This year marks the 55th year of National Service, and in a few weeks’ time, we will be celebrating our nation’s 57th birthday. May we therefore be reminded of 2 Timothy 2:3, to be ready to “endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Paul wrote this pastoral letter to Timothy, and he recommended the disciplined life of a soldier. He did not minimise the hardship that Timothy had to undergo and exhorted him to have the qualities of a good soldier. (2 Tim 2:3-4). These verses are instructive as to why, how and what we must do to fight the “good fight of faith” (2 Tim 4:7).
1. Why – because we are in a spiritual war
We are engaged in a spiritual war. And we are on the winning side! The defeat of Satan has been decided (Rev 20:10) and we must not forget that.
The Ultimate Provision has been made by the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, to provide total forgiveness of our sins, and a completely new way of living by faith. What a joy that is! What a victory that is! Yet it must become personal for each of us – that it is truly “no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). To do so, we must stay at war against sin and Satan!
Sin is a real enemy and present in all of us (1 John 1:8, Rom 3:23). And our adversary the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8), and has not stopped his agenda to “blind the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4). Our enemy is also the father of lies (John 8:44). Woe be to the Christian who thinks that he can do whatever he wants to do now that his sins are forgiven.
I recall the words of the late Rev Dr Patrick Tan, founder of Military Christian Fellowship Singapore, “A good Christian soldier fights to win, to overcome sin and vanquish Satan by the truth and power of the risen Christ…A good soldier is prepared for hard work and if necessary, to make sacrifices. When facing his enemies, a good soldier stands his ground, confident and prepared. A Christian must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
2. How – knowing who we serve
As a soldier for Christ, the Lordship of Christ is key to unlocking our weapons for the battle. We do not entangle ourselves with the “affairs of this life” (2 Tim 3:4). He wants us to be totally committed to His cause.
So let us also take the current Sunday pulpit series on Hell seriously. Eternal judgment is real. Hell is permanent. There is no end-date to it. This was where I understood the need for salvation, the need for the Cross of Christ to forgive my sins, and the need to become a soldier for Christ to bring this message to the lost. And this need and passion to give my life back to the Lord has only deepened, because whilst judgment is real, so are the Lord’s eternal rewards (Matthew 6:20). The Lord, our Commander-in-Chief, is a Rewarder. And the Lord Himself will “reward each one for whatever good they do” (Eph 6:8).
3. What – pleasing the One whom we serve
How about us today? Do we desire to live a life that pleases the Lord?
If so, the good news is that our Lord Jesus has readied spiritual weapons for us. Paul reveals this in the well-loved passage in Ephesians 6:10-18, that God has a “shield of faith” (Eph 6:16) and a “sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17) ready for us to do battle with.
When Christ is Lord, we submit to His authority, and we want to do His will from our heart. That is a loyal soldier for Christ. A soldier who trusts his Commander, and whom his Commander can entrust weapons and delegate his authority to him to win the war.
In Lighthouse Evangelism, let us raise up an army of soldiers, messengers, warriors of Light that aims only to please the Lord. An army that is motivated by the love of God, not the hate of man. An army of Christian soldiers, with the courage of King David, who even when he fought Goliath as a youth, was confident that “the Lord saves; the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sam 17:47). An army worthy of the Lord, that has the faith of Moses, who “regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Heb 11:6).
Monday: 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
Tuesday: Revelations 20:10
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Wednesday: Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Thursday: Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Friday: Revelations 20:15
Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Saturday: Ephesians 6:8
because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
Sunday: 1 Samuel 17:47
All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.
All scriptures are quoted from the New International Version.
By Bro David Jeremiah Mok