Followers of God need to stand firm

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 3, 2019

In the mid 1800’s, 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 to the cross. Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer lost.

From victory unto 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 to stand firm against evil.”

There is no doubt that there was much evil in the first century when Paul was ministering and preaching.

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; remained there.

Two years later he returned and stayed for two years.

For a description of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, read Act 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.

The problems during Paul’s day are the same problems faced by all people, in every century, in every culture.

Almost 1800 year later, Duffield wrote the words that included Stand up, Ye soldiers of the cross.

An now in 2019, believers still need to stand up, stand firm for we face the same source of problems of Paul’s and Duffield’s time.

In Duffield’s hymn of soldiers of the cross, Paul was inspired to write about the importance of the cross; in 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 World 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” (1 Corin. 1:22-24).

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 like the Jews, the cross is a stumbling block for them.

Next, others 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 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.

The redeemed of the Lord must stand up for Jesus as soldiers of the cross, lifts high his royal banner, it must not suffer lost, till every foes vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed.

If the redeemed does not stand up and stand firm, nobody will.