opposition and response

Ephesians 6.10-17
I love spy stories whether books, movies or TV. The intrigue, the uncovering of evil intruding among the ranks of forces of justice, peace and liberation. The courage and resourcefulness of the key characters.
Courage, heroism, character, even sainthood need conflict for their true qualities to be revealed; in fact, conflict creates heroes and saints. The same is true of practising resurrection; it only becomes apparent in the arena of both need and opposition. Some of Jesus’ most telling teaching surfaces in confrontations with his critics.
In the face of the Enemy what resources do we have as the community of the resurrected, and what is our call. Paul unwraps that in the closing chapter of his letter to the Ephesians [6.10-20]. For Eugene Peterson [Practise Resurrection] four things should grab our attention:
stand -repeated four times (v. 11, 13, 14) this imperatives calls us to be steady, to stand our ground and to stay on our feet. Don’t let yourself be distracted by novelty or deflected by sin.
Stand in the place of blessing to which God has brought you at this time; stand firm in the community that He has given us, the Church; stand firm in the Spirit – God filling us and in communion with us.
wiles of the Devil – emphasising that there is opposition to our resurrection living and we encounter it all places and all times. It is orchestrated by the Opposer via a network of rulers, authorities, cosmic forces, spiritual forces. Some of their work is in things that are obviously wrong, but they seek to trap us by taking  good goals and persuading us to use sinful means to achieve those goals. Do we need any more pointed example than finances companies who in pursuit of good goals resorted to illegitimate means to bring a better return for their investors.
whole armour of God – this is less about the items of armour than what they represent:
Truth about Jesus, what he’s done, my eternal place in it. About God who loves and empowers me to live out that truth – and about that which dares oppose us.
Righteousness in Jesus we have right standing with God – we are loved. forgiven, favoured and called to reflect that in outwardly-focussed lives.
Peace the relationship we have in God; no issues outstanding; trust; love. Just exactly how he expects us top live with others
Faith the courage to be and do what God calls to be and do, built out of growing confidence that what God says he means.
Salvation in Christ, sin and death don’t have the final word about our destiny which is eternal, secure, grace-originated and grace-filled. All god’s good work without intervention or interference from us.
Word of God the powerful self-revelation of God, his purpose, plan and victory. Can destroy every weapon brought against us – pierces to the heart of everything we have to deal with in our lives, individually and collectively, however the ultimate weapon is you and me – unleashed, gifted and sent to be hands, feet and even the voice of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times – stay in communication; don’t log-off for any reason. Prayer happens all the time – in all circumstances. God is always logged-in with us.

you can hear the message as spoken by going to http://www.fhpc.church.org.nz (after 5 July)

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