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Word Studies, Devotionals, Sermons, Illustrations
Old and New Testament.
young soldier has the will to fight; however,
experience in fighting is lacking -- zeal without knowledge.
2. The old soldier has experience in fighting; however, the
will to fight is missing -- knowledge without zeal.
3. The good soldier has both the will to fight and the
experience in fighting -- the right combination of zeal and
1. The Objective is the goal toward which all are striving.
a. The objective must always be clearly defined.
b. There is always an ultimate objective and other immediate
c. All immediate objectives must contribute to the ultimate
2. The Offensive is to take the initiative by attacking and
imposing your will on the enemy.
a. This involves attitude even when it cannot involve action.
b. It allows the commander to set the pace of the battle.
c. It allows the commander to exploit the weaknesses of the enemy.
d. Defensive action is only adopted for a limited period of time
as a secondary measure to allow the
opportunity to take offensive actions.
3. Concentration is to mass one's forces at a critical time and
place for decisive action.
a. Superiority results from the proper combination of the elements
of combat power.
b. Through concentration, numerically inferior forces can obtain
combat superiority by striking at
crucial points in the enemy's line.
4. Economy of force is skillful and prudent use of forces.
involved measured allocation of
available combat power to primary and secondary tasks.
5. Mobility is the ability to move with all speed and ease of
6. Cooperation is collective action and coordinated efforts of all
forces toward a common goal.
a. Allies are not at war with one another.
b. Allies come under one commander.
c. Cooperation with an enemy is not cooperation! It is treason!
d. Failure to cooperate with an ally is a gross error.
7. Security is measures taken to prevent surprise, preserve
freedom of action, and deny the enemy
access to vital information.
a. It involves accurate intelligence of the enemy.
b. It involves continuous protection from the enemy.
8. Surprise is striking an enemy at a time,
in a place, and in a
manner for which he is not prepared. It
does not always mean to take unawares. It means, also, to take in
such a way that when the enemy
does find out about it that it is too late to do anything.
9. Communication is a system for the sending and receiving of
messages, intelligence, and supplies.
a. Lines must be kept open.
b. Lines must not be overextended.
10. Pursuit is an active following after an enemy with a view to
his total destruction.
Victory must be
pursued to the point where the beaten enemy will never rise again.
"Only active pursuit of the beaten enemy will yield the total
fruit of victory," General Clauswitz.
1. The military establishment of the Roman Empire assured its
tranquility and success.
2. In the purer ages of the Roman Empire, the use of military arms
was reserved only for citizens who
a. had a country to love,
b. had property to defend,
c. had a share in enacting laws which were to their interest and
duty to maintain.
3. The patriotism of the Romans made them almost undefeatable.
4. Upon entering the army, soldiers took a solemn oath
a. never to desert their standard, (The standard was a golden
eagle, an object of fondest devotion.)
b. submit his own will to the commands of the leaders,
c. sacrifice his life for the safety of the Emperor and the
5. Soldiers were inspired by pay which was excellent.
6. The soldiers were also inspired by fear.
a. It was impossible for cowardice or disobedience to escape the
b. Centurions were authorized to chastise soldiers with blows.
c. Generals were authorized to chastise with death.
7. It was an inflexible maxim that the soldiers should dread their
officers more than the enemy.
This dread produced
b. docility. They were easily managed, obedient, easily taught,
and willing to learn; thus, a valor was produced that outdid the
barbarians who were impetuous and of irregular passions.
8. Valor alone was not enough. Military exercises were vital and
a. These were held morning and evening.
b. Even if a soldier was older, he still did his exercises daily.
c. Sheds were erected in the winter for exercises.
d. Arms used in the exercises were double the weight of those used
in actual warfare.
e. The only difference in activity or circumstances during peace
and war was the presence of
blood on the battlefields.
f. They cultivated the science of tactics.
g. They could advance 20 miles in 6hrs, and they carried their
baggage until they met the enemy.
9. The best generals and emperors encouraged the soldiers by the
a. their presence,
b. their example,
c. their personal instruction, and
d. challenging their personal strength.
Now, you can understand why Paul referred to the military life
when he exhorted, instructed, warned, charged, and prepared
Timothy to guard the gospel. Paul was well-acquainted with the
Roman army. Why? When Claudius Lysias ordered Paul to go to
Caesarea for a government trial, two hundred soldiers, two hundred
spearmen, and seventy horsemen from the Roman army formed his
personal escort! He was also chained to a Roman soldier night and
day for two whole years. Yes, Paul knew the life of a soldier. Do
you? Will you? Or are you too entangled in civilian affairs?
one cannot but admire at the precaution of the Romans, in
providing themselves of such household servants, as might not only
serve at other times for the common offices of life, but might
also be of advantage to them in their wars; and indeed, if any one
does but attend to the other parts of their military discipline,
he will be forced to confess that their obtaining so large a
dominion, hath been the acquisition of their valor, and not the
bare gift of fortune; for they do not begin to use their weapons
first in time of war, nor do they then put their hands first into
motion, while they avoided so to do in times of peace; but,
as if their weapons did always cling to them...
CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS MUST EXERCISE THEMSELVES SHARPENING THE
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, BECOMING FACILE IN WIELDING SUCH SWORD
BEFORE THE BATTLE BEGINS.. FOR ONCE THE BATTLE HAS BEGUN IS
TOO LATE TO PRACTICE THE TECHNIQUES OF FIGHTING THE ENEMY
have never any truce from warlike exercises; nor do they stay till
times of war admonish them to use them; for their military
exercises differ not at all from the real use of their arms,
...but every soldier is every day exercised,
...and that with great diligence,
...as if it were in time of war which is
...the reason why they bear the fatigue of battles so
easily; for neither can any disorder remove them from their usual
regularity, nor can fear affright them out of it, nor can labor
tire them; which firmness of conduct makes them always to overcome
those that have not the same firmness; nor would he be mistaken
that should call those their exercises unbloody battles, and their
battles bloody exercises.
MINDS GIRDED FOR ACTION -
WATCHING & PRAYING - Mt 26:41
SOBER IN SPIRIT - 1Pe 1:13, 2Ti 4:5
BE ON ALERT - 1Co 16:13, Ep 6:18, Col 4:2, 1Th 5:6, 1Pe 5:8
can their enemies easily surprise them with the suddenness of
their incursions; for as soon as they have marched into an enemy's
THE FULL ARMOR OF CHRIST
Ep 6:11, Ro 13:12, 14, 1Th 5:8, Col 3:10, 12, 14
do not begin to fight till they have walled
their camp about;
nor is the fence they raise rashly made, or uneven;
nor do they all abide in it,
nor do those that are in it take their places at random;
but if it happens that the ground is uneven, it is first leveled:
their camp is also foursquare by measure,
and carpenters are ready, in great numbers, with their tools, to
erect their buildings for them.
(70) Now here one cannot but admire at the
precaution of the Romans, in providing themselves of such household
servants, as might not only serve at other times for the common offices of
life, but might also be of advantage to them in their wars; (71)
and indeed, if any one does but attend to the other parts of their
military discipline, he will be forced to confess that their obtaining so
large a dominion, hath been the acquisition of their valor, and not the
bare gift of fortune; (72) for they do not begin to use their
weapons first in time of war, nor do they then put their hands first into
motion, while they avoided so to do in times of peace; but, as if their
weapons did always cling to them, they have never any truce from warlike
exercises; nor do they stay till times of war admonish them to use them;
(73) for their military exercises differ not at all from the real
use of their arms, but every soldier is every day exercised, and that with
great diligence, as if it were in time of war which is the reason why they
bear the fatigue of battles so easily; (74) for neither can any
disorder remove them from their usual regularity, nor can fear affright
them out of it, nor can labor tire them; which firmness of conduct makes
them always to overcome those that have not the same firmness; (75)
nor would he be mistaken that should call those their exercises unbloody
battles, and their battles bloody exercises. (76) Nor can their
enemies easily surprise them with the suddenness of their incursions; for
as soon as they have marched into an enemy’s land, they do not begin to
fight till they have walled their camp about; (77)
nor is the fence they raise rashly made, or uneven; nor do they all abide
in it, nor do those that are in it take their places at random; but if it
happens that the ground is uneven, it is first leveled: their camp is also
foursquare by measure, (78) and
carpenters are ready, in great numbers, with their tools, to erect their
buildings for them.
(79) As for what is within the camp, it is set
apart for tents, but the outward circumference hath the resemblance of a
wall, and is adorned with towers at equal distances, (80)
where between the towers stand the engines for throwing arrows and darts,
and for slinging stones, and where they lay all other engines that can
annoy the enemy, all ready for their several operations. (81)
They also erect four gates, one at every side of the circumference, and
those large enough for the entrance of the beasts, and wide enough for
making excursions, if occasion should require. (82)
They divide the camp within into streets, very
conveniently, and place the tents of the commanders in the middle; but in
the very midst of all is the general’s own tent, in the nature of a
temple, (83) insomuch that it appears to
be a city built on the sudden, with its marketplace, and place for
handicraft trades, and with seats for the officers, superior and inferior;
where, if any differences arise, their causes are heard and determined.
(84) The camp, and all that is in it, is
encompassed with a wall round about, and that sooner than one would
imagine, and this by the multitude and the skill of the laborers; and, if
occasion require, a trench is drawn round the whole, whose depth is four
cubits, and its breadth equal.
(85) When they have thus secured themselves, they
live together by companies, with quietness and decency, as are all their
other affairs managed with good order and security. Each company hath also
their wood, and their corn, and their water brought them, when they stand
in need of them; (86) for they neither
sup nor dine as they please themselves singly, but all together. Their
times also for sleeping, and watching, and rising, are notified beforehand
by the sound of trumpets, nor is anything done without such a signal;
(87) and in the morning the soldiery go
every one to their centurions, and these centurions to their tribunes, to
salute them; with whom all the superior officers go to the general of the
whole army, (88) who then gives them of
course the watchword and other orders, to be by them carried to all that
are under their command; which is also observed when they go to fight, and
thereby they turn themselves about on the sudden, when there is occasion
for making sallies, as they come back when they are recalled, in crowds
(89) When they are to go out of their camp, the
trumpet gives a sound, at which time nobody lies still, but at the first
imtimation they take down their tents, and all is made ready for their
going out; (90) then do the trumpets
sound again, to order them to get ready for the march; then do they lay
their baggage suddenly upon their mules and other beasts of burden, and
stand, at the place for starting, ready to march; when also they set fire
to their camp, and this they do because it will be easy for them to erect
another camp, and that it may not ever be of use to their enemies.
(91) Then do the trumpets give a sound the third
time, that they are to go out in order to excite those that on any account
are a little tardy, that so no one may be out of his rank when the army
marches. (92) Then does the crier stand
at the general’s right hand, and asks them thrice, in their own tongue,
whether they be now ready to go out to war or not. To which they reply as
often, with a loud and cheerful voice, saying, “We are ready.”
And this they do almost before the question is asked them; they do this as
filled with a kind of martial fury, and at the time that they so cry out,
they lift up their right hands also.
When, after this, they are gone out of their camp,
they all march without noise, and in a decent manner, and every one keeps
his own rank, as if they were going to war. The footmen are armed with
breastplates and headpieces, and have swords on each side; (94)
but the sword which is upon their left side is much
longer than the other; for that on the right side is not longer than a
span. (95) Those footmen also that are
chosen out from amongst the rest to be about the general himself, have a
lance and a buckler; but the rest of the foot soldiers have a spear and a
long buckler, besides a saw and a basket, a pickaxe and an ax, a thong of
leather, and a hook, with provisions for three days; so that a footman
hath no great need of a mule to carry his burdens. (96)
The horsemen have a long sword on their right sides,
and a long pole in their hand: a shield also lies by them obliquely on one
side of their horses, with three or more darts that are borne in their
quiver, having broad points, and no smaller than spears. They have also
headpieces and breastplates, in like manner as have all the footmen.
(97) And for those that are chosen to be
about the general, their armor no way differs from that of the horsemen
belonging to other troops; and he always leads the legions forth, to whom
the lot assigns that employment.
(98) This is the manner of the marching and resting
of the Romans, as also these are the several sorts of weapons they use.
But when they are to fight, they leave nothing without forecast, nor to be
done offhand, but counsel is ever first taken before any work is begun,
and what hath been there resolved upon is put in execution presently; (99)
for which reason they seldom commit any errors; and if they have been
mistaken at any time they easily correct those mistakes. (100)
They also esteem any errors they commit upon taking counsel beforehand, to
be better than such rash success as is owing to fortune only; because such
fortuitous advantage tempts them to be inconsiderate, while consultation,
though it may sometimes fail of success, hath this good in it, that it
makes men more careful hereafter; (101)
but for the advantages that arise from chance, they are not owing to him
that gains them; and as to what melancholy accidents happen unexpectedly,
there is this comfort in them that they have however taken the best
consultations they could to prevent them.
(102) Now they so
manage their preparatory exercises of their weapons, that not the bodies
of the soldiers only but their souls, may also become stronger: they are
moreover hardened for war by fear; (103)
for their laws inflict capital punishments, not only for soldiers running
away from their ranks, but for slothfulness and inactivity, though it be
but in a lesser degree; as are their generals more severe than their laws,
for they prevent any imputation of cruelty toward those under
condemnation, by the great rewards they bestow on the valiant soldiers; (104)
and the readiness of obeying their commanders is so great, that it is very
ornamental in peace; but when they come to a battle, the whole army is but
one body, (105) so well coupled together
are their ranks, so sudden are their turnings about, so sharp their
hearing as to what orders are given them, so quick their sight of the
ensigns, and so nimble are their hands when they set to work; (106)
whereby it comes to pass, that what they do is done quickly, and what the
suffer they bear with the greatest patience. Nor can we find any examples
where they have been conquered in battle, when they came to a close fight,
either by the multitude of the enemies, or by their stratagems, or by the
difficulties in the places they were in; no, nor by fortune neither, for
their victories have been surer to them than fortune could have granted
them. (107) In a case, therefore, where
counsel still goes before action, and where, after taking the best advice,
that advice is followed by so active an army, what wonder is it that
Euphrates on the east, the ocean on the west, the most fertile regions of
Libya on the south, and the Danube and the Rhine on the north, are the
limits of this empire. One might well say, that the Roman possessions are
not inferior to the Romans themselves.
C. H. Spurgeon: "As the young
Hannibal was brought by his father to the altar of his country,
and there sworn to life-long hatred of Rome, so should we be, from
the hour of our spiritual birth, the sworn enemies of sin, the
enlisted warriors of the Cross; to fight on for Jesus till life’s
latest hour, when all shall be "more than conquerors through Him
that hath loved us." The Spartan mother, as soon as her child was
born, looked upon the babe as having in it the possibilities of
share; and the whole training of the Lacedemonians aimed solely at
producing good soldiers, who would honour the race from which they
sprung. So should we look upon every young convert as a recruit;
not merely as one who has been himself saved, but as having within
his new-born mature the possibilities of a good soldier of Jesus
(The Biblical Illustrator)
Spurgeon: A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ: (CLICK
HERE for entire sermon by Spurgeon)
Many men, many minds.
In reference to what a Christian is there have been very many and
diverse opinions. Paul’s description of a Christian in the text is
that of a soldier, and that means something very far different
either from a religious fop, whose best delight is music and
millinery, or a theological critic who makes a man an offender for
a word, or a spiritual glutton who cares for nothing but a
lifelong enjoyment of the fat things full of marrow, or an
ecclesiastical slumberer who longs only for peace for himself. The
Christian is a self-sacrificing man as the soldier must be. A
soldier is a serving man. A soldier is full often a suffering man.
Once again, the true soldier is an ambitious being. Paul does not
exhort Timothy to be a common, or ordinary soldier, but to be a
"good soldier of Jesus Christ"; for all soldiers, and all true
soldiers, may not be good soldiers. David had many soldiers, and
good soldiers too, but you remember it was said of many, "These
attained not unto the first three." Now Paul, if I read him
rightly, would have Timothy try to be of the first three, to be a
I. We shall endeavor to
DESCRIBE A GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST.
We must begin with this fundamental — he must be loyal to his
He is obedient to his Captain’s commands.
To conquer wilt be his ruling passion.
Wellington sent word to
his troops one night, "Ciudad Rodrigo must be taken tonight." And
what do you think was the commentary of the British soldiers
appointed for the attack? "Then," said they all, "we will do it."
So when our great Captain sends round, as he doth to us, the word
of command, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to
every creature," if we were all good soldiers of the cross, we
should say at once, "We will do it." The passion for victory with
the soldier often makes him forget everything else. Before the
battle of Waterloo, Picton had had two of his ribs smashed in at
Quatre Bras, but he concealed this serious injury, and, though
suffering intensest agony, he rode at the head of his troop, and
led one of the greatest charges which decided the fortunes of the
day. He never left his post, but rode on till a ball crushed in
his skull and penetrated to the brains. Then in the hot fight the
hero fell. In that same battle one of our lieutenants, in the
early part of the day, had his left forearm broken by a shot; he
could not, therefore, hold the reins in his hand, but he seized
them with his mouth, and fought on till another shot broke the
upper part of the arm to splinters, and it had to be amputated;
but within two days there he was, with his arm still bleeding, and
the wound all raw, riding at the head of his division. Brave
things have been done amongst the soldiers of our country — Oh,
that such brave things were common among the armed men of the
4. A good soldier
is very brave at a charge.
A good soldier is like a rock under attack.
He derives his strength from on high.
This has been true even
of some common soldiers, for religious men when they have sought
strength from God have been all the braver in the day of conflict.
I like the story of Frederick the Great; when he overheard his
favorite general engaged in prayer, and was about to utter a
sneering remark, the fine old man, who never feared a foe, and did
not even fear his majesty’s jest, said, "Your Majesty, I have just
been asking aid from your Majesty’s great ally." He had been
waiting upon God.
In the battle of
Salamanca, when Wellington bade one of his officers advance with
his troops, and occupy a gap, which the Duke perceived in the
lines of the French, the general rode up to him, and said, "My
lord, I will do the work, but first give me a grasp of that
conquering right hand of yours." He received a hearty grip, and
away he rode to the deadly encounter. Often has my soul said to
her Captain, "My Lord, I will do that work if Thou wilt give me a
grip of Thy conquering right hand." Oh, what power it puts into a
man when he gets a grip of Christ, and Christ gets a grip of him!
II. Thus I have
described a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Give me a few minutes
while I EXHORT YOU TO BE SUCH.
1. I exhort you
who are soldiers of Christ to be good soldiers, because many of
you have been so.
Dishonour not your past, fall not from your high standing.
"Forward" be your motto.
2. Be good soldiers,
for much depends upon it.
3. Good soldiers we
ought to be, for it is a grand old cause that is at stake.
4. I implore you to be
good soldiers of Jesus, when you consider the fame that has
A soldier when he receives his colors finds certain words
embroidered on them, to remind him of the former victories of the
regiment in which he serves. Look at the eleventh chapter of
Hebrews, and see the long list of the triumphs of the faithful.
Remember how prophets and apostles served God; recollect how
martyrs joyfully laid down their lives; look at the long line of
the reformers and the confessors; remember your martyred sires and
covenanting fathers, and by the grace of God I beseech you walk
not unworthy of your noble lineage.
5. Be good soldiers
because of the victory which awaits you.
6. Besides, and lastly,
if I want another argument to make you good soldiers, remember
your Captain, the Captain whose wounded hands and pierced feet are
tokens of his love to you. Redeemed from going down to the pit,
what can you do sufficiently to show your gratitude? Assured of
eternal glory by-and-by, how can you sufficiently prove that you
feel your indebtedness. (The Biblical
C. Garrett: "Some of God’s people
seem to forget this. They think they are soldiers on pay days and
at reviews: but as soon as the fiery darts begin to fall around
them, and the road gets rough and rugged, they fancy they are
deserters. A strange mistake this. You are never so much a soldier
as when you are marching or fighting. I fear the fault of this
mistake lies very much with some of us who may be called
recruiting sergeants. In persuading men to enlist we speak much
more of the ribbons, the bounty money, and the rewards, than we do
of the battle-field and the march. Hence, perhaps, the error. But
if we are to blame in this respect our great King is not. The
whole of His teaching is in the other direction. He puts all the
difficulties fairly before us, and we are exhorted to count the
cost, so that we may not be covered with shame at last." (The Biblical
H. O. Mackey: The personal magnetism
of General McLellan over his soldiers in the Civil War was a
constant experience. Once when the tide of success seemed to go
against the Union forces, and dismay was gradually deepening into
despair, his arrival in the camp at night worked a revolution
among the troops. The news "General McLellan is here" was caught
up and echoed from man to man. Whoever was awake roused his
neighbour, eyes were rubbed, and the poor tired fellows sent up
such a hurrah as the army of the Potomac never heard before. Shout
upon shout went out into the stillness of the night, was taken up
along the road, repeated by regiment, brigade, division, and
corps, until the roar died in the distance. The effect of this
man’s coming upon the army — in sunshine or in rain, darkness or
day, victory or defeat — was ever electrical, defying all attempts
to account for it. (The Biblical
A young Christian
officer said, "Our heavenly Captain wants no feather-bed soldiers.
He wants those who are not afraid of camp bed and marching orders,
who don’t mind "roughing it a little by the way, because they know
that perfect rest awaits them when their home-call sounds, and
their race here is ended." (The Biblical
Major Smith: "I remember a story of
a French grenadier, who, in a war with the Austrians, was in
charge of a small fort commanding a narrow gorge, up which only
two of the enemy could climb at a time. When the defenders of the
fort heard that the enemy were near, being few in number, they
deserted, and left the brave grenadier alone. But he felt he could
not give up the place without a struggle, so he barred the doors,
raised the drawbridge, and loaded all the muskets left behind by
his comrades. Early in the morning, with great labour, the enemy
brought up a gun from the valley, and laid it on the fort. But the
grenadier made such good use of his loaded muskets that the men in
charge of the gun could not hold their position, and were
compelled to retire; and he kept them thus at bay all day long. At
evening the herald came again to demand the surrender of the fort,
or the garrison should be starved out. The grenadier asked for a
night for consideration, and in the morning expressed the
willingness of the garrison to surrender if they might "go out
with all the honours of war." This, after some demur, was agreed
to, and presently the Austrian army below saw a single soldier
descending the height with a whole sheaf of muskets on his
shoulder, with which he marched through their lines and then threw
them down. "Where is the garrison?" asked the Austrian commander,
astonished. "I am the garrison," replied the brave man, and they
were so delighted with his plucky resistance that the whole army
saluted him, and he was afterwards entitled the "First Grenadier
of France." (The
C. H. Spurgeon:
The Commons of England being very importunate (troublesomely
urgent -overly persistent in request or demand) with Edward to
make war with France, he consented to satisfy their importunity,
though willing rather to enjoy the fruits of his wars and toils,
and spend the rest of his days in peace. When he took the field he
ordered to accompany him a dozen of fat, capon-eating burgesses
(representatives in British parliament), who had been most zealous
for that expedition. These he employed in all military services,
to lie in the open fields, stand whole nights upon the guard, and
caused their quarters to be beaten up with frequent alarms, which
was so intolerable to those fat gentry accustomed to lie on soft
down, and that could hardly sit on a session’s (session = a
meeting of the legislature) bench without nodding, that a treaty
being desired by King Louis, none were so forward to press the
acceptance of his offers, or to excuse so little done by the king
with so great preparations. (The Biblical
on the good soldier:
“To live,” said
Seneca, “is to be a soldier” ... “The life of every man,” said
Epictetus, “is a kind of campaign, and a campaign which is long
(i) The soldier’s
service must be a concentrated service .
Once a man has enlisted
on a campaign he can no longer involve himself in the ordinary
daily business of life and living; he must concentrate on his
service as a soldier. The Roman code of Theodosius said: “We
forbid men engaged on military service to engage in civilian
occupations.” A soldier is a soldier and nothing else; the
Christian must concentrate on his Christianity. That does not mean
that he must engage on no worldly task or business. He must still
live in this world, and he must still make a living; but it does
mean that he must use whatever task he is engaged upon to
demonstrate his Christianity.
(ii) The soldier is
conditioned to obedience .
The early training of a
soldier is designed to make him unquestioningly obey the word of
command. There may come a time when such instinctive obedience
will save his life and the lives of others. There is a sense in
which it is no part of the soldier’s duty “to know the reason
why.” Involved as he is in the midst of the battle, he cannot see
the over-all picture. The decisions he must leave to the commander
who sees the whole field. The first Christian duty is obedience to
the voice of God, and acceptance even of that which he cannot
(iii) The soldier is
conditioned to sacrifice .
A. J. Gossip tells how,
as a chaplain in the 1914–18 war, he was going up the line for the
first time. War and blood, and wounds and death were new to him.
On his way he saw by the roadside, left behind after the battle,
the body of a young kilted Highlander. Oddly, perhaps, there
flashed into his mind the words of Christ: “This is my body
broken for you.” The Christian must ever be ready to sacrifice
himself, his wishes and his fortune, for God and for his
(iv) The soldier is
conditioned to loyalty .
When the Roman soldier
joined the army he took the sacramentum , the oath of loyalty to
his emperor. Someone records a conversation between Marshal Foch
and an officer in the 1914–18 war. “You must not retire,” said
Foch, “you must hold on at all costs.” “Then,” said the
officer aghast, “that means we must all die.” And Foch answered:
“Precisely!” The soldier’s supreme virtue is that he is faithful
unto death. The Christian too must be loyal to Jesus Christ,
through all the chances and the changes of life, down even to the
gates of death.
to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. 2000, c1975 (William Barclay)
Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.)
G. Calthrop: A GOOD
SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST
I. A SOLDIER MUST BE
II. THE SOLDIER AFTER
HAVING BEEN ENLISTED HAS TO BE DRILLED —
that is to say, he has
to learn his business. A good soldier is not to be made in a day;
there must be time and pains spent upon him; he must be trained
and taught, and that very carefully, before he is fit to fight
against the enemies of his country. And it is just the same with
Christian soldiers. They have to learn to act together, so as to
support and help one another in the conflict with evil. And then
they have to learn the use of their weapons — of one more
especially, which is called the "sword of the Spirit."
III. WE HAVE ENEMIES TO
FIGHT WITH —
real enemies, not
imaginary ones: "the world, the flesh, and the devil." In order to
enable you to understand what is meant by fighting against the
"flesh" and "the devil," I will tell you a story, or rather, two
stories, both of them true. Some years ago there lived a good and
holy man, who was a most useful minister of the gospel. This good
man’s Christian name was William. Now when he was a little boy,
about four or five years old, he one day was left in the
dining-room alone, and on the table was a plate of sweet cakes, of
which he was particularly fond, but which he had been forbidden to
touch. Somebody coming quietly into the room found the boy looking
at the cakes, his little hands tightly clasped together behind his
back, and saying to himself over and over again, as if he were
saying a lesson, "Willie mustn’t take them, ‘cause they are not
Willie’s own." Now this was a victory over the "flesh." The flesh
said, "These cakes are very nice, Willie; just smell them. No one
will see you, Willie, if you do take one. Mamma will not miss the
cakes, Willie, there are so many of them." But little Willie would
not do wrong, although he was sorely tempted to it. He fought with
the "flesh," and came off conqueror. But there was one sad
occasion on which Willie, now grown up to be a tall, handsome lad
of seventeen, was beaten by the enemy. There was a servant in the
family who was a wicked man; and wicked men, whether they know it
or not, are agents for the devil, and do his work. This servant,
annoyed at his young master’s goodness, said once, in a sneering
sort of way, and in William’s hearing, "Oh! as for Master William,
he’s not man enough to swear." The taunt — it was just like a
fiery arrow shot from Satan’s bow — stung the young lad beyond
endurance; and for the only time in his life, I believe, he took
God’s holy name in vain, and swore a terrible oath. Whenever
William spoke of the matter — years, long years, after — it was
with expressions of the bitterest regret, though he felt in his
heart that God had forgiven him. Well, that was a fight with the
devil in which the devil was the victor. The Christian soldier was
beaten, for the moment. Satan, through the mouth of one of his
servants, triumphed over him.
IV. THE APOSTLE TELLS
US THAT WE ARE TO BE GOOD SOLDIERS OF JESUS CHRIST.
A "good" soldier obeys
orders strictly; does not get tired of his duty, but sticks to it;
and never dreams of turning his back and running away when the
enemy is coming.
V. AND NOW LET ME TELL
YOU BY WHAT MEANS WE ARE TO BECOME GOOD SOLDIERS.
A good general makes
good soldiers. He infuses his own spirit into them, and leads them
to victory. And we have a good general, the Lord Jesus Christ. Put
yourselves, then, into His hands, and He will make you what you ought to
be. I wish you especially to notice that you cannot be a true
Christian warrior without possessing that loyal devotion to Christ
which springs from love. (The Biblical
W. Landels, D. D:
Much as war is at variance with the spirit of Christianity, there
are few things to which the Scriptures more frequently allude when
treating of the spiritual life. There is reason for this; for,
notwithstanding all that is objectionable in the soldier’s
occupation, there are many things in the personal qualities of the
man which pertain to the very noblest type of character. That
which makes him a good soldier would also, if combined with other
elements, make him a higher style of man.
I. THE FIRST
THING REQUIRED OF A GOOD SOLDIER IS HEARTY SERVICE.
"One volunteer is worth
many pressed men." The adage was singularly verified during the
war between Austria and Prussia. The Austrian soldiers fought
well, but not with the enthusiasm of men who cordially approve of
the object for which they fight. Drawn from various nationalities
— believing, some of them, that the war was hostile to the dearest
interests of their country — they were not so much free agents as
machines forced into the strife; and this fact, perhaps, more than
bad generalship or insufficient equipment, accounted for their
signal defeat. Whereas the Prussians, although not enlisted
voluntarily in the first instance, nevertheless entered
voluntarily into the conflict. With an appreciation of the
purposes of the war which few gave them credit, believing
that it was to promote the much-coveted unity of the Fatherland,
they fought with an enthusiasm which is the surest pledge of
victory; and to this, quite as much as to the superiority of their
arms and their leaders, did they owe their splendid triumphs. And
so to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must freely and
enthusiastically engage in His service.
II. The second
thing required of a good soldier is IMPLICIT OBEDIENCE TO HIS
Much has been said of
the drill and discipline of the Prussian soldiers as accounting
for that marvelous succession of victories which, culminating in
Sadowa, changed the map of Europe. The far-seeing men who
contemplated and conducted the war, with a keen appreciation of
the means by which their end was to be gained, had been drilling
most severely for years, until the soldier had become a kind of
living machine. And that is really what is required in order to
III. A third quality
essential to the good soldier is FAITH IN HIS LEADER.
In the war to which we
have referred, the Austrian soldiers, after two or three defeats
attributable to mismanagement, lost all faith in the capacity of
their general, and not only ceased to fight with spirit, but were
forthwith changed into a panic-stricken rabble. Even the brave
Italians, with all their enthusiasm, recovered slowly from their
defeat at Custozza, because of the manifest bungling which brought
about the disaster. Whereas the Prussians, having in their leaders
men whose clearness of vision and capacity for command were equal
to their own fighting efficiency and power of endurance, do not
seem ever to have faltered in their victorious career. Such
confidence is manifestly indispensable. The private soldier knows
little or nothing of the plan of the battle in which he is an
actor, knows not why he is led into this position or that, or how
he is to be led out of it, knows not why he is required to do this
or that; but his general knows, and unless he has full confidence
in the men who are directing the movements of the troops he will
fight with very little courage, and prove himself but a poor
soldier. And in our warfare we are equally required to have faith
in our King.
IV. A fourth quality is
In the war referred to,
the best trained and most intelligent men proved the best
fighters. Intelligence consists with, and is conducive to, the
highest state of discipline; and of the human machine, which the
soldier must needs become, the thinking is by far the most
efficient specimen. So in our warfare the best soldier, other
things being equal, is the man whose mind is most thoroughly
trained. The servants of Christ should seek to understand the
requirements of their time, and prepare to meet them. The
conditions of warfare and the works required of the Christian
soldier now are not what they were once; and unless men have
understanding of the times, they may, though with the best
intentions, render very bungling service. The worthier the master,
the more efficient should his servants be.
V. HEROIC EFFORT AND
PATIENT ENDURANCE ARE NECESSARY.
We cannot understand in
what sense they are soldiers of Christ who enter His service
simply with a view to their own comfort. Their notion is that they
are to have a nice pleasant time, plenty of sweet experiences, and
no trials, with temporal comforts to match the unruffled
smoothness of their spiritual course. So much has been said of
making the best of both worlds, that the highest conception which
many form of Christianity is that it is a system which rewards men
in the next world for seeking to be comfortable in this. Young men
should under stand that a soldier’s life is one of warfare and
endurance. In order to your being good soldiers of Jesus Christ,
there must be —
VI. CONCERTED ACTION.
Union is strength,
insomuch that one small band of men, acting together for one
purpose and under one head, will scatter thousands who have
neither leader nor organisation. (The Biblical
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M.
Let no one say that he
has no taste for warfare. Each one of us is pledged to fight. Each
one of us bears the sign of the Cross, which binds him to be
Christ’s soldier till his life’s end. Once, in the old wars, an
English drummer-boy was taken prisoner by the French. They amused
themselves by making the lad play on his instrument, and presently
one asked him to sound the retreat. The drummer answered proudly
that he had never learnt how to do that! So in our warfare
there is no retreating.
It was the boast of
Napoleon’s soldiers — the guard dies, but never yields! We
Christians are bidden to be faithful unto death, and Jesus
promises us a crown of life.
When Maximian became
Emperor of the West he did his utmost to destroy Christianity.
There was in the Roman army a famous legion of ten thousand men,
called the Thebian Legion. It was formed entirely of Christians.
Once, just before going into battle with the enemy, the Emperor
commanded the Thebian Legion to sacrifice to idols. Their leader,
in the name of his ten thousand soldiers, refused. The Emperor
then ordered them to be decimated — that is, every tenth man to be
killed. Still they were firm, and again, the second time, the
cruel order was given for every tenth man to be slain. Fully
armed, with their glittering eagles flashing on their helmets, the
Christian soldiers stood in the perfect discipline of Rome, ready
to die, but not to yield. Again they were ordered to sacrifice,
and the brave answer was returned, "No; we were Christ’s soldiers
before we were Maximian’s." Then the furious Emperor gave the
order to kill them all! Calmly the remaining soldiers laid down
their arms, and knelt whilst the other troops put them to the
sword. So died the Thebian Legion, faithful unto death!
Each one of us is in
one sense a martyr, a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Those of
us who bear hard
words, and cruel
judgments, and harsh treatment, patiently, rendering not evil for
evil, are martyrs for Jesus. Again, as fellow soldiers, let us
remember the NAME under which we serve. To a Roman soldier of old
the name of Caesar was a watchword, which made him ready to do or
die. In the wars of the middle ages, when our countrymen went into
battle the cry was, "St. George for Merry England," and every
soldier was ready to answer with his sword.
They tell us that the
name of the great Duke of Wellington was alone enough to restore
courage and spirit to the flagging troops. Once when a regiment
was wavering in the fight, the message was passed along the ranks,
"The Duke is coming," and in an instant the men stood firm, whilst
one old soldier exclaimed, "The Duke — God bless him! I had rather
see him than a whole battalion."
The name of our Leader
is one indeed to inspire perfect faith, courage, and hope. In all
ages certain regiments have had their distinguishing names. Among
the Romans of old time there was one famous band of warriors known
as the Thundering Legion. In later times there have been regiments
known as the "Invincibles," the
"Die-hards." One famous corps has for its motto a Latin sentence
meaning "By Land and Sea," and another has one word for its badge,
These mottoes remind
the soldier that the regiment to which he belongs has fought and
conquered, served and suffered, all over the world. The proud
badge of the county of Kent is "Invicta"— unconquered; that of
Exeter is "The Ever-faithful City." All these titles belong of
right to our army, the Church of Jesus Christ.
It is said that in New
Zealand, some years ago, many of our troops were mortally wounded
by concealed natives, who hid them selves in holes in the earth,
and thence darted their deadly spears upward against the
unsuspecting soldier. So our spiritual enemy, Satan, hides himself
in a thousand different places, and wounds us with some sudden
temptation when we are least aware. (The Biblical
Richard Newton, D. D.:
We must FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS. When Alexander the Great was
leading his army over some mountains once, they found their way
all stopped up with ice and snow. His soldiers were tired out with
hard marching, and so disheartened with the difficulties before
them, that they halted. It seemed as if they would rather lie down
and die than try to go on any farther. When Alexander saw this, he
did not begin to scold the men, and storm at them. Instead of
this, he got down from his horse, laid aside his cloak, took up a
pickaxe, and, without saying a word to any one, went quietly to
work, digging away at the ice. As soon as the officers saw this,
they did the same. The men looked on in surprise for a few
moments, and then, forgetting how tired they were, they went to
work with a will, and pretty soon they got through all their
difficulties. Those were good soldiers, because they followed the
example of their leader.
C. Garrett: A Good
I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN
BEING A SOLDIER?
1. A soldier is a
person wire has enlisted in an army. Had looked at the reasons for
and against entering the army, and at last he enlisted.
2. He is the property
of the king. Gives up his free agency. Gives up his very name.
Known and called by the number he bears.
3. He is provided for
by the king. Must take off his own clothes, whether of best
broadcloth or corduroy. Must be clothed, and fed, and armed by the
4. He must always wear
his regimentals. A soldier can always be recognised as such.
5. He is prepared for
trial and conflict. Soldiers are the result of war, and if there
were no war, there would be no soldiers. He enlisted to fight. For
this purpose he is armed, and trained, and drilled.
II. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN
BEING A SOLDIER OF CHRIST?
It is implied that
Christ is a King, that He has enemies, that He has an army, and
that the person spoken of belongs to this army. I have to glance
at the ground we have already passed — You have enlisted, etc.
WHAT IS IMPLIED IN BEING A GOOD SOLDIER OF CHRIST?
There are soldiers and
soldiers. There are some who are idle and dissipated: a disgrace
to the profession to which they belong. Others only swell the
numbers and fill up the ranks, they look very well at reviews, but
don’t count for much in the battle-field. Others are so true and
faithful that they cover the army to which they belong with glory.
1. A good soldier is
thoroughly loyal. Not a mercenary, fighting for pay. Proud of his
uniform, his name, his king.
2. Patriotic. Loves his
country. Every soldier is his comrade. The defeat of the army is
his sorrow; its success his joy.
3. Obedient. He may be
at home in the midst of his family — a telegram comes; by the next
train he leaves to join the army, perhaps to cross the seas and
perish in a distant land.
6. Patient. Not
enlisted for a day, but for life. Often put where there is nothing
to excite or gratify ambition. There will be the long wearisome
march, or the still more wearisome halt. While his comrades are
assaulting cities and winning victories, he has to stand and
watch, or lie and suffer.
8. Modest. His motto,
Deeds not words. It is said that the word "glory" is not found in
the despatches of the Duke of Wellington. He merely states what
the army had done. So with the Christian. What are you? A rebel?
Your defeat is certain. A deserter? Return. A penitent, longing to
be enlisted in Christ’s army? Come. A soldier? Be "a good
Roman soldiers were not allowed ... to engage in any husbandry or
trade; and they were forbidden to act as tutors to any person, or
curators to any man’s estate, or proctor in the cause of other
men. The general principle was, that they were excluded from those
relations, agencies, and engagements, which it was thought would
divert their minds from that which was to be the sole object of
pursuit. (The Biblical
God often sends us trials that our graces may be discovered, and
that we may be certified of their existence. Besides, it is not
merely discovery, real growth in grace is the result of sanctified
trials. God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in
order to make us better Christians. He trains his soldiers,
not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using
them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford
through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and
walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their
follows his captain, the servant obeys his master, much more must
we follow our Redeemer, to whom we are a purchased possession. (Morning and Evening)