Summary: Palm Sunday is the opportunity to prepare for Holy Week and the emotional roller-coaster it involves
great story from a couple of years ago was reported by Robert Bazell of NBC News. After an attempted IED attack near Tikrit the hospital at Camp Speicher was down to 10% of its blood supply. Brian Suam, was first in line to donate blood when the call went out. His blood was going to be used for one of the insurgents who was undergoing surgery. When asked about this he said, "A human life is a human life, sir."
I don't know if the reporter expected Suam to be upset at the thought or what but I know some who very well would have been outraged at the thought of doing anything to help such people. When I meet such people, I have to wonder if they realize that Jesus did the same thing Suam did. His blood was used to save the lives of rebellious insurgents—us. His life, his arrest, his execution and his resurrection were all done to save the lives of those who had no business being saved—us. His suffering, his loneliness, his being abandoned by God the Father served no other purpose than to make sure sinful and disobedient humans—us-- would not be condemned to hell.
We're at the end of Ephesians. Paul nearly constant exposure to Roman soldiers is a root for this warrior passage. He's in prison, most likely in Rome. He may be under house arrest, chained to a guard or in a cell of some type either way he knew what soldiers wore and why. Now a lot of sermons focus on the parts of the armor and I'm sure you can find such message is you'd like but I want us to see a bigger picture here. Look at verse 10-11 for here is the reason for all that follows
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes"
We are commanded to be continually made strong "in the Lord". And here is the secret to strength-it is in Christ. We cannot do it. We get tired, burned out and lose interest. We will not do it. There are too many other demands, dreams and desires, which look more promising than Jesus.
But when Jesus is the source of our strength, we find God accomplishing things in and through us we never imagined. Our lives are changed. The lives of those around us are changed. The lives of people we will never know are changed. And all because of the strength God gives us.
And here's another reason we are commanded to keep on being strong. It is so we can "stand". The verb used can mean to abide, keep, covenant or remain in place. We do it in Christ for the purpose of defeating Satan.
Mark Twain in his book The Innocents Abroad describes visiting Pompeii which was destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Forgotten it wasrediscovered in the 1740's with later work beginning in the mid 1800's. Twain's tells of the various bodies found and their various positions then he writes;
"... perhaps the most poetical thing Pompeii has yielded to modern research, was that grand figure of a Roman soldier, clad in complete armor; who, true to his duty, true to his proud name of a soldier of Rome, and full of the stern courage which had given to that name its glory, stood to his post by the city gate, erect and unflinching, till the hell that raged around him burned out the dauntless spirit it could not conquer...."
Here is one who stands, ready against the worse his world can through at him, the superheated and poisonous air of Vesuvius. Still at his post, he is a testimony to what it meant to be a Roman soldier.
We are at war. I'm not talking about the U.S. War on Terror. I'm not talking about being at odds with congress and the like. I'm not talking about disagreements with people at work, in or homes or in the community. I'm talking about a spiritual warfare that involves demonic forces that want to destroy us and all that Christ stands for.
Don't believe me? I'm sorry. I've walked too long as a Christ follower not to believe in a personal evil. I've experienced too many people affected by demonic influences to dismiss it as psychosis, lack of education or something that can be explained by science.
So how do we stand firm, planted and unmoved, against the devil and his demons? First, don't believe the movies about demons and Satan. Second, we stand firm in Christ armed with his armor not ours.
• God is true. God's truth trumps human truth. Don't compromise it or water it down as so many are tempted to do in our world today.