Sound the Battle Cry – Calvary Tengah BP Church, Joyful Singers
Reformation Sunday, 31 Oct 2010
Thus says the LORD: “If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,” says the LORD. Jeremiah 31:37
Astronomers estimate the universe to be at least 93 billion light years in diameter—and a light year is six trillion miles. But the universe is expanding. As for the depths of the earth, the deepest part of the ocean is 6.85 miles—and it is nearly 3,959 miles to the center of the earth. So we have barely scratched the surface.
The prophets knew nothing of these numbers. They used the immensity of the universe and the size of the earth as measures of impossibility. When it came to the probability of God going back on His promises to Abraham, Jeremiah said (paraphrasing), “You could measure the universe and depths of the earth before God would go back on His Word. And we know the heavens and the earth cannot be measured.” It turns out that Jeremiah’s pre-scientific analogy was very accurate. Just as there is no end to the universe, so there is no end to God’s loyalty to Israel.
As a follower of Jesus, you are a spiritual child of Abraham. God’s promises of spiritual blessing to Abraham are promises to you as well.
God promises to keep His people, and He will keep His promises.
Charles H. Spurgeon
When you wake up in the morning and get ready for the day, you’re probably not thinking about stepping onto a battlefield. But the enemy is all around us, constantly assaulting our heart and mind with temptations, adversities, emotional attacks, and more. And some days, it feels as though we are standing on the front lines of combat with no protection whatsoever.
Therein lies our misunderstanding. You see, we do have protection. The Lord made provision for our nakedness in battle. He hasn’t sent us to war unprotected. Instead, He’s given us a suit of armor that the enemy can’t penetrate—the armor of God.
In today’s passage, the apostle Paul tells us step by step how to prepare for our daily warfare, and yet most Christians don’t pay much attention to the instruction. We may say, “Well, that’s a nice metaphor, but we shouldn’t take it literally. After all, the armor isn’t real.” Yes, it is. It is as real as the clothes on your back.
Do you want to see a dramatic change in your life? Do you want to stand strong in the face of adversity? Do you want to overcome temptation? Then you need to dress for battle.
I challenge you to intentionally put on your spiritual armor every day for the next seven days. Put on one piece at a time—the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sandals of peace, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit. Just try it as you meditate daily on Ephesians 6:10-18, and watch what God will do.
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ).” (Philippians 3:17-18)
Godly leaders are responsible for living exemplary lives so that those whom they teach will both follow and eventually become leaders of others. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ,” Paul demanded of the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 11:1). “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works,” he instructed Titus (Titus 2:7). But Paul was first a follower of the life example of Christ.
Today’s verse uses some unusual terms to both define the responsibility to follow and mark those walking after Paul’s lifestyle. Memos is Greek for “follow,” compounded with a prefix that means “together.” Our English word “mimic” comes from memos. We are expected to imitate the examples of those who lead godly lives, who themselves are committed to emulate the Lord Jesus.
Further, we are expected to “mark” those living after godly examples. The Greek word skopeo is the strongest word among several for identifying someone or something. It has the sense of intense observation. In the secular literature, it is sometimes used for a spy. God expects us to pay careful attention to those who “have the rule over [us]” (Hebrews 13:17).
And we are to watch out for those who may influence us for evil. There are “enemies” of the Lord Jesus. Those are sometimes among us, and we must “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). May God give us the discernment to know the difference between “good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). HMM III
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments. —Psalm 133:1-2
And just as Aaron’s body had the oil dripping down around it, onto his clothing, so that he smelled like the oil that had been put on his head, so this living together in unity among the Lord’s people brings a blessing of oil, an anointment that comes down upon us. It’s the same ointment that ran on the head of Jesus, even the Holy Spirit, and comes down all over His people. You and I are members of that Body of which He is the Head and the oil that flowed on His head can flow down over His Body which is you and me, and we can keep an unbroken continuity of life from the Jordan River. The life of the Holy Spirit came upon the head of Jesus and it comes now upon you and me and upon all the people of God that dwell together in unity.
Are we such that God can bless us? Do we have this unity of determination to glorify the Lord alone… of a determination to see the Lord work, of oneness in present expectation, of submission to the Lord and of resolution to put away everything that hinders? If we are, then we’re a united people and we may expect any time the oil that flowed on the head of Jesus to flow down over us and bring oil and blessing and life for evermore. SAT101
Lord, give us that unity, that absorption, that resolution to put away anything that hinders. Let us feel the oil. Amen.
Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)
As God created us, we all have to some degree the power to imagine. That imagination is of great value in the service of God may be denied by some persons who have erroneously confused the word “imagination” with the word “imaginary.”
The gospel of Jesus Christ has no truck with things imaginary. The most realistic book in the world is the Bible. God is real. Men are real and so is sin and so are death and hell! The presence of God is not imaginary; neither is prayer the indulgence of a delightful fancy.
The value of the cleansed imagination in the sphere of religion lies in its power to perceive in natural things shadows of things spiritual. A purified and Spirit-controlled imagination is the sacred gift of seeing; the ability to peer beyond the veil and gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal.
The stodgy pedestrian mind does no credit to Christianity!
“He appeared first to Mary Magdalene.“—Mark 16:9.
If we would see much of Christ, let us serve him Tell me who they are that sit oftenest under the banner of his love, and drink deepest draughts from the cup of communion, and I am sure they will be those who give most, who serve best, and who abide closest to the bleeding heart of their dear Lord.
But notice how Christ revealed himself to this sorrowing one—by a word, “Mary.” It needed but one word in his voice, and at once she knew him, and her heart owned allegiance by another word, her heart was too full to say more. That one word most fitting. It implies obedience. She said “Master.”