The Armor of God-The Belt of Truth

The Armor of God-The Belt of Truth

Opening Illustration: The Belt Named Ed

Different types of belts

1. The Championship Belt

2. Batman’s Belt

3. The Seat Belt

4. Karate Belt

Obviously, there are lots of belts out there.

When I was a kid, I was inspired to tell the truth.  No, I was not inspired by a person.  I was not inspired by an ideal or philosophy.  I was inspired to tell the truth by a belt.  A belt that I affectionately named “Ed”.  Why did I name this belt “Ed”?  I named it this because this belt belonged to my father.  Engraved on the the belt is his name “Ed”.  I never knew why Dad put his name on his belt.  Perhaps if he was lost, hit with a rock and had amnesia, he could remember that his name was Ed.  

Now I had particular dread for this certain belt because it was this belt that was used to discipline me as a kid.  So, if I lied or disobeyed, my Dad would tell me to go and get the belt.  I knew which belt he was talking about.  He wanted to belt named Ed.  

Now Scripture is full of belts.  It’s true.  Every time you see the expression in Scripture to “gird up your loins” it means that a belt is involved.  Interestingly enough I searched both Old and New Testaments and found that the word “belt” is mentioned more than 20 times.  

Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:9 that we should not dishonestly acquire gold or silver for out belts.  Jesus knew and we will discover what a belt is really meant for in a moment.  

Jesus again tells us in Mark 6:8 when He sends out the disciples that they were to take nothing along for their journey.  Nothing.  Except, they could take a belt with them.  A belt is very important.  

When John the Baptist is mentioned in Matthew 3:4, we have a description of him.  It says that he had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist.  

Think about this for a moment.  If you were asked to give a description today of your Life Group teacher, how many of you would be able to describe their belt?  Did you even notice if your teacher had a belt on at all?  Probably not.  Most of us think about a shirt, pants, a dress or some other article of clothing.  We never pay attention to the belt.  However, the belt is a very important piece of clothing.  It was important in ancient times and modern times alike.  

The Belt Is An Instrument of Importance

Transitional Statement

The belt is an important instrument that can lead either to our success or failure as Christians.  Today you will see the importance of the belt of truth and how it can help you manage this dangerous world we live in today.  

Background:
Remember that Paul wanted the Ephesians to grow.  He wanted them to be mature believers.  He knew that they lived in a dangerous culture.  This ancient culture, much like our culture today seems to infect and infiltrate every area of life.  We see the sickness of our world in our workplace, in our worship, in our words and in our witness.  It is everywhere.  Paul liked this assault from our culture like a battle.  Today, we would call this spiritual warfare.  Friends, do you know the purpose of warfare?  The purpose of warfare is to totally dominate and annihilate the opponent.  So if we are engaged in a spiritual warfare with the Devil and demonic presences of this world, rest assured that the Devil wants to dominate and destroy you.  Likewise, if we, God’s chosen people, it should be our desire to defeat and dismantle all the evil and wicked schemes of the Devil.  Don’t believe me, listen to Paul’s words captured in 2 Corinthians 10:1-6.

I Corinthians 10:1-6 ESV
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— 2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Make no mistake about it friends, we are at war.  We are in battle.  We have a struggle where lives are at stake and the Devil is on the offensive against God’s people.  Paul realized this and is trying to make the Church in Ephesus aware of the coming onslaught.  That is why he warned them to take up the full armor of God.  

Last week, we talked about the dark struggle we are engaged in.  Today, we will start talking about the suit of armor.  Today, we will discuss the belt.  This belt is a powerful instrument of great importance.  Let’s read together Ephesians 6:10-14. 

Ephesians 6:10-14 ESV
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…

Why Is The Belt of Truth Important?

I. It Inspires Service

Point:
The belt—known as the cingulum or balteus—played a crucial role in the effectiveness of a soldier's armor. It was the belt that held the scabbard, without which there would be no place to put a sword. Imagine an overzealous soldier, fired up and charging out into battle—but without his belt, and consequently without a weapon!

Point:
The belt of truth encourages service.  Just like it served as a place to hold a sword, it reminds us that we are to serve God and to serve one another.  Without service, we cannot be enlisted in God’s army.  A belt of truth enables the Christian to serve with his or her maximum effort.  Let me take you back to the most powerful example of service we have in all the Bible.  It was the moment when Jesus washed the disciples feet.  Listen to what happens.  

Let’s read John 3:1-4 NASB

John 3:1-4 NASB
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

Point:
Did you see that?  Did you hear what just happened there.  Jesus rose from the table, discarded His tunic and the Scripture says that “He girded Himself”.  So, Jesus tied the belt around His waist, tucked towels in the belt and began to wash the disciples feet.  Jesus powerfully puts on display that the belt’s primary function is to aid someone in service.  Just like the belt of a soldier allows him to serve effectively.  

Illustration: The Tool Belt
This tool belt belongs to my brother Ron Padgett.  I called him Wednesday to see if he would allow me to use his tool belt on Sunday morning.  I asked him if he could bring it to me that night during prayer meeting.  Oddly enough, this was Ron’s text back, “We're working on a ramp tomorrow, can I get it to you after that?”  Ron and several others from our church were building a wheel chair ramp for someone in our community.  This belt was so important that he could not part with it.  Why?  This belt allowed Ron to work effectively and efficiently as a servant.  Sure, this belt did not carry a sword, but it carried essential tools for Ron’s ministry of service.  

Point:
One last thing, Jesus got up to serve the disciples.  You might have missed this one critical element.  Let me read this to you one more time.  

John 3:1-4 NASB
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 

So, who did Jesus serve?  That’s right.  He served Judas.  Most people want to remove Judas from that scene but he was there.  Jesus washed his feet just like he did all the others.  I think that most people want Judas removed from the story because it would give them the option of not serving those they do not like.  Considering how terrible Judas was and the awful thing he was about to do, it would have made sense for Jesus not to serve him.  Jesus served the one man who would betray him.  Wow.  

Friends, this has powerful implications for us today.  We are not just to serve those who look like us.  We are to serve the very ones who we despise.  We are to serve the ones who would offend our sensibilities.  

Point:
In a few weeks, our church will host the Alabama Baptist Convention.  For the better part of 3 days our church will be the center of all Baptist life in the state.  What if protestors who supported the homosexual agenda picketed outside our front doors?  What if members from the LGBT community held signs outside the doors of Eastern Shore Baptist Church.  What if transgendered men walked the sidewalk out front of our building.  What about the racists? Could our church be a platform to wave the Rebel flag? What if organizations dedicated to violence towards white police officers showed up in mass?  Why not mix in the pro choice people with their banners of a woman’s right to her own body.  What about the folks from Westboro Baptist Church.  They are the ones who show up disrupting burials of our nation’s servicemen.  

I say bring them all on.  That is just a shorter distance for me to walk and share the love of Christ with those that need it the most.  I say bring them on so that they can see Jesus in me.  I say bring them on so that I can deploy the belt of truth, inspiring me to serve and bring a word of love, truth and repentance to all men.  Men like me and men unlike me in every way.  

You see, Jesus called us to love and serve these people as well.  The very ones that we might find offensive.  We are to love them, nurture them, tell them the truth in love and call all men to repentance.  When one wears the belt of truth around their waist, it enables the believer to serve everyone and lead some to Christ.  

John 13:12-14 ESV
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

Why Is The Belt of Truth Important?

I. It Inspires Service
II. It Instills Self Defense

Point:
Critical to all humanity is to protect oneself.  God put that in us and the feeling for self preservation comes naturally to everyone.  Earlier in the service, I showed you a picture of a belt used in karate.  There are all sorts of belts in karate and each color means something significant.  Of course, if you wear the white belt, you are a novice.  A beginner.  If you are wearing a black belt, it means that you are at the highest level of karate.  I took karate as a kid and I was always very impressed with those that possessed the black belt.  The black belt meant that that person had mastered all the forms.  They were successful in competitions and curried favor with their superiors.  As a white belt, I knew that I had no chance against a black belt.  Why even bother fighting someone with a black belt.  It would surly end in defeat.  

Point:
Go back to our Roman solider.  We know that the belt serves a purpose.  It holds the sword that would enable the soldier to protect himself.  In addition, the Nelson Study Bible says from the belt "hung strips of leather to protect the lower body." The Matthew Henry Commentary says the belt "girds on [secures] all the other pieces of our armor." Truth should cleave to us as a belt cleaves to our body.

Point:
So from the belt hangs certain tools that allow for our specific defense against an adversary.  The sword is meant for both offensive attack and defensive protection and the leather straps that hang from the belt prevent arrows, swords and spears from penetrating and puncturing our lower torso.  

Point:
No imagine you do not possess a belt.  If you do not possess a belt then there is no place for you to hang a sword.  There is no place to hang any sort of protective covering.  Essentially, you are exposed to the elements and to your opponents.  This is a very scary place to be indeed.  

Illustration:
I am thankful to Cody Grimes.  I am thankful to others like James Matthews who served and served as police officers here on the Eastern Shore.  Cody was generous enough to lend me his police belt this morning.  Notice there is a place for a gun, a taser, mace or pepper spray and yes even the night  stick.  Police officers that carry this belt are not to be trifled with.  They are not to be taken lightly.  Men and women who carry this belt automatically demand our respect.  Why?  They demand respect because no one wants to come up on the losing end of this belt.  This belt encourages criminals to stand down.  

Friend, when you possess the belt of truth, it inspires you to serve but it also instills self defense.  You can handle just about anything.  The belt of truth tells the adversary that you are ready for battle and ready to defend yourself from the flaming arrows.  

Illustration:
Play video of Saved By The Belt

Ephesians 6:14
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth…

Why Is The Belt of Truth Important?

I. It Inspires Service
II. It Instills Self Defense
III. It Infuses Serenity (Peace)

Point:
The other day I was a bit hasty leaving the house.  I went through the wardrobe checklist. 

Shirt…check

Pants…check

Socks…check

Oh…underwear…check

Then I did my 3 pat system.  Men you know what I am talking about.

Pat 1…Wallet…check

Pat 2…Phone…check

Pat 3…Keys…check

Yep I had everything and I walked out the door to go to baseball practice with Jack.  It was not after I had arrived at practice that I realized that I had made a terrible error.  An error that I would live with for the better part of 2 hours.  I had forgotten to put on a belt.  You know you never really think much of a belt nor realize it’s significance until you are without one.  The pants started to sag and fall and I spent 2 hours pulling and hiking up my pants.  It was miserable.  

Point:
Think about it.  What does a belt do?  Simply put a belt keeps your shirt tucked in and keeps your pants from falling down.  A belt keeps the entire wardrobe together.  Without the belt, there is no peace.  There is no happiness.  Only misery and embarrassment.  A belt brings order and holds things in place.  A belt keeps things from shifting around.  A belt offers a foundation for the wardrobe.  Do you see the significance or symbolism behind the belt.  We living a shifting sands world where there is no order, no absolutes, no truth.  

Illustration: No Sagging With A Belt

Point:
Friend, that is what the belt of truth does.  When we wear it, it keeps our entires lives together.  So, just what is the belt of truth?  The belt of truth is the word of Christ.  Like a belt that wraps around our waist the word of Christ found in the Bible should wrap around our entire lives.  The belt of truth keeps everything from falling apart and coming untucked.  

The world we live in teaches that truth is what we make it—that good and bad are relative and that there are no absolutes, only equally valid opinions. But the Bible teaches that truth is God's Word—that good and bad are defined by Him and that there are eternal and unchangeable absolutes, uninfluenced by opinions.

Paul wrote to the Romans telling them to "not be conformed to this world." Part of that means not buying into a system of belief that says absolute truth is a myth. As Christians, we know both that there is truth and that it is absolute.

2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Imagine a belt with a piece of it missing. No matter how tiny the piece that isn't there, the belt is still useless. To do its job, it must be one continuous, unbroken piece. We have to take in the full counsel of God’s truth, not just the parts that we like, and allow it to offer us protection and sanctification.  

Honestly, I have met plenty of people who do not possess the belt of truth.  They are lost.  They are at war with their spouse, their job, their boss, their families and their church.  Everywhere they go they are not at peace.  Could it be that is you today?  You do not possess the belt of truth therefore there is no peace or security in your life.  You are walking around like I was trying to keep everything up, everything together, but it is just not working.  

Why Is The Belt of Truth Important?

I. It Inspires Service
II. It Instills Self Defense
III. It Infuses Serenity (Peace)
IV. It Informs A Lost Society

Point:
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of the lost son. You can find it in Luke 15:11-32.  We all know the story so I won’t take the time to read it to you.  Do you remember the end?  The lost son who has left the presence of his father comes to his senses.  He sets back to his home where he hopes that his father will take him back in as a hired hand.  The Scripture tells us that while he was a long way off, the father ran to him and greeted him warmly.  The father restores everything back to the son and throws a party in his honor.  This is how the Scripture reads.

Luke 15: 20
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”

This is a beautiful story right? He is the fact behind the story.  It says that the father ran to his lost son.  In order to run, the father would have taken the tunic he was wearing and tucked it inside the belt he was wearing.  This would have converted the tunic into a sort of sorts allow the father to generate speed while running to his son.  Again, another belt.  A belt of truth. 

You see, when we are wearing the belt of truth we care about lost people.  We care about our lost children for sure but it also gives us a burden for lost people around the world.  Without the belt of truth, without the word of Jesus surrounding us, we have not power to run to the lost people of the world.  We have no way to evangelize and share the Gospel message.  

Question.  When is the last time you felt burdened for the eternal destination of people?  When was the last time you shared a witness for Jesus?  Could it be that the reason we do not feel anything for the lost or why we have not shared a Gospel witness with anyone?

Yes, in Ephesians 6 Paul tells Christians that they need to take up the full armor of God so that they may stand firm.  Notice that when the day of evil comes for us that we are simply to stand firm.  I believe that with the truth of Jesus’ Word, that we can not only stand firm in days of evil but also advice the Kingdom.  Notice that the Father uses his belt to advance his love to his lost son.  Friends, that is what the belt does.  It helps us stand firm but it also helps us advance the truth of Jesus’ Word to the entire world.  


It’s Time To Tighten The Belt!

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