Summary: A veteran's day sermon
Songs in the Night, A Soldiers Story
Today we honor our veterans. This brief ceremony, and these certificates are a poor attempt at expressing our gratitude and respect for each of you and the sacrifice you have made in service to our Country. So with a simple “thank you” we move on to consider another soldier’s story.
The apostle Paul exemplifies Christian honor, courage, and sacrifice. Drafted into service on the road to Damascus, quickly trained and dispatched on an impossible mission. Initially distrusted by his allies and especially hated by the enemy, Paul set out to accomplish his task. Upon engaging the adversary, in the first theatre at Lystera, Paul is captured, tortured, and left for dead. Called back to Jerusalem Paul was debriefed and given further instructions and immediately led his small troop back into battle. With much success and many commendations Our Soldier is sent to a new front. This time the Gospel Army invades the Continent of Europe. With fresh troops behind him, they boldly engage the Enemy in hostile territory. There, for the second time they are captured, and beaten. Paul’s permanent military record reveals that he was lashed five times with 39 stripes, 3 times beaten with rods, 3 times shipwrecked, once stoned, attacked by wild animals, and eventually put to death in a Roman Prison.
With that background set, we will look at Paul’s second capture. Even in this early part of his career we can see what made him a great soldier.
I. The strategic lesson.
A. Remember the General Orders (GO), Exodus 20
- There are 10 general orders given by God to govern the activity of those in His service. These 10 orders detail our behavior in every possible situation. The first 5 correspond to our actions and responsibilities towards God himself. The last 5 constitute our behavior towards our fellow man. We will look at the first 5 this morning.
1. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Don’t ever forget who you are, where your from, who you serve, and who your Supreme Commander is.
2. Thou shalt make no graven images. Don’t ever adopt the culture, customs, or philosophies of the enemy. Don’t sleep with the enemy!
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Loose lips sink ships.
4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Don’t ever loose focus. Remember you mission!
5. Honor thy father and thy mother. Respect authority, obey orders, do it by the book.
B. Our soldiers did it by the book! (5)
1. Though beaten, deprived of food, and medical attention, our men continued to be faithful to their cause.
2. They maintained their focus. (4)
3. They set about to accomplish their mission, Acts 16:9, 1:8; Mtt. 28:19
C. Recalling GO #1 they contacted headquarters, 16:25.
1. Renewed their commitment to God and their cause. (1)
2. Sang praises to Supreme Commander. (2)
3. They allowed the enemy to hear them. Psychological warfare. (3)
a. Paul and Silas had this bunch right where they wanted them
b. The devil’s army was out numbered, out planned, and out maneuvered.
D. Evidence of their faithfulness is in their prayer, the evidence of their prayer is in the answer.
E. What they did not pray for.
1. Did not pray for freedom, although they became free. (VS 35)
2. Did not pray for food, although they were fed. (VS 34)
3. Did not pray for medical attention, although they were treated. (VS 35)
F. What they did pray for.
1. Prayed for the successful completion of their job.
2. God didn’t shake the jail to set them free! Otherwise they would have escaped. (27,28)
3. God shook the jail to save one man. (30)
G. In the successful completion of their job, all of their needs were met.
1. Their heavenly Father was glorified
2. Their Courage was multiplied
3. Their heavenly Country honored
II. The marks of a true soldier.
A. Totally dedicated to the cause
B. Totally give to duty and sacrifice
1. Put aside self
2. Put aside safety, comfort, home, family, material gain, etc.
3. Face the enemy courageously, constantly