Put on your full armor of God, stand firm

Published 2:24 am Saturday, September 26, 2015


In the mid 1800s, George Duffield wrote the words that became the hymn known as “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus/’ Let me remind you of the first stanza of that hymn. Stand up; stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross. Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer lost.

From victory unto victory His army shall He lead, till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed.” Connect these words with Ephesians 6:13; “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able stand firm against evil.”

It was in the year 53 that Paul went to Ephesus for the first time he stayed a short time and when he left; two who where traveling with him; remained there.

Two years later he returned and stayed for two years. For a description of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, read Acts 19 and parts of chapter 20.

It was nearly 10 years later when he wrote the section of scripture entitled Ephesians.

In the verse quoted earlier we understand how Paul viewed the condition of the world he knew.

He was inspired to write a word of warning and encouragement of the source of the problems faced by all people, in every century, in every culture.

Almost 1,800 years later Duffield wrote the words that included Stand up, Ye soldiers of the cross. And now over 150 years later those who are believers need to stand up, stand firm for we face the same source of the problems of Paul’s and Duffield’s time. I came across an article where a three judge panel of the U. S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that crosses that memorialized fallen Utah state troopers must be removed. The program started in 1998, places a cross as near as possible to the officers place of death. Each cross has the troopers name, rank, badge number, the year of death, biological information, and a picture. The crosses are privately owned, funded and maintained. Maybe it is the size of the cross 12’ by 6’, that caused the organization to file the suit that resulted in the ruling, but I doubt it. This article reminded me of 1 Corinthians 1:18 – 25. “For the preaching of the cross is foolish to those who are perishing but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, (Isaiah 29:14) I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scholar? Where is the disputer of the world? Has not God made foolish; the wisdom of the world” (1 Corin. 1:18-20). Verse 18 begins a section of scripture on the power of gospel verses the weakness of man’s wisdom. The key word in this section of scripture is wisdom; it is used 8 times. The key idea that Paul expressed is that we should not mix man’s limited wisdom with the depth of the knowledge of God’s revealed message. Throughout this section there are a number of contrasts between the revealed Word of God and the wisdom of man. “The Jews require signs, the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified; to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness. But to them which are saved, both Jews and Greeks. Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God” (lCorin.l:22-24). In these verses there are three different attitudes toward the cross.

First, some stumble at the cross. It is those who like the Jews of Paul’s day seek miraculous signs. The Jews looked for a Messiah who would be a mighty conqueror and defeat all their enemies. He would set up a magnificent governing nation and return Israel to its former glory. When Jesus the Christ was crucified on the cross it became a stumbling block to them. Many people today a like the Jews. The cross is a stumbling block for them.

Next, others are foolish about the cross. This was the response of the Greeks. To them the cross is foolish. The Greek culture emphasized wisdom but their wisdom had made them foolish. There are those today who have put much effort increasing their knowledge and have learned much; but the cross is foolishness to them.

Finally, there are those who believe and experience the truth of the cross. Paul did not alter the message of the importance of the cross when the addressed the Jews or the Greeks. The invitation is the same to all. The cross refers to the price that was paid for sinfulness that separates us from God.

These three groups are in Utah, The judges who stumble about the cross. The group who filed the suit who see the cross as foolishness. The people who erected crosses to honor the life of fallen troopers believe and experience the truth of the cross.

Remember put on the whole armor of God and stand firm.

-Leroy Cole is church and community ministries director for the Covington Baptist Association.