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 19 June 2017 Ephesians 6:10.

Ephesians 6:10.    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Well fathers, our special day is over now, hope we all had an enjoyable day. Mine was fairly quiet, but very interesting. However, it’s now time for us to concentrate on, and get back to labouring so that we can keep a roof over our family’s head and bread on our table. It’s nice to be pampered and spoiled, but we certainly can’t forget about our bread and butter, our jobs. (smile) 

And I know that for plenty of us fathers, after all the celebrations yesterday, it’s going to be difficult to get up this morning to go and labour, but just think about it this way nuh: no work, no pay. (smile) But as always, we have the antidote for whatever ails you this Monday morning. It’s called our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, and when we sing it sincerely and joyfully, it just refreshes and renews us, gets the adrenaline flowing in our bodies. 

So let’s belt it out now nuh, with plenty gusto and expectant faith. As one big earthly choir now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Oh friends, that was a bit harsh and raucous, but the enthusiasm was great, and Jesus, our choirmaster understood our shortcomings. But now, with that same enthusiasm we just showed, aided by the adrenaline that’s coursing through our veins, let’s go out and face the enemy and battle them mano a mano in Jesus’ name. That’s what He’s expecting of us. 

And as Bruh Paul advises in in our Bit: ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’  

Yes my fellow believers, above everything else, if we want to go and fight the enemy, then we have to be strong in the Lord, because that’s where our strength and our help come from. As the psalmist declares: ‘My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved (slip): he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.’ (Ps.121:2-4) And that’s gospel truth my people! Our God will look after us at all times, under whatever circumstances and situations! 

Before we go further though, let’s check out some info from the scholars, re our Bit. ‘6:10. Finally may be rendered “from now on” or “henceforth.” The spiritual battle Christians are engaged in exists “from now on” until the Lord’s return: there is no quarter given, no cease fire, no temporary truce, no cessation of hostilities. “From now on” till the end there is all out war. The remainder of the verse may be paraphrased, “Let yourselves constantly be strengthened by the Lord, more precisely by His mighty power.” 

Ah mih people, how mighty is our God! The mightiest of them all!!! As we’ve said a couple times above, He made the heavens and the earth and all therein, so He must be truly powerful, and He does strengthen us to do His bidding. However, regardless of what strength we have, as warriors, we also need protective covering from the enemy’s slings and arrows, that’s why the verse after our Bit is so important. ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil.’ (Eph.6:11) 

Yes friends, we need to put on our protective spiritual armour, this morning, and every morning, before we go out to fight against the enemy, so that we don’t get hurt. It’s one thing to be strong in the Lord, but it’s another to fight without protective covering.  

And the scholars offer us these explanations. ‘6:11. Put on (Greek ingressive aorist imperative) (smile) denotes a sense of urgency, demanding immediate action. To stand has military overtones. This verb was used in classical Greek meaning to resist the enemy and hold a critical positon in battle. The wiles of the devil (or, “the Devil’s strategy”). Satan carefully devises schemes and tactics against believers.’ 

So friends, it’s no joke war in which we’re involved, it’s serious business, serious stuff on which our salvation and eternal life depends. So please, let’s take it very seriously nuh, because our enemy, Lucifer, is taking it very seriously. He’s definitely out to trip us up and make us turn away from following Jesus. And that’s definitely not a wise thing to do. Therefore, let’s put on our spiritual armour, and with the strength of our great God flowing through our minds, bodies and spirits, let’s go out and battle Beelzebub – battle him to the finish! Much LOVE!

…soldiers of Christ arise…arise fully armoured and strengthened by Almighty God…