Summary: In a time when we want to feel good and be blessed, Paul tells Timothy we Need to be Soldiers
“Pictures of the Church: #5
We are Soldiers
Tomorrow we will celebrate the 4th of July and our countries independence. For 240 years our country has been in existence. The land of the free and the home of the brave. 240 years ago our forefathers took up arms to fight a tyrannical government and called on young men to become soldiers in the cause of freedom. As a result we became a new nation and the world power we are today. To remain free our government has called men and woman to become soldiers to defend our country and keep our freedom and people safe.
In this morning’s scripture lesson Paul reminding us all that as the church we a soldiers also, 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
A soldier puts his/her life on the line to save us from threats that would destroy our way of life. In some cases soldiers are on the front lines. In other times they are serving in other areas. But all of them work together for the same purpose under the same command. When on duty they are not to be distracted from their duty.
The church too is an army. It is the army of God. Our goal is to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those are our marching orders. They come from Matthew 28 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Those are the marching orders. That is our primary purpose. And everything we do as a church is to accomplish that goal. And like soldiers, it is not always easy. It takes hard work.
3 Join with me in suffering. Wow, no one likes that word. It is unpleasant. It is not a good time. Well, neither is being a soldier. But when call on to do so a soldier does his/her duty. Following orders and keeping their eye on the objective.
OK listen up, here is the hard truth of our day. Somehow, the idea of being a soldier has been forgotten in the church. The idea of suffering and duty to Christ has been watered down and even lost especially with our younger generation. Today’s churchgoer comes to church to be entertained by the Holy Spirit. They want God to know that they love Him. But really want to feel loved by God. They come to feel good about themselves. They come to be feed spiritually and to feel God’s Blessings. So that they return to their lives wrapped in God’s love and favor.
God should appreciate the fact that we showed up at all. And in Gratitude for us taking the time out of our busy schedules, an money out of our pockets God, should bless us mightily and keep us from all harm. So like a parent in a nursing home, God should be pleased that we stopped by to visit. And certainly not ask for anything more than we can conveniently give. Or we just won’t show up at all.
Now if a soldier had that same attitude toward His/her commanding officer, they would be in the brig, dishonorably discharged or in some circumstances shot.
Take up your cross and follow me is not a invitation to a church picnic. It is a call to action and duty. It means we take time for ministry and do whatever it take to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The good news is that God has already given us the tools we need to succeed. We have His Word, We have the Holy Spirit to guide and protect us. And we have each other so that we aren’t fighting alone.
When we come to the Lord’s Table the Holy meal we share is not to make us spiritually fat. But to sustain us when we share the reason we are at the table in the first place with others.
So along with all the other things the church is, let us not forget that we are God’s Army as well.
And as we celebrate the birth of our nation, remember who gives us freedom from Death and Sin as well, Our Savior Jesus Christ! Amen