“Set For the Defence of the Gospel”
by Robert Turnage
“WHO CHANGED THE TRUTH OF GOD INTO A LIE…”
“…I AM SET FOR THE DEFENCE OF THE GOSPEL.”
The call and ministry of the School of Christ International is the same as it has always been with every other God-ordained ministry. It is humbling, joyful, fulfilling, and the great delight of life for all who have been chosen of God to carry His purpose of ministry to all the inhabitants of the world. God must not only call, but also equip His laborers to withstand every trial, trouble, and assault of the devil to discourage. The devil will use any means to prevent and destroy the work of God from being done for the Glory of God.
The Apostle Paul wrote the Philippians, “…I am set for the defence of the Gospel” (1:17). Many warnings are given by God to His workers about conditions under which the work of the Almighty will be carried out. In the first chapter of the Book of Romans we are told that men will change the truth of God into a lie. The Prophet Daniel said laws, times and seasons would be changed (Daniel 7:25). In Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (1:1-3), he questioned them by asking who had bewitched them, and reminded them of how in the beginning they started out right by being in the Spirit but were now falling prey to the flesh.
We are admonished to “fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12). We are in the greatest fight we will ever be a part of. We cannot afford to be lazy, slow, apathetic, unconcerned or discouraged. Our losses will not be measured by material things but by souls for whom Jesus died. He gave everything so that all could have Everlasting Life.
Since we do not fight against flesh and blood, what and who do we fight? It’s spiritual: “…against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
The founding minister of the School of Christ International, B. H. Clendennen, was a man of great prayer and uncompromising steadfastness to the unchangeable, unadulterated Word of God. He endeavored to instill those same infallible values into everyone to whom he ministered. From the beginning of this mission’s ministry until today, that continues to be the driving and guiding force behind all of its works and endeavors.
In this time of changing from those things we most assuredly believed, to conditions now where there are no absolutes, and every man doing that which is right in his own eyes. Men, for the most part, are stumbling around uncertain about what is True and even the Works of God. He knew his life was lived in such a way that he desired that others know the reasons behind his sufferings and imprisonments. He wanted others to know it was for his being chosen, that theses experiences had befallen him. The adversary of the Gospel was seeking to silence and even kill him. From his mother’s womb, he was chosen of God. He was called of God to use all means possible to further the Word of God. That included preaching, writing, disputing, suffering, and defending. The Apostle not only wanted them to know this, but in the love of God, to also defend the Gospel.
Because of Paul’s sufferings, he was able to lead lost men and women to Christ. Others had preached out of envy and contention, having sought to add to his bonds, but he was at ease where he was (Philippians 1:16). He was in the Will of God, and in his defending the Truth, others were being delivered and set free. Paul would later write in 2 Corinthians 4:12, “So then death worketh in us, but life in you.”
For some reason—possibly known only to God—our sufferings are instrumental in leading others to God. The ways of God are beyond our finding out. It may be another way of taking up our cross and following Him, but we must leave everything to Christ. There are multitudes of enemies of the cross. If a minister is effectually revealing Christ, the enemy of God will come out against him. The devil has eternally tried to defeat the plans of God. The adversary was defeated in, by, and through Christ. God raised His Son and now Jesus sets at “the right hand of God” (1 Peter 3:22). The devil has no direct access to Christ. He can only attack the lovers, workers, and followers of the Lord.
Paul’s enemies hated him, his message, and his Godly success. Every successful ministry fights the same foe. There is no truth, holiness, or purity outside of Christ. They took the position that by Paul’s absence, with his accompanying bonds and tribulations, they could gain attention by their errant preaching. This man of God said, “So then death worketh in us, but life (worketh) in you” (2 Corinthians 4:12).
In speaking of his state, he wrote to the church at Thessalonica “that no man should be moved by these (his) afflictions” (1 Thessalonians 3:3). The Apostle reminded them of his words in verse four when he said, “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know” (1 Thessalonians 3:4).
Paul was a warrior and defender of the Gospel. He did not want the devil to trouble their minds or shake their faith in the Gospel they had heard. Therefore, they would also be persecuted.
In military training, it is said “to know your enemy is to have one-half of the battle won.” Scripture tells the Christian the same thing, don’t be ignorant of the devices of Satan for he goes about to steal and kill (2 Corinthians 2:11; John 10:10). The believer knows the serpent uses deception, error, and all forms of spiritual imitations to destroy the Christian. Paul defended the Gospel against every attack by the evil one toward God’s chosen people.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
We must be as Nehemiah when he was rebuilding walls that had been destroyed; by using trowel and sword to defeat and utterly destroy the wicked works of God’s enemies and to successfully complete the wall. Jesus said days would come on the earth that would be unparalleled in previous generations.
According to the King James Version dictionary of the Bible, the word blaspheme means, “…an injury offered to God, by denying that which is due and belonging to Him, or attributing to Him that which is not agreeable to His nature.” Today’s definition of blasphemy has diminished this frightening reality that, daily the Lord Jesus is continuously being blasphemed. God asked in Isaiah 52:5, “Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.” This is partially fulfilled by the writing of the Apastle Paul in Romans, chapter one, that the Truth of God is being changed into a lie. This is potentially more relevant today than at any other time in man’s history. If Paul lived in this present generation, he would use preaching, writing, and warning, against the new Christianity, new spirituality, feel-good, smooth sermons, with no Bible being practiced.
God’s Church must re-learn some lessons from the old paths wherein the way of the Lord is (Jeremiah 6:16). The eyes of the Lord are going to and fro looking for those who will defend His Word and deliver His people that are being taken away by generations that have, and continue, to reject the ways and message of God. If we remain indifferent, accept the status-quo, follow this generation who wants ease, entertainment, concerts, plays, and platform shows, we will answer to God with the blood of multitudes on our hand. Paul delivered himself from these failures and possibilities by going through the sufferings of life and taking a stand for God and His people at all costs.
We must stand against the fleshly and carnal, and even devilish things that have been placed and substituted for the realities of God. Instead of preaching that brings Holy Ghost conviction that leads to repentance, we have mastered techniques that pleases the senses, and makes lost men feel that these hellish methods are really of God. Through the Prophet Jeremiah, even as the Apostle Paul, suffered many things because of his faithfulness to the Call of God.
For a man to hear God say to him that he has been a good and faithful servant, it is going to require complete obedience and surrender to Him. My prayer for myself and those God is
depending upon, is that we will step into the gap and make up the hedge, lest the serpent inject his deadly venom (Ecclesiastes 10:8; Ezekiel 22:30) and continue to take people away from the Father, and give to us a renewed Godly life to be a “…defence of the gospel” (Philippians 1:17).
Our prayer is that God would give all of us in this mission’s ministry, Divine strength to faithfully withstand every attack of the devil. By the grace and help of God, it is our desire to be unmovable and unshakable in these changing times. We all are kept, not by might or power, but by the Spirit of God.
To all who see and understand the intensity and urgency of the battle, please join with me and the School of Christ in urgent prayer with a renewed determination to stand in the defence of the Gospel.
Robert Turnage – President