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The Strategies of Satan and the Armor of God
The Belt of Truthfulness
Ephesians 6:14
Last week, we began new series from Ephesians 6 verses 13 through 17 regarding the warfare of the believer and the resources that he has for victory. In particular, I want us to take note of the specific strategies or points of attack that are identified by the piece of armor that is used to defend against it.
Ephesians 6 regarding the Believer’s Armor. 
The emphasis from these verses is very often on the armor and that's as it should be, but it might help us to understand the significance of the armor if we understand something of how Satan attacks us.  There are several methods Satan uses to attack God by way of His followers.  For instance,  Satan attacks believers
- to undermine God's character and credibility.
He wants you to doubt God. That's the thrust. He did it in the garden with Eve, "Has God really said?" and then impugned God's motive by saying the reason God doesn't want you to eat that is because God knows you will be like him and God can't stand the competition.
You can't really trust God, he was saying. You can't really believe God.  He wants people to think God is the liar and he tells the truth.  So what happens when we believe the lie rather than the truth?  We're tempted in a difficult situation to worry and fret and fume and lose our control all because we don't really believe God can get us out of it.
We question His power. We doubt God's grace sometimes and His mercy and His forgiveness, which is nothing but a denial of His promise and His word.
We frequently doubt God's love and we think to ourselves that God really doesn't love us or care for us and how would God possibly love me when He let this happen to me, my husband left me or my kids are turning out bad, or whatever or whatever.
So Satan attacks us to undermine God's character and God's credibility, and therefore His Word.   Secondly, I'm convinced Satan attacks us
- to make it hard to live the Christian life.
He doesn't want it to be easy. He wants it to be very difficult to really live the Christian life, he wants it to be hard. And I think he attacks at three ways to make it hard to live the Christian life.  Sometimes it’s through
 1) persecution. That would be the most extreme way.
Second to that I would say he makes it hard to live
2) peer pressure. Some people really don't want to come out for God because they don't want to lose their friends, they don't want to move out of the circle they're in and they don't want to be thought to be different. They don't want to have to change their relationships with people, they are very comfortable with the acceptance they have. They like being liked.
Then thirdly, he makes it hard to live the Christian life by
 3) making it easy to live the Christian life
You know what I mean?  Easy believism with no demands of righteousness. Sometimes the hardest place to live the Christian life is in the easiest places to live the Christian life.
Here we are in America, being a Christian is acceptable, respectable, everybody is a Christian, everybody is getting born again, religion is the mood of the hour. Christianity is kind of the cool thing and it's alright. It's so easy and there’s no price to pay. And maybe that's what makes it hardest of all, to live the Christian life.
So Satan will attack us to undermine God’s credibility and to make it hard to live the Christian life. Then there’s a  third thing that Satan does when he attacks the believer and that is he attempts
- to confuse believer with false doctrine and false teachers.
I talk to people very frequently who don't really understand what the Bible means by this passage or that.  They’ve been reading Dr. This or Professor That and they think this.  So why is to so many of God's people disagree about what Scripture teaches?  Could it be Satan works to confuse Christian people and frustrate them in their study of His Word?
And let me say this:   I believe that if you study it, it really isn’t all that hard to understand the Bible.
 I know I’m not the smartest person around I'm just of very average intelligence. I hate to admit that, some of you thought I was smart all this time. But I'm not. I'm just a person who knows what the Bible is and knows how to dig in a little bit and find out what it means.  It isn't that tough.
But Satan confuses believers by presenting all these interpretations by the “smart” people that leave everyone kind of baffled.
Fourthly, he tries as hard as he can
- to hinder our service to Christ.
He wants to stop effective service. He wants to stop Trinity Baptist Church. He wants to stop my ministry and your ministry and the ministry of anyone who is serving Jesus Christ. He wants to do all he can to stop it and to prevent it as we see throughout the Old Testament he tries to hinder those who are the prophets of God.
He tried to stop Jesus and Paul and Peter and John.  It is the work of Satan to try to hinder the spread of the gospel and the encouragement of the saints. 
And so, Satan attacks God's credibility, he attacks the Christian making it hard to live the Christian life; he confuses us with false doctrine and hinders our service.
Number five, I believe Satan does all he can
- to cause division in the body.
That's why our Lord was so explicit when He said if you have anything against your brother go and be reconciled before you come back to worship Him.
In Ephesians 4 Paul says -"Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace, do all you can to maintain unity." Paul exhorts us in that because Satan rips us apart, brings friction and factions into the body of Christ.  Sixth, he urges us
- to trust our own resources.
This is subtle. I Chronicles chapter 21 tells the story about David wanting to find out how strong he really was so he counted his soldiers and God says to him, David, that's a terrible, evil sin. Your strength is not dependent upon the number of your troops; it's not dependent upon the number of your people, your strength is dependent upon God.
Sometimes we want to depend on our knowledge and humanity to get the job done.  We forget to study or pray.  We’ve stored up points with God and so we just depend upon ourselves. 
And Satan delights when we fail to cast ourselves upon the power of God and resources and strength of God.  A seventh way in which Satan attacks us is that he causes us
- to be hypocritical
Satan loves to populate God’s churches with people who are phony.  We can go along with a smile, everyone thinking we’re a Holy Joe, when we’re just wearing a mask, letting the whole world think we are fine. 
But all we do is pollute the fellowship and is deceive ourselves so well that we never deal with the real problem.  We hide behind respectability. We hide behind our hypocritical so-called spirituality. 
And so here Satan comes trying to undermine God's character, to make it hard to live the Christian life, to confuse us with false doctrine, to hinder our service, to cause division, to urge us to depend upon our own resources and to cause us to play the hypocrite.
Let me mention a couple more.  Satan attacks us
- to make us like the world rather than like Christ
And he is so successful at this.  The church today is so worldly, affluent, materialistic, self-indulgent, self-satisfied, smug, so much like the system around it that it's even hard to separate the two.
And yet John say to us, Love not the world neither the things that are in the world.' If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in Him for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world and the world passes away and the lust thereof and he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
We have no business having anything to do with the world. The world is passing and you are eternal. And yet the church gets engulfed because Satan constantly pushes us into the world.
Final thing, I think Satan wants to cause us
- to act in disobedience to what we know is God's word. T
This may be his bunker buster.  Satan wants us to disregard God’s Word.  If at all possible he’ll keep you from even knowing God’s Word.  But he’ll let you know it and study it and quote it and talk about it and sing it and preach it just as long as you don’t obey it. Why?  Because when we disobey God, that gives Satan an opportunity.
So , that's how it is going to come. That's how it's always come. That's where the battle lies.  So how do we deal with it?  That's a pretty big order of attacks. Well, here’s the good news:  all nine of the things I gave you can be dealt with in one simple way.
Ephesians 6:13
How are you going to resist all of these? In all of their complexities and with all of Satan's subtlety and will all of his cleverness and with the wiles of the devil and the cunning craftiness and the deceitfulness being what it is, how can you deal with these?
 Simple:  you don't concentrate on what he is doing.  Instead, you concentrate on what you are doing.
It doesn't matter that you can categorize those attacks. It doesn't matter that you know the definition of each one. It doesn't matter that you spell out every subtlety of what he is doing, you can't do that.
That world is too sophisticated, too remote, too superhuman for you to deal with or me either. What does matter is that we get our armor on. 
So that when the battle starts, whatever his attack might be, we're defensible. It doesn't matter where the enemy comes from, it doesn't matter how subtle his attack is in war, if when he gets there, you have your armor on and you are ready for him.
Now tonight I want us to look at just the first piece of armor. It's very simple but very important. The first one is in verse 14.
“Stand”  That takes us back at the end of verse 13, "Having done all to stand." In the middle of verse 11, "That you may be able to stand."
The idea is to stand against the attack of Satan to be firm against his onslaughts, to be victorious when he comes. Therefore, if you're going to stand against those things you must have your waist girded with , truth.
Now, let's talk about this. The word we have there in “truth” can be translated truth as content, truth as opposed to falsehood. Truth as defined as the word of God, the revelation of God, the content of truth.
It can also be defined as an attitude of truthfulness or non-hypocrisy, or sincerity or honesty or integrity, or commitment.
Let's look at it both ways. 
First let’s say the idea is the concept of truth in content. If Satan attacks me it is incumbent upon me, first of all, to have the belt of truth. Why?
It is because Satan's strategy is to going to attack me at the point of truth.  One of the wiles of the devil is false truth.  By the way, the word "wiles" there in verse 11 is the same word translated cunning craftiness in chapter 4 verse 14.
And there it refers to winds of doctrine. The word doctrine is teaching. So when Satan comes, he will come blowing along certain teachings which are cunningly deceiving.   They are false.  
So here comes these false truths, they are the wiles of the devil. And the only way you can resist the falsehoods and the lies of the devil is to have the truth. That is why it is so important for us to teach and teach the word of God.  And so the basic thing that Satan does is come with lies, and if a believer is going to war against lies he must know truth.  
And notice, we are to be girded with the truth.  The imagery behind that helps us to understand his meaning.  In Paul's day a Roman soldier wore a tunic. A tunic was a big square piece of material for the most part. Had a hole in it for your head and two holes for your arms. That was about it. You just threw it on. It was kind of a non-gathered piece of material.
But if you were going into a war you wouldn't go into a war with that thing flying around. In fact, you didn't even take travel with it like that. 
You’ll remember from your studies of the Old Testament, especially in KJV, the phrase “Gird up your loins”.  That that was a common phrase for a person taking a journey. 
In Luke chapter 12 our Lord, in verse 35, is talking about His second coming and He says be sure you have your loins girded and your lamps burning. In other words, girding your loins was gathering up all this loose material so that you could get ready to go.
The implication is that of readiness, being prepared. The belt was used to tie up the garments and prepare you for the battle at hand.  The Roman soldier wouldn't go into a battle with his skirt tail flapping in the breeze.  It would get in the way or make it easy to get tangled up or have the enemy grab it.  So that’s the picture Paul uses here. 
Now on that same belt it was common for a Roman soldier to have a strap. It would come down, connect to the belt and go over the shoulder and connect in the back. He would attach his sword to it.  Later on we’ll see the sword of the spirit which is the word of God is attached to the belt of truth.
There is a vital link there:  truth is revealed in the word. You have the truth; you’re girded with it.  But in the battle you have to draw the sword to fight. 
But, over the shoulder was this strap. And on this strap were emblems and insignias of previous victories. You could look at a soldier and he's got all this stuff over him because of the battles he’s fought and won. 
Now put all that together: 
When you wear the belt of truth and you draw the sword of the spirit from it, you're going to win the battle and get the victory.  This belt is foundational to the victory.  That's where it all begins.  It is the emblem of accomplishment in battle and only those who are girded with the truth will win.  Only those with the sword of the spirit hanging on the side were the ones who won the medals.
So in one regard, that is what is pictured there.  But I don’t think that is the primary thought here.  It does refer to truth, but that picture seems to be better connected to the Sword of the Spirit rather than the belt.  The main thrust here is not so much the idea of truth in content but truthfulness in attitude. 
What he is saying is put your belt on, that shows an attitude of readiness. An attitude of commitment. An attitude that says I am ready for the battle, I'm dressed, I'm alerted, I'm ready.
So let’s look at that for a few moments. 
What it means is you fight without hypocrisy. It means you're going in serious. It seems to me that most Christians never get the belt on. They just sort of flop around through their lives, blowing in the breeze, very little commitment. 
They never sash on that truthfulness.  They never get committed.  They're always upset over something or looking for something to be mad about.  They're always going to find another church with people who will treat them better.   
Listen, when a soldier put on his belt, put that strap over, hooked on his sword he was saying I am ready to fight. And I think that most Christians lose because they don't care that much.  They don't care that much. They just as soon flop around and fight with each other rather than being engaged int he fight with Satan.   
Can you imagine an Olympic runner showing up in an overcoat and combat boots?  That's absolutely stupid and yet there are Christians trying to run the Christian race with combat boots and an overcoat. And they wonder why they never seem to get very far.
It’s because there is no commitment. I think the greatest synonym for truthfulness is commitment. What Paul is saying here is - Look, you've got to realize this is war and get serious. You've got to go in without hypocrisy, sincerely with the right attitude. Having a heart for the battle, I am a soldier; I will endure hardness for the cause of Jesus Christ.  I'm willing to pay the price that I may please the one who chose me to be a soldier. I have a heart for battle.
So, the call of the armor of the believer is for commitment at the very start. You're not going to beat Satan without the truth and truthfulness, sincerity, commitment. 
He's going to come at you in all of these nine ways and a few others that I haven't even figured out yet. He's going to come at you in all these combinations of ways and you're not going to know what to do unless you are really ready to fight.
How badly do you want to win? I played sports a lot when I was younger, and still love to watch it now.  But one thing I have no stomach for and that’s the person who doesn’t play to win.  It can happen sometimes.  You just lose the desire and just go through the motions. 
It can happen to Christians also.  Satan pumps it into us all the time. You can be content with mediocrity. You can be content with lethargy; you can be content to just keep your life the way it is going. You come week after week, go home, nothing changes, nothing is different, attitudes are the same, reactions are the same, your home stays the same.
Nothing ever happens, you just come and go, come and go, come and go and the commitment never changes. God help you. And help me if that happens. We must be committed to fight. So the apostle says the first piece of equipment is the belt of truthfulness. It's based on content but it's an attitude he is after.
And it’s the only way to win. 
Let's pray.
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