Summary: What does it mean to be a "good soldier of Christ Jesus?" (2 Timothy 2:2) What are the requirements, commitments and benefits?
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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.
“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.
“Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.
“The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”
Specifically we want today to look at verses 2 and 3
“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs - he wants to please his commanding officer.”
What would a “Good Soldier of Jesus Christ” look like?
For the purposes of this morning’s message we’ll be using Army as a synonym for Armed Forces; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and the various National Guard forces.
We’ll also be using Solider as a synonym for Sailor, Airman, Marine and other personnel designation. OK?
So, what would a “Good Soldier of Jesus Christ” look like?
First of all they would be a volunteer.
That is true of the United State Army at this time. You cannot be forced into service, you must volunteer.
You must be of 18 years of age (17 with parental consent)
You must meet physical requirements
You must meet educational requirements
You can be denied due to medical, educational, physical and conviction histories.
There is no draft for entry into the Army of the Lord, ever.
You cannot be forced into entry.
The charge of “Forced Conversion” is one of the most severe charges in Muslim controlled countries, sometimes punishable by execution.
If those who embrace Islam knew anything about Christianity they would know that the phrase “Forced Conversion” is totally meaningless in Christianity! It applies to Islam but not to Christianity. You cannot be tortured, bribed, cajoled or hypnotized into becoming a Christian. Entry comes via the heart.
You cannot be denied entry because of anything you’ve done in the past.
The path to becoming a Good Soldier of Jesus Christ is available for everyone!
Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
1 John 5:1 says, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.”
And this believing is essential as we know from
John 3:18, “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
So, in those three verses we have whosoever, everyone and whoever describing those who can come to Christ and become a Good Soldier of Jesus Christ.
But, what about my past? I know that a criminal record can keep me from serving in the US Army, so, what about my sinful past?
1 John 3:4 (NASB) says, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
Can you imagine an army filled with lawless soldiers? It would be chaos! No one would pay attention to the chain of command. Regulations and orders would be ignored. There would be more fighting within the army than there would be against the enemy. There would be only destruction and defeat! Criminals would not, could not, be allowed into the army. So, what did God do?
He made a way for our past criminal record (sinful record) to be forgiven and sealed!
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Hebrews 10:17 says, “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
Not only does the Lord of the Armies of Heaven forgive our sins, He purifies us from all unrighteousness and forgets our sins. He makes us into new creations, new soldiers, who are no longer slaves to sin and lawlessness and puts within us the ability to be good, obedient, faithful and holy soldiers.
Romans 6:16-18 says,
“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”