By Rachel He
01 Jul. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: Soldier of The Lord||video||audio||doc|
|Worship song: Majesty||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: How Great Thou Art||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Worthy Is Our God||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: I Have Decided To Follow Jesus||video||audio||lyric|
Worship song: How Great Thou Art
|Verse 1||O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
|Chorus||Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee;
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee;
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
|Verse 2 C||当我想到，神竟愿差他儿子
dang wo xiang dao, shen jing yuan chai ta er zi
jiang shi she ming, wo ji hu bu ling hui.
zhu zai shi jia, gan yuan bei wo de zhong dan,
liu xue she shen wei yao she mian wo zui.
|Chorus C||我灵歌唱，赞美救主我神， 你真伟大，何等伟大！
wo ling ge chang, zan mei jiu zhu wo shen, ni zhen wei da, he deng wei da!
wo ling ge chang, zan mei jiu zhu wo shen, ni zhen wei da, he deng wei da!
|Verse 3||When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!
Worship song: Majesty
|Verse 1||Majesty, worship His Majesty,
Unto Jesus, be all glory, honor and praise!
Majesty, kingdom authority, flows from His throne,
Unto His own, His anthem raise.
|Verse 2||So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus.
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus the King.
Majesty, worship His Majesty,
Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings.
Worship song: Worthy is Our God
|Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
|Verse 1||Poor and wicked, Rich and righteous
All you nations rise and sing
Weak and needy, Sick and thirsty
Sing to Jesus - King of Kings
|Chorus||All the oceans roar
All the mountains tremble
Lord, all of creation sings Your praise
Worthy is our God
Respected, feared, exalted
We will lift our hearts
to worship You - King of Kings
|Verse 2 CN||生命之水灌溉万物
sheng ming zhi shui guan gai wan wu
sheng ming zhi liang wo ke wang ni
zhu di da neng shi wo men fu fen
jiang hui yi zhi dao yong jiu
|Chorus CN||群海在喧啸 群山在震颤
qun hai zai xuan xiao qun shan zai zhen chan
shi shang wan wu dou lai song yang ni
zhu ying shou zun chong wan wu jing wei ni
gao ju huo re di xin ling jing bai ni
|Verse 2||Living Water, come and fill us
Bread of Life, we long for You
God Almighty is our portion
And He will forever be
|Witness(Original Songs & music by Jordan Wendt & Lily Wendt)||The story behind this song is simple. I was in a small group, and the brother leading the group asked if I would be interested in leading the singing. It had been a long time since I had led music, and I was not feeling very confident. I was walking home one day and I prayed a simple prayer "Lord, give me a song for this group". To my amazement, when I got home and picked up my guitar the chords and melody just came to me. I started writing the words that day too. Over the next week or so, I would write some more words in English and my wife, Lily, would help make some small changes. When all the words were written in English, Lily helped translate them to Chinese. Many of the lyrics are borrowed from scripture, especially Psalms and the Gospel of John. It has been a joy to share this song with others, and tell of God's power in helping me write it. God's Spirit can help us to do many creative things for His glory. I was amazed when I heard the story of the Chinese woman Xiao Min in rural Henan province who has written over 1,000 hymns (迦南诗歌). I encourage everyone to ask God in faith, that He would use them to do new and exciting things to glorify His name. He deserves all the glory, honor, and praise. --- By Jordan Wendt|
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Good morning, dear brothers and sisters. I am so happy that I could share the word of God together today. Before I share it, would you join me with a short prayer?
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for giving us a wonderful day, and bringing us here to worship you together. God, here we want to ask you, please send your Holy Spirit to work in our hearts, and help us understand your word, and help us live out your word in our daily life. God, I want to deliver all my brothers and sisters here into your hands, and I want to give myself into your hands, please be with us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Brothers and sisters, in the Bible, we know that Christians are called the Lord’s servants, the Lord’s disciples, the Lord’s children and the Lord’s sheeps. Here, we have another description – Christians are called the Lord’s soldiers. The letter to the Ephesians is written by Paul when he was in prison in Rome for the sake of the gospel.
We can imagine that, when Paul was in prison, he was living with soldiers guarding him full-time. When he saw the soldiers, it made him think how Christians are facing a spiritual war all the time because Satan does not want us to lead a victorious life. As Christians, we are soldiers of Christ. Paul uses this picture to remind Christians, to be alert when we are facing spiritual warfare. And also, when Paul saw the soldiers, he was thinking of Christians as soldiers and how we could equip ourselves to stand against the devils’ schemes.
We need to be equipped. It is just like that when you go skiing, you have to wear the ski suits; when you go swimming, you have to wear the swimming suits. In the same way, when you are facing a war, you have to wear a uniform to protect yourself.
There are three imperatives in this message. It begins by informing us to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. And then it instructs us to put on the whole armor of God and to stand.
First, be strong. In Ephesians, after Paul talked about putting on the new life, he talked about the struggles with the spiritual forces. And he encouraged Christians to be strong against evil, for it says,
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”
Every Christian is a soldier in the army of God. As good soldiers, we need to be strong and courageous when we are facing the spiritual warfare. In the Bible, we also find that God wants us to be strong. In the Old Testament, after the death of Moses, the new leader, Joshua, was facing many challenges and difficulties. But God said to him,
“Be strong and courageous; do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will always be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
In 2 Chronicles, when the King of Assyria came and invaded Judah, all the people were terrified about this. But the king of Judah said to the people,
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles. And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.” (2 Chronicles 32:7-8)
From here, we can know that God wants us to be strong in no matter what situations we are facing. He wants us to know that He will fight with us in our battles.
Psalm 27: 14 says,
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 31:24 says,
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
In the beginning of Ephesians, Paul prayed that:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…” (Ephesians 3:16)
This is Paul’s heart and his prayer. In the final chapter of Ephesians, he emphasizes it again, and he says,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10)
From this passage, we can tell that Paul really has a heart to ask all Christians to be strong. Because he knows that we are in a war. When we accept Christ Jesus as our Lord, we became the frontline soldiers in the unseen battle of a spiritual war. Paul encourages us to be strong. But it is not relying on ourselves, but relying on our God, His power and His ability.
In Paul’s letters to Timothy, he told Timothy, the young servant of the Lord several times to be strong. In 2 Timothy, chapter one verse seven, he says,
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-control.”
And again in 2 Timothy 2:1, Paul encourages,
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
To be strong is connected with God’s help, God’s grace and His power. Usually, when a congregation approaches the pastor, they would ask the pastor to pray for their weaknesses. They would say,
“I feel so weak, please pray for me.”
But I remembered when I was a little girl in my hometown, there was a pastor. Whenever the congregation went to him and said to him,
“Please pray for me for I feel I am so weak.”
The pastor would respond very seriously. He would ask you,
“Who makes you weak? Why can you not be strong? Can I make you strong? You need to pray for yourself!”
It is so hard to accept because he asked “why are you so weak?”, “why can you not be strong?”. But I think he told the truth that we need to look at our God and He wants us to be strong. Like a song, “Give me faith”, says,
“We may be weak, but His spirit is strong in us.”
As the soldiers of Christ, we need to take heart and be strong in the Lord because we know that He will help us, and no matter what kind of situation we are in, He will help us, and help us fight the battles.
Second, to put of the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:14-18 says,
“14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Here, Paul talks about we need to be strong in God and His mighty power. And also, we need to put on the full armor of God. Maybe you will ask, “what is the armor of God?” Maybe it is a set of six or seven pieces.
Belt, to put of the belt of truth means to be strengthened by God’s truth in the gospel and to resolve to live in the truth. This belt will help you remember the truth and to tell the truth. A belt also provides supports for our back to reduce stress and our injury. As we grow in the full knowledge of God of the truth, we will strengthen our spiritual backbones, and be able to endure any loads we must bear.
The second one is breastplate. To put on the breastplate of righteousness means that Christians are to reflect the righteous character of God in our actions. The breastplate will protect our hearts and remind us that Jesus is always with us.
Footwear. “Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”, it is adapted from Isaiah chapter 52, verse 7, which describes the messengers of the good news, they are the agent of peace and love, ready to do the whole will of God. It says,
“How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
‘Your God reigns!’”
As soldiers of Christ, we must always be ready, to go and tell the good news about Jesus to anyone, to preach the word, and be prepared in season and out of season.
The next one is shield. The shield of faith can protect our whole body. The shield of faith does not suggest that humans can protect themselves by their power to believe, but by the faithfulness of God. The shield of faith helps you remember that Jesus is our savior and he can protect you from all your enemies.
Helmet, the helmet of the salvation, the believers take on to do righteousness and to receive salvation. God’s salvation is the automatic assurance of protection. The helmet of the salvation will protect your heart and you mind, and help you remember what Jesus did on the cross for saving us from our sins. When we put on the helmet of salvation, God will protect our heart and our mind.
Sword, the sword of the Spirit. The sword is the word for God. The Spirit is the one who empowers the sword.
The sword of the Spirit will give you knowledge and remind you to read the Bible so you can store God’s word in your heart.
The last one is prayer. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Why is prayer the seventh piece of the equipment? It’s debated. However, I think whether it is a piece of the equipment or not, to be Christ’s soldiers, we need to pray and be alert.
Paul intends to tell us that the well-armed soldier in Christ’s army is the one who is continually praying in the Spirit and staying alert. Here I am talking about all the armors of God.
You may ask “how can I use this armor in our daily life?” I would like to give you some suggestions. First, we need to talk about “how can we use the shield of faith?” I mean putting our trust in the Lord. We remember Paul was writing this as he was actually chained by a Roman soldier, one of the best soldiers in the world at that time. Paul was comparing the armor and weapon of the mighty soldier to the spiritual weapons and armors that we have to use in our battles.
In a battle, the Roman soldier would stand behind the largest shield to protect himself from all the flaming arrows. Our shield is the shield of faith. When Satan launches his flaming arrows at us, we can stand behind the shield of faith and we believe the faith will protect us. Those flaming arrows could be doubt, depression, guilt, shame, discouragement, distrust and so on. The shield of faith is the shield of trust. By using the shield of faith, we are able to extinguish all those flaming arrows of Satan and be able to stand behind our faith and trust in God and his ability to protect us, because we know God cares about us. He cares about our everyday need.
Here we also want to talk about how to use the sword of Spirit. Spend time in God’s word and memorize his word. Using a sword is something that takes time to practice. A soldier should know how to use his weapons. That means being in the word every day and becoming familiar with God’s word. I think many of us have experiences, when we are facing difficulties and troubles, we are reminded by God’s word. The important thing is that you should have God’s word in your heart first, so that the word can come out when you need it. You can use the weapon that makes Satan tremble——the truth of God.
This is why memorizing scripture is absolutely essential to defeating temptations. Jesus practiced it when he was tempted in the wildness. Every time, Satan set a temptation, Jesus conquered it by quoting the scripture.
In Matthew 4, after fasting for forty days and forty nights, and Jesus was hungry. The tempter came to Jesus and said “if you are the son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus answered, “it is written, one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, “if you are the son of God” he said, “throw yourself down, for it is written, he will command his angels concerning you, and in their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone,” Jesus answered him, “again it is written, do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Then, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendors; “all these I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “away from me, Satan! For it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
We see that Jesus did not argue with Satan or say “I am not hungry”. When tempted to use his power to meet his personal need, Jesus just simply quoted the scripture from memory. There is power in God’s word and Satan fears it. The word of God is a powerful weapon in our battle. God will bring to your mind those passages which can be put in the situations you are facing.
Two weeks ago, a sister had a serious operation, and a pastor went to the hospital to visit her. You know it is hard to find some words to comfort a person like this, but her husband told the pastor about Psalm 30:5 saying, “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (一宿虽然有哭泣，早晨便必欢呼)” So the pastor knew that God had comforted this family, comforted the sister and her husband, and they still had hope in God.
I remember one of the difficulties which I could not deal with for a long time, I ask God, “would you please find some people to help me?” and meanwhile some verses from Ruth 3:18 --- “For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today” --- appeared in my mind. I knew that God still spoke to me, he wanted me to know that he had listened my prayer and he would send someone to help me, and yes, the problem was solved that day. Brother and sister, I would like to challenge you to memorize the Bible verses more beginning today. If you have God’ words, God’s truth will be in your heart. Imagine how strong you will be.
The third point “to stand”. Ephesians 6:13-14, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” This passage repeats mentioning a word: stand, how can we stand and stand firmly when we face the spiritual warfare?
Spiritual life is just like a battle or a match, Paul, in his old age, said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Paul is a good example as a Christ’s solider. Indeed, in Ephesians 4:19-20, even as he was chained for gospel’s sake now, his prayer request was, “whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
Paul desired his prayer that he might to continue to fight a good fight. When Paul was living in a Roman prison, he wrote the instruction to Timothy how to be a good soldier and how to stand, in 2 Timothy 2:1, 3-5, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…… Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.”
Brother and sister, how can we stand? First, humble yourself. Trust God as your commander. As soldiers of Christ, we are his followers. When God is at our side, we can be fearless and stand. Second, having patience can endure hardships and we do not quit., In this spiritual war, Satan may get you to participate in some activities that will bring about lies. Satan may create some doubts so that when you pray, you cannot receive guidance from God. Satan may get you to walk in the flesh or may cause you to fall., But you can endure this. Do not worry, because God is in control, and there is always a way out.
1Corinthians 10:13 says, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” And the third point, to be alert and practice using our weapons, in the spiritual war the enemy city will not give up to attack you every time. Bible tells us in 1 John 5:19 that,” We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”
And 1 Peter 5:8 also says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The battle is not against the flash or blood, it is a spiritual battle, we are soldiers in the Christian army, and we need to be alert and to get familiar with our weapons that arm of God. If we fail to care for them and do not use them properly, we will die. 1Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” And also James4:7 says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Brother and sister, when you know how to use the weapons, you will be able to stand. We are the armies of Christ, and Jesus Christ is our commanding officer; we must rely on the strength of God in order to defeat a task of city. When we put our trust in God, put on the whole armor of God and use it correctly in the battle field, we will stand firmly and more than the conqueror and have a victorious life.
I would like to read 2 Corinthians10:3-5 as the conclusion for today’s massage, and it says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Brother and sister, hopefully someday we, as soldiers of the Lord, can say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) Amen!