The standard uplifted in the face of the foe
When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 6:10-18
Christian, you are in the land where foes abound. There are enemies within you; you are not clean delivered from the influence of inbred sin. The new nature is of divine origin, and it cannot sin because it is born of God; but the old nature, the carnal mind, is there too, and it is not reconciled to God, neither indeed can it be; and therefore it strives and struggles with the new nature. The house of Saul in our heart wars against the house of David, and tries to drive it out and despoil it of the crown. This conflict you must expect to have continued with more or less of violence till you enter into rest. Moreover, in the world without there are multitudes of foes. This vain world is no friend to the principle of the work of grace. If you were of the world the world would love its own, but as you are not of the world but of a heavenly race, you may expect to be treated as an alien and foreigner, no, as a hated and detested foe. All sorts of snares and traps will be laid for you; those who sought to entangle the Master in his speech will not be more lenient towards you. Moreover there is one whose name is called â€˜the enemy,â€™ the â€˜evil one;â€™ he is the leader among your adversaries; hating God with all his might, he hates that which he sees of God in you. He will not spare the arrows in his infernal quiver; he will shoot them all at you. There are no temptations which he knows ofâ€”and he understands the art well from long practiceâ€”there are no temptations which he will not exercise upon you. He will sometimes fawn upon you, and at other times will frown; he will lift you up, if possible, with self-righteousness, and then cast you down with despair. You will always find him your fierce, insatiable foe. Know this then, and put on the whole armour of God.
For meditation: Self, society and Satan are an unholy trinity to follow (Ephesians 2:2â€“3) and an unholy trinity to fight, but, in Christ, self (Romans 7:24â€“25), society (Galatians 1:3â€“4) and Satan (John 17:15; Hebrews 2:14â€“15) can all be overcome (Hebrews 2:18).
Sermon no. 718 28 October (1866)