Summary: As Christians, we have dedicated our lives to service for the Lord.
“How To Become An Effective Christian”
BE A GOOD SOLDIER!
As his men were preparing to attack the Maeda Escarpment, a 400 foot cliff that stretched across the island of Okinawa, Lieutenant Goronto called his men together, “Fellows, come over here and gather around. Doss wants to pray for us.” Corporal Desmond Doss was a medic assigned to Company B of the 77th Division of the US Army during World War II. Doss had taken his share of ridicule from his fellow servicemen because of his religious beliefs. The army had tried to discharge him at one time because they claimed his religious beliefs made him mentally unfit to serve. Doss was resilient and faithful to the Lord as he continued to serve his country. After fierce fighting in Guam and Leyte, they found themselves in Okinawa with the daunting task of taking this 400 foot cliff that was entrenched with camouflaged enemy, tunnels, caves and enemy gun emplacements. When the order to attack had come, Doss told Lieutenant Goronto, “I believe prayer is the best life saver there is. The men should really pray before going up.” What Doss had in mind was that each soldier might want to spend some personal, private time in prayer before the attack. Nevertheless, Doss prayed for the men in his company and off they went into battle. Company A went ahead of them and reported casualties so high that they could proceed no further. So Doss and Company B were ordered to move ahead knowing that they would have to take the cliff by themselves. They engaged in fierce fighting but by the end of the day they were able to sweep across the territory and be victorious. Amazingly, not a single man from Company B was killed and only one soldier sustained wounds and they came from a falling rock hitting his hand. The next day, a follow up inquiry was made to determine how Company B had accomplished such a miraculous assault without a single casualty. No one could figure out how they had done it. Finally, with no other way to conclude the report, the official answer was filed all the way back home to the United States. The official answer was simply, “Doss prayed!”
Tertullian writes in Address to the Martyrs, “No soldier comes to the war surrounded by luxuries, nor goes into action from a comfortable bedroom, but from the makeshift and narrow tent, where every kind of hardness and severity and unpleasantness is to be found.”
John Stott writes, “Soldiers on active service do not expect a safe or easy time. They take hardship, risk, and suffering as a matter of course.”
Tonight, we continue our message series out of II Timothy on “How To Become an Effective Christian”. Tonight, we see that effectiveness as a Christian takes the dedication of a good soldier. As Christians, we have dedicated our lives to service. We have enlisted ourselves in the army of the Lord and are soldiers in a spiritual war that is ongoing all around us. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
Tonight, we look at Paul’s words to Timothy in II Timothy 2:1-13, “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs- he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, eh does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
To be effective in our service, we must be a good soldier by: