Pastor Ayo Fatokun
TEXTS: Rev 2:25, 3:11; Heb 10:23
During the American Civil War, the army of W.T. Sherman was stationed at Atlanta, Georgia, and on the 5th October, 1864, during the course of the night, their enemy has gone round their flank. They realised the enemy was causing havoc behind them – burning up houses and killing people – and they turned back trying to chase and catch up with the enemy.
The one thousand and five hundred men guarding the post under the control of General Cox were determined to fight till the last man. They started fighting and the enemy was killing them and pushing them back. Just as they were about to surrender to the enemy, one of the officers looked up and saw a white flag waving on the hill faraway. They responded and spread the message: Hold the fort, I am coming – W.T. Sherman.
A loud noise went up in the fort and they said to one another keep fighting, keep going, General Sherman is about to arrive. They were energized by the simple message of the small white flag saying – hold the fort. They fought. General Cox lost his life and his assistant was wounded, but these men kept on even though they lost over half of their number. About three hours after they saw the signal, the army of General Sherman arrived and then chased the enemy away. This story was told in 1870 and that is where Philip Bliss got the inspiration to write the hymn: Hold the fort.
I woke up one morning and the Spirit said to me: Hold the fort. Why did He said that to me that particular day? How exactly do we hold the fort? More importantly, what is the fort that He has asked us to hold? Rev. 2:25 says, “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.” It is not something we are searching for, it is something He has given to us already. It is something that we have in our possession which the enemy wants to take from us but we have to hold it fast.
What is it that you have already, that you must hold fast?
1. Your Salvation.
This is the most precious gift from God to each one of us. It is actually the crucible that holds every other gift given to us. Your salvation is critical. Your salvation is the key to everything that you have or that you intend to have. It is likened to the walls of our fort. It is most important that you do not let it go because it protects and preserves everything else that we have. Phil 2:12 says, “… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
2. Your Faith.
We are encouraged again and again in the Scriptures to live by faith. To your faith, add works. It is by the works that we see that we will know if you have faith. There is no ‘plan B’ with God. There is just ‘the plan.’ When God sent Jesus to die for our sins, there was no second plan in place should Jesus fail because God knew He was not going to fail. God did not design Him to fail. God has saved and packaged you with a measure of faith. Hold it fast. Matt 17:20 says, “… If ye have faith as a grain of a mustard seed… nothing shall be impossible unto you.
3. Your Life.
God has a reason and a purpose for every life, but the enemy seeks to terminate many before the appointed time. The devil will do all that he can to dispatch many to the great beyond and the power of suggestion is what he uses. God did not plan for His children to die young. Genesis 6:3 says, “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” In another place in the Bible, it says seventy which by reason of strength can be increased to eighty
4. Your Family.
It is important that you hold fast your spouse and your children. It is with a good spouse that you produce good children. Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
5. Your Health.
This includes your spiritual and physical health. When you are healthy, you will be able to face life and get the best out of it. Once a soldier is wounded, he is taken from the battle ground. Proverbs 18:14 says, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” As long as you are strong physically and spiritually, whatever comes your way in life, you will overcome. Guard your heart with all diligence. Prov 4:23
6. God’s word to you.
The plans God has for you are of good and not of evil to give you a hope and bring you to an expected end. Draw on the resources of heaven because God has spoken a word to you. Hold fast God’s word to you. Isaiah 14:27 says, “For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” All you have to do is just to go through the process. God will not fail you.
Why do you have to hold the fort?
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Philip. 2:12 says, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Embrace self distrust with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation. Let him that stands take heed lest he falls. Don’t just live life the way you like. Let not your conscience be seared so that God can not reach you anymore.
How do you hold the fort?
- Keep your relationship with God vibrant. John 10:27.
- Keep your faith active even when things look difficult. Heb 10:23, Is 55:10, Lk 18:8.
- Keep winning souls. Is 52:27.
- Keep looking up. Matt 6:33, Rom 13:11.
Romans 13:11 says, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”
Remember the reason you are here is not for those things that are physical and temporal, but for heaven and for the kingdom. It is not time to rest, but the time to gird up our strength and take up our armour because our Commander says: Hold the fort for I am coming soon! God bless you.