Thursday 9 November 2023




Ephesians 6 v 10

 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? 


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.

How would they react 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.  Not so long ago we had a Prime Minister who by his intransigence made freedom of religious expression a legal offence, 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.

Today, there will be people in all our Churches who 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 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.

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?

Wen 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.

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 and divine Jesus Christ who calls for people to turn back to God.     Never let us be ashamed to tell 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.

     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.

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

I want us to remember also those brave young American men, who joined our nation in the fight for freedom on the shores of France as the invasion of Europe was made, and the airmen who flew planes from our air fields nightly over enemy territory, some never to return, but who are still in our thoughts as we see their graves in the American cemetery so far from their native land.

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