Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 September 2018 Ephesians 6:11.

And once again it’s Sunday friends: our day of rest from mortal toil. A day where we are expected to spend time in worship and fellowship with other believers in the house of God, so that our souls and spirits can be renewed and refreshed and our Creator praised and exalted. 

And as always, each Sunday we begin the proceedings with a song of praise and worship, because there’s nothing the Lord likes more than hearing His praises sung, and it also softens our hearts, enabling them to be more receptive to His Word. And the song we’re going to sing is an ole favourite, the American Christian Hymn, ‘Stand up, Stand up for Jesus.’ 

But before we get into it, let’s look at its supposed history, a rather interesting one. Apparently it was written by a Presbyterian Minister, George Duffield Jr. in 1858, who at that time was an associate of one Dudley Atkins Tyng; a Pastor recently ‘removed from his local Episcopalian community for speaking against slavery. Duffield assisted Tyng in supporting an evangelical revival in Pennsylvania. 

In March 1858, Tyng gave a sermon at a YMCA meeting of over 5,000 men on Exodus 10:11, “Go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord”, converting over 1,000 men listening in the crowd. The following month, Tyng was maimed in a farming accident. Before he died a few days after the accident he told his father “Tell my brethren of the ministry, wherever you meet them, to stand up for Jesus.”  

Duffield then wrote the hymn based on those words. At a memorial service for Tyng, Duffield gave a sermon based on Ephesians 6:14, “Stand firm, wearing the whole armour of God”, and ended it by reciting the new hymn he had written as a tribute. After first publication, the hymn was popular and was sung by both the Union and Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War. 

The hymn also became popular among British revivalists and within public schools in England. As a result of the images of Christian militarism in the hymn, some people object to the hymn, and some people do not stand to sing it’  With such a colourful and controversial history, it’s no wonder it’s so popular. 

And furthermore, ‘Several melodies have been written for “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”. The one used most often now was written by George James Webb, who had originally composed it in 1837 for “Tis Dawn, the Lark is Singing”, a song in a secular musical show performed on a ship travelling across the Atlantic Ocean.’ 

Now let’s belt it out like we truly mean it. ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross! Lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory his army he shall lead, till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear; if while ye sleep he suffers, away with shame and fear. Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without, charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout. 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in his strength alone; the arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own. Put on the gospel armour, each piece put on with prayer; when duty calls or danger be never wanting there. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long; this day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song. To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be; he with the King of glory shall reign eternally.’ 

Yeah friends, that’s exactly what is required of us as followers of Jesus. We’re in a battle against the spiritual forces of evil and we must acquit ourselves as brave, courageous and loyal soldiers of Jesus. And the best words in the Good Book to describe our situation comes from the pen of Bruh Paul in his missive to the church at Ephesus, re putting on the whole armour of God. So let’s read and inwardly digest those fighting words nuh. 

‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world (age), against spiritual (spiritual hosts of) wickedness in high places.’ (Eph.6:10-12) 

Oh my people, you might not see our enemy, but believe me, he and his cohorts are real, and they reside in many who hold high office in this realm. And as loyal Christians, we need to battle them to the death, or until Jesus returns. But like any soldier going into battle, we have to take serious precautions: ‘Wherefore take unto you (take up, put on), the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’ (Eph.6:13) 

Fellow believers, only when we’re wearing God’s armour are we able to withstand the powerful foe that will keep on coming against us with evil schemes and demonic attacks. But we need to ‘Stand therefore, having your loins girt about (girded your waist) with truth, (the knowledge of God’s Word), and having on the breastplate of righteousness (holy character and moral conduct). And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (a sense of eagerness or willingness to advance against the devil and take the fight to him). 

Above all, taking the shield of faith, (trusting God and believing His promises), wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of (dispel all doubts induced by) the wicked (one). And take the helmet of salvation (the assurance of salvation), and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (rhema; selected verses of Scripture): Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph.6:14-18)  

Yes my brethren, we need to have all the accoutrements of war, but without prayer, it’s all in vain. Prayer is indispensable to our cause, and we must be vigilant in praying for all our fellow believers. ‘Spiritual combat is both an individual and corporate matter.’ There you have it friends, a quick discourse, or hopefully, to some of us, a jolting reminder on Spiritual Warfare 101.  Now let’s go out and put it into action! Much LOVE!

…soldiers of Christ…be well armed…stand strong…and pray always…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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