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Summary: This sermon addresses the problem of Christians leaving their post of duty and the dangers of their actions and how to prevent dropping out of service as a Christian.

Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:1 - 4

Title: A. W. O. L. (Absent Without Leave)

Introduction: From 1496 B.C. to A.D. 1861,the world knew 2,130 years of war and 227 years of peace.

In the last four hundred years European nations have signed more than eight thousand peace treaties.

In this century 37.5 million died in World War I, and 45.4 million died in World War II.

In the Vietnam conflict 57,605 U.S. lives were lost and 304,000 U.S. military personnel were injured.

I remember when the Vietnam War began to cause the drafting of young men into the military. I was the right age for the draft and I was terribly scarred. I just knew if I had to go to Vietnam I would not survive. Almost with every waking moment my heart pounded with the fear of having to go to war. The television was full of reports of causalities. This amplified my fear to the point I didn’t know what I would do if I had to go to war.

War has the tendency to bring fear into most people’s hearts! And if you are in the midst of a WAR it is much worse.

Christians are also in a WAR. But our war is not with guns and bombs. The WAR we’re fighting is a spiritual battle for the souls of men, women, boys, and girls.

Unfortunately, soldiers often go A.W.O.L. during their time in the military.

God’s people are also in a SPIRITUAL WAR. This war also experiences the same problems that the military experiences during War.

We are having people to go A.W.O.L. from the ranks of Christianity. (The are ABSENT from their POSITION without PERMISSION!)

Preachers are out of their PULPITS - Singers are not singing in the CHOIR, Teachers are not TEACHING, Soul-winners are not out in the HIGHWAYS and HEDGES - Christians are not WITNESSING to the LOST WORLD about their SALVATION - Parents are not spending TIME with their CHILDREN - Husbands and Wives are not spending TIME with each other to strengthen their marriages. (And so much more!)

I. REASONS FOR GOING A.W.O.L.

a. (2 Timothy 2:4 KJV) "No man that wareth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." A good soldier doesn’t involve himself with the enemy, or his affairs.

b. During PEACETIME some soldiers will go A.W.O.L. because of BOREDOM, INACTIVITY. (Many Christians have dropped out of the ranks of Christianity because of being in too many BORING services - Some have left the ranks of Christianity because of not becoming ACTIVE in the WORK of the Lord)

c. Some go A.W.O.L. because of CONFINEMENT. (They don’t like the DICIPLINE of being in the army of the Lord!)

d. Some go A.W.O.L. because of not being able to submit to AUTHORITY!

e. Some can’t accept the CHALLENGE of a New Lifestyle. (They can’t turn loose of the PAST - Back Home - Doing things “My Way!”)

f. Some go A.W.O.L. when the REAL WAR breaks out! (They go over the hill because of FEAR!)

g. Some go A.W.O.L. because they’re WORN OUT! (Burned Out!) This happens when there is no TEAMWORK! - Teamwork makes the DREAM WORK!

II. A.W.O.L. PREVENTION. (To Prevent Boredom - Fear!)

a. “Basic Training” - Many soldiers have gone A.W.O.L. or gotten injured or even killed simply because they didn’t learn the BASICS!

b. Reading the TRAINING MANUEL (The Bible - The Word of God) will give you the needed INFORMATION that you need to keep you from being DEFEATED!

c. Staying in CONTACT with the COMMANDER and CHIEF! (We must pray and stay in contact with the Lord Jesus Christ if you and I are to survive!)

d. Exercising and Staying in SHAPE! (“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,” (Jude 1:20)

e. OBEDIENCE to every COMMAND! (Recognition of the SUPREME AUTHORITY - God!)

f. Knowing what your WEAPONS are and knowing how to USE them! (“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Cor. 10:4-5)

g. DEVOTION to the COMMANDER. - When you love your leader you will not forsake him.

h. Any soldier knows he must work with the rest of the soldiers! TEAMWORK makes the DREAM work! - Whether we like it or not we are DEPENDENT on each other for our welfare.

i. Getting ENOUGH REST! “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:” (Ps. 37:7) don’t try to do it ALL by YOURSELF!

III. VACANT POSITIONS. (No one gave a Christian Permission to leave

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