Am I A Soldier Of The Cross
Am I A Soldier Of The Cross?
1 Timothy 6:3-6:16
For many years in the church Christians have been spurred on to fight the fight of faith not just from scripture but also from hymn writers such as Barring-Gould. He wrote the words to this hymn that we many times sing in the the church.
Onward Chrisitian soldiers, marching as to war.
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle, see His banners go.
At the sign of triumph, Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise.
Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise!
Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod,
We are not divided, all one body we:
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before!
What a wonderful hymn to illustrate this fight,
· this war that we as Christian soldiers are involved in.
· Paul understood something about this war, this fight that he was engaged in.
o You will remember that Timothy was a young pastor who Paul was working with to teach him and to instruct him in the pastorate.
o In this passage, verse 12, Paul instructs Timothy to "fight the good fight of faith."
§ This fight that Paul was talking about is not just a fight for young pastors.
§ It is not just a fight for old pastors.
§ It is not just a fight for Christian workers and teachers.
§ It is a fight that every born again believer is involved in.
o I want us to take the illustration of a soldier and to think about the fight that we are involved in. I want us to ask ourselves, "Am I a soldier of the cross?"
The Soldier Must Know Who His Commander and Chief Is
· If you are going to be a soldier in war, you must be a soldier who knows where the authority lies.
· You must become obedient to that authority and none other.
o May I remind you that in his second letter to Timothy Paul once again writing to Timothy to instruct and encourage him in his pastorate.
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
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.
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
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.
· What Paul was telling Timothy was that his line of command, the one that he would answer to was Jesus Christ.
o Please note the last few verses of our text.
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15 Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
o Please pay particular attention to verse 15. Jesus Christ is identified as the "only Potentate, the Kings of kings, and Lord of lords."
§ Twice in first Timothy and again in second Timothy Paul wanted Timothy to know who the Master is.
§ He wanted him to know where the chain of command lies. That is with Jesus Christ.
§ If you are a soldier of the cross today, if you are putting up a good fight, it is because you are listening to the Master Jesus Christ.
§ Also, think about this, Jesus himself in Matthew 24:6 said that "no man can serve two masters." Why? Because when you try to serve two masters there will be a division. At some point those two masters will have a difference of opinion in what they want you to do. We must serve the Master, Jesus Christ.
§ Then, in John 14:15, Jesus said to His disciples "If you love me, keep my commandments."
· A soldier of the cross is a soldier who knows who his master is. That master is Jesus Christ.
· We express our love, our obedience to Him by keeping His commands and His words.
· The soldier knows who is Master is. The soldier knows where his commands come from.
§ The problem in the church today is that there are many who profess the name of Christ but there are many who do not serve Christ.
· Think about this. Just because you profess the name of Christ does not mean that you have been completely obedient to him.
· Paul understood something of this. Paul understood that Timothy, as a young pastor in the church, would have many who would stray from the doctrine of Christ.
· May I remind you that if you are going to be a good soldier of the cross, you must serve one and only one master, Jesus Christ.
· A soldier of the cross is a soldier that does not listen to the world, does not listen to what others would say that would be in contrast to Christ. But, a soldier of the cross takes Christ at His command.
· The Soldier Prepares Himself For The Battle
o The soldier prepares himself by protecting and arming himself.
o Not one person would ever think of sending a soldier into battle without preparing him with protection arms.
§ It is absolutely unthinkable that we would send men to the front lines without protection and arms.
§ The soldier must prepare himself for the battle.
In Ephesians 6:13-17, Paul instructs us as to how we should prepare ourselves.
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.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
§ Think about this. A soldier properly prepares himself for the battle.
· If you are going to stand in this battle, you must put on the Armour of God. Everything from the helmet to the breastplate down to the soles of your feet.
· You must take all of this and put it on.
· Did you notice the words that Paul used?
o Truth, righteousness, peace, and faith. How do we put those on? We put them on by putting on Christ.
§ The Bible plainly reveals to us that our righteousness is as filthy rags but is Christ’s righteousness that is imputed upon us.
· By which we become Godly and Holy.
· It is Christ who is the truth and none other.
· When we have Christ dwelling in our lives, we have the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit.
§ Secondly, the soldier prepares himself with protection and with arms.
· Please notice what Paul said, "Take the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.
· May I remind you that in this battle that we are involved in there is nothing can ever defeat the word of God.
· If you take the word of God and use it in your life, there is never time that Satan can win because the truth will always win the victory.
· The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. That is the weapon that we have to fight this fight of faith.
· Remember, that in the book of Romans, it is revealed to us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
o If we take this word, the Bible, and use it in our lives, we have the sword of the spirit!
o This sword will help to build our faith. I
o f our faith is built by the word of God, then we have the shield that Paul instructs us to take to protect us.
· It is this word that will destroy any lie that the enemy brings against us.
o Think about the temptation of Christ. Satan tried to get Jesus to deny His father and to use his power in the wrong way.
o How did Christ respond? He responded by speaking the word of God. he used the word to defeat Satan.
· The soldier always prepares himself for the battle. As soldiers, we must get into the word of God, and we must study it, meditate on it, and use it in our lives.
· The Soldier Must Recognize Who The Enemy Is And His Tactics
o Many times in the time of war, you hear about friendly fire. Many times, our own people get in the way of our own fire, and is taken down by friendly fire.
§ If we are not careful, we will take others in the church down by friendly fire. We must recognize the enemy and his tactics.
§ The head enemy is Satan himself.
1 Peter 5:8-9
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
o Satan is the head enemy. He is the one making the calls and he is the one who is seeking to devour your soul.
o Put Peter reminds us that we must stand against the enemy. Not only is Satan the head enemy, but may I remind you that Satan uses others.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
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.
· May I remind you that we do not wrestle against one another. But, Satan has found a way in.
o We must recognize who the enemy is and his tactics. He alone is the one using these powers and problems to come against us. Through all of this, we must stand as soldiers of the cross!
o One of the greatest hymn writers of all time, Isaac Watts, said it best when he asked this question:
Am I a soldier of the cross? Am I a follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own his cause, or blush to speak His name?
Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize and sail through bloody seas?
Are there no foes for me to face, Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace to help me on to God?
Sure I must fight if I would reign Increase my courage Lord,
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by thy word.
Are you a soldier of the cross? Are you fighting the good fight of faith? If so, you must know who your master is, properly prepare yourself, and recognize the enemy and his tactics.