Be Strong in the Lord
I am speaking today from a single verse of scripture found in Ephesians 6 verse 10. You are welcome to open to this chapter as I hope to conclude with a reading of verses 11-19.
Ephesians 6:10 states, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Be strong in the Lord. Every disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ needs to grow into a mature believer who is strong in the Lord. We are not to remain weak.
Weakness in the Lord is reflected by a propensity to be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. Such weakness manifests with the inability to stand against the onslaught of a world bent on moving the church away from the truthfulness of the gospel.
Weakness in the Lord is also reflected in conformity to the spirit of the world. Believers are called to personal holiness, but many believers fail to develop godly convictions and remain weak in practice and have little salt in themselves.
Weakness in the Lord is also reflected by the inability to stand for Christ as a witness for him. All believers are called upon to represent the Lord Jesus in this world. Weakness manifests when we cower in the presence of a world that disagrees with us. Unwillingness to bear our cross and suffer rejection from an unbelieving world reveals a certain weakness in such believers.
Paul certainly understood the need to challenge believers to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. We need this same word of encouragement today.
My friends, may the Lord grant us grace to be strong and not weak at this critical time for our families and our nation. We need to be strong in the Lord in order to engage the very real spiritual struggle we find ourselves in. Our spiritual battles require spiritual strength.
I must remind you that we are engaged with a spiritual enemy who aims to hinder us and stop the cause of Christ. We are thus called to “resist the devil.” We must resist his invitations to indulge the flesh, neglect the cause of Christ, and to accommodate the unbelief of the world.
Accommodating the unbelief of the world is nothing less than tolerating the spirit of antichrist. However, we must resist the spirit of antichrist which flows from the father of lies, Satan himself.
Our battles are real, but where is the strength for these battles to be found? The strength needed is in the Lord. We need his strength to manifest in our lives and his strength does manifest in the lives of those believers who practice several things.
First, believers who feed upon the Word of God grow stronger in the Lord day by day. You cannot develop strength for the battle without feeding daily upon his word.
Next, believers who build a faithful church life become stronger in the Lord week by week. Why? A faithful church life affords you the opportunity to learn from godly pastors who feed you the Word of God. Without a faithful church life most believers will never be strong in the Lord.
A faithful church life also affords you the opportunity to function within the body of Christ. We need one another. A soldier alone on a battlefield is in great danger. He needs support for the battle. Likewise, Christians need the support of fellow believers in order to be strong in the Lord.
Next, every believer needs to grow a personal prayer life in order to be strong in the Lord. It is in the private prayer closet one develops a growing closeness to the Lord. In private prayer the Lord imparts his strength to our inner man.
We need grace to stand for Christ in a world full of opposition and unbelief. Prayer lays hold of the Lord and results in new strength for the battles we face.
If you would be strong in the Lord, or if you are to maintain strength in the Lord, then practice daily Bible reading, be faithful to the house of God, and engage in daily private prayer.
Now, let’s take a few minutes and consider what strength in the Lord looks like.
To be strong in the Lord means to be strong in faith. We must develop a strong confidence in the Lord as we learn of his character and embrace his promises. Consider for a moment the example of Abraham. In Romans chapter four we read:
“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be.
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences and was raised for our justification (Romans 4:16-25).
Abraham was strong in faith. He did not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief. Likewise, in our own battles we must be strong in faith.
Regardless of what the world brings against us we must stand in faith to receive the promises of God. Jesus went so far as to say, "be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).
In the battle, our enemy compels us to deny the name of Jesus and to deny his faith. This is at the very heart of our battle with a world of unbelief.
Shall we be faithful, no matter the cost? Shall we be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, or shall we capitulate to the world even denying the Lord that bought us? God forbid!
We shall rise with a strong faith embracing the promises of the Lord that if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him! To be strong in the Lord means to be strong in faith. Such faith is strong in the face of persecution.
Abraham was so settled in his faith that God would give him a son he refused to look at his age or the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Later when Abraham was tested to offer his son of promise on an altar of sacrifice, he once again moved in faith. He believed if necessary, God would raise Isaac from the dead in order to keep his promises.
May I say, if this world persecuted us even to death, we should be of such strong faith we face that moment in the full assurance God will raise us up by that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead!
I’ve got news for this world—you cannot get rid of a real child of God. We are coming back with the Lord Jesus and we will rule and reign with him!
Church, be strong in faith! Have great confidence in the Lord. He is able to deliver us now and he is able to preserve us unto his heavenly kingdom.
Now, let me move on to my next point which is closely related to what I just said. What does it look like to be strong in the Lord?
Consider for a moment our priority to “keep the faith.”
At the end of his life the apostle Paul made this statement: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Like the apostle, we must be strong in the Lord in the interest of safeguarding the faith. The real battle in our world is over truth.
Many false spiritualities claim to be the truth. On the other hand, our secular friends pretend that absolute truth does not exist. However, the truth is found in “the faith which is once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
The faith is built upon the truthfulness and trustworthiness of Holy Scripture. Thus, we embrace without apology the authority of Scripture. The Scripture speaks with a final authority concerning the essential doctrines of the faith.
Doctrinally the content of "the faith" sets forth the unique person of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, God manifest in the flesh for our salvation.
Furthermore, it sets forth his supernatural death in which as our sin bearer he fully propitiated a holy God, covering our sin and guilt in His sight by the power of his shed blood.
And as I read just a few moments ago from Romans chapter four, Jesus was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. God raised Jesus from the dead thus establishing the promise salvation for all who confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in their heart He raised him from the dead.
My friends, the authority of Scripture and the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ is the very heart of the faith.
We must be strong in the Lord and having done all to stand for the truth as it is in Jesus, stand therefore taking to yourself the whole armor of God that ye might be able to withstand in the day of great difficulty and trial.
To be strong in the Lord means to be strong in the face of opposition to the truth.
We believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. We believe Jesus is Lord of all. We believe in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who is coming again to rule with great power over all the earth.
We are not to fear those who oppose our Lord, rather like the children of Israel of old we are to be strong and of a good courage. We are to fear not, nor be afraid of those who oppose the truth. For the LORD our God, he it is that goes with us and he will not fail nor forsake us!
And what, shall we fear the faces of those who despise our Lord and oppose the church? I think not, rather we are to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
Hear this word from the book of Ezekiel where the Lord says, “Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads” (Ezekiel 3:8).
Indeed, the Lord will manifest the same power in our lives as we stand for him!
Jesus says when “they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost” (Mark 13:11).
Amen! As we stand strong for the Lord his Spirit will stand by us!
Now may I conclude with a reading of Ephesians 6:10-19:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
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.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.