Hervey Bay Presbyterian Church

 Holiness: The fight

There is a warfare which concerns every Christian man and woman born into the world. The warfare is the spiritual warfare. It is the fight which everyone who would be saved must fight about his soul. It has consequences which are awful, tremendous, and most peculiar.

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12, NIV)

  • True Christianity is a fight.  The true Christian is called to be a soldier, and must behave as such from the day of his conversion to the day of his death. He is not meant to live a life of religious ease, indolence, and security.
  • Christians do not fight with other Christians.  The fight is not perpetual controversy. The cause of sin is never so much helped as when Christians waste their strength in quarrelling with one another, and spend their time in petty squabbles.
  • The fight of the Christian is with the world, the flesh, and the devil. These are his never-dying foes. Unless he gets the victory over these three, all other victories are useless and vain. With a corrupt heart, a busy devil, and an ensnaring world, he must either “fight” or be lost.
  • He must fight the flesh. That heart will never be free from imperfection in this world, and it is a miserable delusion to expect it. The Lord Jesus bids us “watch and pray.”  There is need of a daily struggle and a daily wrestling in prayer.

No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:27, NIV)

  • The Christian must fight the world.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4, NIV)

  • The Christian must fight the devil.  Never slumbering and never sleeping, he is always “going about as a lion seeking whom he may devour.” An unseen enemy, he is always near us, about our path and about our bed, and spying out all our ways. A “murderer and a liar” from the beginning, he labours night and day to cast us down to hell. (1Peter 5:8; John 8:44)

Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11–12, NIV)

  • Where there is grace there will be conflict. The believer is a soldier. There is no holiness without a warfare. Saved souls will always be found to have fought a fight.
  • It is a fight of absolute necessity. In this war we can’t remain neutral and sit still.  To be at peace with the world, the flesh and the devil, is to be at enmity with God, and in the broad way that leads to destruction. We have no choice or option. We must either fight or be lost.
  • It is a fight of universal necessity.  All have by nature a heart full of pride, unbelief, sloth, worldliness, and sin. All are living in a world beset with snares, traps, and pitfalls for the soul. All have near them a busy, restless, malicious devil.
  • It’s a fight of perpetual necessity.   “Even on the brink of Jordan,” said a dying saint, “I find Satan nibbling at my heels.” We must fight till we die.  The worst chains are those which are neither felt nor seen by the prisoner.
  • The child of God has two great marks about him, and of these two we have one. HE MAY BE KNOWN BY HIS INWARD WARFARE, AS WELL AS BY HIS INWARD PEACE.

True Christianity is a fight by faith

  • The truth of God’s written Word is the primary foundation of the Christian soldier’s character. No one ever fights earnestly against the world, the flesh and the devil, unless he has engraved on his heart certain great principles which he believes.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

  • Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ’s person, work, and office, is the life, heart, and mainspring of the Christian soldier’s character.
  • Habitual lively faith in Christ’s presence and readiness to help is the secret of the Christian soldier fighting successfully.  Nothing enables him to bear the fatigue of watching, struggling, and wrestling against sin, like the indwelling confidence that Christ is on his side and success is sure. The whole power of imperial Rome, the mistress of the world, proved unable to stamp out the religion which began with a few fishermen and publicans in Palestine! And then let us remember that believing in an unseen Jesus was the Church’s strength. They won their victory by faith.

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. (2 Timothy 1:12, NIV)

  • If Christians do nothing , it is because they do not believe. Faith is the first step toward heaven.

True Christianity is a good fight

  • Civil war, even justified war, is an immense and incalculable ethical evil which leaves behind it destruction: it stems from sin.
  • The Christian’s fight is good because fought under the best of generals. The Captain of our salvation never fails to lead His soldiers to victory. He never makes any useless movements, never errs in judgment, never commits any mistake.
  • The Christian’s fight is good, because fought with the best of helps. Chosen by God the Father, washed in the blood of the Son, renewed by the Spirit, he does not go a warfare at his own charges, and is never alone. Weak as he seems in himself, like a worm, he is strong in the Lord to do great exploits. Surely this is good!
  • The Christian fight is a good fight, because fought with the best of promises. To every believer belong exceeding great and precious promises, because they are made by One who cannot lie, and has power as well as will to keep His word.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39, NIV)

  • The Christian’s fight is a good fight, because fought with the best of issues and results. No soldiers of Christ are ever lost, missing, or left dead on the battlefield. No mourning will ever need to be put on, and no tears to be shed for either private or officer in the army of Christ. The muster roll, when the last evening comes, will be found precisely the same that it was in the morning.
 “I have not lost one of those you gave me.” (John 18:9, NIV)
  • The Christian’s fight is good, because it does good to the soul of him that fights it.  It promotes humility and charity, it lessens selfishness and worldliness, it induces men to set their affections on things above. Philip Henry, in his last days he said to his family, “I take you all to record that a life spent in the service of Christ is the happiest life that a man can spend upon earth.” Surely this is good!
  • The Christian’s fight is a good fight, because it does good to the world.  Go where you please, you will find that the presence of a few true Christians is a blessing. Surely this is good!
  • The Christian’s fight is good, because it ends in a glorious reward for all who fight it.  The bravest generals and soldiers must go down one day before the King of Terrors. Better, far better, is the position of him who fights under Christ’s banner against sin, the world, and the devil. He may get little praise of man while he lives, and go down to the grave with little honour; but he shall have that which is far better, because far more enduring.

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (1 Peter 5:4, NIV)

We see only part of it as yet. We see the struggle, but not the end; we see the campaign, but not the reward; we see the cross, but not the crown. We see a few humble, broken-spirited, penitent, praying people, enduring hardships and despised by the world; but we see not the hand of God over them, the face of God smiling on them, the kingdom of glory prepared for them. These things are yet to be revealed. Let us not judge by appearances. There are more good things about the Christian warfare than we see.

Application

  • It may be you are struggling hard for the rewards of this world. Perhaps you are straining every nerve to obtain money, or place, or power, or pleasure. If that be your case, take care. Your sowing will lead to a crop of bitter disappointment. Come out from the ways of a thoughtless, unreasoning world. Take up the cross, and become a good soldier of Christ.  None who repent and believe are too bad to be enrolled in the ranks of Christ’s army. All who come to Him by faith are admitted, clothed, armed, trained, and finally led on to complete victory.  No doubt you will often meet with trouble, fatigue, and hard fighting, before your warfare is accomplished. But let none of these things move you. Greater is He that is for you than all they that be against you. Everlasting liberty or everlasting captivity are the alternatives before you. Choose liberty, and fight to the last.
  • It may be you know something of the Christian warfare, and are a tried and proved soldier already.  Let us remember that if we would fight successfully we must put on the whole armour of God, and never lay it aside till we die.

“In heaven we shall appear, not in armour, but in robes of glory. But here our arms are to be worn night and day. We must walk, work, sleep in them, or else we are not true soldiers of Christ.” (Gurnall’s Christian Armour.)

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. (2 Timothy 2:4, NIV)

  • Let us remember that the eye of our loving Saviour is upon us, morning, noon, and night. He will never suffer us to be tempted above that we are able to bear. He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, for He suffered Himself being tempted. He knows what battles and conflicts are, for He Himself was assaulted by the Prince of this world.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15, NIV)

  • Let us remember that thousands of soldiers before us have fought the same battle that we are fighting, and come off more than conquerors through Him that loved them. They overcame by the blood of the Lamb; and so also may we.

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12, NIV)

  • Christ’s arm is quite as strong as ever, and Christ’s heart is just as loving as ever. He that saved men and women before us is one who never changes.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25, NIV)

  • Let us remember that the time is short.  A few more struggles and conflicts, and then we shall bid an eternal good-bye to warfare, and to sin, to sorrow, and to death. Then let us fight on to the last, and never surrender.

Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:7, NIV)

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