Onward, Christian Soldiers

April 23, 2013


We love to sing the song, “Onward Christian Soldiers”, but do we have a clue as how to prepare and fight a spiritual war? Do we have the commitment and intestinal fortitude to fight to the death like our forefathers? I have many doubts that we are or would. Many were incensed and inflamed over the September 11th tragedy and yet they seem to be tiring of the war already. We want a microwave war that is over in thirty seconds and then complain about how long it takes even then.
I do not know how long this current war will last, but humanity has been in one since Adam fell and the fighting has intensified since the Church has been established after Calvary. The only problem is that the fighting has intensified on the side of evil while the folks with the armor of God have gone AWOL, deserted or defected. They have been critically wounded because they left down their guard thinking they were on permanent R&R or that the war was over.
While this war has been ongoing for millennia it will continue for at least 1007+ years and only God knows how many more the plus are. The victory has been won, but there will still be skirmishes and even major battles until the final cease-fire is called. There are no civilians or neutral non-participants to be declared collateral damage. Everyone is on the battlefield. Everyone has chosen a side. The enemy knows how to equip and prepare his soldiers for combat. The Lord does as well, but the recruits do not always listen to commands or show up armed and in uniform. It is time for that pattern to cease.
First let us see how to prepare for spiritual warfare.

2 Tim 2:1-7
1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. (KJV)

We must be made strong in the grace of Christ. Strong is a form of dunamoo from where we get our word dynamite. Literally, we are to be empowered with an explosive ability or one that will do damage to the kingdom of satan. We receive that empowerment through God’s grace not our efforts. We can do physical training five hours a day and still be as weak as a newborn babe spiritually. To be effective in the battle we must receive the strength and power he will endue us with as we surrender to His will.
What we learn we are to take and share with others who will then go and do the same. We go from recruit to Tactical/Drill Sergeant training others. We are not to be tin soldiers dressed up for a parade. We are trained to do battle and to train others. While we are doing this we should expect to come upon times of hardship. War is hardship and soldiers experience hardship. When we are fighting with our comrades in arms we become partakers of their afflictions. It is no longer about us, but about teamwork, mission, duty, honor. We do not wimp out! We shape up and endure the hardness as a good soldier.
We do not get wrapped up or entwined with the things of this world. Soldiers must be ready to move out and fight at a moment’s notice so we keep our powder dry and our packs light that we might respond rapidly and effectively to please our Commander. Whatever we accumulate while in garrison we must be ready to leave behind for we cannot carry much into a firefight. We must have the strength and mobility to cross over rugged terrain and engage in hand-to-hand combat. Too much baggage weighs us and wears us down making us vulnerable to attack. He who dies with the most toys does not win. He just dies and leaves it behind losing the battle if not the war.
Like an athlete and farmer, if we are to be good soldiers we must know what our goals are and then be consistent in taking the steps required to meet those goals every day rain or shine without shortcuts or cheating. Slackness makes weakness and weakness sets you up to be a casualty. No consistency or commitment results in no crown, no fruits, nor victory. If you prepare yourself by this exercising of the mind the Lord will put it all together and give you understanding of what else you need.

Having prepared yourself you must then use the proper uniform.

Eph 6:11-20
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 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.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (KJV)

We had several uniforms while I served, but the two we wore the most were our Class A or dress uniform and our Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). Class A’s were the ones we used when we wanted to impress people. It is comparable to an executive’s business suit only ours spoke much more of who we were than the average suit. You could tell our name, our rank, our outfit, our job, our awards, length of service and if we served any time in combat. These were worn for parades, photos and during our time in garrison or on leave. They may well be equal to the robes we will wear when the war is finally over in the new Heaven and new Earth.
The BDU was designed exactly to be what it says a battle dress uniform. It tells a lot about us, but much less than the Class A and you had to look harder at the uniform to see it. Our name, rank and branch of service was shown as well as our outfit, but all the markings were subdued and camouflaged according to the terrain of the battle. We did not want the enemy to be able to see those things clearly. An officer who would be proud of his rank and decided to wear the shiny rank or demand a salute on the battle field would soon be wearing his Class A’s in a prone position as he received his final salute. The snipers would pick him out in a heartbeat and stop his.
They were made for battle not peace. They had plenty of pockets so you could carry maps, compasses, ammo clips or whatever you needed for battle. Yes, we had the web belts for first aid kits, flashlights, canteens, etc, but plenty of pockets were a good thing because times might come when you had to leave your web gear behind. You still had to travel light when you were in battle so the pockets while handy had to carry only the necessary. It is hard to do a low crawl when your pockets are bulging with things that jab you or cause you to get caught in the underbrush.
God has provided us with a BDU. Note that you have everything you need for offense and defense except there is nothing for your back. You can’t run. You are to hold your ground. You also must work as a two-man team. Your armor bearer covered your back by placing his back against yours. You moved as a team so that there was not a place to get a back wound unless your armor bearer was defeated or you turned as a coward and ran.
You loins are covered by truth. To be discreet, your loincloth covered your procreative area. A 98-pound weakling can bring the strongest man in the world to his knees with a properly placed kick in this region. Do some damage here and you have no offspring or inheritance. You will not die from the attack, but you will be disabled and set up for a deathblow.
Spiritually, we are sent out to procreate not ourselves, but Christ in our enemies. That is brought about by the Spirit of truth using incorruptible seed to bring about a new birth in them. Lose your loincloth of truth and you will be attacked, crippled and neutered. You will become a dry tree and you will be disabled. You will not be able to complete your mission and for all intents and purposes be dead as far as the enemy is concerned. There is absolute truth and you cannot afford to miss it and use it in the fight. Many are doubled over in pain and out of the fight because they have left the truth behind for the sake of unity or to negotiate a false peace with the enemy.
The breastplate of righteousness is not your righteousness, but the righteousness given to you by Christ. The breastplate protects your heart or confidence/courage. It also protects your lungs so that you can breathe in the fresh air of Divine presence and exhale fervent prayer. Many soldiers have tried to use their own righteousness and are lying on the ground with collapsed lungs and heart wounds because they put on the filthy, rusty breastplate of their own righteousness. Make sure that the Holy Armorer has hammered out your breastplate or the battle will be brief and bloody for you.
Though we are in heated battle, we are to always be ready to offer God’s terms of peace to the enemy. Being shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace means to be always ready to present the Gospel of Peace. Proper footgear will keep us planted firmly and balanced. We must remember that Christ did not come to judge the world (this time), but that through Him it might be saved. If we do not keep our hearts balanced with this we may come to enjoy the battle and develop a blood lust that has no desire for peace. When we develop this joy in destruction we become as our enemy and not as the Prince of Peace who has sent us into battle. We will not only seek to overcome the enemy, but to slice our own wounded rather than seek to render them aid.
A shield is a must in hand to hand combat or to duck fiery darts. Ever try stopping a sword with just your arm? The outcome is not good. Catching flaming projectiles with your bare hand is not a pretty sight either. When the enemy attacks with his broadsword of lies and false prophecies it is your shield of faith that deflects the blow and puts you in the position to attack. If he sends the fiery darts of guilt for sins before salvation or after confession it is your shield that keeps them from burning you as you swat them away to burn out harmlessly on the ground.
A good helmet can withstand heavy blows and is constructed to protect your whole head. The helmet of salvation protects you from the taunts and jeers of the enemy. He will yell that you are no Christian and you have no right to wear the uniform. He will tell you that when he slays you that you will burst Hell wide open. Your helmet is your assurance that you are a child of God and called into the battle to fight in His name and His strength and not your own! Too many soldiers have gone into battle without their helmet or without it being on their head properly and are stung by the barbed words of devils. They have no confidence and they fight halfheartedly or in a rush of conflicting emotions having no focus or strength. Some have constructed their helmets made of good works or rituals and do not understand why they feel such pain. Put on your God given helmet and cinch the chinstrap tightly. Then go in full assurance of His protection making the enemy feel the pain of his head being crushed by the One he could only wound in the heel.
While your shield is blocking, deflecting and casting away the attacks from the enemy you raise up the glittering rapier of God’s Words that is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. (Heb 4:12) The Holy Spirit that forged and tempered this sword will guide your hand as you parry with your shield and thrust and thrust and thrust with the sword until you opponent flees or surrenders at the Cross of Calvary!
Now we come into what I call, the Christian’s Rebel Yell, for it does not have to be fancy to strike fear into the legions of Hell. You can yell, cry and rejoice all at the same time as you pray. Praying for yourself, your comrades and against the demons brings you right before the throne of God and His angels. It is there that you will find your help in the time of need as you boldly come before Him in prayer. Here you find power to resist all Hell and peace that passes all understanding! Here you find the boldness to speak even if you become a prisoner of war like the Apostle Paul. Put on your armor! Use your weapons!
Pray, pray, pray and persevere!

Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (KJV)

Some are saying, why are you so militant? Is it because it is Veteran’s Day? No, because I am to obey my Commander and speak the truth in love to you. It is time for you to grow up and realize that playtime is long past and it is time to assume your responsibilities in a time of war. Sing praises that you have a Commander of grace and mercy. Human commanders would shoot all those that are AWOL or have deserted during a time of war as traitors and cowards. Shout hallelujah that ours wants to get us back in the fight so that we can share in his glory and victory. He wants to bless us now and when we stand before Him.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (KJV)

You show your allegiance to Him by obeying His commandments. One of those is called the Great Commission where we are expected to engage in spiritual warfare and win those taken captive by the enemy to Christ. Some will be won easily and others we have to literally reach into the fire to drag them out! We have to bind the strong man and pillage his house and remove the blinders from the eyes of others. He will not allow that to happen easily. Sitting at home wasting our life and gifts watching TV and eating Moon Pies is not going to accomplish the mission or show our allegiance to Christ!
Has the Lord manifested Himself to you lately? Check your obedience and check your heart. Jesus knew that because iniquity would abound the love of many would grow cold. He even questioned if there would be any faith on the earth when He returned! Don’t sing the songs of Zion and Heaven if you are not willing to stand in their defense and be the warrior you were called to be. That is as heinous as a spy or draft dodger singing “God Bless America.”

Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (KJV)

Not only do we have a Commander, but also we have a chain of command among the troops. I know that this is often abused, ignored and accused of being archaic. Those who consider it archaic have created the chaotic. We now have a nation full of homes and churches that are torn apart as much spiritually as any body can be torn asunder by a Claymore mine.
Indeed, submit is a military term. It means you obey and subordinate yourself to another person. The current trend in teaching of mutual submission is misguided and catering to the culture but not true the text. Too many parents submit to their children now as it is and see what terror that has caused in homes, schools and workplaces. We only use that teaching between husband and wife and we like it, but we never use the same concept when we get to children obey your parents and yet in the Greek it is another form of the same word used for submit. This we don’t question, but preach it with all authority. When we get to servants, it is the same word used for the children. If I went into my Boss and said, “I tell you what I will obey you if you obey me. We are going to mutually submit to each other” I would get either a look of “your nuts” or raucous laughter and maybe a pink slip. If I tried telling my Drill Sgt. or my LT that we were now in mutual submission mode my life would not be worth living until I recanted that philosophy.
We have a chain of command and yes it can be misused, but that does not negate the chain. We had the right to refuse an unlawful order in the military, but we had better be sure it was an unlawful order. Officers have responsibilities to their troops and husbands and managers have responsibilities to their wives and employees. If everyone fulfills their role and uses the chain of command properly all things will be accomplished in decency and order. Our missions will be accomplished with love and respect because we serve the Supreme Commander by fulfilling His commands and using His design.

2 Cor 10:3-6
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 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; (KJV)

Now we need to know how to fight the good fight by using our rules of engagement. We must always remember it that it is a spiritual war we are fighting and not a carnal one. We do not use weapons like some cults and other religions to kill humans in the name of their god. We fight the evil spirits influencing the people. We win the war with the spirits and set the captives free in Christ. Never look at the human face of your enemy in hate. Love him, but hate the sin and the spirit of antiChrist that makes him your enemy. Remember that before your salvation you were exactly where he is now. Christ saved you and He wants to do the same for the one you facing. He wants to pull down strongholds or forts of Hell in people not to send them to Hell without a rescue attempt. He does that with the dynamite or mighty weapon of His Gospel. (Romans 1:16)
We are to tear down and demolish imaginations. Now this does not mean when a little kid pretends to be a cowboy. The word for imaginations is logismos meaning thoughts, computations, reasonings or conceit. The high things are attitudes that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. Any ideology, philosophy, theology or mind set that is in opposition to God and His Word we are to decimate by His Word and His Spirit not M16s, Anthrax or pressure cookers.
We are to bring every thought into captivity and bring it into obedience to Christ. By the way, obedience here is also the same root as submission and obedience in Ephesians 6. How silly is it to say that Christ’s and Belial’s thoughts will be in mutual submission? ’Nuff said? You see Christ requires absolute obedience, which also begs the issue of gray areas. If all is to be brought into obedience and submission to Christ then no area is gray in His eyes. We may be ignorant of the truth, but we are not to just write an area off because we are ignorant. We are rather to study and pray for wisdom on how to bring that area into proper submission to Christ. God used the black and white preachers of the past far more than the ones who prefer to walk in the semidarkness of the dusky gray that we have today.
Our current War on Terrorism is so difficult because we do not know exactly who is friend and who is the foe and where the foe hangs out. In our spiritual warfare, it is much easier. Any thought not in captivity to Christ or exalts itself against God is the foe. Very plain and very simple as is our weaponry.
Now, how do we win?

I John 5:4-5
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (KJV)

Faith is the victory!!! Brethren, it is not just for singing, but for practicing!!! Jesus has won and He is coming again and will reign on the earth. That’s it and that’s that!! We are gleaning His field watching Him turn tares into wheat until the final harvest when He separates them. He already overcame the world and we have overcome it when the Holy Spirit placed us in Him at our new birth. We share His victory judicially by our position in Him. By exercising our faith or trust in Him and His Word we can be brought into a partial experience of that victory here until we get the full experience at His return! Walk in victory!

1 Cor 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)

As a good Christian soldier, we should know how to celebrate our victory and whom to give proper credit and honor. It is indeed thanks be to God who took us out of sin and judgment, adopted us into the family and commissioned us as warriors of the faith!!! He who took our burdens and sorrows to bestow upon power, peace, and joy deserves all the praise that our lips can utter along with the living praise of our service!! Celebrate and gave Him praise and glory!
So how goes the war with you? Are you properly prepared? Are you AWOL? Are you using your armor? Are you obeying your Commander and properly using your chain of command? Are you fighting men or evil spirits? Are you using the rules of engagement and proper weapons? Are you sharing in the victory and winning battles? Are you celebrating and praising Him? I pray that it is so!!!!
Unbelieving friend, we want to deliver you from your bondage to satan and bring you into the glorious liberty of Christ. Will you allow Christ to free you? Come to Him seeking forgiveness and salvation. He will provide it and cast the enemy out of you and destroy his strongholds in your life? If you are ready to surrender than you are on the verge of victory!

 

http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/onward-christian-soldiers-dr-ronald-shultz-sermon-on-christian-disciplines-40830.asp

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s