Summary: The Christian soldier is not born into it - he must enlist. leave the old world, live up to the new standards and learn and do his new job.
“Onward, Christian Soldier!”
June 12, 2011
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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 the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Last week we talked a little bit about Nazarene Knights and people of Valor. We learned that they were Loyal almost to a fault. They were motivated by a great love, and they were fearlessly faithful. There was a lot more about that topic I wanted to say, but didn’t have time. I want to revisit the subject of “Christian Warriors” today.
First of all, I need to ask you – “Are you a Christian soldier?” Are you a Nazarene Knight? You aren’t born into His service, you know. Someone said, “God ain’t got no grandkids!” We all need to be born again. We all have to consciously enlist in God’s army. You should be able to remember and point back to that time when you invited Jesus into your heart. You should be able to clearly know when you enlisted in God’s army.
I remember when I enlisted in the U.S. Army. It was at the height of the Viet Nam War. The year was 1967. I had a draft number and was probably going to be drafted – so I went down to the army recruiter and enlist for three years. I signed on the dotted line and before I knew it I was headed to Fort Campbell, Kentucky – the home of the Screaming Eagles (101st airborne). And there was a whole lot of screaming going on as they whipped us into shape for war.
I remember that day. I remember the day I knelt down by my couch and signed up for God’s Army. I remember asking Him into my heart and asking Him to forgive my sins and I remember committing my life to Him. I remember a few months later surrendering everything to Jesus and being filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know what you called those things; didn’t have the theology down – didn’t have the head knowledge - but the experiences were real. You don’t have to understand it intellectually to experience it spiritually. It isn’t a mind thing – it is a heart thing. Understanding may come later – though many people understand and then experience. And we need to grow in knowledge, the Bible says. (2 Peter 3:18)
Those are significant events in my life. You ought to know when, maybe even WHERE you crossed over from death to life. You ought to know when you signed on the dotted line and enlisted in the Lord’s Army. If you don’t – if you can’t – then maybe you haven’t. And you should. The bible says, “TODAY is the day of salvation.” If you don’t know for sure if you did – you probably didn’t. Do it today- before you go home. I’ll help you do that a little later in the service if you like. We need to clearly and purposefully enlist; we need to clearly invite Jesus in. We need to clearly reject the world and our sin – and commit our lives to Christ.
Secondly, we need to throw off those worldly things that would hinder our service to the King. When I got on that bus for Fort Campbell, all I had was a little bag of personal items – and most of that I quickly tossed. Soon I was fully equipped from shaving kit to underwear; from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head; from boots to cap. I didn’t need anything from home. The army gave me all I needed to become a soldier. I left my mom and dad; my brothers and sisters, my friends, my home. And I have to confess, it was pretty difficult. I got a little homesick. I was pretty scared.
When I enlisted up with Christ – it was a little scary. It is always a little frightening to walk into the unknown. I lost some friends who didn’t relate to the new me. I had some habit and attitudes I had to leave behind. My pack of cigarettes, my drinking, my occasionally indulgence in pot, my sinful relationships – they all had to go. I had to immediately give them up. The Bible says,