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For Such A Time As This

The heading comes straight from Esther 4:14, a fascinating story when God’s people were being attacked by spiritual, emotional, mental and physical warfare. Out of those ashes comes a young Jewish girl, chosen by the king to be queen, and reminded by her uncle that she got to this position for God’s purposes for “such a time as this.” It is a fascinating story of how God works for the good of all those who love Him. Theologically there is much more here than meets the eye at first reading.
Then I thought of the great hymn of the church, “Onward Christian Soldiers,” written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1871, based on 2 Timothy2:3, “endure hardship like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” In 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt met on the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to sign the Atlantic Charter. They held a church service and Churchill picked the hymns, and he chose Onward Christian Soldiers. He explained his choice this way: “I felt this was no vain presumption, but that we had the right to feel that we were serving a cause for the sake of which a trumpet has sounded from on high. When I looked upon that densely packed congregation of fighting men of the same language, faith, fundamental laws, and ideals…it swept across me that here was the only hope, but also the sure hope, of saving the world from measureless degradation.” Winston may have been fighting his own demons, but one thing he saw right – the degradation. If we look around, it is plain to see what Paul must have noticed in his time, something he wrote about in Ephesians 6: 10-18. His thought goes to the Roman Soldier, and he knew enough of them. He paints a picture for us even though he probably never could have foreseen the level of degradation we see today, and he was limited by what he saw in his Roman Hellenistic world.
What Paul saw, and what we see today in greater measures, he addresses with the words, “take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Today we see those dark powers at work on television, social media, by what governments order what is being taught in schools, in advertising, drug and human trafficking, and laws being put into place that have no moral and Biblical base. The list is very long.
So what do we do? “Therefore put on the whole armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Stand firm! How does the Apostle Paul see that armour of God? He uses the Roman soldiers dress and equipment as a metaphorical comparison.
Have the “belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” Many believe that Paul is not talking here about the truth of the gospel, of Christ as “the truth,” but more about ethical truth and righteousness. A good defense against evil is ethical truth and righteousness; it gives credibility; it gives Christ-like credibility. It speaks of image-bearing.
Stand “with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace.” On one hand it means to fit your feet with readiness to stand your ground when dark powers try to discredit the gospel. You can only do that if your feet are planted securely on the Rock Jesus Christ and you only know Him through the Word and Spirit. On the other hand, there is also the Isaiah passage, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the gospel of peace.” Those feet need to be ready to bring that gospel to those who hunger for a message of hope.
“Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Rock-solid faith in God is something the enemy cannot deal with because the enemy doesn’t understand it. The shields of Paul’s era were made of metal to deflect arrows, or they were covered with thick leather so that any flaming arrows would be extinguished when they penetrated the leather. They were also curved to give more protection. It is that wall of faith-filled shields that protect us and protect the church. It is a strong, impenetrable wall.
“Take the helmet of salvation.” It is interesting that Isaiah calls it the helmet of victory, which makes total sense. Because we receive salvation through Christ Jesus, we are assured we already have the victory. We have the victory when we face the kingdom of darkness and we can claim that victory. And isn’t it wonderful that we never had to fight that battle, a battle we couldn’t possibly win. Christ won that battle on the cross on our behalf.
Paul draws attention to only one weapon of attack. “Take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” It is so important to know that Word. It is your weapon of attack. Read it, read it and study it often. Through it you will know God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Word is also the message of God’s peace. And God’s peace is beyond all understanding and the dark powers definitely don’t understand it.
Knowing Christ, knowing the Word, knowing truth, knowing yourself, all work together for the good of those who love the Lord. It makes us good soldiers for Christ. As his soldiers we are at war, especially in “times such as this.”
Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, but the church victorious constant will remain;
Gates of hell can never “gainst that church prevail. We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.
Onward Christian soldiers. With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Pastor Job

Dear Congregants and Community
of St. Andrew's Belleville

As we all know, as a result of the growth of cases of the Coronavirus in Ontario, on March 16, 2020 the Provincial Government recommended the closing of all churches across Ontario.
St. Andrew’s last service was March 15, 2020.
Not only was this devastating for all places of worship, but it also saw the entire world change with the growing outbreaks and realities of the power of this virus. It has been a long six months of devastation, as the world as we knew it changed forever.
On June 12, 2020 the Provincial Government announced that all places of worship could open at a 30% capacity.
The Kingston Presbytery met and suggested that churches in our Presbytery wait until at least the first of September 2020 to consider re-opening. There were strict guidelines, requirements, rules and expectations of church’s administration to provide and maintain a safe environment for congregants to re-enter the church.
During these trying and troubling times, the Pastor, Session and the Board of Managers have diligently watched and reviewed the stages of closures, mask wearing, social distancing, health agency’s guidelines and updates, and as we see some slowdown of the Covid-19 outbreak and number of cases, we came together to discuss the possibility of re-opening our place of worship.
On July 15, 2020, Pastor Job, Session, the Board of Managers and the church custodian met to discuss this in detail and with great caution. There were mandatory guidelines for ensuring the church was prepared to allow congregants into the church and ensure that the church was a clean, healthy environment. The requirements for signage, cleaning and preparing the sanctuary were determined and a list of those requirements were presented to the Board of Managers for completion. A set of rules for church attendees was prepared and will be mailed to each congregant prior to the re-opening of the church.
On August 14, 2020 the same group met to ensure we were moving in the right direction to be prepared for the re-opening. At that time is was decided that we hope the church will re-open for worship on October 11, 2020, Thanksgiving weekend. It will be a true celebration of thankfulness.
There will be more information mailed to each of you prior to opening day but know that God is with us in all we do in his name. Blessings to you all and thank you for your patience and understanding through this true test of faith.
Pastor Job, Session and the Board of Managers
Deuteronomy 31:8
The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Blessings from the
St. Andrew's Family

We would like to extend our blessings and comfort to the community.
Stay safe and healthy and know that God is with you.

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Our Promise

A Warm Welcome to You. To preach and teach The Bible in a Traditional Service, Glorifying God through music that maintains quality, and reverence in worship.

Worship Sundays at 10:30am
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
67 Victoria Ave. Belleville
613-968-8998

Come to visit and you'll leave feeling blessed and uplifted; come to stay and you'll find a home among those who appreciate everyone's individual talents and who sincerely wish to share God's love with you.

 

Our Mission Statement

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Belleville, will share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all people through worship, teaching, and service.

Our Vision Statement

To be a living example of Christ’s love and healing power to all people.

 


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