Saturday, February 4, 2023

Walk Circumspectly

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Psalm 16 begins with what is known in the Hebrew as a Michtam (mik-tom’: an engraving, or poem; a declaration of loyalty, or a motto as one finds themselves in a battle, and under attack.) We find it in only a few places, and all are Psalms of King David. The first verses of Psalm 16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 are all Michtams. The word’s origin is vague, but its use is consistently the same.

It’s fitting to mention this now in our Ephesian study because of the battle that was going on between the Church of Ephesus and the culture of Ephesus and region around it. As a reminder. It is not a battle of flesh and blood, but a spiritual battle of the principalities and powers of darkness. (Colossians 1:15,16)

So, it is not coincidental that we are going through this Epistle at this time, for the world itself is in a battle for its soul, and the souls of every citizen. It is a battle between God and truth, and Satan and his lies.

Some have considered what’s going on as the “mark of the beast.” I tend to think of it as a dress rehearsal for that. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 hysteria we can see how easily the masses can be manipulated through fear and constant media reports about the virus, and its “emergency vaccine” to ward off the effects of a virus that was manufactured specifically for this purpose. (To be clear, yes, I agree that it can be a deadly virus. Hundreds of thousands have died because of it world-wide, and millions have received the vaccine and its boosters.). But, I am looking at it circumspectly: In 2017, two years prior to the initial cases of COVID-19 being diagnosed, the warnings of a coming pandemic came from “experts.” This week, we are being warned of a coming world-wide financial crisis by the “experts.” They are predicting it within 24 months.

Is it a coincidence, as reported recently, that a Chinese spy balloon is floating above the U.S. in the stratosphere? Time will tell. But wasn’t it China that released the COVID-19 virus out into the whole word?

You may label me a conspiracy theorist, but I’m not. The same power group of “experts” that brought us the COVID crisis, are the same ones that are in position to manage this next big crisis. If you see it once, OK we take notice. If we see it a second time, a pattern is emerging. And if these patterns mesh together, conspiracies evaporate, and truth is established.

Ephesians 5:15 – “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Today's Audio Message:
Ephesians 6:18-24 - "Walk Circumspectly"


As we bring Ephesians 6 to its conclusion, Paul in ending his letter to the Ephesian church wanted them to know, and us to know, that we have all the resources, the power, and the principles to live the faithful Christian life. 

Paul affirms that our battle is indeed spiritual, and not physical (Ephesians 6:12). We are in a spiritual battle, and we have an adversary who will stop at nothing to thwart the work of God in our lives, and the message of the gospel from reaching this world.  Satan and his dark realm are in a war with God, and with all those who belong to Him. 

Therefore, Paul instructs us to "Put on the 
whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."  Ephesians 6:14-17 lists what that armour is:

  1. "Having your loins girt with truth (righteousness)." - We are to put on truth! Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God. That is the biblical meaning of truth. Truth is also ontological—or the way things really are. Reality is what it is because God declared it so and made it so. Therefore, God is the author, source, determiner, governor, arbiter, ultimate standard, and final judge of all truth.
  2. "...having on the breastplate of righteousness;" - personal holiness, righteous living, and when sin enters our lives, we confess, and repent, and turn from it. And thus, we keep a breastplate of righteousness covering our vital areas, covering our heart and our bowels, as the Hebrew would see it, the heart is the seat of the thoughts, and the bowels the seat of the emotions, so that our thinking and feeling is guarded by holiness and righteousness. So as Christians, we are ready to fight. Everything is together, we are totally and absolutely 100 percent committed.
  3. "...feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;" - Our feet are to be covered with the gospel of peace, able to stand our ground. There are always dangerous obstacles in the path of advancing soldiers. The idea of the preparation of the gospel of peace as footwear suggests what we need to advance into Satan’s territory (this world of lost souls) with the message of His grace, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24). This is essential to winning souls to Christ. Satan has many obstacles placed in the path to halt the propagation of the gospel.
  4. "Taking the shield of faith" - Our faith—of which Christ is “the author and perfecter” (Hebrews 12:2)— is like a golden shield, precious, solid, and substantial casting off every fiery dart of doubt about the faithfulness of God and the truth of His Word. Absolute assurance in God! Satan is constantly firing arrows at us; they fly in mass force. Those fiery arrows are seducing temptations in all their various forms. In this world we are surrounded by this. Romans 1:17 says, “The just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:11: “The just shall live by faith.” Hebrews 10, “The just shall live by faith.” The shield that causes us to stand is faith in God!
  5. "...and the helmet of salvation" - The head is the seat of the mind, which, when it has laid hold of the sure gospel hope of eternal life, will not receive false doctrine or give way to Satan’s temptations. The unsaved person has no hope of warding off the blows of false doctrine because he is without the helmet of salvation and his mind is incapable of discerning between spiritual truth and spiritual deception.
  6. "...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." - While all the other pieces of spiritual armor are defensive in nature, the sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. It speaks of the holiness and power of the Word of God. A greater spiritual weapon is not conceivable. In Jesus’ temptations in the desert, the Word of God was always His overpowering response to Satan. What a blessing that the same Word is available to us!
Pastor Bob rightly titled this morning's message "Walk Circumspectly".   In other words, know who you are.  Know where you are.  Know who you are with.  Understand the social climate, the pitfalls of modern philosophy and thought, the wicked influences in this world.  Christian be aware.  Why?  1 Peter 5:8 - "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

Defining the Christian life is best summed up as warfare, because that is what it is.  God allows it to perfect us. 

While we studied the armor of God last week, and are reviewing it again 
today, there is one final element for the Christian's readiness, and it is contained in verse 18. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” The final element of the believer’s weapon is prayer.

If you have ever read Pilgrim’s Progress, the great classic allegory by John Bunyan, that the last piece of armor that Christian is given in that story is the weapon of all prayer. It is given because it will stand him in good stead when all else fails. And with this weapon of all prayer, Christian is instructed that he will be able to prevail against all who come against him in the valley of the shadow. When he pours out his soul in prayer, he is most formidable.

This is a call to prayer, and prayer is the very breath of the Christian’s life.  There are many passages in scripture that tell us how important prayer is. In Acts 6:4“We will give ourselves continually to prayer.” It was said about Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 that he prayed to God always. Paul, in Romans 12:12, says, “Continue instant (diligently) in prayer.” In Colossians 4:2“Continue in prayer.” Philippians 4:6“Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to, “Pray without ceasing."

Like Paul we covet the prayers of the saints:
  1. That utterance will be given
  2. That we would speak with boldness.
  3. That we would make known the mystery of the gospel.
What is the Mystery of the Gospel? - Jesus Christ!
  1. He came!
  2. He died!
  3. He arose!
  4. He ascended!
  5. He is coming again!
Romans 13 :11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Folks, we’re getting nearer to the coming of the Lord, aren’t we? “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof" (vs. 12-14). In other words, do you realize we only have a limited time? Live according to God’s life principles with our limited privilege of time.

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