Aloha Firday Message – December 24, 2010 – Fourth Friday in Advent

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Merry Christmas, Beloved, and Happy Aloha Friday, too!
Here is today’s selection from The List of 52 Verses:
John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

In the passage, part of Jesus’ last words (also called Jesus’ Final Discourse) with his disciples before his Passion and Death – Jesus is explaining that their lives will change soon because he is leaving them behind to carry out the work of the Kingdom, and yet they will not be alone because he is sending them the Spirit (John 14:15-28). Despite knowing what lay ahead of him only a few hours into the future, he expressed joy in the love of them, joy in the sending of the Spirit, and joy in completing their lives with the continuation of his ministry. This Final Discourse is only a few pages long, was probably written by a first-century Christian perhaps around 100 AD, and it contains a treasury of assurances about God’s Plan of Salvation.

Part of that plan, by no means the first part, is what we commemorate tomorrow: Jesus’ birth in the town of Bethlehem. We will be remembering the night when Mary and Joseph held something like this in their hands:

What a night that must have been! I have a picture in my mind – a composite of Christmas carols, half-remembered sermons, bits of old movies, and just stuff I imagined. Indeed, it was a Holy Night. It was a beginning unlike any other which would ultimately lead to an ending unlike any other. Between those two ends there was a fairly unremarkable life for about thirty years. And then it was like War broke out. Jesus Took the Power of God right into the enemy’s stronghold: Earthlings. God became human long enough to gain final victory over the Accuser and over his most powerful weapon – Death.

Today we finish the last installment in the series on the Whole Armor of God. Today we are going to think about why we want to know about and use the Whole Armor of God. Let’s take a look at the passage again, because I want you to remember each of the parts of the armor.

The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor 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, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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.

Paul makes it clear here and elsewhere (Romans 13:12-14) 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

The Whole Armor of God is everything that Jesus brought to us through his birth, life, passion, death, and resurrection. His brought Earthlings – humanity – Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, and Salvation, and he was, is, and always will be The Word. And why do we need to wear the FULL armor? Would the Roman soldier we have been imagining over the last few weeks go into battle without a piece of his armor? We have seen that it all fit together to give him the highest level of protection possible. Would he go into battle and leave behind his helmet or shield or sword? That would be highly unlikely. We are absolutely at war now, not just in the World, but also in a Spiritual war; and too many people are not taking it seriously enough to arm themselves and fight back against a relentless enemy. You know what the Armor is. Do you know how to join into Spiritual Warfare? Do you know the tactical plans and the resources available to you to fight in this spiritual war? I’m going to share some of that information with you now.

But first, I want to direct your attention to a resource that has hundreds of ways to explore this topic further:

http://www.battlefocused.org/spiritual-warfare/
. And I recommend this one as well because it is so well done: http://www.battlefocused.org/spiritual-warfare/matrix/. In addition you can find some comprehensive information at these sites: http://www.dianedew.com/spirwar.htm and http://www.practicalspiritualwarfare.com/scriptures-on-prayer.html

(© 2001 – 2010, Battle Focused Ministries. All rights reserved. For additional information contact Pastor Robert Simms at rssims1@battlefocused.org. To donate or to obtain additional information go to http://www.battlefocused.org/about_us.php) About Us

There are three points I want to make about this idea of Spiritual Warfare.
1. It is real and not enough Earthlings believe that.
2. There are consequences – including eternal death – for losing the battles that comprise the War.
3. War is a community effort. Both sides have armies of soldiers fighting each other. Only one Army will win. That winning community of Warriors will know eternal Life.

It is real and not enough Earthlings believe that.
For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4 (Amplified Version).

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6: 12

…every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:3-4

There are consequences – including eternal separation from the Life of God – for losing the battles that comprise the War.

If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. Matthew 18:8

“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. Matthew 25:41

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:46

But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” Mark 3:29

They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. 2 Thessalonians 1:9

And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. Jude 1:7

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. Hebrews 6:1-3

The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death. Proverbs 10:16

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. Revelation 2:11, and Note

Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. Revelation 20:6

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Revelation 20:14, and

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 and Note

Whether you believe that Hell is a burning lake of fire or “merely” the knowledge that your spirit and resurrected body are totally and eternally cut off from God, the fact remains that Only Christ has the power of Redemption and all who are without Christ cannot be and will not be redeemed.

Only one Army will win.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:16-21
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Luke 10:19

No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 54:17

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:7-8

Should I ransom them from the grave? Should I redeem them from death? O death, bring on your terrors! O grave, bring on your plagues! For I will not take pity on them. Hosea (13:14)

1 Corinthians 15 Read this entire chapter for some amazing insights. Check out the notes as you come across them.

Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. Revelation 21:1-7 Read the whole passage.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

When this …

… became this,

the victory was assured. But the war rages on, and if we, together as community – an ARMY, put on The Whole Armor of God, we will share in His Victory for all eternity.

Our traditional Christmas Blessing:

May Hope and Peace and Joy and Love be yours in the coming of the Christ Child!
Merry Christmas everyone!!
Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved
chick

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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