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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
The Reflections Newsletter

Monday, August 24, 2009

**In This Issue**

  1. Are You Spiritually Dressed for Success?
  2. What Does the Bible Say About...?

Welcome to the Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory.  RHG is a co-ministry with Creation Science Ministries.  Feel free to send this to your relatives and friends.

Are You Spiritually Dressed for Success?

If there is one thing that every one of us wants in our life, it is to be successful.  And we have all heard that we should be dressed for success if we are to be successful in our lives.  The idea of being "dressed for success" has always sounded good to me.  But I really never gave it much thought until I read Ephesians 6:10-17.  I always thought my Jewish parents came up with that by themselves.  In any case, I am glad that they instilled me with that thought, because when I read about the 'armor of God' in the Bible, it sort of grabbed me.

The armor of God sounds good, does it not?  Well, here are two questions for you.  Can you name the different parts of the armor of God without looking them up?  How many parts are there? 

The disciple Paul was looking at the Roman soldier assigned to guard him, and used the soldier's armor to describe the armor of God.  In doing so, Paul definitively explained each part and how it is used in the spiritual warfare that we all face.  Paul wrote:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devilFor we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take to you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:     Ephesians 6:10-17  KJV ER

Can you name them now?  Sure you can.  But we need to look closer at each piece to fully appreciate how we are protected by the Lord God, and how well they interact with each other.

The Belt of Truth

In his description, Paul was referring to protecting the pelvic region of the body, which is a very vulnerable area.  So one part of what Paul is telling us is, "to secure anything that will cause us to stumble or fall down when moving about quickly in our daily battle."  We should always be spiritually sharp, alert and ready to respond with spiritual mobility and spiritual agility.

With this understanding, we can now examine the things that cause all believers to stumble or fall down in their Christian walk (or faith).  A specific list of these things does not exist.  However, the Bible provides insight into this area starting in the Book of Genesis and ending with the Book of Revelation.  This might give you a hint as to the importance of the entire Bible.

Rather than looking into the list, we need look into the battleground and where it can be found.  With this information we can be better prepared to stand firm against the schemes of the devilSo where is this battleground?  The answer can be found in I Peter 1:13-16:

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.   KJV ER

Verse 16, "...Be you holy; for I am holy."  is quoted from Leviticus 11:44-45.

In short, the battleground is within our minds, our thoughts, and the decisions we make.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

As it implies, the breastplate covers the chest.  In this case the breastplate is not made of iron, but of righteousness.  A soldier with his breastplate on goes boldly into battle full of confidence. Righteousness allows us to stand before God, men and demons.  

Where the belt of truth shows us what is ours and what we can do, by being spiritually sharp, alert, and ready to respond each daily battle, righteousness enables us to do it.  Without the breastplate of righteousness our faith would be like any other religion; a form of godliness, but no power to act.  Satan would knock us down with one word of condemnation, if not for the righteousness that has been imputed to us when we accepted Christ Jesus.  And without righteousness we would not be able to go before the throne room of God's grace.

To be righteous is to have a right standing with God.  It is being justified and free of condemnation.  As I said above, righteousness is imputed to us; that means something we are given free of charge, and it is imparted into us, meaning something that Christ Jesus has given to us in His grace.

Just one of several passages where righteousness is shown is:

Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works, Saying, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Romans 4:6-7  KJV ER

In the Old Testament, Abram (Abraham) believed God, and God considered this righteousness.  In other words, God treated Abraham as though he had done nothing wrong simply because of Abraham's faith in Him.

This is sometimes difficult for us to comprehend; that all our sins are forgiven, and all our unrighteous deeds are not held against us.  Because of this, we can come boldly to God as if we had done nothing wrong.  God makes us right with Him simply because we have accepted and believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus for our sins.

But this is only part of the story.  Righteousness goes further than that.  Imputed righteousness comes with some expectations attached.  The expectation is that we invest it to make our own lives better, more Christ-like.  

God wants us to live holy lives; not walking in sin or compromising our faith. The power of Christ inside of us equips us to do this.  As we submit ourselves to the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, sin will no longer have dominion over us.

The Shoes of Peace

If we are to appreciate the material of which these shoes are made, first we should have a clear understanding of the gospel of peace.  By now the saint is dressed with a belt made of truth and a breastplate made of righteousness.

Shoes made from the gospel of peace are our third piece of vital armor.  The gospel of peace as spoken of in Luke 2:10 explains the coming of Christ Jesus.  As Jesus taught in His time on earth, and continues to teach us now, God forgives and then He gives.  What could be better information for us to receive than this good news?  The gospel takes a hopeless being and fills him/her with an eternity of glory in His kingdom.  Even the afflictions of this world are too thin a veil to darken the joy of the good news of Christ Jesus.

How long can anyone walk on a hard and stony road without a decent pair of shoes?  Not long, or far if the correct shoes are not worn.  Many have gone into battle without proper preparation.  This kind of preparation comes only from knowing the gospel.  Again, just like we saw with the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, there are two aspects to the shoes we wear; the soles that keep us going over hard ground, and the soles which equip us with something to offer to the needy souls we meet along the way.  For all practical purposes, the shoes of peace must have strong soles for all souls.

The foot is to the body what the will is to the soul.  We go wherever our will takes us.  Preparation is the believer's spiritual readiness, and is our feet shod with the gospel of peace.  The gospel sets the will of the believer.  It gives us a purpose and a focus.  It presents us with a message and a task, and it gives meaning to life.

There can not be, and is no calling without the gospel.  A barefooted man shrinks when his feet touch the hot sand and shrieks when he stumbles on a sharp stone.  But when the will and heart are prepared and ready to serve the Lord, a believer's feet are shod, prepared, and equipped to face any trouble he encounters to complete the task.

Paul was convinced that nothing could separate him from the love of Christ.  He understood the love of Christ.  He knew the 'good news', and also knew that no bad news could ruin it.  The time he had spent preparing himself in the Word was bearing fruit during time of trouble.

Prepare yourself to follow the Lord no matter what.  This is not the grasping of doctrines, but the laying hold on the love of God.  Are you prepared to serve God no matter what?  Seek His face until you are prepared, and then continue to seek His face until you are in His kingdom.

God intends us all to be walking vessels of His goodness, spreading the love of Christ to others.

The Shield of Faith

Faith is what the Holy Spirit dropped into our hearts when we received Christ Jesus as our Savior. Faith is what allows us to call God our Father (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6)

Faith is of God.  Jesus said if you had faith as a mustard seed you would be able to speak to a mountain and it would move (Matthew 17:20).  Faith is the confidence and assurance we have in the crucified and risen Savior.  

The shield of faith not only defends our whole body but also our armor.  It keeps the darts of the enemy away from the head, chest, waist, arms and legs.  No wonder the Bible says we should have it "above all."

The shield of faith has a very specific function, which the Bible makes abundantly clear.  It will extinguish all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  Not some of them but all of them.

The shield moves with the attack.  A skilled soldier can use the shield to hold back the darts of the enemy no matter the direction from which they come.  None of the other pieces of armor mentioned so far are exalted as highly as the shield of faith.

Having all the other pieces of armor without faith will not bring us into the promises of God.

The Helmet of Salvation

The next piece of armor is a helmet to cover the head.  The importance of the head does not need much convincing.  A soldier can survive a broken arm, but a broken head, depending on the severity of the wound, can be life threatening.  By calling salvation a helmet we have a clear understanding to what salvation refers.

The hope of salvation is for the head.  It covers our minds, intellect or reasoning.  Here, hope has a very different meaning from how we normally use the word.  When we say 'I hope it does not rain' the very sentence itself contains doubt and an expectation that we cannot do anything to prevent it.  Hope from the Bible's point of view is much more powerful.  Hope is one of the three essentials; faith, hope, and the love of God.

Faith is of the heart.  God gives it to us.  We may not entirely understand all that God does but we still put our faith in Him.

Hope on the other hand is of the mind.  It covers the head.  It is our helmet.  A man can survive several days without food or water, but take away hope and he very well may commit suicide.

Our hope is based on the eternal life of God. Our hope is held out to us in the gospel.  The understanding of what God has promised us brings us hope.  God does not lie.  Our hope is based on Him.  Believers wearing the helmet of the hope of salvation will not get confused with the passing pleasures of sin.  Nor will they trade their birth right (salvation) for the temporary lusts of the world.

Hope is the confidence we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We develop it the same way we develop faith.  God's word touches our hearts and heads.  It is essential for us to have a clear understanding of what God has promised.  This will give us hope; an unfailing expectation in the ability of God to fulfill His promise.

Hope is something you think about and understand.  Faith is something you believe and confess even if you cannot understand it.

Hope provides us with an anchor, Hebrews 6:19.  Something to hold onto with our soul (intellect, emotions and faith).  Faith needs hope to sustain it.

The Sword of the Spirit

When discussing the Sword of the Spirit, some people envision a preacher or evangelist standing in the pulpit with their Bible raised high as though it were a sword.  However, most believers who are familiar with this passage of scripture will agree that the Bible in its entirety is considered to be the Sword of the Spirit.  But, is this view too general?   What was the disciple Paul really trying to tell us in this passage?

The key point Paul is imparting to us is that every passage of Scripture is a sword to itself, and very effective in battling Satan and his temptations.  Think about it.  Not one sword, but THOUSANDS OF SWORDS have been given to us to provide an unequalled hedge of protection.

The broad mindset that the Bible is but one sword is what Satan would prefer us to have and use in spiritual warfare.  Satan wants us to believe we do not need to spend time memorizing Scripture, and that is the lie!  An important point in spiritual warfare is for us to memorize key verses in the Bible so we can have them ready for immediate use when our mind and thoughts are under attack.  Perhaps the best example of this is how Christ Jesus used different passages of Scripture when He was tempted by Satan in the desert wilderness, shown in Matthew 4:1-11.  In each temptation, Jesus used a specific Scripture to defeat Satan's attempts.

The six pieces of armor that we have been discussing here, while individually listed and described above, are not effective by themselves.  When we put them on, each piece is integral to the other.  As written in Scripture above, Paul tells us to "Put on the whole armor of God..."  Without all six pieces donned, we will not be fully protected... and it is essential for us to be fully protected.




Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

What Does the Bible Say About...?


In this section of the Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.  If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to send your question in an email to me at  Of course, you may call me anytime by phone at 801.302-1111.

The question for this issue is,  "Does the doctrine of the Trinity apply to both Jews and Gentiles, or is it exclusively for the Church?"

The three Members of the Godhead, all of whom comprise the one God, have always existed, as eternity, past as well as future, is an attribute of God.  Thus, even in the Old Testament, God existed as a Trinity, although this had not yet been manifest to most Old Testament believers.

A few Old Testament saints, such as Abraham (Genesis 18), and Jacob (Genesis 28) experienced "Theophanies," which were pre-incarnate appearances of Christ Jesus, usually described in Scripture as "the angel of the Lord."  Additionally, some believers were blessed by being empowered by the Holy Spirit for certain periods of time for specific reasons.  The persons who penned the Bible certainly fit into this category:

 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.     2 Peter 1:21  KJV ER

It was not until New Testament times that God the Son came to the Earth as Christ Jesus continually, and for the approximate 3 years of His Earthly ministry.  Following that, the Holy Spirit came to indwell believers on a 'universal' basis (John 14:16-26 and 16:7-11).  For the most part, the Jews rejected Christ Jesus as their Messiah.  However, their rejection  does not invalidate the reality of the Trinity.  When Christ Jesus returns, Israel will embrace Him, according to Zechariah 12:10

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.  KJV ER

But this does not suddenly make the Trinity a correct doctrine; for it has always been.  Rather, it makes the Jews aware in that their eyes have finally been opened after having been blinded for so long (Romans 11:25-26).



Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory



And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free

John 8:31-32

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory