Text: Romans 15:14-33
In his second letter to Timothy, chapter two, the apostle Paul used several illustrations that parallels the Christian life. He urged Timothy to live like a soldier, an athlete and a farmer. In his other epistles he mentions fellow “soldiers” in Christ (Philippians 2:25; Philemon 1:2). This signifies that all of Christ’s disciples are part of an army. An army we are not qualified to join but where we were recruited nonetheless. Most people do not like to live under the circumstances of war. But the scriptures are clear that Jesus did not die for us and save us in order to make us comfortable in this world. We are involved in a war, and so as Christ’s soldiers we need to have a wartime mentality. We were not saved to be stuck and stagnant. We were saved to be sanctified and to be serving God. In Romans 15 there is one main principle we can see that shows us why and how we are to be soldiers of Christ.
We Have A Mission
On the surface it seems that the unbelievers have it easy. They jump from fad to fad, indulging in one pleasure before moving on to the next. They are catch up with the latest trends, living their lives with nonexistent or misguided directions. Psalms 1 calls them "chaff", blown wherever the wind wishes. Their way leads to destruction. The Christian disciple however, is blessed by delighting in the law of the Lord and meditating on them day and night:
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.” (Psalms 1:3)
In Romans 15, Paul tells the church at Rome about his ambitions. His ambitions are led by the word of God, giving him the heart to go to Spain in order to preach the gospel. One thing we have to remind ourselves is that we too were given a mission, given through Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Like Paul, this means that we should align our life’s purposes, priorities and plans according to the direction given us by God through His word. We are not to be led by the things of the world like the wicked. We were called to be salt and light and therefore must let the world taste our saltiness and see the light of Christ In our lives by living differently from how they live.
Like soldiers sent to war we have to realize that everything that has been given us are meant for us to fulfill our mission. When a soldier is issued new guns, boots, helmets and uniforms, he might enjoy them for a while but that is not the reason why these were provided to him. He has to use them ultimately in order to fight a battle, accomplish his mission and please his commanding officer. Jesus called those who use their “talents” good and faithful servants but on the other hand considered the man who buried his “talent” to the ground as a “lazy and wicked” servant (Matthew 25).
Even worse is if the soldier sells his equipment to the enemy or use it exclusively for his own pleasure. He not only doesn’t accomplish his mission but even helps the enemy’s cause. We should remember that everything that has been given to us including every resource such as our time, talents, wealth, and energy, though they might be enjoyed by us for a while, were given to us for a higher purpose. They ultimately not for us but are meant for serving God and others. Let us then use them to accomplish our mission, and like Paul, “glory in Christ Jesus in our service to God” and “not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through” us.
Where Are The Men and Women
In the 1930s, Howard Guinness wrote a book on discipleship called “Sacrifice”. In it, he asks:
“Where are the young men and women of this generation who will hold their lives cheap, and be faithful even unto death, who will lose their lives for Christ’s, flinging them away for love of him? Where are those who will live dangerously, and be reckless in this service? Where are the men of prayer? Where are the men who count God’s Word of more importance to them than their daily food? Where are the men who like Moses of old, commune with God face to face as a man speaks with his friend? Where are God’s men in this day of God’s power?“
God has saved us and called us to be part of His army. Would it be that all of us Christ’s disciples would come forward and say, “Here am I Lord, please send me and use me. I want to be in that number.”