The scariest verse

The Bible is scary. Heck, let’s be honest, God is pretty scary.

Before I accepted Christ, I saw God as this mean old guy shooting lightning bolts, smiting here, smiting there. I saw Jesus as this wimpy kind of guy, maybe wearing open toed sandals, wearing a nice sweater, tied around his neck, trying to make everyone feel good. I was not impressed with neither. I believed in their existence, in their deity, but didn’t care for either of them

Maybe it was because it was more of my personality to be stubborn and because of my immaturity, my poor understanding of God, and not understanding the Bible.

I didn’t like warm and fuzzy, and to this day, I still am not a big fan of it. There are churches whose sole message has a lot to say about feeling good, without any mention of sin and repentance.

My personality at the time of my youth was something like most boys. When I was a boy of 7 until about 12, I loved to play war. I mean, I LOVED to play war. Summer days were filled with bologna sandwiches, some kool aid and toy guns as we marched into the battlefield. (which was the “forest” of John Anderson Park in Saskatoon).

I loved the thrill of sneaking up on my enemies to “kill them”. I would crawl in the deepest, dirtiest holes to gain the advantage. I would mostly win those games. At least, that is how I remember them. After high school, I tried my hand in the army and I was pretty good there too. Or at least, that is how I remember it.

The Jesus that was preached to me would have none of it. The Jesus that was preached to me was all about love, loving your neighbor and other such groovy topics.

I am a warrior. I am a warrior for Christ. I stand in the armor and want to fight the good fight. That is what He has called me to be.

This is what He has called us all to be.

He did not come to bring peace, but He came bringing a sword.

Mat 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

Mat 10:35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law';

Mat 10:36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’

Mat 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Mat 10:38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

Mat 10:39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Definitely not warm and fuzzy.

So many believers around the world sit in their churches on Sundays, silently. And that is the extent of their faith. Silent.

Dead.

There are believers that have accepted the free gift of salvation and have not moved the kingdom of Heaven one iota. For some, it is not their fault, for they have never been taught what it is meant to be a Christian. For others, they have been lulled to sleep by the world.

He has called you out from the darkness and into the light. He has called you to do something!

To be something!

To affect change not just your life, but in the world around you!

Faith without works is DEAD!

James 2:20

But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

This is what leads me to share with you the scariest verse for me in the entire Bible:

Revelations 3:16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,  I will vomit you out of My mouth. (NKJV)

But if you are neither hot nor cold, He will vomit you out. Very strong, scary words. These are words that are a call to action. They are not well, “You know, thanks for doing nothing and believing in me, come on in.” No they are “Because you were neither hot not cold, I spew you out.” This is where I say EEKS!!

Nothing scares me more than the thought of hearing these words spoken to me on that final day.

Can you imagine?

Scares me beyond belief. Now the topic of works and salvation is an entire message unto itself. Today I want to focus on helping you to grow in Christ, to become strong servants and warriors of the Lord.

To be a warrior can be different things. To some, it may be that you are a humble servant. To others, it may mean the mission field or to the worship team.

To some, like myself, I pray the prayer of David, make my hands strong for battle.

Psa 144:1 A Psalm of David. Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle-

Psa 144:2 My loving kindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. (NKJV)

But as the Lord has many ministries for His Church, all of His workers, on Earth and in Heaven are to be warriors, equipped for battle.

But being a warrior in the army of Christ, is not just about brute strength. We rely on the Lord and Scripture to carry us through the battle. I personally like to train physically in Tae Kwon Do. I like to target practice. I like doing what He has instilled in me to do.

Here on Earth, each of us fight and we fall in different arenas. Daily. We all need to know how to carry the Sword of Christ effectively, to even understand what the Sword is. Daily. How can I step up to the plate for Christ? Daily.

I want to share with you how I approach my walk with being a warrior for Christ. It is a simple two step program that has strengthened and encouraged me more than any Tony Robbins program ever could.

1st Step of a 2 step program: Put on the armor of Christ. Daily

Eph 6:11

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Eph 6:12

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly [places].

Eph 6:13

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Eph 6:14

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

In the days of the New Testament, Roman soldiers would tuck their tunic under a heavy leather belt so nothing would hinder them in any way from fighting effectively. To gird oneself was a mark of preparedness. The belt of truth involves two aspects, which are important: First, we have to come to know the truth. This happens when we become a child of God.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me. Secondly, girding ourselves with the belt of truth means implementing truth into practical, ordinary life situations. So just as the soldiers tucked away anything from impeding their ability to fight, we must “tuck away” all distractions so nothing affects our ability to fight.

The Breast plate of Righteousness:

It would be unthinkable to go into battle without this protective piece. The breastplate was sleeveless, covered the torso and was often made of leather or heavy linen. Sewn to it were overlapping animal hooves, horns or pieces of metal. The breastplate covered the soldier’s front and not the back, meaning that we have to face our enemy squarely, because if we ran, our backs would not be protected.

In Jewish times, the heart represented the mind and will, while the intestines were the seat of our emotions, two main areas that Satan fiercely attacks. So it is the righteousness of Christ that protects our spiritual organs.

Two aspects of righteousness for us to consider:.

a) The first aspect refers to positional righteousness. In other words, knowing who we are in Christ. See 1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 3:8-9

b) The second aspect of the breastplate is actually living out, or putting into practice, the righteousness that is ours in Christ. While sin opens the door for demonic strongholds, righteousness slams the door shut.

Eph 6:15

and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

It is difficult to fight, let alone stand with blistered, cut, swollen or broken feet. Shoes precluded problems with the necessary movements of warfare such as running, fighting or standing. Many believe as well an allusion to Isaiah 52:7, How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news…”

Shoes in other words, furnish us with sure footing and a firmer foundation from which to fight.

What is the preparation of the gospel of peace? Reading Scripture, meditating upon it.

Eph 6:16

above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Roman soldiers had various shields, but two were the most common. One was a small shield about two feet in diameter that was secured to the soldier’s arm by leather straps. The other shield, and it is the one Paul refers to here, is the “thureos” shield. It was designed to protect the entire body.

The shield for me is knowing and believing that God has me covered, from head to toe and drawing nearer to Him.

Eph 6:17

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

In Paul’s day, Roman soldiers had swords that could easily decapitate or split a head wide open. The helmet then meant the difference between life and death. The head is essential because it directs the body. Our mind tells the body what to do, whether it is reaching for a glass of water or praying to the Lord. In this sense, if Satan can mess up our thinking by swinging a large sword, he will mess up our behavior and steal glory away from God.

As with shields there were various swords in Paul’s day. There was the “rhomphaia sword that was a large double edged sword 3 to 4 feet in length. But here he is referring to a smaller two- edged cut and thrust sword that was 6 to 18 inches long. It was the main weapon in hand-to-hand combat.

It is called the sword “of the Spirit” because Paul is referring to the nature of Scripture. God’s word is spiritual. His sword is able to pierce the heart and accomplish spiritual tasks as described in Hebrews 4:12

Eph 6:18

praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–

Prayer. The ultimate atomic bomb that Christian have in their arsenal Prayer and Scripture can deflect the blows of our opponent and can also be used to cut precisely and quickly. Prayer is our reliance on the Lord. Prayer is what guides us through dark waters and it is a phenomenal weapon when it is used in God’s will.

So why do I need to put on the armor? Why do I need to be a warrior for Christ?

Eph 6:19

and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Eph 6:20

for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Every day the enemy does lie in wait for us. If I wake up, complacent, relying on myself to get me through the day, I am not going to have a good day. I NEED to put on that armor. I need to rely on His strengths, not mine.

I need to be BOLD in my faith. I need to know why I believe in my Faith and in my arguments. If I go into battle unprepared, I am done for. If I go into the world with clouded eyes, not knowing Scripture and face the day on my own feet and will, I am done for.

I said that there are two steps for becoming a warrior, to becoming strong in the Lord. One, put on the armor, daily. The other?

Become a disciple. Look to a mature Christian who is a true warrior, a servant, a bold proclaimer of the Gospel.

Become a disciple. Learn. Read Scripture daily. Become accountable and take action in your faith.

Become a mentor. Turn to a new Christian and help them understand the wonderful mysteries of God and you in turn will grow as well.

A word of warning. It isn’t going to be easy. Jesus never promises us a rose garden in our walk. But we have this:

2Cr 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

2Cr 4:8

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

2Cr 4:9

persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed–

2Cr 4:10

always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

2Cr 4:11

For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh…

2Cr 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

2Cr 4:17

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

Being a warrior is to be a servant. It is to be a disciple. It is to be everything, for Him who gave up everything for me and you.

When you put on His armor daily, the scariest verse is replaced by for me, one of the best verses:

John 15:14,16 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” NKJV