Take Your Stand Introduction

This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is about Taking Your Stand based on Ephesians 6:12-18.

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Take Your Stand Introduction

Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

I believe that one of the evil one’s biggest schemes right now is this:

1.) Anti-encouragement

As we talked about in our last series, not only are we living in a discouraged grumpy world, we live in one that has become anti-encouragement. No good news allowed. For example:

What wasn’t a headline…

The new microbe was found to be breaking down oil about twice as fast as expected.

Researchers discovered the new oil-eating microbe while studying the underwater dispersion of millions of gallons which escaped after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in April.

It thrives in cold water in the deep sea where temperatures are around 5C (41F) and scientists said it may have adapted over time, through a process of natural selection, due to periodic leaks and natural seeps of oil in the Gulf.

When the bacteria were found to have acted on oil they consumed half of it in 1.2 to 6.1 days, giving an average of about three days.

Around 95 per cent of the bacteria in the oil plume were the new type, while outside only five per cent were.

Hazen said:”What we know about the degradation rates fits with what we are seeing in the last three weeks. We’ve gone out to the sites, and we don’t find any oil, but we do find the bacteria.”

The team also found that the new microbe acts without significantly depleting oxygen in the water.

There have been concerns that oil-eating activity by microbes would consume large amounts of oxygen in the water and create “dead zones” which would destroy ecosystems and fisheries.

But the study found that, while oxygen saturation outside the oil plume was 67 per cent, within the plume it was still 59 per cent. A previous study published last week suggested no decrease in oxygen.

Does anybody else get that? In response to an oil spill, a new microbe appears out of nowhere that eats oil plumes in a day and a half and doesn’t destroy the oxygen levels in the water. Wow, what a coincidence. The scientist call it some sort of natural selection. What????? Natural selection!!! How about supernatural selection!!!

What was in the news…bad economy…double dip recession…be afraid, be very afraid…back in a minute after these commercials…

What wasn’t a headline….

The Library of Congress’ Depression color collection shatters some of the myths about life during the great depression. With images of urban life in the late 1930s, they depict a Depression-era world in which the downfall doesn’t necessarily mean destitution; rather, it may mean wearing a coat that is growing shabby with age or reading the latest headlines off a newspaper publisher’s window in order to save the price of a paper. Or, for children photographed outside a tenement, it may mean living in a run-down home, but finding a new set of clothes under the Christmas tree.

Gone are the bleak landscapes and hopeless-looking sharecroppers that populate so many of the rural images from the 1930′s. Rather, these photos depict tired-but-satisfied homesteaders and freshly-scrubbed children performing in a school pageant. For recreation, there are square dances and state fairs, with attractions that look startlingly familiar. In short, it is a world that is more frugal than today’s America, but not necessarily less joyful.

After I read the oil microbe story I was standing in my living room and I just started to worship I God. I was singing How Great is Our God…

And then I said, “I don’t think enough people are saying this, but Thank You”.

And I felt like the Lord impressed on me this simple thought, “The oil microbe is nothing compared to what I did at the cross”.

Time to take your stand.

2.) What does it mean to take a stand?

Sometimes people think of taking a stand as making a declaration, or forming a resolution, or choosing a side. And while at some levels it is all those things it is really much more. Taking your stand in the Kingdom of God is a way of life (of being and doing) that allows a person to impact the world.

In this new series, we are going to develop the idea of taking a stand. Of utilizing our spiritual weapons of being thankful for five things and encouraging two people every day so that we can take our stand.

We will be using Ephesians 6:12-18 as the foundational verses for this series and I would like for you to memorize them, one verse each week, so for next week you should know Ephesians 6:12. Let’s look at the whole passage:

Ephesians 6:12-18 (NIV)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

We will be breaking it down this way:

a.) Standing up to evil

Ephesians 6:12-13 (NIV)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

b.) Standing alongside the broken

Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

c.) Standing against fear

Ephesians 6:15-16 (NIV)
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

d.) Standing with Jesus

Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

e.) Standing in Love

Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

3.) Will you take your stand?

Use the Encourager’s Plan!

Get focused – Hebrews 10:19-25
thankful5 – Be thankful for five things
Take Your Stand – Ephesians 6:12-18
encourage2 – Encourage two people
Connect – visit www.encourage2.com often

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