Summary: To be a Christian requires enduring hardship like a good soldier.
A Good Soldier
Adapted from T. Michael Crews
“One aspect of the Christian life is that it is a warfare against the forces of evil.”
(P399 Expositors Bible Commentary vol. 11)
I remember when I was a small boy that I was fascinated with soldiers. I played with little green army men, listened to Dad tell stories of the second world war he was in. I loved to dress up and play army (Get the pictures). I had the steel hat, inside liner, and jacket, etc. I loved playing soldier, but it is not the same as being a soldier. No one was shooting back, and I wasn’t really killing anyone. It was fun running through the woods pretending to shoot the enemy. If you kill someone they get up when the game is over. Those who have been real soldiers in a real conflict will tell you it is anything but fun. One aspect of the Christian life rarely addressed in American church is warfare against the forces of evil. It used to be a major topic of sermons and songs. The Hinsons sang:
I’m enlisted as a soldier in this mighty army band,
marching out to battle with my weapon in my hand,
heard the captain give the orders and they don’t include retreat,
We’re crossing o’er the border to a land of no defeat.
Now tell me who’s gonna fight and who is gonna win,
who’s gonna fight and who is giving in,
who will cry I surrender when the enemy you meet,
Or be a soldier in the army standing on his feet.
Upon this rock I’ll build my church then let ole Satan try,
but the gates of hell can not prevail, and here’s the reason
why, Jesus raised the flag on calvary made sweet victory complete,
and if we’re made more than conquerors then Satan’s more than beat.
Children’s Church Song.
I’m in the Lord’s army, I’m in the Lord’s Army,
I may never march in the infantry, ride in the calvary, shoot the artillery,
I may never fly o’er the enemy , but I’m in the Lord’s army.
Today, the T.V. commercials for the armed services tell us to “join up and have many wonderful experiences—and you can travel free and see the world—and even earn money for college.” Our calls to Christian soldiers sounds about as false.
I. BE A FIGHTER (v. 3)
When Dwight D. Eisenhower was President from 1953 to 1961, he received a letter from eight-year-old Keith Aiken of Trumbull, CT. Kevin wrote, “After listening to the news about the cold war, I am worried about the people in the world. In thinking it over, I have a plan. Get all the leaders together who want war, put them in a ring and let them fight it out.”
I’m sure there have been many soldiers and sailors who’ve been tempted to agree with Kevin Aiken. Just let those who want to fight, do the fighting! Don’t involve everybody else in it!
But the reality is that soldiers must do the fighting in a war. Even if you never go into combat, the military always trains you to be ready to fight when necessary. Even chaplains are trained to fight, though Bro. Boyd quoted one chaplain as saying If I go in with a gun, you guys are getting desperate!
When Paul urges Timothy to be …a good soldier of Christ Jesus…in vs. 3, one thing he is reminding him about is that we are in a war. This world is at war, not just in Iraq, but in the spiritual realm, between the forces of God and the forces of evil.
Ephesians 6:12-13 12For we do not 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. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Paul is not just using flowery language here---the war he writes about is real. It’s going on right now, in the lives of every one of us here. Some of us are fighting against temptations that try to defeat us and drag us down with guilt. Some of us are warring against discouragement and depression. Others of us are fighting to hold on to our faith in Christ, praying and doing all we can not to give in to doubt and unbelief. Some of us are fighting for our loved ones in prayer, pleading for their salvation, pleading for them to come to Christ. Thee battles will not be won by faint hearts, but by brave soldiers who are ready to fight for the Lord and for those they love. This fight will not be won by the strongest arms, or the best missiles—it will be won by those who keep praying, keep believing, and never give up the fight until God gives the victory.