Summary: Therer have been a number of sunshine patriot and summer soldier Christians who have gone AWOL in the service of their Lord. Why?
INTRODUCTION: In 1776 Thomas Paine wrote these words: "These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country.” When many of the Army Reserve and National Guard Units were activated in the wake of September 11th, most of the men and women in those units were anxious to valiantly serve their country. However as units were being activated many of the summer soldiers and sunshine patriots ran from their duties and went AWOL either while on deployment or in some cases even before actually being deployed. I believe that there is a parallel in the Lord’s Army and that many Christians have gone AWOL. But first, we must understand that…
I. ALL BELIEVERS HAVE BEEN DRAFTED INTO THE LORD’S ARMY.
A. 2 Timothy 2:3 "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
B. You did not enlist you were drafted by the Captain of Salvation – The Lord Jesus Christ.
C. John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain..."
D. Ephesians 6:10-17 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"
II. ALL BELIEVERS HAVE BEEN GIVEN THEIR MARCHING ORDERS.
A. John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ORDAINED (ordered, commanded, commissioned) you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain..."
1. 1 Timothy 6:12 "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."As we look at the world around us, we see the drama of men and of nations, seething, struggling, laboring, and dying. What we often fail to see is that within the silence of the souls of men an eternal war is raging. Here soul is the place where supreme and final battles are fought. As Christian soldiers we are called to combat the forces of Satan as he seeks to capture the souls of men.
2. We’re doing battle in the army of our King. A mighty struggle in a fight that can’t be seen. Make us strong in You, Lord. Make us mighty by Your power for we struggle not with men but the evil of this hour. [We Will Stand © 1991 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (c/o Integrity Music, Inc.) CCLI License No. 754427
3. Jude 1:3 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
C. RESIST - James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
D. HOLD THE GROUND AND ADVANCE
1. Ephesians 4:27 "Neither give place to the devil."
2. Matthew 16:18 "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall NOT prevail against it."
III. MANY BELIEVERS HAVE GONE AWOL.
A. Caught up in CORRUPTION – distracted by the outside world.
1. Some soldiers go AWOL as they are drawn off base by the allurement and addictions of various vices such as alcohol, gambling, and sexual promiscuity. The glitter and flashing lights surrounding the base draw them like a moth is drawn to the light of a fire. Christians are not immune to such enticement.
2. 2 Timothy 4:10 "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica..."
3. 2 Timothy 2:4 "No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."