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WANTED – CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, February 20, 2011

“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).

“Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”
(II Timothy 2:3).


Dr. R. A. Torrey said, “The Christian life is a warfare, not a picnic. There are battles to be fought, enemies to be conquered, victories to be won...fighting is our special business” (R. A. Torrey, D.D., How to Work for Christ, Fleming H. Revell Company, n.d., pp. 391-392). The Apostle Paul said,

“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).

“Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”
      (II Timothy 2:3).

Don’t get me wrong, Bible believing Christians are not terrorists. I am not advocating Holy War, as Muslim extremists do with “Jihad.” The Lord Jesus Christ was questioned by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. Christ said to him, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight...” (John 18:36). In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ said to Peter, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

We are in a spiritual battle as Christians. The Apostle Paul said, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). We are in a spiritual battle. Our battle is called “the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12). John Milton called it, “The better fight.” To fight “the better fight,” the “good fight of faith,” we must know who our enemies are, how to fight them, and the condition for success in our warfare.

I. First, we must know who our enemies are.

The Bible says that our greatest enemies are Satan and his demons. Dr. Chan just read from Ephesians, chapter 6,

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [the schemes] 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 6:11-12).

Concerning this passage of Scripture, Dr. J. Vernon McGee said,

The enemy whom the Christian is to fight is not flesh and blood. The enemy is spiritual...we are in a spiritual battle. The Devil has [his demons] arranged by ranks...These powers are organized. “Principalities” are the demons who have the oversight of nations. They would correspond to the rank of generals. “Powers” are the privates who are demons wanting to possess human beings. The “rulers of the darkness of this world” are those demons who have charge of Satan’s worldly business. “Spiritual wickedness in high places” are the demons...who have charge of religion...We have the enemy identified. That enemy is spiritual. It is Satan who heads up his demonic forces. Now we need to recognize where the battle is. I think the church has largely lost sight of the spiritual battle (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, volume V, pp. 279-280; note on Ephesians 6:12).

Let us not be a church that has “lost sight of the spiritual battle.” Let us constantly remember that we are at war with the Devil and his demonic forces! Stand and sing number 7 on your song sheet!

Am I a soldier of the cross,
   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 sailed 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.
(“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” by Isaac Watts, D.D,. 1674-1748).

You may be seated.

II. Second, we must know how to fight our enemies.

After telling the Christian to put on the whole armor of God, the Apostle tells us how to fight,

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit...”
      (Ephesians 6:18).

Dr. McGee said, “Paul here distinguishes between prayer and supplication. Prayer is general; supplication is specific” (ibid., p. 283; note on Ephesians 6:18).

We pray for everything that our church does, item by item, on Thursday evening, and on Saturday evening. These are general prayers. But we must pray specifically as well, at home in private prayers. Leonard Ravenhill said, “Prayer is the battle.” Ravenhill quoted the great preacher Chrysostom, who said,

The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it hath bridled the rage of lions, hushed anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-sufficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine that is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain, the mother, of a thousand blessings (quoted in Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries, Ravenhill Books, 1974 edition, p. 156).

Let us go to war against Satan and his demons in prayer!

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit...”
      (Ephesians 6:18).

The Devil “hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (II Corinthians 4:4). Let us pray with all our hearts that God would open their minds, shut out the Devil, and release the captives!

Power in prayer, Lord, power in prayer,
   Here mid earth’s sin and sorrow and care;
Men lost and dying, souls in despair;
   O give me power, power in prayer!
(“Teach Me to Pray” by Albert S. Reitz, 1879-1966).

Stand and sing it!

Amen, you may be seated. We are praying with all our hearts for those of you who are not yet converted. We are praying for God to deliver you from Satanic unbelief. We are praying for God to awaken you to feel the guilt of your sin, with deep conviction. We are praying for God to draw you to Jesus Christ, for justification and cleansing from sin by His holy Blood! We are praying that you will not just come to church a few times. We are praying that you will be drawn all the way into the church – and be with us on Saturday evening, Sunday morning and Sunday night!

III. Third, we must know the condition for success in our warfare.

No one can be successful in Christian warfare unless he is converted. A person who has a false conversion will fail in Christian warfare every time. Sooner or later he will feel that it is too much trouble to come every Saturday evening, Sunday morning and evening. He will make an excuse for not going to evangelism. He will hold back and, finally, drift away from the church. Christian warfare will be too much for him. He will separate himself from his church. The Bible says,

“These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19).

How we pray that you will not be one of them! How we pray that you will come with us, be converted, and help us “fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).

Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) compared the church to an army in his famous hymn, “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”

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.
(“Onward, Christian Soldiers” by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924).

When someone joins the United States Army, he has to go to “boot camp” and go through basic training for several weeks. That experience is very difficult. They go through real anguish to become soldiers. To become a real Christian, a soldier of Christ, you must also go through anguish, the agony of conversion. Christ said, “Strive to enter in” (Luke 13:24). The word “strive” is translated from a form of the Greek word “agonizomai.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance says it means “struggle, or fight.” We get our English word “agonize” directly from that Greek word. You must go through the agony and struggle of conviction of sin to experience the new birth and conversion. Yes, you can be a Christian in name only without going through a real conversion. But you will go to Hell when you die if you are not converted. At the Last Judgment Jesus will say to you,

“I never knew you: depart from me” (Matthew 7:23).

Christ died in your place to pay the penalty for your sins. He rose from the dead and ascended back to sit on the right hand of God up in Heaven. How we pray that you will become concerned by your sins and alarmed by your guilt in the sight of a holy God. How we pray that you will come directly to His Son Jesus, for cleansing from sin in His precious Blood! For “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Ephesians 6:10-18.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” (by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).


THE OUTLINE OF

WANTED – CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Fight the good fight of faith” (I Timothy 6:12).

“Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:3).

(John 18:36; Matthew 26:52; Ephesians 6:12)

I.   First, we must know who our enemies are, Ephesians 6:11-12.

II.  Second, we must know how to fight our enemies, Ephesians 6:18;
II Corinthians 4:4.

III. Third, we must know the condition for success in our warfare, Jude 19; 
I Timothy 6:12; Luke 13:24; Matthew 7:23; I John 1:7.