Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 June 2022   2 Timothy 2:4.

2 Timothy 2:4.      Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  

Come Sunday morning, we’ll be singing and praising our wonderful God on His day! And that’s just the way it ought to be, believers gathered together, be it physically in a sanctuary, by technological means, or outdoors in the wilds of nature, as my church will be doing today at our annual outdoors church service and picnic in a nearby park, the first for about three years. Now that’s all predicated on the weather staying warm and sunny like it’s been for the last number of days. But knowing how persnickety and contrary the weather can be these days, nothing can be taken for granted. 

And for today’s song of praise, we have an oldie but goldie; one of our long time favourites, aptly titled ‘Onward Christian Soldiers,’ with lyric written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, and the music by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. It’s become one of our ‘favouritest’ processional hymns, but underneath, it bears a strong incentive and encouragement to stand up strong and fight for Christ like we are in His army. So now, let’s raise our voices in sacrificial praise in a powerful, scintillating, sincere up-tempo version. 

‘Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle, see his banner go! (Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before!) At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; On, then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise! [Refrain] 

Like a mighty army moves the church of God; Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod; We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. [Refrain] Onward, then, ye people, join our happy throng, Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song; Glory, laud, and honor, unto Christ the King; This thro’ countless ages men and angels sing. [Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before! With the cross of Jesus going on before!’ 

Yes friends, that was indeed rich and scintillating! And I do hope we truly meant every word we sang, and that those words will encourage us to go out today and in the upcoming week to stand strong and steadfast for Christ! Because we are in a war, a spiritual war, as Bruh Paul said to the Corinthians: ‘For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after (according) to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh) but mighty through God (spiritual) to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations (arguments, thoughts), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ (2 Cor. 10:3-5) 

It means, that anything that doesn’t coincide with God’s word, we have to take spiritual authority over it and cast it out with the Lord’s help, because our mind is the battlefield where the spiritual war is being fought. Satan wants to take control of it, but we must use Christ’s power to withstand his evil machinations. That’s why Bruh Paul advised the Ephesians thus: ‘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.’ (Eph. 6:10-11) 

Oh my brethren, we desperately need to be armoured up with God’s protection then stand up strong against Satan, for he carefully devises evil schemes and strategies against Christ’s people. And Bruh Paul continues to enlighten the Ephesians on the matter. ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (we don’t fight against human beings), but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world (age), against spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you (take up, put on) the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the day, and having done all to stand.’ (Eph. 6:12-13) 

Yes, my fellow saints without God’s armour, Christ’s church cannot fight the spiritual battle against the forces of evil that is currently being waged in our world. And some of you must be wondering what’s this armour of God. Well just like the battle we are fighting, the armour is spiritual. It consists of the loin cloth of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of the gospel peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And then praying always in the Spirit for all the saints. 

Now,  that’s basically God’s spiritual armour, but it’s very effective if we keep it on and use it right. And it’s the only way we are going to win the spiritual battle in which we are currently engaged. We must be good soldiers for Christ if we hope to make any headway against the enemy. 

It’s like Bruh Paul said to Timothy on the subject. ‘Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’  (2 Tim. 2:3-4) 

There you have it friends! If we want to be good soldiers of Christ, we cannot afford to get tangled up with the affairs of this world. Remember Jesus expects us to be in the world, but not of the world. It’s not going to be easy, for the life of a soldier is never easy. In our personal discipleship we will suffer affliction and hardship which we need to overcome through the help of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with our spiritual armour and our own conviction in and LOVE for Jesus! And I do hope that our song today will indeed offer us some encouragement in our ongoing battles, both internally and against the evil forces of our evil world. Much LOVE!

… to fight to the death for Jesus…is the believer’s greatest joy…

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