No Retreats, No Reserves, No Regrets (2) --Dan Lightfoot 1476
A. II Tim. 2:3 -- "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
1. If we are called - enlisted - as soldiers, then we need to understand our duties. What exactly does a good soldier do? 4 duties. #1 was: Don't be Captured! #2-4 today.
Duty #2: Capture the Culture!
A. Well, if we are not to be captured, then what are we, as Christian soldiers, to do? We are to capture something, but what is it?
1. The verse that applies for the Christian soldier is II Cor. 10:5. "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,"
2. We are to Capture the Culture! A soldier does not go into battle to hold ground; he goes to war to take ground.
3. Matt 16:18 -- "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."
a. Hell's gates are defensive. It is the church that's on the offensive!
b. Christians are on a search and destroy mission.
c. We are to destroy "speculations" -- ideas, arguments, pretensions, imaginations - but not people. That's a hard principle to put into practice. Christians must remember that we are to speak the truth in love.
4. But if we are to destroy speculations & every lofty thing lifted up against the knowledge of God, then we're going to have to think well.
5. It is difficult to think well; thinking well is extremely hard work.
a. It involves thinking God's thoughts after Him.
b. And it is impossible to think God's thoughts after Him without a lot of Bible study and the Holy Spirit doing His job.
c. To think biblically requires the Holy Spirit banging away on the inside of us to mold & shape our minds into the mind of Christ.
6. Christians are to think & then live with a biblical world view.
B. Unfortunately, too many Christians have been captured by secular thinking. As a result, Christians have ended up being on the defensive.
1. In fact, Christians have been retreating from nearly every area of culture. Can you name one arena that Christians have not abandoned to secular thinking? Law? Politics? Art? Journalism? Business? Music? Media? Ethics? Medicine? Education?
2. True, there are flashes of light in these areas, but for the most part, Christians have created a false dichotomy between the sacred and the secular. Christians look at certain aspects of culture and wag their heads saying, "That is secular. We Christians should have nothing to do with that. We are above getting involved with the arts or politics or. . . We are to spend our time serving God."
3. But in Rom 12:1 Paul admonishes Christians, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship."
4. Service for the Christian is not a ceremony; it is everything the Christian does … in every arena.
C. Generally, Christians have retreated from the culture -- instead of being the salt and light that will change and bless the culture.
1. Some Christians do seek to penetrate the culture but usually end up following the latest trends and mimicking the current styles rather than setting the standard of excellence to which Christians are called.
2. cf. Phil. 4:8 -- "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things."
3. The problem is not with the culture. The problem rests in the padded pew. The problem is the Dan Lightfoot's of the world who have retreated at best or have been captured by secularism at worst and are more than comfortable once a week to occupy a seat rather than obeying His command to occupy the culture until He returns.
D. One of the standard hymns of faith in the church was "Onward Christian Soldiers." Unfortunately, the Church in general seems to be sounding retreat from the battle for the culture.
1. E.g.-- to my shame I recall vividly standing up as a college student in a Wednesday night class and defending God using evolution to bring about His creation.
2. All of those fathers in the faith, all looked at the floor in embarrassment for me, as well they should. But not one of them came over to me afterwards, put his arm around me and said, "Dan, did you ever look at good science and look at Scripture to see that your model of origins does not fit either very well at all?" So, I struggled with that issue for several more years until someone destroyed the arguments of evolution raised up against the knowledge of God, and I realized I had to take every thought captive to His obedience.
3. Many Christians have been intimidated by the so-called intellectuals in our culture who have mocked God and Christians who believe His Word to be the Truth in every area of culture.
a. Prov. 11:9 -- "The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered."
b. So, be prepared. Some are very good at destroying with their mouth… but knowledge will overcome!
4. Many generally no longer stand on the truth of God as Sovereign Creator. Instead, they tend to water down His might & power by adding evolution to His plan. Statements such as, "Perhaps God used the process of evolution to bring about His creation. . ." or "I have no problem correlating the process of evolution with the Bible's account of creation. After all, the six days could be six thousand or six million years long. . ." are commonly heard in Christian circles.
5. Instead of going on the offensive, we retreat & seek the credibility of our opponents by compromising on the integrity of God's Word.
E. Our Lord did not tell us to sit and wring our hands. He told us to go and make disciples.
1. We must engage the culture in conversation & proclaim the truth in every aspect of civilization. We are to be that salt & light which makes people thirst for Truth & draws them out of the darkness.
2. Cultures have been blessed whenever Christians have thought God's thoughts after Him and then applied that thinking in everything.
3. Whenever the Bible has been proclaimed, received & applied in a culture, the people of that civilization have experienced the greatest liberty, prosperity, civility and security of peoples anywhere on the surface of the earth.
4. Whenever the power of God's Word has been suppressed & rejected, the people of those cultures have experienced the greatest tyranny, the deepest poverty financially & spiritually, the greatest depravity & the greatest insecurity imaginable -- even to the point of the enslavement and extinction of their civilizations.
F. Christian soldiers must "destroy speculations (ideas) raised up against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ"
(2 Cor. 10:5). We Christians must stop playing fun-junkie games with the culture and, instead, Capture the Culture with the truth and love of Jesus Christ in every discipline.
Duty #3: Capture the Captured
A. Sounds like a double negative. …. that becomes a positive!
B. If Christian soldiers capture the captured, then they set them free!
1. How do we free people? We give them the truth!
Jn. 17:17 -- "Sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth."
2. The passage for the Christian soldier is 2 Tim. 2:24-26 -- "And a servant of the Lord (soldier) must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."
a. The devil has captured them. We need to redeem them.
b. But it is easier said than done…
c. Saving them is easier than equipping them to save others…
3. Yet, Matt. 28:18-20 is not called the Subtle Suggestion -- it is called the great commission! We are to Capture the Captured!
A. What does a soldier do when dropped behind enemy lines/ no supplies?
1. Remember Scott O'Grady? Shot down in Bosnia. 51/2 days w/o food or water.
2. "What did you eat?" Ans. -- "Bugs."
3. Duty #4: Eat Bugs! (NO, no.) Live Off the Land!
B. Christians have been dropped in Enemy territory. We live in a post-Christian culture. We must learn to take what is around us and use it not just to survive, but also to disrupt the enemy's position -- to "destroy arguments . . . raised up against the knowledge of God!"
1. Remember that our supply lines are not always intact. Church and youth groups may not provide all that is needed. The devil is at work capturing hearts & minds . . .
2. In Acts 17 Paul saw a city filled with idols… so he preached about the unknown God (Acts 17:22-23) -- he took a pagan altar & turned it into a pulpit… & worked his way around to Jesus.
C. Turning temples into pulpits!
1. When families enter a museum, they corral their kids so they don't bump into sacred objects; ...speak in hushed tones; ...fold their hands reverently! Junior says, "What's this, dad?"
a. Not wanting to appear uninformed, Dad stealthily reads the sign: "Wellll, this is a dinosaur that lived about 60 mil. years ago."
b. "OOOOO," they exclaim wide-eyed, almost bowing in worship.
2. Museums are the secular temples of our day. Many people visit museums to "worship the creature rather than the Creator." (Rom 1:25)
3. What should you do? Use it for a classroom. If you think outside the secular box you can provide a dynamic tour which will challenge your children or your class to think biblically.
a. And suddenly the Bible will come to life…
b. And TRUTH will destroy every speculation…
A. 4 duties of a soldier: 1- Don't Get Captured. 2 - Capture the Culture. 3 -- Capture the Captured. 4- Live Off the Land. (Bloom where planted)
B. I Tim. 2:4 -- "No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. "
1. We were all drafted -- enlisted by Christ Jesus. -- Please Him.
2. & if we do, we can say, "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (Rom. 8:37)
3. How can you be more than a conqueror?
4. Illus. -- Prize fighter. Fighting the Champ. Never made much. Been hit in the head thousands of times… punished immeasurably.
a. He trains & disciplines his body…
b. Wins the championship. $4.2 mil. payday. Hands it to his wife.
c. He's the conqueror. But she's more than a conqueror. He took the beating. She got the benefits. So it is with us & Christ!
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