Over the past week nights the Free Presbyterian Church as a whole, from Ulster and North America met at the quadrennial International Congress. The venue was Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, Belfast, N Ireland and the recurring theme, The Call to Battle, The Christian Armour: The Key to Successful Christian Living.
Throughout the week five very able speakers took to the Pulpit before a large congregation of eager listeners. The one night which I want to home in on is the final night, Friday 27th June 2014. On that night Rev John Greer, moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church’s Ulster Presbytery gave the final message of the Congress under the title The Prayers and Perseverance in the Battle.
Therefore, as it is based on a sermon preached by Rev. Greer, I can take no credit but would rather like to share what was said as I felt it was an exceptional sermon.
The reading was found in Ephesians 6 and the text could be seen as verses 18-20.
There are many battles taking place but the Christian is involved in the most important, the great battle against the Wicked One. As we are involved in this battle we possess the full honour of God. By the Armour we have been equipped with to fight the Battle we have the means of success. Each piece of the Armour is Christ centred as He is the way to victory in the Battle. Through Him we have righteousness though our justification and through Him we are given a Perfect Peace. Essentially, therefore the Armour that we have been given for the Battle is the Gospel.
Many see Prayer as the final piece of armour but that seems to be out of the context of the Armour as each other piece of armour represents a physical piece of armour used by Roman soldiers. Rather it can be seen that through the prayer the armour becomes effective for the offensive against the Devil and the defence of the Gospel. Of ourselves we cannot make it effective through any of our feeble methods, therefore prayer is necessary and it is also necessary to pray “in the Spirit.”
The sermon was then split into three main points which were:
- The Spirit and Our Entrance into Prayer
Prayer is to approach God and enter His presence. Here the Holy Ghost plays a vital role. In Ephesians 2 v 18 we have “access” or we are led toward or introduced into Gods presence through prayer.
Also in the verse 18 of chapter 2 we see three prepositions with reference to the Trinity:
THROUGH – We see we have access “through” the Son. He is the mediator through the blood, the merit of His sacrifice on the Cross. The work on earth gives access through His interceding for us in Heaven. The BLOOD is sufficient as we draw nigh to the Father.
BY – We have access “by” the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit regenerates or quickens us and then leads us to the throne of God in Prayer. Our advocate in Heaven mediating for us is Jesus but we also have another in our Hearts, the Holy Spirit. We depend on the Holy Ghost to lead us to prayer and to God.
UNTO – We have our access through the Son, by the Spirit unto the Father, the one we pray to, the one who sits on the Throne.
2. The Spirit and Our Enablement in Prayer
While there are wicked Spirits we also have the Holy Spirit who is greater. There is also a spirit of Anti-Christ abroad and can be found in other false religions. Prayer therefore must be constant or as we are told to pray “in every season.” The Devil has many tools to use against us and so we MUST pray to gain the victory. We are told to pray “always.” As a side note, not mentioned in the sermon it is said of Charles Haddon Spurgeon that he never prayed for more than 15 minutes, but when he was awake there was never 15 minutes where he had not prayed.
Also prayer must be considerate. it has to do with the saints as Paul is saying we must passionately pray for the whole body of Christ. We must make supplication for All saints, no matter of denomination as we are all of one body. Only when the Lord comes for the second time will there be true ecumenism and then all Christians from all denominations will be united in Christ our Saviour. We must be considerate, not selfish in prayer.
We must be concentrated in prayers also. The preaching ministry is the vanguard of the Battle for mens souls and therefore prayer is needed for that vanguard. The minster of God is to be totally sold out for God. Pray for your earthly shepherd leading the way for his flock as he makes known the mystery of the Gospel. We must watch in the Spirt and not grow weak in the battle and as the Disciples did, fall asleep rather than in prayer. Do not jeopardise the enablement of the spirit and therefore do not grieve the Spirit, stay from sin. This is not possible as perfection cannot be gained on earth but we must strive for a life as Christ like as possible.
3. The Spirit and our Endurance in Prayer
We are also told, not in this passage but elsewhere, to be “filled with the Spirit” or to be continually filled with the Spirit. Just as a man who is drunk is controlled by another force one who is filled with the Holy Spirit will be controlled by and used by the Holy Spirit. We should not be controlled by the flesh or earthly vices such as alcohol and other substances but rather be given over for the use of the Spirit.
In conclusion it was said that the prayer of the Christian is the chief factor in the call to battle. Orthodox teachings without the Holy Spirit is not useful as the Holy Spirit is needed to work i the hearts of men and women. The part of the Battle that is more important than we can realise is:
This, I felt was a great sermon, one which hopefully if you search on sermonaudio.com soon, you can listen for yourself (as well as the other Congress meetings).
Lets get back to prayer, true Biblical, Spirit-filled prayer. Prayer meetings, young people is where we learn how to pray, become a Prayer Warrior and continue on from the work of the other generations. Let is go forward and as we are told in Luke 21 v 36 “watch ye therefore, and pray always.”