A Good Soldier Of Jesus Christ

Posted by on Aug 25, 2002

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

August 25, 2002

Sunday Morning

 

“A Good Soldier Of Jesus Christ”

 

Scripture Reading:  2 Timothy 2:1-7

Scripture Text:        2 Timothy 2:3-4

 

Introduction

 

A.    The Word of God uses a number of analogies to describe our position as Christians.

3.    For example, in Rom. 8:14-17, the Christian is pictured as A CHILD IN GOD’S FAMILY.

4.    In John 10:27, the Christian is pictured as A SHEEP IN GOD’S FLOCK.

5.    In 1 Cor. 12:27, the Christian is pictured as A MEMBER IN CHRIST’S BODY.

6.    In 1 Pet. 2:1-8, the Christian is pictured as A STONE IN GOD’S BUILDING.

7.    In Phil. 3:20, the Christian is pictured as A CITIZEN IN GOD’S KINGDOM.

8.    In Heb. 12:1, the Christian is pictured as A RUNNER IN GOD’S RACE.

B.    This morning, I want us to look at yet another picture of the Christian.

1.    It is found in 2 Timothy 2:3-4.

2.    In this passage, we see the Christian pictured as A SOLDIER IN GOD’S ARMY.

3.    Let’s read again 2 Timothy 2:3-4 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

4.      And so, we see here that the Christian is pictured as A SOLDIER IN GOD’S ARMY.

 

C.    But someone says, “How can I be a soldier in God’s army? I don’t even remember enlisting!”

1.    Well, whether you remember it or not, you enlisted THE MOMENT YOU ACCEPTED JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR.

2.    At that moment, you became a…

child in God’s family.

sheep in God’s flock.

member in Christ’s body.

stone in God’s building.

citizen in God’s kingdom.

runner in God’s race.

SOLDIER IN GOD’S ARMY!

3.    You didn’t sign any papers and you didn’t recite an oath, but you enlisted none the less.

 

D.    But someone else says, “How can I be a soldier? I don’t even have a uniform!”

1.    OH, YES YOU DO!

2.    Whether you realized it or not, the moment you got saved, you put on the uniform of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3.    Listen to Gal. 3:26-27, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

4.    We can’t see it with our physical eyes, but every one of us who is saved wears the uniform of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

E.    But someone else says, “How can I be a soldier? There’s not even a war going on!”

1.    I BEG YOUR PARDON!

2.    There is a war going on.

3.    Listen to Eph. 6:10-13, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

4.    If there is no war, then why are we told in Eph. 6:11 to “put on the whole armour of God“?

5.    If there is no war, then why are we called “soldiers” in 2 Tim. 2:3‑4?

6.    If there is no war, then why are we told in I Tim. 1:18 to “war a good warfare“?

7.    THERE IS A WAR!

8.    It is a war against…

-principalities.

-powers.

-the rulers of the darkness of this world.

-spiritual wickedness in high places.

9.    There is a war, and WE HAVE BEEN     COMMISSIONED AS SOLDIERS IN GOD’S ARMY TO FIGHT THIS WAR!

 

F.    Now as we think about the fact that we are pictured as soldiers in God’s army, I want us to think about what constitutes a good soldier.

1.    Paul told Timothy to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

2.    But WHAT constitutes a good soldier?

3.    First of all, a good soldier…

 

I.       Follows Orders.

 

 

A.    (Illus.- How many of you were in the Service? Well, you know that one of the very first things they teach new recruits in boot camp is the importance of following orders. THAT IS BASIC. If a soldier will not follow orders, he will never become a good soldier.)

 

B.    Well, the same thing is true of those who are in the Lord’s army.

1.    It is important that we learn how to follow orders.

2.    If we will not follow orders, we will never become “a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

 

C.    But someone asks, “WHO’S orders are we to follow?”

1.    That’s an easy question to answer.

2.    We are to follow the orders of our commander-in-chief, the Lord Jesus Christ.

3.    Just like the…

child obeys his father,

sheep obeys the shepherd,

body member obeys the head,

stone obeys the builder,

even so, the soldier obeys (follows)

his commander-in-chief, the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

D.    The latter part of Vrs. 4 of our text says it very well, it says, “that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

1.    That should be our primary goal as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, to please our commander-in-chief.

2.    To live a life that is pleasing to God.

3.    The Bible tells us in 1 John 3:22 “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

 

E.    But someone asks, “HOW can we know what pleases God? What does He expect us to do, read His mind or something.”

1.    That’s exactly what He expects us to do, He expects us TO READ HIS MIND.

2.    And the way we read God’s mind is by reading His Word.

3.    God’s mind is revealed in His Word.

 

F.        And so, a good soldier follows orders.

 

II.      A Good Soldier Endures Hardness.

 

 

A.    (Illus.- During the Persian Gulf War, we heard firsthand about the hardships that our soldiers had to endure. In addition to the Iraqi army, our soldiers had to contend with the desert heat, the sand, the scorpions, the isolation, and worst of all, the terrible waiting. But they were good soldiers. They didn’t give up. They gladly endured the hardships because they were doing their duty.)

 

B.    Well, even so, a good soldier of Jesus Christ will gladly endure hardship.

1.    Look again at 2 Tim. 2:3, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

2     And let me tell you, THERE WILL BE HARDNESS (HARDSHIPS)! Amen?

3.    God did not promise us…

-a bed of roses.

-an easy time.

-a trouble free life.

4.    The truth is, He promised us JUST THE OPPOSITE.

5.    Listen to what Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

6.    Now listen to I Thes. 3:3-4, “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.”

7.    And so, there will be hardships.

8.    If you haven’t found this out yet, you haven’t been saved very long.

 

C.    But a good soldier of Jesus Christ will gladly endure the hardships!

1.    A good soldier of Jesus Christ won’t quit!

2.    A good soldier of Jesus Christ will just dig his heels in a little deeper and keep right on fighting!

3.    Why?

4.    Well, partly because it is his duty.

5.    But even more so, because he wants to please his commander-in-chief.

 

D.    Over the years, I have seen many Christian soldiers go AWOL.

1.    Oh, they endured for a while.

2.    They endured as long as…

-the going was not too rough.

-the fighting was not too fierce.

-the battle was not too hot.

3.    But after a while, the going got a little too rough for them, AND THEY QUIT!

4.    They were not good soldiers.

5.    A good soldier of Jesus Christ endures hardness.

 

III.    A Good Soldier Realizes Where His Strength Lies.

 

 

A.    A good soldier knows exactly where his strength lies.

1.    Whether it be in himself or in his weapons.

2.    WHY is this important?

3.    It is important because when faced with the enemy, a soldier needs to be able to draw on that strength in order to defeat the enemy.

4.    If he doesn’t know where his strength lies, he’s in big trouble.

 

B.    The same thing is true in the spiritual realm.

1.    A good soldier of Jesus Christ knows where his strength lies.

2.    This is what enables him to endure hardness.

3.    WHERE does our strength lie?

4.    Let me say, first of all, it does not lie within ourselves.

5.    We may be very strong physically.

6.    We may…

-attend a health club.

-lift weights.

-be able to bench press 300 pounds.

7.    But when it comes to this spiritual warfare in which we are engaged, physical strength is of no use whatsoever.

8.    This is why the Bible says in 2 Cor. 10:3-4, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)”

 

C.    WHERE does our strength lie then, if not within ourselves?

1.    2 Tim. 2:1 has the answer.

2.    Let’s read it again, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

3.    We can be strong, BUT ONLY in the grace (strength) that is in Christ Jesus.

4.    Paul put it like this in Eph. 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

5.    Our strength does not lie in ourselves, but rather IN OUR GOD.

6.    This is why Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

 

D.    I’ll tell you what, if we do not realize where our strength lies, and if we rely upon our own strength, WE ARE GOING TO FAIL MISERABLY at living the Christian life.

1.    We are NOT going to be a good soldier.

2.    We are NOT going to win any battles.

3.    We are NOT going to experience victory.

4.    But instead, we will live a DEFEATED Christian life!

 

E.      Every day we should look to heaven and pray for strength and power to successfully fight.

 

IV.     A Good Soldier Is Properly Equipped.

 

 

A.    (Illus.- One of the reasons that our soldiers were so successful in the Persian Gulf war was because they were so well equipped. Their equipment and their weapons were so far superior to that of the enemy, that there was really no contest. It helps to be properly equipped.)

 

B.    Again, the same thing is true in the spiritual realm.

1.    If we are going to be successful in the battles that we fight for the Lord, we too must be properly equipped.

2.    WHAT equipment am I talking about?

3.    Listen as I read Eph. 6:13-18, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

 

C.    I don’t have time this morning to talk about all the different pieces of the Christian’s armor, but I want to emphasize TWO.

1.    First of all, there is the WORD OF GOD.

2.    Listen again to Eph. 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:”

3     I cannot over emphasize to you this morning the importance of the Word Of God, when it comes to being a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

4     IT IS SO IMPORTANT.

5     Why is it so important?

6     Listen to Heb. 4:12, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

D.    The Christian without the Word of God is like…

-a soldier without his rifle.

-carpenter without his hammer.

-painter without his brush.

-mechanic without his wrench.

-surgeon without his scalpel.

1.    He is totally helpless.

2.    This is why it is so important that we hide God’s Word in our heart.

3.    The Psalmist wrote in Psa. 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

4.    We don’t always have a Bible with us.

5.    But when we have God’s Word stored away in our heart, WE ARE NEVER WITHOUT THE WORD!

 

E.    Not only is the Word of God important equipment for the Christian soldier, but PRAYER is just as important.

1.    Listen again to Eph. 6:18, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

2.    Prayer and the Word of God go hand in hand, and SHOULD ALWAYS BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH ONE ANOTHER.

3.    I’m convinced that there is no spiritual foe that we cannot defeat with prayer and the Word of God. (Amen?)

4.    They are a winning combination.

 

F.    And so, a good soldier is properly equipped.

 

V.      Finally, A Good Soldier Avoids Entanglement In The World.

 

 

A.    (Illus.- I read recently about a soldier back during the Civil War who was a watchmaker in civilian life. Once while his company was encamped, he set himself up a little business repairing watches for his comrades. Apparently, his business was doing well, because when orders came for his company to march into battle, he didn’t want to leave. He said, “I can’t leave now, business is too good!”)

1.    Well, this soldier was not a good soldier.

2.    Why not?

3.    Because he allowed his business to get in the way of his soldiering.

 

B.    Well, we all have our worldly businesses, don’t we?

1.    We are all involved in the affairs of this world to some degree. (It cannot be helped.)

2.    We have our jobs.

3.    We have our businesses.

4.    We have our worldly responsibilities.

5.    We live in the world, therefore we must be involved in the affairs of this world, at least to some degree.

 

C.    But the point is this.

1.    If we are a good soldier of Jesus Christ, we won’t let our involvement in the affairs of this world get in the way of our soldiering.

2.    We won’t let the things of this world distract us to the point that we are neglecting the things of God.

3.    Paul put it like this in 2 Tim. 2:4, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

 

D.    But someone says, “If I don’t give all my time and attention to my job or my business, then I’m not going to be able to provide for my family.”

1.    That’s just NOT true!

2.    Listen to what Jesus said in Mat. 6:31-33, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.    Are you a soldier in God’s army?

1.    Not unless you are saved.

2.    If you ARE saved, then whether you realized it or not, you enlisted in the Lord’s army when you got saved.

3.    But if you are not saved, then you are not a soldier in God’s army.

4.    Neither are you a…

-child in God’s family.

-sheep in God’s flock.

-member in Christ’s body.

-stone in God’s building.

-citizen in God’s kingdom.

-runner in God’s race.

 

B.    If you are a soldier in God’s army, are you a GOOD soldier of Jesus Christ?

1.    Do you follow orders? (Please God)

2.    Do you endure hardness? (Without Quitting)

3.    Do you realize where your strength lies? (In The Lord)

5.    Are you properly equipped? (Word of God & Prayer)

6.    Do you avoid entanglement in the world?

 

C.    God, help us all to become better soldiers of Jesus Christ!

 

D. (Prayer)