Summary: We are all given a charge by Christ to stand for Him
A Charge to Keep
September 12, 2004
Three years ago the bright blue skies of New York, Washington D.C., and rural Pennsylvania were pierced by a series of hijacked planes as part of a diabolical plan to pierce the heart and soul of our nation. Three years ago we woke from our dreaming to find that we were living in a nightmare. Our hearts broke as we watched planes used as missiles, our icons reduced to rubble. We watched as lives were lost and our false security was shattered. We watched as millions turned their eyes back toward God only to turn away once the crisis was over.
On that September day, we watched as war was declared upon our nation and we saw devastation unlike any we have ever known before. War has been declared against us and somehow I believe that we have forgotten that fact. We have forgotten the widows who will now raise their children alone. We have forgotten the parents who will never again be able to hold their children. We have forgotten the heroism of ordinary people who rose to the occasion in extraordinary ways.
We have forgotten that this battle did not begin on September 11th but rather that it began shortly after the dawn of time. It began in a peaceful garden and a lie that would change all of humanity. This war is fought not through physical means but rather through spiritual means and sadly we have forgotten our place is not on the sidelines but on the frontlines. Our battle is not about land, material wealth or anything of that nature. Our fight is for the souls of others all around us each and every day.
As we turn to the scriptures this morning I want to look at one of the battle cry passages of the New Testament, turn with me to Ephesians 6:10-13. We are very familiar with the verses that follow this section of the passage but I think that far too often we miss the charge that the apostle Paul issues to us.
I. Christians are given the charge to be strong (10)
Our strength rests in a person
Paul issues a charge for the Ephesian church and for our church as well. He calls us to be strong because he understood the reality of the battle that we would be facing. The need for strength is clear enough to see because we all have it. The truth is that we have a deep personal need for an inner strength that will give us the ability to get through the daily grind of life. This strength impacts each and every day that we live on this earth and it helps us live faithfully for the next life.
Paul shows this daily need coming into our lives in two related ways. The first is found in God being the source of the strength we so desperately need. The only source of the deep inner strength that gets you through life is God and anything else is just a cheap imitation.
Paul relates this truth earlier in the book of Ephesians.
I pray that out of His glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being. Ephesians 3:16
God has the strength that you need and He wants to give it to you, all you have to do is ask Him for it. Our strength is not in the flesh, it is not in the will of our mind. It is not in the realm of physical means, the strength that we need is spiritual in nature.
Our strength results form His power
The second way Paul speaks of the strength is in the sufficiency of God’s power. Paul is literally saying that everything that we need in this inner strength does not come from within us but rather it all comes from God’s own personal power. In other words; the deepest needs of your life cannot be met by your abilities or your efforts. Instead we must rely on god to give us the strength that we need out of the depth of His resources.
II. Christians are given the charge to stand (11)
Our ability to stand involves preparation
Paul tells the church that they must be willing and able to stand. It is important to remember that Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison and would have likely been chained to a Roman soldier at all times. So Paul uses a military term that all of his readers would have easily understood and was a call for the soldiers to hold their position against an enemy assault.
Paul is describing a process that the Christian must go through in order to stand. The first step is to be strengthened by God Himself and allow His power to flow into our lives. The next step Christians need to take in order to stand is to put on the full armor of God. The word here for put on was understood as a permanent act, so that when one put God armor on they were never to take it off. Once we have the strength of God in out lives we need to be ready and willing to hold our position against attack.