Summary: We are in a spiritual battle, but sometimes we are AWOL or content to be in the reserves. We have good reasons for getting on the front lines.
October 28, 2001 Ephesians 6:17-20
“Ready for battle”
One of the first songs that I remember singing as a little kid in church is “I’m in the Lord’s army.” It goes like this: “I’m in the Lord’s army; I’m in the Lord’s army. I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery; I may never zoom o’er the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s army. Yes Sir!” In fact, let’s try that together. [have the congregation stand and sing and do motions together] For every person that has Jesus Christ as their Savior, that song rings true. Your signature on the dotted line in which you indicated your desire for forgiveness for your sins is the same dotted line and the same signature that made you a part of God’s army. There’s a reason that we don’t sing that song anymore as adults. There’s a reason why it was just intended for children. We don’t put children on the front lines in our battle against the evil of this world. So it’s okay for them not to march in the infantry, or ride in the cavalry. It’s okay for them not to shoot the artillery or zoom over the enemy. But for us as adult Christians, we don’t have that luxury anymore. We must not only wear the uniform, but we must also fight in the war. It‘s not enough to just be a part of the army anymore and go through the drills like a good soldier. It’s time to fight.
But most of us have gone AWOL. We’ve jumped the fence; headed for Canada. And it’s not because we have a conscientous objection to war. It’s because we’re scared. We allow our fear to stop us from fighting in the war that we have been training for ever since we joined up. If things don’t change, when the battle is over, and we have been recognized by all the universe as the winners, and we stand before our Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ, we will have to bow our heads in shame as cowards who would not fight to defend against the enemy or gain new ground.
This morning, I want us to look at a passage of the Bible that will give us 4 reasons that will encourage us to fight in God’s army in spite of our fear. I want to help you change your designation before the Commander. I want him to be proud of you on that day just as I want him to be proud of me.
1. We have a commander-in-chief that we can trust. (Eph. 6:10)
…because He is committed to us.
A sergeant and his lieutenant were doing some survival training in the hills of Tennessee. Suddenly, they came upon a hungry grizzly bear. The lieutenant asked the sergeant what they should do. Without answering, the sergeant quickly sat down, got his running shoes out of the backpack, and proceeded to put them on. The lieutenant couldn’t believe that his sergeant would be so stupid. “Sarge”, he said, “this is a grizzly! He can run faster than either of us can. There’s no way that you can outrun him!” To which the sergeant replied, “I don’t need to run faster than the bear. I just need to run faster than you.”
Whenever armed forces enter into a wartime situation, they need to have absolute confidence in the fact that they can depend on their superior officers, especially their commander-in-chief to support them with no reservations. They need someone who is going to make sure that they have all the resources that they need to get the job done. They need someone who will not sacrifice them simply for his own political well-being. And they need someone who will go all the way for them. Thankfully, our military forces have a commander-in-chief in George Bush that they can trust to be all those things. He is committed to them, and he is committed to their mission. George Bush made it very clear, long before Sept. 11 that he was a staunch supporter of our military.
As Christians, you and I have a commander that we can count on because he is committed to us. His name is Jesus. To his disciples, Jesus said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hb. 13:5). We can claim that same promise for his followers today. In Isaiah 43:2, He says, “When you pass through the fire, I will be with you; when you pass through the waters, they will not overcome you…” Jesus is the kind of Commander that will never dessert us no matter who the enemy is that we. His last words before he returned into heaven were, “I will be with you always to the very end of the age” (Mt. 28:20). When it’s fourth down with long yardage with only 30 seconds on the clock and no timeouts - when the rest of the world has already turned off the TV because they’ve given up on you - Jesus will still be there. He is faithful. He is committed to you. Jesus was committed enough to you to sacrifice his life.