Preparing For Battle
Preparing For Battle
Success in Iraq would bring us closer to our most important goal – making the American people safer here at home. Success in Iraq would give the U.S. a new partner with a growing economy and a democratic political system in which Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds all work together for the good of their country. It would demonstrate to a watching world that mainstream Arabs reject the ideology of al Qaeda, and mainstream Shia reject the ideology of Iran's radical regime, and deliver a historic blow to the global terrorist movement and a severe setback for Iran.
Failure in Iraq would diminish our Nation's standing, undermine national security, lead to massive humanitarian casualties, and increase the threat of another terrorist attack on our homeland. If we fail in Iraq, al Qaeda would claim a propaganda victory of colossal proportions, and they could gain safe havens in Iraq from which to attack the United States and our friends and allies. Iran would seek to fill the vacuum in Iraq, which would embolden Tehran's radical leaders and fuel their ambitions to dominate the region. The Taliban in Afghanistan and al Qaeda in Pakistan would grow in confidence and boldness.
The Church is under attack today. We are at war. Not with Islamic terrorists, not with Washington D.C. The war that I speak of has been raging for thousands of years. It is the war between God and His people against Satan and his demons.
This month we are going to be looking at one of the shortest and often overlooked letters in the New Testament – Jude. Jude wrote this letter to warn the Church about false teachers that were creeping in to the Church and perverting the Gospel message. He calls the Church to arms and urges them, and us, to pick up our arms and man our battle stations and fight “the good fight of faith.”
As we begin our look at Jude, this morning we are going to examine the first verse and find four keys that we must remember in order to be good soldiers and win the battle for our faith.
The first thing that we observe in this first verse is that A GOOD SOLDIER IS HUMBLE BEFORE HIS COMMANDER. The author is Jude, the half brother of Jesus. Jude is listed in Mark’s list of Jesus’ brothers in Mark 6:3 as Judas. Jude is simply a variant spelling of the same name. Notice how Jude describes himself. “A slave (bondservant) of Jesus Christ and the brother of James.” By using this designation Jude is showing a character trait of humility. He had ever right to say, “listen here, this is Jesus’ brother so you better listen up.” But instead he referred to himself as a slave of Jesus. Believe me that is humbling for a younger brother to refer to himself as a slave to your older one. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, His brothers did not recognize Him as Savior. However, after the events of the Easter season, they became believers and according to early church tradition, both James and Jude became leaders in the first century Church. A good soldier adheres to Jesus’ reminder that “a slave is not greater than his master.” Jude modeled for us that there can only be one commander, and we are not Him.
Next, notice that A GOOD SOLDIER IS HERALDED BY HIS COMMANDER. Jude addresses his letter to “those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” That description of “called” is an adjective describing the “called ones.” Who are these called? Those that have received God’s offer of salvation through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. God has issued a call or invitation to all mankind. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 2 Peter 3:9 declares that, “God is not willing that any should perish but desires that all come to repentance.”
Matthew 22 1-14 Invited to the great wedding banquet parable.
2 Timothy 1:9 declares that God is the one "who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began," (2 Timothy 1:9, NKJV) You see we have done nothing to merit this calling of God. We do not deserve to be God’s called people, but through Jesus Christ, our commander and chief, we are just that – called into God’s holy army.
Third, notice that A GOOD SOLDIER IS HOLSTERED TO HIS COMMANDER. Jude gives us two qualities of the called ones. First he says that they are “sanctified by God the Father.” That word sanctify simply means to set something or someone apart. There is great significance in this term. It signifies God taking something that is unusable and turning it into treasure. We are born into this world separated from God by sin. When we are saved, God takes us, cleans us up and sets us apart from the world. We no longer live in the old neighborhood. We have changed addresses. We have traded teams.
The truth is we cannot fight the battle on our own. We need the commanders directions and strength. Jesus declared in John 15:4-5 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5, NKJV)
Finally we see that A GOOD SOLIDER IS HELD BY HIS COMMANDER. A good commander has not only his mission at heart, but also he has is soldiers at heart. A good commander will not foolishly send his troops into harms way or allow others to take advantage of them. He does everything that he can to protect his soldiers. There is no one I’d rather have guarding my back then Jesus Christ. Jesus declares that if you belong to Him, He has got your back! "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand." (John 10:28-29, NKJV) Isn’t good to know that we have a commander who is always fighting for us? We have a God that has great things in store for us, if we will just be faithful to Him.
When we transgress God’s expectations for us (God calls it sin), Jesus goes to bat for us. John says in 1 John 2:1, “My little children, I write these things to you that might not sin. But, if anyone sin, that he knows that we have advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Jesus is in our corner protecting us so that we can declare as Peter did in 1 Peter 1:3-5 “" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5, NKJV)