Armed for Life…
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God (1Peter 4:1-2).
SINCE CHRIST HAS SUFFERED FOR US...he is the best example for our mindset. We do better if we are following a life blueprint. We are going to have to suffer some in this world, so we need a pattern to go by. Jesus didn’t promise much when He preached: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23) Jesus is not talking about carrying a sign around that says “Please wipe your feet on me.” He’s not talking about sleeping on the front porch with the dogs so the community will comment on your humility.
BUT THERE IS A MINDSET THAT IS DIFFERENT from the world's way of thinking. It’s not “looking down our noses at people.” That’s the opposite of what he’s talking about. It’s not the “holy Joe” thing. It is a quiet and powerful mindset that is stable in the face of the storms of life and gives off a heavenly fragrance. There’s no way to fake it. We don’t get it out of a book from Amazon. We get it from living with God’s book.
ARM YOURSELVES LIKEWISE WITH THE SAME MIND.The most effective place to be armed is in our minds. We wander all over the place when we are not armed in our minds. It takes a certain kind of mind to be willing to suffer bad things for the sake of Christ. It is so much easier to trim the message so that it does not offend. The world system thinks coarse talk is humor and that being plastered is having a good time. They will not like it if you don’t “ha-ha” with them. Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (1Peter 4:4)
WHEN I WORKED 3RD SHIFT in the boiler shop and put up a new tract on the wall above the men’s urinal every night, one of the men came in and saw what I was doing and passed the word along. They quickly dubbed me: “Preacher.” They were good-natured about it. But it didn’t take long for them to come by my work station, one at a time, and spill their guts about the problems in their lives and ask me to pray for them.
WHEN ONE OF THEM WOULD GET SAVED at a church in their community, they made a bee-line to my work place to say: “You won’t believe what happened to me. I got saved today!” I wasn’t a holy-Joe among them. That wouldn’t have worked. I prayed to be a steady candle among them. That was my mission field.
SOME PEOPLE WHO SING HYMNS IN CHURCH may laugh when someone mocks the name of Christ. Oh yes. They are the fringe group; the onlookers. But, will you laugh if they call your mother an ugly name? If we are armed in our minds we will not think calling our mother a bad name is funny. If we are armed in our minds we will not think that mocking God and His Christ is humor but that it is taking the name of the Lord our God in vain. It’s no better if it comes through the tube into your living room. Are you armed?
A READINESS TO SUFFER AND DIE...J. Vernon McGee, the popular radio Bible teacher, sometimes would remind his listeners that one day in America the true church of Jesus Christ will have to go underground. Surely not! Oh, he’s not the only one. Thousands of God-called pastors and Bible teachers in America know that one day the present hostility against Bible Christianity will drive the true Church underground. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:25)
ARM YOUR MIND FOR LIFE that when and if that time comes, you will stand unto death. When you are being ridiculed or persecuted for Christ, the armament of your mind will determine the outcome. Living for Christ these days is not for spiritual sissies. There is going to be increased conflict and strife against those who stand for Christ. Nothing has changed in two thousand years.
HOWEVER, WE ARE MOVING RAPIDLY TOWARD GLOBALISM, toward a one-world government and a one-world set of values and beliefs. (No, it’s not the Moslems who will rule the world. It will be the 10-nation, European alliance, ruled by the anti-Christ.) If you truly know Christ as Savior and Lord, you won’t be here to bother with that. But, the gathering shadows from the global government that will prevail, those shadows are now leaning over the United States as we slowly adjust to a one-world government. Jesus talked about the birth pangs preceding the birth of the Tribulation Period.
FOR HE THAT HATH SUFFERED IN THE FLESH HATH CEASED FROM SIN - “when a man is dead, he will sin no more;” referring of course to the present life. So if a Christian becomes dead in a moral sense - dead to this world, dead by being crucified with Christ (see Galatian 2:20) - he may be expected to cease from sin. The reasoning is based on the idea that there is such a union between Christ and the believer that his death on the cross secured the death of the believer to the world.” (Barnes)
I don’t think Mr. Barnes is talking about living “above sin,” a sinless life. But, in a general sense of the terms, he is talking about the commitment to a direction and a framework of thinking that hold high ideals of thinking and conduct. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24)
DID YOU KNOW THE BIBLE TALKS about a tough mindset in living the Christian life? Love? Yes, and sometimes it’s a tough love. I said earlier that living the Christian life is not for spiritual sissies. Death to self. Who wants to be dead to self? I love self. But loving self grows a mushroom or a squash. God has something in mind more like an Oak tree that takes a hundred years to grow. The kind that draws your camera. The timber men tell us that Red Oaks are through at 40 years. But the White Oaks are a different thing. They just keep on growing and facing he storms and winters and wind and get stronger and stronger.
MY DADDY WAS AN EXPERT TIMBER MAN. When I knew him best, he was processing Hickory trees for skis, picker sticks for weaving machines, shunt poles for the railroad, ladder rungs for firemen’s ladders, and tool handles of all kinds. He taught me to grade these items as they came from the saws. He graded tough and passed on only the best. Several times, he told me that the best Hickory timber grows on the north side of the mountain where it endures severe cold and wind. It makes a tough tree.
GOD WANTS SOMETHING A LITTLE TOUGHER and with a little more character than a mushroom or a squash. The magazine: SELF will not make anything more lasting than a cucumber, in my opinion. It takes the Word of God to define man and his place in the universe. It is not man’s word. If we are going to live for the Lord so that the Spirit of God is at home in us, we must deal with this aspect of the Christian life. Don’t wait till you can get a busload going that direction before you start down the road. You will have to walk by yourself until you can find some company. Arm your mind for life….to live for God. For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:7)
DR. LEE ROBERSON TOLD US IN CHAPEL several times, about the book: “When Did You Die?” I think it has been out of print a long time. It never hit the charts. He felt that every Christian should be exposed to the ideas of the little book. (It is NOT the current book by that name, written by Temple Hayes. She has eight steps to stop dying and is of the mindset of Joel Osteen.) T
THE APOSTLE PAUL PUT IT LIKE THIS: It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: (2Timothy 2:11).
JESUS PUT IT LIKE THIS: He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:25)
THIS KIND OF THINKING WILL NOT SLIP UP ON YOU and take over you in your sleep. You don’t need to worry about that. God may allow you some practice time in dying to self, when things don’t go our way. Nobody likes to be “put down.” It’s how we handle the north winds and storms that count. How did Jesus handle it? Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 12, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. Deuteronomy 17-19 P.M. Mark 14:1-25
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
Song for Today:
Will Your Anchor Hold (2:08) (St. Albans - Leeds.)
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