The apostle Paul knew the profound sense of peace, protection and stability found within the gospel. He worked tirelessly proclaiming and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. He knew the power and strength the gospel imparted to the believer: it’s ability to save, to heal and to transform lives. The gospel is the power of God and is above all else. It is the sole source of stability in the life of the believer. Providing for our every need, it is everything that we need, and it can save us in the midst of our darkest hours and our most difficult circumstances. Through the power of the gospel alone people go from hopelessness and despair to a renewed sense of hope and joy. Those who gave up, after embracing the gospel, found a renewal of faith, purpose and a sense of peace and happiness. The gospel brings about the obedience of faith, one that can sustain us through all situations. It is truth, knowledge, and it reveals the mystery of salvation that had been hidden since creation. The singularity of our purpose is to exalt the one who made salvation possible. The gospel declares to all nations the glory of God through Jesus Christ and his marvelous work of salvation. It demands a singular focus in our lives “to glorify God and fully enjoy him forever” (Westminster Confession). We were made to glorify God, it is the chief end of man. He made us to glorify him and to bring the right opinion of him to others in all our circumstances. This should be the driving force behind all we do. Do not be ashamed of your love for God or of spreading the gospel to others. Jubilantly join the apostle Paul in boldly proclaiming the gospel to all. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’ ” (Romans 1:16-17).
Most of us are pretty lethargic when it comes to living biblically and living to please God. We have been lulled into a sense of complacency by Satan and his lies and feel no urgency to live our lives as a representative of Christ. Instead, we live fulfilling the desires of our flesh. But the apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Rome warns the believers in Rome that there is an urgency to live our lives as a representative of Jesus because salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. He warns them (and us today) that there is an urgency to live biblically, to guard our actions and to abstain from the desires of the flesh.
The pleasures of sin last only a season but the pleasures of Christ are eternal! We have been chosen by God and with that calling comes the command and responsibility to live according to the Spirit, not the flesh, so that we will be living testimonies to those around us. We are to stand apart from the rest of the world because we are not of this world. We are God’s children, and we must live as God’s children. We are to clothe ourselves in Christ’s righteousness and live as representatives of Him, abstaining from the pleasures of the flesh. Paul reminds us that there is an urgency in standing firm against the spiritual warfare that is surrounding us each and every day. We are in a constant spiritual battle with Satan who is out to destroy us, and we need to be prepared! Every day we are in spiritual warfare, and we must wake up and put on the armor of God, so that we can stand strong against Satan and his schemes. We need to step out of the darkness that Satan is luring us further into, and we need to stop our sinful behaviors and step into the light of Christ, clothing ourselves with His righteousness and living to please Him. We each have a season in which we have been called to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and in which we are to witness for Him. There is an urgency because time is short and is getting shorter with each passing day. We must rid ourselves of our lethargy, and we must replace it with a new sense of urgency. We must turn from our sinful behavior, turn from living for our fleshly desires, and live to please the Lord before our season is over.
Making the move as a pilgrim from this world into the residency of heaven is a promotion like no other! I write this post as I was just informed of another prayer warrior and saint of God that just met their Maker. Currently, I also am talking with a person who just received some bad news about their health.
It reminds me that the greater task I have is to walk, teach, and pray with people here on earth so that they may be prepared for their life of eternity. Life is short. Relationships with loved ones are cut off way too soon. The only thing that should capture our focus is the preparation for “forever.” Forever is a long, long time.
Our Savior came to earth and spent only 3 years in a public ministry setting. But, His life, death, and resurrection prepared the way for all of our eternity! (John 14:6) So losing another dear friend in Christ creates a heaviness of heart. Yet I know that the only things that we can take with us to heaven, are the eternal relationships we build through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May we all focus on the eternal days of our lives, and not so much on the temporary arrangements! My dear brother of encouragement will be missed! Happy Graduation!
Having recently preached through the Armor of God, I have been reminded of a few important items. This series has reinforced for me some important pillars of the Christian life.
One of them is the fact that the adversary will go to any degree to keep you from living and pleasing our Lord. Ephesians 6:11 states, “… that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” He is scheming to confuse the believer about the way and things of God.
A second thought that impacted me is that the Word of God, the Bible, is critical to spiritual warfare. The one who is defeated, is not reading the Word! Every single one of the six pieces of armor are fused to the Word of God. Truth is anchored in the Scriptures. The Helmet of Salvation comes from knowing the Bible. Having genuine salvation, faith, readiness, and truth all comes through and from the Holy Scripture. All six pieces of the armor are directly related to the Scriptures! Therefore, if you are going to live a victorious Christians life, your words, thoughts, and actions must be anchored in the words of the Bible.
The final thought is the key verse that we as a church memorized together.
V.13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day …” This “evil day,” is the day of satanic influence and attack upon your life. It is not some huge event in the future. It is the day that Satan or his dark forces are after you. If you haven’t spent time in prayer, in his word, do not have him as the focus of your life, and are not controlled by the Spirit of God in that time, you are going down to defeat. And, it will affect many, not just yourself. That time of attack is different for all of us. One may be attacked financially, another with lust, and someone else with discouragement. We must be ready as a good soldier of Jesus Christ to know how with Scripture to win the battle.
Friend, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Ephesians 6:10