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Standing Firm

By Elie Nessim, May 1 1999 Printer Friendly Version

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armour of GOD that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities; against powers; against the rulers of the darkness of this age; against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the whole armour of GOD that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
We are looking again at Ephesians, Chapter 6, about the whole armour of GOD. In this passage, we hear a call to arms.  The first three Chapters of this Letter contain all the glorious teaching about the Messiah and His redeemed people, and our relationship to one another.  And then from Chapter 4, right through to here, we have the practical application of these truths; and what He is saying to us is: In the belief of these truths, in the exercise of these truths, we are against formidable opposition.  The devil is trying to get us to doubt what is true; he will get us to compromise our actions; and to round the corners off; and to lower the standards.  And therefore, He says, you've got to be aware of the forces, the spiritual forces that are arrayed against you.  And that's why Peter, when he writes to the Believers, he says, 'Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.  But rejoice in as much as you are sharers of Messiah's sufferings.' He was against formidable opposition from devils, from evil angels, (fallen angels), and from human beings, so it's no surprise if His people find themselves experiencing the same thing.

The LORD said, 'The disciple is not above his Master.' And that's why here, we are told, 'Take up the armour of GOD.' You, in order to stand for the truth; in order to maintain its standards, you will need to face opposition.  People will mock you, and they'll say you're narrow minded.  Well, can you call a specialist a narrow minded man, just because he knows the exact cure for a disease and he knows that nothing else will do?  If you went to a specialist and you had a bad disease, you wouldn't think much of him if he says, 'Well, you could try aspirin, or you could try Tylenol.  You've got a variety of choices for this disease; maybe a stomach pump to get rid of the excess bile in your stomach.'  You wouldn't think much of him as a specialist.  You would quit and go to someone else who says to you, 'There is nothing else for it but this.  This is the only thing that will work.  I know it, because I am a specialist, and I have used it on countless people and cured them.'  Would you call the specialist a narrow minded man because he insists there is only one remedy?  Obviously not.

And yet, people are so unintelligent, that they look at the Believer in the Messiah and they say, 'You're narrow minded.'  What is our claim?   'YESHUA is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No man comes to the Father but through Him.' That's an exclusive claim!

I remember in an open air meeting, someone saying to the speaker, 'So you think you are right, do you?'  And the speaker's wise reply, 'No, I don't.  But I do believe the Word of GOD is.'  And that's what we have to do: take our stand firmly on the Word of GOD.  You have to beware of making sure that you understand what a specialist is.  There are a couple of men here in town.  Many years ago they were out for dinner, and there was a lady with them, and they were talking about specialists, and how the field of the specialist is very narrow.  The lady turned around to the doctor who was there, he was a specialist, and she said, 'What is your field?'  He said, 'I'm a Naval surgeon.'  She said, 'I didn't know they had specialists for navels.'  She got it all wrong!  Naval, he meant, he's a surgeon in the Navy.  She took it too literally.

But we know what we mean by specialist, don't we?  The one who knows exactly what is true; exactly what works; and who refuses to be moved from their claim.  That's what we insist upon.  And that's why we get opposition.  There are lots of people out there who are 'rounding the corners.' 

A friend of mine in England told me of a meeting of Jews and Christians.  It was one of those meeting which they call 'dialogues,' where everybody says, 'Oh, you're a nice person, and you can believe what you like.  You'll get to heaven your way, and I'll get to heaven my way.  There are more than one way to heaven.'  One of the Jewish speakers got up on the platform and said, 'One of the main obstacles for us Jewish people, is that you Christians insist on the virgin birth of the Messiah.'  One of these miserable clergyman stood up and said, 'Oh, we don't insist upon it.'  He thought he would win over his Jewish listeners.  But my friend told me they looked on him with contempt, because they recognized in him a man who did not have the courage of his convictions.  GOD forbid that any of us should be afraid to stand up to the truth.  GOD help us to stand firm and say, as Luther said, 'Here I stand.  I can do no other, so help me GOD.'  We ought to make this our lifelong vow.  This is the truth; this is my Rock, the Word of GOD. 

And that's why he says here, verse 14: 'Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth.' The word is 'loins'.  The loins, of course,  translated 'waist' means here, the pit of your stomach, where all your feelings are.  You talk about a sinking feeling in your stomach.  You say your stomach is 'turning over;' you feel as though there's a weight of lead in your stomach.  The prophets speak about their bowels, and their kidneys; they are all here, the seat of emotion; the seat of affection; the seat of all feeling.  Gird them with truth!  Girdles are used for beauty.  The high priest, for example, under the Torah in the First Covenant, had a girdle for glory and for beauty.  It was not only to gird his garments together; it was also for glory and for beauty.  And the Believer who has girded himself with the truth, is beautiful in the sight of GOD.  

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