READY AND STEADY
1 CORINTHIANS 16:13 Princeton Christian Church 11 DECEMBER 2022
Very often it seems that life is one long uphill struggle. We finish one difficult period only to go into another one. One battle after another.
I’m sure most of us have heard someone say that when you become a Christian everything in life will be better. There are no struggles,
no trials – everyday is perfect. It is true that everything changes for the better – your attitude, your values, your priorities, and so on.
But very often in Scripture, we read of the Apostle Paul teaching Christians and referring to their lives’ fights against Satan, and for
Christ as a battleground.
Today, let us look at one of these Scriptures – 1 Corinthians 16:13.
Each of the commands here has a military background and is like a commander’s orders to his soldiers:
Be alert – Stand fast – Act like men – be strong.
So, let’s look at each of these commands or orders separately.
1. Be on the alert – watch
Matthew 24:4 says, “Watch, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord comes.”
All of the Christian life must be a preparation for His coming.
To live without watchfulness invites danger or disaster.
Thieves do not send letters saying they are coming. They operate on surprise which is their greatest weapon.
But Christian watching must not be that of terror or fear – it is the eager expectation of the coming of the glory and the joy of the Lord.
There is a fable that tells of three apprentice devils who were coming to the earth to finish their apprenticeship. They were talking to Satan, the chief of the devils,
about their plans to tempt and ruin the lives of men on earth. The first devil said,” I will tell them there is no God.” Satan said, “That won’t fool anyone because they
know that there is a God.”
The second devil said, “ I will tell them there is no hell.” Satan answered, saying: “No one will be deceived by that. Men already know there is a hell prepared for
The third devil shared his plan – “I will tell them there is no hurry. There is plenty of time.”
Satan said to the third devil: “Go – and you will ruin them by the thousands.”
This is the way Satan deceives today. So people do not watch – they do not prepare. The most dangerous delusion of all is that there is plenty of time to change.
The most dangerous day in a person’s life is when he learns the word – “tomorrow.” There are things that must not be put off, for no one knows if tomorrow will ever
Come. We need to watch, be alert, and prepare.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 says this: “So, then, let us not sleep, as the rest of men do; but let us be watchful and sober.”
It is only the one who lives in the dart whose deeds are evil and who will be caught unprepared.
The Christian lives in the light ---- when the day comes, he will be ready – if he is watchful, awake, and sober.
When Queen Elizabeth of Orange was dying, the chaplain talked to her, trying to find the condition of her soul. She looked at him and said, “I have not left
this matter till this hour.” She had prepared beforehand. She had not slept through her life but was watching – she was on the alert.
Waking or sleeping – the Christian is already living with Christ, and so, is always prepared.
Let’s see what Peter has to say about being watchful and ready: 1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,
Seeking someone to devour.”
The fact that we cast our cares upon God (verse 7) gives us no reason to sit back and do nothing, thinking we are saved.
Cromwell’s advice to his troops was this: “Trust in God and keep your powder dry.” What he was saying was that trust + preparation = readiness.
The Christian is one who trusts, but at the same time, puts forth all his efforts and all his vigilance into the business of living for Christ.
We are also taught to Stand Firm (or Fast) in the Faith.
Philippians 1:27 – Paul tells us there…” that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.”
The world is full of Christians who are in retreat.
During the Prussian invasion of Paris the emperor Napoleon was talking to an officer. While they talked, Napoleon picked up one of the weapons and noticed
Heavy it was. He asked if the soldiers carried these as well as their backpacks into battle. The officer said they did. Napoleon then asked how they managed
to carry all this gear in retreat. The officer answered, “I don’t know sir, because retreat just isn’t practiced among our people.”
Instead of playing down our faith and retreating, we, as true Christians, must stand firm, unashamed, and unafraid in any company.
With firm standing, also has to come something else – and that is Unity.
We must be bound together in one spirit like a band of brothers and a band of sisters.
The world quarrels, but the Church and Christians must live in harmony --- as one Body.
Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 3:8: “ because now life for us is indeed worth living if you stand fast in the Lord.”
Paul was glad that his converts were standing fast. He was seeing the results of a Savior who could stand the test of time.
There is no joy like that of the parent who can point to a child who has done well --- knowing his efforts are worth it now.
Engraved on a plaque attached to a statue of Martin Luther at Wittenberg says: “If it is God’s work, it will stand. If it is man’s work, it will perish.”
2 Thessalonians 2:15 – “So, then brothers, stand fast and hold on to the traditions which you were taught either by word of mouth or through our letter.”
Our Christian life develops and grows as we put forth the effort to make it so.
We are called not to dream, but to fight; not to stand still, but to climb higher – grow firmer in the faith.
The foundation of God stands sure. 2 Timothy 2:19 tells us about that --- “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows
those who are His, and everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”
Then, Scripture tells us that we are to act like men --- you could say it another way --- be a hero!
I like the way it is described in Joshua 1:6-7: “,,,be strong and courageous; be strong and VERY courageous; be careful to do according to all the Law which
Moses my servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.”
He is saying here to discharge your duties like true followers of God’s teaching and leading. Don’t be cowards, timid, or afraid of your enemies; be bold and
brave because God will be with you.
Look at 1 Corinthians 3:1 where Paul says, “I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.”
The folks in the church at Corinth were babies in Christ. Paul wanted them to see the qualities of maturity in Christ. You could say he wanted them to act
Although we all began as babes in Christ at our baptism, we are not to always remain babes in Christ.
We are expected to grow into stout, robust, hearty witnesses for Christ.
Christians today need to become bold and fearless.
We need to reach a point of maturity in Christ.
We need to be able to contend with the difficulties; we need to be able to bear up under the opposition of Satan and his gang.
We need to be strong enough to endure temporary defeat.
We are encouraged to act like redeemed people – responsible, maturing followers of Christ.
Paul encourages us to be strong in Ephesians 6:10-12 --- He says, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His strength.”
“Put on the whole armor of God to withstand the devil.”
Paul tells the Christian that the world is a battleground.
The Christian has to cope with all this:
The attacks of evil men.
The attacks of spiritual forces that are fighting against God.
Not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of darkness.
Incidentally, while Paul wrote these words, he knew what he was speaking about. After, all, he was writing these words of encouragement to the church
while he was imprisoned.
Colossians 1:11 says, “May you continue to be strengthened with all strength according to His glorious power, so that you may possess all fortitude and
Patience with joy,”
The greatest way to spiritual strength is through prayer.
Prayer is not an escape from reality, but it is through prayer that we can face reality.
Prayer and action must go hand in hand.
The significant problem in life is not knowing WHAT to do but to do it. Our problem is often putting our knowledge into action.
We need power. We receive power through prayer.
The Christian’s prayer should be: “Make me, Oh Lord, victorious over every circumstance and no man can ever take it from me.”
So, as we close this morning, we have found that as we live our lives for Christ, we must always be ready to fight. We must stand firm for Christ in our belief, trust, and faith.
We must have the courage which will make us a hero n the Lord’s army. And we must remain strong in our relationship to Jesus Christ.
The Christian life is not always easy, but it is the best life because of its rewards in the end.
Eternal life is to be gained. That is worth much more than all the earthly treasures combined.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and have not been obedient to His commands, you cannot look forward to eternity with Him. Instead, you face an eternity
of death in the fire.
Which will you choose? The easy life of the way of the world? Or the life of obedience to God’s commands to that you may inherit the better eternal life?