You Are In the Army Now
I. I have a friend in Calais named David Sivret
A. He is a chaplain in the army reserve, wounded in Iraq
B. Think about a soldier in his unit who forgets that he is in the army
1. He does not do guard duty when he is supposed to
2. He reads a letter from home while on patrol rather than keeping watch
3. He decides to check out the local market rather than staying on base
C. Such a person would be a danger
1. He would be a danger to himself
2. He would be a danger to the others around him
3. He has forgotten that he is in the army
II. Paul reminds us that we have enlisted in a kingdom
This is almost a side comment as he reaches the climax of Romans, his argument that both Jews and Gentiles are equally part of the kingdom:
Romans 10:8-10 (NRSV)
8 But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 namely, thatb if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
A. When we submitted to Jesus we made a pledge
1. Jesus is Lord
2. Replaces the Roman pledge, Caesar is Lord
3. Usually this was made at baptism (1 Pet 3)
B. We did this because we believe God has raised him
1. He has been vindicated
2. He has been exalted
3. He is alive and therefore can lead
C. Do you realize that you have enlisted in a monarchy?
1. Too many Christians think that they have just “accepted Jesus” – language never used in scripture
2. Too many Christians think that they live in a democracy
III. This enlistment or naturalization has implications
A. We do not belong to ourselves and should not live that way
Romans 12:1-2 (NRSV)
12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual [reasonable] worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world [age], but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.d
B. We are part of a larger “body” and must find our place in that “body” as given by God
Romans 12:3-8 (NRSV)
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
C. We should live according to the rule of our king
9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;f do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1. This is how Jesus lived
2. This is how Jesus taught us to live (Sermon on the Mount)
3. This recognizes the new family
D. This is expanded later
1. Love is expanded in Rom 13:8-10
8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Does this not sound like Jesus? And James?
2. The summary comes in Rom 13:14
Romans 13:14 (NRSV)
14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
a) The problem is that we often do make provision for the flesh and its desires
forethought, foresight (AC 24.2); πρόνοιαν ποιεῖσθαι be concerned about, plan a way to provide for (RO 13.14)
b) Likewise we are not focused on putting on the behavior of Jesus
3. The application comes in Rom 14:1-15:6 – not judging one another, especially re food and drink
IV. So where are you in this picture?
A. Have you really enlisted in the kingdom?
1. Did you fail to do that when you became a Christian?
2. Did you not realize that you were doing that?
3. You can rectify that right now and make your pledge conscious
B. Have you become an undisciplined rebel towards the king?
1. Are you “doing your own thing”?
2. Or are you simply ignorant of what the King teaches and where he leads?
3. If so, you are a danger to yourself and others – the kingdom is engaged in a war
4. If so, you are in danger of the King’s discipline
C. We can be good citizen-soldiers
1. Remind yourself daily that you have enlisted/been naturalized in a kingdom
2. Daily meditate on the teaching of the King
3. As him to help you to practice what you read
4. Seek the counsel of others if you find yourself in a repetitive pattern of failure
D. If we do this, his kingdom rule will be established in our lives and we will be prepared to welcome him when he returns to rule – may that be so for all of us
b Or because
d Or what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God
f Or give yourselves to humble tasks