Becoming a Good Soldier of Jesus Christ
July 5, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (1Timothy 6:12)
A. 1Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
B. One of the most exciting, and sobering truths for you and I as Christians is that we are in a war – an invisible war that is just as serious and just as deadly as any war could ever be!
C. It is called spiritual warfare
1. Every human being is more than just flesh and bones – we have THREE parts in us: a body, soul and SPIRIT (1Thessalonians 5:23) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Not every illness or problem is only physical
a. Some are emotional (problems in the soul)
b. And some are spiritual problems (Luke 13:11,12,13,16)
1) Luke 13:11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
2) Luke 13:12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
3) Luke 13:13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God…
4) Luke 13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
c. And no amount of drugs, or therapy will cure them!
d. This physical life is only temporary – the next one is eternal!
e. So, Just because your physical and even emotional life is at peace right now does not mean that there is not war in your spirit
3. Most Christians are not aware of the spiritual war going on around them
a. Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
b. Luke 9:52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
c. Luke 9:53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
d. Luke 9:54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
e. Luke 9:55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
f. Luke 9:56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
g. Those apostles did not even know they were being influenced by a demonic spirit that wanted people DEAD! Wow!
4. We are all born again into a great war – a great struggle going on right now – no denying it
a. What the world experiences physically… Like wars, famines, disasters, fightings, arguing
b. Christians experience spiritually…
1) Like demonic attacks, discouragements, spiritual fatigue
2) You will never really sense it until you wrestle against spiritual powers when soul-winning, or really praying (Ephesians 6:12) 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.
3) Arm Wrestling wears a person out!
4) So does spiritual wrestling – if you will ever attempt it!
5. We are Soldiers in God’s Army (2Timothy 2:1-4)
a. 2Timothy 2:1,2 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
b. 2Timothy 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.
6. And I showed all last month, we Christians have been equipped to fight and win in this war
a. We don’t carry guns or swords
b. But we have very powerful weapons
D. Rarely are Christians ready for the ‘spiritual’ fight that they are in!
1. We fight well in the flesh – oftentimes too good!
2. But we are wimps in the spiritual fights
a. We have very little power with God
b. We get so few prayers answered
c. We rarely sense the prodding and pulling of the Holy Spirit – only the call of the world
d. We have no joy - only hyper-critical opinions about everything
3. Deep down we KNOW that we are supposed to be on the offensive – on the attack – not running for cover!
4. Yet we only fight, and bite and devour each other instead of our real enemy!
5. Very few Christians are ready for any kind of spiritual fight
a. Spiritual fatigue is quite common today – less and less interest in this Book, in preaching, in doing the right thing, in winning souls, in growing in faith, in standing for the truth of God
b. Christians are cooling off
c. Marriages are failing in vast numbers
d. Young men and women are angrier than ever
e. Christians live in defeat to temptations and constant habitual sins
E. They only see and sense the physical battles going on
F. Satan and his devils are VERY powerful
1. Satan was Lucifer at first (just pass reference to Isaiah 14:12-15)
2. He was kicked out of heaven when he became proud and rebellious against the glory of God
3. But he is in no way weak or powerless…
a. He still is the second most powerful being in the universe!
b. He is at war with God –
he hates everything good, and everything connected with God!
Loves only to deceive and destroy!
c. He counterfeits everything that is good and clean and holy!
d. He damns the majority of all the people in the world
e. He devises countless ways to hinder the work of God – haven’t you noticed?
f. He stirs-up troubles, problems, tribulations, strife’s, arguments, and especially wars
g. And he enjoys devouring Christians
4. Don’t ever underestimate your enemy, the devil folks!
II. Prepare for War! (2Timothy 2:1-5)
A. To be Any Kind of a Soldier, There Must Be Intense Preparation
Or else you are just sending men to a slaughter!
1. So soldiers are specially trained, and well prepared to do their job and come home alive
2. That means months and months of strenuous exercises in Boot Camp
3. Constantly being yelled at and pushed beyond the limits – no big hugs or kind words
4. Early, early mornings, developing good habits
5. Running long distances, with full gear weight on their backs
6. Developing absolute obedience to their instructors and instructions
7. Learning to trust each another and work together as teams againt their enemy
8. Learning the tactics of their enemies
9. Developing a confidence in themselves that they can win
B. Christianity is the same
1. Why do WE think we can succeed without some of the same preparations?
2. The Christian life is no picnic – it is a war
3. Discipleship and real Bible PREACHING is unpleasant sometimes
4. The Bible is often hard to understand
5. So what! Obey it! Do what it says! Live it!
C. Remember, Your enemy is a killer
1. He wants us to all quit – to roll-over and just die
2. And Satan will win in this realm if we do not become good soldiers in that fight
3. John 10:10 The thief [SATAN] cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
4. 1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
D. I am only going to get through the first two verses today
III. Message - Becoming a Good Soldier of Jesus Christ – Part 1
A. Starts with Having a ‘SON’ Relationship with God (2Timothy 2:1) NOT a superficial one
1. 2Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son…
2. 1Timothy 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
3. Timothy was not the actual, physical son of the apostle Paul. But because Paul was training him, and teaching him how to live for Christ, Paul called him his son in the faith
4. Timothy had a conversion
a. NOT a religious experience
b. But a personal experience of God in his wicked, lost, dark and empty heart!
5. Born again – changed into a son of God
a. John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name
b. A new birth – a point in time event where you switched sides, and chose to follow Jesus, no matter the cost!
6. You cannot be christ-like unless you spend loads of time WITH Jesus Christ!!! Walk with Him, and talk with Him, and lean upon Him like a child does his father
7. KEEP that relationship fresh, and real and the centre of your life!
a. Not something you just tack on, on a Sunday
b. But an ongoing, consistent, dependent relationship that you talk with Him all day long!
8. THAT will be a VITAL part of making you and I good soldiers in the fight
B. Develop STRENGTH in God’s Grace (2Timothy 2:1)
1. 2Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2. This is an awesome truth!
3. We want to be strong in God’s POWER - Not a bad thing
a. Move mountains
b. Defeat enemies
c. Win arguments
4. But Paul knew that GOOD soldiers are supposed to be strong in God’s GRACE
5. Grace is the ability to put up with hardships
a. Grace means kindness and gentleness
b. Psalm 18:35 Thou [GOD] hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.
6. God’s grace is a different way of thinking and living, that defeats our enemy, the devil at the core – I hope by now you want to do that! (DIAGRAM)
a. Satan operates in the area of hate
b. He operates in the area of bitterness and anger
c. He operates and dominates in the area of feelings and hurts
d. He loves darkness and secrets, and old memories, and unconfessed sins and unforgiveness
e. He loves to stir up wrath, and revenge, and retaliation
f. But GOD operates in the area of praise, and faith, and rest, and humility, and forgiveness!
g. God’s grace is MUCH more powerful
7. It is the moments where God has shown you grace that you need to become strong BECAUSE of that kindness
a. When you got saved, God had grace with you, and everything of your past was erased
1) Now forgive everything done against YOU!
2) Stop allowing the devil to stir up all the past hurts from someone else!
b. When you get up every morning, God starts over with you, fresh again
1) Lamentations 3:22,23 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
2) Now YOU get up fresh with everyone around you
c. When you are weak and unable to keep going, and keep doing right, God promises to step in and carry you through – if you will let Him
1) 2Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
2) 2Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
3) 2Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
4) 2Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
5) There is NO explaining outside of experiencing it
d. Yet, God’s grace is a power we rarely lean upon and draw strength from
1) God’s power is not only in the earthquakes, and hurricanes, and walking on water…
2) It is found in our just staying faithful
a) Staying standing, when the pressure is on to back down and quit
b) Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
c) Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
d) Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
e) Ephesians 6:13 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.
3) Does anyone here believe this?
God’s GRACE will be part of making you
and I good soldiers in the fight –
so, become strong in it
C. Become a Student of the Bible (2Timothy 2:2)
1. 2Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses...
2. This Book contains the only way to live in victory folks. In the pages of this Book are all the secrets of joy and triumph, when the flesh and when your heart says “I Quit!”
3. Don’t be ignorant of the training that is in the pages of this Book
a. It is not just information, and facts, and truth, and history, and science
b. It is methodology, training, examples, encouragements, and corrections!
c. Have you noticed all the battles it describes?
d. Have you ever noticed all the warfare that went on in the Old Testament times?
e. Did you know, nothing has changed, except our weapons?
1) 2Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
2) 2Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
4. The strongest Christians are those that know their Bible, and live it everyday
a. James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
b. So, Sit down and read it through, 4 chapters a day, every day, finishing it every year
1) Reading it year after year
2) I am saved 40 years, and have read my Bible through 40 times
c. And obey whatever Jesus says to do
D. Learn of Faithful Men and Invest in Faithful Men (2Timothy 2:2)
1. 2Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
a. That Scripture sums up the purpose of this church!
b. It is why we have Youth Camp, and men’s Camp, and CHURCH every week!!!
2. There is more to the Christian life than just getting saved
a. There is a war being fought, and every time I prepare to preach, I am trying to invest in faithful men, and women who will learn these things, and then pass them on to more faithful men!
b. Do you have any faithful Christian MEN that you look up to and learn from, and listen to, and watch, and love and pray for?
c. Or do you only pattern your life after Hollywood, and after Sports Stars, and Music Stars?
3. Learn From the lives of the great men and women in the Bible
a. Especially the MEN of the Bible
b. Hebrews 11 lists 17 men and women by name for us to make sure we learned everything we can from
c. But that was just an sampling
d. There are well over 400 men and women described in the Bible to study and learn from so that we can fight the good fight of faith OURSELVES
e. Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
4. But also learn from faithful men and women throughout history
a. Christian biographies are priceless. Read about men and women who were greatly influenced by this Book, and turned their world upside down with it!
b. Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand. It’s about a Jewish Romanian Lutheran pastor living in communist Romania. He was imprisoned and tortured for Christ
c. George Muller - a great man of faith who by faith, fed thousands of orphans in England in the early 1800's
d. Through Gates of Splendor, Elisabeth Elliot. She tells the story of her husband, Jim Elliot and his four friends, who gave up promising careers in the US to be missionaries to a deadly tribe in South America in 1956 and were speared to death at first contact.
e. John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It tells the stories of many Christian men and women who suffered intense persecution, poverty, and prison for Christ over the past 2,000 years.
f. William Wilberforce who worked tirelessly to End Slavery in England
g. Joni Eareckson Tada, handling great hardships being paralyzed as a teenager from the neck down
h. Jonathan Edwards, a great preacher in the 1700's who saved America with the great awakening
i. Martin Luther
j. William Tyndale
k. George Whitefield
l. Charles Spurgeon
m. William Carey, Missionary in India in the late 1700's
n. Adoniram Judson Missionary to Burma
5. And then invest in the next generation of not just new believers, but SOLDIERS
a. Our children, yes
b. But in the young Christians who need to be discipled, and taught how to live right
1) They know next to nothing of God, or of right and wrong
2) The children in this church and in our Children’s Church, get specially prepared for the war that rages over their soul and their view of life and their future
c. Bible Christianity is all about affecting this generation with reality, with life, with light, with real love, and the truths that make people truly free!
d. THAT IS OUR BATTLEFIELD
1) Changing lives
2) Saving marriages
3) Rescuing addicts
4) Nurturing back angry teenagers
5) As we invest in them
e. And God says we are well able to win it!
A. We Have a War to Fight
1. Against the darkness of this world
2. Against the powers of hell
3. Against our own temptations and sins that so easily besets us
4. Against the thoughts that roll around inside our heads, that don’t belong there
B. There are Things that Everyone of Us Must Do to Soldier On
1. Have a ‘Son’ Relationship with God
2. Develop Strength in God’s Grace
3. Become a Student of the Bible
4. Learn of Faithful Men and Invest in Faithful Men
5. They enable any Christian to keep going
6. To Press On, and on and on until heaven!
C. All, so that we can please the One Who Called You and me to be Good Soldiers
1. The Christian life is not about YOU
2. It is not even about all the lost in the world
3. It is about pleasing our Saviour – doing what HE wants us to do, the way He expects us to
D. I invite you to examine yourself and see if you are a Christian – not baptized, or a member of some church, but a born again child of God
1. Have you ever admitted to God that you are a sinner, and that you now trust Jesus enough to be enough to save a wretch like you?
2. The Bible says (Romans 3:23; 5:8; 6:23; 10:13)