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Holiness; 4. The Fight (point 3); JC Ryle

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

III. True Christianity is a good fight

– the fight is the fight of the soul

– if he would be holy and see the Lord
1) He must fight (it is real and severe)
2) It needs courage
3) It needs boldness
4) It needs perseverance

– Ryle will attempt to explain that Scripture does not call the Christian fight “a good fight” without reason and cause:
The Christian”s fight is good,
a) because fought under the best of generals – a Saviour of perfect wisdom, infinite love, and almighty power. Surely this is good!

b) because fought with the best of helps – weak as each believer is in himself, the Holy Spirit dwells in him, and his body is a temple of the Holy Ghost…weak as he seems in himself, like a worm, he is strong in the Lord to do great exploits. Surely this is good!

c) because fought with the best of promises – to every believer belong exceeding great and precious promises. Surely this is good!

d) because fought with the best of issues and results – every believer, without exception, is “more than conqueror through Him that loved him” (Rm. 8:37). Surely this is good!

e) because it does good to the soul of him that fights it – the Christian warfare alone tends to call forth the best things that are left in man. It promotes humility, charity, lessens selfishness and worldliness, induces men ti set their affections on things above. Surely this is good!

f) because it does good to the world – wherever they live they are a blessing, they raise the standard of religion and morality, they invariably check the progress of drunkeness, Sabbath-breaking, proligacy, dishonesty. Surely this is good!

g) because it ends in a glorious reward for all who fight it – he shall have “a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (I Pt. 5:4).

Practical Application
1) It may be that you are struggling hard for the rewards of this world – your sowing will lead to a crop of bitter disappointment. For your own happiness’ sake resolve this day to join the Lord’s side. “Fight the good fight of faith.” Fear not to begin and enlist under Christ’s banner.

2) It may be you know something of the Christian warfare, and are a tried and proved soldier already. If so, let us stir up our minds by way of rememberance:
– let us remember
* that if we would fight successfully we must put on the whole armour of God, and never lay it aside till we die. “In heaven we shall appear, not in armour, but robes of glory. But here our arms are to be worn night and day. We must walk, work, sleep in them, or else we are not true soldiers of Christ” (Gurnall).

* “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (II Tim. 2:4).

* that some have seemed good soldiers for a little season … and yet turned back disgracefully in the day of battle.

* whatever we are, and however weak, let us be real, genuine, true, and sincere.

* that the eye of our loving Saviour is upon us, morning, noon, and night.

* that thousands of soldiers before us have fought the same battle that we are fighting, and come off more than conquerors through Him that loved them.

* that the time is short, and the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

May we never forget that without fighting there can be no holiness while we live, and no crown of glory when we die!

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