FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

"SOLDIERS OF CHRIST!"

DISCIPLESHIP

 

Introduction.

In the scriptures, military men are often notable examples of faith and service. Before we note some of the characteristics that describe why, lets look at some examples.

 

Example #1:

Numbers 14:6-10 "But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.' 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”
10 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel ."

 

Joshua was appointed commander by Moses (Exodus 17:9-10), and he would lead the people of Israel in taking possession of the promised land. He was also one of the twelve spies sent in to the land.

Caleb was one of the twelve spies, along with Joshua. Caleb would later drive out, in combat, the Sons of Anak (these were renowned for their size and fierceness) from the area he was allotted in the Promised Land (Joshua 14-15).

Both men displayed great courage and without wavering stood fast, in the face of stoning, aligning themselves with God. They tried to persuade the fearful and faithless people to trust the power of God and fulfill His commands. We know that they would be unsuccessful; however, they themselves would be the only two over the age of the census to enter the Promised Land.

In addition, it would be said of Caleb, that he followed the Lord fully, or wholly (Numbers 14:24; Deuteronomy 1:36), and we know the famous words of Joshua at the end of his time as the leader of the people and knowing they would forsake the Lord:

Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

 

Example #2:

Matthew 8:5-13 "Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.
8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,' and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,' and he does it.
10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour."

 

The Lord had come to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24); however, He used, on a couple of occasions, Gentiles to teach lessons to those whom He was sent. Here is one of those occasions.

This centurion displayed humility, faith, and charity in such quantity that it caused the Lord to marvel and admire. This was something He said was missing from those who should have had it.

 

Example #3:

Acts 10:1-6 "There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”
4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?”
So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
5 Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”

 

Another centurion in the Roman army is mentioned here in scripture and designated as being a devout man. He exhibited the qualities of generosity, and devotion to God. This would lead to him being one of the first uncircumcised Gentile converts to the Gospel of Christ.

 

Example #4:

Acts 16:30-34 "And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household."

 

The miraculous events that lead up to this account of salvation are an amazing story in and of itself. However, we find in the Philippian jailor many of the same traits we find in the military men in the other examples. This also shows the similarity in paramilitary or law enforcement with that of the military. Virtually the same traits are exhibited by this jailor as by Cornelius, leading to his salvation.

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Coincidence?

No!

The fact is that they shared a kindred unity and understanding that we also find promoted in the Gospel of Christ.

The military teaches the importance of authority! Without a respected chain of command, chaos develops. We find a very structured chain of command in the teaching of the Gospel, note:

1 Corinthians 11:3 "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God."

 

There is a specific chain of command for everything in a Christian's life that always originates with God - see the chart at this link:

http://www.plvcc.org/SoldierofChristChart.htm

 

An established chain of command prevents, an every man for himself attitude and allows for unity. Soldiers are additionally taught to submit to authority immediately. Delay can be disastrous; this swift obedience can literally be the difference between life and death. To question appointed authority is insubordination and can result in death.

Soldiers also realize that they do not become proficient at their tasks without discipline and practice. They understand duty, training, and the need to grow.

 

Soldiers teach us how to submit to authority! Lets go back and consider Cornelius:

He obeyed all instructions immediately - Acts 10:7.

He did not consider the instructions a game, nor did he approach his charge half heartedly.

He understood that warfare, carnal or spiritual could not be approached with anything but complete devotion, which we see in the very nature of his devotion to God even before he received instruction - Acts 10:1-2.

He was also absolutely attentive to the commands and was completely prepared to receive his orders - Acts 10:33.

To brethren in Christ, we must understand that we have enlisted in the army of the Lord. In order to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), we must develop the characteristics of a good soldier.

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."

 

Since their can be little doubt that we are engaged in spiritual warfare, it is imperative that we take the tools that God has given to assure success and become proficient with them - Read: Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

We have been given Divine armor, so called because God provides it through the doctrine of Christ. It is given for defense as well as offense. We are not required to provide it, just put it on and wear it out. It allows us to stand against the wiles of Satan in every aspect; as Satan's existence, cunning, and desire to destroy us is real (1 Peter 5:8). The tools of our warfare are indispensable in view of the ranks of evil and the sophistication of the weapons wielded against us.

However, in all this, unless we develop the discipline, duty, allegiance, respect for established authority, and obedience, we will fail the armor. We must combine that attitude of the righteous military men of scripture with the tools of warfare God has given.

In addition, we need to learn to fight as a unit, under the banner of Christ. As a fraternity, camaraderie , and band of brethren fighting shoulder to shoulder in the good warfare we are given. Remember the words of Paul to young Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:4 "No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier."

As the writers of the New Testament emphasized the attitude of soldiers, we should develop them in our service as

Soldiers of Christ!