Wednesday 4 November 2020



(Ephesians 6. V 10/20)

On Sunday, people will gather once again on this special day, to remember the great sacrifices made by men/women, many of whom paid the supreme sacrifice of their lives, whilst others were injured and disabled for life. 

As the years roll by, the number of those who were alive during the last World War grows ever smaller reducing by the year.  But the memories do not fade, as we recall how this nation stood alone on the brink when all seemed to be lost and there was even talk of surrender.  But God raised up a man who refused to surrender and instead rallied the nation to perform such heroic deeds. 

How sad and shameful so many young people do not, and will not, try to learn of this glorious chapter of our history, never having had to endure the horrors and hardship of war.  Such has been the direction of education in recent years in (state) schools, they have little or no knowledge of what was done that they may have all the privileges they now enjoy.  To so many Churchill is the name of a dog representing an Insurance Company, rather than one of the greatest Prime Ministers of this country.

 We think of the brave young men, some barely left College, who defended our skies or were shot down over German 

cities; others who perished on a French beach, or drowned 

in deep waters, or were tortured in a Japanese prison camp; 

they gave their lives for principles they loved or believed in.

We have to add those who fought and died in Afghanistan and Iraq in wars which should never have been started, as we replaced one horror for even worse.

All these men and women would have cried for the ideals which took their lives to be remembered and honoured. What would they say if they knew what things were going on this country now?  Would they wonder if their great sacrifices were worthwhile as they looked at us now? 

How disillusioned, as they looked at their injuries; those who came home with shattered limbs, or blind eyes, and saw, people making huge compensation claims for minor injuries, and taking legal action for hurt feelings caused by mere words.

Young people who have never known suffering, trying to dictate who says what and when and where.

Protesting at matters their tiny brains are incapable of understanding.

Unable to obey calls to act in responsible way in the face of a deadly virus.

To see some pumped up public official saying the flag they fought under could not be displayed lest it upset someone from another country?

Those men and women had a faith and a belief, and now we Christians have to take over that fight.  As they fought the Battle of Britain, we must fight For Britain.

 The world has largely rejected Christianity, without having anything to put in its place to combat the evils of the world.  All we hear today is about ‘human rights,’ yet in all walks of public life, even to the highest level of government; we have flagrant deceit, corruption, being economical with the truth and unrestricted immorality, the sort of behaviour which sends out the wrong message to the young and gullible. 

Under the guise of equality, all manner of restrictions are being enacted to restrain freedom of speech and religious faith.  People can be perfectly equal without being the same.  Until we once had a Prime Minister who lied and cheated, stating he would not legislate on one issue, but did; the 

stated he would legislate on another but didn't, by his intransigence. made freedom of religious expression a hate crime, and so a greater penalty could be given than if convicted for burglary or physical assault. 

Christian principles and values were the foundation of this nation’s base, as were many of the social institutions and the legal system of the country.  Our nation’s future depends on the acceptance of the standards of the Bible.

Not all who condemn the moral slide are bigoted and narrow minded.  Those who fought for their country, all those veterans knew what counted in life as they fought for a safer world.  The men on the fighting lines knew things had to get better.  .

 We have a society which is encouraged to forsake a Christian consensus and live, not by Christian principles, but by substituting other principles.   We are submerged in a world that is committed to falsehood, which is why we are called to proclaim the truth.

 Th is Sunday, there will be people in all our Churches o would not normally be there, thus revealing a spiritual content in their lives.  Indeed, almost all people have some spiritual longing; there are so many of these people who would be of enormous value to the Church and who in turn could add so much to their lives.  Within each one of us there is a need for things which money can’t buy, and desires which we cannot express. 

Whilst the majority may not be willing to accept it, we all need a spiritual life.  We need God and the forgiveness, which He offers in Jesus Christ.  Without this our souls are restless. The only obstacle is a lack of motivation.    

Many people are like the two British soldiers who found themselves lost in the deserts of Iraq. They eventually came across an American Officer in his jeep. As they approached him they didn’t even bother to salute and simply blurted out ‘excuse me mate, can you tell us where we are?’  The General took umbrage at their casual attitude and sternly replied, ‘Do you know who I am?’ at which one of the soldiers turned to the other and said, ‘Now we are in real trouble, we don’t know where we are and he doesn’t know who he is!’

Neither do we know who we are and why we are here, so we just live for today and who cares about tomorrow. And that is how we will remain unless there is some communication from the outside, from the One who has made us. A godless self-centred life is a fruitless and empty one.

Last Remembrance Sunday I attended a service at a Parish Church which normally would expect an attendance of 20/30 people, but on that occasion every seat was taken. Here was a captive audience for any preacher of worth to make an impression on.

Instead the sermon was about the terms of surrender for the 1914 war.

The service was one of Holy Communion, which was a total confusion to those unchurched, rather than an ordinary act of worship with well-known hymns. To complete the disaster, plates were thrust in front of people, and in one case kept until the young man could search his pockets for something to put on the plate.    It just gave the impression payment was required for attending.

We need a daring programme of revival, which God is challenging us to make.  We within the Church need to ensure our services are always meaningful and encouraging.  However, there is reluctance within some Churches to preach a vibrant Biblical message for fear of being criticised as being offensive to other faiths. 

Whilst Christianity has been the faith of this country for centuries, in recent times our Churches have retreated and allowed a secular agenda to exercise undue influence on both society and the Church.  People, I believe, are longing for and wanting spiritual leadership. Our strength is limited only by our faith.  Will that faith let us move mountains or stumble over mole hills?

When you become a Christian you effectively become like a soldier, there is warfare between what the world wants, and what God has laid down, and we enter a battlefield.  The Bible calls on us to stand firm and not yield. 

When the Romans invaded a country they would burn their boats so there could be no means of retreat, hence the saying burning your boats.   God is telling us He will give us all the power we need and the Bible calls on us to put on the whole armour of God, and stand fast for the faith, no giving in.

 In today’s passage Paul is giving guidance and draws on the imagery taken from a Roman soldier’s uniform with a portrayal of Christian life as a warfare, using spiritual metaphors for the resources given to the Christian soldier.

Paul looks at the belt which holds the soldier’s uniform together, a breastplate to defend his heart, sandals specially made with spikes in the soles to enable to get a good foothold on the ground to dig his feet in, and a helmet to protect his head. A shield  protects him from the darts of the enemy, and he has a sword to go on the attack.

 Applying them to the Christian, Paul is referring to the belt of truth which is the gospel, which holds our faith, and we must have a pure heart to live according to that truth, and then stand firm and not let our head be turned by false teaching.

 Every army needs to attack, and we should be promoting Christianity as vigorously as other faiths push their faith, armed with the two edged sword of truth.  Our faith is not someone has made up; it is based on the historical fact.

Never let us be ashamed to tell the story of a Saviour who gave His life on the Cross, so that all we unworthy people may have our sins forgiven because He died that we may be made righteous for heaven when our life on this earth is over.  Jesus Christ, by His death, enables us to be in God’s favour, and calls for people to turn back to God.

 All who treasure the Christian faith, and the memory of those who gave their lives to preserve a Christian heritage, must work and pray for a spiritual revival of the Christian Church.   The valiant hearts that died to preserve the loveliness of these lands we call Great Britain, will not be failed by God.

It is also fitting that we remember and recognise the sacrifices made by members of the American Army, who joined our own Army in the assault and fighting which was fought so fiercely when we invaded Europe, and men of the United States Air Corps who flew in raids over the enemy in Europe, and those who now lie in the American Cemetery in Cambridge, which is maintained so beautifully as a tribute to them, with such a fine chapel decorated with illustrated pictures of engagements made. 

May we, on this special day, well remember the sacrifices others made that we might be here at this hour?  We must never ever forget the lives of so many gallant young men and women given that we may have peace in our lives.

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