Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 December 2019 Ephesians 6:11.

Ephesians 6:11.    ​Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes)  of the devil.
 

Well friends, it’s the first Sunday in Advent! And why is that important eh? Because in the church’s calendar, this is the time of year we begin preparing for Christ’s coming! Originally it seems like it was a time to think of Christ’s Second Coming, a cry for the Messiah to come back and take over the evil world. But apparently down through the years it got intertwined with the First Coming of the Messiah, what we call Christmas, so now we celebrate Advent by looking back nostalgically at the First Coming, while excitedly and expectantly looking forward to the Second One! Only in the Christian faith can we have such double celebrations my people! (smile) 

Anyway, as we gather today in joyful fellowship in the Lord’s sanctuary, to give thanks and praise and worship His Holy Name, we not going to open with an Advent hymn because I got a zeppo intimating that the Lord wanted to hear this particular tune, ‘Stand up for Jesus!’ I guess He’s feeling that believers are not being strong and steadfast enough in the faith. We’re being too fearful and wishy-washy, sitting on the fence, wavering like a leaf in the wind, and too ready to compromise so that we can go on with our comfortable lives! 

Consequently, He wants us to get our acts together, get really serious about our cause, and like true warriors come out fighting valiantly under Jesus’ banner, even to the death, if needs be! So let’s raise our voices in strong and solemn song, as we sing these most excellent sentiments, but also truly fighting words, written in 1858 by George Duffield (1818-1888) in honour of his dear departed friend and leader, Dudley Atkins Tyng (1825-1858) in a tragic farm accident. It’s reputed that Tyng’s last message to his associates was for them to, ‘Stand up for Jesus,’ and this became the theme of Duffield’s song. 

And to make it even more powerful, we going to do a scintillating, rocking Reggae version, a la Miss Carlene Davis. Wow! Rockers time mih people! (smile) So altogether now: ‘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. (Bridge: Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up, Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up.) 

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. (Extro: Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up, Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up, Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up….!’ 

Aye friends, I hope we truly meant what we just sang, because our world is desperate for somebody, for serious somebodies to stand up to the evil one in Jesus name! And it’s sad that we all know the scripture that characterizes that song, but we’re not putting it into full and proper use. Hear Bruh Paul as he articulates to the Ephesians, re the whole armour of God: ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ (Eph.6:10) 

As Christians we’re engaged in a spiritual battle from now until Christ’s Second Coming that we’re looking forward to this first Sunday in Advent. And there must be ‘no quarter given, no ceasefire, no temporary truce, no cessation of hostilities.’ But to do that successfully, we have to stand strong, be strengthened in and through the Lord’s might and power. And this next verse is also of the utmost importance: ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes)  of the devil.’ 

Yes my faithful brethren, no soldier worth his salt, goes into battle without armour, without protective gear. And since in this case our battle is not physical but spiritual, we need specialized protection: Our loins must be girded with God’s truth; the knowledge of the truth of God’s Word. Our chests must be protected by a breastplate of righteousness, holy character and moral conduct, through obedience to God’s truth. And then our feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We must be eager and willing to take on the satanic one and his demoniac cohorts, take the fight to him, and we get that from the gospel of peace, that frees us of any anxiety and fear. 

Then we need the shield of faith so we can repulse all the fiery darts of the wicked one. That means taking God at His Word, believing His awesome promises, dispelling all doubt Satan might try to induce. And we must have a helmet; that of salvation; the hope of and assurance of salvation, the surety, that we’re saved. And you can’t fight without a sword, in this case the sword of the Spirit; the powerful and ever-conquering Word of God! 

But along with all of that protective armour friends, we still need to use the most powerful tool in the universe; prayer! Without it, the armour is useless. So let’s hope all of this has lit a fire in our bellies, reignited our passion for Christ, so that we can become better soldiers in His victorious army! Much LOVE!

…Christians…put on your spiritual armour…the time to fight is NOW…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 June 2016 1 Corinthians 16:13

1 Corinthians 16:13.    Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you (be brave) like men; be strong. 

Oh friends, let’s begin this Sunday morning’s proceedings with a most appropriate moment of worship, as we sing the old standard, ‘Stand up for Jesus.’ 

Please sing with me: ‘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 shall He 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, the trumpet call obey; Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day. Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes; Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose. 

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 armor, each piece put on with prayer; Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there. 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post, Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host: Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain, And prove to all around you that death itself is gain. 

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 those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be; They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.’ 

And my fellow believers do we ever need to stand up for Jesus and all that He stands for in these very trying and difficult times! We’re not only meant to sing these words in church, but even more importantly to put them into action in our daily lives! That’s the only way Jesus’ LOVE Revolution will be victorious! 

And to show how supposed believers are strange and unpredictable, I heard Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) say the other day that one of the many books she’s written is one titled, ‘The LOVE Revolution,’ and would you believe it’s the worst selling of all her books. Hn! 

Why? Not because it was a bad book, because it isn’t, but because believers nowadays just don’t seem to be interested in ‘agape’ LOVE; the kind of LOVE that Jesus espouses, that has us caring about others, even when we are going through rough times. Ah Lord eh my brethren, when we going to wake up, to grow up and learn what real Christianity is eh? 

Anyhow, as I went looking for the lyrics to ‘Stand up for Jesus,’ I discovered some worthwhile information on how it came about. Apparently, the writer, a Presbyterian minister, George Duffield Jr. in 1858 was an associate of the Rev. Dudley Atkins Tyng, who had recently been thrown out of his Episcopalian community for speaking against slavery.  

In March of that year, Tyng preached one of the most successful sermons of modern times to the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) in the large space known as Jaynes’ Hall. Of the five thousand men that were there at least one thousand, became ‘the slain of the Lord,’ were converted.  His sermon was apparently based on Exodus 10:11 “Go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord.” Pharaoh’s admonishment to Moses. 

The following Wednesday, leaving his study for a moment, he went to the barn floor, where a mule was at work on a horse-power, shelling corn. Patting him on the neck, the sleeve of his silk study gown caught in the cogs of the wheel, and his arm was torn out the roots! 

He died not long after that, but it’s reputed that before he moved on to the other side, he told his father “Tell my brethren of the ministry, wherever you meet them, to stand up for Jesus.”  

At a memorial service for Tyng, Duffield preached a message based on Ephesians 6:14. “Stand firm, wearing the whole armour of God”, and supposedly the hymn was written simply as a concluding exhortation. However, the superintendent of the Christian school printed the hymn on leaflets for the children and one of those copies ended up in a Baptist newspaper…and the rest is history. Stand up for Jesus is now known and LOVED around the world! 

Yuh see mih people how the mysterious hand of our great God works! Tyng gets tossed from his congregation for preaching against the inhumane system of slavery, but ends up saving many souls at the Y. But then through an unfortunate accident, he soon dies, but he’s already spread the seed he was meant to; stand up for Jesus, and his buddy Duffield, writes those verses more or less as a memorial, but the school superintendent prints it on some leaflets for the children, and a Baptist newspaper gets hold of one and publishes it. Only the mighty hand of God could have fashioned such an unlikely story! 

And finally we come to our most appropriate Bit.  ‘Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you (be brave) like men; be strong.’  That’s Bruh Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians in his first missive. And to sweeten it, he adds: ‘Let all your things be done with charity (LOVE).’ (1 Cor.16:14) 

Ah friends, so much of great importance has been said in those few words of those two verses, that if we follow them, we can never go wrong. And we’ll end with a couple more verses where Bruh Paul is encouraging his readers to stand fast. 

To the Galatians, he declares: ‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.’ (Gal.5:1) Wonderful advice my brethren! 

And to the Philippians he solemnly advises: ‘Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.’ (Phil.4:1) 

Oh friends, please let’s go out and do likewise today and everyday nuh, for that is wisdom at its zenith! Much LOVE!

…and having done all…stand…now, more than ever…Christians need to stand up steadfastly for what they claim to believe in…