Summary: A Veteran’s Day Sermon
A Good Soldier
A good soldier makes a difference in the world. Someone has written:
IT IS THE SOLDIER
It is the soldier, not the preacher, who gives us freedom of religion.
It is the soldier, not the reporter, who gives us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who gives us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the protestor, who gives us freedom to assemble.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, not the politician, who gives us the right to vote.
It is the soldier, who not only salutes the Flag, but serves under the Flag, fighting for the country that Flag represents.
Veterans Day is a time our nation sets aside to honor the difference a soldier makes.
Ever since this nation was founded, soldiers have made a difference that should never be forgotten. George Washington’s men crossing the Delaware, Old Hickory General Andrew Jackson leading the cavalry charge, Generals Lee and Grant and their men fighting for all they’re worth in the War Between the States, Dwight Eisenhower’s army storming the beach at Normandy, all the way down to today, where our brave men and women of the US armed forces fight the war on terror a long way from home. Soldiers make a difference in this world-a difference for which you and I should always be grateful. It shouldn’t surprise us that the Bible uses a good soldier as a model for you and I about how to live for Christ. This morning I want us to look in 2 Tim. 2:3-4 where the Bible tells us 3 ways we can be good soldiers for Christ.
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.
You are but a poor soldier of Christ if you think you can overcome without fighting, and suppose you can have the crown without the conflict.- Saint John Chrysostom
God is looking for good soldiers. Can He count on you? Can He depend on you to be faithful in prayer, to fight and keep fighting until the battle is won?
On February 19, 1945, Marines landed on the beaches of Iwo Jima, fighting by inches to secure a beachhead. After four days of knock-down-drag-out battle, they finally cleared the southern end of the island, climbed Mount Suribachi, and planted a US flag. The commander wanted a larger presence on Suribachi to encourage the Marines still fighting at the northern end of the island, so he ordered a larger flag raised. It was the raising of that larger flag that Joe Rosenthal caught in a famous photograph honoring the good soldiers who were fighting for victory in the Pacific.