Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
There is a great difference between "be strong" and "be strong in the Lord" although they may appear to be the same.2Corinthians 12:9 He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
The difference between the 2 then is one is what I do for myself, and the other is what God in Christ has done for me, which I receive by grace through faith. So I can be strong in what I do, diet, exercise, and discipline; or I can be strong in the power which comes by grace through faith in the Word of God, that is strong in the Lord, with a strength that does not depend on physical prowess, but the power of God in me.
Don’t add to the word, or take away from the word, but hear the word and do the word. What does this mean? Well suppose there is a child to daily washes his hands and face, picks up his clothes, makes his bed , but if his parents ask him to do anything else, when their back is turned he sticks out his tongue; is he gladly hearing and doing the Word of God? Suppose he willingly obeys his parents in all things, except that he teases his brother and sister at every opportunity? Suppose he is a complete angel at home, but at school he never listens to the teacher, is disruptive and disrespectful? Suppose when he brushes his teeth he never brushes them up and down, but always side to side? That one is probably not covered in the Word of God.
Where do children learn such things? From their parents and other adults, they might not always remember what we say, but they seem to remember what they see us do. This is why it is important for us to set good examples. Children are mostly likely to learn good stewardship at home, if they see their parents putting God first, they are liable to remember it. But if they see and hear things which say, charity begins at home, God helps those who help themselves, and its my money, I can do with it as I want, those also are things they are likely to remember.
For example, there are many people who seem to have somehow learned, that if they go to church on Sunday morning, they can do what they want during the rest of the week…. Its as though they thought that by giving up that one hour (for they never stay for Bible class) that God owes them forgiveness for everything else. They feel righteous because they think they have done the one thing necessary. But if there is one thing necessary, it is not to go to church – it is rather, to love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. If you do this, you will find that you will also go to church, honor your parents, and in all things seek to do God’s will and to in all things, follow your Savior on the path that leads to heaven.
So we do not add to, or take away from the Word of God, we gladly hear it, learn it, and do it. In the Gospel lesson, we have met the Pharisees, and while they outwardly appear righteous, they both add to the Word of God, "God says you’ve got to wash your hands before you eat." And they take away, saying, "God says we can’t charge interest to other Jews, so we’ll only loan money to foreigners." Jesus says of themMark 7:6-7 "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men."
How can we avoid this pitfall? That’s what our text is all about. "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God." There are a lot of parts to the whole armor of God, but lets just look at one, the helmet of salvation, it goes on your head. What does it do? Of course it protects you, but how does it protect you? Does if give you ears to hear? Of course it does, and that is an important thing for many people cannot hear as they would like to hear, but the grace of God in the helmet of salvation helps us to hear. Does it give you eyes to see? Of course it does, and that too is an important thing, for many people cannot see as they would like to see, and so God in grace guides and strengthens our eyes in the way of salvation. Does it give you a mind which can think clearly? Of course it does! And so we recognize the temptations of the devil and flee from them. And of course, it also protects us from attacks. God has intended that the Word of God equip us from head to toe with all that we need, and so we read, mark, learn, inwardly digest…