Sermom page 2


              sees us from a distance.  The Enemy and the minions he uses contemplate us and

              try to anticipate what we are going to do.  He is in suspense about what the

              church is planning.  Perhaps that could be why we run into problems and

              troubles unexpectedly.  It is part of the Devil’s contingency planning. 

      C. If the Adversary does not want to allow us to get close then he realizes that in

           close combat He cannot win.   He is bold as a lion with non-believers seeking

           whom he may devour; and he no doubt uses spies and infiltration of the church

           and seminaries.  Against a spiritually armored Christian he prefers to throw

           things.  That is the meaning of the word ‘devil’ in Greek.  “diabolos”  a mixture of

           the words ‘dia’ meaning “by” and ‘boulos’ which means to throw: “by throwing”.  

       D. I find myself thinking of the movie “Troy” where Achilles is called upon to fight

            a warrior of another army in single combat to determine a battle.  The warrior

            hurls spears at Achilles, but Achilles prefers close combat and uses his sword to

            finish the enemy off quickly.

            1. I realize that modern warfare is different from the ancients.  Paul is using the

                ancient images and we will stay with those.  However, the one common

                denominator we find in warfare (whether it is ancient or modern) is that the

                victor has the ability to use speed to his advantage.

                a. Patton: I don't want any messages saying 'I'm holding my position.' We're not

                    holding on to anything. We're advancing constantly and we're not interested

                    in holding anything.  Our plan of operation is to advance and keep on


                b. Nathan Bedford Forrest in the Civil War supposedly said, “Get the firstest

                    there with the mostest.”   Historians tell us that he never said his quote that

                     way, but rather he answered the question about a military victory this way,

                     “Madam, I got there first with the most men.”

                 c. I once spoke with a martial artist who said, "Never sacrifice speed for power."


IV. Miyamoto Mushashi was a famous samurai who wrote “The Book of the Five Rings”

       in the 1600’s era Japan. 

       A. He fought about 60 duels and Japanese history tells us that he was undefeated.

            1. He was an advocate of fighting with two swords, one in each hand.

                a.  I was thinking that while the Bible as a whole is seen as a sword, it has two

                    sharp sides: The Old and New Testament; and we need to use both

                    blade sides.  This is a power shared with us, for as Snodgrass writes,“The

                    Spirit empowers the sword.” 

                    (1.) Philippine proverb: “A sharp sword is no better than a dull one if it

                           remains sheathed.”

      B. He had five major strategies.  One was named The Crimson Leaves Strike, the

          Autumn Monkey strike, the Spark from the Stone, Glue and emulsion, and Chance

          Opening.  All of them involve speed.

          1. Glue and Emulsion was the style where you overwhelm your opponent and

               never let up him.   The strategy of Chance Opening Mushashi taught, was to

               look for an opening in your opponent’s guard and strike at it as fast as possible. 

               a. I have a book in my library that I read last year called “The Gods of War”.

                   1. It was written by a fellow named Springs Toledo.  If that isn’t the name of

                       a sports writer no name is. 

               b. In the book he ranks his 10 greatest fighters of the modern age that he calls

                   the God’s of War.  Many names you might think would be there are not.

               c. Toledo’s number one fighter of the modern age is a man that few have heard

                   of, a middle-weight named Harry Greb, a fighter from the 1920’s.  His

                   nickname was The Pittsburgh Windmill.  He would fight anyone and in his

                   career he defeated at least 15 heavy-weights.  Unfortunately for sport’s

                   historians, not one of his fights is available on film; which is unusual in that

                   he had 298 fights. 

          C. Greb had an uncanny way of hitting from many different angles; his punches

               fast and bewildering to opponents.  He never let up on them.

               1. Toledo: “He was a formless fighter of the nightmarish strain.  In his prime,

                   opponents found themselves beset on all sides by what seemed to be three

                   attackers at once.  When punched at, he seemed to be nowhere, but when

                   punching, he seemed to be everywhere.”

               2. That would be the example of Glue and Emulsion used in sports.


V.  Why my stress on speed?  We need to see that temptation is something that we need

       to rid ourselves of as soon as possible. 

       A. Relating to people involves patience and love.  Dealing with temptation involves a

            speedy combat to remove it from our lives. 

       B. In samurai Yama-moto Tsune-tomo’s Hagakure, he shares a quote, “Stamp

            quickly,  and pass through a wall of iron.”  



VI. Summation:

Clarke: “The sword of which St. Paul speaks is, as he explains it, the word of God; that is, the revelation which God has given of himself, or what we call the Holy Scriptures. This is called the sword of the Spirit, because it comes from the Holy Spirit, and receives its fulfillment in the soul through the operation of the Holy Spirit. An ability to quote this on proper occasions, and especially in times of temptation and trial, has a wonderful tendency to cut in pieces the snares of the adversary. In God's word a genuine Christian may have unlimited confidence, and to every purpose to which it is applicable it may be brought with the greatest effect. The shield, faith, and the sword-the word of God, or faith in God's unchangeable word, are the principal armor of the soul. He in whom the word of God dwells richly, and who has that faith by which he knows that he has redemption, even the forgiveness of sins, need not fear the power of any adversary. He stands fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made him free.  


Lord, help us to deal with people with patience, as the farmer who plants seed and is patient with process of growth; but with sin and temptations let us be swift to rid ourselves of the influence by means of the Spirit, Scripture, and prayer.  Amen.


Muncy Presbyterian Church