Summary: You must choose sides in the spiritual war that is being waged.
Over the course of the next three messages that I’ll be preaching, there’s an image I want you to get fixed in your minds – and that is the image of our supreme Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ, who wants to use our time together to speak to your hearts and your minds to call you to make some clear and serious choices about who it is that you will honor and serve with the remainder of your lives. If Jesus were here among us, what might He say? What is it that He would want you to know? Today’s message is really a very simple one in which I want to share two essential truths with you that I believe Jesus wants you to know. Let’s look at our text in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 and discover what these two truths are.
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
In other words,
"You endure, persevere and hang in there in trial and affliction like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that performs military duty bogs himself down in this life’s business and affairs, so he might please God, who has chosen him to be a soldier." (my paraphrase)
THERE IS A WAR BEING WAGED THAT IS MUCH BIGGER THAN YOU ARE
It’s a war for your heart, for your mind, for your very soul. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12,
"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."
There seem to be a lot of people who think that other people are the enemies in life: young people might think it’s their parents, their teachers, or their pastors. Adults might see any number of people this way. Some might identify drugs or alcohol or government or employers as the enemy. Still yet, there are the enemies like depression and suicide and abusive homes and the immorality that is all around us and it is easy to narrow our thinking so that we see those things and others like them as the enemies we face in life, but none of those things are it. Those are the inevitable effects of the war in which you are engaged.
The real war is spiritual, it is aimed much deeper than at your finances or health or even your relationships. It is a war for your heart and mind – a war for your soul. At the head of the evil spiritual army we face is a commander-in-chief who hates you, and he would like nothing more than to destroy you. Jesus Himself said in John 10:10,
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
And Peter said in 1 Peter 5:8,
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
Listen, I know you’ve heard it a thousand times, but Satan is your enemy and he hates you with all his being. It makes no difference whether you’re lost or saved – he hates you and he wants to destroy your life and keep you from being what God has created you to be. He wants to keep those who have never been saved, who have never placed their faith in Christ from being saved. He wants to keep those who are saved, who are children of God from living for Him.
Satan roams the earth, looking to destroy the lives of people like you and me. Make no mistake about it – he is working harder than you’ll ever know to destroy your life, to destroy your testimony, to kill any desire you have to seek God and live a life that is honoring and pleasing to Him. Think about the many people who have come through the doors of this church, men and women who were once active and excited about the Lord and His work, but are now sitting at home cold and bitter and uncaring. That’s no accident! They’re the casualties of this spiritual war that is being waged for the hearts and minds of God’s people.
“Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”