SWS-02 - What Is Spiritual Warfare And Why Do We Need Armor?

151108AM. SWS-1 Unleashing the Lord's Prayer

What is Spiritual Warfare

& Why Do We Need Armor?

Matthew 6:9-13, 1 Peter 5:8-9

 

 

Jesus summarized the seven key areas each of us who follow Him should pay close attention to each day. Please open to that summary Jesus Himself gave to us in Matthew 6:9-13. This passage is what we commonly know in the English-speaking world as the Lord’s Prayer.

To help us focus on the text of our study today please stand and quote these words with me as we invite God through His Word to speak powerfully into our hearts, minds, and lives today.

 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name;

Thy kingdom come;

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Pray

 

Debts or Trespasses?

As we look down into our copies of God's Word you may notice that one set of words that always cause a pause in the recitation of this prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV) In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts[1], As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

We just said “trespasses & trespass” yet all of the versions of the Bible we use: KJV, NKJV, NIV, NAS & ESV all say “debts & debtors”. Why do we have collectively in the back of our minds as English speakers, this variation?

Simply stated. The Tyndale Bible, predecessor to the King James Bible, in 1526 was used for the Lord’s Prayer, in the Book of Common Prayer. Because of the wide influence the BCP had on believers, we have had this variation from 1526 onward.

 

Seven Vital Signs of Spiritual Health

But as you look at Christ's words, think about what we have in our possession.

We have the actual call from Christ, for each of us to monitor regularly, what we can call the vital signs of our spiritual health.

Plus, Jesus tied monitoring these seven vital areas to the ceaseless habit of prayer. Note what all of our Bibles say:

“After this manner pray” (KJV); “In this manner therefore pray” (NKJV); “Pray then like this” (ESV); “Pray, then, in this way” (NIV): and “This, then, is how you should pray” (NIV).

All versions capture the clear, simple, direct command of Jesus Christ. “Pray Like This" saying that each time we pray, we each remind ourselves of these elements in our life. We could call the Lord’s Prayer:

 

Christ's Checklist for Daily Spiritual Health

Simply stated, the Lord’s Prayer is a pattern for us, a check list for our daily spiritual health. Living a healthy, useful life each day is built around these key elements:

 

1.    Daily Worship of Almighty God: Our Father

2.    Daily Consecration of My Body: Thy Kingdom Come

3.    Daily Submission to God’s Will: Thy Will Be Done

4.    Daily Reliance on God’s Provision: Give Us This Day

5.    Daily Cleansing of My Relationships: Forgive Us As We Forgive

6.    Daily Protection of My Mind: Deliver Us From Evil

7.    Daily Seeking to God’s Glory: Thine Is The Glory

 

Simple Truths, Daily Renewed in My Life

Hearing, understanding, and believing truth can change the course of a person’s life.

Jesus said My truth will set you free.

Jesus spoke to a group of people living in a militarily occupied land, going through daily life with financial oppression, mostly scraping along through their lives with subsistent wages, and with no change in the foreseeable future.

Jesus spoke to people that lived out every day: the recipe for despair and depression.

What do you share with people locked into what appears to be an endless spiral of repetitive work, endless financial pressures, and no changes possible?

 

That Was The Audience That Heard Jesus Teach

That was the audience that heard Jesus teach. That was the world of the New Testament, living in Israel in the First Century.

Here is the world of today as portrayed by the NYT:

Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family

Life is hard.

The oldest known book in the world was written either by Job (4,200 years ago while the Ice Ages were still unfolding after Noah’s Flood); or by Moses (3,500 years ago while the children of Israel were still in captivity in Egypt).

Either way, the message from the oldest book in the world, part of the only Book that God Himself wrote through inspiration is painful. Here is the earliest summary of life on Earth for humans:

“For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7, NASB)

 

Life is Not Easy

Those oldest words from God through Job are painful.

In a world governed by laws of physics, we know that the heat of a campfire will always carry aloft those glowing sparks into the darkness of the evening sky.

In that same world governed by the spiritual laws of sin and mankind’s fall away from their Creator, life is hard.

We are all born for trouble. Life is hard whether you are an impoverished refugee fleeing war torn Syria, or a nationally known, mega-rich athlete or entertainer. Life is hard.

So to the stressed, tired and rushed of the first century and to us today Jesus left a simple message to keep His servants marching in step with His plan.

 

Unleashing the Lord’s Prayer into Changing My Life Today

That message was to incorporate a model prayer into our lives. This morning that model prayer can become the prayer that changes me. What is the prayer and how can it change me?

First the prayer is the best know passage in the New Testament. It is almost universally known as the Lord’s Prayer. From that passage we have a pattern that Jesus asked each of us who follow Him to make a part of our lives.

Notice the sweeping life areas this pattern covers.

 

God Summarizes What We Need To Live

Our Father, Focus Me: Because we are so weak, fearful, and distracted, we need to pause each day and reorient my life to Who God really is. We need God to focus our hearts upon His Majesty. Lord, I want to Worship You, so focus me upon how great You are today.

 

Your Kingdom, Control Me: Because we are so easily wanting our own way. Like Isaiah 53:6 says, we each turn to our own way by habit. That’s just how we are wired.  So we need to pause each day to surrender our body back to God’s control, and then reaffirm our trust in His plans. Lord, I want You to Control me, so I surrender to your control today.

 

Your Will, Lead Me: Because we are so easily misled and confused, and needy of help to find our way in life, and we are so unable to know the future that we really need daily guidance. Lord, I want You to Guide me, so I will seek to follow You today.

 

Daily Bread, Supply Me: Because we are so temporary, frail, insufficient and unable to even go without sleep for very long. I need to pause each day to ask God to give me what I need to not just survive today, but be filled and satisfied. Lord, I feed me daily bread by Your Word, to supply me so I see Your Hand in my life.

 

Forgive Us, Cleanse Me: Because we are so prone to bumps, scrapes, and wounds that easily get infected with bitterness. So I need to pause and seek the cleansing forgiveness You give for all my sins against You. Lord, I want to experience the healing that comes through releasing all my hurts and injuries to Your care, and receiving the joy of being completely forgiven and forgiving.

 

Deliver Us, Protect Me: Because we are so vulnerable, and the spirit-world is so filled with enemies and dangers that I need to pause each day and arm myself for survival and victory each day, as I invite You to Deliver me. Lord, protect me by clothing me with Your armor, I want to put on Christ and allow you to protect me.

 

Yours Is, Empty Me: Because we are so prone to pride, self-sufficiency, and self-focus that we need to pause and ask to be emptied of cultivating a self-driven life. Lord, empty me of pride, and overflow me with Your presence as I clothe my self with humility.

 

Because We are Weak & Fearful: I Need to Focus Back on You

Because we are so weak and often fearful Jesus said we need to focus upon Who our God really is.

This is the area of worship, where we focus upon the person, nature, and attributes of God Almighty.

The first petition of the Lord’s Prayer is all that. It is a cry to Focus my life on Who You are as my God. Is is a call to worship God, and allow Him to dispel our fears with His Omnipresence. It is an invitation to allow Him to overwhelm our weaknesses with Him Omnipotence.

Each time we say that first petition, we are to surround these words with a longing for God Almighty, to Whom we are speaking to dispel our fears with His Presence, and overwhelm all our weaknesses with His strength.

Ready to practice that? Speak the first petition to Him:

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name…

 

Our Father: we are so weak, fearful, and distracted, we need to pause each day and reorient my life to Who God really is.

Lord, I want to Worship You, so focus me upon how great You are today.

Next time you feel fearfully alone and helplessly weak, us that as a moment to flee back to the powerful position of repeating who you are by talking to your Father.

Where is He? Your Father is in Heaven.

What does He want us to do? Hallow, reverence, worship, and focus upon His Great Name.

How would we apply that truth so it isn’t just a fact that we know at a distance, but never experience? One way to do this at times is to hallow God’s Name using the words of an old and familiar hymn. Here is a great hymn about the Great name of our Great God:

 

Great is Thy Faithfulness (#43)

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not

As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

     

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

 

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

 

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Secondly:

 

Because We want Our Way: I Need You To Control Me

We were born wanting our own way. Each day like Isaiah 53:6 says, we each turn to our own way by habit. That’s just how we are wired. 

Jesus expressed that in the last verse of this chapter where we find the Lord’s Prayer. Look at Mat. 6:33:

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 

So we need to pause each day to surrender our body back to God’s control, and then reaffirm our trust in His plans.

Lord, I want You to Control me, so I surrender to your control today.

 

All to Jesus I Surrender (#366)

All to Jesus I surrender,

All to Him I freely give;

I will ever love and trust Him,

In His presence daily live.

 

I surrender all, I surrender all.

All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

 

All to Jesus I surrender,

Humbly at His feet I bow,

Worldly pleasures all forsaken;

Take me, Jesus, take me now.

 

All to Jesus I surrender,

Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;

Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,

Truly know that Thou art mine.

 

All to Jesus I surrender,

Lord, I give myself to Thee;

Fill me with Thy love and power,

Let Thy blessing fall on me.

 

God Summarizes What We Need To Live

Simply stated, the Lord’s Prayer is a pattern for us, a check list for our daily spiritual health. Living a healthy, useful life each day is built around these key elements:

 

1.    Daily Worship of Almighty God: Our Father FOCUS ME

2.    Daily Consecration of My Body: Thy Kingdom Come CONTROL ME

3.    Daily Submission to God’s Will: Thy Will Be Done LEAD ME

4.    Daily Reliance on God’s Provision: Give Us This Day SUPPLY ME

5.    Daily Cleansing of My Relationships: Forgive Us As We Forgive CLEANSE ME

6.    Daily Protection of My Mind: Deliver Us From Evil PROTECT ME

7.    Daily Seeking to God’s Glory: Thine Is The Glory EMPTY ME

 

Simple Truths, Daily Renewed in My Life

Unleashing the Lord’s Prayer into Changing My Life Today

 

 

 

[1] In short, from the KJV onward the translation of Matthew 6.12 has gone with "debts." But the 1526 Tyndale Bible had it as "trespasses." This translation was used in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer and is preserved in the BCP to the present day.