Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – Belt of Truth – Getting It to Together
May 17, 2015
Ephesians 6:14-15 – Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
This morning we continue to look at the idea of dressing for success by putting on the whole armor of God. It is to be noted that Paul begins this passage with the command to stand. The term standing expresses the idea of not giving up any ground that has been gained, especially by way of Christ’s victories in our life. When watching football, you will hear the commentator say that the defense is taking a goal line stand. What they are saying is that the defense is setup to stop the advance of the offense whose desire is to cross over the goal line for a score. This is the idea of standing and standing strong. It is to position ourselves so as not to give up any territory to the evil one. Many a football game has been won and lost from this position. The word also expresses the idea that when we have done everything we know to do, we keep standing against the schemes of the enemy to avoid his advancement in our lives. We don’t give up and we don’t give in. While not inclusive let me give you a couple of thoughts here. We give up ground when we believe the lies and half truths spoken to us and about us. We give up ground when we live with unconfessed sin. We give up ground when we continue to rehearse and live in the past experiences that have brought us pain and hurt. And, we give up ground when we give into the temptations that come our way.
In this passage, Paul begins to describe the armor that is necessary to take this stand. The first piece of armor in Paul’s list is the belt of truth which is fastened around the waist. To fully understand what the belt of truth is, we must understand the use of the belt in Paul’s day. First of all the belt was used to secure the tunic or the robe of the warrior. This was necessary because the tunic or robe was a long loose fitting garment. If not secured, the tunic would impact the ability of the soldier to effectively do battle as it would get tangled in the soldiers legs or in the armor itself. If this occurred, the soldier’s ability to fight the enemy was diminished and his focus would be on the problem with his armor and not on the ability to fight.
The second purpose of the belt was to secure the rest of the armor. The belt was that piece of the armor that tied everything else together. Without the belt, the armor would not fit properly. The result would be a lack of protection for the soldier because there was the potential of vulnerable spots being exposed. Without the belt being in place during a fight, the soldier might find himself in an awkward state as he would have to hold his tunic, or clutch his armor with one hand, and fight with the other. Such a situation would expose the soldier to the tactics of the enemy.
In this passage, Paul is relating to a well known visual for the Ephesians so that they could grasp the spiritual application of the principle. Paul emphatically states that we must put on the belt of truth. We have discussed the belt but we must also understand the meaning of the word “truth.” The word for truth is “althaea” and it speaks to both the intellectual aspect of truth as well as the attitude of truthfulness and integrity as a character trait. Truth, therefore, is not just the accuracy of specific truths held by a person but it is also the quality of truthfulness. This simply means that the Christian is to not only have an understanding of truth intellectually, but the Christian must be truthful in every area of their life.
The best way for me to illustrate this is with a story that is found in Chuck Swindoll’s book Growing Deep in the Christian Life. In the book, Chuck tells the story about a man who bought a bucket of fried chicken for himself and his date one afternoon. However, when the fast food restaurant gave him his order, they inadvertently gave him a bucket of money from the day’s sales instead of the fried chicken he ordered. After driving to the picnic site, he sat down with his date to enjoy some chicken when they discovered that instead of chicken, they had been given over $800! Once they saw the error, the man quickly took the money back to the store, because he considered himself to be an honest man. As you might imagine, by this time the manager of the restaurant was frantic. The man who had taken the money got out of his car, walked into the store to return the money. He became an instant hero. The manager was so thrilled. He was so thrilled in fact that he wanted to call the newspaper to have them take a photo and have this real life hero’s story published. The manager being excited was quick to compliment the man on his honesty. However, the man was also quick to respond “please don’t do that!” Then he leaned in and whispered to the manager, “You can’t do this because the woman I’m with, is another man’s wife.” The moral of the story is that the belt of truth must be applied to every area of our life and not just to some areas for it will expose us to the tactics of the enemy who will use such an opportunity to attack and destroy our testimony and our life.
As with the soldier in battle, we must secure the belt of truth around our waist. This is needful because for the believer the belt of truth brings security. You see when a believer does not have the belt of truth in place we will be vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. We will walk in fear because we are not dressed for success. Conversely, when the belt of truth has been secured, the believer in Christ will be complete, stable, and ready for every battle. The fact is, when the arrows of deception are flying around and unjust accusations explode around us, we need the truth and we need the truth of character to keep us from falling apart.
Spiritually, we must understand that security and truth is found in the Word of God and that real security is only discovered when the word of God comes alive in our hearts. This is the idea represented by Paul in this passage. To be secure, we must bind the word of God to our hearts. We will be ineffective in our walk with Christ if we are not allowing the word to transform and change us. If our character is not being changed by the truth of the Gospel, there is a good chance that we are not fastening or putting on the belt of truth. Without the belt of truth, we end up living an inconsistent life. Without the belt of truth, we will be entangled with issues and problems that will hold us back and trip up us. We will in essence be trying to hold onto the issues of life and fight a battle at the same time.
In our current culture we do not have to look very far to see that biblical truth is no longer a viable concern in most lives. In fact, truth is no longer valued as the basis of one’s actions or thinking. Too many live as if anything goes. Rather than fastening on the belt of truth, society rejects truth. |And the sad commentary is that many churches and believers today are also rejecting truth. The result is that the acceptable boundaries of God’s word are being moved and reestablished. As a result, society has become unstable. It is interesting to note that people who have forgotten the belt of truth in their life often scratch their heads wondering why life is filled with confusion and why there is such evil in the world.
A second idea is that the belt of truth prepares us for battle. Peter confirms this in 1 Peter 1:13-16. Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy. The word used in this text for “prepare” is the same word in Ephesians for “fasten.” It gives us the sense of preparing for battle. In Peter’s case, we prepare the mind and in Paul’s case we fasten the belt of truth to our inner most being. Notice that Peter calls the follower of Christ to not conform to the passion of one’s former ignorance, but live as one who has been called to holiness. Peter understands that our passions are not always based in truth. We can never measure the validity of truth by virtue of our feelings or our emotions. Our feelings can come and go and they can change so quickly. Feelings and emotions are most often based on our circumstances and the environment that we are experiencing at the time. Truth does not change, while one’s feelings continue to ebb and flow. The point is, we must always let truth dictate our actions and not our emotions.
Jesus also recognized the need for being prepared when he stated the following. “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks (Luke 12:35-36). What Jesus is communicating is that we must be continually dressed for action as we do not know when we might engage the enemy. The children of Israel before leaving Egypt were called to prepare themselves as well. Moses wrote. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover (Exodus 12:11). They were to eat and work but they were also to be prepared for the Exodus. As believers, we must put on the belt of truth so that we are prepared to face whatever battle, temptation or concern comes our way.
Finally we must understand that the belt of truth is more than just head knowledge! In John 8:31-32 we find that Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him,“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Here is a point that must be made. The factual reality of truth does not free anyone. We must know the truth and properly apply the truth into our lives. It is the truth properly applied that sets you free and not the truth itself. Notice the key here. It is the abiding in the word of God that allows us to fully know the truth and it is that truth that sets us free. Therefore, truth rightly applied is the source of our freedom, our stability, and our victory. We too can experience the freedom, stability, and victory that comes from having the belt of truth fastened and by rightly applying the truth to our lives.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom