truths we practice.
-Righteousness, likewise a noun, is the very essence of acting in accord with the truth. Our actions link up with the framework from which we determine what our actions are to be.
Today, we turn our attention to the armor of readiness and faith.
Once again, this armor is a noun, not an adjective. The noun form carries the idea of the very essence of being ready. If ready were an adjective, it would mean having some characteristics of readiness.
It’s not just appearing as ready or showing signs of readiness. As a noun, it means the epitome of ready.
So, whatever “ready” means, it means the very essence of “ready”.
The armor is readiness. Note, however the readiness is given by the gospel of peace.
So, what exactly is this armor of readiness that derives from the gospel of peace?
Let’s look at some passages that will give us some hints about this armor of readiness that emanates from the gospel of peace.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
Romans 10:14-15, quoting Isaiah 52:7
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
What in the world do these passages have to do with “readiness”?
The armor is readiness, right?
The armor of readiness is given by the gospel of peace, this good news that announces peace between God and man brought by beautiful feet belonging to a messenger / ambassador of God.
Therefore, the armor of readiness is actively living in such a way that one is available and willing to be sent as an ambassador of the good news of peace between God and man brought about through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
If readiness is the armor and that armor is given by the gospel of peace, then the gospel necessarily produces a readiness to be it’s ambassador.
In other words, if one has been transformed by this good news, then readiness is available to us, and not only available, but required of us to be guarded against the schemes of the Devil.
If the armor is readiness then the temptation to unrighteousness would be to live in such a way that one thinks they don’t need to be ready to carry the good news to wherever it’s needed (at home or abroad).
If the armor is readiness produced by the gospel of peace, and we don’t live ready to be an ambassador, then we have either believed a false gospel or have been taken captive by the world system’s lies and have become a casualty taken out of the fight.
What does readiness look like?
- Everyone ready to be an evangelist and everyone a cross-cultural worker
The reason this is vital is because no one should take the peace they enjoy for granted as though it will continue forever. What if Father determines that difficulty is better for us as he did in Acts 8 following the death of Stephen? The Father used difficulty to scatter the church to the Acts 28 reaches of the world. See Acts 8:1-4.
Readiness may look like:
- Christians living with the ability to be mobile
1a. Debt free or not Debt strapped (stuff happens and you have
to do what you have to do)
1b. Clutter free / lean
- Christians living with the belief that all are commissioned to go and some are commanded to stay and send (Matthew 28:16-20)
- Christians living with the gospel message known and understood, abled to defend it and able to recount it clearly (1 Peter 3:15)
“…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,…”
- Christians living fearlessly and unashamed of the good news of the
- Everyone ready to be an ambassador to and healer of his or her domain of society to liberate it from the curse of the fall.
- Christians living on mission, the mission of reclaiming their domain
for the kingdom, not simply living to get paid and store up treasure on earth
1a. Viewing one’s domain as a mission field for the kingdom
not just in people following Jesus, but in the entire domain
coming under the transforming power of the kingdom in order
to see the church multiply from that domain of society
- Christians living to set captives free from lies inside their domain
and train them up as fellow disciples in that domain of society to help
in it’s restoration
Illustration: Christians operating in the domain of government to bring it to Romans 13 functionality
Readiness is living all of life in a kingdom mindset on a kingdom mission.
In order to live a “ready” life one has to operate in the next piece of armor, faith.
The armor of faith is, as we have seen in the other pieces of armor, a noun. Not just living in moments of faith, but living a life defined by faith (a life only explained by faith).
What is faith?
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Faith is the full assurance that one’s hope is real through by the gracious action of Father to grant faith AND the doing of all things consistent with one’s assurance that their hope is real.
Faith is knowing and doing. That is biblical faith.
When Paul talks about faith here as armor against the Adversary, he is not talking about saving faith.
He is talking to “saved” people who need to exercise living faith. He is talking about walking by faith and not by sight.
If we make this kind of faith simply about being assured of the reality of one’s convictions, we can become overly dependent on reason and logic and overly academic.
If we make faith simply about doing and experiencing, we can become pragmatists who operate on means without being guided by ends and actually get outside the boundaries of what we should be doing and become syncretistic through incorporating wrong practices because we don’t “know” as we should know. We can become poor critical thinkers.
A faith simply built on doing and experiencing alone can also become legalistic and create false rules that foster pragmatism.
But if we let the Truth define faith for us we make faith knowing all the right information with solid reason and properly balanced academic pursuits that focus on the application and experience of the truths to the end of establishing the kingdom.
Faith is our full assurance that what we believe is real and guaranteed THAT LEADS to actions in line with what we believe.
Faith is knowing and doing.
What do we know? What are we to do?
We know that in Jesus is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and that by grace through the gift of faith we have been adopted as children of God and transformed into new creatures and ambassadors of the gospel (knowing) AND NOW, as ambassadors, we are to make disciples of all nations thus spreading the rule of Jesus’ kingdom over all domains of Jesus’ earth (doing).
We are told this faith is a shield with which we can extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one.
If faith is the armor, then the flaming darts would be attempts to destroy faith.
Let’s say it another way. If faith is the shield, then the flaming darts would be attempts to keep us from being assured in and knowing the truth and from practicing the truth.
- What are some attempts to keep us from being assured in and knowing the truth?
- Temptation to doubt
1 Thessalonians 3:5
1a. Attacks on the accuracy and authenticity of the Word
Here is a little evidence to boost any doubt you may have about the accuracy and authenticity of Scripture:
1b. Attacks on our truthful experiences of God (there are times
when our experiences need to be called into question, but
there times our experiences are matched with truth and
should not be doubted, and this takes knowing truth and
- Laziness in study
Throughout the history of the church the effort required to be good thinkers has been over emphasized and then under emphasized until we get these great peaks and valleys of high education to a lack of decent education.
Thinking on God rightly is hard work. Knowing the truth requires thinking deeply consistently over generations.
Anti-intellectualism will kill the church. Men thinking it’s manly to be dumb or not giving sound effort to become good thinkers will lead to men abdicating their roles as pastors and becoming cheerleaders to emotive highs and feel-good sessions.
Women over-emphasizing feelings to the neglect of what is true can lead to equating experiences and feelings with truth and lead people into false teaching at worst or just powerless emotionalism.
However, truth requires that we know and act.
Faith requires work, and the curse of the fall is that all labor is harder, so man, in his fallen state would rather bail on the hard work.
There is no room for laziness in the kingdom. The Spirit should be rooting that out of you in sanctification.
(continued attempts to keep us from being assured in and knowing the truth)
- False teaching from demonic sources through false prophets
If we know as we ought to know, then false teaching should set off a chorus of warning bells.
1 Timothy 4:1-2
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,…”
- Friendly attitudes about sin and syncretism
One of the most dangerous dual killers to faith is taking sin lightly and beginning to mesh the world system’s ways with one’s living.
Persistent sin dulls the senses and then one begins to be unaware they are drinking poison until they are completely death ridden and don’t even know it.
- What are some attempts to keep us from practicing the truth?
- Isolation from the church as acceptable
- Belief that one’s gifting is inferior and not necessary to the mission
- Fear of rejection or of bodily harm leading to inaction and lack of
- Failure to love one another
- Unbiblical expectations levied on each other
- Biases against other peoples (races) that created divisions
- Divisions based on having another mission inside the mission of
- Unbiblical views on marriage and family
As Paul has reminded us, if we are about the kingdom, we are at war and we have a King who is directing the course of this thing.
Let’s obey his word and take up the armor he has given us and stand firm.
Let’s not give ground to the enemy.
Let’s do take back all domains of society in establishing his kingdom on this earth as it’s done in heaven for his great name’s sake.
Let’s do worship the King!
Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”