Most animals don’t eat moss because it’s hard to digest and has little nutritional value. But reindeer fill up with lots of moss because it contains a special chemical which helps keep reindeer warm in the icy arctic temperatures. Moss, for the reindeer, acts like antifreeze in a car.
A lightning bolt generates a temperature five times hotter than the sun.
One cup of neutron star weighs about 480 million tons.
Maybe as some of you fill out your taxes, you might be interested to know that if you lived in Virginia 300 years ago, you could have paid your taxes with tobacco.
If you are scared of spiders, you will be happy to learn that you are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a spider.
Here’s one I found for me: 1000 years ago, the Grand Vizier of Persia had to make a long journey. But he was an avid reader, and couldn’t stand the thought of being away from his books for so long. So, he had his 117,000 books loaded onto 400 camels, and had them trained to stay in alphabetical order as they followed him around.
These are just random facts…really, pointless knowledge…truth, yeah, but pointless. However, in many cases, the difference between what is true and what is false is the difference between life and death.
If your doctor doesn't tell you the truth, it could be serious!
Paul says to put on the “whole” armor of God.
Football players - you wouldn’t go out on the field without a helmet or shoulder pads, would you?
Those of you who have been/are serving in the military - when you go into the field of combat, everything you wear is essential, isn’t it? You don’t take a bunch of extra unnecessary stuff do you? It’d be an encumbrance. And, you don’t leave out anything
you need for survival!
The whole armor of God - every piece is necessary.
Ephesians 6:10–14 ESV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…
You know, when you read this list, you might be tempted to say, “Yeah, a sword - that’s important; shield, helmet, breastplate, shoes - all of those things offer protection and enable you to fight…BUT A BELT?!?! That’s not a weapon!”
When I was a kid, I thought my dad’s belt was a weapon!
But, for a Roman soldier, the belt was, perhaps, the most important piece of the armor.
The belt served three functions…so, I want to look at those and see why the belt of truth is vital to our victory in the fight against the devil.
THE FOUNDATION OF TRUTH
One of the main purposes of the soldier’s belt was strengthening and stabilizing the “core.”
Remember, Paul’s command to “stand firm.” How does Satan attack us?
John 8:44 ESV
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Satan is the great counterfeiter. He twists the truth. He misquotes God.
I want to look at the very first example we ever see of this:
Genesis 3:1–6 ESV
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
YOU NEED A STRONG CORE…SO MANY CHRISTIANS DON’T HAVE A CORE FOUNDATION OF TRUTH IN THEIR LIVES.
In other words - God’s Authority over my life and over this world. “Did God actually say?” Then, in vs. 4…a direct attack against the authority of God… “You will not surely die.”
“I know God’s word says this…BUT…I’m not sure it really applies to me” - we are questioning the authority of God over our lives.
Universal vs. Subjective Truth // OBJECTIVE vs. RELATIVE
We live in a world, now, in which truth is relative. What does that mean? There is no absolute truth…in other words, your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth and society/culture defines what is morally right and wrong.
You may or may not recognize the name “Dan Reynolds” but he is the lead singer of the world famous rock band, “Imagine Dragons.” Dan grew up and still considers himself a Mormon. He’s also worked for the last year on a new HBO documentary that follows his work in promoting and embracing LGBTQ teenagers. He says this, “Celebrate our diversity. Embrace our LGBTQ youth. To accept does not simply mean to ‘love’, it means you give true validity and fully embrace and support diverse sexual orientations and do not see one’s sexuality as ‘incorrect’ or ‘sinful.’ Love is an empty word otherwise.
Now, this is just one example but this is the way our culture thinks. You can not call anything/anyone - especially their lifestyle - a sin. Do we love all people? Yes. Do we engage with all people in an attempt to show and share Jesus’s love and forgiveness? Yes. But…let me tell you something…it is getting more and more unpopular and will, unfortunately probably be illegal soon, for us to stand on the clear teaching of scripture that defines God’s creation and design for marriage and sexuality and for calling homosexuality, transgender, bi-sexuality, and anything outside of God’s design a “sin.”
Court of public opinion vs. God’s court…I’d rather be hated by the world and told by them I’m wrong than be disobedient to my Judge and King.
Here are the lies Satan wants you to believe - God is not good. He’s selfish. He self-centered and jealous that you might even think about wanting to become like Him! God doesn’t love you.
“God is punishing me for my sin.”
“God’s holding out on you, Eve! He’s keeping you from the ‘best stuff!’”
Again, “my truth.”
THE FASTENER OF TRUTH
Again, one of the primary purposes of a soldier’s belt was that it held the armor together…in some form or fashion the rest of the pieces of armor were connected to his belt.
Most importantly, the belt is what held his sword!
Priscilla Shrier points out the importance of the belt:
“A soldier without his belt was like a policeman without his holster. Nowhere to keep anything. Think of the complicating, perhaps disastrous, ripple effects. Without it, the legionary would need to carry his sword in one hand and his dagger in the other - and hope and pray he didn’t need a third hand for something else....like maybe keeping his shield up? Or using his fists to fight with? Or reaching for another weapon? Furthermore, without anywhere to keep his breastplate anchored and steady, he risked leaving his chest uncovered, exposed to the fire-lit arrows of the enemy. The belt, in other words, was the hanger - necessary to organize, secure, and stabilize the rest.
What’s the connection? Shield of Faith, Shoes of Peace, Sword of Truth (word of God), Helmet of Salvation, Breastplate of Righteousness.
These are for protection and fighting…if they are not rooted in the objective truth of God’s word, they will fail. What do I mean?
Righteousness - TRUTH - not MINE but Christ’s
Peace - TRUTH - when I’m tempted to doubt God’s goodness…PEACE…he will provide and he will protect me!
Shield of Faith - TRUTH…not hope so…KNOW so…doubt. That He will deliver me from temptation.
Helmet of SALVATION - objective truth of God’s word…when my salvation is under attack…doubt...assurance.
Sword of Spirit (word of God) - TRUTH…Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness…TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD
ALL of these weapons must be connected to truth.
THE FREEDOM OF TRUTH
Remember the third purpose of the soldier’s belt…it served as a girdle (so to speak) that he was able to tuck his robe into when it came time for battle. He wanted as little encumbrance as possible…nothing to impede his running…nothing to trip him up or slow him down. Listen…Paul uses the imagery of “war” for a reason. It’s not a video game. It’s not a movie. It’s real life. War is gruesome. War is life and death. You die or your enemy dies. For the soldier, it LITERALLY a matter of life and death. What if he approached the battle as something that wasn’t so serious…ah, it’s not that big a deal. He’d be the first one to die, wouldn’t he? What if he didn’t take his time carefully going over each piece of armor and making sure it was all in place? He’d be the first casualty of war, wouldn’t he?
So many of us take this lackadaisical approach to spiritual warfare…well, it’s just emotional…it’s really not that big of a deal....it feels kind of like fairy tale stuff…not reality. Let me tell you something, that’s exactly where Satan wants you. He wants you to believe the “little” details of your life don’t matter in the war. He wants you to believe that there aren’t any real negative consequences to every little decision....every aspect of your life.
This is exactly what this final aspect of the belt of truth is all about. Truth is not just about facts. It’s not just “I know the truth.”
John 8:32 ESV
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Set me free? Set me free from what? Or, set me free TO what? I believe that when Jesus talks about “knowing the truth,” here, he’s not just talking about mere intellectual ascent....he’s not just saying “if you agree with the facts.” This is not head knowledge he’s talking about.
Jesus is saying that knowing the truth is a way of life. LIVING in truth is true freedom. Living in hypocrisy, sin, apathy, whatever it may be…living in falsehood is entangling…it’s deadly. This is why the writer of Hebrews says,
Hebrews 12:1 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
“Walking in the truth.” This was John’s biggest takeaway from 3.5 years of Jesus’s teaching:
1 John 1:5–10 ESV
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
“Girding up our loins” with the belt of truth means that we are putting away - just like that Roman soldier - anything in our lives that would cause us to fall…anything that would hinder us....anything that is “untrue.”
1 Peter 2:1 ESV
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
Warren Wiersbe once wrote:
“A man of integrity, with a clear conscience, can face the enemy without fear....once a lie gets into the life of a believer, everything begins to fall apart.”
Think about that last statement…untruth will make everything fall apart.
Ephesians 5:8–18 ESV
for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,
for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
Sin is always a snowball effect....begins, maybe with allowing that spat you have with your wife/husband to fester and not forgiving them/asking forgiveness and working out - leads to - talking to that coworker of the opposite sex about your marital issues (letting your guard down) - to - finding refuge in pornography or lusting after that coworker - to - ultimately, an adulterous affair....listen…sin is subtle....once we begin to allow Satan one little foothold of untruth in our life, he begins to take more and more and more.
We’re great at hiding it/covering it up…coming to church with our mask on.
We have to be honest…with God/with each other. We have to walk in the truth…walk in the light.
I’ve got a friend here at church that has struggled with sexual sin and he’s asked me to check up on him simply by texting him this question:
“Are you walking in the light?”
Isaiah 11:1–5 ESV
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
HIS armor - HIS strength - HIS victory!