The hymn, “Hold the Fort,” was written by Philip Bliss in 1870. The inspiration for the song came when Bliss heard the story of the Union’s defense of Allatoona Pass towards the end of the Civil War.
The Confederates hoped to disrupt General Sherman’s supply lines by blocking the railroad that ran through the pass. The story is that Sherman signaled the garrison to “hold the fort” and “I am coming” or words something to the effect. There was a small, but extremely bloody battle. But the Union forces held their ground.
The message of the hymn is that Christians need to hold the fort of their faith against the persistent attacks of the world with the hope that one day Jesus will come.
Yet, it’s not just the battle against the world that we must hold the fort. There’s another war in which we must hold the fort. In fact, it’s a civil war because it takes place within us.
There are two opposing forces in this war: One is the law of sin in our flesh and the other is the law of God in our mind.
One of the most important questions in the world is the question, “Who is Jesus?” Knowing and trusting the right answer to this question gives a person eternal life. Another important question is “Why can we trust the answer the Bible gives us to the question, ‘who is Jesus’?” People often discard the question of who Jesus is because they don’t believe they can trust the answer. I want to touch on both questions. Let’s start with…
THE WRONG ANSWERS TO WHO JESUS WAS
Luke 9:18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
Jesus and his disciples had, according to Matthew and Mark, travelled to Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13), some twenty-five miles north of the Sea of Galilee.
Here Jesus finally found some alone time with his disciples, away from the crowds clamoring for one miracle after another. Jesus asked the disciples a vital question: “Whom say the people that I am?” The disciples had been on a missions trip by themselves, so perhaps Jesus was wondering what people had said to them when they came to their towns and preached the Gospel.
Luke 9:19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.
I learned a new word this week, momism. Momism can refer to several things, but the definition I discovered was those sometimes wise and sometimes witty sayings that mothers say to their children.
Another momism (at least I think it is) I found on a towel given to us as a gift: “Wash your hands and say your prayers because germs and Jesus are everywhere.”
There’s a kind of worldly wisdom that mothers have that comes from many sources (including their own mothers!) Most kids despise their mother’s wisdom when they are young, but when they are older, they often admit, “Mom was right!”
There’s also another kind of wisdom that not every mother has—a godly wisdom that comes from a relationship with the Lord. Those who have had godly mothers find themselves doubly blessed. Those who are young and have godly mothers right now should listen carefully to her.
Where does a godly mother get her wisdom? From the place where all godly knowledge and wisdom comes—
JESUS PROVIDES BREAD (LUKE 9:10-17)
The feeding of the 5,000 is a very important miracle in the New Testament. Except for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is the only miracle that appears in all four gospels. Furthermore, as we will see, the Gospel of John spends a lot of time in John 6 explaining its significance.
Remember that Jesus had sent the twelve apostles out on their very first missions trip. We aren’t told how long that they had been gone. I think it may have been quite some time, because as soon as they returned, Jesus takes them to a private area to rest—
Luke 9:10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.