Sermon Notes • October 10

Belt of Truth

Acts 19 records that Paul visited Ephesus on his third missionary journey. In total he spent close to three years planting the church there. For the first 3 months Paul spoke of Jesus in the local synagogue. After he was forbidden to teach any more there, he moved close by to a lecture hall where he taught daily for two years. Six or seven years later, while in prison in Rome, he wrote a letter to that church in Ephesus.

In Ephesians Paul described who we are and what we have in Jesus. He then wrote about our Christian walk in chapters 4-6. Paul went on to note that when the Christian lifestyle begins to become a reality in our lives, we automatically put ourselves in conflict with Satan. The Christian described in Ephesians 1-3 who seeks to live the faithful life described in 4:1—6:9 can be sure he will face the spiritual warfare described in 6:10-20. That is why we need to put on the armor of God.  

In Ephesians 6:10-13 Paul explained why we need the armor and then went on to describe various pieces of armor and how they should be used to protect a Christian from the attacks of Satan and how they should be used to attack the strongholds of Satan.

Read Ephesians 6:14. If Satan is a liar, and the Bible says he is, then we must all be guarded with the truth. If he deals in falsehood, then we must deal in truth. The belt was used to keep together the robe a soldier wore into battle. In a battle a soldier that did not have such a belt would easily trip and fall and then he would be easy prey for the enemy.

The Roman soldiers wore a tunic or an outer garment that served as their primary clothing. It was a large piece of cloth with holes cut out for the head and arms. Ordinarily it was simply draped over the body. For a soldier this presented a challenge. The greatest part of ancient combat was hand-to-hand, so a loose outer garment was a potential danger. Before a battle it was carefully cinched up and tucked into the heavy leather belt that went around his waist. The design of that belt was to hold everything in place and minimize the danger of falling. 

In Ephesians 6:14 Paul told us to put on the belt of truth because truth holds everything together, so one does not stumble. One of the fascinating things about this first piece of armor is that the way it is written allows for two interpretations. First,  it allows us to understand that we are to be held together by the truth of God and second it insists that we practice truth in our dealings with others. One without the other is incomplete. 

We need to know what Paul meant when he told us to wrap a belt of truth around us to keep us from falling.

From a biblical perspective there are 2 dimensions to truth. One is the fact that God is truth. In Him there is no deceit, no falsehood, not even a hint of lying. He is truth. Read John 14:6. 

The truthfulness of God stands in contrast to that of Satan. From the very beginning Satan has lied to mankind. See Genesis 3:1-5. See how Jesus described Satan in John 8:44.  

Satan is a liar but God is truth so when Paul wrote that we are to put on the belt of truth he means that we are to figuratively wrap God around us so He can hold us together. One of the truths of the armor of God is that it is He himself who is our resource. The closer we are to God the better able we will be to ward off the lies Satan throws at us to trip us up.

A second part of the definition of truth is that because God is always truth, whenever He speaks it is truth. That means that God’s Word is truth. Read II Timothy 3:16. There is no weapon for a believer who is confronted in battle by Satan or who wants to attach the strongholds of sin that compares to a knowledge of God’s Word.

In the spiritual battles we will face as we seek to grow in our faith and grow in the way we live out the life we are called up to display, nothing will be more challenging than confronting the lies of Satan. Satan will constantly lie about the nature of God. Satan will try to convince us that God is a God of love who will not judge sin or that God is some being bent on spoiling all our fun, so He has set up rules that are no longer relevant. Satan says it is fine to do all sorts of things that in the end are contrary to how God wants us to live. He will present those lies under the guise of it being our right, being what everyone says is acceptable. He tells us it is the only way to get ahead etc. but God’s Word says something else. We need to know His word as truth.

Earlier in this letter Paul wrote about what we will be like without knowledge of biblical truth. Read Ephesians 4:14.

Want to know what the problem is in America? We are a biblically illiterate nation. We fall for every lie Satan tells. In all honesty that should not surprise us. Read to I Timothy 4:1. We see it all about us and while it is perhaps inevitable as we draw closer to the return of the Lord, we need to be on guard that we are not drawn that way.

We are to gird ourselves with truth, truth about God, truth about ourselves and our sin problem, truth about how He wants us to live, and truth about our future. 

The word Paul used here for truth refers not only to knowing what is true but carries the idea of having an attitude of truthfulness. We are not only to know God’s truth, but we are to determine to live out the implications of that truth day by day. The Christian is to gird himself in an attitude of total truthfulness.

Being truthful implies several things including sincerity, that is no hypocrisy. Being truthful also implies that we are committed to keeping our word. Isaiah 11 describes the promised Messiah that was to come and in Isaiah 11:5 He is described this way, “faithfulness the sash around his waist.” The word the NIV translates as “faithfulness” was translated into the Greek as “truthful.” Because God is truthful it is expected we will gird ourselves with that same commitment to truth.

Read Psalm 15:1 and then verse 4.  God is pleased when those of us who know truth consistently seek to be truthful in all our dealings.

Earlier in this letter to the church in Ephesus Paul began a long discussion of what it means to live as Christians with the command found in Ephesians 4:17. Read that verse and then verse 25. 

One additional key teaching on wrapping ourselves tightly in truthfulness so we do not stumble in our battle with sin is found in what we call the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:33-37 Jesus dealt with the practice of people making a promise carefully worded so they could wiggle out of it. Jesus condemned such a practice. Read what He said in Matthew 5:37. Our word should be our bond and people should know that whatever you say, or promise,  is true.

Read Ephesians 6:12 on the battle we are in as Christians. The forces Paul wrote about are led by Satan himself and as we have seen, he is a liar and the father of all lies. If we are going to prevail in our battle against a liar, we must know the truth and we must live truthfully. Paul wrote, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” The first piece of armor to put on is truth and that includes truthfulness. Withoutthat the rest of the armor will be all but useless,