Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shalom Bible Study - Full Armor of God

On Friday, July 13th, many people who believe in superstition would not get on an airplane and even drive a car. But this "Friday 13th" was a blessing to us who have finished the study on "Full Armor of God" based on Ephesians 6:10-18. It took us seven weeks to complete the study.

1. A serious Christian life is a spiritual warfare with the Satan and his demonic forces. All Christians should be aware of it and prepared for it. God has never left His people defenseless or vulnerable. He has provided His people with the Full Armor of God to put on to stand firm after the battle.

The first piece of armor is the belt of truth(fulness). It symbolizes the commitment to winning the spiritual warfare convinced to the truth and with readiness whenever the attack comes.

2. The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. For a Roman soldier, the breastplate protected the heart and the bowls. They believed that the heart controlled thoughts and the bowls controlled emotions. We must put on this breastplate to protect our thoughts and emotions against the attacks from the demonic forces. The breastplate should be of God's righteousness, not our own righteousness, that is put to use in our daily lives.

3. The third piece of armor is the shoes of the gospel of peace. Shoes are important because they enable you to stand and to protect you from dangers on the ground. What we can and should stand firm on is the gospel that restores the "Shalom" relationship with God the Father.

4. The fourth piece of armor is the shield of faith. The shield is a rectangular shaped big one behind which you can put your whole body to protect against flaming arrows coming from the enemy. These flaming arrows are temptations trying to make us believe the world and the force behind the world. The armor we must put on is the shield of faith, claiming, "I trust only Christ even if I have to forsake all." Thus, FAITH stands for "Forsaking All I Trust Him."

5. The fifth piece of armor is the helmet of salvation. The deadly blow to Christians is the doubt about their salvation. Against this attack, our protection is the helmet of salvation. Salvation belongs only to God and no one can separate us from His love and His faithfulness. But, we must continue repenting any sins we commit in our daily lives seeking His forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and train ourselves with godliness. (1 Timothy 4:7,8).

6. The sixth piece of armor is the spiritual sword that is the Word of God. This is the only piece of armor that may be used offensively as well as defensively. All other pieces of armor are for defense only. The sword is spiritual because it is used for the spiritual warfare and also because the Word of God has been inspired by the Holy Spirit. To effectively prepare ourselves, we must listen to the Word, read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it and teach it to others. Each step should not be neglected but taken seriously to be properly prepared for the spiritual warfare.

7. The culmination of the Full Armor of God is prayer. Prayer is spiritual breathing. So it is naturally easy to pray because without it you cannot maintain the communication line with the Commander, Jesus Christ. Verse 18 teaches us to focus on four objects of "all": a. we must pray with all kinds of prayers and requests, b. we must pray all the time, c. we must pray with alertness all the time and d. we must pray for all saints in Christ. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) is keeping God in mind under all situations. In other words, it is to be conscious of Him in all situations.

It was an opportunity for all of us to ask ourselves how much we are putting on the Full Armor of God in our daily lives. We praise God for His blessings upon us.

As usual, we celebrated ourselves over a dinner and shared the blessings each received. Moreover, Isaac Baik, one of the SBS members, is going back to Korea so we put our hands on him and prayed for him so that he may continue to live a godly life in a society where temptations from the demonic forces will be strong. Isaac was one of the regular members who have been faithfully attending the bible study gatherings.

We started the SBS with three KOICA volunteers three and half years ago. Over time, many people have gone back to Korea but God has sent new people and the SBS has now grown into 17 people. What a blessing it has been!

We had some guests: three from Merry Year International (Mr. Jinbo Jeon, Mr. Booyeol Kim and Ms. Sungeun Choi) and two from Rwanda who are serving Rwanda in education (Mr. Jason Han and Ms. Jennifer). Merry Year International is a foundation in S. Korea, specialized in international development work, in affiliation with Merry Year Foundation that focuses on helping the poor in Korea through social enterprises. UOB will work together with MYI in developing a secondary student loan program. Sungeun has come to work as an intern for a year.

May the Lord continue to bless us all through the study of His Word at SBS! - Jeffrey

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