Be Strong in the Lord

Title: Be Strong in the Lord

Bible Book: Ephesians 6 : 10

Author: Jesse M. Hendley

Subject: Strength; Soldier of the Lord; Consistency



In Ephesians 6:10 God's Word says, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. 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. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."

Then the Apostle says, "And pray for me that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds, that therein I may speak boldly as I ought to speak."

I. A Terrific Struggle

The Apostle Paul is telling us that we are in a terrific conflict. The Christian life is a battle from beginning to end, a battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. We are in a desperate conflict!

Notice the word "against" in verse 12. Against, against, against, against! Four times he uses that word! He tells us that we have enemies, that the Christian life is fought on enemy territory. In Viet Nam today there is a clear line of demarcation between our forces and the forces of the enemy. They do not mix and mingle. They know the enemy, and they fight the enemy. There is a terrible war going on. But I'll tell you of one worse than that. It is the Spiritual Battle for the SOULS and the MINDS and the bodies of human beings. We are in a terrible conflict if we are Christians. People try to make a holiday out of this world, try to make a paradise here, but God says all along that this world is a place of conflict, a place of battle. It is a place where we will have to fight.

Now we don't have any strength. We have to GET strength. It is in the Lord! "Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." You've got to be IN the Lord before you can have His strength. "In the Lord" means that you are a Christian, that you have received the Lord Jesus as your Savior. "In Christ Jesus" runs through the Bible. "In the Lord." We find ourselves located within the sphere of His power, His strength, His might. How wonderful it is to have that available! When we stand in the Presence of God, we cannot say, "Lord, the battle was too strong for us. The battle was too hard for us." It isn't that we are to fight with OUR strength and OUR might, but with the might and the strength OF THE LORD!

II. A Terrific Strength

In fighting you have defense and you have offense. In verse 11 we have the defense: "Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to STAND AGAINST the wiles of the devil."

A. The Defensive Strength

I call your attention to the word "stand." Verse 11, "They ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Verse 13, "That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day." Verse 13, "Having done all, to stand." That is, after the battle is all over, to be standing on the battlefield, victor! Not vanquished, but victor! Not defeated, not down, but UP! Standing erect! After the smoke is cleared away, standing, victor!

"Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with TRUTH." He is talking about GOD'S WORD.

"And having on the breastplate of righteousness." Living righteously. "The Gospel," verse 15. Take the Good News of God's Salvation. "Above all, the shield of faith!" Confidence in the Lord! Confidence that He will see you through. Confidence that He will keep His Word. Confidence that He is strong enough to defeat the world, the flesh, the devil, every enemy you have.

"The helmet of salvation." By all means be sure you are saved. That's where the devil strikes---at the head. Right there.

B. The Offensive Strength

Now there we have our DEFENSE. Now, the OFFENSE: "And the Sword of the Spirit which is THE WORD OF GOD." That's our sword! God's WORD will vanquish the devil, the world, the flesh. The Word of God is the only means we have whereby the Spirit can help us have the victory over the enemy and drive him from the field in shame. We can have victory if we know the Word of God and use it!

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." PRAYING ALWAYS.

I want to call your attention to the word "watch" there. We are to be praying with ALL prayer. That is a LIFE of prayer! Making everything a matter of PRAYER. Are you trying to live the Christian life without the Word of God and prayer? If a Christian meditates in God's Word and lives a life of all-prayer, don't you think he will have power and victory? Yes.

C. Our Cooperative Strength

"And WATCHING with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." That means watching out for one another, caring for one another, loving one another, praying for one another, aware that the saints need our perseverance and our prayers. I heard a preacher say the other day that his father told him he had heard some preachers criticizing one another. He said, "God didn't call preachers to ‘see through’ each other, but to 'see each other through'." I like that. I think that's wonderful. So it is with the Christian. God didn't call you, Christian, to 'see through' another Christian, and try to tear down and criticize, but to try to build them up, help them, see them through! Everybody is in a battle. Everybody needs help. God has put us in this world to help people on the way.

III. A Terrific Stand

Verse 11, "STAND against the wiles of the devil."

Verse 13, "WITHSTAND in the evil day."

Verse 13, "Having done all, to STAND."

Verse 14, "STAND, therefore." Here is the word "stand," and it is a wonderful word.

We are in an evil world, and if we are going to finish victorious, we must STAND. We must be ABLE to stand. We must stand for the Lord. There is an onrushing of SIN. Young people are being tested and tempted as never before. People everywhere are. God says you've got to take a stand! There are ENEMIES awaiting your soul. The minute you become a real Christian these enemies begin to assail you. We are living in a day when many Christians are being knocked over like ten-pins before a bowling ball. What is the matter? They are not standing for THE LORD. They are not being faithful UNTO HIM. But God says to us, "STAND." But there ARE people who stand for the Lord in the midst of the evil world.

You say, "Things are bad today." But they are not as bad as they were before the Flood. We are rapidly approaching those days. "Every imagination of man's heart evil continually." Things were so wicked before the Flood that God had to clean up that mess as a man wipes a dish. He had to clean it up!

A. Enoch Took a Stand

There were two men back in those days who TOOK THEIR STAND for the Lord. Enoch took his stand FOR GOD.

B. Noah Took a Stand

Noah took his stand FOR GOD. We read, "They walked with God." Don't tell me you CAN'T walk with God, yonder in that school. Don't tell me you can't stand for God. You can. Don't tell me you can't stand for God where you work. You can. Don't tell me you can't stand for God in that environment in which you live. You can. Enoch did. Noah did. These men stood and stood faithfully, in the midst of the most prevailing evil the world has ever known. God had to wipe this world clean with a Flood, it was so wicked. Yet they took their stand for GOD in that evil world.

C. Abraham Took a Stand

Abraham in the midst of the wicked Canaanites took his stand for the Lord. These Canaanites became so evil that God commanded that they should be destroyed, every one put to the sword. Now God is a God of Love and He wouldn't do that unless He HAD to do it, unless it was an absolute extremity. Abraham walked in the midst of the Canaanites, yet was "A prince of God."

Lot sat in the gate of Sodom! Lot is a picture of a man who compromises and plays fast-and-loose with the world and does NOT take his stand for God. I remind you that Lot lost everything precious to him except his soul. God snatched him out of the fire. He is a picture of the child of God who "plays around" with the world; he will be saved but "as by fire." Just barely escapes the flames. God almighty had His angel to pick him up by the hair of the head and take him outside the city and set him down. It was just the GRACE OF GOD that saved Lot. Lot played with this world. This world is EVIL, my friends. This world is AN ENEMY of God. This world is an ENEMY of the Christian! Lot didn't take his stand. Abraham did!

D. Daniel Took a Stand

Daniel took his stand for God. You say, "Things are rough. I can't live the Christian life in this city." Oh, yes, you can. Daniel as a boy was taken captive to Babylon. Babylon was as heathen as a city could be. It was as evil as it could possibly be. But this young man Daniel TOOK HIS STAND FOR GOD, and Daniel lived such a singularly clean and pure and holy and godly and spiritual life---a man of prayer, a man of God's Word---that when the king was in trouble because God wrote the doom of the king upon the wall of the palace, he called in DANIEL, the man of God! Daniel walked with GOD. His life stood out in the midst of evil. God could use him in that tremendous moment.

E. Jeremiah Took a Stand

Jeremiah! Oh, my, of all the men in the Bible Jeremiah is certainly one of the greatest. He took his stand in an evil day FOR GOD. Jeremiah lived when Israel was in such an evil condition that she went down, down, down, down, spiritually and morally and every other way until finally she was taken away in captivity. God sent Jeremiah to witness unto them HIS WORD, and this man STOOD FOR GOD. He took his stand at the jeopardy of his life. They were seeking to kill him, and he said, "You can kill ME but you'll be guilty of innocent blood and God is going to judge you if you do." His feet were in a dungeon, but his head was in heaven!

He gave his all for God's work. They called Jeremiah a failure. There was no great revival in Jeremiah's day. There was no great soul-winning work in Jeremiah's day. Well, WAS he a failure? Is any man who takes his stand for God and Righteousness a failure? He was unpopular in his ministry. Kings opposed him. The people derided him. He didn't have many conversions. The national policy was against him. But God CALLED him and that settled it. That will settle it for any God-called man. That will settle it for any Christian. "Thus saith the Lord" is the end of all controversy, for the child of God.

Somebody said, "Jeremiah was always AGAINST everybody." Nobody likes a ministry that is always AGAINST. But there comes a time, my friend, when it is the only TRUE ministry. He's GOT to be against. Noah, in the days of the Flood when there was wickedness everywhere, had to be AGAINST. His message was a negative message, a message of repentance. John the Baptist came out of the wilderness crying, "REPENT." He was a man of God. So Jeremiah's message was against everybody. That was a popular comment about Jeremiah. Why was he? Because the nation had gone wrong in sin, and when a nation goes wrong, the prophets of God have got to be AGAINST. When a life goes wrong, God's Word SPEAKS AGAINST IT. Why? To SAVE that life! That it might TURN before it is too late.

An engineer on the railroad back in the old days said, "The red light is always against you." That's right. The red light is always against you. Jeremiah's job was to swing that RED LIGHT. My friends, you and I as Christians are to stand on the brink of hell with a red light, and we are to swing it, to keep people from falling into hell. God said, "Son of man, hear the Word at My mouth and WARN them from Me." WARN them that I am a Holy God, that I love them, that I have provided salvation, but I cannot save them if they continue to SIN." Jeremiah's job was to swing that red light, and he did it.

Now, the red light will turn to green when we get right with God. The red light turns to green when you repent of your sins. But, my friend, as long as you are walking contradictory to God, the red light is AGAINST you. God's Word is against you. Even God will have to be against you. They turned God into their Enemy, His own people! He brought them up out of Egypt, and yet they lived so in sin that they turned God into their Enemy. What a terrible thing that is.

"Leave me alone. I want to live my own life," you say. A woman had accidentally taken a drug and she was dying. As the doctors were trying to save her, she was fighting her saviors, fighting against them, saying, "Let me alone, let me alone!"

How many people are like that. You try to give them the Good News of the Gospel, and they say, "Let me alone!" Drugged by the world, drugged by the flesh, drugged by the devil. They don't know their condition. God is troubling them, shaking them, and they are crying, "Let me alone!" God is trying to shake them but they rebel.

I tell you, God in His love is not going to let people go down without shaking them. We'd better not say, "Let me alone" to God. We'd better fall on our knees and cry, "God, be merciful to me a sinner and save me for Jesus' sake," and repent and receive the Lord Jesus Christ. God will FAITHFULLY afflict us, in order to get us back, if we won't listen to His Word. He will discipline us if we don't discipline ourselves. He will prove us, whether we mean business or not. God has proved all His people. Life is a proving ground. Life is a time of testing. Life is no bed of roses. God is going to really put us to the test. He is going to really shake us.

F. You can TAKE a STAND

"STAND!" Take your stand! Stand for GOD!

You say, "Brother Hendley, if I take my stand it will mean difficulty." But if you will withstand your enemies, it will mean victory now and victory at the end of the way. Christ has never been defeated! Learn to stand alone for God! Too many people are trying to lean for their support upon other people, but when you come to die, there won't be anybody to lean on. There will just be the LORD. So learn now to lean upon the Lord, to lean upon your God. Learn to stand alone for God! God will bless you if you take your stand for Him.

As we take our stand for the Lord, we will be seeking souls for Him. A man died the other day. Five years ago two of our men witnessed to him in a hospital. He received Christ, joined a church and followed the Lord in baptism and lived for the Lord. The other day he dropped dead suddenly. How glad those men were that they had gone to that hospital and led him to Christ! And how glad HE IS, that he received Jesus that day.

Beloved, let's TAKE OUR STAND, for the Lord, and LIVE for Him in the power of His might.

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