On Guard – Part 3

The Need for Spiritual Discernment Today

1 Corinthians 16:13,14


Pastor Craig Ledbetter                                           

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

18 Oct, 2009  PM



I.       Introduction (1 Corinthians 16:13,14; 2:14)


A.      This month, we are learning about being Alert, Aware, On Guard, prepared for Attack – I hate it when something comes “out of the blue” and knocks me into a tail-spin, spiritually!

B.      We have a sneaky, deadly enemy! He’s the best at sneak attacks, and he lures people right into some of the most deadly and destructive traps – even Christians

C.      We need to learn to “see” him coming, and “sense” him at work around us, so that we can better defend ourselves

D.     Blind Boxers - A lot of Christians are like a blind boxer trying to defend themselves from their opponent, and they wonder why they are so beat up and defeated most of the time!

E.      This evening, We are going to finish a three week training course on how to sharpen the 6th sense of the Believer. We all have 5 senses: touch, taste, hear, smell, and see. Mom’s have a sixth sense already built in, but there is a spiritual one we all need – a Spiritual Discernment (1Cor 2:14)


II.    Background


A.      There is more to this world than meets the eye. See Ephesians 6:12 – we need to begin to sense and to wrestle the right enemies!

B.      God gave us FIVE commands here in 1Cor 16:13,14


1.       Watch – become aware of the spiritual and not just the physical

2.       Stand – dig our heels in and not back away from the victory Christ has promised His children

3.       Quit – oh what a great word; it means to Finish what we start!

4.       Resist – put up a good fight, in Christ’s strength

5.       Do it all with Charity


C.      All five help us in a fight; help us understand what is going on in our lives: whether it be health problems, depression, someone turning on us – they all are probably related to something in the spiritual realm

D.     This evening we are just going to look at the last two commands


III. Review


A.     Watch Ye


1.       We are told dozens of time to be “watchful” - aware

2.       This is a military term, describing the Christian as a soldier on duty, guarding his family, guarding his thought life, guarding his eyes, guarding his church family

3.       Simply put, the Christian is to be SPIRITUALLY aware. Not emotionally, financially, physically aware, but spiritually aware! 99% of all modern Christians are lethargic, careless, unwise about spiritual things, they have their 6th sense shut off. Most modern Christians have NO understanding about the spiritual dimension around them that is JUST AS REAL, and often much more damaging than anything in this world!

4.       Jesus made it very clear just how much more important spiritual awareness is by commanding His followers, to not just be on the look-out, but to be watchful, AND PRAY (Mk 13:32,33)


B.     Stand Fast in the Faith


1.       Firm footing – ought to be standing on “the Rock” Jesus Christ

2.       This is Paul pleading with Christians to not give up and back down from the fight that we find ourselves in

3.       HEY! You don’t have to live in defeat! You WILL have disappointments, and lost battles, but you ought NEVER to live in defeat!

4.       Modern Christians are so easily tossed around (Eph 4:14) – they don’t know what to believe, and definitely don’t know how to defend what they believe, so the devil flings them from doubt to doubt, and keeps them discouraged!

5.       Most people are motivated by their fears, by their friends, by fun

6.       It is time we all were motivated by our faith! What we know to be more true than what we see and feel!

7.       A watchful guard is never surprised when they come under attack – never caught OFF GUARD, so they are better at defending themselves while under pressure


C.      Quit Ye Like Men


1.       All of these commands are for Christians who are in a fight

2.       Quit has many meanings: Most people find it easy to quit, be quitters, to give up under pressure but THAT is not what God is saying

3.       It simply means (1Sam 4:9; 2Sam 10:12):


a.       To finish up like men, not like babies, or wimps

b.      To set out to WIN and not lose!

c.       Act like men, be grown-up, be mature, and responsible

d.      Be faithful to the end


4.       We need all of us to be finishers, who know when it is time to quit and how to quit when it is time!

5.       God does not want any Christian quitting until quitting time! Either when you die, or when the Rapture Trumpet sounds!

6.       The command is… “Watch, and Stand Guard until Quitting time” – we are in the fight for the duration (2Tim 4:7,8)


IV.  Message – Last two Commands About How We as Christians Live in TWO Worlds


A.     “Be Strong”


1.       What a command! See Joshua 1:9

2.       To be a strong Christian is easily misunderstood:


a.       Not a normal kind of strength we need (2Cor 12:9,10)

b.      We should be strong “in the Lord” (Eph 6:10) – it is a spiritual effort, not physical strength – too many are only physically strong, and intellectually strong

c.       Not something that is naturally IN us – it comes from Jesus Christ (Philp 4:13)

d.      It is stronger than anything you have ever imagined (Col 1:11,12)


1)       Strong enough to wait on God

2)      Strong enough to suffer long

3)      Strong enough to be full of joy, especially when there doesn’t seem to be anything to be joyful about

4)      Strong enough to be thankful for everything!

5)      Strong enough to stand up to and resist not only temptation, but the devil himself!!!

6)      THAT is great strength!


3.       We have the BEST of weapons as Christians


a.       The perfect, preserved word of God – sword of the Holy Spirit

b.      Prayer

c.       Each other – the strength of a unified Christian church

d.      All of heaven on our side!

e.       We need to be strong as we use these powerful weapons!


4.       Why be strong?


a.       Because we have a strong enemy! (1Peter 5:8,9; James 4:7)

b.      And because we MUST learn how to resist him, and defeat him! God makes us strong to put up a good fight, and to defeat our enemies; not to crumble!


5.       How to become spiritually strong (Col 1:29)


a.       Diet (Mt 4:3,4) Feed on the best spiritual foods – the Bible, preaching, teaching – not on all the entertainment, pleasures, fleshly desires

b.      Die (2Cor 12:7-10) Submit yourselves to God – give in to His will, obey His word, allow HIM to be in charge of your life


1)       THIS is the most important thing you will EVER do! Surrender your will to God, and DO His will!

2)      Get born again HIS way, not any other way!

3)      Obey HIS word – not anyone else’s

4)      Yield to whatever HE wants in your life – no matter how hard


c.       Division (Ezra 9:12; 2Cor 6:17;  1Pet 2::9) Start living differently than the world around you. Not weird, but different!


1)       Different music – Godly music

2)      Different dress styles

3)      Different hair

4)      Different attitudes!

5)      Different priorities – like waiting for your wedding night, like serving God, finding His will


d.      Do – obedience (1Chron 28:10,20)


1)       Start obeying God in the little things, then bigger, then bigger, and then you will be able to go all the way he leads!

2)      Exercise your faith – step out, even small baby steps – if you want to run a marathon, you have to first start walking a mile, and then running a mile, then two, then ten, than 26! Start to just obey God BY FAITH

3)      Obey what God says, trusting HIM for the results, instead of obeying your fears and imaginations (Josh 1:9)


4)      Examples:


a)      Start tithing

b)      Open your mouth and tell someone how and why you got saved

c)       Be at church no matter how you feel (Heb 11:25)

d)      Pray about everything, and get rid of anxiety and worry as you pray


e.       Depend (Deut 31:6; 2Chron 32:7; Josh 10:25). YOUR strength will NEVER be enough on its own (John 15:5). You had better learn to depend upon God in constant prayer and praise!

f.        Devotion – Believe God for who He is (Deut 31:6; 2 Chron 32:7). HE is your strength (Ex 15:2; 2Sam 22:33; Isa 12:2)


6.       That’s when you will discover ALL might and power!


B.      Last Command - Let all your things be done with charity (1Cor 16:14)


1.       What do you tell someone who is now a determined fighter, who is ready to take on the devil, and finish his or her course as a good soldier of Jesus Christ? Paul says, have charity!

2.       What an unusual command for a Christian soldier! To do not just religious things, but “ALL things” with charity

3.       What is charity? A whole chapter (1Cor 13) is devoted to explaining what it is, and what it is NOT! Simply put, it is love without strings attached. It is not wimpy, or gooey, or effeminate. It is the strongest force in the universe. It is God’s kind of love (not man’s)


a.       God’s love put Jesus on the cross

b.      God’s love causes Him to keep His promises towards us

c.       God’s love keeps Him from consuming this world in His wrath

d.      God’s love causes Him to constantly give us chance after chance to get saved, and then get right with Him


4.       We, as Christian soldiers of the cross are supposed to FIGHT with charity. We are supposed to LOVE with charity.


a.       It is more than just loving someone – it is cherishing them!

b.      It is more important than knowledge (1Cor 8:1)

c.       It is the top, outer coat of the Christian – not any other attitude should show (Col 3:14)

d.      It is supposed to grow, not diminish (2Thes 1:3)

e.       It is the last and best thing we do for others (1Thes 1:5)

f.        It is to be a passionate, fervent way of thinking about people (1Pet 4:8)

g.       It is the highest step a Christian takes (2Pet 1:5-7)


5.       We are supposed to do HOW MANY THINGS with chairyt? All things! Your cooking, driving, working, arguing, obeying, giving, thinking, rebuking, praying, reading your Bible, soul-winning, sleeping, running, jogging, shopping, EVERYTHING!


a.       While cooking… cherish your home and family

b.      While driving… pray for your enemies

c.       While working… be kind to the guys around you who couldn’t care less about you

d.      While arguing… let it be a disagreement, bathed in love for the other person, not hatred or wrath

e.       While obeying… obey out of a heart of love, not just duty

f.        When giving… give because you simply love Jesus

g.       When your mind is racing in thought… find a way to unconditionally love the person you are focused on, like Christ does

h.      When rebuking someone… do it in love

i.        When praying… make sure you make the time to get your heart right and fall in love with God all over again so you can pray right about things

j.        When reading your Bible… do it out of love for God, and so to fall more in love with His ways, and His word

k.       When soul-winning… do it out of love for souls, who could have been YOU in need of someone who cares!!!


6.       Hey! God SO loved you when you were unloveable (Titus 3:1-6). God was kind with such a sinner as you and me! AMEN!

7.       So, He commands US to:


a.       Be strong, but not ungracious – just as He is

b.      Strong, but not hateful, or a brute

c.       Strong, but not angry

d.      Strong, but not full of pride


8.      This is a command for every believer to develop some THICK skins – get to where people can walk on you! In this day and age EVERYONE is getting offended! It is of the devil, and it is destroying homes, and CHURCHES (Gal 5:14,15)! So, to combat that…


a.       Do LOADS of listening – to your wife, and kids! Do things their way! It is ok, to not have to try to always know what to do.

b.      Yield when you can – not everything is to be fought over.

c.       Have NO pride about anything of yours at all. That goes for you wives and teens too!

d.      Be full of the Holy Spirit instead of full of the devil, or of drink, or of anger, or lust, or depression, or smoke, or hypocrisy!

e.       Be very patient with everyone – Paul made a bad mistake when he got fed up with young John Mark and wanted nothing more to do with him! Give people loads of chances!

f.        And finally, ask God to teach you how to love as He loves!


9.       The difference with Christians is simply this – we do nothing right that is without charity. So, you can BE right about something, but without charity, you are dead wrong!


V.     Conclusion


A.      This month, we are learning about being Alert, On Guard, Prepared for Attack because  we have a sneaky, deadly enemy!

B.      We need to learn to “see” him coming, and “sense” him at work around us, so that we can better defend ourselves

C.      God gave us FIVE commands here in 1Cor 16:13,14


1.       Watch – become aware of the spiritual and not just the physical

2.       Stand – dig our heels in and not back away from the fight

3.       Quit – oh what a great word; it means to Finish what we start!

4.       Resist – put up a good fight, in Christ’s strength

5.       Do it all with Charity


D.     All five help us in a fight, help us understand what is going on in our lives: whether it be health problems, depression, someone turning on us – they all are probably related to something in the spiritual realm

E.      This evening we have looked at the last two commands