Showing the state of our nation in the light of God’s Holy Word

“WATCH YE, STAND FAST IN THE FAITH,
QUIT YOU LIKE MEN, BE STRONG”

by John Gill

(1 Cor. 16:13)

We ought to be watchful. This concerns not only Ministers of the Word, whose special business it is to watch over themselves and others, to take heed to themselves, and to their doctrine, and to take care of the flock, over which they are placed as overseers, and see to it, that they are fed with wholesome food and are not infected with false doctrine; but this is incumbent on members of Churches also; what is here exhorted to belongs to them, as our Lord said to His disciples; what I say unto you I say unto all, watch (Mark 13:37); against sin and the prevailing vices of the age, Satan and his temptations, false teachers and their pernicious doctrines. We live in ensnaring times, and therefore ought to be on our watch and guard; times of great profaneness and immorality, in which not only the men of the world, but professors of religion, give themselves great liberties and indulge to a vain conversation; and the more wicked the times are, the more cautious should we be, that we are not drawn aside by ill examples; and the more so, as they are set by such that profess the same name we do. Satan is very busy in laying snares in the way of a professing people, in using all devices, and wiles, and stratagems, to decoy them from the paths of truth and righteousness; wherefore we ought to watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation (Matt. 26:41): false teachers are everywhere lying in wait to deceive, and therefore we ought to guard against them, and be careful that our minds are not corrupted by them, from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3); and that we are not carried away with the error of the wicked (2 Pet. 3:17).

Stand fast in the faith; in the grace of faith, and in the doctrine of it, and in the profession of both: do not depart from the faith of the Gospel, though you live in times that others do; and have lived to see the times foretold, that some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits (1 Tim. 4:1); but in these departing times let it be your honour to stand fast without wavering; be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel (Col. 1:23); from the Gospel itself, and that hope which it gives of salvation by Jesus Christ, and eternal life through Him; stand fast in one spirit: let your whole soul and spirit be in the Gospel, and be zealously affected to it, and be united in your endeavours to promote it; striving together for the faith of it against the common enemy; earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Phil. 1:27; Jude v.3); which is attempted to be wrested out of your hands and is in great danger of being so. Let none of those things move you from your close adherence to it, which are objected to it, or you meet with on account of your profession of it. Abide by it, though the greater number of men is against it, and those the rich, the wise, and learned; and though it may be charged with novelty and licentiousness and attended with reproach and persecution.

Quit you like men; play the man; behave like men of courage and valour; be valiant for the truth upon the earth (Jer. 9:3); do as the guard about Solomon’s bed did; let every man have his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night (Song. 3:8): it is a night-season with you already and it will be darker still; you will hear the noise of the enemy, be not terrified at it; guard against the fears that may seize and surprise you; fight the Lord’s battles manfully; if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11: 3). What indeed will they have to work or build upon, or even stand on, when the foundation of all faith, hope, peace, and joy is removed? But then they should not look on as idle and unconcerned spectators of these things; what can the righteous do? They should build up as fast as the others pull down; do as Nehemiah and his people did, work with one hand and hold a weapon with the other (Neh. 4:17); a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other.

Be strong; not in yourselves, but in the Lord, and in the power of His might, in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; go to Him for strength under every trial and exercise, to carry you through every service and suffering for His Name’s sake; and to oppose every enemy, and to maintain your ground against them. Go not forth in your own strength, but depend on Him, and His grace, which is sufficient for you; encourage yourselves in the Lord your God; let not your spirits sink, your hearts fail, and be discouraged; but take heart, be of good courage; consider you are engaged in a good cause, fight under the great Captain of your salvation: you may be sure of victory in the end and that the issue will be a crown of life and righteousness: wait on the Lord; in the way of His appointments, which is your duty, with patient submission to His will, until the time of your deliverance and salvation comes, and He will strengthen thine heart (Psalm 27:14); fortify your minds against fear and danger.

Excerpt from Sermons and Tracts, Vol. 1, pgs. 78-9,82-4, by John Gill. Old Paths Gospel Press, Choteau, Montana, USA. ___________________________________________________________