ON GUARD

Andy Hollifield 4-10-18
Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Four times in scripture the term “keep yourselves” is used. The first time was in Joshua 6:18 when Joshua warned the Israelites to “keep yourselves” from the accursed thing. In Acts 15:29, Paul and Barnabus brought word to the Gentiles concerning abstaining from meats offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication. They told them if ye “keep yourselves” from these they would do well. The book of 1 John 5:21 decares that you should “Keep yourselves from idols.” The word “beware” is used 28 times in the bible. By definition it means to be wary or cautious of. The word “guard” means to keep safe from harm or danger or to keep close watch on to prevent misconduct and to keep under control as a matter of caution or prudence. When you “beware” of something, you guard yourself against it.
There are some things that we have to do for ourselves as the children of God. There are things that we have to “beware” of and be “on guard” against. We do not automatically live right and do the things that are pleasing to the Lord. A lot of those things we ourselves have to work at. Granted, we are able to do it by grace but it still requires effort on our part. God was leading the children of Israel our of Egypt by a pillar of fire and a cloud; his physical presence. Yet even though God’s physical presence was with them, but yet Moses still reminded them numerous times to beware that they didn’t forget God and all he had done for them. He also told them to beware of not being obedient and not doing the Lord’s commandments.
The entire book of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs tells us many things that we should guard in our lives. There are things that we have to make a conscious effort to keep ourselves doing or not doing. In Isaiah 41:10, the Lord said he would “help us.” No one can help you if you are not doing anything. In Luke 22:32, Jesus told Peter to strengthen the brethern. To strengthen something is to guard against weakness. In Revelation 3:2, Jesus tells the church of Sardis to “strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.” Jesus taught in several places that we should be “overcomers” by his grace and our efforts. He will give us all the grace we need to guard against sin in our lives if we are just williing to be on guard against it. The Lord told Moses twice to “encourage” Joshua. David even sent a messenger to encourage Joab in battle. To encourage is nothing but to guard against discouragement. The book of 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to study. That is to guard against ignorance. James is quite extensive in the things we should “guard” against. We are to guard ourselves against temptation. We are also supposed to guard against filthiness and naughtiness. We are to guard against laziness by being doers of the word. Titus list our personality traits that we should guard against. Lust, being envious, hateful, disobedient, brawlers, malice, and hatred just to name a few.
Throughout the bible we are encouraged to live clean, godly, lives even abstaining from even the appearance of evil. We have to guard against it. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…” We have got to guard against defaming our name because without a good name, you have no credibility to win the lost. Ecclesiastes 7:1 says, “A good name is better than precious ointment…” Our ultimate purpose for even being created is to bring God glory by turning others to Christ for salvation. Without a good name; it is hard for anyone to have confidence in us when we try to lead them to the Lord. We have an adversary that we have to guard against, the devil. He is looking to devour us in sin and kill any influence we have with others. Too many people wind up defeated, discouraged, and backslidden, because they failed to guard against those things. Jesus told Peter to be sober and vigilant. We too had better do that while we have children watching our lives to see if there is anything real in us. We have to be “On Guard” for ourselves. Jesus won’t force you to live right but he can make you wish you had of. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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