Volume. XXVII, No. 15
Sunday, 07 October 2012


Fight the Good Fight of Faith


There is no subject which most people feel such immense interest in as fighting. By that I mean a fight or a match in an athletic game or competition. Once in a while most of us enjoy watching a boxing fight or wrestling match. Of course not everything we see in a sporting competition turns out to be what we expected. I still remember when I was little I watched a boxing fight between Mike Tyson, then the defending heavy weight champion, against his opponent Evander Holyfield. It was rather horrendous to see how he literally bit off part” of his opponent’s ear during the match. Yet, there is another fight of far nobler and of greater importance than any fight that was ever waged by man. It is a fight which concerns not just two or three individuals, but it concerns every born again Christian man and woman. It is the fight in which every Christian man and woman must be engaged. This fight is a fight which is spiritual in nature and many of us tend to overlook.  It is the fight that Apostle Paul mentioned to young Timothy and wrote: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life!” (1 Tim 6:12) Though these words of Paul are meant for the immediate recipient, namely Timothy, the truth found in this passage no doubt applies to every born again Christian. We know it does because the goal of fighting the good fight of faith mentioned in Timothy 6:12 by the Apostle Paul is to: "… lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called…" What is “to lay hold” on eternal life? To lay hold on eternal life refers to the conscientious effort of a child of God working toward his or her eternal reward or prize in heaven! So, how can we fight a good fight?

Why is such spiritual fight necessary?

Because of its absolute necessity

Writing to Christians in Ephesus, Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “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.” What does this entail? Paul tells us that Christians cannot remain neutral and sit still because we are constantly engaging in a fight against Satan and his cohorts. The two Koreas have been divided by the demilitarized zone, a line that has divided the two Koreas since the 1950s’ civil war. Though such a line of division may be possible in the military conflict of nations, it is utterly impossible in that conflict which concerns the soul, for there is no spiritual de-militarized zone. This is because the devil and his demons are constantly waging a war against the saints. Our identity is clearly defined as God’s children in the army of Christ and our enemy is the principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places! Whether we like it or not we are in the battle.

It is of perennial necessity

It is perennial because as long as we live our sanctification will not end. And there is no breathing time, no peace treaty, no truce in our spiritual battle. For our spiritual enemy keeps no holidays, never slumbers, and never sleeps.  One dying saint and great theologian said, “Even on the brink of Jordan, I find Satan nibbling at my heels.” So long as we have breath in our bodies we must keep on our armour, and remember we are on the enemy’s ground. Therefore, we must fight till we die! For Christian’s warfare must unceasingly go on! But who are our enemies? No, not our colleague or our roommate or someone we don’t like in church. Our enemies are 1) the flesh, 2) the world and 3) the devil.  

What is the Flesh?

It is a fact of life that even after our conversion we carry within us a nature prone to evil though being constantly renewed by the Holy Spirit. In order to keep our heart from going astray, a daily struggle or a daily wrestling is necessary. This is why Apostle Paul cries, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.”  (1 Cor 9:27) The word body refers to the old man or what Paul referred to as another law in him (Rom 7:23). And the word translated keep under means to treat one with harshness, severity, or cruelty. Apostle Paul also says in Galatians 5:24, “…they that are Christ\'s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” What he is literally saying is that we need to keep fighting or beating our flesh and keep it under subjection by crucifying the flesh. Each year hundreds of Catholics in the Philippines would literally crucify themselves by driving thin nails through the palm of their hands to display their religious fervour and piety! They called this devotional crucifixion. But this is not what Paul is talking about. It is the spiritual crucifixion of the flesh with the affections and lusts, not the physical crucifixion. What is the purpose of the spiritual crucifixion of the flesh? “…lest that by any means, (Paul says in 1 Cor 9:27) when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Bear in mind that the Apostle is not fearing that he might lose his salvation, but he fears that he might lose his eternal reward. The word castaway is used to describe of a person who is unworthy of the prize or disqualified in an Athletic game like those who have been deprived of Olympic medals because of their violating the rules of the game.

What is the World?

Besides the flesh, our second enemy is the world. By the world, Paul meant the ways of the world, its passions, pleasures and pursuits, not the people. The word world means different things in different contexts. It is in the same context that John says, “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world… For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…” (1 John 2:15-16) What is the different between the flesh and the world? The flesh is what is inside us, and in us “dwelleth no good thing,” and the world is the system of evil and immorality manifested through the sinful men. The world, therefore, is like a mould that gives shape to something. This is why Paul says, “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom 12:2) The Christian must not allow himself to be moulded by the standards of this world or to become comfortable with things that are in the world such the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. James 4:4 says, “…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Why can’t a Christian be a friend of the world and at the same time a friend of God? Because the prince of this world is opposed to Christ and the spirit of the world is also opposed. Therefore, a Christian cannot claim to love the ways of the world and love God also because no man can serve two masters. He would either hate the one and love the other.

What is the Devil?

The devil is Satan who has been the arch enemy of God’s people. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve he has been going to and fro in the earth, as roaring lion walking up and down in it, and striving to compass one great end—the ruin of man’s soul! As an unseen enemy, he or his demonic cohorts are always near us, about our path and about our bed, and spying out all our ways. Surely, Satan is not omnipotent, but he is definitely a formidable enemy: we should not underestimate him. Satan is also not omniscient, but he certainly knows a lot about us and our weaknesses! Satan, of course, is not omnipresent, but as an ousted archangel of God, he could get to any place in the world in a twinkling of an eye. Nevertheless, we have a God who is infinitely mightier and infinitely wiser who is ever present with His saints and has already overcome our archenemy. Yet, Satan will do all he can to launch constant attacks on our faith and the foundation of our belief. The Psalmist says in Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Indeed, Satan wishes to destroy the foundation of our faith, this is also why we need to fight the good fight!

Conclusion:

Let me conclude with the words of John Bunyan in one of the most beautiful parts of Pilgrim\'s Progress. He is describing the end of one of his best and holiest pilgrims: "After this it was noised abroad that Mr. Valiant-for-Truth was sent for by a summons. When he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then said he, \'I am going to my Father\'s house; and though with great difficulty I have got here — yet now I do not repent of all the troubles I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall follow me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles, who will now be my Rewarder.\' When the day that he must go home was come, many accompanied him to the riverside, into which, as he went down, he said, \'O death, where is your sting?\' And as he went down deeper, he cried, \'O grave, where is your victory?\' So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side!" May our end be like this! May we never forget that without fighting, there can be no holiness while we live, and no crown of glory when we die!

Pastor David Weng

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Bro Simon Yeo. Next Lord’s Day: Dn Tony Law.
*Warm Welcome to our pulpit: Rev Dr Patrick Tan.
*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm.
*For those seeking membership, transfer of membership, baptism or re-affirmation of faith, please see Pastor Weng or Elder Michael D Lee.
*2013 Family Bible Camp Committee: As next year’s Family Camp is a combined camp with Ebenezer BPC (Melb), preparations need to start earlier. Anyone interested to join, please come to a meeting after Worship Service.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Rev Dr & Mrs Patrick Tan (Adl); Rev Dr Mark Lehman (Per);  Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family; Bros Raymond Ang & Lucas Yiew (Adl), Jonathan Liao (Canb) & Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl); Sisters Michelle Lee (Adl), Gillian Ong (Bris), Christabelle Selvanayagam (Adl), Mary & Rachel Ting (Adl); invited wedding guests (Adl); & others who have arrived safely.
Church Activities in past week.
Leadership Seminar last Monday (1 Oct): Speaker - Rev Dr Mark Lehman; organisers & participants.
Wedding of Bro Yick Ho & Sis Kerrie Lam yesterday.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.
Job next year - Sis Clara Sim
9th Anniversary Thanksgiving today: True Life B-P Church, Singapore.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth (Nursing Home), Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong, Myung Ki, Vivian Kou (Melb), Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), Susan Varadi (Nursing Home); Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Dn Edwin’s mother in Mumbai) & Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca); Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry (Sihanoukville); Bro John Saray (Kampot).
Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki. Approval of UK visa (Urgent matter).
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.
God’s Comfort - Those afflicted & grieving.
iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & Ordination - Pr HS Lim  (Melbourne, Vic).
IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman & Board members; missionaries in India & South America.
Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.
Journey mercies: Rev Dr & Mrs Patrick Tan (Melb); Rev Dr Mark Lehman (Taiwan); Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law; Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo & family (Adl);  Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo), Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl) & Lucas Yiew (Tas); Sis Michelle Lee (Melb); invited wedding guests; & those who are travelling.  
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Full-time Job - Sisters Amanda Kheng, Michelle Lee (Melb) & Corinne Teng; & others looking for  stable jobs.
Unity in doctrine & fellowship of all B-P Churches
Health in pregnancy - Sis Josephine Wong.
Year 12 students - Sisters Nicole Chia, Kimberley Gan & Rachel Ting.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063