The Christian Soldier

“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:3)

A soldier is considered as one who is a member of a military unit, as the Army, Navy, or Air Force. Webster defines a soldier as “one engaged in military service and especially in the army, an enlisted man or woman and a skilled warrior.” The Lord God has a heavenly host of angels which share in military service. The Church of Jesus is also an earthly host of the Lord God, the Church, and has military duties as well. Military is defined as soldiers belonging to an armed unit. Therefore that U. S. Army is a military unit armed with lethal weapons for destruction of enemies of the state or nation. The Christian soldier is a member of the Church, a military unit armed with the Word of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to promote and defend the cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ is called apologetics. Apologetics is defined as “A branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity.” (Webster)

As Christian soldiers let us look to the promotion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Like everything we learn and do it is a discipline that we must acquire. The Apostle Paul tells us this in his letter to the Colossian Church.  “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ.” (Colossians 4:2-3) In these verses we see that we are to devote ourselves to prayer and witnessing. Most of us, myself included, struggle to faithfully pray and witness as we should. So we will look at the first thing we should do each day, with each task we try to accomplish, and include God in by the avenue of prayer first.

Prayer is the first thing that Paul tells us to do in the verse, “Devote yourselves to prayer” We are to be persistent in our prayer life. I view persistent prayer as an unrelenting conversation with our God throughout the day. Yes there is a time for humble and intimate prayer completely focused on God in thanksgiving and then petitioning. This is a time when we not only express our concerns before God but we also intercede for others. This is a time that we pray for our fellow saints in the faith. This is a time when we pray for those who we know have no saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and therefore have no hope in this world. Paul gives us an example of one who would be known as a prayer warrior today in the Church you attend. “Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4:12) This was the kind of prayer that the Apostles and the disciples of Jesus had while they were waiting for the power of the promised Holy Spirit. “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” (Acts 1:14).

Daniel prayed three times daily and I believe it was in intimate prayer with God. But prayer with God is not limited to three, four, or five times a day but we are told to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) If prayer is a conversation with God and God is ever present, then we can talk to God as we go through our day. The Bible tells us to do so, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6) Who do we know that who loves us and cares for us more than God? He is the One we should talk to first, always, and last. “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

If Christians prayed with the same vigor they have for staying physically fit and healthy, then they would see a different result in their witness for the Lord. Therefore, the greatest thing that we can do to please our Heavenly Father is pray. Those of us like me who have a touch of vindictiveness can appreciate the old hymn lyric, “And Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.”

We are witnesses from the Kingdom of Heaven and nothing more and certainly nothing less. Our ministry to our neighbor is to lead them to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) We are not soul winners, we cannot forgive sin, and we can only sow the seeds of God’s truth into the hearts and minds of people and pray that God causes the seed to grow. That is all we are to do is be witnesses of what Jesus has done for us. We witness on behalf of things and events that we believe are exciting and what can be more exciting than to tell people of how they can receive eternal life.

To witness means we are to look for opportunities in our conversations during our day. God will open these opportunities for us and we must be attuned to those possibilities. Even if it is by saying God bless you at the beginning or end of our conversation. They may not know the full meaning of that but they will know that we come from the Kingdom of God. If the opportunity arrives remember to keep it simple. We are members of the Church and religious language is common to us but may be strange to others outside of the Church. Remember that we are speaking on God’s behave and therefore speak His truth. God’s word is complete and does not need improvement. It is His word that has the power and the Spirit will give us what we need in the hour we need it. (Luke 12:12) The Apostles always gave evidence, evidence of Scripture and of their personal testimony of what Jesus has done for them. Thus, we are to use the same, the truth of God’s Word and what Jesus as done in our life. Do not worry about rejection or even persecution that is their choice to walk away if they want. But do leave them with something even if only a gospel tract to return to. God knows and God will draw them from the work we have done.

As Christian soldiers let us now look to the defense of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter gives us a strong verse to motivate us to defend the faith. “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)

We have this hope, not a fairy tale hope that the world offers, but a true hope found in the promises of Jesus our Lord and Savior. Therefore, if we want to share that hope, then we must study the Word of God that we know what we know that we believe. This will allow us to know the core truths to destroy the arguments against the hope that we have found. “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

The proof of our testimony is the walk we have in faith with Jesus. If we do not live in the word that we speak, then even five year olds can see the hypocrisy of our words. We must be careful not to profane that name of our Lord. “So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)

If intimate prayer pleases God the Father, then listening to what He has said to us is just as pleasing to Him and us. If praying is speaking to the Lord, then reading His word is listening to the Lord in prayer. This is the powerful weapon we have to defeat the real enemy Satan, God’s Word. We must write it upon the tablet of our heart. It is for ourselves, it is for our Church Family, it is for our neighbor, and Paul tells us that it is required of us to defend the faith. “Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” (Titus 1:9)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, October 16, 2016

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