Christian Universe ™
Taking A Stand
September 18, 2011
We are meek, but not weak. In fact, we have strength as we stand in Christ, and look for God for our power. Armed with the protective spiritual gear and the offensive and defensive weapons of the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit, we take our stand against spiritual wickedness in high places -- whether that high place is government, the entertainment industry, education, or even in religious bodies. Our lives may be required, or we may have to suffer, but we must stand firm upon God's true word.
Taking A Stand
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 09-18-2011
Presented to Load church of Christ on 09-25-2011
We recently discussed the importance of meekness in our lives, and that meekness does not equal weakness. We saw how many holy men of God suffered because of their stand for God’s truth and righteousness.
Many take a stand, willing to fight, for their denomination’s doctrines or their own personal interpretation of certain scriptures. I want to examine when, how, and under what circumstances we should take a stand.
Ephesians 6:10 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Our fight is not against fleshly soldiers, but against the deceitful devices of the devil, against principal people and leaders of darkness in the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. We must arm ourselves against such wickedness. Once armed, we are to stand.
How do we gird for this battle? We speak truth. We live in righteousness. We preach the gospel of peace. We shield ourselves with our faith in God. We live in the knowledge and hope of salvation. Our weapon is the Word of God, which cuts like a sword into the innermost thoughts of the heart. In prayer, we keep open the lines of communication with our King and leader.
We must be ready to recognize evil for what it is, and be ready to take a stand.
Ephesians 5:8 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light."
We reprove the works of darkness. Reprove here means to expose or reveal. We need to stand together as we reprove the wickedness that lies around us in this world.
Philippians 1:27 "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;"
When we walk in righteousness, we reprove works of darkness. Sometimes, when we do reprove them, we become hated by those who engage in works of darkness. This is when we have to be strong, stand like mature adults, and face the enemy – spiritual wickedness in high places.
1 Corinthians 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
14 Let all your things be done with charity.
15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth."
While taking a stand for truth, that truth must be spoken in love. We are strong in the Lord and the power of His might, and that translates into a life of love and care for others.
Matthew 5:44 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"
Not only are we to stand strong against evil in the world, and spiritual wickedness in high places, but we are to stand in liberty. It is when we take a strong stand for good, and are able to acknowledge and live within the freedom of righteousness, that the power of God shines forth.
Galatians 5:10 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
Our strength does not come from religious legalism, from the letter of the law, but from living righteously within the freedom that God has granted us. Many physical things that concern us do not concern God. He holds no regard for many of the things that we might judge important.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."
Many abuse the above charge of the apostle Paul to the Thessalonians regarding traditions. They use this verse to justify continuing local or widespread church traditions, but that is not what this is about. The traditions that Paul delivered to the Gentile converts had to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The traditions that Paul taught by word of mouth or by letter were those things that Jesus had taught him to teach.
Galatians 1:15 "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus."
Galatians 1:11 "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Traditions of men will not stand before the truth of God’s word. There is no great strength in man’s traditions, but there is power in the word of God Almighty.
1 Corinthians 2:1 "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
2 Corinthians 4:5 "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
Take a stand for truth and righteousness, buttressed by the power of God!