Summary: For all the days ahead, let us purpose to be good soldiers of Christ Jesus.
A GOOD SOLDIER OF CHRIST JESUS
“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:3 (NIV)
I. EVERY SOLDIER OF CHRIST JESUS IS A VOLUNTEER:
There are no draftees in the army of the Lord. “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
II. A GOOD SOLDIER OF CHRIST SHOULD ALWAYS BE “IN UNIFORM”:
In today’s military, a servicepersons who are off duty are not required to wear their uniforms. I served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. We were required to wear “the uniform of the day” until we were ready to go to bed at night. That requirement remained in effect until President Truman declared an end to the national emergency. Since the good soldier of Christ Jesus has no “down time” but is in “battle mode” every minute of every day, he is always to be “in uniform.”
All operations of the army of Christ Jesus are overt (open to view), indeed for the entire world to see. One may ask: “What is the uniform of a true soldier of Christ Jesus?” The Bible gives us the answer. “Clothe yourselves with the new man, which was created according to the likeness of God in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:24 (ISV)
III. THE WAR IN WHICH WE ARE CALLED TO FIGHT:
"For we wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
IV. A GOOD SOLDIER IN CHRIST JESUS MUST BE EQUIPPED TO FIGHT.
The soldier in Christ’s army has been equipped for the battlefield, not for the parade grounds! In our war with Satan we are not granted “R and R”. Our struggle is constantly being waged. If we let down our guard for a single moment, the enemy will attack! Notice the wording: not “might attack”…but “will attack”. Be sure you leave none of your equipment in the barracks or the tent. Paul tells us: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 (NKJV)
V. A GOOD SOLDIER WILL ALWAYS BE IN HIS APPOINTED PLACE:
“While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.” Judges 7:21 (NIV). Not a single chink in Gideon’s army!
The story is told of a young soldier in the army of Alexander the Great who, during one violent battle, could not control the fear that gripped him. The young man turned from the battle and fled. In the course of his attempt to flee, an officer apprehended him and took in chains to stand before the great general. Alexander the Great asked the young soldier his name to which the frightened soldier replied: “Alexander, sir.” The great general harshly declared: “Young man, change your ways or change your name! Now, return to your duty station and see to it that you never stand before me again with such a charge made against you.”
After the battle was over and the army of Alexander the Great had prevailed, the same officer took the liberty to take young Alexander to his commander, but this time not in chains. The officer reported that the young soldier returned to his unit as he was told to do, and in the course of the rest of the battle conducted himself with outstanding valor and bravery. The great general was so impressed that he promoted and decorated both Alexander and the officer. And as Paul Harvey would say: “That’s the rest of the story!”
VI. A GOOD SOLDIER OF CHRIST JESUS WILL ALWAYS OBEY HIS CAPTAIN’S COMMANDS:
"This I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:17 (NASB) Notice that obedience to this command is not optional.
Jesus, on another occasion said, “The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” John 14:21 (HCSB)
VII. A GOOD SOLDIER OF CHRIST JESUS WILL BE FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH:
Such faithfulness will be gloriously rewarded. “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 (NKJV)
One impressive characteristic which marks the good soldier of Christ Jesus, that same good soldier who is a blood-bought believer in Christ, is that his loyalty stands the test of time. Our Lord proclaimed, “He who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13 (NKJV)