Summary: A Veteran's Day sermon. The Bible often uses warfare as a metaphor for the Christian life. This sermon examines how Paul likens the Christian life to warfare and what this teaches us about how to win the battle in the Christian life.
Soldiers for Christ
Veteran’s Day Sermon
November 9, 2014
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Illus. – For a long time I didn’t understand my father-in-law, Sydney Robertson. He was the quietist man I ever met; almost unnervingly so.
Having lived my teen years in Japan, I had a positive view of Japan and the Japanese people; but he had fought in World War II against the Japanese in Burma. To my naïve, young person’s mind, I just saw him as prejudiced and old-fashioned.
It wasn’t until he died that Susan’s aunt told us something we had never heard him, nor any other family member ever utter. During most of the war, he had been a prisoner of war and had suffered horribly. He had witnessed and personally experienced unspeakable cruelty, and though he eventually came to terms with his feelings about the Japanese, the harsh realities he experienced at their hands went with him throughout his life.
I share that story this morning first because this Tuesday, Americans will celebrate Veteran’s Day, a day set aside in the United States to honor all military veterans. As I preach this morning, on every point, think of Sydney Robertson, and many other brave veterans like him who served their country at great cost to themselves. That would be a fitting way to commemorate Veteran’s Day for all veterans.
But I also share that story as a segue into something else. As important and honorable as I think all of your service for your country is, I want you to know that there is a GREATER calling to a service that God has called all of us to. We are all called to be Soldiers of Christ!
Look at our text in 2 Timothy 2: 3-4 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 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.”
This Scripture teaches three important truths about how to successfully live the Christian life:
I. FIRST, BEING A SOLDIER FOR CHRIST INVOLVES ENDURING HARDSHIP. –Verse 3, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Illus. – I read the story of a newly married flight engineer with the Air Force who had planned a weekend getaway with his new bride. But on Friday, his squadron called and told him he was to leave the next afternoon for an eight-day mission.
His wife was obviously disappointed. “Don’t you get weekends off like normal people?” she asked. (Now I know what you Army guys are thinking: “Yeah, they do,” but I have a son in the Air Force, and believe me, it’s the military too!)
He gently explained that as a member of the US Air Force he was on call 24/7.
She looked longingly into his eyes and said “But, honey, couldn’t you just explain to them that we had plans?” (Reader’s Digest 9/95 p. 51)
Paul says, “…endure HARDNESS, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” I don’t think I have to tell this crowd that being a soldier during wartime is no fun. [NOTE TO READER: I PASTOR AN ALMOST ALL ARMY CHURCH IN GERMANY.] Soldiers often go without modern amenities, experience long separations from loved ones, and go through many other unimaginable hardships. Sacrifice and sweat are the common commodities of a soldier’s life. That doesn’t even include the unthinkable hardships a soldier who is wounded or mortally wounded experiences. The hardship of being a soldier is incomprehensible to the average civilian, and even spouses can never fully comprehend some things that can only be understood by experiencing them.
You know, some people join the Army because they’re in such a hard spot in their lives that the Army seems like the only way out, whether it be out of the ghetto, out of debt, out of that boring, old, suffocating hometown, or out of a dead-end career path.
So they run to the recruiter for escape and begin to have hope for the first time when he tells them of a regular paycheck without being laid off; pride wearing the uniform; the opportunities to advance in the ranks without regard for their race, gender or color; the chance to “see the world”; the educational opportunities; the benefits afforded veterans when they leave the military.
Only after they join are they confronted with the reality of a lot of hardships to bear—starting in Basic Training; a lot of hard work and training; a lot of sacrifices to make; many long separations from loves ones; and the ever-present possibility you could be wounded, maimed or killed in action.
In the same way, when we first come to Christ, we usually call out to Him out of some deep well of guilt or sorrow or pain or loss or deficiency, so we RUSH to Him for joy, peace, forgiveness, wholeness and purpose, with little knowledge or regard of what the future holds.