“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize controls himself in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in this manner: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1st Corinthians 9:24-27
“You therefore endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one serving military duty entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him.” 2nd Timothy 2:3-4
When someone goes before God with a repentant heart and by faith believes into Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, forsaking their sins and being born again, they do not realize the battle that is set before them.
“But what does it say? The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the Word of Faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:8-10
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it; lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not bid farewell to all that he has is not able to be My disciple.” Luke 14:26-33
Salvation, the free gift from God, through the blood of Christ, is available to everyone. Christ paid the penalty on the Cross and rose again, conquering death and providing reconciliation with anyone who will repent towards God and by faith believe into Jesus Christ.
“For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
“And according to the Law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22
“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is longsuffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2nd Peter 3:9
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but gave Himself over to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1st Peter 2:21-25
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men that is required for us to be saved.” Acts 4:12
“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full true knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us, who believe according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule and authority and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:15-21
Suddenly the new Believer has a new citizenship. Our citizenships are no longer only in the respective countries where we reside, but also now we hold ‘second’ passports to our new Home, for our citizenship is also now in Heaven.
“For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subject all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20-21
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and set free those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14-15
… “testifying both to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:21
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has established a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has appointed. He has given assurance of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
Now in the world we live, countries send out their soldiers to patrol and keep peace or to fight battles. Right now in the world in which we live there are many soldiers enlisted from various countries all over the world and there are also some who are engaging in battle. However, once an individual becomes Saved, they also are automatically enlisted as a good soldier, doing the work of the Lord, participating in the furtherance of the Gospel on behalf of Jesus Christ, the head of the Church (Eph. 5:23), in which they are now partakers through His blood (Heb. 2:14).
Now we might not fully understand or see what is happening behind the scenes. We know that the Bible is quite clears that there are ‘powers and principalities’ that war against us (Eph. 6:12), but quite often in our home churches here on earth, we might note that there doesn’t seem to be much of a battle raging.
What, we who are true Believers, may fail to recognize, especially as babes in Christ (1 Pet. 2:2) or little children (1 John 2:12), is that there are a lot of changelings in the churches throughout the world who profess to know Christ, but in fact do not know Him.
“Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many works of power in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who work out lawlessness!” Matthew 7:21-23
So when one arrives to church on Sunday morning and gets a cup of coffee or orange juice and a donut, the fellowship of ease, that fellowship where there are friendly ‘all-smiles’ people who seemingly have no persecution in this world for their professed faith, there might very well be a reason for it.
“Therefore Jehovah said, Whereas this people draw near with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men;”… Isaiah 29:13
“Moreover, it is not as though the Word of God has fallen away. For not all those of Israel are Israel,”… Romans 9:6
Certainly we are not to forsake the fellowshipping with other Believers (Heb. 10:25), but there are times where perhaps the fellowshipping might very well have little or even no Believers, even amongst a fair sized church congregation. While one could go off into details of how to detect a church that doesn’t preach the truth or one that is fully apostate, that isn’t the scope of this writing. What we do have is the Word of God and we need to fully believe every jot and tittle (Matt. 5:18), ensuring that we are reading from a good translation that faithfully provides God’s Word to humanity. Then we can compare the things we see and hear with what the Word of God proclaims to be Truth.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things are so.” Acts 17:11
The Bible is quite clear that in this world we will have persecution. Take a look at the giants of faith found in Hebrews:
“Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders bore witness. By faith we understand that the universe was prepared by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen did not come into existence from things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. By faith Enoch was translated so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him; for before he was translated he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not understanding where he was going. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude; innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were foreigners and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that place from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they reach forth to a better, that is, a heavenly place. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, In Isaac your Seed shall be called, reckoning that God had the power to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and did homage on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper male child; and they were not afraid of the king’s decree. By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the recompense. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn should not touch them. By faith they crossed over the Red Sea as through dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were swallowed up. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty in battle, turned to flight the armies of foreigners. Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and floggings, yes, and of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tried, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, oppressed; of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having borne witness through faith, did not obtain the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made complete apart from us.” Hebrews 11
While we will never all be called to be martyrs, unless you are living in the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7(Rev. 6:9; Rev. 13:7)), better known as the Tribulation, we are nonetheless engaging in the battle that rages. That battle is led by Satan who is leading the whole world astray (Rev. 12:9). For the resistance to God’s Truth is very serious.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies.” Ephesians 6:12
A model citizen would be thought to have civil duties in their respective countries. While much has changed with the landscape of the political realms in this country, as well as others, over the years, with ideologies and extremism, still there is a basic patriotic thread of every country where a man or woman would want to partake in some portion of defending their country, whether as a soldier or, as in times past, collecting can foods, knitting or working in factories in order to support those soldiers who are overseas fighting battles (or right in their own respective countries).
Thinking back to the events of September 11th, 2001, there were lines of men waiting to enlist in military service immediately after. This thread of patriotism still runs strong nowadays even amongst a populace who can not seem to get along, going in opposite directions. If there were an attack on our soil, you can better believe that life would be breathed into this inert patriotism and there would be those willing to fight and help out almost immediately thereafter. Yet what about that ‘patriotic’ thread when it comes to serving Jesus Christ, as those who are Believers now have citizenship in Heaven?
Certainly the Bible is under constant attack. The edicts of the Most High are constantly embattled by men who think to undermine their Creator with their words and actions. The battle is quite real as there are many different religions, cults and even those who call themselves christians yet walk contrary to the clear teachings of the Bible, enemies of God. Are they therefore not our ‘enemies’ as well?
“Do I not hate them, O Jehovah, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.” Psalms 139:21-22
Think of it as having been sent to a foreign land and you are now fighting as an elite soldier for Jesus. There are all sorts of battles, like described in John Bunyan’s book from the 1600’s, The Pilgrims Progress. Simply cast those sort of ideas into modern day times.
Our duties as a good soldier of Jesus Christ are not carnal weapons.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity unto the obedience of Christ, and being ready to avenge all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2nd Corinthians 10:3-6
We are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
We are to ensure that we have the armor of God on.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on all the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies. Therefore take up all the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand firm therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:10-20
“having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness”
So the first thing we need to have done is to truly have repented towards God and by faith believed into Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
“having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace”
After becoming Saved we need some time for training. We need to stop being blown about by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14), we need to study through the Bible, we need to become prepared.
Just as a soldier will not sign up or be drafted and then immediately be issued a gun and placed in the battlefield, but rather will go through boot camp and be trained how to properly use their weapon, how to evade enemy fire and many other things, so too, a Believer must be trained up and prepared for the battle that rages before being sent out into the battlefield.
“above all, taking the shield of faith”
Please note that this one says ‘above all’ and allow a minute to go through this further, as from personal experience this can not be underestimated.
Throughout the years there have been many missionary stories that I have fancied to read. Some are definitely questionable in their sincerity in following Christ, even if they are a well-known name, but others you can clearly see God at work in the lives.
The one thing that a Believer can learn from that, as well as the stories of the great men of faith in the Bible, is that what God says to an individual regarding His will and where He is sending, though it might seem insurmountable at first, like Abraham having a son through Sarah (Gen. 13:16; Gen. 17:16) or David becoming king (1 Sam. 16:1-13) and though it might take years for those things to actually come to pass, nonetheless, if an individual is assured in their heart that God has pointed them into a direction or into a ministry, whatever it may be, then you need to be trusting in Him, irregardless of how impossible it looks and impossible at times it certainly will look.
For this impossibility that enters into the heart will become believable and if we allow ourselves to believe that God is wrong (usually we think we are long) and no longer pursue the path that God has sent us on, then right there we do not realize that the battle that is raging on against us is being successful in circumventing God’s plans in our lives. We must hold up the shield of faith and continue trudging along, crawling if need be in our spirit, continuing on.
While we certainly can seek God in the matter and clarify it (1 Sam. 23:4), even if there is no answer, our responsibilities towards God and His will do not change.
We MUST believe God, we MUST hold up the shield of faith.
While we can look at some of the things that the Old Testament saints and prophets did and we can clearly see their mistakes from time to time, laid out as examples for us (1 Cor. 10:6), we mustn’t think that it was so easy, yet we must learn from their mistakes.
We can chide Israel from cowering before their enemies (Num. 13:25-33), but when God calls us individually to go up against a giant, will we have the faith of David? David not only believed God and held up the shield of faith but he RAN towards Goliath and subdued his enemy in the name of God Almighty (1 Sam. 17:48).
Joshua didn’t fear though others did, when preparing to do what God had stated and go and take the Promised Land that was given to Israel (Num. 14:6-9), yet the others did. Sometimes this leads to a sad situation, where we might wish to have company but those who profess to be Believers (and may be), leave us, alone.
We are –never- alone with our service to God. We must follow Christ, yes individually.
“Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, But Lord, what about this man? Jesus said to him, If I intend for him to remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” John 21:21-22
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that not all of them are of us.” 1st John 2:19
“Endeavor to come to me quickly; for Demas has deserted me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica; Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.” 2nd Timothy 4:9-10
“take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God;”
If we are not Saved then we will not preserve through even death. Think of all of the Believers and sometimes others who had a zeal, moreso politically, but were not Saved, who died at the hands of the Catholic inquisitioners, millions upon millions. Now those who were Saved went home to be with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8), but the others went to their eternal home: Hell.
We are to have a zeal for Christ, but we do not want that zeal to be in vain. We want to have a zeal because we are truly Saved and know Him, not the type of zeal that is seen with the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons who come to our door. Truly they believe themselves to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, they believe the flack that they receive leads to rewards or is because they are righteous. But in all reality they are the unsaved, the walking dead, dead in their sins on their way to Hell.
They are part of the enemy’s battalion, though they have fallen prey to one of his tricks and that is that they believe themselves to be righteous, they believe themselves to be Saved, even though they are lost.
Lest you smile with glee inside your soul knowing of those ‘terrible’ people who are in a cult and trying to knock down doors for the devil, to keep more souls in bondage to him, understand that Satan has a much greater army of men who pretend to be Christian, but are not.
He also has other ministers, who don’t come from a known cult, rather they preach from a pulpit. They might very well go under the name of Baptist, Lutheran, Evangelical Free, Independent or numerous other denominations. These are those who preach a fake Gospel, a damnable Gospel, one where belief only supersedes the truths found in the Bible.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder; for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15
One where one does not need to repent in order to be Saved or they simply have those in attendance repeat a prayer after them and then profess them to be Saved, telling them that even if they think otherwise, that the enemy is putting the thought in their heads.
So, dear friends, our enemies are widespread and they come under many different cloaks, not just the ones that are obvious. For this reason we need to be good stewards of studying the Bible, our battle plan, our guarantee of that which is pleasing and right to God and showing that which is twisted and wrong.
When engaging the enemy, as good soldiers, we must use the Bible in all instances as our guide in doing so.
“praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”
Prayer is often underestimated, the power of God, who answers the prayers of the Saints (Rev. 5:8; Psa. 50:15 ), according to His will (1 John 5:14), is often neglected.
Prayer is effective (Jam. 5:16), prayer is our duty (Luke 21:36), pray is shown through the Saints of both the Old and New Testament of the way of life of a Believer. Do not neglect spending time before God in prayer. Think of Daniel as an example:
“And when he had learned that the document was signed, Daniel went to his house. And in his roof room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt on his knees three times a day, and prayed and praised before his God, as he did before.” Daniel 6:10
“And he said to me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you and stand up, for I am now sent to you. And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood, trembling. And he said to me, Do not fear, Daniel. For from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. And I have come because of your words. But the ruler of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days. But, lo, Michael, one of the chief rulers, came to help me; for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” Daniel 10:11-13
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ. As God is exhorting through us, we beseech you on Christ’s behalf, Be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2nd Corinthians 5:20-21
If we are not truly Saved then we have failed the beginnings of our duties as a good soldier, in fact one would not be a good soldier, but rather still on the enemies side. Please test yourself if you are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5).
Our strength comes from our Savior Jesus Christ who will keep up and be with us during this life and that which is to come. He will be our guide, even unto death.
“I have strength for all things in Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“Now to Him who has the power to keep you from stumbling, and to present you without blemish before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,”… Jude 1:24
“For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.” Psalms 48:14
Yet the battle rages on, consider carefully that if you are truly Saved and experiencing what is a glut of emotional and possibly even physical confrontations regarding following Christ, you are not alone, try not to be perplexed by the complexity of the situation, for indeed the battle truly rages on.
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the Word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My Word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” John 15:18-21
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are experienced by your brethren in the world.” 1st Peter 5:8-9
“Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which is to try you, as though something unheard of was happening to you; but rejoice in so far as you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also rejoice with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. According to them He is blasphemed, but according to you He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a meddler in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this regard.” 1st Peter 4:12-16
In order to be successful as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, the Bible must be wholeheartedly followed. In fact the Word of God should be near and dear each Believer’s heart. We must fully believe what God has said in His Word and we must take those things seriously, not folding into submission when the Holy Spirit moves our heart to take a stand and speak the things which are right.
We live in a world where it is not popular to be in a school, college or university and take a stand for what we absolutely know to be Truth, for God has proclaimed those truths to all of His creation, whether or not they choose to accept it (Rom. 1). They will also have a reality check at the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15), one of which, we who are good soldiers are preaching His glorious truth and Salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, to all who will receive it.
We are in the fight for the battle of men’s souls, proclaiming to them to repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15), helping, on behalf of our Savior, to proclaim God’s truth. If you consider for a moment the battle lines, those who are truly Saved and those who are not, but are still of the devil, on their way to Hell, then perhaps you could see just how serious the battle is that rages on amongst us.
Consider your neighbors, your coworkers, others in your classrooms or your family and friends who are not Saved. Right now, at this very moment, if they were to die, the battle for their soul is lost. They are absolutely doomed to an eternity in Hell, for God has stated so (Isa. 14:27).
While we certainly all have our vain responsibilities in this world that we must take care of, those such as earning a living, paying bills, helping out our family and friends, raising our families, studying during our educations, etc., we also have our responsibilities towards God Almighty, which include living and leading holy and separate lives unto God.
“Therefore, Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2nd Corinthians 6:17-18
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also become holy in all conduct, because it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, behave yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your vain way of life received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope might be in God. Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently out of a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever, because All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the Word which by the gospel was preached to you.” 1st Peter 1:13-25
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Let it not be! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were immersed into Christ Jesus were immersed into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through immersion into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be nullified, that we should no longer serve sin. For he who has died has been justified from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives unto God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Law but under grace? Let it not be! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves to righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification. For when you were slaves to sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Part of that battle that rages is also to distract us from these duties and for us to individually focus on the cares of this world. What happens if we become too busy to do the work of the Lord? What happens if, due to poor decisions, not using the Bible as our guide (2 Tim. 2:15), we find ourselves unable to fully fulfill our responsibilities towards God. Well certainly the mercy of our God is great and incomprehensible (Psa. 103:11). God knows our hearts and He is ready to deliver us when we return to Him and follow His ways accordingly (Isa. 1:16-20). For He is very great and merciful, caring about His creation (1 Pet. 5:7).
Too many times the battle rages on against us and it can come in many forms. Perhaps we didn’t take seriously the Bible’s warning about ‘evil communication corrupts good manners’ (1 Cor. 15:33) and our testimony was singed, our witness to others about the goodness of God was marred because of our sin. Know that God is gracious and certainly it is possible to become disqualified from certain aspects of God’s work, such as being called to being a pastor or a deacon (1 Tim. 3:1-13), but nonetheless, if you find yourself in a situation like that, what you need to do is realize the mercy of God and understand that just because the scars of sin have prevented someone from the availability of God’s calling, that does not mean that the battle is over and there is nothing else to do for the Lord.
On the contrary, our merciful Savior is very gracious and can still raise up that individual for service towards Him in another respect. Recall that we are not trying to individually be great, for he who is greatest will be least in the kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 23:11). This is not about self glorification, but all of the glory is to be given to God.
We, as Believers, do not Save people ourselves, we plant, we water but it is God who causes the growth.
“For when one says, I am of Paul, and another, I of Apollos, are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believe, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who causes growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no one is able to lay any other foundation than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will be revealed; for the Day will declare it, because it will be disclosed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is consumed, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1st Corinthians 3:4-15
There are no notches on our belts, only the wounds of sin that have been healed through the blood of Christ and the washing of ourselves from time to time through confessing our sins to Jesus.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1st John 1:9
The world we live in is quickly becoming as the days of Noah (Matt. 24:37), as the Bible said it would. With that the battle raging against us is truly very great, but Christ is greater (Rev. 12:11; 1 Cor. 15:16-26).
If we could sit back and realize that the battle is real, that there are many obstacles that are placed in our way to try and prevent us from doing the work of the Lord, that we truly must put on all of the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) in order to continue trudging on, doing His good work.
If we truly likened ourselves to good soldiers, thinking of actually being in a battle, thinking of actual subduing the enemy, not of our own power, but through Christ (Phil. 4:13), then we would certainly have a better scope of the reality, much of what is unseen (2 Thes. 2:7) that rages on amongst us.
There is no mistake regarding the direction that our world is going. Certainly Satan will inevitably have led the whole world astray (Rev. 12:9), a culmination of the battle that takes place when the world enters the Tribulation time period, after the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:16-17).
In the meantime, what we see is what we should expect. We shouldn’t be surprised that churches are becoming more like rock concerts and churches have pastors preaching strange doctrines (Heb. 13:9), neglecting biblical repentance (Luke 13:3) to those whose itching ears and who like to hear such things.
“Preach the Word. Be ready in season and out of season. Convict, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own lusts, desiring to hear pleasant things, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to myths. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2nd Timothy 4:2-5
Anti-science is anti-God and that is what we have seen take hold of the world in the past 150 years. No longer believing the truths that we can be certain about (2 Pet. 1:19), but rather generations that believe anti-God garbage science. This includes the recent revelations had by those who are doing the work of our enemy (Rev. 12:10) regarding numerous different genders.
We can not look towards others instead of ourselves being good soldiers. For just as in military battles, the heroes, those who did outstanding things receive the medals. The same thing is true in regards to the crowns (2 Tim. 4:8; James 1:12) and treasures in Heaven (Matt. 19:27) that each Believer will receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10).
We only have one commander and that commander is Jesus Christ. While there are others through the orderly Church that Christ setup (1 Cor. 14:40), such as pastors, deacons and others whom those who truly love the Lord may delegate, ultimately even those individuals are in full subjection to Jesus Christ in regards to their duties, not to men.
You need to understand and ponder the seriousness of the qualities of being a good soldier, which include the fruits of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
You need to understand that perhaps much of what appears to stand in your way, whether temptations, trials, others, cares of the world, etc., is placed there intentionally from the enemies battalion in order to make you not as or ineffective in doing your duties as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Sometimes even people, those whom we love, might very well be placed there by the enemy.
While we certainly wrestle against the flesh (Rom. 7:22-25), our enemy also places obstacles in our way. Consider Paul the apostle and what things he went through, though Christ delivered him out of them all, according to His will:
“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I excel them: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in hardship and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness; besides the other things, that come upon me daily: the care of each of the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast of the things of my infirmity. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.” 2nd Corinthians 11:23-31
Are we now immune in our generation to such things, especially in so called civilized countries where the freedom of speech exists?
I challenge you who truly know Christ, you who have truly accepted the free gift of Salvation, not those who simply profess Christ, but do not know Him. The assumption must be made, not necessarily to newborn babes in Christ (1 Pet. 2:2) but to those who are already exercised a bit (Eph. 4:14), live accordingly in Christ to what the Bible states.
When and where the Lord leads, go. When you are lead to speak up, do so. Stay away from things that you know the Bible speaks against, do not even allow a little leaven to compromise the whole lump (Gal. 5:9). Stand on the Word of God, for certainly Christ will be with you.
Perhaps the reason so many can’t is because they fall back (Heb. 10:39), they consider it to be too hard, yet the Bible is quite clear about the simplicity in Christ (2 Cor. 11:3). Perhaps you know in your heart that these things spoken of in here are true and you have a desire to do more for the Lord, but the cares of this world come in the way (Mark 4:19)? Perhaps you will realize that you do not even truly know the Lord and things such as this are foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18)?
Nonetheless, those who are in the trenches on the front lines of the battle realize these things. The apostles who went before us realized these things as well. The missionaries who at present and in times past are in the far corners of the earth preaching the Gospel also know/knew these things. The pastors who are faithful to the Word of God but see very little fruit, a small congregation, but yet take a stand to be found faithful (1 Cor. 4:2; Matt. 25:21) until Christ comes to receive His bride (Eph. 5:27; Rev. 19:7) know these things.
Those who are ridiculed and knocked as a ‘Jesus freak’ but the world, even sometimes from those who also profess to be Christians, but the truth that flows from your mouth, rebuking and correcting through the Holy Scriptures (2 Tim. 4:2) pierces their unrepentant hearts and they lash out at you.
How many people can we reach? How many people can we help to Save for Jesus Christ? These people who go on the broad path to destruction (Matt. 7:13) are in VERY serious trouble. They are dead in their sins (Eph. 2:1), they need the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:22; John 14:6) to cleanse them from their sins, in order to change their heart from stone to a heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26) and join also as good soldiers in the battle on behalf of Christ.
Folks, I could not even possibly overestimate the amount of tactics that are used against us who are Believers. They are serious, but if we walk holy and righteous before our Creator, they are but as nothing as we continue along. The danger is our compromise and being taken hold by one of the many devices of Satan (2 Cor. 2:11) that will then diminish our race (Heb. 12:1-2) or shipwreck our faith (Heb. 1:19-20).
The goal of Satan, our enemy, won’t stop with a little unconfessed sin in our lives, no it will continue, if it can, to become a mountain. From there it will continue, where some reach the point of a ‘sin unto death’ (1 John 5:16).
You see our enemy wouldn’t be satisfied with a Believer, yes I am saying a Believer, becoming a drunkard. No, not until he can get that same Believer, yes I am saying once again a Believer, to put a gun to their head and pull the trigger. Please do not underestimate the battle. Our duties as good soldiers of Jesus are simply to be found faithful.
“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1st Corinthians 4:2