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Are You A Christian Soldier?

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Are You A Christian Soldier?

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We sing the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” with great gusto. But do we really mean it? “Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war with the cross of Jesus going on before.” “Onward, Christian Soldiers” is a 19th century English hymn. The words were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865. He wrote the words for English school children to sing as they marched. The music was composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. Sullivan named the tune “St. Gertrude,” after the wife of his friend Ernest Clay Ker Seymer at whose country home he composed the tune. The hymn was sung at the end of the Academy Award-winning mo­vie, Mrs. Miniver (1942). And it was sung at Dwight Eisenhower’s funeral. The Salvation Army even adopted the hymn as its favored processional.

We sing the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” with great gusto. But do we really mean it?

The theme is taken from references in the New Testament to the Christian being a soldier for Christ, for example 2 Timothy 2:3 (KJV): “Thou shalt endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Are we indeed Christian soldiers? Fully committed to and obsessed with our mission and commission? Have we become far too passive in our individual mission and commission to be Christian soldiers and ambassadors for Christ?

What do I mean by passive? We take on the attitude that nothing can change or be done until Christ comes and the Kingdom is established on earth. I see brethren come to church and passively sit with a pleasant look on their face, but if they bring a Bible they don’t open it—much less take notes. This approach is like the parable of the Ten Virgins. This state of mind is reflective of John’s description of the Laodiceans. The reference to them being “blind” seems to show that they don’t know they are Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-22).

Are we living as if we have been translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son? According to the apostle Paul, those who have repented and received God’s Holy Spirit have been translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). Or are we awash in the political correctness and multiculturalism of the day where everything is gray, evil is called good and good called evil and the watch word is tolerance?

God is a jealous God and there is no middle ground with Him—you cannot serve God and mammon i.e., you cannot pursue the things of this world.

God deeply desires all of our affection and being and He wants it now. God is a jealous God and there is no middle ground with Him—you cannot serve God and mammon i.e., you cannot pursue the things of this world (James 4:4-7) and live the resurrected life as Christ lives His life in us.

Are we Christian soldiers and ambassadors for Christ? Are we ambassadors for the Kingdom of God? Is Christ truly in our lives? Note the question that Paul asks in Ephesians 4:1: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation [Greek word is klesis which means calling] wherewith you are called” (KJV). Far too many treat their spiritual life as if it were a sideline activity. Something you do on the Sabbath. Whereas soldiers are on duty 24/7.

Of all the challenges that beset us as a people now, I believe it is the fact that the cares of this world have by default become our number one priority. They have choked and smothered the zeal in our hearts and minds. On the Sabbath we tend to be exhausted because we have spent our time and energy during the week on surviving. We have become victims of “SMS” (survival mode syndrome). There are so many physical things that we believe have to be done in order to survive. But Christ says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). The challenge is for us to stir up the Spirit and rekindle the fire and love for the truth and the brethren. Let us set aside the burdens of the day and run with patience the race that is set before us.

We should not live as if the Kingdom is just a faint hope for the future. We have been called to the highest calling there is. There is no greater calling than to be invited to become a son or daughter of the great King of the universe. We are called to rule and reign with God and Christ over the whole world. Do we value our calling to become members of the royal priesthood of God—called to be kings and priests in the Kingdom of God?

The New Testament is replete with admonitions to fight and struggle to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered. When we went under the watery grave of baptism we became Christian soldiers and ambassadors for Christ. Our ultimate goal and reason for being is to become love as our Father in heaven is love and be born into His family at the resurrection.

Satan also has a raison d’être (reason for being). That is to break prophecy, make God into a liar, wreck God’s plan of salvation and destroy humankind. Satan has tremendous power and is continually waging war. Remember Paul’s words, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

God is a jealous God and there is no middle ground with Him—you cannot serve God and mammon i.e., you cannot pursue the things of this world.

Paul uses metaphors of military armor to describe our spiritual armor. Satan now has at his disposal the communication and behavioral technology to continue to deceive the whole world. But as  Paul exclaims the weapons of our warfare are spiritual, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 KJV). We have more power at our disposal than all of Satan’s minions and devices combined.

One of the greatest understandings the Church of God teaches is the purpose of human existence. In my view, these are the six greatest questions of the ages: 1) who is God; 2) what is God; 3) what is His purpose; and the corollary to those questions, 4) who is man; 5) what is man; 6) what is his purpose?

The culture of God will be the only culture allowed to exist in the wonderful world tomorrow. That culture will be built on the foundation of moral and spiritual knowledge—the word of God.

The youth of the land have been targeted—do they really know and understand their reason for being? Some of our youth are just biding their time until they can leave home—be out on their own and live as the rest of the world lives. Of course the glamour and glitz of this present evil age appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. In order to counter the prevailing pressure to conform, parents must teach their children what is important and what is the real reason for their being. We are on a quest for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life in the Kingdom of God (Romans 2:7). If we don’t diligently teach them their reason for being, they are defenseless as the culture is awash with living in the now.

Young and old have become victims in the name of tolerance, political correctness and multiculturalism. It seems the tidal wave of political correctness has rendered some powerless to stand fast as Christian soldiers. But young and old have at their disposal spiritual weapons that will enable all of us to gain the victory over Satan.

Many people have come into the church because of prophecy and that is still more important to some than our reason for being. Note the words of Paul, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 KJV).

Becoming love as God is love that envelopes the core of Christ’s teaching. When the lawyer of the Pharisees asked Jesus which commandment is greatest, He responded, “. . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). Note the assertion made in verse 40, that the law and prophets hang on the two great commandments.

Prophecy is still important—because a faulty understanding of prophecy will be one of the main ways that Satan will deceive the world into accepting the anti-Christ. Will we not be deceived if we cleave to the trunk of the tree? People could have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and yet fail if they are not becoming as God is. God is love. (1 John 4:8, 16)

Have we lost the fire in our bellies for marching onward to the Kingdom as Christian soldiers? We must not draw back, if we continue to march forward, armed with the Word of God and Spirit of God, we cannot fail. If God is for us who can be against us (Romans 8:31-38)?

So, let us march forward as Christian soldiers in full assurance of faith. Let us renew our zeal and dedicate ourselves to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others right now. Let’s march forward as God’s great army carrying forth the banner of truth and righteousness. “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:46 KJV).