ML-9 - I'm Gonna View That Holy City
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The apostle Paul said, “Fight the good fight of faith,” 1 Timothy 6:12.
Did you know that Christians are soldiers in the Lord's army? To find
out more about this wonderful idea, we encourage you to stay tuned as we
think about ‘Soldiers of Christ Arise.’
One of the most powerful pictures of the church that is seen in
Scripture is as the army of the Lord. Paul would say in Ephesians 6:12 “We
do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against
powers, against the spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Right now, if we're a child of God, we are soldiers in the Lord's army. God's
plea is as the old song says for ‘Soldiers of Christ to Arise’ and fight the
good fight of faith.
You know as we think about the power of the gospel, as we think
about living for Christ each and every day, we've got to realize we are in a
militant aggressive battle every day against Satan and the host of
wickedness. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says “We do not wrestle against flesh
and blood; rather we fight against Satan and the spiritual host wickedness
striving to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
And friend, as we think today about soldiers of Christ arising to the
call and the challenge in the Lord's army, let's realize that the kingdom of
Christ and really the battle of Christ is not of this world. God's soldiers here
are not in involved in a temporary physical battle; rather we're in a spiritual
battle. John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world, if it were my
soul my servants would fight.” The kingdom of Christ is a spiritual rule and
reign, and therefore we're involved in a spiritual battle against wickedness.
This is why we don't wrestle against flesh and blood as 2 Corinthians 10:4
says. This is why Jesus encouraged us to be wise as serpents and
harmless as doves. Thus, we're involved in the most important battle one
can ever imagine: the battle against Satan for souls.1 Peter 5:8 the
Scripture clearly says ‘be sober.’ The Scripture teaches us to ‘be active, to
be sober, to be vigilant for your adversary the devil walks about like a
roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour.’
And so today we want to think about, what does the Scripture teach
us about being in the Army of the Lord? What is my responsibility in the
You know when we think about the nature, what is it like in the Lord's
army? Let's realize that this is a volunteer army. Nobody is going to force
you to fight. Nobody is going to make you fight. Nobody is going to draft
you or make you enlist in the Lord's army. It is strictly a volunteer army. Do
you remember Psalm 110:3? The psalmist says, “In the day of your power
they will be volunteers.” Volunteers are what God was looking for, not
forced people but those who willingly want to come. This is why Jesus said,
“Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden.” Nobody's making
them, nobody's forcing them, but people freely come to Christ and
volunteer for His cause. Revelation 22:17, “Let whosoever will come is the
cry of the groom.” In Revelation 22 the Bible teaches us that when we
realize all that God has done for us, when we realize just how much Jesus
sacrificed, we have the ability to choose to serve God. This is why Joshua
would say in Joshua 24:15, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will
serve, as for me in my house we're going to serve the Lord.”
The choice is ours to make. When we realize the only other option is
to choose a life of sin, friend it's a very simple choice. Romans 6:17 Paul
would say, “God be thanked that though you were the slaves of sin, yet you
obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.”
You know the good news and the encouraging idea here is that in the
Lord's army as volunteers, those who really do volunteer to serve the Lord
are that much more committed.
What about somebody who enlists in the Army today? Let's say you
had people who enlisted and people who were drafted into the Army.
Which of those two do you think really want to be there? Well naturally the
ones who chose to be there. The same idea's true in the kingdom of Christ.
Those who choose to be there, those who make that choice, are the ones
who are going to work diligently in fighting the good fight of faith.
And I'll give an example. During the time of the judges in Joshua, you have
the example of Gideon. Here Gideon in the context of Joshua 6 and 7, he
reduced God's forces basically from 32,000 to 300 volunteers. ‘Anybody
who's fainthearted,’ Joshua said, ‘go home.’ Those who can't do it right,
they had a litmus test for that. They were sent home down from 32,000 to
300 volunteers. Those who wanted to be there were the ones who fought
and overcame in the battle.
Friend the same is true for us. If we're going to fight the good fight of
faith, I've got to go into it knowing, ‘I'm here because I want to be here.’ I'm
here to serve God. I'm here to fight the good fight of faith, and I want to do
what I can in this great volunteer army for the greatest cause in the world.
What else is the nature of the Lord's army like? What's it like in the
Lord's army? The Lord's army has a perfect captain and commander.
Hebrews 2:10, as captain of the Lord's army, Jesus has gone before us
and blazed the way or set the pattern to follow. “He was tempted in all
points as we are yet without sin,” Hebrews 4:15. We have that perfect
commander who knows how to defeat the devil and who has set the path
You know when we think about Jesus, He was not only ‘tempted in all
points as we are without sin’ yet the Bible says in 1 Peter 2:21-22; ‘He
committed no sin nor was guile or deceit found in His mouth’ and thus
Peter would say we're to follow in His footsteps. That's that the perfect path
that Jesus went down, I know exactly how to fight. I know exactly the plan. I
know the perfect position for defeat if I follow the Lord and Savior Jesus
You know when we think about Jesus the writer Paul says in 2
Corinthians 5:21 that “God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin on our
behalf that we might be made the righteousness of God in or through Him.”
I'm devoted to following Christ out of love for what He's done for me and
you. John 3:16 puts it this way so beautifully the Scripture says, “God so
loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in
Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Why do we follow Christ? Why are we motivated to get in line behind
the perfect commander? While we were still without strength in due time
Christ died for the ungodly, that's why! Because when man was at his
lowest, in my life and yours, when we needed God's mercy and grace and
help to overcome sin, Jesus lovingly made that path available to each one
of us. And thus out of that motivation commitment comes. Luke 9:23 Jesus
said, “If any man desires come after me let him deny himself, take up his
cross daily, and follow Me.” “Be faithful until death,” Jesus said, “and I'll
give you the crown of life.” I know full well that if I follow Christ, if I get in
line behind Him as the perfect commander, if I'm faithful to death, and if I
stay committed, I absolutely will be victorious in the greatest battle ever.
It was the great general Napoleon who said this, he said to his people
he said, ‘We rested the creation of our genius on force.’ Of Jesus he said,
‘This man has built an empire on love and at this moment,’ he said ‘millions
would die for him.’ Christ has never forced anybody. He's never made
anybody. Every person who wants to follow Christ faithfully does it out of
love. That's the perfect commander, the best you could ever begin to
imagine as it relates to giving ourselves to Almighty God and the things that
He wants us to do in this life.
As we think about the nature of the Lord's army, let's also realize that
the one weapon we use is the sword of the spirit. Ephesians 6:17, “And
taking the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.” In this battle
against evil, battle against sin, battle to overcome Satan, what weapon do I
have? I have the most powerful, able weapon you can ever imagine.
Romans 1:16 says, “The gospel is God's power to save.” We're not fighting
with man-made weapons, military might with jets or tanks, or machine guns
and we’re fighting with the sword of the spirit which the Bible tells us is the
Almighty word of God.
And friend this is the most powerful weapon you can ever have.
Listen to Hebrews 4 verse 12 the Bible says, “That the word of God is living
and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword piercing even to division
of soul and spirit joint and marrow, it's a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart.” As I fight against Satan, I can overcome him because
“God's word I can hide in my heart that I might not sin against Him,” Psalm
119:10-12. The Bible says, “If we receive with meekness the implanted
word it's able to save our souls,” James 1:21. And we fight that good fight
of faith with the word of God armed in our hearts and minds, so that we can
live faithfully to Him. And here's what's amazing about the word of God, not
only does the word of God have the power to defeat Satan, we know it
does. For in Matthew 4:1-11, as Jesus was tempted by Satan, to defend
Himself every time Jesus appealed to the Scripture. And said “It is written,
it is written, it is written,” and so it has the ability and the power to
But you know the word of God has the ability and power to help keep
me like I ought to be, to help keep me living as I ought to live. This is why
the psalmist said, “God's word is hidden in our heart that we might not sin
You know as we think about the nature of the Lord's army, let's also
realize this fact: there are no paid leaves in the Lord's army. You know you
might be in the Army today and you might get a paid leave. You might get a
month or six week vacation paid leave and get to go visit your family and
just be off for a while.
Friend let's realize that the Lord's army is a continual every day fight.
And when I do take that leave, you can rest assured Satan has me right
where he wants me. The Bible says in Acts 2:42, “They continued
steadfastly.” New Testament Christians continued steadfastly in the
apostle's doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and in prayers. This is
why Paul would say ‘be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the
work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain.’ This is why we're
taught to search the Scriptures daily, Acts 17:11. This is why we “Pray
without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 following. This is why we realize
that the eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the good and the evil.
God knows, and God sees. He wants me to be active. He wants me to be
working. He doesn't want me to get lazy. In fact the times you find in the
Bible where laziness occurs, people's souls were in jeopardy. 2
Thessalonians 3 clearly teaches that idea.
And so, let's realize this is an everyday battle in the Lord's army to
overcome self, to overcome sin, and overcome Satan.
But you know as we think about the nature of this army and we've
mentioned it multiple times already, but just to drive the point home let's
realize this army has the most dangerous enemy you could ever imagine.
You think of dangerous enemies that have existed throughout world
wars, and you think of people like Hitler. You think of people like maybe
Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. You think about great evil men who
have done great acts of atrocity upon mankind. But friend, I will promise
you they don't begin to compare with the evil heinous things Satan has
done. In the garden he tempted Adam and Eve and sin became a death.
And sin began to reign in each person because of sin from that time. He's
the one who tempted Jesus. He's the one tempted Peter and Judas and all
the havoc. Think about Job. Here's Job: He was upright and blameless
man. And Satan's been going back and forth on the earth, and God says
‘Have you considered my servant Job?’ And from that point, Satan begins
to wreak havoc in the life of Job doing everything possible to get him to
curse God and die.
Friend, that's the type of enemy that we're fighting against today. The
devil is described like a roaring lion in 1 Peter 5:8, a sly conniving serpent
in Revelation 12, and in Genesis 3, like a dragon in Revelation 12, just an
evil ungodly, immoral, murderer, and liar from the beginning, John chapter
And thus, if Satan is that type of enemy, then friend I assure you we
need every ounce of fight that we can muster. We need the help of God
and the encouragement of Scripture to overcome this wicked enemy.
But you know as we think about that fight, let's think about the nature
of not only the Army itself, let's think about what does the Scripture
describe as the nature of a good fighter or a good soldier in the Lord's
army? Friend that person must be well managed. That person must be in
shape. He must be spiritually active, and he must have his faculties ready
to serve in the Lord's army. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “If anyone's in
Christ he is a new creation old things have passed away behold all has
become new.” He must approach this fight with newness of life. Romans
6:4, “Putting the old past behind him and under the guidance and Lordship
of our Savior Jesus Christ.” We must realize “This Jesus whom has been
crucified is Lord and Christ,” Acts 2:36. He is one who must train fervently
in the Lord's army. When you think about Hebrews 12 and that great text of
all the redeemed, the Bible says in Hebrews 12:1, “Seeing then that we're
surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight
and the sin that does so easily ensnare us,” listen to , “let us run with
endurance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus the author and
finisher of our faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of
What's that good servant like? What’s that good soldier like? He must
run the race with endurance. He's got to train. He's got to give it his all.
He's got to catch a second wind we might say and keep running that race.
Paul looked at it this way in 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul said, “I discipline my
body and bring it into subjection lest when I have preached to others I
myself should become a castaway.” Did Paul have to train himself? Did he
have to work diligently? Did he have to fight the things off that often try to
come up in his life? Did he have to strive every day to win the battle? You
bet he did! Christians must train every day: prayer, Bible study, doing the
work of God, encouraging one another, those are all one another those are
all things that are so important in fighting the good fight of faith.
But you know one of the things that we also must do is build
endurance as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. That is we've got to continue
to grow. You can't get stagnant. 2 Peter 3:18 says, “But grow.” That's a
continued idea, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ.” It isn't enough just to say ‘Well I've reached this point
in my life.’ As a Christian, I've got to always be taking a step forward,
always be striving to win the battle, and always be striving to build up my
endurance as a Christian.
I will promise you every time that we may defeat Satan there is a plan
in action, there is a plan in his mind of another even greater way he thinks
to overcome us. Our endurance must ever be increasing as a child of God.
The great fighter Jack Dempsey said this he said, ‘A champion is
someone who gets up when he can't.” When you don't feel like you can
anymore, when you feel like you ready to throw in the towel, what
separates those who are faithful to God from those who aren't? You pick
yourself up and you keep going. “Be faithful until death,” Revelation 2:10.
And then as we think about, what's it like to be a good fighter in the
Lord's army? A good fighter always has a developed offense. That is we're
on the offense. We're looking to overcome Satan at all times. You know
when I think about fighting the good fight of faith, Paul will say in 2 Timothy
4:6-8, “I fought the good fight. I finished the race. I've kept the faith
henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the
Lord the righteous judge will give to me on that day.” Paul knew he had
fought the fight. He knew he'd kept the faith.
When we live faithful to God and we're striving to, we're not on the
defense- we're on the offense. That is we're looking. What good can I do?
How can I grow today? Not what's Satan going to throw at me, but what
can I do to strive to live faithful to God every day?
You know as we think about this idea of faithfulness and really having
an offense, striving every day to live faithful to the Lord, I'm reminded of
something else that a great fighter once said by the name of Mohammed
Ali. All of us are familiar with Mohammed Ali. Here's what he said upon his
offense he said this this as was his strategy he said, “I'll been fighting one
of the great fighters of his day,” he said “I'll beat him so bad; he'll need to
shoehorn to put his hat on.” Now you know when you think about having
offense that was his mind set. He said, ‘I'm going to go into this fight
thinking that man's going to need somewhere else to hang his hat when I'm
through with him.’ That's the mindset Christians want to have in the battle
against Satan. In the battle against evil, I don't want to be always on the
defense. I want go into it knowing I'm in a fight. I want to go into it knowing
Satan is going to tempt me. I want to go into it with a plan to overcome the
temptations that Satan may throw in each and every one of us every day.
Then as we think about the nature of a good soldier, a good soldier is
someone who must strengthen his efforts, must strengthen his defense,
and must be prepared to do that battle. 1 Peter 5:8 again says, “Be sober,
be vigilant, always on guard, always watchful, always looking out for the
temptations of Satan.” You know this happened to Peter and it was sad that
Peter was not ready. In Luke 22:31 Jesus said to Peter “Simon Simon
Satan desires to have you that he may sift you as wheat, but I've prayed for
you.” I will assure you that our name can be placed where Simon's name
is. My name can be put there and yours as well. You can rest assured
Satan desires to have you. This is why we must ever be strengthening in
the word of God, in our work of the church, and in our lives as Christians,
so that we can overcome Satan and all that he throws at us.
As a good soldier, we also need to never underestimate the
opponent. We don't want to ever get to a point where we say ‘Satan he's
not that bad. I can overcome him. He's not that difficult to defeat.’ You read
Matthew 4 again. Jesus was tempted in every way possible, and only by
His strength in the word of God was He able to overcome. Luke 4 when the
woman's house is cleaned out of all the evil servants the Bible says that
they did leave, but they left until a more opportune time arose. Friend you
can rest assured Satan's going to do his part. Job 1 presents him as an
active, aggressive, and militant evil enemy. We need to realize don't ever
underestimate what Satan can do and the things that he can do against us
in this life.
The nature of a good soldier is one who must never give up and one
must never give in in fighting this great battle.
But friend because of all that God has done for us, we need to be
motivated every day to serve Him in this army. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 the
apostle Paul said, ‘The love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus
that if one died for all then all died and He who died for all died for them
that those who live it for Him should not die again but live for Christ each
and every day so that we can be faithful unto the Lord and remain true to
His gospel.” Don't give up in fighting the good fight of faith. Stay true in the
greatest cause ever.
I'm reminded of the words of 2 Corinthians 8:9 the Bible says, “You
know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ though He was rich yet for your
sakes He became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich.”
Look at what Jesus did in each one of our lives. He gave up the beauty and
the splendor of that place called heaven, so that one day leave it and come
to this earth, dying on the cross, so that one day we could live in heaven
with Him for eternity.
Friend are you in the Lord's army today? Have you obeyed the
gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
If not, we beg you today leave a life of sin and come to Jesus in
obedience to the gospel.
Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world?
Would you be willing to turn from a life of sin and selfishness? (Luke
Would you confess the name of Jesus as Lord and Savior of your
life? (Romans 10:10)
And would you to have every sin washed away be immersed in water
for the forgiveness of your sins? (Acts 2:38)
If as a child of God, you know that in the Lord's army your life's not
been lived like it should, friend there's always time to come home, to get
your life right, and to stay faithful to God.
May each of us strive to really be the soldiers God wants us to be.
Study Questions for: “Motivational Lesson 9”
1. What did Paul tell us to do in 1 Timothy 6:12?
2. What do we wrestle against according to Ephesians 6:12?
3. What are we striving to bring into captivity to the obedience of Christ
according to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5?
4. Is Jesus’ kingdom this world according to John 18:36?
5. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be what?
6. How is Satan described in 1 Peter 5:8?
7. Are people forced to be in the Lord’s army according to Psalm 110:3?
8. According to Hebrews 2:10, who is the captain of our army that has gone
before us and prepared a way?
9. According to Hebrews 4:15, who was Christ tempted like?
10. What is the sword of the spirit according to Ephesians 6:17?