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…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 July 2014 1 Peter 2:2

1 Peter 2:2.    As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

 

Oh Friends, neighbours and fellow believers, it’s a beautiful morning, so let’s get up and get fellowshipping with others of like ilk! Time to give thanks and praise to our great and wonderful Creator and Saviour Jesus Christ for all they’ve done, are doing and have promised to do for us.
 
And all God’s people declared a loud, hearty and grateful; ‘Glory Hallelujah! Praise His Holy Name!’
 
Yes my people that’s what we need to get out and do this Sunday morning, without any reservations, resentment or being forced to go, but just having a heart brimming with so much LOVE and thanks, that we’re automatically propelled to the sanctuary. (smile)  
 
Now here’s an interesting quote from an interesting and inspirational person; Helen Keller (1880-1968), the deaf/blind American author, activist, lecturer and humanitarian, reputed to be the first deaf/blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Wow! Now isn’t that something else! Nowadays I’m sure it’s much easier than back then.
 
However, Miss Keller is reputed to have said that, ‘When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.’
 
And that’s gospel truth my people! For often we don’t know what ripple effects our actions may cause, somewhere down the line. Like throwing a stone in the water and seeing it form concentric circles; one circle after another. That’s how our actions, both good and bad can affect the lives of those we don’t, or may ever know. Therefore it behoves us to be generally kind and responsible in all our deeds and actions.
 
And the best part of that kind of responsible behaviour is that often we also see and feel the growth within our own selves. And that my Friends, is what we all desperately need in these vey treacherous and troubled times; personal growth! Not only physical and mental, but even more importantly spiritual growth and maturity, so that we can truly understand what’s happening and thus take the necessary precautions.
 
As Peter warns us: ‘Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere (pure) milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.’ (1 Pet.2:1-3)
 
Yes my brethren, we all begin as new born babes in Christ, where like infants, we can’t handle the heavy stuff, the heavy food, the heavy doctrine and such. Therefore we need to ingest simpler, lighter stuff, like milk for new-borns. That means first getting a basic, rudimentary understanding of the Scriptures, of Jesus and all that He stands for.
 
But then Friends, we just can’t stop there, like the mental and physical aspects of our bodies, our spirits also have to grow in the understanding of Jesus, and then we need to put those things into practice in our everyday lives. That’s when we begin to attain maturity. We never really are completely mature, because spiritual growth is a never ending course of study.
 
That’s why Bruh Paul warned the Corinthians about carnal minds hindering, inhibiting the growth of the spirit. ‘And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat (solid food): for hitherto (until now) ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions (dissensions); are ye not carnal (fleshly), and walk as (according to) man?’ (1 Cor.3:1-3)
 
Oh my people, you know those statements sadly brand a lot of us in Christ’s church today as spiritual babes, because there is still so much infighting amongst believers, with strife, envy and general pettiness and selfishness causing unnecessary and unwholesome divisions in the body of Christ.
 
And the scholars explain those verses thus: ‘3:1-3) I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: In the case of newborn babes this would be natural and to be expected (1 Pet.2:2). But it is embarrassing at this stage in their development. ‘Milk’ figuratively stands for elementary Christian instruction, and ‘meat’ refers to advanced doctrine.
 
Carnal (lit.“fleshly”). The warfare between the flesh and the spirit receives continual emphasis in Paul’s writings (cf. Rom.7:14-8:13; Gal.5:17). The factions that have destroyed the unity in Corinth indicate that these believers were not walking by the Spirit, but were allowing the flesh to direct their behaviour.’
 
And doesn’t that ever still apply to the church today my people! A lot of us who are supposed to have Bible knowledge, but behave in a non-Christian manner, according to Bruh Paul’s logic, are still spiritual babes in arms. Because it’s not necessarily what we know that’s important, but often what we do with that knowledge, how it causes us to behave. And if we claim to know what the Bible teaches, but don’t practice it, then all that knowledge is wasted. They say knowledge is power – but only if it’s used wisely.
 
So Friends, as we go out to worship today, let’s seriously consider if we are behaving like newborn babes; that’s walking carnally, in the flesh, or rather like the mature people we’re supposed to be, walking in the Spirit. How we walk in Jesus’ name, my brethren, does cast a serious reflection on His church, therefore let’s do what we know to be right nuh, and walk maturely – in the Spirit, like we ought to. That’s heavenly wisdom! Much LOVE!
 
…to walk in the flesh…when we should be walking in the Spirit…is a serious dereliction of our duties as believers in Christ…