Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Whole Armor of God, Part 13b

Today I return to my series of articles commenting on the concept and principles involved in the Armor of God, which the Apostle Paul described in the New Testament. This is the topic of the Sunday school lesson, which I am currently teaching.

That you may be able to withstand in the evil day: Ephesians 6:13.
Evil comes against each one of us in one form or another. This scripture (Ephesians 6:13) is telling us that we are to be able to withstand it (evil).

Solomon writes that evil comes upon us unawares. Ecclesiastics 9:11,12 illustrates this fact, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them."

Solomon writes that time and chance takes place, and overtakes all people. We live thinking that life will continue on only to discover we are old. This happens through no fault of one’s own. It just happens. Chance happens to each of us. A person is at the wrong place at the wrong time or is at the right place at the right time.

To deal with the unexpected, or even to prevent it, requires faith in God and God’s help. Only He knows the future.

My brother, at 17 years of age in September of 1969, was driving south on State Route 19 out of Fremont, Ohio. He crossed a railroad track and started around a wide bend trying to drive it at 75 miles per hour. The front right tire went off the pavement onto the gravel berm. He quickly whipped the steering wheel to the left at which point the car rolled, the door flew open, and he was thrown out of the car. It rolled over him: killing him instantly. He was caught at an evil time which came upon him suddenly. Before we say he didn’t withstand in the evil day we need to realize that he was born-again. That means that he went to heaven when he died.

Granted, this was a situation of his individual choosing. When you are being thrown out of the car and the car is rolling over you; your options are few. At that time, your previous relationship with the Almighty becomes mighty important. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father but by me (John 14:6).” Once a person is born-again they are going to heaven when they die. They do not have to fear the future. You can repent of your sins by confessing to God that you are a sinner and inviting Jesus into your heart and be born again.

December 22, 1964 I had my own encounter of being caught at an evil time. Driving down a mountain road in Iran toward Kerman, Iran I rolled the ¾ ton truck I was driving. I was pulling a trailer behind me which had no brakes. In negotiating a wide left hand turn in the road the trailer tried to pass me on the right. I turned the steering wheel to get the truck aligned with the trailer but to no avail and the truck ran into the side of the mountain and rolled over. When the accident was investigated the investigators were amazed that the cab was not torn off the truck. They noticed that I had lashed a completely full propane bottle, five feet in height, to a bow behind the cab and the truck pivoted on the propane bottle. The truck was still drivable although the cab heater was smashed. The company commander was tired of the troops having accidents so he put out the word that the next soldier to have a vehicle accident was going to be hung. Not actually of course, but the soldier may wish he were dead after the company commander finished with him. Yours truly was the next soldier to have a vehicle accident. Another small problem was that I had not passed my driver’s test to get a driver's license. I was given a license anyway. The motor pool sergeant ssid he would teach me to drive. He had not, so he was also facing big trouble.

To repair the vehicle; parts were taken off of other vehicles which were salvage vehicles. The cost of the parts thus used was counted as zero. One vehicle was over a thousand miles away and a mechanic had to take a boat to the vehicle to retrieve it. On the trip He was even caught in foul weather on the Strait of Hormuz and in a fire fight between warring tribes on the other side of the Strait from Iran in Oman. The financial threshold for reporting an accident was fifty dollars. The stated cost of repairing the vehicle came to forty-seven dollars and fifty cents. The accident was never reported. God had taken care of me both in the accident and in the aftermath.

Remember, the evil day comes at a time when we are not expecting it. It is God’s power that protects us and sees us through enabling us to withstand in the evil day.

The Psalmist makes this statement in Psalms 46:1b-7:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

“The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

It is important to withstand in the evil day when our faith is attacked. We are to be faithful unto death.

What Jesus said to the church of Smyrna is appropriate for each one of us today. Revelation 2:10 states, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

The statement in Revelation 12:11 is worth remembering today. “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

A vivid demonstration of the above verse is that of the first martyr, Stephen. His history is found in Acts 6:8-7:60. Stephen was disputing with some people of the synagogue of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicia and Asia. These brought Stephen before the council and brought false charges against him. When he was allowed to speak he preached to them telling them that Jesus is the Prophet Moses spoke about who would come after Moses. The council was enraged at Stephen. They dragged him out of Jerusalem and stoned him to death. Stephen held on to his faith and was faithful unto death. He withstood in the evil day.

In 1974 the North Korean government claimed to have eradicated the last of the Christians in the country. It seems they were building a road for their leader to travel in the country when they found 29 Christians who had been living underground for two decades. Four of the group were quickly hung by the neck. The others were allowed to live so they could be crushed while alive with a steam-roller beginning with the feet and moving up the torso with each successive pass.

Does this seem cruel to you? Barack Husain Obama has just signed hate crimes legislation protecting homosexuality. His avowed goal is to make each American accept homosexuality as a normal life style. The Christians have not been united politically in this country to support godliness in government policies thus allowing the godless to legalize immorality and punish godliness. Unless the situation is changed quickly overt state persecution of Christians is possible.

Prepare now to withstand in the evil day.

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