Summary: In the spiritual battle against the enemies of your soul, you are either engaged, AWOL or siding with the enemy. What does it mean to be engaged as a Christian soldier.
ARE YOU ENGAGED?
There is a spiritual war that has raged through the ages. This spiritual warfare is the seemingly never ending battle between God and His kingdom and Satan and his forces. Ephesians 6:12 describes it this way: “For 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.” This warfare includes the daily battle between the old man assisted by a host of powerful satanic influences and the new man empowered by God, the Holy Spirit. In this spiritual battle you are either engaged, AWOL or siding with the enemy. To be engaged as a Christian soldier means to:
I. Follow Orders of the Commander-in-Chief Explicitly
A. II Timothy 2:3-4 “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
B. Obedience to the Marching orders
1. In boot camp, you are taught to obey orders. There are times those orders seem to make no sense. You are to trust that your superior officers know something that you don’t know and that by obeying what may seem crazy, you will help achieve the goal of victory in battle
2. Titus 1:3 “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work”
3. "A soldier on active service … must be wholly at his commanding officer’s disposal." (2 Timothy 2:4 NEB)
C. No Malingering Allowed
1. To malinger is to pretend to be sick or injured to avoid work.
2. One who malingers remains feeble and weak in Christian faith in order to evade duty and orders issued by the Captain of the Lord of Hosts.
1. A soldier on active duty is always a soldier. He can’t call a "time-out" in the middle of battle.
2. Ecclesiastes 8:8 (NASB) “...there is no discharge in the time of war...”
3. A willingness to accept an assignment to suffer is the sure mark of a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
II. Know and Avoid Fraternizing with the Enemy
A. Know the Enemy
1. I Peter 5:8 “Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
2. II Corinthians 11:14 “And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.”
B. Avoid Fraternization
1. James mentions three enemies we must not fraternize if we want to be at peace with God:
a. The World (4:4) – The world system or society that is contrary to God
b. The Flesh (4:1,5) – The old nature with its desires and actions.
c. The Devil – (4:6-7) – The archenemy of our souls.
2. “If I had a brother who had been murdered, what would you think of me if I ...daily consorted with the assassin who drove the dagger into my brother’s heart; surely I too must be an accomplice in the crime. Sin murdered Christ; will you be a friend to it? Sin pierced the heart of the Incarnate God; can you love it?” - C. H. Spurgeon
3. Peter (1) first deserted the Lord, (2) later fraternized with the enemy, (3) then, denied the Lord, (4) afterwards committed perjury, and (5) finally, he cursed and blasphemed. Sin was progressive in his case
4. 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what communion has light with darkness?”
C. Keep Focused
1. II Timothy 2:4 “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
2. Entangles – (empleko from en = in + pléko = tie, braid, twist - pléko is used of the Roman soldiers "weaving a crown of thorns" to mock Jesus in Mat 27:29) means in general to interconnect closely and so to wrap or twist together and thus entwine, intertwine, braid, entangle and finally to be caught in. Figuratively empleko means to become involved in an activity to the point of interference with other activities or objectives.
3. Empleko pictures a soldier’s sword becoming so entangled in his cloak that he is unable to defend himself in battle! The position of the soldier demands detachment from all that would hinder his wholehearted obedience to the call of His commander. James would call a soldier who entangles himself "a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8) Like a single-minded soldier, we should respond to the orders of our commanding officer, the Lord Jesus, with unquestioning and immediate obedience.
4. During the Civil War, it is said that there was a man who was sympathetic to both sides. He lived, you see, in a border line state. Finally, he decided that he would achieve a compromise. He put on a mixed uniform, wearing the Confederate gray coat, and the Union blue trousers. All went well, it seems, until his town became engaged in a hard fought battle, and he was spotted by advancing troops. You guessed it: The soldiers from the north shot him in the coat, and the Southern gunmen shot him in the pants! If you are going to serve in a battle, you must resolve with ALL your being to put on the uniform without apologies. – copied