Summary: On Memorial Day as well as the Fourth of July, our minds drift to the Patriotism of those who have given their all for our freedom. And, we think, we should be more like them and their love for our country.
I. COMBATANT: *
II. COMMANDER: **
III. CONFLICT: ***
“I have fought a good fight….” What words for a valiant soldier. This veteran of the Cross of Christ was not boasting when he uttered these words, he was speaking the truth. He never thought that he would utter these words before He met Christ on the road to Damascus, but ever since that fateful day years ago, he was now able to say these words with pride and joy, and it was all because of Calvary.
Paul never started out to be a warrior for Jesus-just the opposite. Being who he was, being trained as he was, he was anything but a dedicated Christian. His zeal for his cause knew no boundaries as he sought to stamp out this new Way in which people were claiming that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. Yet, when he was arrested that day so long ago by that blinding light, he changed from being a persecutor of the Christians to a proclaimer of their Christ.
Little did he know that day what lay in his future, but he obeyed the Lord’s commands and went forth into battle, upholding the blood stained banner of that lowly Galilean. The fights he incurred were more than any ordinary man could have endured, but he endured them and now he can say, “I have fought a good fight.…” A short recap of his life as a soldier in the army of the Lord reveals the tenacity of this man as he fought many battles for Jesus. He was shipwrecked, beaten twice, driven from cities, thrown into jail, forsaken by his own people, and hunted with a bounty on his head. He went hungry, did without necessities, and worked to support himself. He was often misunderstood, lied upon, hated, reviled and finally gave up his life-all for Jesus. Yes, he did fight a good fight and in his serving in the Lord’s army, he has left something for all of us to emulate.
I see three things about this man and his message. The first thing I see is in regard to him being the COMBATANT. The next thing I note is his COMANDER. Then, I note the CONFLICT in which all Christians are engaged as we carry on Paul’s work.
* THE COMBATANT: What is there to say about Paul that has not been said already? He has been written about so many times that it is hard to write something new about him. He has been dissected, studied, analyzed, interpreted, judged and still he is the center of so much of the Christian’s writings and literature. Yet, he still holds our attention and to study him after so many times of previous study, still seems to be new and revealing. This is one of these instances that yields itself to a new and a fresh study of him, even though all has been said before. Yet, that does not stop me from writing about Paul the COMBATANT.
How did he ever get into the Lord’s army at first? We all know the answer and if we look at his induction into this army of our Lord as one would look at a modern day draft of soldiers, we can say that Paul was Called up or drafted to fight for Jesus. Just as a nation calls up its young men to come and fight for that nation, so was Paul called to be in the army of our God.
When a nation is in need of soldiers in a time of national peril, the government calls upon the pool of possible soldiers to go and fight for the safety of the homeland. Sometimes these young men and women do not want to go, but so many go in obedience to the will of the nation that they submerge all of their personal wishes and go to serve in their nation’s army. This was Paul’s situation when he received his call to go into the service for Jesus. He would have never volunteered before he was drafted, but once he received his notice for service to the King of kings, he accepted and went willingly. The Call that he received on the road to Damascus changed him forever and he became a happy warrior for Jesus from that day forward.
Once in Jesus’ Army, he received what is so common to soldiers in the world’s army of today, he was Commissioned, ordered, to do a specific task. No, he never received a title that is often given to one who is commissioned in an army; Paul’s commission was to go and preach for Jesus.