Said the Warrior of Bunyan’s”Pilgrim’s Progress” when sword in hand he entered the battle to overcome sin and adversity and attain the glorious reward of God.
I fear we today are of a more pacifist spirit when it comes to our Christianity. We want to lay back and enjoy the sweet things of Christ but will endure no pains to support His work and cause.
As the spirit of this world becomes more hostile to Christian morality and purity of life, the line will be drawn between those who will prevaricate and compromise and those who will pay the inevitable price of loyalty to Christ and His revealed commandments.
Many will stumble and fall before Satan’s onslaught, yet some will fall to rise again and others will fall to rise no more.
We can all suspect that we succumb to the temptation to flee Christ’s banner for fear of loss and suffering. When it comes to the choice of “Fight or flight” most would imitate Peter. Let us hope they would imitate him in his sorrow and repentance.
Let us all pray for grace to be given when it is most needed. We can none of us hope to stand without empowerment from the Spirit of God.
While we seek grace to maintain our faith in trying times we must also seek that courage which not only resists the wiles and attacks of the adversary but we must also seek for the fighting spirit to fight for God’s truth and the salvation of sinful men in the midst of hostile satanically inspire persecution and ridicule.
The soldier is not solely expected to stand in defense but to vigorously to attack the enemy’s strongholds.
Of course we mean this in a spiritual and Christian sense yet the victory obtained is far more real and substantial than that obtained in earthly war.
One only needs to look at a person like John Knox to see Christian courage and fortitude in the face of powerful opposition. Such was his courage that the Earl of Morton regent of Scotland said over his grave, “Here lies one who never feared any flesh”.
Some would say he lived in different times and may have exceeded his purview as a minister of the gospel, yet many of the religious freedoms and civil liberties we now enjoy were won by people such as Knox.
Yet Knox was not a religious zealot or mere fanatic, his zeal for God and the reformation of the church was tempered by compassion and tenderness. He knew when to wield the Sword of the Spirit and when to be conciliatory.
While many would smudge Christianity so that it is more in accord with worldly trends, people like Knox knew that compromising God’s revealed commands and the pure Gospel of Christ would invariably lead to wholesale apostasy.
Are we not seeing the results of this in the “latinitudinarian” spirit in the visible Church? I mean by this the allowance of anything and everything in the Church regardless of its appropriateness or being based on scripture .
In harmony with Worldly trends we hold to no fundamental doctrines or truths or at least fail to preach and teach them. No wonder we see our young people rudderless when it comes to Christian truth.
Those who point out this trend in the Church are met with the same accusations that come from the “god-less” World, you are unloving, judgmental and “troublers of Israel”.
Departure from the faith starts in small steps and with few noticing but the “end of the way is death”.
As I have pointed out before many of those who seek to make Christianity relevant to a post modern world have a tendency to turn away from plain and historic teaching God in His Word and look anywhere and everywhere else for guidance and opinions and input to apply to the teaching and practice of Christians and churches.
The first Christians and the Apostles did no such thing. They received the message straight from God and delivered it to mankind without fear or favour and with no consultation with “flesh and blood”.
The completeness of scripture precludes the need for consultation with the theories and practices of the times. It makes no difference whether it is re-clothed in the garb of direct divine revelation in other words “God told me so”.
Again we see this wreaking havoc and uncertainty in the modern Church.
For many ministers and Christian leaders they more concerned with the feelings and rights of those they would reach for Christ and therefore they promise welcome to all regardless.
Christ indeed welcomes all who came to Him but when did He ever condone or encourage them in their sin. We all come to Christ as sinners yet how many come to a profession of Christianity and instead of obeying the call to repent and walk in holiness of life are remaining not only worldly but willfully engaging in sinful lifestyles.
They even call for acceptance of the ongoing sinful practice by talking about the love of God and Jesus accepting sinners.
This is where we have arrived by divesting the Church of a teaching and preaching role regarding scriptural truth or by re-interpreting the Bible in terms alien from our historic understanding.
The triumph of sin and sinful men in the church is not so much their victory but the “Church’s surrender”.
“There are some that are apt to think , that if an angel should come from heaven and reveal God’s will to them, it would work more upon them than the written word; but I would have these men study the conference between Abraham and Dives, (Luke 16:27-31) “They have Moses and the prophets;” if they will not profit by them, neither would they profit by any that should come out of hell, or down from heaven to them; for it is the same God that speaks to them by the written word, and by a voice from heaven. The difference is only in the outward clothing; therefore if God’s speaking by writing will not amend us no more will God’s speaking by a voice.O bless God exceedingly for the written Word! Let us cleave close to it, and not expect any revelations of new truths, but say with the Apostle ,as in Galatians 1:8-9
“8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” N.I.V. ;
From a Sermon “The Godly man’s Ark ” by Edmund Calamy the elder
Victor Mature: (January 29, 1913 – August 4, 1999
Is one of my favourite actors.
He does not readily fall into the Hollywood stereo-typical image yet was a staple of Epic films and a variety of film genres.
He was notorious for not taking his acting career seriously as he regarded it as merely a means to an end and a source of income.
He said himself that “he was pretty proud of fifty percent of his movies”. (wiki)
He appeared in some of the “Biblical epics” that were popular “box office” draws at the time. These were “spectacular “ dramatizations of Bible and religious stories with their meanings reduced to a sub Christian message of peace among men and human liberty surrounded by action and special effects.
One of the great failings we have as human beings is that we take ourselves so seriously and yet take God and His Word so casually.
One would have thought that the threat of an eternal hell and the hope of free salvation would have people frantically poring over the scriptures and gratefully taking by faith the salvation so expensively won by Christ on the cross.
Instead like Samson (also played by Mature) in the hands of the Philistines, the gospel message is laughed at; it is distorted, watered down or rejected wholesale.
Others turn Christianity into a religion of superstition and holy objects as we see portrayed in the film “the Robe”
We may take many things in life lightly but we should never fail to take seriously God and His Word , eternity depends upon it.