Summary: This is a sermon that asks tough questions about our spiritual condition as it walks through the old hymn Am I A Soldier Of The Cross
Veteran’s Day 2018 – Am I A Soldier of The Cross?
Please stand as we read our newest memory Scripture together …
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
And our memory refresher verses for today are …
“Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Please open your Bibles to Revelation 12:7-12
Today is Veteran’s Day and we are thankful for those who have served and who are now serving in the defense of our country and the freedom which we all enjoy.
We should all be thankful that we have a strong military that is under the control of a civilian government.
There are other countries where the military is under the control of a single dictator which can be tragic and is capable of enslaving an entire population.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:6a, 7a “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars … and nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom ….”
Well, we certainly do have wars and rumors of wars. We see wars between nations and civil wars within nations.
But, there is a war that far surpasses even the great wars of WWI and WWII and all other wars combined.
Let’s read a little bit about that in Revelation 12:7-12
This is the war that is greater than all of the wars of earthly nations; past, present and future. Every person who has ever lived to the point where they understand the difference of right and wrong has been a participant in this war.
There are three basic groups in this spiritual war.
1) Those who don’t know or who don’t care
2) Those who are soldiers of the devil’s hordes
3) Those who are soldiers of the Cross
1) Those who don’t know or don’t care either are unaware of the eternally lost condition of their soul or who are so wrapped up in the things of this world that those things drown out the still, small voice that calls them to Jesus.
This could be someone who Jesus describes in Matthew 13:22b as, “…someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
2) Then there are those who are soldiers of the devil’s hordes
These are those who fixated on evil.
These are those who are described in Proverbs 6:16-19 when it says, “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
3) Finally, there are those who are “soldiers of the Cross” or soldiers in the Army of the Lord God Almighty.
These are those who are described in our Scripture reading for this morning where it says in Revelation 12:7, “They triumphed over [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
Really? Are we really supposed to be soldiers for Jesus? The apostle Paul certainly thought so!
“But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.”
Now, Paul is not talking about Epaphroditus being a Roman soldier or one of the Temple guards. He is saying that Epaphroditus is a soldier fighting for the kingdom of God.
Epaphroditus is defending the Word of the Lord.
It also says in 2 Timothy 2:3-4
“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer."
And in the greeting found in Philemon 1:1-2a it says,
“Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker - also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier ...”
So, I have to ask myself, “Am I a soldier of the cross? Am I a soldier of Jesus?”
I found this amazing old hymn written in the 1700’s by Isaac Watts entitled, “Am I A Soldier of The Cross?”