|Volume 20 Number 5 May 2018||
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NKJV)
As David spoke to the mighty warrior of the Philistines, he made it abundantly clear that he was going to defeat him, this huge champion of the Philistines, as well as rout his army. However, he also made it clear why and how he would do that—“the battle belongs to the Lord.” David still had to take his sling and a stone; he had work to do on behalf of the Lord, but he did that work recognizing that it was not he who would bring victory, but God!
We face the “Goliaths” that would destroy us and defy our God. Like David, we need to understand that we have a job to do, a fight to wage, but, ultimately, the battle belongs to the Lord! Our part begins with an unwavering faith in God. We must have conviction and determination that cannot be deterred. We must be in a close relationship with God. We must be prepared for battle.
Paul’s Message to Felix
And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound. (Acts 24:24-27 NKJV)
The message Paul spoke to Felix is a message needed today. Paul discussed three things with Felix.
The first thing Paul reasoned about was righteousness. Psalm 119:172 says, “My tongue will speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.” So, righteousness means doing what is right as God’s word says. Those who do right according to God’s Word and who are righteous are accepted by God. “But in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him (Acts 10:25). In preaching righteousness and keeping the commandments of God, Paul must have preached repentance and baptism, too (Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16).
The second thing Paul reasoned about was temperance. Temperance means self-control, having one’s life in control. A Christian must be temperate in all things. “And every man shall strive for the mastery of temperance in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” Exercising self-control or temperance is a fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Self-control is absolutely necessary for entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 5:5-11).
The third thing that Paul reasoned about was “the judgment to come.” “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Peter 2:9). Two things are sure in this life—death and judgment (Hebrews 9:27). In view of the coming judgment, we persuade men to become Christians. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things that he hath done, whether good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and trust also are made manifest in your consciences” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
When Felix heard Paul’s message, he was touched, but he delayed his obedience. Felix was moved with fear, but he did not obey. Felix waited for a convenient time that we have no record of it ever coming. God’s commands are the same today as in Felix’s day—one must believe, repent, confess and be baptized to be saved. The Bible warns, “Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7-8). “Now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:12).