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June 23, 2016

Text: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life…”  I Timothy 6:12ab

“Onward Christian Soldiers” is a great old hymn that probably doesn’t receive much circulation anymore. I can’t remember the last time I sang it, much less heard it sung in church. Nevertheless, it was a stirring piece of hymnody sung loudly, zestfully, and in blood-pumping time. It reminded folk of their Christian duty and that they were enlisted as combatants against evil.

Assuming the demeanor of a soldier in the service of the Master is an invigorating challenge frequently presented in the New Testament. It stimulates loyalty, devotion, enthusiasm, and sacrifice. A sense of purpose and duty are part of the overtones of these illustrations.  You should consider yourself as a soldier serving the kingdom of Christ. Here are some traits you will need to utilize in your participation in the service of the Lord Jesus. These are “real life”, down to earth qualities. They strengthen your inner spiritual being as well as fortify your physical structure. You are engaged in a fight, thus…

Fight with all your faith.  When Paul wrote to the Ephesian saints about the “armor of God” he prescribed the  item without which no combatant in the Lord’s army can possibly be effective in combat. Without faith there is nothing for which to fight.  The soldier without faith cannot  please his commander. (And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6) He cannot have faith in you if you have no faith in him.  Faith is the energy which fuels the fire in the soldier. 

Fight with all your courage.  Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Beginning to end, the soldiers of Christ need courage to finish the battle. Churchill spoke at a boy’s school during the dark days of  WW II and said, “Boys, Never, never, never never give in!”  Courage is the bell weather of the heart. Joshua, Moses’ successor told his troops, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9  Tell yourself every day and during every threat that you have courage and you will win that battle!

Fight with willingness. This is not only the problem of the single person, but also frustration of the team effort. While there may be many battles against sin and temptation against yourself only, there is also the frustration and detainment of a team effort. You are not the only soldier in the battle; your must cooperate and contribute to an entire army’s efforts. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:16  Willingness is about performing your own duties.  But it is also about cooperation and mutuality in carrying a common burden. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Fight with a Christian’s weapons. God has provisioned us with the proper weapons to be victorious in our battles with Satan. If in the 21st century our country went to war with medieval knight’s armor, swords, lances, and catapults, battle would be disastrous for our forces. A winning campaign with a victory could not even be contemplated. Since our arms for fighting Satan have been provided by the Almighty, however, we have every reason to trust that they will thoroughly route our powerful enemy. Our weakness seems to be that we evidently are convinced they  are inadequate and that we do not train ourselves in their usage. The apostle Paul urges that we uses them as needed. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:13  Then he names and tells the usage of that item in verses 6:14-16. You know them:   “ the belt of truth,  the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith…etc.” Learn them. Master them. Use them.  

Fight On!










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