September 11, 2001 is a day that we shall not forget. On that day we had our very beliefs shaken to their foundations. On that day we were caught unawares by an attack of evil so great that we didn’t know what hit us. 2993 people died that day. It is Life that was stolen by agents of evil. President Bush deemed it necessary to commemorate this day as a day of rememberance—Patriot Day. Remembrance. I am sure none of us will ever forget that day nor what we were doing at that time when we heard the news about those planes crashing into the World Trade Centers. We had brought our car down to Pittsfield to get some repairs done and were in the process of doing paperwork for a rental car. While there everyone was in a stir about a plane crashing into the twin towers. As we watched on the tv it seemed to get worse and worse. I remember feeling so much sorrow and fear. I remember praying for those people that they would survive. But later, when I got to my private place with God, I remember praying for those that did this, for those that sided with evil and hurt all these people. I prayed for their repentance and their forgiveness.
Even Jesus when faced with his death on the cross uttered these words “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” When we are in our darkest hours and the enemy is claiming a victory—forgive them. It’s what Jesus wants us to do. Even when we pray, Jesus taught us to pray for our enemies “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. It’s a hard thing to do, but it’s what Jesus wants us to do.
There was a lot of hurt that accompanied 9/11. But I want to use it as an example of the warfare that is going on today as we get closer yet still to the Great Tribulation. Those days when Satan is no longer restricted by the hand of God. And this world is oppressed by the satanic reign of the Antichrist. Christians. We are at war. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph 6:12
You see since that first Easter morning, Satan has been on the attack. He wants every Christian to fail. Since we are “joint heirs” with Christ; he wants our inheritance. He seeks the throne of God. I began to think about this warfare that we as Christians are engaged in. We are constantly fighting a battle against evil. We fight off temptations and persecutions. These are great snares that Satan uses to trip us up that he might smear our testimony and make it worthless. As a result I have, in comparison to our own society, realized that there are three types of Christians in this world today. They are the politician, the citizen, and the soldier.
The politician is the type of Christian that strives to do the will of the majority vote. They promise everything and anything, that they might win their position in life. They always seem to take the popular stand and never seem to get anything done. They make great speeches about their accomplishments and magnify themselves over everyone else. When it is wartime, they sit in all their comforts and comment on the war effort. They make speeches about how their influences have helped the war effort and are quick to point fingers at the people doing the wrong things. They surmise that they know how to win the war without ever even stepping into a battle.
The next type of Christian is the citizen. The citizen is a Christian that has the potential to become anything. During wartime they are subject to be caught in the middle of the battle field. They stand to endure the most damage from the war, yet they do not fight in it. But they encourage those that do fight. They support them in their need. Citizens are the one’s that the soldiers protect.
The third type of Christian is the soldier. They are former citizens who have answered God’s call to arms. They fight the battles up close. They have the scars to prove it. They endure Satan’s attacks, but as any soldier they are to be considered armed and dangerous to any of Satan’s forces. Especially, considering who their General is.
Jesus is their General. He leads us to victory in our daily battles, and in the end he will lead us to victory in the final battle. In Revelation 19 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war… and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses…"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS…And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him… These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth:" Re 19:11-21
Jesus is the word. And the Word is our weapon. How does the soldier prepare himself for battle? The Bible says “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:13-18)
This passage tells us not to attack Satan and his schemes but rather to stand firm. We can stand by doing what we are told here.
Girt your loins with truth-”Before a Roman soldier put on his armor, he put a belt around his waist. This held his garments together and served as a place on which to hang his armor. The belt of truth refers not to the facts of the gospel but to subjective truth, a believer’s integrity and faithfulness. As a soldier’s belt or sash gave ease and freedom of movement, so truth gives freedom with self, others, and God.” Remember that this truth is what a soldier uses to hold his armor together.
The breastplate of righteousness- ”refers…to the sanctifying righteousness of Christ (1 Cor. 1:30) practiced in a believer’s life. As a soldier’s breastplate protected his chest from an enemy’s attacks, so sanctifying, righteous living (Rom. 6:13; 14:17) guards a believer’s heart against the assaults of the devil (cf. Isa. 59:17; James 4:7)”
Having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace-The idea seems to be that the mind is to be steadied, kept from fear and flutter, by means of the good news of peace—the good news that we are at peace with God; and “if God be for us, who can be against us?” The Roman sandal was furnished with nails that gripped the ground firmly, even when it was sloping or slippery; so the good news of peace keeps us upright and firm.”
Withal taking up the shield of faith. This shield refers to a large oblong shield covering a great part of the body, not the, smaller and more round one. Faith, in its widest sense, constitutes this shield—faith in God as our Father, in Christ as our Redeemer, in the Spirit as our Sanctifier and Strengthener—faith in all the promises.
Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. “Fiery darts” were weapons tipped with inflammable materials, firebrands, curiously constructed, adapted to set on fire. Metaphorically, considerations darted into the mind inflaming lust, pride, revenge, or other evil feelings, emanations from the great tempter, the evil one. That such considerations sometimes start up suddenly in the mind, against the deliberate desire, sometimes even in the middle of holy exercises, is the painful experience of every Christian, and must make him thankful for the shield on which they are quenched. An act of faith on Christ, placing the soul consciously in his presence, recalling his atoning love and grace, and the promises of the Spirit, will extinguish these fiery temptations.
And take the helmet of salvation. This is the head-covering. In 1 Thess 5:8 we read, “putting on for an helmet the hope of salvation.” The glorious truth that we are saved, appropriated, rested on, rejoiced in, will protect even so vital a part as the head, will keep us from intellectual surrender and rationalistic doubt.
And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The sword supplied by the Spirit, the Word being inspired by him, and employed by the Spirit; for he enlightens us to know it, applies it to us, and teaches us to use it both defensively and offensively. Our Lord in his conflict with Satan, and also with the scribes and Pharisees, has taught us how this weapon is to be used, and with what wonderful effect. Paul, too, reasoning from the Scriptures and proving from them “that this Jesus whom I preach unto you is the Christ,” or (going back to the Old Testament) the author of the hundred and nineteenth psalm, showing us how the soul is to be fed, quickened, strengthened and comforted out of God’s Law, indicates the manifold use of the sword, and shows how earnestly we should study and practice this sword exercise, for our own good and the good of others.
With all prayer and supplication praying. The metaphor of armour is now dropped, but not the idea of the conflict, for what is now insisted on is of the most vital importance for successful warfare. Though prayer is virtually comprehended in most of the previous exhortations, it is now specifically enjoined, and in a great variety of ways; “all prayer and supplication,” equivalent to every form of it, e.g. sudden, secret, spoken, domestic, social, congregational.
At all seasons. No period of life should be without it—youth, middle life, old age, all demand it; no condition of life—adversity, prosperity, sunshine, desolation, under sore temptation, under important duty, under heavy trial, under all the changing circumstances of life, personal, social, Christian.
In the Spirit; for true prayer is spiritual, and it is not true prayer unless by the Holy Spirit the heart is filled with heavenward longings and aspirations, changing our prayer from cold form to heartfelt realities. The ordinary habit of the soul should be prayerful, realizing the presence of God and looking for his grace and guidance.
And watching thereunto; that is, “towards” spirituality, against formality, as also against forgetfulness and neglect of prayer. Perhaps also the idea of watching for the answer is involved, as you wait for an answer when you have despatched a letter. In all perseverance; this being very specially needed to make prayer triumphant,
And prayer for all saints; this being one of the great objects for which saints are gathered into the “one body” the Church, that they may be upheld and carried on, in warfare and in work, by mutual prayer, kept from slips and infirmities, and from deadly sins, and enabled one and all to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called.”
So my fellow soldiers, citizens, and politicians are you ready for this war? Are you armed? You have seen what damage the fiery darts of Satan can do. He attacks from a distance while we fight up close. His weapons do damage to us, but our weapon will utterly destroy him!
I had the opportunity to go to New York City and see Where the towers had once stood. The building next door still stood blackened by fires that raged there that fateful day. An American Flag was draped over the side of the building. And a quiet peace was there at the center of destruction. At the time of our visit two gigantic floodlights searched the sky as two towers of light reaching into the heavens. There was a place set aside for family and friends. The walls of this place were covered with pictures, cards and notes of well wishes and farewells. Some people had even written their farewells in the wooden railings overlooking the sight of ground zero. Such quietness, such stillness, such sorrow. But yet there is still hope. For not only do we remember what happened, and the innocent lives that were lost, but we remember who has the final victory, and whose son he is. Now if you would listen to this…