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 2 July 2017 1 Corinthians 15:57.

1 Corinthians 15:57.   But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Well friends, the 150th Canadian Birthday Party continues unabated. And though it was constrained a little by an afternoon thunder storm, after that, the sun came out brightly and the outside celebrations went on with much zest and enthusiasm, with brilliant fireworks filling the night air in many parts of the Greater Toronto Area. 

Now some people felt that all the hoopla was somewhat hypocritical because of the blemishes on our Canadian record, re the very poor treatment of the Aboriginal People up to this day, plus the insensitive handling of Chinese and Japanese immigrants during the Great War, not to mention the racism and sexism that are currently rearing their ugly heads. 

And all of those are serious problems for us to address, but if we only focus on our bad side, then no country would ever have cause to celebrate because every one has its own dark and evil problems and secrets. At least, hopefully, if we come together to celebrate a major anniversary, that togetherness will help to dissipate some of the current animosity found in our society. 

But even if we’re not together in our country, please, let’s show that we are together in our churches, in the Body of Christ, as we offer sacrifices of praise and worship in His sanctuary this Sunday morning. And today’s hymn is the old stalwart ‘At the Cross.’ So let’s rock God’s house my faithful brethren with powerful song. 

‘Alas, and did my Savior bleed? And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head For such a worm as I? (Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!) Was it for crimes that I had done, He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity!  grace unknown! And LOVE beyond degree! (Refrain)

Well might the sun in darkness hide, And shut his glories in, When Christ, the mighty Maker died, For man the creature’s sin. (Refrain) But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of LOVE I owe: Here, Lord, I give myself away ’Tis all that I can do. (Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!’ 

Oh friends, the cross of Jesus is ever so significant in our Christian faith, for it’s there where Jesus sacrificed His life so that we could be reconciled with God and have the wonderful options of salvation and eternal life. Wow! It is indeed the centrepiece of our faith! It’s where everything begins and ends! Without it, we’d be nothing, still mere slaves to the evil Lucifer, facing death and eternal separation from Almighty God, our Creator. 

But thanks to Jesus, hanging in shame and utter cruelty on that tree at Calvary, we’ve been set free from every kind of bondage. Glory to God my people! And as the song says, once we’ve seen the light at the cross, all our burdens are rolled away, and we can be happy each and every day! Mama Mia! Thank the Lord for Jesus yes! 

And as Bruh Paul so aptly puts it in our Bit: ‘But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Now that’s the awesome truth my fellow believers? Without Christ, we’d have no victory whatsoever! That’s why we have to be ever so thankful and show proper gratitude for all of God’s great mercies towards us. 

Remember, He didn’t have to do anything for us. But because we were His creation, and so dear to His heart, He couldn’t just sit by and see us all go the way of Beelzebub! And Jesus didn’t have to give of Himself so selflessly and sacrificially either, but He delighted in doing the Father’s will, even though it was outrageously painful and shameful. 

That’s why the Father highly exalted Jesus afterwards, ‘and given him a name which is above every name; That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of (those) things in heaven, and (those) things in earth, and (those) things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.’ (Phil.2:9-11) Oh what a mighty champion is our Lord and Saviour! 

And hear how John saw it in his vision in Revelation. As Jesus took up the Book of Life, ‘the four beasts  (living creatures) and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and vials (bowls) full of odours (incense), which are the prayers of the saints. 

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book (scroll), and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred (tribe), and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 

And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts (living creatures) and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands and thousands: Saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.’ (Rev.5:8-12) 

And that’s exactly how it should be. So please my fellow believers, let’s praise and honour Jesus, and live for and LOVE Him down here on earth nuh, so that we will be able to praise and worship Him later on in heaven. That’s wisdom of everlasting proportions! Much LOVE!

…if you don’t honour Jesus on earth…you won’t praise Him in heaven…