Summary: A message from I Corinthians 16:13 (Ephesians 6:13) to an immoral and discouraged people to stand Ready, Stand Firm, and Stand Strong
Introduction: Decadence and despair haunt many of America's youth. Perhaps fourteen-year-old Rod Matthews represents the most horrible extreme. Uninterested in baseball or books, Rod found one thing that did stimulate him: Death. His curiosity was intensely aroused by a rental video, Faces of Death, a collage of film clips of people dying violently. He wanted to see death happen in real life. So one winter day Rod lured a young friend into the woods and hammered him to death with a baseball bat. At Matthews's trial a child psychiatrist testified that the boy was not conventionally insane. He just "doesn't know right from wrong...He is morally handicapped."
(Charles Colson, Against the Night, pp. 21-22.)
I think that describes society today, not insane but just doesn't know right from wrong they are morally handicapped. It's impossible it seems to ignore the decadence and depravity around us. It was bad before, but there was at least an understanding, an acknowledgment of what sin is and that it was detestable and something to be ashamed of and repented of. Today sin is as casual, acceptable, and mainstream as anything in the world. In modern times, sin is applauded and promoted, while righteousness and virtue are mocked and despised. The images of raunchiness, fornication, hatred, violence, paganism, blasphemy, and all manner of wickedness surround us wherever we go. How can you escape it? We are strangers in a strange land.
In these hectic and stressful times it is natural for any Christian to feel discouraged. After all, It is only the Christian who would be discouraged at such depravity, false Christians couldn't care less. Sometimes we feel like throwing in the towel and giving up and surrender to evil and proclaim it the winner, lifting up our hands and saying what's the point? No one is listening.
The Bride of the Christ and the building of the church are different. The Bride of Christ is the true Church. Just as we saw in the churches in Revelation, there were those that were earnest for Christ, even if their fellow church goers were not, and the Lord gave them hope. The Lord is coming back for his bride and He is coming back for a Bride without spot or wrinkle. Holiness won't win you heaven, The very thought of evil is sin before God. You are in constant sin no matter what you do or how hard you try and therefor You need a Savior – your righteousness will not save you, only Jesus saves! We are made holy through the blood of Jesus. However, Mark 1:15 says repent and believe! Acts 2:38 says Repent and be baptized. He is not coming back for a harlot, like The prostitute wife of Hosea, He is not coming back for a bride who flirts with the world and is constantly caught in spiritual adultery. At the end of the season, the wheat will be harvested and the tares will be left behind! The sheep will be kept while the goats will be separated unto judgment!
“Therefor put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand, stand firm then, ...” Eph. 6:13,14 We see how this verse closely parallels I Corinthians 16:13
“Be on your guard stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” -I Cor. 16:13
Transition: In Paul's letter to the immoral Corinthians we learn that we must Stand Ready, Stand Firm, and Stand Strong.
I. We Must Stand Ready
“Be on your guard. .”
Some other translations say 'be watchful', 'watch ye', 'be vigilant', 'be ready' etc. The point is a Christian is always in danger, and should always be watching out for the enemy who is constantly going to and fro looking for someone to devour. Paul saw the wolf around and in the Corinthian church and warns them to be ready and watching. The imagery is that of a watchman in a watchtower of on the castle wall looking for any sign of mischief outside the city walls. There are many reasons why Christians should be on guard: We must stand ready because there are many people who are watching us; God is watching us, He sees and takes notice of all our actions; the angels are watching and watching over us, and other Christians are watching us, for our good; and evil men are watching us to find some fault to diminish us in the eyes of others; and the devil is watching us and waiting for an opportunity to do cause trouble if possible.
Paul is warning an immature group of Christians in Corinth to be on their guard. Apparently, they hadn't been and needed a reminder to do so, they were fighting amongst themselves, there was no order in service, they misunderstood basic doctrine, they were allowing sin in the church and had one who was having an ongoing sexual relationship with his step mother. Something that was even unacceptable to the pagans, and yet it was going on their church. So the Corinthians had issues. The Enemy had his hands firmly in this church because they hadn't been watching and they weren't ready when their 'day of evil came'