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Let the Veterans Speak, Phil 2.19-30

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Subject:     Marks of Discipleship


Purpose:    Veterans Day

Title:     Let the Veterans Speak

Scripture:   Philippians 2:19-30


I am reading a book now by David Putnam, a pastor in the Atlanta area. David relates a story in the book about his son who is a service member in the Army. He says, “As I travel through the Middle East, I think of Dave. He serves in the US Army as a reconnaissance scout with the 82d Airborne, in one of the most challenging, dangerous, and difficult military occupational specialties in the armed forces…When he told me he was going to enlist, the only thing I could say was, “I would rather you die for something than live for nothing.” His humble reply was, “Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.” In another conversation he shared with me that he felt serving our country was his responsibility. I’m glad he realizes that to whom much is give, much is required. When I think of him, I am often drawn to the Scripture in which Jesus stated, “Greater love has no one that this, than one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).” (Putnam, Breaking the Discipleship Code, 150-51)

The attitude of this veteran, and this dad is one that is instructive for you and I today. The Christian life is not necessarily the easy life; but, it is certainly worthy of our best effort and ultimate sacrifice. Both Dave and his father, David, are veterans of two different but related wars. One fights a war with evil on the ground and in the mountains of Afghanistan. His objective is to stand between those who pose a threat and those he is sworn to protect. The other stands against evil that pervades the hearts of men. He too fights an entrenched enemy and seeks to stand between the evil that pervades, and those he is called to serve.

As a believer in Christ, you and I are veterans in the same battle, with the same stakes. I want us to listen to the testimony of another soldier and see three characteristics of being a disciple in his life: From this, we can learn clearly what is expected of you and I.

READ Phil 2:19-30. Three Observations:

I.       The CHARACTER of a Disciple

a.       V.20, Timothy was a kindred spirit. At a heart level, he was fully committed to the call.

b.      V.22, His heart commitment was not merely intellectual, but was also practical.

c.       You can tell more about what is in a man’s heart by what he does, than by what he says.

                                                              i.      Mt 15:18-19.

II.    The COMMITMENT of a Disciple

a.       V.25, we see 3 descriptives.

b.      He was a brother. As an adopted child of God, they were committed as family.

                                                              i.      Prov 17:17, a brother is born for adversity.

                                                            ii.      Because of their connection, they were fully committed to one another. 

c.       He was a fellow worker. Idea is of a helper who comes alongside.

                                                              i.      If I am carrying something and you help me, you are a fellow worker.

                                                            ii.      Corporate partnership/ activity. We work together.

d.      He was a fellow soldier.

                                                              i.      Not only work together, but also worked alongside.

                                                            ii.      ILLUS: Army foxholes. Buddy in position with you. Also have other foxholes (fire interlocks)  

                                                          iii.      Think of it today as being committed to our church family, but also to Body at large.

                                                          iv.      Or responsible to help corporately, and to be individually active. BOTH Req’d.

e.       This commitment was not one of CONVENIENCE. Not, we are friends as long as mutually advantageous.

f.       V.30, risked his life (means to cast aside), his life, to complete what was deficient in your svc.

g.      Another way- He put it all on the line…to complete the mission. Undertook a dangerous journey from Philippi to Rome to carry Paul the missionary offering.

h.      Not a superficial risk. He would (should have) have died, were it not for God’s mercy.

III. The COMPASSION of a Disciple

a.       Commitment speaks of the dedication to the mission. Compassion speaks of the dedication to ones fellow man.

b.      Preacher, why should we risk: Because God is worthy, or because people need God? YES!

c.       Why risk life for a cause. To carry an offering to Paul. Any number of excuses could come to mind. But, A disciple has COMPASSION. From Latin meaning to “Bear with.”

d.      He knew that if he did not get through, Paul would suffer. So, he would bear with Paul.

e.       I read military history. Many stories of those who risked to get supplies and reinforcements in.

f.       V.26, This compassion was not only for Paul, but prompted Epaphroditus to return to Philippi. Compassion for the church there. Risk again.

IV. Are you a Disciple like these?

a.       DO you display the necessary characteristics of a Christ-follower?

b.      How do you reward men like this? By being committed to what they were committed to.

c.       V.29. Receive in the Lord with Joy. Hold in high regard.

d.      APPLY to Christ- When recognize what we read in John 15:13, no greater love has anyone than this, than one lay down his life for his friends…this is what Jesus did for us. How to honor Him…by laying down our lives to reconcile others. Sacrifice, Give, Pray, and Go.

e.       Apply to Church- I love and am thankful for the church. It was a church that, like Calvary, that ministered to me and where I became a Disciple. I live for what the church lives for.

f.       Applied to your Spiritual anchor- One that prays for you, invited you, cares for you.

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