Summary: A sermon on Luke 7:1-10 about the centurion. His characteristics are outlined with "A" words. Good for Independence Day or Veterans Day.
Sermon for 7/2/2006
C.T. Stroud said, “The best training for a soldier of Christ is not necessarily a college. You see, when in hand to hand conflict with the world and the devil, neat little biblical candy is like shooting lions with a pea shooter; one needs a man who will let himself go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, trusting in the Holy Ghost. It’s experience, not preaching that hurts the devil and confounds the world. The training is not that of the schools but of the market: it’s the hot, free heart and not the balanced head that knocks the devil out. Nothing but forked-lightening Christians will count. It is not so much the degree of arts that is needed, but that of hearts, loyal and true, that love not their lives to the death: large and loving hearts which seek to save the lost multitudes, rather than guard the 99 fat sheep in the pen.”
(2 Tim 2:3 NIV) Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
In our Scriptures this morning, we are introduced to a centurion, a soldier. This soldier has many characteristics we need to follow as soldiers of Jesus Christ and as citizens of the United States.
Thesis: 4 words that begin with the letter “A” help to identify those characteristics.
A. This soldier I am sure had love for his people and his homeland. His main affections would go toward those of Italy.
B. However, he was away from them and so he loved those around him. Bloom where you are planted fitted this soldier.
C. He had great affection for one of his servants. In that day a soldier made good money and especially centurions and those higher in rank, had slaves and servants.
D. Sometimes a slave like this would be a great help and source of support for a soldier. Far away from family sometimes a slave would become like a father figure for a soldier. If younger, he would become like a son. IF the same age, he would be like a brother. Evidently this slave had become special to this soldier. He was like one of the family. This is why this centurion would do anything to see this slave be healthy. This is why this soldier was trying to contact Jesus because of his affection for this slave.
E. That this centurion would open up his heart to someone like a slave tells us a lot about his character. We also know that when a slave was unable to perform his duties, that the master could have him killed.
F. This slave, instead of helping this soldier, was a burden. He was sick and near death. That the master would sacrifice to bring him back to health speaks a lot about this man’s affection. We can tell a lot about a person by how he treats those who are beneath him. How we treat people who do some service for us? Are we concerned about them, or do we have no concern for them?
G. This centurion also had affection for the community. The elders say that he loved the nation. Now his first allegiance would be to the Romans but he also had affection for the land where he was living. He tried to look out for the good of those around him.
H. This reminds me of a famous US soldier Douglas Macarthur. In the 1930’s and 40’s Macarthur was stationed or exiled to the Philippines. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, he said that famous line, “I shall return.” He fought and worked long and hard to drive the Japanese from the Philippines. Why? Because he was defending the United States, yes, but also because he loved the people of the Philippines. After World War 2, he helped to oversee the Philippines as they became an independent nation.
I. This centurion has a great lesson for us and our soldiers. As we are in Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas, we need to be looking out for the good of those nations. We are Americans first but we should also be looking out for other’s good.
J. The elders also said that he built them a synagogue. As he got involved in the community, he must have had affection for their religion. Like other Gentiles, he was drawn to the Jewish religion for its morality. The religions of the Gentiles did not have stands on morality but the Jewish religion did. This was appealing to some Gentiles because the Gentile religions usually involved gross immorality. He felt that there was something wrong with his religion and when he saw their religion, he was drawn to it.