Sermons

Summary: What if you could sit under one of the greatest Generals in all of God’s army? Would you listen to what he has to say about basic training for spiritual battle?

Training to be a Good Soldier

2 Timothy 2:1-13

Paul, the General, gives instructions to the Private Timothy.

Having the right equipment for battle is great, but you have to know what to do with it. This is basic training for church work.

Debate right now about what a “cut and run” policy in Iraq would produce. The consequences of cutting and running are far greater in the spiritual realm.

When the going gets tough, we often cut and run. Paul experienced this as everyone deserted him during his second imprisonment. He also experienced it with John Mark on first missionary trip. He also experienced it with Phygilus/Hermogones (2 Timothy 1:15).

So what basic training do we need so that we don’t “cut and run.” What will make us strong in the special favor of God?

No one likes to be called a quitter.

Yet, we can’t enjoy the special favor of God w/out sticking in the battle. We all want to be blessed by God like Abraham of the Old Testament, but few of us want to be inconvenienced in the process.

2 Timothy 1:12

And that is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.

How was Paul so confident in God? B/c of his training as a good solider.

Before he entered public ministry, Paul received his training for 3 years on the back side of the desert.

Though others deserted him and denied the faith, he expected Timothy to take his training and use it to train others.

v.2 Teaching great truths

Timothy was to teach the great truths to trustworthy people who would be able to pass it on to others.

Here is the training for a good soldier!!!

•Enduring hardship

Endure suffering along with me v.3

We endure together; this makes it bearable.

Alpha Company Marines first company in the coalition forces to enter Iraq we were met with a heavy opposing force. We immediately destroyed the enemy tanks and continued fighting through the night toward our first objective, an oil pumping station. After bombing around the compound we made our final approach to the fence that surrounded it. We scanned for enemy targets but only saw abandoned military equipment including fully functional weapons of all sorts.

The Iraqis did not want to fight us. That thought ran through the minds of all of us and poisoned our brains. We were not alert, as before; some of us were too complacent. Just moments later a fellow marine stepped on a land mine and shortly after my Platoon Commander Childers was shot. Seven Iraqi soldiers were packed in a pickup truck spraying bullets at us. They moved at least seventy miles an hour. They headed right for us. After they passed some time later I heard a crack and then another. Machine guns were now going off as another hostile vehicle moved down the same road. We were going to get shot or hit by the vehicle if we did not move. I grabbed Childers by the shoulders and slung him over my back. I ran for cover.

Can you imagine being in a battle without comrades?

v.10

I am willing to endure anything if it will bring

salvation and eternal glory to chosen

Are you willing to suffer for others to hear the Good News?

What are you willing to endure? This is the first component of training for a good soldier.

Not only should you be ready for suffering, you also need to have focus.

•Disentangling oneself

v.3 Do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you can’t satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.

Total commitment: Roman soldiers of that time were not allowed to have other pursuits.

Finally, on April 20, 2003, Easter Sunday, it was time for my unit to move north into Iraq. Not wanting my fiancée or family to spend their Easter worrying about me, I didn’t tell them I where I was headed until after I had arrived there.

Before crossing the border, I locked a magazine of ammunition into my rifle and placed my fiancée’s photo on the windshield of my Humvee so it would feel like she was with me. Within minutes of crossing the border, we encountered our first Iraqi village.

The drive soon became tense: Iraqi civilians were standing in the middle of the road to try to force us to stop so they could sell us trinkets. My driver -- a 20-year-old woman who had never deployed before -- began to slow down. But stopping would make us a target for attack. My operations sergeant -- who was sitting behind me -- got on the radio and informed the other convoy vehicles what we were experiencing. Simultaneously, I yelled in my driver’s ear, "Speed up! Don’t slow down! They’ll get out of the way!" My driver fought her instinct to slow down, and we sped through the Iraqi civilians.

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