“Fighting the Good Fight”
The Preaching of Scripture – (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)
There is an emphasis here, the provision of Scripture as a means of grace, but with much importance, the preaching of those scriptures. This is the primary means of grace. TDhe Christian warfare is not just about having the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, but wielding that sword. It is for this reason that the apostle Paul asks for prayer as he himself wields the sword in proclamation (v19). That he may be given utterance to boldly preach the word of God. This is the church’s most vital weapon in her missionary endeavours, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21). And, “how then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching” (Romans 10:14)? It is not a matter of human eloquence, competence, or personality. But as the Holy Spirit empowers the preaching of the word and applies it to the hearts of the hearers. Of course, there is no benefit if people do not hear, and hear in faith (Hebrews 4:2). But it is the preaching of the word that brings conviction, that converts people (John 16:8-9). It is the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the word of God that leads us into the truth (John 14:25-26). He, the Holy Spirit is our God-given librarian, remembrancer, he brings to mind the necessary truth as we most need it, in every circumstance, on all occasions. Whether it be the pulpit, the Sunday School, the Bible class, at home, in personal testimony, in public street preaching. He affirms, assures, he watches over his word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). God has promised and declared that it, his word, will accomplish his divine purpose in sending it forth, “for as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Therefore it is vital that we handle the scriptures properly, correctly, “remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:14-15). That is with openness and honesty. Not with a show of cleverness, “for Christ did not send me to baptise but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17). “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). In confidence we can take up the sword of the Spirit, knowing that he can make use of it as he only can, with much power unto salvation even. And that confidence comes more and more as we study and get to know our Bibles more accurately, thoroughly, comprehensively. As we come to and end of this note take the time to read and meditate on Joshua chapter one, and the first nine verses. Not forgetting of course prayer (v18). It is said that the best form of defence is to attack. That way we keep the devil on the ropes, reeling even, with a constant barrage of effective thunderbolts from the word by prayer. When Jesus was being tempted in the desert by Satan it is almost as though he is baiting the devil. “Go on, have another go.” He has such confidence in the word of God and ready to answer and defeat every argument thrown at him. “It is written.” “It is written.” Never mind the “I think” or “I feel.” IT IS WRITTEN!