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Catechism Class. Lord’s Day 19C, Q.51 

09/05/2022

Catechism Class. Lord’s Day 19C, Q.51 

Our Defence

As our catechist reminds us, Christ, seated at the Father’s right hand and reigning as our king, – by his power, defends and preserves us against all enemies.  Note then-

  1. He defends us by HIS POWER.  Although Luther had a powerful man as a friend and protector, it is the power of God in whom we trust, not in the power of men, even princes, like Frederick.  Christ’s power is superior, – he is omnipotent – all powerful!  Psalm 118:9  
  2. He protects us, as his church and individually. This is wonderfully personal, we have promises in the scriptures that God will always protect us, will never leave us, will care for us.  Without the permission of our Saviour, not a single hair can fall fall from the believer’s head!  That promise is also a corporate guarantee to the church.  Matthew 16:18   
  3. He preserves us.  He will never permit us to be plucked out of his hand – we are held tight in the Saviour’s grip.  John 10:28  Our eternal security does not depend on our own strength.  If it did we would fall away and be lost, but it rests on Christ, a firm and solid foundation, and he will never fail us.

Lord’s Day 19 Q.51, How does the glory of Christ, our Head, benefit us? A. First, by his Holy Spirit he pours out heavenly gifts upon us, his members.  Second, by his power he defends and preserves us against all enemies

How wonderful is our Saviour, and mighty defender who delivers us out of the hands of our enemies? Who are these enemies, that we need the greatest and most powerful defender to keep us safe from them?

  1. Flesh and blood.  There is no doubt that throughout the history of the church, there has never been a period when Christians have not been persecuted.  Many faithful believers died at the hands of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  In the early days of the church, from the first martyr Stephen, right up until now, Christians have died for their faith in Christ.  Yet, other people, while we need the Lord’s protection from them, are not our real enemies…. We have
  2. Satanic enemies. In his famous passage on spiritual warfare, READ Ephesians 6:12 Against these enemies, we need Christ! James tells us how to deal with satanic attacks.  James 4:6-8  But there is an enemy that we seldom are aware of, 
  3. Our Own SINFUL HEARTS.  I wonder have you ever heard anyone saying, “He or she is is own worst enemy..?” Very often that is true. We have an enemy within.  Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  We are tempted, and when we yield to temptation we are sinning against the Lord, and we call out to him to defend us from ourselves! 

Against all these enemies, Christ is our shield and defender.  He defends us by interceding for us at the right hand of the father, and he defends us by sending us His Holy Spirit, to guide us through life, and he defends us by ordaining our lives and our destiny through his sovereign will and his providence. And he will go one defending us.  I suppose we have only been thinking of Christ’s defence, primarily in terms of the individual Christian, taking comfort from that defence.  But objectively, Christ will defend his church for ever!  He will always keep us safe, even in the last great battle, when he defends his kingdom against the forces of evil.  On that day he shall be victorious. 1 Corinthians 15:57   

Now, while we do not trust in men for our defence, and while we know that our only hope is in the keeping power of Christ, we are not standing idle while Christ wins our battles. We are to be his soldiers! We too are in the battle, and Christ leads us to victory. Ephesians 6:10 -13

One final thought. Because Christ defends his church, and defends and preserves us as believers, should a Christian never attempt to defend himself, or herself?  There are people who will believe that Christians should essentially be pacifists, after all didn’t Jesus himself tell us to turn the other cheek in Matthew 5:38-39. So, with Christ as our strong defence, should we ever defend ourselves? Perhaps we should remember that when Jesus was speaking about ‘smiting the cheek’ he was referring to a calculated insult, a backhanded slap, specifically to the right cheek, rather than a punch to the face.  If anyone insults you, don’t retaliate.  The believer is willing to be insulted for the sake of Christ.  But Jesus also warned the disciples that they would from time to time need to defend themselves, with God’s help in Luke 12:11-12  And the psalmist went so far as to say that it was the LORD himself, who helped him to wage war, in Psalm 144:1-2 

In Exodus 22:2, the law allows us to defend our homes, If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, so the Law of God is more proportionate in the sanctity of a home than some of our modern judges and lawmakers.  Jesus used self-defence and an analogy on more than one occasion.  For example, in Luke 11:21  If we are looking for precedents we might consider Nehemiah 4:16-18, when the men who were rebuilding the city of Jerusalem divided up their work force into sections, so that while one group worked, another group would be guarding them.  

So, what have we learned in this lesson?  As our exalted King, Jesus rules over his kingdom, giving heavenly gifts to his people, through the work of the Holy Spirit, and he defends those who are in his Kingdom from their many enemies.  He does this through his intercession on their behalf, through the indwelling Spirit, and through his sovereign ordaining of events.  He is our mighty defender, and we are the soldiers in his army.  But there are times when we should also defend ourselves, relying on his divine help and wisdom, to know when those times are.  His protection over us will never cease, and ultimately, one day, that protection will include bringing us out of this world, and home to glory, safe for ever in our heavenly home.  Romans 8:35-39  In our next lesson, when we learn that one day, Jesus will leave that place, where he is seated at the right hand off God, and will return to this earth, to judge both the living and the dead…

© Bob McEvoy 2022

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