www.christdeaf.org/bible
Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf
Silver Spring, Maryland

ARMOR OF GOD -  #2 The Belt of Truth
Signed Version
Ephesians 6:10...
Finally, let the Lord make you strong.  Depend on His great power. Wear all of God's armor.  Then you can stand strong against the devil's terrible plans.

Our fight is not against people.  
We are fighting against
    many spiritual rulers,
    authorities,
    and many dark powers in this world.  
We are fighting against
    the evil forces in the spirit world.

So put on all of God's armor.  Evil days will come.
And after you did everything you can [finish], you will still stay standing.

So stand strong.  
[1] Wear the belt of truth around your waist.  
________________________

Soldiers today use belts for the UNIFORM.  A belt is for what?  

Of-course, the belt keeps the pants up!  What else?

A soldier's belt holds much equipment.

Long ago in Bible times, soldiers had belts -- also very important.

Sometimes regular CITIZEN people served as soldiers during a time of war.  When the war was finished, people went back to their families and their regular work.  Those people normally dressed in long ROBES (all the way down to their feet).    

If you have a long robe,
    you can't run,
    you can't move quickly in battle.

If a man joins the battle, he must pull-up his ROBE, and tuck-it-under his belt.  He normally pulled the ROBE up between his legs, and then tied it up with his belt.  It looked like he had shorts on.

A soldier without his belt moves slow against a fast enemy.
A soldier without his belt easily trips-and-falls.  
A soldier without his belt is a dead soldier.
[1] The soldier's belt kept his robe up.

[2] His belt helped keep his BREASTPLATE (chest protector) down.  The bottom part of the chest protector tied to the belt.  The belt held the breastplate so it can't flip-up.

[3] The soldier in Bible times used his belt to hold his sword, and other equipment.
______________________

Our lesson from Ephesians 6 lists the Christian soldier's equipment.  And the belt is first  --  The belt of TRUTH.

We see two ways we must use TRUTH in our fight against our enemy, the Devil.

First is   
OBJECTIVE TRUTH

What does that mean?
GOD'S WORD IS TRUE

Some things are always true.  It-doesn't-matter if we believe it or not.  They are still true.

Example:  Is the earth flat or round?

Naturally, the earth is round.

But in-the-past, most people believed that the earth was flat.  (Some people still believe that!)  What everyone believed didn't change God's truth.  He made the earth round.  Period!  

The earth didn't change from flat to round because people changed their belief.  The earth was always round, no-matter what people believed.

This describes truth in the physical world.

The same idea  happens in the spiritual world.

Today people reject all truth, and instead they accept "opinion."  

If you try to talk about your faith in God, people reject you, saying, "That is only your opinion.  That is what you believe.  I believe something different.  What you believe is true for you.  But what I believe is true for me."   End of discussion.

Huh!?

TRUTH does-not depend on what we believe!

TRUTH is what God says is true.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A few years ago, a young college student and his wife invited a small group of other students from the dorm (including myself) to their apartment for dinner.  All those students were studying to become Lutheran pastors.

That night during the discussion, we that our friend's new wife was also a new Lutheran.  The woman grew up in a difference Christian denomination.  But when she fell-in-love with a young man planning to become a Lutheran pastor, she joined a new member's class.  She studied the teachings of the Lutheran Church, she learned the CATECHISM, she received Lutheran confirmation, and she became a member of Lutheran Church (LCMS).

The students all grew-up in the Lutheran Church.  We were curious to learn from this woman: What was her experience joining the Lutheran Church as an adult?  We asked her,
"You saw the Lutheran church from the outside.  How did we look to you?  [2] That experience going through your studies to become a Lutheran, what did that feel like?  [3] Now you are in the church, what is your opinion????"
Some day we would become pastors, and we wanted to learn from this woman's experience.

We got a big shock.

The woman almost became angry and scolded us.  She said,
"You boys don't understand! You don't appreciate the wealth (riches) you have in your church!  In my church, where I grew-up, we never ask hard questions, because we always assumed no-one had any answers.   The message we all got in our church was, 'Faith is private.  Believe anything you want, because no one can really know what is true.'

"But in your church, you are not afraid.  You ask the hard questions.  You are always curious, 'What does God say about that question?'  Then you look in the Bible and search all through the Bible for answers.  And when you find the answers, you stand and say, 'This is what God says...'

"I never had that in my church!"
We learned an important lesson that night about the Belt of Truth.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Back in 1521, a Catholic priest named Martin Luther stood in front of the Emperor's court.  The Emperor ordered Martin Luther to admit he taught HERESY, false ideas about God.  The Emperor ordered Martin Luther to reject everything he (ML) already wrote.

Martin Luther's answer:   
"If you can't prove from the Bible that I wrote wrong statements and show where I spoke conflicting against God’s Word, I refuse to reject what I wrote.  My conscience is bound (joined) to the Word of God.  Here I stand.  I can't do any different.  God help me.  Amen."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A few years ago my wife visited a relative, and on Sunday went to church with her.  the church was part of a very large, well-known Protestant denomination.  My wife was shocked to read in the church's newsletter instructions from the Denomination's headquarters to parents in their churches:  "Don't let your children read the Bible, because they are not old enough to understand what it means."    But Jesus told us that it is children who understand His Word best! (Mark 10:13-16)  Why are those church leaders really afraid for children to read the Bible?  Maybe they are afraid the children will believe God's Word.

Many Churches today follow popular culture.   Many Churches today are taking-off the Belt of Truth and their pants are fall-down!   

The Old Gospel from the Bible says, "God forgives all our sins in Christ Jesus."
Our culture offers a New Gospel that says, "You can't name anything 'sin' anymore.  Don't criticize what people do in private. If you name anything 'sin,' you are INTOLERANT.'
The Old Gospel quotes John 3:16 -- "God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son.  Anyone believing in God's Son will not be lost, but will live forever."
The New Gospel quotes Matthew 7:1  "Don't judge other people."
The Old Gospel wants to tell the whole world about Jesus Christ.
The New Gospel tells Christians, "Shut-up.  Don't say anything about religion.  Keep your faith private.  You can use Jesus' name only for cursing, not for blessing."
Jesus told His Disciples:  "I am the way, [I am] the truth, and [I am ] the life.  No one can come to the Father except through Me."  (John 14:6)

Notice Jesus did not say, "You can choose any way to God; what your prefer - my way or another religion - doesn't-matter. "    
No, Jesus said, "I AM THE WAY." - the only way!

Notice Jesus did not say, "Here is my opinion."  
Jesus said, "I AM THE TRUTH."   

Notice Jesus did not say, "Follow my example for successful living."  
Jesus said, "I AM THE LIFE."

A few hours later after Jesus said these words to His Disciples, Jesus stood on trial in-front-of Pontius Pilate.  Jesus told Pontius Pilate, "This is why I was born and came into the world: to tell people the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me."

Pontius Pilate mocked Jesus, saying, "What is truth?!" (John 19:37,38)

You see, the Belt of Truth is not only for the Church.  Each Christian also must know what is true.  Each Christian also must stand on the Truth.

Maybe you remember the Bible story about three men; the king ordered they get thrown into the fire.  Why?  They knew the truth about Who is the only true God, and they stood on that truth without embarrassment.

That story continues since-then until today.  People who know the truth, often die for that truth.  

On April 20, 1999, three High School girls each saw a gun pointing at her head.  The boy holding the gun asked each girl, "Do you believe in God?"  

Each girl answered, "Yes!"

The boy asked, "Why?"  And before the girl could answer, the boy shot her.

One of those girls stayed alive -  her name is VAL SCHURR.
The other two girls died - CASSIE BRUNALL and RACHEL SCOTT.

U.S. Congress invited Rachel Scott's father to go to Washington DC.  They asked him, "Why do we have so much violence in our schools?"
Mr. Scott answered, "You removed God and His truth from our public life.  What can you expect will happen?!"

Christians today, still experience  persecution, prison, and death, because they refuse to take-off the Belt of Truth.  
Christian churches in INDONESIA are burned-down.  
Christian pastors in ARAB nations get beaten-up for sharing Jesus.
Christian parents in China and Africa lost their children,
    because they taught them to love Jesus.2   

One of the High School girls shot in Colorado, Cassie Brunall, was herself involved in the same OCCULT devil worship as those two boys who shot her.   Cassie also was angry, depressed, and dressed in black.  She wrote notes to her friends, planning how they would kill their parents, kill their teachers, and kill themselves.

But Cassie's parents moved to another home, to take their daughter away from her old school and her old friends.  They brought Cassie to a church that helped her know Jesus.   And they prayed a lot.

Two days before Cassie died, she wrote this poem:  [quote]
"Now I have given-up on everything else
I have found it to be the only way
To really know Christ and to experience
The mighty power that brought
Him back to life again, and to find
Out what it means to suffer and to
Die with him. So, whatever it takes
I will be one who lives in the fresh
Newness of life of those who are
Alive from the dead."
Cassie understood what Ephesians 6 means, wearing the Belt of God's Truth.



This is the first part for the Belt of Truth...  

Obective Truth
God's Word is True


The SECOND part for the Belt in the Christian armor is...

Personal Truth
Our words are true.


What does that mean?

HONESTY

OBJECTIVE TRUTH shows God's character.

HONESTY shows our character.

Character doesn't mean what other people think about us.
Character means what is inside us.

Your actions that people see don't show your true character.
Your actions when no one is looking, that shows your true character.

Your character, your honesty, shows on your IRS forms when you get paid in cash for your work.

Your character, your honesty, shows what you do with computer program copies that friends give you.



[STORY:  Ananias & Sapphra]

The Bible has a sad example about truth and honesty in Christians.

The story in Acts, chapter 5, is about a husband and wife, name ANANIAS and SAPPHIRA, living in Jerusalem

They wanted to make a donation to the church.  So they sold some land.  

Then Ananias brought money to Peter and told him that was all the money from selling the land.  

That was a lie.  Really, Ananias and Sapphira kept part of the money for themselves.   That's fine.  That money is theirs.  They can do that.  But they still wanted make a good impression in the church.  So they told "a little white lie" that didn't hurt anyone.

Peter said to Ananias:
"How did Satan fill your heart, to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep for yourself part of the money you received for the land? Before you sold the land, it belonged to you. And after you sold it, you could use the money any way you wanted. Why did you think about  doing this? You didn't lie to us.  You lied to God!"
When Ananias heard that, he fell down and died. Some young men came in, wrapped up his body, carried it out, and buried it.  But they didn't tell his wife.

Sapphira waited at home for three hours.  When her husband did not come back, she went to find him.    She met Peter, and Peter asked her:
“Tell me, was the money you got for your field this much?”
Sapphira answered, “Yes, that was the price.”

Peter said to her,
“Why did you and your husband agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”
Immediately, Sapphira fell down dead.
They buried her body next to her husband.

What was their problem?  Truth.   Honesty.

Question:  Was God too strict?   
Killing them for telling a "little white lie"  seems really rough!

White lies?  Notice that a lie is a "white lie" only for the liar.   You see, if I lie to you, it is only a little white lie.  But if you lie to me, that seems to me like a bold, two-faced big lie!

If someone I trust lies to me, or worse, if they lie about me, I feel really hurt!  And I can understand a little-bit more how God feels if I am not honest.

When we discuss honesty, often we play a foolish game, named "What if?"  We try to invent situations where we must tell a lie.  Here is an example:

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
[STORY: Corrie Ten Boom & Nollie]

During World War II, many families in Holland worked secretly to help Jewish people escape from the NAZIs.   A woman named CORRIE TEN BOOM told about her family's work, and her own suffering in a German prison camp, in a book named The Hiding Place.   

One day the family met together for a birthday party in the home of Corrie's sister, name NOLLIE.  The party stopped when Nollie's two teenage sons ran into the house and announced German soldiers were coming toward their house.    The family had Jews hiding in that house, plus the Germans wanted to catch the teenage boys and force them to work in German factories.

Quickly the two boys moved the kitchen table,
    pulled off the rug,
        and opened a door in the floor to the small potato cellar
        under the kitchen.
The boys jumped-down, and lay-down,
    while the family closed the door,
        put the rug back,
            quickly moved the table back,
                put on a table cloth
                    and set five plates and cups for tea.

Immediately German soldiers broke open the front door,
    pointed their guns,
        and told everyone to stay,
            while other soldiers searched the house.

But they found only women, and one old grandfather.

They roughly questioned Nollie's youngest daughter, Cocky -
    "Where are your brothers!"

Corrie silently prayed that her young niece would have enough sense to tell a lie to the German soldier.  Cocky stayed quiet, answering nothing.

The soldier asked the girl:  "Do you have any brothers?"

Cocky:  "Yes.  I have three brothers."

Soldier:  "How old are they?"

Cocky:  "21, 19, and 18."

Soldier: "Where are your brothers now?"

Cocky:  (Slow to answer)  "The oldest is away at school."

Soldier:  "Where are your other two brothers?"

Cocky:  "Oh, they are under the table."

The soldier motioned with his gun, to move the family away from the table.  Another soldier with a rifle squatted-down, and aimed under the table.
The first soldier took the table cloth and quickly pulled it way.

Immediately Cocky started laughing.

The soldiers became very angry.  They thought the girl played a joke on them, and they felt foolish.  So the soldiers quickly left the house.

The family birthday party changed to an argument.  Nollie supported her daughter's faith and honesty.   She said, "God honors truth-telling with perfect protection."

A few months later, police went back to Nollie's house.  The police asked Nollie directly, "Is that woman with you a Jew?"  

Nollie answered honestly, "Yes." Nollie was arrested and taken to jail.  The police took the Jewish woman to a holding place, for the Germans to take to the death camp.   Nollie told her friends, "God will protect my Jewish friend.  She will not go to Germany because I obeyed Him."   

Five days later, the Jewish woman escaped to freedom.  Six weeks after that, Nollie was released (free) from prison.  Nollie understood how to use truth to fight against evil.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Maybe none of us must choose between LIFE or TRUTH, as those people did.

Some of us may choose between:  JOB or TRUTH - when a boss orders us to write false numbers on a Federal expense report.  Many people lost their jobs because they chose to tell the truth.  They could stay quiet and keep their jobs.   But they know... they really can't.

We may choose between:  MONEY or TRUTH - when we are working on our IRS tax forms.

Sometimes we say things, or do things, that are not exactly honest. Why??

[1] The truth is too embarrassing.    If we hide the truth, we look good.  Right?

The Bible says:
"If you hide your sins, you will not succeed.
If you confess and leave your sins, you will receive mercy."
(Proverbs 28:13)
Another reason sometimes we are not honest:
[2] We don't believe God is big enough, strong enough, or smart enough to fix our problem honestly, so we must fix the problem ourselves, our way.  We report false information.  We write checks without enough money in our bank.

And when we try to fix our problems our own way, not God's way, we make our problems worse.

Again, the Bible says:
"The way that people think is right,
that way leads to death."
(Proverbs 14:12)

A soldier's belt maybe is not comfortable.  But if a soldier takes-off that belt, he will be worse than "uncomfortable."  His enemy may capture or kill him.  That is our experience in spiritual war.  The Belt of Truth may not be comfortable.  But if we take off that belt, and abandon (leave) the truth, our evil enemy will have us under his control.

Jesus already died on the cross to free us from the devil's control.  God has-already forgiven you.  You are now free.  You don't need to go back again to slavery to the enemy.

Remember again the first words from our lesson, Ephesians 6:
"Let the Lord make you strong.  
Depend on His great power. "


We pray:  
Lord Jesus, You said that You are only the Way to God our Father.  
We forsake [leave] all other ways, and know only You.


Lord Jesus, You are Truth - your Word is True.  We trust You.

Lord Jesus, You are Life - in your death you give us life.

Help us, Lord Jesus, to stay bold, not ashamed, to say Your Name.

Help us, Lord, to reflect Your character.

Amen.

Part 3 - The Breastplate of Righteousness

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