A totally Christian Church
Seeing things through different eyes
16th June 2019
Keith writing from the quiet place
On the 28th September 1970 I stood, as a young volunteer, before the Union Flag and Royal Air Force Standard and pledged my allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and thus began my five year RAF career. Although I was to be trained as an electronics technician I was fully aware that at any time I could be called on to take up arms and defence of Queen and country, to stand beside my comrades and if necessary lay down my life willingly, as many before me had done.
Exactly ten years later, military life complete and well established in Civvy Street there came a day when I was again called to volunteer and pledge my allegiance before another emblem and a King who called me to stand by his side. This time as a soldier, to put on spiritual armour and to stand against an unseen terrifying enemy. I am of course referring to the day I came face to face with the reality of the Cross of Jesus and to the King of creation, who humbled himself to base humanity, dying the most agonising death imaginable, to pay a price that I could never afford to pay, so that I could be forgiven for all my sins and inherit the promise of eternal life.
The Apostle Paul makes reference to soldiers and military life five times in his writings. In the letters to the Philippians and to Philemon he describes Christians as “fellow soldiers”. In 2 Timothy he says, 3Like a good soldier of Christ Jesus, share in the hard times with us. 4A soldier does not take part in things that don’t have anything to do with the army. He wants to please his commanding officer. And in 1 Corinthians 9:7 Paul makes another military reference when he asks “Who goes to war at his own expense?”
Have you ever seen a soldier going into battle dressed in beachwear and flip flops? Of course not. Every soldier is usually kitted out in the finest combat gear, he is fully trained and knows how to obey all orders without question. He knows the banner under which he marches and he knows the sound of his Commanders voice.
Paul knew all this by observing the Roman Legions of his day and refers to it in his letter to the Ephesians. In Chapter 6 we read, “10 finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”. Then he describes the type of warfare we are to be engaged in, “12 for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
The challenge today is this. Are you a conscript or a volunteer, do you stand willingly in the ranks of the King of Kings? Are you ready for battle? Have you put on the “Full Armour of God”? And are you willing to lay down your life for your King? Brothers and sisters the battle rages around us and the enemy is continually roaring around us. As in all battles and wars there will be casualties but our hope is secure in Christ and in Him death has lost its sting.