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 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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 September 2016 Galatians 5:16.

Galatians 5:16.    This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Oh friends, let’s begin this Sunday morning, the last of summer 2016, with some very appropriate praise and worship for these difficult times. 

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.’ 

Ah mih people, in these evil days, Christians are more than ever needed to stand strong and steadfast in Jesus, if we truly want to wear that victor’s crown! Unfortunately, as individuals, as well as the body of Christ, the church, we are not doing as good a job as we should. 

And why is that eh? Who knows? I figure we are still too enthralled by the wealth and material possessions of the world, and a lot of us don’t take Jesus and his Word as seriously as we should. To many of us, He is still some ephemeral character out there in the wild blue yonder, and not the true living force that’s supposed to dwell within us. 

But whatever the reason(s) friends, the fact remains that we are definitely not fighting as sincerely, diligently and purposefully as we ought to. We are allowing the enemy to take the Lord out of our society with impunity. Then the disharmony, disunity, strife, jealousy and all the other negative things which are currently found in the church, does nothing to help the situation. 

Look at the amount of denominations we have, all supposedly preaching the same Jesus Christ, yet all going in different directions, and not ever seeming to meet. Are there denominations in heaven? I doubt it. So why are we splitting up, allowing the enemy to divide and conquer us with nary a whimper eh? 

I don’t know. But I know for sure that if we don’t pick up the intensity and desire to truly LOVE Jesus and fight for our faith, we will not be the victors in this ongoing war with the evil one and his powerful and predominant evil minions.

Friends, this is no joking matter, it is a serious one, one of life and death! And not only the physical, but more so the spiritual aspect. 

Remember the words of Bruh Paul 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.

Wherefore take unto you (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.6:12-13) 

Yes friends, that’s how serious the fight is. And even when we have on the armour of God, we still need to walk carefully, and do as our Bit dictates. ‘This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.’ 

Oh my people, the Holy Spirit was sent to dwell within us, so that it could lead and guide us in a godly direction. But something is obviously wrong somewhere because we’re not fighting the good fight of faith, as we ought to. The works of the flesh are still too rampant within the supposed community of faith. And what are those works of the flesh? 

Hear Bruh Paul. ‘Now the works of the flesh are manifest (evident), which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness (sexual impurity), lasciviousness (licentiousness), Idolatry, witchcraft (sorcery), hatred, variance (contentions, discord), emulations (jealousies), wrath, strife (selfish ambitions), seditions (dissensions), heresies (divisions, cliques), 

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings (excessive eating, gluttony, carousing) and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’ (Gal.5:19-21) 

Oh my brethren, if we look around our world, the unfortunate fact is that all those things are rampant throughout it – even in supposed Christian circles! 

And we’ll end with these words of warning from the scholars. ‘The person whose life is habitually characterized by the sins and vices of verses 19-21 shall not inherit the kingdom of God, that is, he will not be in heaven because he is not a Christian.’ It’s as simple as that my people. 

So please, I implore us to thoroughly check ourselves to see if any of those lusts of the flesh are habits of ours, and if so, pray sincerely to God to help us get rid of them, otherwise, crapaud smoke we pipe, we’ll be on the outside looking in, come the big day. Not only that, we also have to lessen the unchristian behaviour that’s happening within and between our churches. Nuff said! 

Now may the good Lord bless us and keep us safe from harm and help us to walk the straight and narrow righteous path that leads to Him and His heavenly sanctuary. Much LOVE!

…he who has ears to hear…let him hear…