Thursday, January 11, 2018

We are Soldiers in the Army of Christ

I'm a soldier.  And as a soldier my job is to obey the orders of my commanding officer.  My commanding officer is the Lord Jesus Christ.  And he has commanded me in the great commission: To make disciples of all nations with the living gospel of His life, death, and resurrection.  Then Jesus was lifted to heaven.  And he promised to return.  I believe he will do just that.  And he'll ask for a report on what I did while he was away.  As a soldier, my job is to fulfill my orders, under penalty of death.  To fail to carry out his command is to be in breach of my orders, and there is no choice, in this army, there is only do and die.  

We are all soldiers in God's army.  We have our mission, to conquer this world for Christ.  So that is what we must do, and that is what we will do.  God has only just begun to move this army to mission, to work, to sacrifice.  

I believe in God's army.  I believe in an army on fire for the gospel of Christ.  I believe in an army centered on discipleship, on living a deeper Christian life.  I believe in an excited, energized army, an army that dares to believe in great moves of God.  God has not finished with this army, indeed, He has only just begun his work in this army of God.  

Our mission is to preach the gospel and develop in our people the effects of salvation; discipline, passion, humility, spiritual power, and holiness of life.  We can do this mighty work through our weapons of righteousness, placed before us in the word of God.  We've great zeal in us for gospel proclamation.  

We can do this mighty work through street ministry, evangelism, and build it into our DNA as a movement.  We've no need of an evangelism ministry program.  What we need is the lifestyle of evangelism built into the DNA of our army.  And secondly, we need true holiness of life.  John Wesley one of our spiritual grandfathers saw this come to fruition in his time through small groups, holiness clubs, getting together to help one another honestly live out holiness.  Dare we really open ourselves up to another?  Dare we really share, from the heart, our struggles to grow in holiness?  It's just such weekly meetings, and daily prayer and study and dutiful confession that will renew us day in and day out to be fully ready to fight this battle. 

We're the church of God, the body of Christ moving on Earth.  "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." -Ephesians 2:19-22

The body will accomplish all that Christ has for us to accomplish.  There is no way around it.  Christ will do all he desires through us his people.  We are yielded to Him.  We are his body.  He is the head, we are the agents.  He is God, we are the servants.  He is the general, we are the soldiers.  Woe to us if we do not preach the gospel!

I know what your thinking.  I really do.  I often think the same thing.  The world is crumbling.  There is so much corruption, so much poverty, human trafficking, oppression, persecution, immorality, lies, and brokenness in this world.  There are so many multiplying evils, what possible difference could we make?  And doesn't it seem like the body of Christ has fallen asleep?  Doesn't it seem like there is so little hope left?

Yes indeed.  There are great difficulties ahead.  But it's at just such times like these, when everything seems to be crumbling, that God loves to work to generate massive transformation! It's at times like these that we'll know through and through, bones to bones, that it was only by God's power, by Christ's efficacy that we could ever persevere forward into such darkness.  We'll know that it wasn't of us, and our cleverness, but that it was by God's reality penetrating our reality, by God's miraculous designs and mercies in time and space that the tide finally turned!  

It wasn't us.  It was never us.  And we could never do it alone.  It's humbling to realize that God alone is the one who justifies, and God alone is the one who brings about real hope and real lasting change.  No man can do this, but only God almighty himself.  And we as human love to try so hard to do it ourselves, to show God that we don't need him, but every time humanity fails, under the weight of darkness, and God must swoop in to show His glory and our need for Him.  

Humanity wanted a world without God.  That is the fall.  And this is the fall.  Here it is.  This is the world without God.  But in fact even now God still intervenes, refusing to allow our fatal destructions to be final, He still continues to hold out his hand to us and pull us from the muck and mire.  He breaks our chains of sin.  He pours out His love to us, and wipes the tears from our eyes as He sets us in a spacious golden valley, suits us up with his armor, his uniform, the blue, the red, and the shield, and the sword, and breastplate of Christ's righteousness, girded up in His truth, and ready for battle.  

He's lit a candle in us you see, the candle is Christ, and this Spirit he places inside us, and we glow with His power.  And nothing is impossible for us in Christ.  Nothing is impossible.

It may not seem that way when your pressed on every side, doing battle with a dozen demons, fighting and fighting everyday, exhausted, frustrated, half-sick, and sleepy.  But it's at those moments when we so desperately need Him that He guides us through.  In fact those are just the moments that point us to the reality that we are in need of His (total) sustenance.  That's humbling isn't it?  Indeed it is.  To think that we can't go a single day without God's power and sustaining presence with us?  But it is quite true.  It's how we were designed.  So we need Christ in us, and we have a great Christ for our need.  This much is quite certain! 

The battle is terrible and difficult.  I won't sugar-coat it for you.  I cannot.  I've fought and fought.  And it seemed as if I was in a barren clearing in the deep wood, and monsters were crushing in from all sides.  And my eyes watered with exhaustion as I fought them with sword and spirit, buckler and faith, day and night cutting down the foul beasts with my sword.  And I'm dropped, and nearly dashed, bruised, beaten, cuts and gashes, spiritual wounds and scars as I fight the enemy's kingdom day and night.  

But I always seem to emerge alive, and strong, if not victorious.  But so often victorious as well, standing over the corpses of demons and monsters aplenty.  I'm sure you've had the same experiences metaphorically, as I have.  We fight each day in this spiritual battle.  We don't fight with steel and wood but with spiritual weapons: dedicated prayer, determined faith, dogged resistance to the darkness, love for biblical truth, and hatred for evil.  We don't fight men or women, we don't fight governments or societies, no, we fight the spiritual forces of darkness in the high places.  And as they work out their plans for evil, we work out the Spirit's plans for good; for holiness, redemption, hope, freedom, and transformation, for the least likely saints one could ever imagine.  

These are the most unlikely saints and soldiers, you and I, the most unlikely saints and soldiers indeed!  We're former drug addicts, alcoholics, abusers and abused, poor uneducated wretches, depressive suicidal street urchins, bipolar, mentally unchained, outcasts, physically disabled, angry, demented, sinful, evil, and terrible people bought from darkness with the precious blood of Jesus Christ and turned from sin and hell and to light, love, hope, faith, and freedom.  Oh such sweet freedom we've been given, and He's made us all new!  

We are unlikely saints, yet saints we quite remain, as the gift of Christ Jesus.  We wear as garments robes of white, the perfect righteousness of Christ.  He's purchased us, we are His body, His army, and His beloved people.  He loves us so much.  Even when we were still rebels against Him, He loved us so much and He set us free.  He set me free.  He set you free.  And it's a beautiful story.  It's such a beautiful story.  It brings me to tears, the beauty of this story, that Christ would choose you and I, makes no sense to me, yet His love is just that mystery, that He loves us so much, that He selected us, with such great love, and with such a peculiar and specific love for each of us, something special He loved in each of us.  And His love remains with us.  It's what spurs us to do anything.  Not to buy His love, not to earn it, no, but because we already have it in the free gift of Christ.  Your perfect in Him, your a very Godly and pure army.  Own it.  

So as an army we march to the beat of a different drum.  We march according to the orders of our great high commander Jesus Christ.  We march according to His commands, and we are stewards of his kingdom until He returns.  So we will fight.  We must fight.  There's no other choice.  We will fight to bring the gospel to the lost on the streets of this world.  We will fight in the streets, in the prisons, in the dope houses, along the red light districts, the brothel houses, the impoverished inner cities, the institutions, the houses of learning, the skidrows, the bars, the hospitals, the broken homes, and the darkest, dankest, most dismal places, where no light dwells, the great Light will shine and yes, we will fight!  We will fight to the very last! We will fight in the fire and volley, we will fight! We'll never give up!  

We'll return to the foundations and rally this army of God to new and greater heights than ever before.  We're moving forward into a new time of blessings, a new time of energy and resolve, and a new time of revival, great awakening, and unprecedented Spiritual power.  Glory to God in the highest heaven.  He is with us.  God is with us!  We have nothing to fear.  We are full of hope now, and full of life.  Christ fills us.  

So we shall take the gospel out our doors and into the streets.  We shall rally the church to holiness, to discipleship, to the true, real living out of this Christian faith.  We must do so.  There is no other choice.  We've a great master to serve and we must serve Him so very well.  And we will.  I believe we will.  I believe in you, because your the church, but more so I believe in Christ, whose church we are, and we shall not fail to be in this critical hour all he has called us to be. 

God be with us as we fight this war, in the struggle for the life and hope of humanity, against the evil one Satan. Our high King Jesus leads us now, and we've already won, because Christ has triumphed! So we shall declare it to all peoples, to all nations and individuals everywhere.  

Jesus is coming soon, and He must find us faithful, we've much work to do, so let us get to work, and do it for Christ.  He is coming soon now.  He will be along quickly.  He will be here soon.  Come Lord Jesus, come.  May the grace of God in Christ be with all His people, His army forever, Amen.   

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