Summary: A Veterans Day Sermon (but can also be adapted for Memorial Day) which likens the requirements of discipleship to being an obedient soldier
Lanier Christian Church
November 11, 2012
Soldiers of the Cross
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. - 2 Timothy 2:1-4
Today is Veterans Day. Veterans are men and women who have been called to protect our nation. We are grateful for their willingness to serve and sacrifice for our nation. Today we want to say thank you.
We also honor and thank those families who have stood by their soldiers; Spouses, parents, grandparents and friends who have sacrificed while their loved ones were overseas. These people have prayed many prayers asking God to protect their loved ones when they went off into conflict. Many have had to go the extra mile to take care of the family while their spouse was performing their duty.
So today, we are grateful as a church and as a nation for those who have served in the military and those that are currently serving. Bless you for protecting us.
The image of a soldier is not new to our world. The Old and New Testaments alike refer to soldiers on numerous occasions. In a real sense we, as Christians, are soldiers. We have our marching orders, we have our assignments, we are in a war - a spiritual war - against the evil one. We are soldiers. I guess you could say....
1. Followers of Jesus are soldiers of the cross.
I learned a song as a child that you might know as well..."We are climbing Jacob's ladder"...and it concludes..."soldiers of the cross."
It's the cross that compels us to march forward for our Lord. It is the cross that set us free from our sins. It is the cross that bids us to serve the cause of Jesus as Lord! We ARE soldiers of the cross.
The crowd at the cross taunted Jesus.
But Jesus was committed to a cause!
He wanted to save the world through the cross.
Our veterans have demonstrated a heart committed to a cause:
- The cause of freedom.
- The cause of courage.
- The cause of love of country.
Jesus Christ was committed to a cause!
Our veterans were committed to a cause!
Let me ask you a question: To what are you committed?
For what cause would you risk life?
For what purpose would you dedicate your energies…
your finances, your time?
We honor our veterans.
But we worship our Commander in Chief.
We owe our liberty to our veterans.
But we owe our eternal lives to Jesus Christ.
We salute the flag!
But we kneel before the Christ of the cross.
2. We Must Follow the Guidance of our Commander.
As soldiers of the cross, we must follow the guidance of our commander, our Lord himself. He knows exactly what is best for us and his commands are THE right thing to do. We should never hesitate when it comes to a direct command from God himself.
Reminds me of the story of the father who was having trouble getting his son to clean his room.
That father said: I would insist that he, “Do it now,” and he would always agree to do so, but then he wouldn’t follow through; at least, not right way. After high school, he joined the Marine Corps, which is where he is now. When he and I were on the plane together coming home for his leave after Boot Camp, he said to me, “My life makes sense now, Dad. Everything you said and did when I was growing up now makes sense. I really, really understand.” “Oh yeah, Dad,” he added. “I learned what ‘now’ means.” (Source Unknown).
Michael Molenaar tells the story of going to a ceremony in Iowa where there son Keith was deployed for service. The commander of the Iowa National Guard spoke. He said that his troops would be well-trained. The commanders priority was to bring all his troops home safely and this could be best done by having soldiers who followed orders. He warned of the dangers of not following those orders and taking short-cuts along the way. He said that most injuries occurred when soldiers did things their own way.
Keith spoke about when their truck was hit with a bomb that immediately you begin to do those things you have been trained to do. This is something they had gone over many times. A soldier doesn’t need to think, but he or she follows through by doing each step they have been trained to do. The training might be boring but it prepares the soldier for war.