Session 10 - Man as Soldier
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty
power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against
the devil's enemies." Ephesians 6:10
"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." II Timothy 2:4
"Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! For you have
struck all my enemies on the jaw; you have broken the teeth of the wicked."
- Man has lost his identity as a soldier in our country today.
- In the United States (until very recently) we have witnessed
a trend during which most men have been isolated from the military.
- We abolished the compulsory draft many years ago.
- Service in the military is not considered a step along the road
to adulthood but rather a diversion or inconvenience.
- The reduction in size of the military has decreased the likelihood
that we have any significant contact with military personnel.
- Reports of the military on the news and from other sources give
us little insight into the lives of current soldiers (we are exposed
more to the lives of soldiers in past wars, such as WWII). The Gulf
War was a brief exception to this trend.
- Attractions to the military (until recently) have been adventure,
career training and travel, not the honor of fighting for one's country.
- Much about our perceptions of military life contradict our societal
values and expectations.
- We are not familiar with nor attracted to the strict discipline
of the military.
- We find few causes for which we are willing to sacrifice our own
self interests (much less our lives).
- We are not attracted to the hierarchy of the military (we don't
like submitting our power to others, saluting others).
- We are not attracted to being it into a mold, to being uniform
as well as wearing uniforms.
- Our most typical contact with the military is through the "blockbuster
movie" which places the soldier and the life of the military into
a fantasy world.
- Until recently, it was not clear that we had "enemy". Today
we do realize we have enemies, but the enemy is not clearly seen (he or
she may be thousands of miles away or living down the street).
- Our enemies don't fight like we expect an enemy army to fight (we are
not threatened by a massive ground invasion or even a massive missile
attack). Therefore it is unclear how we are to fight back.
- The nature of war today does not call up the images of "manly
virtue and courage" but rather of sophisticated technology.
- Wars are played out on computer screens, with avoidance of a nuclear
holocaust or total victory the outcome.
- Wars are viewed as safe wars (we did not lose one soldier in combat
during the conflict in Kosovo).
- Women have (rightly in my opinion) joined the armed services and work
side by side with men in many endeavors. Being a soldier is no longer
considered "man's work." exclusively.
- Man has lost his identity as a soldier in the church.
- The embattled Christian, taking refuge in the church from
a hostile world, fighting for the cause of Christ, is quite foreign and
frequently repulsive to the modern day church. We do not view ourselves
- "Onward Christian Soldiers" is not a popular song today.
- We occasionally hear lessons on spiritual warfare, yet these are
- We do not view our neighbors as our enemies (after all, we view
ourselves as "One Nation Under God"). If there are enemies,
they are a few (perhaps dangerous and well organized) fanatics, usually
living many miles away.
- We do not typically view ourselves, as Christians, at war. When we
do, our image is a fight against a general evil in the world which is
separated enough from us (usually) that the evil is not that much of a
direct threat (such as a particular political philosophy). This image
does not capture the battlefield mentality of the New Testament writers.
- "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the
world does. The weapons we fight with
have divine power to demolish
strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets
itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ. And we are ready to punish every act
of disobedience, once your obedience is complete." II Corinthians
- "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make
war against the rest of her offspring - those who obey god's commandments
and hold to the testimony of Jesus." Revelation 12:17
- When we do "fight", we are frequently fighting against a
brother or sister with whom we have a doctrinal disagreement
- Why do we like to fight among ourselves?
- Why do we treat one another as the enemy when we face a great enemy
in the world?
- David, a soldier for God.
- David was a warrior from the beginning.
- When he offered to face Goliath, he reminded King Saul that "Your
servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear
came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck
killed it." I Samuel 17:34-36
- David shows no fear in facing the giant Goliath face to face "The
Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the
bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." I Samuel
- David finds himself in a fight almost from the beginning with King
Saul. I Samuel 18:1-9.
- "from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David
had a spear in his hand and hurled it, saying to himself, 'I'll pin
David to the wall'." I Samuel 18:8, 9.
- David spends much of his early life as a fugitive.
- David eventually becomes Israel's greatest king primarily because he
becomes Israel's greatest warrior.
- He captures Jerusalem and establishes the capital there. II Samuel
- He achieves many military victories and enlarges the kingdom. II
Samuel 8, 10
- Because he was a warrior, he was not selected to build the temple.
Solomon, his son, tells Hiram, "You know that, because of the wars
waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple
for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under
his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side, and
there is no adversary or disaster." I Kings 5:3, 4
- David exhibits the spirit of a soldier in the Psalms, a soldier who
depends upon the might of the Lord.
- "Contend, O Lord, with those who contend against me; fight
against those who fight against me
arise and come to my aid."
- "The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the
poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords
will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken."
Psalm 37:14, 15
- "They band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent
to death. But the Lord has become my fortress
He will repay them
for their sins
the Lord our God will destroy them." Psalm
- Paul continues this theme of the Christian soldier in the New Testament.
- "but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging
war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law
of sins at work within my members." Romans 7:23
- "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
II Corinthians 10:4
- "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with
the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you
may fight the good fight." I Timothy 1:18
- "No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs
- he wants to please his commanding officer." II Timothy 6:12
- "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand
against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:10-18
- The belt of truth.
- The breastplate of righteousness.
- Feet of readiness with the gospel of peace.
- The shield of faith.
- The helmet of salvation.
- The sword of the Spirit - the word of God
- Men as soldiers of Christ.
- Men need to take on the mentality of a soldier of Christ.
- Men are in a battle with sin, both within ourselves and against
the evil one in the world.
- Men must realize that one cannot enter a battle unless Christ is
the first priority.
- Men must count the cost of becoming a Christian before enlisting
in the army of the Lord.
- Men must undergo "basic training" in order to fight the
- Men must take up arms when needed.
- Men must put on the full armor of God. They must be prepared.
- The belt of truth.
- We live in a world where truth has become relative.
"You believe what you want and I'll believe what I want."
It is not politically correct to say, "I firmly believe that
I am right and you are wrong." Yet Jesus says, "I am
the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me." John 14:6 Jesus is not relative nor ambiguous!
- Many of us cannot clearly state what we believe and what we
don't. Not speaking just of doctrines such as, "I believe
that women should never speak in a Bible class." If asked,
"Does God really love us if he allows a tragedy such as the
recent terrorist attacks?", we have difficulty answering.
- Many of us frankly do not know scripture.
- The breastplate of righteousness - None of us is perfect. We have
sinned and continue to sin. Grace saves us from our sin. Yet if we
have the mentality of the soldier, we will realize that we must "be
pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit
of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ." Philippians
- Feet of readiness.
- We must "be prepared to give an answer to everyone
who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
I Peter 3:15.
- We must "be prepared to do any good work." II Timothy
- The shield of faith - We must, like Abraham, against all hope,
in hope believe (Romans 4:18). Abraham the good soldier, "Without
weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise
of God." Romans 4:20
- The helmet of salvation - We must, like David in the midst of his
most discouraging times, praise God. "How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
In the shelter
of your presence you hide them
Be strong and take heart, all
you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:19-24
- The sword of the Spirit - We live in a time when we do not give
the power of God it's due credit, either the power within us or the
power of God to make His will fact in the world around us.
- The church as the army of God.
Every congregation takes on an identity, probably multiple identities. We
are a family, a community center, a place of celebration (at times not unlike
a sports event), a hospital for the spiritually (and physically) sick, a refuge
for the weary. We must also take on the identity of an army base, a training
camp, a battalion of soldiers for Christ.
- Becoming a soldier often involves some symbolism. Perhaps we
should encourage some symbolism of being a soldier for Christ
- A wrist band with the letters "WWJD".
- A Bible in our hands.
- Soldiers of Christ do not so much "sell" the faith as they
contend for the faith. Though we are to be gentle with the world and remain
at peace with those around us, how might we contend for the faith?
- Soldiers fight in order to bring peace to the world. This appears to
be a paradox. The soldier for Christ must be a soldier who brings peace
and the church as the army of God must be both peace making and peace keeping.