Putting on the Belt of Truth

Hopefully, by this point we have been able to convince you that those who confess Jesus as the Christ are to be His disciples, and exactly what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. However, in doing so, we then raise the question of what does it look like to be a disciple of Jesus on a daily basis; how are we to practically imitate and obey Jesus as His disciple?
 
But, before beginning to answer that question, we would also like to issue a warning. Our current primary concern is not that churches are not making disciples of Jesus. Nor is it that they do not know how to make disciples of Jesus.
 
Our current primary concern is that the vast majority of churches do not even know and understand what a disciple of Jesus is actually supposed to be!
 
Moreover, we would argue that the vast majority of churches do not understand why it is so imperative that we be and make disciples of Jesus. If you have not read our previous material addressing these concerns, please start here and follow the links at the end of each article to the next article:
 
 
We offer this warning because attempting to be or make disciples of Jesus without first understanding what a disciple of Jesus is and why it is so important that we be and make them, could end in a disaster that has eternal consequences. Unfortunately, you will most likely end up being and making disciples of something other than Jesus (but still calling it being a disciple of Jesus).
 
At His Words His Ways Fellowship, we use the Armor of God found in Ephesians 6 and The Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 as our guides to the discipleship maturation process and as our guides to daily living as a disciple of Jesus.
 
The reason that we use the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount along with the Armor of God is that we hold that the Armor of God is actually based on the Beatitudes (and Old Testament references) and that they both follow the logical progression of how God designed human beings to learn and mature.
 
You can learn more about this position here:
 
 
(It’s a two-hour video, but it is made up of two, one-hour segments.)
 
The reason we specifically use the Armor of God is because it begins with these instructions:
 
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 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” (Ephesians 6:10-13).
 
It would seem therefore that the Armor of God is explicit directions on how to live daily as a disciple of Jesus.
 
The first piece of the Armor of God is the Belt of Truth:
 
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” (Ephesians 4:14).
 
When we say “live daily as a disciple of Jesus,” what we mean is daily acting like Jesus instead of daily acting like a fallen, broken human being. One of the questions we can then ask is:
 
Why do disciples still struggle with sin even after they are saved?
 
Usually in church we say because we have a sinful nature/flesh.
 
However, who was the first human to sin?
 
Eve.
 
Did she have a sin nature/sinful flesh before or after she sinned? 
 
After.
 
Then why did she sin?
 
The Bible actually clearly states several times why Eve sinned:
 
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. (1 Timothy 2:14)
 
And the woman said, “It was the serpent. He deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13)
 
But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be corrupted from a complete and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)
 
However, when stating that we sin because of our sinful nature/flesh we generally point to James 1 as proof:
 
No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. (James 1:13-15)
 
However, read the next verse:
 
Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:16-18)
 
Throughout scripture we find Satan associated with “deception” and “lies” while we find Christ associated with “truth.”
 
(See John 8:42-47, John 14:6, John 14:15-17, John 15:26, 2 Timothy 3:13-17, Revelation 13:11-17, Revelation 20:1-3.)
 
As James wrote:
 
But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.
 
Our flesh/desires are the pathway Satan has into our lives.
 
Only two people in the Bible were tempted by Satan face to face, Eve and Christ. Satan had to tempt them face to face because they did not have a sinful nature/flesh through which to deceive them.
 
He was able to deceive Adam through Eve because she was “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh” and “they became one flesh.” She became Satan’s pathway through which to deceive Adam.
 
Until we receive our glorified bodies in heaven, we still have a physical body which is part of this sinful fallen world of which Satan has control. Satan does not need to tempt us face to face; he has created a world system which has the sole purpose of deceiving humans through their fallen flesh.
 
We are given the choice between believing Satan’s deception and God’s truth. This is the same choice Adam and Eve were given in the Garden.
 
Satan’s deception is actually fairly simple and repetitive. John breaks it down into three things:
 
Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. Because everything that belongs to the world— the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
 
Each of these three things can be seen in the temptation of both Eve and Christ:
 
Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?”
 
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’”
 
“No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
 
Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh) and delightful to look at (lust of the eyes), and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom (pride in one’s lifestyle). So she took some of its fruit and ate [it]; she also gave [some] to her husband, [who was] with her, and he ate [it]. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. (Genesis 3:1-7)
 
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (lust of the flesh). But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
 
Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you and, they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” (pride in one’s lifestyle).  Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”
 
Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor (lust of the eyes). And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”
 
Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him. (Matthew 4:1-11)
 
Christ countered each of Satan’s attempts at deception with the truth of God’s Word.
 
So how do we get the truth?
 
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
 
To choose truth, one must first choose Christ.
 
“If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
 
Then we continue in His words.
 
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
 
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
 
“The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.” (John 14:21)
 
Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23)
 
“If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.” (John 15:10)
 
How can we keep His commands and His words if we never learn them?
 
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
 
This is how we are sure that we have come to know [Jesus]: by keeping His commands. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” without keeping His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him: the one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6)
 
How can we learn from Him and walk as He walked if we never study Him?
 
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!” (Matthew 7:24-27)
 
In the first century, it would have been perfectly normal for disciples of Jesus to have large portions of His teachings and actions memorized. In addition, they had the help of the Holy Spirit.
 
“I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” (John 14:25-26)
 
Ultimately, Christ’s words and actions (His Words, His Ways) are our primary source of truth. Putting on the belt of truth begins with learning everything Christ said and did. Therefore, the first thing we do at His Word His Ways Fellowship when teaching people to be disciples of Jesus is to teach them the Gospels (we then progress into the rest of Scripture as they spiritually mature).
 
However, often you will find that it is difficult for infant disciples to read Scripture. As spiritual parents, we may have to take it upon ourselves to verbally teach them what Christ said and did. This will require us having spent time personally memorizing Christ’s words and ways.
 
Another handy method is to encourage new disciples to listen to recordings of the gospels. These are easily accessible online and can be played over a cell phone:
 
 
Remember that a first century disciple would have learned Christ’s words by listening to them, not reading them.
 
Therefore, the first practical day by day thing to do as a disciple of Jesus is to learn the words, teachings, commands, and example given by Jesus during His earthly ministry as recorded in the Gospel.
 
In the next article, we will focus on how to replace deception in our lives with the truth that we learn from studying the words, teachings, commands, and example of Jesus as His disciple.
 
 

 

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