Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 January 2021 2 Timothy 2:3.

2 Timothy 2:3.     ​Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

The Lord’s Day is here again friends, so please let’s do what we ought to; gather in worship, to pray and give thanks, even though it may be technologically driven, due to the pandemic lockdown of our physical sanctuaries. Prayer and worship are the same, however they are done, although actual physical togetherness does lend it a special atmosphere. 

And since the times they are rather rough and unrelenting, with our Christian actions and beliefs becoming more important every day, I figured that today we’d sing a song sure to boost our awareness and reassure us of God’s continuing dependence on our earthly work. It’s a 19thcentury hymn with words written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, and music composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. But it remains one of our popular hymns to this day. We’re talking about the ole favourite ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ 

And the website Godtube explains: ‘It was written to encourage Christians in their ongoing battles with temptations within themselves and the evil forces throughout the world.’ And oh my people, do we ever need encouragement right now, because the battles are certainly long and hard, but if we stand strong like good soldiers of Christ, we will eventually overcome. In fact, Christ has already won the victory, we just need to maintain it. So, let’s do as the author of Hebrews instructs us nuh: ‘By him (through Jesus) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name (openly confessing His name.’ (Heb. 13:15) 

And today we doing a Sally Anne (Salvation Army) processional rendition, for they have adopted it as their favoured processional. In full voice, and soldierly marching tone: ‘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. And so we sing: 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 tough and strong, like real soldiers marching out to battle with Christ, our Field General, with His cross at the front of the battle line! And please believe that we are in a war, sometimes physical, but most of the time it’s spiritual. As Bruh Paul said to the Ephesians. ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world (age), against spiritual (hosts of) wickedness in high places.’ (Eph. 6:12) 

Ah mih people, the enemy and his evil forces are all over the spiritual world trying to wrest us from the hands of Christ. And though they have some power, they have no real authority over us, unless we allow them to invade our space. But to successfully withstand the enemy, we need to do as Bruh Paul says: ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ (Eph. 6:10) This spiritual war will last until Christ returns, therefore we need to be continuously and constantly strengthened by the Lord’s mighty power. 

And as soldiers we also need physical accessories. That means we also need to ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’ (Eph. 6:11) A sense of urgency is noted there my brethren, and it demands immediate attention. No good soldier would go into battle without armour, and we have God’s spiritual armour to fight this one and stand strong against the evil schemes of the enemy. 

In short, it consists of our loins girded about with truth, topped by the breastplate of righteousness, while our feet are comfortably shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and we are holding forth the shield of faith to reject the fiery arrows of the wicked enemy. On our heads lie the helmet of salvation, and in our strong right hands we wield the mighty sword of the Spirit, which is the word of our omnipotent God! (Eph. 6:14-17) 

Glory be mih brethren! What mighty armour we have! But despite the great armour, one more thing is essential, that’s prayer! We can’t win without prayer! Please let’s remember that, cause prayer is the lifeblood between the Father and us. (Eph. 6:18) However, now that we have the protection, we still need something else. And I guess you’re wondering what that is nuh? Oh fellow Christians, it’s the one thing that all soldiers ought to have: bravery! You can’t go into battle in a cowardly manner and expect to win. 

That’s why Bruh Paul warned Timothy, re the toughness needed to win our spiritual battle.‘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 soldier.’ (2 Tim. 2:3-4) And that’s oh so true! Soldiers must be able to withstand tough times, and not get entangled in the affairs of the world, so they can give their all to the one who chose them. And in our case, that’s Jesus Christ. 

Oh friends, if there’s one thing we can’t say about our Leader, Lord and Saviour is that He was a weakling! He was strong like an ox; physically, emotionally and mentally. He had to be to withstand the ‘sufferation’ He endured on our behalf. Now are we going to cry and whimper when He needs us to stand strong on His behalf now, especially after He’s given us all the tools to do so? God forbid that we chicken out on Him now, although that’s what many of us are doing. 

This pandemic though is making a lot of people have second thoughts because they see that nothing we’re doing is working to stem the deadly tide, and God is the only avenue left to turn to. So there’s yet hope. Let’s build on that hope nuh my fellow saints and soldiers in Christ, starting today,RIGHT NOW! Let’s show the enemy that we have the parts, the backbone and belly to stand up as one, united, faithful, steadfast and strong for Christ!Much LOVE!

…none of us alone…is as good as…all of us together… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 September 2019 1 Timothy 2:3.

1 Timothy 2:3.    ​Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
 

Sunday’s here again friends! Glory be! It’s the day we cease from our normal labour and instead visit the Lord’s sanctuary and have fellowship with other believers! Yes mih people, it’s time for us to sing and dance and praise the Lord and give Him sincere thanks for the many blessings He’s so magnanimously bestowed on us! Wow! What a wonderful God He is! There’s none other like Him! That’s for certain sure!

That’s why we need to show our true LOVE and sincere gratitude by coming together as the body of Christ, His church, at least once a week! And not only do we offer up praise and thanksgiving, but we are renewed and refreshed in return, through hearing His Word and the encouragement of and communion with our fellow believers, so that we can go out and do His work with vim and vigour this upcoming week.

Now let’s get the show on the road by opening, as always, with a song of praise and worship. And today’s number is certainly an old but still very popular number titled ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ And I hear the excited sigh that rises from our throats as the song registers, because it is one we all LOVE to sing! So let’s sing it nuh, with plenty emotion, strong voice and the sweetest of harmonies!

All together now: ‘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 2]’

Oh friends, oh friends, what a powerful and emotionally touching rendition! Heaven could see that we truly believed what we were singing, felt it right down in the very depths of our souls! That’s what some of these old English hymns do to us. Now it’s reputed that the words to that song were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, while the music was composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. And has it ever stood the test to time! Becoming the Salvation Army’s favoured processional hymn along the way.

Apparently ‘it was written to encourage Christians in their ongoing battles with temptations within themselves and the evil forces of the world.’ And it takes its theme from New Testament references of Christians being soldiers for Christ. One example of that is our Bit, Bruh Paul’s famous words to his young protégé Timothy. ‘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)

Yeh friends as Christians we do need to stand up strong under whatever trials and tribulation comes against us, like a good soldier does. Consequently, that soldier doesn’t get involved with the unnecessary affairs of life, so that he can give his all, his total allegiance and attention to the business of the one who’s chosen him to be a soldier. That means, since Christ has chosen us to be His followers, then we too must endure the tribulation that will certainly come against us, as Christ promised in John 16:33, and neither get involved in the affairs of this world because we are not of it, as He says in John 17:16.

And the analogy of Christians being soldiers in Christ’s army is rather apt, since we are constantly fighting battles of temptation and deceit against Satan and his evil minions. However it’s not a physical battle, although many believers are fighting physical battles in many places in our strife-filled world, but it’s a spiritual battle that most believers face day by day. As Bruh Paul says 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 to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations (arguments), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ;’ (2 Cor.10:3-5)

And the scholars offer these explanations of those verses. ‘10:3-5. Though we walk (live) in the flesh (in a body), we do not war (fight) after (according to) the flesh (human standards. The first phrase of verse 5 looks back to verse 3 and expresses the manner in which believers conduct spiritual warfare. It is by casting down (destroying) imaginations (false arguments), such as Paul’s opponents have raised.’

That also means refuting all the lies and deceit and the temptations the enemy constantly throws at us. And we do that by taking all those wrong thoughts captive and making them conform to Christ’s Word. Remember, our minds are where the serious spiritual battles take place, so we obviously must have our thoughts conform to Christ’s Word to be victorious. And as I was reading the words of the hymn just now, one verse struck me as being somewhat untrue in these evil, divisive times. ‘Like a mighty army moves the church of God;…We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.’

I just have to shake my head and sadly chuckle because God’s church is certainly not moving in these ungodly days like a mighty army, more like a stagnant, sluggish, complacent, uninterested band of layabouts. And as to being one body with one hope and one doctrine…What a joke! Christ’s church has never been more divided and fractured and going different ways than now!

But friends, let’s remember that where there’s life there’s also hope, so it’s not too late. If we’re serious about rectifying the ills in the church we still can, if we come together, instead of moving further apart. It will take a lot of hard work and effort, putting our selfish, petty desires aside, and showing the true character of Christ. I know it sounds impossible, but remember too, that ALL things are possible with Christ! Much LOVE!

…to be true soldiers of Christ…Christians must stop seeking and seeing life…the way the world sees it…