Warriors with Thy Word
Lest we forget those who have gone before us, or neglect those who are amidst us; the battle has been won, yet a race we do run. With a sword and a shield we do fight, with God’s Word far afield into the night. The highest calling to be fair, to make the vilest men to be aware. This is the preacher’s daily fare, proclaiming the Savior’s grace to spare.
My dear reader, the annual Armistice/Veterans Day remembrance is a noble one. Men have fought to secure our freedoms from despots and tyranny. It is this annual remembrance, however, that causes me to contemplate the Christian’s dread champion and victorious warrior, Jesus Christ.
Our Lord has overcome the world. He defeated the forces of evil, principalities and powers at the cross. This good fight required He lay down His life (Jn 10:11, 15), in the greatest display of love (Jn 15:13). He gave Himself for His Beloved (Eph 5:25).
Dazed and confused, in a world of sin, Christ’s church required a Savior. He came for her. He died for her, His bride. Delivering her from enslavement to her enemies, Jesus Christ is the narrow way of escape and reconciliation. The world is left behind and preparation for a wedding and marriage are now the church’s magnificent obsession. The church of Jesus Christ is a war bride.
It is appointed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28) that men of God should herald the forthcoming wedding and marriage of the Prince of life. A bride has been chosen, and she must hear the good news of the King’s unmerited favor upon her. She must prepare for the day of His coming for her. Jesus has prepared a place for her, in His Father’s house in glory.
Just as Jesus Christ laid down His life for His sheep, so the preacher suffers for the sake of the elect (2 Tim 2:10). He joins in the sufferings of Christ (Col 1:24), by laying down his life for the brethren (1 Jn 3:16). The preacher follows in His steps (1 Pet 2:21).
Just as Joseph was despised and rejected by his brothers in Canaan, so Jesus was forsaken by the authorities in Israel. In like manner, the preacher is often mistreated in the church, even removed from the synagogue (Jn 16:2). Why is there such hostility toward those who have God’s Word burning in their bones (Jer 20:9)?
The battle is won but the devil hinders the gathering of the exiles. The herald is sent. The people hear the Word of God proclaimed. As it was in the past, some hear and believe, while others hear and do not believe the preacher’s announcement. Some even work against the man of God within the church.
The Spirit of God is sent, as a token of love and pledge of betrothal (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 5:5). The soul of a man or a woman is either occupied by God’s indwelling Spirit (Rom 8:9, 11), or they are devoid of this divine resident. You shall know them by their fruit (Gal 5:19–21 or Gal 5:22–23).
A bride-to-be spends time familiarizing herself with the groom’s family. She studies and learns their history and their rules, customs, and traditions. This is what each new church member embarks upon. The believer sets his or her heart to learn Christ, to know Him and to know the Father. It is the Father who has set the date of the marriage supper.
The gathering of the members of Christ’s body, His church, is the work of His Spirit. The Spirit is equated to the wind, in Jesus’ teaching to Nicodemus (Jn 3:1–8). The Spirit is the Lord (2 Cor 3:17), and the Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19). He comes to His own, and they hear His voice. They follow Him in obedient faith, being constrained by His words of love for them.
True believers want to hear more of their Lover’s words. They want to read of their new home, family, and blessings. They are drawn to those who can explain God’s story best, like a child is drawn to a fireside chat with his grandfather, who tells him tales of the great war.
On this day of remembrance, let us re-tell the old, old story of our adoptive Father’s love (Eph 1:4–5; 1 Jn 3:1), in choosing us to be part of His family. Let us remember Christ, who came and triumphed over evil, in order to rescue us from the ravages of our oppressors.
We must all remember the Spirit, who secured us by loving occupation, setting captives free, with truth spoken in love. Finally, let us remember faithful ministers of the Word, warriors in their own right. They tend to us and feed us, ever caring, and watching for the wolves who would devour us. With the rod and staff of God’s Word, they love and protect us.
Beloved, there is so much and so many to remember on this day, but never forget the One who never surrenders, in procuring and protecting you, as His own possession. He Himself is our peace, in a hostile place, but we rest in His unchanging grace…until He comes again to take us home, to our better country, to be with family, forever.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 11, 2020