Summary: Useful sermon for patriotic holidays that discusses how Christians can maintain courage (like soldiers).
Note: Much of the information in this sermon was taken verbatim, from sermons on the www.sermoncentral.com Web site as follows: A Call to Courage (David DeWitt), Be Strong and Courageous (James Galbraith), Turning Chains into Courage (Dana Chau), Valuable Lessons for the Day of Battle (William Morris), Am I a Soldier of the Cross? (Paul Etterling), and Remembering our Freedom (Damian Phillips).
Prayer: Dear Lord, we ask you to help us today to remember and honor the current and the fallen soldiers and the courage they have displayed in protecting our nation. We ask that you help us to display that same kind of courage daily in the lives that we lead. Amen
Joshua 1:9: In which Jesus was reassuring Joshua who had taken the place of Moses and was leading 2 million Israelites into a new land - "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go."
Psalm 139: 7-10 - In which David spoke of God’s omnipresence - "Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there, if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."
Memorial Day is tomorrow, and during this time we honor and remember those courageous men and women who are serving and who have died to keep our country free. President Bush just spoke along side the new WWII memorial in Washington D.C. to remember those lost. Over two and one-half million have given their lives in wars in the last two centuries to preserve our freedom. In the 1900s there was WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf war, and now the war in Iraq.
Jesus said in John 15:132, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." The soldiers, who died to keep our country free, also died out of love for their friends and family. We must never forget the sacrifice that they made out of love for country, and for family and friends.
These soldiers displayed courage and today, I want to talk with you about another kind of courage. In a sense, we are all soldiers of the cross and in this role we serve Christ in fighting the battle of faith, in defeating Satan as our foe. And as we remember those who have fought, maintained, and served our nation in defense of freedom and democracy, so we must remember on this day that we are also called to serve, that we have obligations to fight a different kind of war.
The war that we fight may not look like the war in Iraq, because it is a spiritual war. As the bible says 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. " I want to talk with you today about how to have courage as a Christian soldier. This role is just as important as the role of our soldiers when they fight our physical wars.
What is "courage?" It is doing what you know is right when it needs to be done, regardless of the difficulty. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is having fear but moving forward in accomplishing what you have to do knowing that God will be with you.
So, how do you serve as a Christian soldier with courage? (three things)
Let God be in control
Accept that bad things happen to good people
Focus on the outcome of your service, not the process
First, Let God be in Control
You must acknowledge that "God is in control," and be willing to do what he has called you to do.
Many persons think that if we are courageous we grow closer to God. They see virtues like love and courage and wisdom as a path to God, and they believe that as we live out these virtues we become more and more the persons God wants us to be. We do not earn our way to God through the practice of virtues like courage; rather we grow in virtues like courage when we give ourselves to God.
Courage grows in us when we do the things that require it. As we strive to let God work through us, and there are opportunities every day; we will grow in the courage it takes to do these things.