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The Christian Life, Billy Shannon

Ephesians 6:10-13. The Whole Armour of God
10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11. Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12. 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. 13. 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.

On this day 100 years ago, the UK was at war with Germany.
Germany was flexing its military muscle throughout Europe,
using such a noble excuse of helping the Austrians, in they’re
War against Serbia after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
If successful the Kaiser and Germany would become a world superpower,
stretching its frontiers onto a power of the high seas.

You may ask what has that got  to do with the christian life?
Well, many young soldiers that went across the channel to France,
to see a bit of continental lifestyle and be back home for Christmas.
So when the troops marched off to fight in 1914, they sang their songs,
and marched along dusty roads believing they were off for an adventure and fun. Instead, they got hell.

And somehow the Christian life is not a playground, but a battlefield of spiritual warfare.
The closer we follow the Lord Jesus, the more we advance to the frontline of the conflict.
And this is a sobering reality that confronts every believer.
If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. John 15:18
After Mayday weekend 2002, I announced to my work Colleagues that I had
become a Christian, but what alarmed them most, was the abuse I got from one guy I worked with - As they noticed a change in his attitude against me.
Paul speaks of weapons in Ephesians, when we are commanded to stand firm, each of the weapons spoken mostly are defensive weapons, There is an onslaught of attacks from the enemy who wants to steal the truth from us, kill the testimony of our lives, and destroy the ability for us to witness, a message of hope, to a people in despair.

Christmas came and went, and the coming years were an endless game of trench warfare, to the slaughter of many lives cut down in they're prime.
Scripture teaches that the Christian life is not easy, in Acts:-
Stephen was the first martyr mentioned and many of the apostles were put to death, but the church began to grow and get established, in Asia and Europe, to the extent that the epistle to the Philippians 4:22 exhorts All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household. It has been also thought that John Foxes, Book of Martyrs, is a continuation of the Acts of the Apostles. Today we see the persecution of Christians in China, Russia, India, and Islamic countries, etc...
Even closer to home, the onslaught of christian values, family values, same gender marriage
abortion, euthanasioa, freedom of expression in open air preaching, as a hate crime.

1 Peter 4:12-14
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

During trench warfare there was flooding, and sanitary problems, with the damp
the mud, soldiers suffered from trench foot. These were common everyday complaints,
The soldier’s life expectancy in the trenches was no more than six weeks.
Today the knocks and hardships of daily life can take their toll, and be tiresome,
and make us become weary, preventing us from living the fulfilled lives, for these distractions
can be smokescreens, for our eyes should be firmly fixed on the Captain of our salvation, Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The soldiers life and training means that his primary function is a first a soldier, battle ready, and familiar with defence,
But secondary soldiers were trained in other tasks that are beneficial to that regiment.
We as Christians are not volunteers, we did not enlist, Rom 8:30
Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, and these He also glorified."

As soldiers we are watchmen:-
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You, who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest,
As soldiers we are watchmen, to warn the people of the wrath that is to come.
Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple in Luke 21:6
“These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”
The destruction of the temple, which happened in 70AD.

but he also mention about the fig tree bearing fruit in Matthew 24:32-35
(32) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:)
(33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors).
The first world war was an end of an era, and ushered in the new age.
the fall of the Ottoman empire in December 1917. Sir Edmund Allenby, was sent to Egypt, His advancement to Jerusalem,

Isaiah 31:5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.

((((This prophecy becomes clear when one realises that the description ""As birds flying"" was a reference to military aircraft which had been used for the first time and on a large scale in the Great War of 1914-18.
 But to appreciate the uncanny manner in which aircraft fulfilled the prophecy that Jerusalem would be defended and delivered ""as with birds flying"",

In 1948 a fufillment of prophecy, this is a reassurance that our heavenly Father is still in control. Israel is reborn as a nation, and on this day,

Jacob’s descendants would regain control of Israel
Bible passage: Amos 9:14-15
Written: about 750 BC
Fulfilled: Since 1948
I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.

Israel would be re-established as a united nation
Bible passage: Ezekiel 37:21-22
Written: between 593-571 BC
Fulfilled: 1948

and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone.
I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel.
There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.

Israel would be brought back to life

Bible passage: Ezekiel 37:10-14
Written: between 593-571 BC
Fulfilled: 1948
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet--a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’
Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them;
I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.
I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

98 years ago, 0n the 11th November  at 5am, a stalemate was reached, and the terms of peace were signed. this was to take effect within six hours, to allow time for the news to reach the front lines.
Although we are at battle, this war will come to an end, there will be no truce, or peace treaty. Jesus himself will end this war in a twinkling of an eye.

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
Matthew 24:22
1 Corinthians 15:52
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed
Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

We are commanded to use our only weapon of conflict, that can impose an injury, and that is the sword of the Gospel, piercing the very heart of man.
As watchmen, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1 Peter 3:15
We are commanded by the Captain of our salvation, to preach the Gospel to every living creature.
Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Acts 1:2
until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Colossians 1:23
if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed
to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

615 Victoria crosses were handed out  for acts of valour, during the Great war,
415 awarded to the army.
51 awarded to the navy and marines
9 awarded to the Royal flying corps
140 awarded to dominion forces.
2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Paul fought the good fight, he ran the race.

As I listened to the Last Call on Sunday morning, I thought of the young men, cut down in their prime, a Great sacrifice.
Then passing round the emblems, the sinless Life Jesus lived, I could not live.
 and that death He died, was my sin that put Him there.


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