Is an order for soldiers to stand ready for an enemy attack. Even though the soldiers at the front line see no sign to indicate an immediate enemy encounter they must be ready for it.
During the Korean War, United Nation soldiers, (Australians among them), saw large numbers of “civilian” Koreans moving through their lines and moving to the rear. When the North Korean assault came it was found that some of these people were enemy soldiers in peasant Korean dress.
The Church of Jesus Christ is under attack from many directions. Satan frontally assaults it by persecution and ridicule from the Anti-Christian elements in government and society.
It is assailed by atheistic science, philosophy and morality.
We should expect such attacks because as the scripture says “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19
The most insidious form of attack the Church has to face is the subtle and discouraging attack on God’s truth and people, is from men and women professing Christianity.
This is nothing new, but in our electronic age, it is highly publicized and leaped upon by our secular, God- hating media.
These are just a few of the lines of advance available to the enemies of Christ, in sheep’s clothing or not.
The Bible is a very popular target. They tell us it is out of date or contradictory. They teach that the Bible is nothing more than the writings of fallible men who were the product of their age or who misunderstood God’s purposes ,therefore we can discount and ignore great tracts of it because it does not accord with how we want to live ,act or think at a given time.
The Church is attacked because of the falls and sins of some of its leaders and prominent members. Christians are all tarred with the same brush and nothing we say or do makes a difference. Christians are all “Holier than thou Hypocrites”’ and therefore fair game.
Christ, despite an exemplary life of holiness and goodness was attacked by open enemies and false friends, we can, if we are faithful, expect the same.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
You might say that we know all this, but are you ready for Satan’s attack whatever direction it comes from? Are you ready for it in your local church? Are you ready for it in your family and friends? Are you ready for it when it will cost you dear to defend God and His truth?
F.B. Meyer said it well, “It is often argued that we should stay in the midst of churches and bodies whose sins and follies we deplore, in the hope of saving them for God and mankind. Such reasoning has a good deal of force in the first stages of decline. A strong protest may arrest error and stop the gangrene. But as time advances, and the whole body becomes diseased; when the protests have been disregarded, and the arguments trampled underfoot; when the majority have clearly taken up their position against the ‘truth’ we have no alternative but to come out and be separate. The place from which we can exert the strongest influence for good is not from within, but from without.”
Pride and Prejudice!
In “ How to lose the Civil War”( Harper /Collins publisher) one of the contributors, tells how prior to the Civil war in the United States , the Union was desperately short of modern rifles and it would be some time before production capacity would be sufficient for wartime needs.
The officer in charge of procurement was advised by a junior to approach England and buy Enfield rifles, which were in abundant supply and at rock bottom price, until such time as the Union ordinance production was up to speed.
This senior officer, who had in his younger days fought the British in the War of 1812, “went through the roof”. He said that the old smooth bore (by all modern standards obsolete) weapons in use by the Federal army were quite adequate for what was sure to be a very short war and that it would be unpatriotic not to fight an American war with American weapons. As a result of this the “North” entered the “Civil” war, poorly armed and at a decided disadvantage.
The South had no such scruples, but purchased large numbers of rifles from England and as a result the war, which should have been a Northern walkover, was prolonged by years.
There is no doubt that prejudice and selfish pride is a besetting problem with us all.
We all have our own way of doing things and we all think we know best.
To place ourselves in God’s hands is often unsettling for us. We are not prepared to wait God’s time or trust His methods.
Also to be open to hear what others have to say and take it on board is often difficult for us when in the heat of battle.
We really want to take the whole process into our own hands because we are the only ones we can really trust to get the job done.
It is not enough for us to sow the seed and to wait for God to “send the increase” anymore but we must expedite matters by working at both ends and try and “Move the Spirit” if He does not move.
Sometimes it is a question of us not liking to ask for help, we would rather die trying in our own strength than seek Christ and His power.
The fact is that the Christian is a soldier in God’s army, the weapons he fights with are Spiritual and not carnal. He is not alone in the fight but has reinforcement and spiritual re-supply readily at call and is very foolish if he does not take advantage of it.
Not knowing or caring any better the world ,takes the elements of the Christmas story, that it understands and exploits them for its own ends.
Peace among men is reduced to a plea for the end of earthly war and strife with no regard or desire for peace and reconciliation with God and His just displeasure with man’s sin.
The gift of a Saviour is made into an inducement for gift giving, family togetherness and indulgence to improve business’s “bottom-line.
Many have taken to calling Christmas time “silly season” because of the cynical exploitation and attending mad rush which infects so many at this time of year.
All this without any recognition of the real significance and importance of the coming of God to earth in human flesh, as well as no desire or felt need for the Salvation from sin, Christ came to procure; starting in the cradle and culminating on the Cross.
The Christian Church naturally takes advantage of this “lip service” made by the World to the babe in the manger. By offering Carol services and special events, It seeks to bring people within the sound of the gospel and thereby possibly into the Christian fold.
Yet the Christian message presented is often an expurgated one. The Word of God is sugar coated, pared down and made palatable for the “un-churched”.
If there is a hook in this worm it is well hidden and for a later time, if at all.
The question is and always has been how can we proclaim the message of salvation in a meaningful way to non believers and yet not compromise God’s Word to a world of lost sinners?
I think that today’s Church is not very interested in the answer to this question. It rather takes the line of least resistance and “stays mum” on anything it thinks will give offence to self satisfied sinners while alluring them with promises of a better life and a sense of community and purpose.
Surely it is more faithful to God’s truth, to boldly proclaim His call to salvation through Christ, as the Apostles did and the true Church has always done, than make the Gospel story little more than a change of purpose and direction. A gospel with no need for repentance, genuine faith and “New Birth”. A Christian life devoid of self denial and counting the cost of following Christ.
Instead of being ashamed of the “old Gospel” we should proclaim it boldly because it remains the only and true Gospel and power of God “unto salvation”.
“This present age is so flippant that if a man loves the Saviour he is styled a fanatic, and if he hates the powers of evil he is named a bigot.”
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon,