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Welcome to the Army

• Greg Boyd

Greg continued his sermon series on discipleship by showing that the church should be purposeful, like an army, in its interaction in the world. To help the audience to understand the rigorousness of being in an army, Greg interviewed on stage a former Marine named Anthony.

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Greg continued his sermon series on discipleship by showing that the church should be purposeful, like an army, in its interaction in the world. To help the audience to understand the rigorousness of being in an army, Greg interviewed on stage a former Marine named Anthony. Whether it meant getting up at 4 a.m., obeying the commanding officer without question, or eating whatever they fed you and eating it quickly, being in the Marines meant Anthony had to self-sacrifice and be disciplined. However, what he gained through this experience was a life marked by purpose.

Similarly, when a person becomes a follower of Jesus, they join an army, the Church. The Church is not marked by what is easy and comfortable. It calls for self-sacrifice and discipline. In fact, being a follower of Jesus will cost us everything. However, the rewards are without compare. The work of the Church carries eternal value, where advancing the kingdom of God meets our deepest needs. However, before describing more fully the army of Jesus, Greg answered the question, “Why is there a need for an army?”

An army is needed because of the reality of Satan, who in rebellion against God has tempted humanity into sin’s bondage. Satan has tremendous power in the world. The Bible speaks of Satan as “the god of this world” (II Corinthians 4:4), “the ruler of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), and “ruler of this world” (John 12:31). However, this is not the end of the story. God the Father sent his Son, Jesus Christ into the world to end fundamentally the power and dominion of Satan. I John 3:8 reads, “The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” In addition, Hebrews 2:14 states that Jesus through his death has rendered Satan powerless.

Jesus is the victory, and though the affects of this victory will not be fully realized until his return, he now empowers the Church to appropriate this victory. We are able, through our identification in Jesus, to unleash this victorious power against Satan (Matthew 12:28-29 and Matthew 16:18-19). This type of life gives us purpose because our only aim is to please Jesus (II Timothy 2:3-4).

Often people get nervous when military imagery and religious commitment are mixed, and for good reason because of the extremist positions, that, some people take. Even if the majority of Christians disavow such views, we still often picture the enemy as being a particular person, or group of people. In contrast, the Bible provides a different perspective. Ephesians 6:12 states that “our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Greg challenged us to see that we are actually on the side of the people we label as “enemies.” Our job is to seek them diligently with the love of God (II Corinthians 5:14-21). Our weapons are not of this world (II Corinthians 10:3-4). Instead, our weapons are those that Jesus used. By embodying the outrageous love that God has for people we pray, we serve, we testify, we empower, and we sacrifice.

In this expression of love, we must remember that our main goal is to please our “enlisting officer” which is Jesus (II Timothy 2:3-4). Our culture says that self-gratification is most important. Society tells us that we find life by answering the question: “What pleases me?” Greg stated that such talk is “civilian talk” (II Timothy 2:3-4). As he has reminded us in many sermons, God’s ways are countercultural in that we find life only when we lose it (Mark 8:34-37). Greg challenged us to be purposeful in the way we live. Our possessions, our use of time, our use of money, what we think about, in all things we need to consider how they contribute to building God’s kingdom. In surrendering to Jesus the unexpected occurs, we experience freedom! Only in relationship with Jesus will we realize our full potential. We must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to him. We must have the furthering of his kingdom be our controlling purpose in life.

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Focus Scripture:

  • 1 John 3:8

    8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.

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