Mature Class Study, teacher Rick Coleman.
Last Friday was the 104th anniversary of Armistas Day and the truce at the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. In a sense, we are all soldiers. As those veterans fought to protect our country, we must fight the good fight of faith.
II Timothy 2:1-3 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
In 1954 the name Armistas Day was changed to Veterans Day for a day to recognize the veterans of all 5 branches of the armed forces. The beginning World War I was a European war but the United States entered the war in 1917. The Medal of Honor has been given to 3,508 veterans for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty. One was given to Alvin York, a Tennessee farm boy of 29 years old who was drafted into the army. He originally registered as a conscientious objector because of his conviction about killing. Alvin was not a casual Christian. However before he was saved, he regularly attended church and often led the singing. At the same time though he had a reputation as a drinker and fighter. That changed when a revival was held at a local church and he was saved on New Year’s Day 1915. After that he was changed radically by the grace of Jesus, lived as a good example, and was known as the singing elder. Many young men were convicted to registered for the military draft for World War I. York was one who registered on June 5, 1917. While his appeal for draft exemption was considered, he was ordered in November 1917 to begin his service at Camp Gordon Georgia. He took a 10-day leave because he was troubled about killing in the war. He hiked to the “yalla durs” (Yellow Doors) cliff that overlooked his hometown and spent 36 hours praying and reading his Bible for his decision. He came to the conclusion that it was God’s will for him to fight and trust in God for protection and whatever happened.
York became a corporal with his own squad that were part of a group of 17 men that were supposed seize a German held position. The Germans held the position with a machine-gun near a hill top. They shot down nine of York’s men plus the superior officer, so York was left in charge of the 8 man squad. York and his squad were able to take a total of 132 prisons and he was said to be responsible for killing more than 20 German soldiers. In April 1919, York was awarded the Medal of Honor. Alvin York always minimized his actions that day. His diary described his actions October 8, 1918:
“[T]hose machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful…. I didn’t have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush, I didn’t even have time to kneel or lie down…. As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. In order to sight me or to swing their machine guns on me, the Germans had to show their heads above the trench, and every time I saw a head I just touched it off. All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.” (https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/u-s-soldier-alvin-york-displays-heroics-at-argonne)
We’re in a spiritual battle but our weapons are not like Alvin York’s. The battle we face is often in our minds. When the enemy tempts us to do wrong, we need to: 1. Stop, 2. Think, and 3. Pray.
I Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
II Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
If we’re in the word of truth and understand it, then we’re not ignorant of the devil’s devices. Are we putting on our spiritual armor so we can stand in the evil of today? With all the armor we are also praying always and watching.
Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Moses died and Joshua became the next leader. God spoke to Joshua and said to be strong, courageous, and to not be afraid. The 12 spies went to search the promised land of Canaan. There were giants in the land but two spies, Joshua and Caleb, knew they could take the land with God’s help. They said, “we are well able to overcome” (Numbers 13:30, 4:6-7). When Alvin York was conflicted about his duty to serve in the army and what he would have to do, God assured him too. God told Joshua twice to be strong and said he would be with him. God talks to us and reassures us through his word.
Joshua 1:2-9 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Joshua reminded the people of what Moses said to tell the people, that God was going to give them the land and rest. God’s people fought bloody battles but God was with them and gave them the land he had promised.
Joshua 1:11-14 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it. And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying, Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;
Are you determined to fight the good fight? Our weapons are not carnal and it’s not a carnal fight but a spiritual battle. We have a crown waiting for us but we have to fight the good fight and keep the faith.
II Timothy 4:6-7 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:.