Ephesians 6:10; Deut. 31: 6,7; Joshua 1:6,7
Rev. Dr. Bishop E. Carter III,
When I was led by the Spirit to assess and choose the 2019 annual theme for Bethsaida Missionary Baptist Church, we were coming out of the 2018 theme which was “Press On” (meaning looking forward to Jesus and not back at the world).
In order to press on, you got to make healthy choices to be fit for the kingdom, for fitness requires getting in shape , exercising your faith, depending on your strength being shaped by the Word and not the world. Yes, you need to not only being in shape physically, but God requires you also to be in shape spiritually. This is the only way you are going to be fit for the kingdom, not the kingdom made by man, but the kingdom of God, which includes heaven.
To be fit in the world requires exercises, proper foods, and essential rest. Exercises are essential for stability, growth, and maintenance of the physical body. Stretchin, pushing up, pulling down, running , walking, lifting , holding, and picking up weights are essential to exercising. When we maintain a practice of exercises, we strengthen the body. Our arms, our legs, our muscles of the body are preserving and strengthening.
Healthy choices include eating the proper foods to aid in the care of the body through nutrition and consumption. We need vitamins, proteins, and the right balances of starches. We must take in fluids like water and juices through the proper foods, such as milk, were we get calcium. We must rest, it the proper sleep and brakes to our activities to achieve making healthy choices.
Healthy choices apply spiritually also. You must make good choices and activities to achieve spiritual maintenances. You must study to show yourself approved. You must work out your soul salvation by prayer, sanctification (growing in grace), studying, meditation and worship. You must exercise your faith through these disciplines that are building blocks to our righteousness.
Now that we have reviewed the ability to press on, we must also “Be Strong.” Allow me to give evidence how we are to press on to be strong from some of my sermons previously preached:
· We Need to Live Right, by presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice , bybeing transformed by the renewing of our minds. We got to give God thru Jesus our all, not just on Sunday, but Sunday through Saturday , Mind, Body, and Soul.... by Serving, Suffering, and Sacrifice. Romans 12: 1-3.
· We Need to be Glad to Be in His Service, Glad to witness for the Lord, Glad to tell somebody, Glad to Lift Up the Name of Jesus, Mark 4:1-12; 1Tim. 3:8-10.
· The Lord is the Strength of My Life. My real strength comes thru Jesus. Psalms 27.
· Stay with the Lord, and Stand By Me, remember, Jesus said “ I will go with you all the way, even until the end of the world. Psalm 90.
· Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone, the process & practice doing the First Things First everybody must give an account unto the Lord. Romans 14:2.
Just to name a few.
Thus, this Theme is taken from Deut. 31:6-7. Be Strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, trusting and relying on him that goes before you; and so take heart, and be of good courage, and act the manly part; and the apostle also seems to refer to this in I Cor. 16:13 - Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be Strong. A Christian is always in danger, therefore should ever be on the watch. He should be fixed in the faith of the gospel, and never desert or give up. By faith alone he will be able to keep his ground in an hour of temptation. Christians should be careful that charity not only reigns in their hearts, but shines in their lives. There is a great difference between Christians’ firmness and feverish warmth and transport. The apostle gave particular directions as to some who served the cause of Christ among them. Those who serve the saints, those who desire the honor of the churches, to remove reproaches from them, are to be thought much of, and loved. They should willingly acknowledge the worth of such, and all who labored with or helped the Apostle.
In the Christian life we battle against “principalities and powers,” the powerful evil forces of fallen Angels lead by Satan who is a vicious fighter (1 Peter 5:8). That’s why we catch so much hell daily. To stand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of his armor. Paul is not only giving this counsel to the church, the body of Christ, but to all individuals within the church. The whole body needs to be armed. As you do battle against “the rulers of darkness of this world,” fight in the strength of the church, whose power comes from the Holy Spirit.Those who are not just Flesh and blood are demons over whom Satan has control. They are not mere fantasies. They are very real. Not what we have experienced with this Pandemic. Note what we have recently and are presently facing with these political catastrophes including this insurrection, chaos, conspiracies, and racist maneuvers. We face a powerful army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ and join his church, these beings become our enemies, and they try to turn us away from Christ and back to sin which is the world. Although we are assured victory, we must engage in the struggle until Christ comes, because Satan is constantly battling against all who are on the Lord’s side. We need supernatural power to defeat Satan, and God has provided in his Holy Spirit within us and his armor surrounding us. If you feel discouraged, remember Jesus’ words to Peter: “Upon this Rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it! Matthew 16:18.
That is why we must put on God’s armor:
1. Have your lions gritted about with truth
2. Have on the breast plate of righteousness
3. Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace
4. And above all, take the shield of faith , wherewith he shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
5. And, take the helmet of salvation,
6. And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
7. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching there unto with a all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
8. And for me , that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
Today, we are so concerned about what we are wearing and what we are putting on...clothing, applying makeup, & having our hair with design, that we lack the awareness of what we take in to our bodies mostly our minds. We need to have more concern about putting on the armor of God to protect us from the darts of evil thrown daily because this world is no friend to grace.
Let me remind you, the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. Be Strong! God bless !