Rise Up O Men of God!

“This is not a moment for timid souls. Boldness comes easily when you are in the presence of those who agree with you; it is difficult when you are standing alone in the midst of people who seek your demise. Boldness behind a pulpit is one thing; boldness in a city council meeting is another. Boldness is seen most clearly when you have burned the bridge that would have enabled you to retreat to safety.”

Erwin Lutzer, We Will Not Be Silenced: Responding Courageously to Our Cultures Assault on Christianity, 120.

We are at a critical point in the history of the world and the Church. Should the Lord tarry, our children will look back on these dark and trying days and judge whether we were courageous in the face of great opposition or see evidence of compromise and capitulation. What will make the difference? Can I suggest a few things from Acts 4:8-12, where the disciples ran into their first major confrontation with aggression?

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:8-12)

1. The disciples were filled with the Spirit.

This is the only way a group of Christ-followers who were cowering behind locked doors only a few days before could be so radically different. Courage and boldness is not for those of this type of personality. Boldness and courage filled the hearts of those filled with the Spirit.

2. The disciples testified to Jesus Christ.

The evangelical church is scattered and divided about a lot of things today—spiritual gifts, baptism modes, music, methodology, women in ministry, and more. Don’t get me wrong, hese are all incredibly important things. But the primary need for standing firm against the onslaught of the enemy is the gospel message. The heart and focus must highlight the cross of Jesus Christ and the atoning work accomplished. Everything else must be seen in its subordinate place.

3. The disciples upheld the importance of the resurrection of Christ.

The resurrection points to the acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. It is not tangential, but central. The resurrection of Christ points to our own future resurrection and glorification. If you grasp this, then courage is sure to come because nothing—NOTHING—can stop you. Not even death.

4. The disciples never forgot that Jesus was rejected too.

If you forget that they hated Jesus, you might be tempted into the sin of seeking to please man. But if you remember that they hated our Lord and crucified the Lord of glory, then we will not be surprised when they hate us as well—no matter how winsome or loving or kind we might be.

5. The disciples knew that there is no other hope for the world than Jesus.

If a person could be saved through Islam, or Mormonism, or liberation theology, then it would be much easier to just quietly practice our faith privately without any care about others because they’ll eventually get to heaven too. But the message of Jesus was clear—He is the only way to the Father. And that should embolden us because although some people might want to silence us or shout us down, we can’t be silent if we truly love them.

Brothers and sisters, don;t lose heart. Jesus is coming soon, but we have work to do and we can’t allow the shouts of the world to drown us out.

Remembering Jesus Christ

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:8–10, ESV)

Where do we as Christians go for our strength? In 2 Timothy 2:1 Paul gave us the answer: “be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus…” Now, in his continuing lesson to Timothy, Paul returns to this critical truth.

In verse 8, Paul begins with the necessity to “remember Jesus Christ.” How odd that he should have to say to a pastor to “remember Jesus Christ!” The verb “to remember” points to the need for ongoing remembrance—a consistent effort—to remember and keep on remembering Jesus Christ.

How strange it might seem to us because we wonder how any blood-bought Christian could ever forget his Savior! It would be worse than a mother forgetting her own child or a lover forgetting his beloved. But God knows that the heart of man is weak and fickle. We not only can forget the Lord Jesus, we often do. Of course, we don’t forget him completely and totally, but we do push him aside and to the sides of our mind so that Jesus is no longer front and center as he should be.

This is one reason that Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper and its regular practice. Remember what it says in 1 Corinthians 11:24, where Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth of the purpose of the Lord’s supper by repeating Jesus’ words, “This is my body, which is [broken] for you, do this in remembrance of me.” He said the same for the cup as well. The bread and the cup remind us of the sacrificial body and blood of Christ, and we need that reminder regularly, because we forget! The Lord knew that. That we should forget the Lord who saved us, is a danger for every Christian.

In 2 Timothy, Paul sought to impress his son in the faith with this same truth of remembering Jesus Christ. He knows that the only way Timothy will be able to continue in ministry as a soldier (2:3-4), athlete (v. 5) and farmer (v. 6) is if he does so with his eyes upon Christ Jesus.

As John Kitchen has written in his commentary on this text, “What is abundantly clear is that Paul is concerned that Timothy keep Jesus at the forefront of all his thoughts. He was not worried that Timothy would entirely forget who Jesus was. Rather he was concerned that, under pressure, Timothy might not allow Christ the place of preeminence and supremacy in this thinking that He deserves.”

In this issue of the VOICE, we will focus upon the glory of Jesus Christ in various aspects of his life and ministry. In this article, I’d like to focus on three features that Paul sees as essential for Timothy’s success and growth in the faith, three indispensable truths that he could never allow to fade from his memory. If he kept these truths before his eyes, he would succeed both in life and ministry. Without these, Timothy was sure to falter. That makes them pretty important, and we should listen in as Paul places three critical reminders before his friend and co-worker for the Gospel.

Remember Jesus Christ Risen from the Dead (v. 8)

Paul was not telling Timothy to remember a great teacher, or to remember a historical figure. Jesus is both. But that is not what he wants Timothy to focus on, because lots of great teachers and lots of historical figures have come and gone. But their lives and teachings leave no lasting impact.

Paul is also not telling Timothy to remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, although that is implied in the idea of his resurrection. Many men died on the Roman cross. And if Timothy was to focus merely upon his death, that would not be enough.

Paul wants Timothy to remember that death could not hold Jesus. In Acts 2:24 Peter preached these words, “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24, ESV). This resurrection power of Jesus Christ is what Paul wanted Timothy to remember. If Jesus had only died, never to live again, then how could Timothy continue preaching? As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:4, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1Cor. 15:14, ESV). But Christ is alive! He conquered the power of sin and death, he atoned for sin and his atoning sacrifice was accepted by God the Father. On the cross, Jesus Christ absorbed the full wrath of God. No matter what happened in his life and ministry, Timothy needed to remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without it, there is no hope.

It has been claimed that as a young man, D. L. Moody was called upon suddenly to preach a funeral sermon. He hunted all through the Gospels to find one of Christ’s funeral sermons but searched in vain. He found that Christ broke up every funeral He ever attended. Death could not exist where He was. When the dead heard His voice, they sprang to life. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life (Jn. 11:25).

What a great reminder for us! And how helpful for us not just to look forward to in the future, but how helpful it is for living right now! When we are tempted to sin, we need to remember that we are dead to sin. As Paul wrote in Romans 6:1-5,

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Rom. 6:1–5, ESV emphasis mine). 

And that’s not all. Since we shall be raised from the dead to live with Christ forever, we no longer need to be fearful of death. We can live in obedience to Christ without fear of what man may do to us because we know God will glorify this mortal flesh. As it says in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58:

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1Cor. 15:50–58, ESV, emphasis mine)

Verse 58 affirms that the resurrection has an impact on our work for Christ while we are here on earth. We must be steadfast—meaning we are firmly established in our position—we will live for Christ and no threat, persecution or danger will change us. We must be immovable, meaning that we will not change our position on these matters of faith. The whole world can oppose us, and sometimes it feels like it does, but we will not move! In these things we will be stubborn. And of course, this must lead to our mission to serve the Lord by faithfully preaching the gospel and making disciples. In season and out of season. Remembering Jesus Christ risen from the dead empowers us to do that.

Remember Jesus Christ the Messiah of God (v. 8)

“The offspring of David” or “the seed of David” is a reference to Jesus’ lineage that can be traced back to King David. This means that Jesus alone is qualified to claim the throne of the Messiah.Some have said that this reference by Paul is intended to point to Jesus’ humanity, the fact that he had a human family tree. Of course, this is true. But a reference to Jesus’ birth could have done the same thing. I think there is more here.By pointing to David’s lineage, not only is Paul referring to Jesus as the Messiah, but he is also claiming the throne of David for Christ as well. Jesus is the legitimate heir of the Davidic throne.And unlike David, Jesus is still alive. Jesus, the Living One, is also the Living King. Right now, Jesus is seated upon the throne. I believe that one day he shall take the throne of David in the Millennial Kingdom as is prophesied in the Old Testament, but he is King right now as well, in a universal sense.

Putting together the resurrection and kingly line of Jesus together are powerful motivators and encouragement for Christians. That is why Paul used it when he wanted to push Timothy even further in 2 Timothy 4:1 to take his calling seriously. This verse reads, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:” (2Tim. 4:1, ESV)

The next words in verse 2, of course, are the charge—”Preach the Word!” But Paul front loads that charge with the sobering words of an oath—Paul wants Timothy to see just how serious he is by calling upon God the Father, and Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead. Taken together, he exalts Christ to the heights of glory while telling Timothy that this Christ is witness to his words commanding Timothy to faithfully preach the Word.

Christ is the King, and he will conquer every single one of his enemies. They will be a footstool under his feet. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father. They must kiss the Son, or he will smash them to bits with his rod of iron like clay pots.

Is that not the Kingship and Return of Christ a great motivation to take up the cross and follow Jesus? Jesus is alive and he will come again and bring justice with him. We will be raised again in glorified bodies and we will rule with him. In the eternal scheme of things, there is no downside to this!

Paul understood suffering, and pain. His life after his conversion was filled with these trials. But they were never his focus. His ministry always had a joy-filled focus on who Christ is, what he has done and what these truths meant in this life and life eternal. That is why he wrote things like Romans 8:26-39. Read this passage and be encouraged. Notice that he begins with our weakness, but he ends with our victory! All of this is possible because of the resurrection and sovereign rule of Jesus Christ. Don’t forget that!

Remember Jesus Christ’s Gospel Message (v. 8-10)

The risen King is the Jesus Christ that Paul preached. And he doesn’t want Timothy for forget this message. He calls it “my gospel” in v. 8, but he doesn’t mean that he made it up, or even that it was the gospel he preached. Paul speaks of it as his gospel because it is the very gospel he embraced himself—it is the gospel that saved Paul, and Timothy too.Even more importantly, it is the truth. That is why Paul preached it, and why he wanted Timothy to continue his ministry of declaring this same message of the same Savior.

And Paul wasn’t shy about what most likely would happen if Timothy did so. In verse 9, Paul added once again the fact that preaching this gospel is what had cost him his freedom and honor and would eventually cost him his very life. Paul wasn’t complaining, he was simply telling Timothy that this gospel message was worth dying for, and that he needed to push onward himself because the worst consequences could never outweigh the blessings of doing so.

Paul notes that they had treated him like a “criminal.” This word speaks of a person guilty of serious crimes. They are not accusing Paul of being a petty criminal, but Paul is put into the same categories as violent insurrectionists and murderers. As such, Paul could expect harsh treatment and hard judgements. The shame others would feel toward him would also be great. The only other time this Greek word is used in the New Testament is when it is applied to those who hung on the cross next to Jesus. That is how they treated Paul.

This note about Paul’s suffering is powerful, but brief. Quickly Paul turned his attention back to the gospel message. Instead of focusing on his own suffering, Paul chose to focus on the unfettered propagation of the gospel message that he preached. Timothy would need to do that too, and he would if he would keep his mind stayed upon Jesus Christ (v. 8).

The gospel messengers might be jailed, stoned, put in stocks, beaten, fed to the lions, or slaughtered, but the message of Jesus Christ can never be stopped. What a glorious truth! Nothing can stop the spread of the truth. It is not solely dependent upon us, although we must faithfully do our part. But the burden is not upon us. God will carry his wonderful, life-saving message wherever it needs to go.

But why would anyone sacrifice their whole life to carry a message that so many not only don’t want, but will kill you if you bring it to them? Paul gives us the answer in verse 10. Paul knows that God has chosen people out there in the world to be saved. He has elected them to salvation, but they need to hear the message so they can believe and be saved, which leads to eternal glory. The mission, for Paul, is thrilling! He loved to see God’s people come to Christ. He loved to be the one that gave birth to those newborn babes in Christ. What a joy it was! The Lord God could have done it other ways, by other means, but he has ordained that we, his children, are the means by which the gospel is preached, and the elect come to faith and salvation. We are the link in the chain that cannot be broken. How will they hear without a preacher?

When C. H. Spurgeon preached on “election” somebody said to him, “Why don’t you just preach to the called, to the elect?” He replied, “Well, if you’ll run around and pull up everybody’s shirttails so I can see if they have an ‘E’ stamped on their back, I will.” Only God knows who is elect and who is not.

Like Timothy, we need to remember the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not just for ourselves, but for those who need to hear it as well. This message was so important, that Paul, and countless other saints have died trying to get the gospel to as many souls as possible.

It is impossible to know the impact our evangelism will have with only one exception. If you preach the gospel, you will be surprised by how many people have reached heaven because of your ministry in their lives or the ministry of those to whom you proclaimed the gospel. But if you never preach the gospel, nobody will ever be saved because you shared with them. Nobody. You can expect that when you get to heaven, you will be spiritually barren. Paul had many spiritual children from all the places and times he preached the gospel. Some people will have no spiritual children—not even one.

Will that be you? I pray that it will not be. I pray that each one of us will one day join Paul and Timothy and the rest of the saints in giving praise to the Lamb alongside those we had the privilege of leading to Christ. We all know that as we age, our memories are affected. For some people, the memory problems are drastic, especially those who have diseases of the brain. But there are others we have seen who have sharp memories, recalling dates, events and experienced with great clarity and accuracy far into their senior years. I hope to be one of those who can remember long into my final years. But even if we are not blessed with a great memory, may we never forget these three critical truths about our Savior Jesus Christ—his Resurrection, his Kingly Reign and his Gospel message. The more we focus on them daily the greater will be our encouragement and strength for daily living and ministry.

This article first appeared in the Mar/Apr 2020 issue of the Voice magazine. Used with permission.

Spirit Empowered Church Planting

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Rom 1:16 ESV

It would seem that some people who are all for church planting are unaware of Romans 1:16, so I have reproduced it here for the benefit of those who think that a church is best planted by human invention.

What do I mean by ‘human invention?’ How about slick marketing programs that blanket the city? Or freebies, raffles, and give-aways that are meant to be a spiritual bait-and-switch? There are surveys meant to find out what unbelieving pagans want in a church so that a church can be tailored for them, and there are those ‘church planters’ who blanket Christian radio, Christian bookstores and encourage their core team to invite their friends over to their cool, new church that is so much better than the one they’re in now. There are other so-called church planting and church growth gimmicks I could mention, but I think that you probably know of one or two places like this.

Then there is Holy Spirit power that converts a soul from being a prisoner of darkness into a light-reflecting child of the Kingdom. Those churches that seek to grow from preaching a gospel that leads to Spirit-regeneration of the souls of men are true church plants. And those who plant churches by the power of the gospel do so in the methodology that gives all glory to God and cannot be conjured up by Madison Avenue methods.

To all my brothers out there who are holding forth the truth in faithfulness, keep it up. For those growing weary of doing good, email me and I’ll join you in prayer so that you won’t be tempted to give in to powerless quick fixes that yield a crowd, but not gospel growth.

Picking Up Our Swords to Fight

IFCA, I Fight Christians Anywhere. At times in the history of fundamentalism fighting fundamentalist meant fighting with other Christians over tertiary issues and the traditions of men. I think we can all agree that many times this was unbiblical and regretful. Afterall, 1 Timothy 3:3 says that an elder or pastor is not to be “quarrelsome” (ESV), a “striker” (KJV) or “pugnacious” (NASB). This word refers to a violent bully who pushes people around with either his fists or his words. Fundamentalism has had its share of those who could be described as pugnacious. Fighting about length of hair and skirts, Bible versions and musical styles has divided the church and diverted attention away from the real enemy.

But, in some ways, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. In trying to get away from the caricature of the fighting fundamentalist, all too many Christians have forgotten that a few chapters later, Paul also wrote “Fight the good fight of the faith…” (1Tim. 6:12). Jude appealed to his audience to “contend for the faith” that was being threatened by false teachers who had crept into the church. Too many in the Church have forgotten—either that we are in a spiritual war, or who our true enemy is. In Ephesians 6:10-12, Paul reminded the Church about both of these critical truths.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10–12, ESV)

Be Aware of Your Enemy—v. 12

Our enemy hates us. Look at the word “struggle” in verse 12. This word speaks of wrestling, of hand to hand combat. This is not a battle, but a war. A war made up of many, many bloody battles. We must know what we are facing. Satan wants to destroy us. Consider how he pushed the limits of Job, destroying everything in his life. But he didn’t stop there. Satan wanted to destroy Job’s faith in God himself. He is ruthlessly evil. The angel of the Lord left Jacob with a limp when he wrestled with him (Gen. 32:25-32). The Lord’s purpose in trials is to teach us. But the devil does not want to leave you with a limp, he wants to destroy you: (Jn 10:10), “The thief comes only to steal, and kill and destroy….” One saint of old said, “Consider that the devil does not sleep, but seeks our ruin in a thousand ways.”

Our Enemy is Spiritual

He cannot be seen, heard or experienced with our five senses. He disguises himself as one of God’s angels (2Cor. 11:14, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14, NASB95). Being a spirit being, he has been alive since the creation and has had the opportunity to watch and learn human behavior. He is the greatest philosopher, sociologist and theologian. He knows what makes humans tick and even worse, how to man-fish. He too is a fisher of souls.

Our Enemy is Organized

Because Satan is neither omnipresent nor omniscient, he must use his demonic horde to do his bidding. But this is not a mob of crazed demonic creatures. Wickedness leads men to rebel, but as at Babel, it also leads them to organize. “Rulers, powers, world forces, spiritual forces” (v. 12) —all of these designations portray an organized hierarchy of demonic angels. We may not know exactly how they are ordered, but we know that the enemy is organized for maximum effect.

Be Prepared for Battle—v. 11

Be Armored

“Put on the full armor” not just selected pieces. Later in this chapter Paul describes each piece of armor, but for now, we need to know that we cannot pick and choose. To do so would be disastrous because would leave us exposed to attack. Think about a police officer heading into a riot. As he surveys his equipment, which would he choose? A bullet-proof vest or a riot helmet? What will happen if he chooses one over the other? What about if he chose a shield and not boots? We too need to be armored, not choosing some, but all of the armor that God provides.

Be Anchored

“Stand firm” is a reference to not being moved in our doctrinal stance. Ephesians 4:11-14 says:

 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” (Eph 4:11–14, NASB95)

A lack of biblical discipleship leads to many things, including the immaturity of believers who will be like children who are rocked upon the shore by the waves of doubt and deception. Those who have drifted in their faith have brought disaster to their lives, and to the lives of many others. Paul warned Timothy of this happening in Ephesus: “keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme” (1Tim. 1:19–20, NASB95).

Be Alert—1Pet 5:8; 2Cor 2:11

First Peter 5:8 speaks about the need to be “sober minded.” This is not something that our age is known for, and this lack of sobriety is all too often a mark of much of the church. We are easily distracted, silly, and fascinated with the trivial. In 2 Corinthians 2:11, Paul likewise warned, “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” (2 Cor. 2:11, NASB95) Those who are outwitted and ignorant are also perfect descriptions of many Christians and churches. In the Bible we have a manual for warfare. War against our great enemies, the World, the flesh and the Devil. Know these enemies and their schemes!

Be Strong in the Lord—v. 10

Human Strength Fails

Second Corinthians 12:7-10 is a glorious text. It reads:

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:7–10, NASB95)

How we need to be reminded of this! When we fail to pray, we have forgotten this. When we become puffed up in our spirituality, we have forgotten our weakness. When our experiences and victories are worn like a medal on our chest, we have forgotten where our vvictory comes from.

Human Philosophies Fail

We can easily be taken off track by forgetting which war we are supposed to be fighting. We can begin fighting with each other, fighting against the Church, fighting against unbelievers that need Jesus, and fighting with political weapons of war. Our strategies and dependence upon human strength show where we have chosen to use another way to fight than the way that Jesus calls us to fight.

Human Courage Fails

            Joshua 1:6-9describes the time after forty years of wandering in the wilderness for the generation that failed to trust God and enter the Promised Land to conquer it. As Joshua lead the next generation to enter the land, the Lord spoke these words of encouragement:

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”” (Josh. 1:6–9, NASB95)

When men go to battle, it is not glorified as it is in the movies and the recruitment posters. War is ugly. It is fierce and cold. But it is sometimes necessary in this fallen world. When you go into spiritual battle, it will be incredibly tempting to retreat back into your comfort zone, into your cozy world where you could forget about the reality of the devil and his demonic attacks. He would love that. He would love for you to put down your weapons and stop fighting, mocking you as a fighting fundamentalist. Or even better, to turn your weapons on others who are not the enemy because confusion is better than apathy to him. But that is not an option. We must gird up our loins for battle and march forward with the Lord into war. He will go before us. Never forget that. He fights for us. This will give you courage.

Fundamentalism is a dirty word to those in the world, but also one which is despised by many within the Church. Fundamentalism is rejected because some who have used this descriptor have swapped out biblical fidelity for cultural baggage and the traditions of men. Others have rejected it because they have given sway to the fear of man. Some have decided that it is too late to salvage the label for any good.

Whatever your opinion may be regarding the term fundamentalist, we should note this: those who are unswerving in their commitment to Christ and His Word must not fear men, but instead must be willing to pick up the Sword of the Word of God and engage the enemy of our souls and his wicked system. Some may call you a fighting fundamentalist, but this is preferable to one day hearing the Lord call you unfaithful.

This post is adapted from the article of the same title in The Voice, Jan-Feb 2020. Used with permission.

The Fool’s Dilemma (weekend repost)

Even though the fool says in is heart that there is no God, his claim is contrary not only to the facts, but his raging against the God that he says does not exist shows that he does not believe his own words.

Read the rest of the post here: The Fool’s Dilemma