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Wake up, Church of America!

BattleshipsIt is time to stop playing around and get serious about this war we are in. Sure, you might say that Christ finished the work on the cross. He finished His; now we need to finish ours.

On September 23, 1779 a famous battle was fought and won against all odds. America was engaged in the Revolutionary War, and this battle was fought in the North Sea.

John Paul Jones was a Scotsman recruited by Benjamin Franklin and urged by the same to come to America to join the war. John Paul, although soft spoken and of calm demeanor, had much quiet strength and confidence. He thus favorably impressed John Adams, who was then serving on the Congressional Committee for the Continental Navy. Jones was eager to prove himself to the Americans, and they allowed him the freedom to choose his own style of fighting.

His most famous battle took place on September 23, 1779. He was then in charge of an old merchant vessel that he rebuilt, equipped with forty cannons and named the Bonhomme Richard.

In this battle Jones took on a British ship called the Serapis. The Serapis was part of a fleet of British ships bringing supplies to their troops in America. The two ships quickly engaged in battle. At first the Serapis was the easy winner due both to its superior weapons and to an accident. Two of the largest guns on the Bonhomme Richard jammed and backfired, killing many of the crewmembers. The Serapis quickly took advantage of the Richard’s troubles, blasting the American ship until Jones and his crew had only three big guns left.

The Americans fought on. The two ships were very close to each other. Finally Jones ordered the two ships to be tied together, and the crew engaged in hand-to-hand combat. The battle became exceedingly violent and bloody.

The Richard was on fire and many were dead. One American sailor began screaming for surrender, but Jones refused to give up. When the captain of the Serapis asked if he planned to remove his flag in a gesture of surrender, Jones cried, “I have not yet begun to fight!”

Now my question is this: Are we, as Christians, not engaged in warfare? Has the battle not been fierce? Does it not appear many times that we are outnumbered and over powered? Don’t we feel like giving up at times? Yet we have the promise that the Creator of the world, who is also the author and finisher of our faith, will never leave us or forsake us.

Friends, let this be a clarion call to all who are true disciples of Christ and who have truly forsaken all to follow Him—we have not yet begun to fight!

Where is the power? Where is the zeal? We are not merely two ships engaged in battle; we are at war between good and evil. This is the war that has been raging ever since Christ arose from the grave. And that same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the grave is still with us today. We are talking about resurrection power! We cannot win this fight of our own strength but by His power who conquered death, hell and the grave. How? By humbling Himself. By being totally submissive to His Father. With much watching and praying. By fixing His eyes on the goal and for the joy that was set before Him. He endured all. He steadfastly refused to turn back or to the left or to the right.

If temporary freedom from Great Britain meant so much to Jones and all Americans back then, surely then eternal freedom from all eternity of sin is worth everything we have!

Many don’t seem to think that sin is so bad. Some even play around with it, enjoying it. We expect the world to do this because it is the very nature of the world. But many that name the name of Christ are equally as unconcerned.

Think about AIDS. It is a terrible disease, right? As far as we know nobody has ever recovered from it. As far as we know there is no cure. Once you get it, get ready to die, because you will. But sin kills the soul—forever.

It is time to stop playing around and get serious about this war we are in. Sure you might say that Christ finished the work on the cross. He finished His; now we need to finish ours. If you think you can just sit back and coast into heaven, you are wrong. This fight is unto the death. Nobody is excluded. If you are alive, you are in this war. Is not Jesus worth your very best effort? He lived a perfect life so that He could be the supreme sacrifice for us. Not only is He the sacrifice for us, He is also our Savior, our friend that sticketh closer than a brother and our mighty general. He showed us the way. Now we must follow Him if we would be saved from the wrath to come.

Another interesting story from the Revolutionary War: A certain man owned a house in, I think, Boston. During the war his house was taken from him and occupied by one of the British Generals. When the American army came to that town to take it, he pointed out his house to them and even offered a reward to the man who hit it first.

Now why was he so willing to have his own house destroyed? Because the enemy dwelt there!

Are we willing to let our bother in Christ take a “shot” at us to show us where we need to improve? Have we recognized our flesh as the enemy that it is? Is heaven worth everything to us? Are we willing to give up our earthly house in order to gain victory? How loyal are we to our General? Or are we so busy pursuing the American dream that we are actually holding back those who are fighting? We are either helping or we are a hindrance. We are either going forward or we are going backward. There is no neutral zone in this war.

My friend, please consider your position. If you find that you are lax, please don’t put it off—get right with God now! Be willing to humble yourself. You have nothing to lose and Heaven to gain.

May God bless you.
-J. Mast

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