Summary: In order to maintain joy as in this battle we call Christianity, we need to develop the marks of a good soldier of Jesus Christ
Joy in the Heat of the Battle
Jailhouse Religion #6
1. As we have already found, Philippians is a rich resource for the Christian who is lacking in joy.
2. Because of Christ, every believer can experience true joy and fulfillment, no matter what is going on around him.
3. Last Sunday morning we discovered that a key principle to experiencing joy is keeping an eternal focus!
4. If only believers could actually live every moment with eternity in view–it would change our lives.
5. The passage before us this evening presents the conflict that Jude called contending “for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).
6. We are to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ as commanded in II Timothy 2:3–“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
7. In another place Paul told his young protege, Timothy, to war a good warfare (I Timothy 1:18).
8. If you are a soldier, there are several ways to have joy and peace in the heat of the battle.
I. The Conduct of a Good Soldier (v. 27)
A. Behaviour that Shows Your Allegiance
1. Do you act like a child of God?
2. Do you act like a believer of the Gospel of Christ?
3. If you want peace and joy in the heat of the battle, you need to start acting like your allegiance lies with the Kingdom of God instead of the kingdoms of this world.
4. What happens to a soldier in a foreign country who acts like he sympathizes with the enemy?
5. If he makes it home alive, he may find himself subject to court martial (at least that’s how it used to be)!
B. Behaviour that Submits to Authority–“whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast...”
1. In an army, the general should not have to stand over each soldier to be assured that he will carry out his assignment.
2. That is the spirit of what Paul is saying here.
3. He wanted to hear that they were doing their part in the fight for the faith without having to stand over them and make sure every day!
4. What is the rallying cry for some branches of the military–“Duty, Honor, Country!”
5. We Christians should encourage each other with the ideas of loyalty to that Heavenly Country, our eternal home on high.
6. Shouts of “Duty, Honor, Country” would not be out of place when the duty is to God, the honor goes to His name, and the country is Heaven!
II. The Cooperation of a Good Soldier (v. 27b)
A. Psalm 133:1–“Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
B. No one finds joy when he or she is in a constant state of friction with other people.
C. It is one thing to fight with the enemy–it is quite another to fight with one another!
D. 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].”
E. Here Paul reminds them of the necessity of unity or cooperation.
F. Cooperation in the ranks of an army is essential– without it, morale will drop way down, and key battles will be lost because of the spirit of divisiveness.