Sunday June 23, 2002 | Peggy Riley
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your fellow believers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Final Greetings With the help of Silas, [a] whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
This morning we were blessed to have Peggy Riley deliver a sermon. Outfitted in a camouflage military coat, Peggy began this commissioning message by recognizing the reality of being a wounded soldier of the Lord. Denying one’s wounds does not solve any problems but only delays the healing.
This morning we were blessed to have Peggy Riley deliver a sermon entitled “Dressed for War, Dressed for Victory.” Outfitted in a camouflage military coat, Peggy began this commissioning message by recognizing the reality of being a wounded soldier of the Lord. Denying one’s wounds does not solve any problems but only delays the healing. It is at these points in our lives, when we are tired, alone, angry, hurt, distressed, discouraged, and grieving, that we must let God be our strength. We can be confident that joy will come in the morning. Peggy used both I Peter 4:12-13 and 5:6-10 to illustrate this point. In the midst of the times in our lives when we are wounded, this question remains: Are we still willing to be soldiers on the battlefield of the Lord?
If we indeed choose to follow the biblical command to be soldiers, we must be dressed for the occasion. In the same way that a person battles a cold winter day in Minnesota with the proper attire, a Christian soldier must be prepared for war. I Peter 5:8 says, “Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.” If you are not wearing a part of the spiritual armor, Satan will attack the area of your life that is exposed.
God has given us the proper spiritual weaponry. It is our responsibility as soldiers-in-training to understand how to put it on. In Ephesians 6 we find the Apostle Paul describing the different components of the armor. The Belt of Truth holds everything in place. Know the truth and it shall set you free (John 8:32). The enemy will attempt to lie to us and instill in us a seed of hopelessness. If we have the truth of Jesus Christ in our inner being, the devil’s tactics cannot shake us.
The Breastplate of Righteousness covers the heart of the soldier. If this area is unguarded Satan will try to attack one’s morality and integrity. It is in the heart that some of the deepest pain is felt, but it is also from here that the river of life flows. A third component of the warfare attire are the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. These spiritual shoes are not worn for the sake of fashion but must be able to support us in our activities on the battlefield. Traditionally, the Shield of Faith was large and oblong and crafted to withstand the arrows, darts and spears of the enemy. In combat, soldiers would stand along side one another and raise their shields in order to form a wall of protection for their fellow soldiers behind them. In the same way, we need to be a unified wall in the body of Christ.
The Helmet of Salvation obviously covers the head. The first place the enemy tries to mess with us is in our minds. Satan may try to remind you of your past sins, failures, and journeys through the valley of death. When he plagues you with your past you need only remind him of his future. Satan will not have the ultimate victory; Christ is the victor! Seasons of struggle will come, but we must continually put on the helmet and think as the Lord would have us think. The Sword of the Spirit is the word of God. To properly use the Bible as a weapon, we need to meditate on it, believe it and live it. As an act of war, we must speak its truth against Satan and proclaim its words of freedom to others.
As soldiers, we need to take a stand against the devil’s schemes at all times. We must be immovable in the Lord and hold our position. We need to claim back our life, family, and health for the Lord. At the same time, we need to recognize the reality of the war. Casualties will occur. There are times when we must support each other on the battlefield and be the armor bearers of our fellow sisters and brothers. In Exodus 17:8-16, Moses’ responsibility in the battle against the Amalekites was to keep his arms raised. When he became tired and his arms started to fall, the Israelites began to lose the battle. Moses had two armor bearers, Aaron and Hur, that came along side of him and lifted his arms for him. In the same way, we must support our fellow brothers and sisters in times of hardship.