Summary: On Veterans Dy we honor those who have served in the Armed Forces. But are you a veteran in the service of the Lord?
Are You A Veteran?
I wonder how many veterans we have in attendance today? If you have ever served in any branch of the armed forces, please raise your hand. I am a veteran of WW2, serving in the army from 1943 to 1945 in the U.S., Great Britain, and France. WW2 veterans are passing off the scene in great rapidity at the rate of 1000 a day, not 1000 a month, but 1000 a day. When I was a boy it was common to come in contact with a veteran from WW1. Very few if any WW 1 veterans are still alive. My father was a veteran of the Spanish American War in 1898. Somewhere at home I have a copy of his discharge papers. I can remember when November 11 was called Armistice Day in memory of the end of WW1. We didn’t get the day off from school. But at 11 A.M. we would have a moment of silence.
All of us are not veterans of some branch of the armed forces or have served at home or abroad, but we should all be veterans in the service of the Lord. A veteran is one who is much experienced in any service, especially as a soldier or an ex soldier. But you can be a veteran without having served in the armed forces. A veteran is one who has had long experience of any kind of service. We speak of a veteran lawmaker, a veteran teacher, or a veteran lawyer.
All of us who are believers and followers of Jesus Christ are veterans in his service. In the Bible, followers of Jesus Christ are often described in military terms. We are described as being involved in spiritual warfare. And in our text in 2 Tim 2:3,4, followers of Christ are described as soldiers. No matter how long or brief has been our service, we are veterans in his army. Some of us have had a long experience in the service of the Lord. We have come through dangers seen and unseen. We have been through the fire and the storm. We have been through howling winds, tossing waves, and deep floods.
Others of us have not been in the service too long. But you are a veteran if you have been tested in the service of the Lord. When you take a stand for Jesus Christ, the forces of evil will test you to see how strong your stand is. You will be tempted to see how sincere you are about your new life. You say you don’t do what you used to do. But sooner or later somebody is going to entice you to do something you said you were not going to do. You don’t have to be in the service too long before experiencing temptation along the way. So young or old, much experience or little experience, we are all veterans in the service of the Lord. We are soldiers in his army.
Now there is a difference between being a veteran from the armed forces and being a veteran in the service of the Lord. A veteran from some branch of the armed forces is usually not on active service. But a veteran in the service of the Lord is never retired from active duty. When you become a soldier in the army of the Lord, you are in the battle until you die. What really is involved in being a veteran in the service of the Lord?
First of all, you have been chosen and enlisted in the service of the Lord. God has chosen us to be his followers. Some people think they are doing God a favor by choosing to serve him. But God has chosen his followers from the dawn of time. It’s a great mystery of the Christian faith that God has chosen some to follow him.
Take 2 children in the same family, raised by the same parents, subject to the same discipline, nurtured in the Christian faith, brought up in the same church. Yet one of these children becomes a practicing Christian while the other rejects Christianity. One decides to serve the Lord. The other couldn’t care less about the church or the Christian faith. One frequently attends church. The other hardly darkens to doors of anybody’s church. How do you account for it? One has been chosen by God’s grace, while the other may not have been chosen. We can’t say for sure for it is never too late to come to Jesus. There is always room at the cross for one more.
Now years ago when I went into the army, I was drafted. The physical exam I took was a farce. If you were warm and breathing you were accepted. But nowadays the armed forces are careful who they accept. You must be chosen. The standards are high. Everybody is not accepted. There is a screening process. But there is another side to being chosen. The person chosen must accept the call.