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Take Up Thy Sword

Take Up Thy Sword
By Grant Phillips

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;” (Ephesians 6:17)

In January 2020 the American Bible Society and the Barna Group conducted a survey related to Bible reading. According to their survey, only 9% of the respondents read their Bible on a daily basis. Also, only 24% of their respondents believe the Bible is the actual word of God and should be taken literally. Is it any wonder this country is in such a mess?

I understand that the world, unbelievers, cannot understand the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:14) unless it speaks to them about their need to be saved, but those who make up the Church are filled with the Holy Spirit. The world has no interest in the things of God, but every true Christian should have a desire in their hearts to feed upon the precious Word of God … the Bible.

“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

How can we call ourselves a believer and follower of Jesus Christ and have little to no interest in what He has to say? Also, according to the survey, 34% NEVER read the Bible. No wonder we are so gullible!

Satan is on over-drive in these last days and his minions are working 24/7 to deceive mankind, especially the Church (1 Peter 5:8). Why? The sand is nearly gone from Satan’s hour glass. His time is about up, and we are asleep.

I vividly recall smelling my parents’ coffee they would have brewing on the stove each morning when I was a young fellow. My goodness it smelled so good. Well folks, the coffee is brewing and it’s time to get up and get on with the day.

The seven churches of Revelation 2-3 can be seen in various parts of the world today, but right now I am reminded of the church at Ephesus. Jesus had this to say to this church.

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2:2-5 emphasis mine)

The Church today has failed in the same respect that the church of Ephesus failed in the first century. Our lampstand has been removed because we have taken our eyes off Jesus. Oh, we may be doing all those nice works, but why are we doing them? We may know the Gospel, but are we sharing it? What do we believe? Why do we believe it? Who do we serve? Who or what do we think about on a daily basis? When did we last speak to our Savior, the one we supposedly follow? Do we even care about what He has to say?

If only 9% of true Christians read their Bibles daily, we’re in sad shape. Even if this number were doubled or tripled to 18% and 27% respectively, we really have a problem. We need to get in the Word!

Maybe we should ask ourselves, “Why should I read the Bible?” Now I didn’t say, “why read the Bible,” but “why should I read the Bible?” Years ago, I asked myself that same question. I really wanted to know what is the most important reason for me to read the Bible? There are many good reasons to read the Bible, but there is one that stands out ahead of all the rest. The answer of course is right in our face and is so simple. Why don’t we let the apostle Paul answer this question, “Why should I read the Bible?”

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2 emphasis mine)

The Corinthian church was the most immature group of Christians of that day. Paul really had his hands full. Because of their immaturity, He didn’t start out teaching advanced doctrines to them, so what did he do? He went back to the basics about our Savior. He showed them Jesus. He reintroduced them to the Savior. They had to take the 101 class over again, because they certainly were not ready for advanced lessons.

This is where we all should be every time we open our Bible, regardless of our understanding of Scripture. We should seek to know our Lord. We should seek to look upon Him as Moses longed to. Our main goal is to know Him better and better as His Spirit guides us through the pages of His Word.

I am convinced that this is the path we should take, and these following verses confirm it.

“And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27 emphasis mine)

We know the New Testament portrays Jesus, but He is also throughout ALL of the Bible, Old and New Testaments.

“Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” (Luke 24:44 emphasis mine)

The Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms covers the entire Old Testament. It is hard to find anywhere in the entire Bible that does not picture Jesus.

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (John 5:39)

Again, the New Testament wasn’t written at that time, so Jesus is referring to the Old Testament specifically. However, being omniscient, He knows the remainder of the Bible, the New Testament, will do the same.

“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46-47)

And again, so many don’t realize that Jesus is pictured throughout the Old Testament. Just a few examples: Joshua, Joseph and Boaz, and also the feasts, the tabernacle and the offerings. These six examples are just a drop in the proverbial bucket. All of God’s Word…the Bible…is about Jesus.

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:7)

I included this last verse for a different reason. Do you really want to know God? I am referring to God the Father. Would you like to know what He is like? Well…Jesus makes it so clear. If we know Him (Jesus), we know the Father. So, doesn’t that make it even more a necessity to read the Bible?

So many immature Corinthian type Christians today brag about their love for Jesus, but they don’t read their Bible. They live on emotions instead of the Word of life. How can that be?

And then there are those who read their Bible, but treat others as second-class citizens. Don’t think so? Ask any restaurant server. They obviously are not reading the Bible with any intention of knowing Jesus. These people need a good dose of 1 Corinthians chapter 13.

Whether we read our Bible to seek salvation, guide others to salvation, learn how to live as a Christian should, avoid sinfulness in our lives, learn how to raise a family, search prophecy, or anything else…getting to know our Bridegroom Jesus should be our most important and on-going goal. (By the way, Jesus is core to all of these.)

The bottom line though is…first we must take up the Sword. From there, we grow more intimate with Jesus and do as He did. When Satan tempted Jesus, what did Jesus do? He quoted Scripture. The same can be said for Paul and Peter. Their Sword was the Word of God…the Bible. Don’t be one of the 91% that doesn’t take up your Sword on a daily basis. Without it, we are weak and immature. Also, don’t abuse it. Use it as the Holy Spirit leads us.

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