Author Archives: Joe

Armour Of God: Helmet Of Salvation

What does it mean to put on the Helmet Of Salvation, and how do we do it?  This bible study attempts to tackle that issue and looking at John 3, including the famous John 3:16 passage:

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.

In this scripture, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus (a member of the Jewish ruling council).  Nicodemus came to Jesus in private, for he saw that he was a teacher that had come from God.  Jesus further explained what being born again meant, as follows from verse 5:

Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

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 they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people 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 their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

There’s also a fantastic scripture for how we can understand our salvation at the end of Romans 8, which we can consider in the questions:

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, 39 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.

Questions

  1. Why a helmet?
  2. Describe Nicodemus.  What did he have, and what was he lacking?
  3. Verse 18-21  What’s the difference between the believer and the unbeliever, as this passage puts it?
  4. Bonus Round: Romans 8:31-39.  How can we keep our helmet of salvation on?

Armour Of God: Shield Of Faith

In the fourth instalment of the Armour Of God bible studies, faith is at the centre.

Eph 6:16 Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one

In the sense of spiritual warfare, Paul is telling us that, by having faith, we’re actually adopting a powerful defensive role, extinguishing flaming arrows sent by the enemy.  Let’s look at two examples, from both testaments:  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s faith when being thrown in the furnace – old testament.  This is a powerful story of how the enemy’s plan is to literally throw the three men of God into a furnace.  From the new testament, we’ll study Jesus’ disciple Peter, stepping out in faith to walk on water.

Questions

  1. Daniel 3: How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s faith impact this story – beginning, middle and end?
  2. Suggest what the devil may have used as ‘flaming arrows’ in this passage?
  3. Matthew 14:28-31: How did Peter have the faith that he did? Where would you suggest it came from?
  4. Bonus Round: Gleaning from the previous questions and our own understanding, how can we keep our shield of faith protecting us in our day-to-day lives?

 

Armour Of God: Shoes Of Readiness

Ephesians 6:15 says: “Stand firm with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”.  The bible stresses the importance of being ready, over a range of topics.  For this study, we’ll look at it from two perspectives:  Readiness from attacks, and Readiness to preach the Gospel.  Here are the passages for the study.

The first passage is when Jesus was tempted in the desert.  Matthew 4:1-11:

4 Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. After spending forty days and nights without food, Jesus was hungry. Then the Devil came to him and said, “If you are God’s Son, order these stones to turn into bread.”

But Jesus answered, “The scripture says, ‘Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.’”

Then the Devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, the Holy City, set him on the highest point of the Temple, and said to him, “If you are God’s Son, throw yourself down, for the scripture says,

‘God will give orders to his angels about you;
they will hold you up with their hands,
so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.’”

Jesus answered, “But the scripture also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Then the Devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in all their greatness. “All this I will give you,” the Devil said, “if you kneel down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus answered, “Go away, Satan! The scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!’”

11 Then the Devil left Jesus; and angels came and helped him.

John 4:7-29 (The parable of the woman at the well):

A Samaritan woman came to draw some water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” (His disciples had gone into town to buy food.)

The woman answered, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan—so how can you ask me for a drink?” (Jews will not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use.)

10 Jesus answered, “If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where would you get that life-giving water? 12 It was our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well; he and his children and his flocks all drank from it. You don’t claim to be greater than Jacob, do you?”

13 Jesus answered, “Those who drink this water will get thirsty again, 14 but those who drink the water that I will give them will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give them will become in them a spring which will provide them with life-giving water and give them eternal life.”

15 “Sir,” the woman said, “give me that water! Then I will never be thirsty again, nor will I have to come here to draw water.”

16 “Go and call your husband,” Jesus told her, “and come back.”

17 “I don’t have a husband,” she answered.

Jesus replied, “You are right when you say you don’t have a husband. 18 You have been married to five men, and the man you live with now is not really your husband. You have told me the truth.”

19 “I see you are a prophet, sir,” the woman said. 20 “My Samaritan ancestors worshiped God on this mountain, but you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where we should worship God.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the time will come when people will not worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans do not really know whom you worship; but we Jews know whom we worship, because it is from the Jews that salvation comes. 23 But the time is coming and is already here, when by the power of God’s Spirit people will worship the Father as he really is, offering him the true worship that he wants. 24 God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is.”

25 The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah will come, and when he comes, he will tell us everything.”

26 Jesus answered, “I am he, I who am talking with you.”

27 At that moment Jesus’ disciples returned, and they were greatly surprised to find him talking with a woman. But none of them said to her, “What do you want?” or asked him, “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then the woman left her water jar, went back to the town, and said to the people there, 29 “Come and see the man who told me everything I have ever done. Could he be the Messiah?”

Questions

Readiness From Attacks:

  1. Matthew 4:1-11: What was Satan’s strategy with Jesus?
  2. What did Jesus do to evade Satan’s attacks?

Readiness To Preach The Gospel

  1. John 4:7-29:  Describe Jesus’ initial approach with the Woman at the well from verse 7-15.  How did it change in verses 16-29?
  2. Bonus Round:  How can we apply Jesus’ examples in the previous passages to our lives?

Armour Of God: Breastplate Of Righteousness

The Breastplate Of Righteousness is an important element of our spiritual armour.  In fact, King Ahab, an unrighteous king of Israel, killed in battle by taking an arrow to the breastplate (between the scale armour – 1 Kings 22:34). Let’s look at the story of Lot as an example – a man rescued from Sodom along with his family.  God destroyed Sodom because of its unrighteousness, but provided an escape for Lot.  The main story is from Genesis 18:20-19:22.

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left,and Abraham returned home.

19 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lotwas sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind himand said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives!Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”

21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

Questions:

Genesis 18:20-33.  What can we say of God’s character in this story?  How does God handle the righteous when they’re mixed in with unrighteous?

Genesis 19:1-11:  How does Lot’s righteousness shine through in this story, against the sins of Sodom?  (Ezekiel 16:49-50 summarises Sodom’s sins: proud, overfed, idle, didn’t care about the poor and needy, arrogant, did things God hated).

Genesis 19:12-22:  Describe Lot’s shortcomings in this passage (and the previous passage if you like).  How did God handle it?

Bonus Round: 1 Peter 2:18-25.  How can we put on the breastplate of righteousness?

Armour Of God: Belt Of Truth

Let’s kick off the Armour Of God with the first piece mentioned by Paul – the Belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14). A belt has a few uses in battle.  In a way, it could be seen as an all-rounder; it protects whilst also enabling the soldier to move easily and freely.  The belt may also be used to sheath a sword, so it could be seen as a foundational piece of equipment.

In the Bible, it talks of the spiritual piece of armour – we can wrap God’s Truth around us in the same way, knowing our Lord is The Way, The Truth, The Life (John 14:6).  Let’s consider a few questions to help us understand how wearing the Belt Of Truth can aid our spiritual battle.

Questions

  1. Can you think of any other ways a belt help a soldier in battle? How could this translate into our own spiritual battle?
  2. John 8:37-47. How does God’s description of Satan oppose the Belt Of Truth? Why does he talk about a Father-Son relationship between Satan and the Pharisees?
  3. Verse 34-36 What is the distinction Jesus made between ‘slave’ and ‘son’?
  4. Bonus Round: John 8 31-33. What effect does God’s truth have on our lives, and how does it help our spiritual battle?
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Shoebox 2012 – Photos

Thank you to everyone who took part in providing Christmas presents for the Romania cause.

The shoeboxes allowed us to shine a light into many lives at the end of 2012.  Gifts for the children, and supplies for the families, whatever they needed.  We’re grateful to share photos taken whilst gifts were given – If you made one of the shoeboxes, then look closely, you might find it!

 

 

 

The Armour Of God

We’re going to look at a series of Bible Studies about the Armour of God.  A famous passage, but how much do we really know about it, and how is it relevant to Christians today?  Here’s the passage in mind, in Ephesians 6:10-18:

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.

From this passage, we can gather that our battle isn’t a physical one that we can see, but rather against spiritual forces of evil – the devil’s schemes.  We need constant reminders of this, to keep us alert.  Notice that it’s a given that we have to fight.  No matter where we are on our walk with God, it’s very likely we’ll be running into opposition with the enemy.  So over the next few weeks we’ll try to delve a little deeper into each piece of armour, of which there are six:

  1. The Belt of Truth
  2. The Breastplate of Righteousness
  3. The Shoes of Readiness
  4. The Shield Of Faith
  5. The Helmet Of Salvation
  6. The Sword Of The Spirit

Watch this space, and get your armour on!