A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ

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Believers are called to serve as soldiers in the Lord's army

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Qualities of a Good Soldier for Jesus

He or she must be IN Christ (2:1)

Explanation: Paul is writing to Timothy, his younger brother in the faith. He is encouraging Timothy by telling him to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Illustrate: My father served for 20 plus years in the Air Force, so he is entitled to benefits for veterans. If I show up at Golden Corral on Veteran’s Day and try to get the free meal by telling them that my father served but I didn’t, do you think they will give me the freebie?
Argument: The benefit of the grace of Christ is available to those who are in His service. It does not apply to those who are outside.
Application: Check up on you enlistment. Are you in His service? Have you surrendered to the Lordship of Christ as your commanding officer?

He or she should have a solid understanding of the basics of the Christian faith (2:2)

Explanation: Paul is instructing Timothy on the importance of securing the transmission of the faith for the next generation. He is directing Timothy to be discerning as to which men to invest in so that they in turn will be able to teach others.
NOTE: This is a pastoral letter from one shepherd to another and this verse has a specific meaning that relates to the gift of teaching. The overall directive, however, does apply to all believers. Not all believers are called to teach, BUT all believers should have a foundational understanding of the faith so that they cans share the Gospel of Jesus with others.
Argument: Basic Training lasts between 8 to 10 weeks (depending upon the branch of service). It is designed to transform civilians into soldiers. The civilian recruit is broken down and then rebuilt into a person who thinks and acts differently.
Application: The Church could learn from basic training as to preparing new Christians for the next step. I want to emphasize God’s role in Salvation: He is the One who initiates salvation; The Holy Spirit is the One who convicts a sinner of his or her need; Jesus is the One who made the required payment. And when God saves a person, he or she is supernaturally transformed (2 Cor 5:17) and he or she will persevere in the faith (Phil 1:6)
The role of the Church is to equip the new recruits for their new role in life (cf Eph 4:12). Many times this is where we fall down on the job - we fail to equip new believers by instructing them in a way that promotes growth and health.
Application: What are you doing to grow as a believer in Christ? Are you practicing the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and worship - both private and corporate? You CAN grow in your faith and you CAN be used of God to lead others to Christ.

He or she should be willing to experience suffering (2:3)

Explanation: Paul makes a comparison between the Christian Life and the life of a soldier. While the parallels are not exact, there are many similarities. One thing Paul does is set expectations in the area of hardship. He lets Timothy (and others) know that living for Jesus is not going to be a life of comfort and ease. The word hardness includes the idea of suffering wrongfully and having to endure harshness.
Illustration: 21st century American Christians are soft! And I include myself in this group. We think hardship is when our internet is down for 2 hours or Food Lion is out of our brand of potato chips.
Argument: Paul is telling Timothy that the suffering and hardship will be the result of his faith in Christ. Paul was no stranger to hardship (2 Cor 4:8-10), and he taught that those who desired to live godly in Christ Jesus would be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12).
Application: Understand that as a believer you are involved in spiritual warfare. You are in the battlefield of the world, and you aren’t promised a cozy ride to the finish line.

He or she should have a single focus - to please Christ (2 Tim 2:4)

Explanation: A good soldier seeks to please his commanding officer through obedience to command and by giving his best effort. Those who win commendations on the battlefield aren’t tying to win a medal - they are simply giving their best effort and looking out for their buddies.
Argument: The goal of any believer should be to please the One who died for him. We are left in this world to live for Christ and to actively pursue kingdom ministry.
Application: When your Day of Reckoning comes (and it WILL come!), what will you have to present to King Jesus? He is the One who commands us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt 6:20). We can’t take stuff with us when we die, but we can send it ahead. What will you have to give to Jesus when you arrive?