Perseverance in Christ, 1

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As bombs drop over Ukraine and the Russian onslaught intensifies, I am reminded once again of the destructive effects of sin. To watch the devastating carnage of this war unfolding before our eyes is nothing short of heartbreaking. The reckless hate and total disregard for humanity for the sake of power, dominance, and political control stems all the way back to Genesis 3. The curse of sin is a tragic reality, which believers are still experiencing its war-like effects today. Our sinful nature is prone to drag us down to a debased mindset—a prideful, self-absorbed way of thinking. Lust and sinful passions fight to take control of our affections. Paul says that our flesh wages war against us (2 Cor 10:3). It’s why he later says to the Romans that we are to “put to death the deeds of the flesh” (8:13). The threat of our sin nature is constant and it must not be taken lightly. I fear that too often we underestimate the prince of this world and his spiritual forces of darkness who are determined to see the destruction of God’s people come to pass. Such a reality necessitates careful, disciplined preparation each and every day. As a soldier goes to battle, arming himself with the necessary equipment, so the Christian must begin each day by strengthening himself in the Lord. We mustn’t feel overwhelmed by the persistent temptations or the weakness of our own flesh. God has not left us alone in this fight. In fact, not only does He promise to be with us (Deut 31:6; Rom 8:11; 1 Pet 5:10), but He provides all that is necessary to persevere! Paul says in our Ephesians text this week that the weaponry we have at our disposal is far greater than what is being used against us. The armor of God is just that—the armor belonging to God, inherent in His person and at the core of His essence. Rather than living according to the flesh, born-again believers are equipped with what God uses to repel the onslaught of the enemy. This is not “armor” to take on and off as you would your regular earthly garments; this spiritual attire comes standard for every child of God intended to be utilized in a continual manner. When we become wounded and wearied from the battle, we must not lose heart. Rather than running away or giving in, make it your regular practice to deepen your dependence in God who carries you to greener pastures to restore your soul (Ps 23), who shields you from the “flaming arrows,” and who ultimately keeps you from those who would snatch you out of His hand (John 10:29). The battle wages on, but our God has already won. We can go into battle knowing that “He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Therefore, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might!” –Pastor Nate

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: Josh De Leon–Damage Assessment–Job 27-31

10AM: Pastor Rory Martin–Ephesians 6:10-24–Perseverance in Christ (sermon notes)

5:30PM: Potluck

6:20PM: Missions Emphasis Night

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