The Bible – A Sword
A. R. Wright
Some children are very fond of playing with toy swords, and occasionally these crude weapons prove rather dangerous! Of course, the toy sword is nothing to the real thing. I expect some of you may have seen and handled a real sword. The sword used to be a very important weapon of war, and no doubt some of the older people are familiar with some of the famous swords of the past. You have, of course, read about the sword of Goliath, regarding which David said, “There is none like that!” You may have heard of the Sword of Damocles, which was suspended over the head of the person of that name, tied only by a horse hair, when he sat upon the throne of his tyrannical master, Dionysius of Sicily. Certainly some of you will have read of Excalibur, the sword associated with that great legendary figure King Arthur. All these are famous swords, but just now I wish to write to you regarding the most famous sword of all, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
I hope you are familiar with the name of Edward VI, the ‘Josiah’ of British history. When he was being crowned King, three swords were brought to him, signs that he was King over three countries. He was not satisfied, however. “There is one sword yet wanting”, he said. And when the nobles around him asked what that was, he answered, “the Bible”. “That book”, he added, “is the Sword of the Spirit, and is to be preferred before these swords.” He then commanded a Bible to be brought and reverently carried before him. Those of you who have read the history of his short reign know how he try to rule according to the Bible’s teaching.
Two main points call for attention. The Bible is:
1.The Sword of the Spirit
This tried and trustworthy blade has been made and fashioned by the Holy Spirit. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” God, the Holy Spirit, is the designer and producer of this wonderful sword, and so it is perfect and eminently fitted for its purpose.
Again, this weapon is constantly used by the Holy Spirit. He uses it to pierce the conscience, to convict of sin. You remember how Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, preached the Word on the day of Pentecost, and the result was that his hearers were pricked in their heart. They realized their sinfulness and cried out, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” And since then, many a one has been pierced by the Sword of the spirit. Let me tell you about a four year old boy called Ronnie. He was fond of blowing soap bubbles and one evening when he was doing this his mother said, “It’s time for bed now, and I will read you a chapter out of the Bible”. As he came, he was asked, “Have you taken the soap out of the water?” “Yeth”, said wee Ronnie, for he spoke with a lisp. Then his mother read to him the last chapter in the Bible, and explained that it was about Heaven, and who would be inside and who outside. When she had read verses 14 and 15, which ends up with a reference to the one who tells a lie, Ronnie suddenly interrupted her, “Wait a minute, Mummy”, he said, “I’ll go and see about that soap!” You see he had answered ‘yes’ to his mother’s question without being sure that he was telling the truth, and the Holy Spirit used the sharp Sword of the Word to convince him of his fault.
Have you been pierced by the Sword of the Spirit? Has the Bible convinced you of your sin, and the need of your Saviour? Have you confessed your sin and cast yourself upon the mercy of God in Christ? God wounds in order to heal.
2. The Sword of the Christian
If you are ever in London, you will see in Trafalgar Square a statue of that famous Christian soldier, General Gordon. In one way it is rather a surprising statue. Instead of wearing a sword or weapon of any kind, Gordon is represented as carrying only the famous cane with which, in China, he led his soldiers to victory, while in his left hand he firmly grasps a Bible. As a Christian, Gordon was a great lover of God’s Word. This was a Sword which he could wield skillfully and effectively.
And today we are to use this weapon in the Christian conflict. Having been pierced by the Sword of the Spirit, having being persuaded and enabled to join up on the side of Christ, we are to take the Sword of the Spirit as our own sword. As soldiers of Jesus Christ we must know this weapon. Young people, you cannot know your Bible too well. Dr. Stalker in his Imago Christi writes, “But often when temptation comes, there is no time to search the Word to meet it. Everything depends on being already armed with sword in hand. This shows how necessary it is to fill the memory, while it is plastic, with stores of texts. We do not know what use we may get from them in future days of trial and weakness.
And then we must use, as well as know, our weapon. You remember how our Lord used it in the wilderness? You remember how Christian 1 used it in the fight with Apollyon? Today you are to do likewise. You must practice the use of this powerful sword. You must use it in attack. You must take the offensive and seek to destroy such enemies as Giant Selfishness, Giant Laziness, Giant Bad Temper. And then you must also use it in defense. When tempted to do the wrong thing, be able to repel the assault with the words, “It is written”.
Let me close with a story. “What’s wrong with you now? I thought you were all right”, said a ragged boy, himself rejoicing in the Savior, to another child who a few nights before professed to be able to trust Jesus, but who had again begun to doubt. “Man, I’m not right yet”, replied the other, “for Satan’s always tempting me”. “And what do you do then?” asked his friend. “I tried”, said he, “to sing a hymn”. “And does that not send him away?” “No. I’m as bad as ever.” “Well”, said the other, “when he tempts you again, try him with a text. He cannot stand that.”
Take the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.2