Bible Study Notes:

The Christian Soldier, Part II
Ephesians 6:18-19


These notes are from a transcript of the postings during Bible Study on Thursday Nights at 8 PM at Bible Study Chat at churchusa.com.
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Father God we are so thankful to be living in our nation of religious freedom. We rejoice that your Word is readily available and we can discuss it without fear. We remember all our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted for the cause of Christ. Comfort them in their distress and let them know prayers are going up on their behalf. Thank you for the gems of knowledge and wisdom you have hidden in your Word Lord, when we search them out, they are blessings to our heart mind and spirit.

OlePappy - satan, this is not your place, so we bind and rebuke you in the name of Jesus the Christ satan we bind you tonight in the blessed Name of Jesus, before, after and during the study. We command you to leave this place. We are resisting you, standing firm in the faith, and refuse to give you place in Jesus Name.

Father God we put on our armor of light: the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the shoes of peace, the helmet of salvation. We raise our shields of faith and lift the mighty Sword of the Spirit - the Word of God. We are ready to do battle in Jesus Name.

Holy Spirit we look to you for training and guidance in these perilous times. Make the Word real to us tonight and teach us how to apply it EVERY day! In Jesus name AMEN and AMEN.

Praise God who always causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus! Hallelujah Jesus! Our Lord, our Messiah, our Blessed Savior, our Soon Coming KING!

OlePappy - Yes, we put it on Father and stand firm with the full knowledge that satan cannot stand before the almighty power of the Word, of Jesus Your Son, Our Lord. This I pray in the precious name of Jesus. AMEN

Athie - Father, send those in to study with us who really need your Word

Last time we reviewed our spiritual armor and talked about praying. How is prayer used in spiritual warfare? After we put on our armor, the Bible instructs us to pray. What does prayer have to do with spiritual warfare?

Alma - Prayer gives us strength
Athie - We are Warrior Men and Women for you tonight

Right alma, what else does prayer have to do with spiritual warfare? Why get dressed up in all that armor and then pray?

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

OlePappy - prayer connects us with God
Windy - I can remember Jesus telling his disciples not to give up in prayer. He told them of an old woman who was persistent in petitioning the judge.

Right OP, prayer connects us with our COMMANDER In CHIEF - so we can get our marching orders! What else? Yes Windy, we are to be persistent and continuous in prayer. How can you use prayer to do warfare on someone else's behalf?

peanut - um how bout spiritual warfare necessitates our being prepared fully through prayer faith and truth to defeat our spiritual enemy
Tal&Paladin - So satan can't distract us while we are praying
Athie - Our armor protect us from the fiery darts of satan

Right peanut, prayer is one way we fight the devil in our own lives. What about in the lives of others? How about intercession? What does that word mean?

Windy - There have been times when I didn't always understand why God was so silent in my prayers for someone close to me. He answered me in so many other occasions but one He seems to say "wait" and that's hard.
Alma - to come between - Jesus intercedes for us to the father
Athie - Intercession means to stand in place for another
OlePappy - Prayer is the communication lines between us and The Father...through this we tell of the fight from our prospective...who we want to help for example...but He is in overall control and we must follow His will

Right alma & Athie, to intercede means to take the petition to God on someone else's behalf, to stand in their place, and do to warfare on their behalf. Sometimes the devil has them blinded to the truth, or they may be so ill or upset that they can't pray for themselves.

Windy - I found also, in the case where I didn't know how to pray for a person that I was deeply moved for, that I needed a day of fasting to really be able to pray for them.

And we can go to God in the Name of Jesus on their behalf and fight for their souls, their health, etc. Right Windy, fasting gives prayer more power. And we ended our discussion of the armor of God with this quote, which I'd like to repeat in case you missed it:

According to Jesse Penn-Lewis : "an Armored Christian is always armored with the truth, righteous in his life, makes and keeps peace, has salvation/self-control, uses faith as a shield, has Scriptures in his hand and prays without ceasing. By contrast, the Non-armored Christian is open to lies through ignorance, is unrighteous through ignorance, is divisive and quarrelsome, is recklessly unwatchful, is doubtful and unbelieving, relies on reason instead of God's Word and relies on work without prayer". Do you have your armor on today?

Windy - Good encouragement, Old Timer. Quite the challenge. You know, Satan will try to fool us into believing that things will lighten up if we just take it cool and don't press the issues. But he hates us whether we're lukewarm or not. We are in the warfare whether we use our defenses from God or not.

Then we started discussing this topic: What does it mean to be a soldier in God's army? A soldier is under authority and understands that he must obey. So the first characteristic of a Christian soldier is

1. Unquestioning obedience to those in authority

First of all to God, of course: James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

OlePappy - If they are not following God they are not soldiers, they are deserters

Then to governmental authorities, and to those in authority over us in the church.

Secondly we discussed the importance of teamwork in an army and looking our for your fellow soldiers, so the second characteristic of a Christian soldier is

2. Loyalty and support of other soldiers

It has been said that the Christian army is the only one that shoots its own soldiers. Lord help us not to be guilty of that but to love and support one another.

We've all heard of "Boot Camp" and know that soldiers have to be self-disciplined - physically and mentally fit, so the third thing we talked about was:

3. Self-discipline

Now we go on to point 4. As I said before, all soldiers have to go through boot camp, and then extensive hardship to prepare them for the actual battle. So the fourth characteristic of a Christian soldier is:

4. Endurance.

2 Timothy 2:3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. What is endurance?

Deadman - perseverance ....keeping on keeping on!
Windy - When you've done all to stand, stand.
peanut - endurance is um consistency and perseverance kind of like what I do today is in harmony with what I will do tomorrow you can anticipate my actions tomorrow by my actions today and yesterday
prodigal son - Being able to withstand an obstacle for a long time
Alma - Endurance is continuing through a lengthy endeavor not giving up
Athie - To endure or stand up for the right
Z - to withstand...
Risa - bear or suffer without giving up

Right all! Endurance is 1) to suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles) or 2) to be afflicted

peanut - perseverance I think according to the bible is not only enduring situations but over coming them with obedience hope and joy don't ya think - perseverance is kind of like um courage stretched out

Why do we need endurance as Christian Soldiers?

Alma - We need endurance to be able to make it through the battle.

We need endurance to fight the good fight of faith in our own lives, and perseverance in prayer when we do spiritual warfare on behalf of others. Endurance is the ability to withstand hardship or stress. Perseverance is to persist in spite of difficulties. To endure is to take pain, grin and bear it without complaining. To persevere is to keep in doing something, like praying, in spite of pain or obstacles. So they work together to keep us strong and on track!

Hebrews 12:7-8 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.

We are to look at the hardships that come our way as discipline for God, or training for our sonship in heaven.

Hebrews 12:10b-11 … but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

According to this verse, why does God discipline us, or allow us to endure hardship?

Z - So that we may have the righteousness and peace of God!
prodigal son - To forge us into better Christians. It also shows that we are his sons and daughters

Right, when we endure hardship, when we are disciplined, that shows that God loves us and wants us to be holy, righteous, etc. like him. Ok, another way that Christians are like soldiers is in the area of:

5. Training

1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Now the Romans of Paul's day were sports crazy like the US is today, and had a lot of sports competitions. Paul was familiar with the rigorous training regimens that the athletes went through just like today.

In fact Greece is where the Olympics started, just like we have today. And an athlete trained daily for years to win in competition. The athletes did it to win a crown of laurel leaves, which soon withered and died. Laurel leaves are similar to bay leaves we use in cooking today. They were a symbol of victory. Paul says we need to go into strict and rigorous training to be Christian soldiers, and we will receive a crown that will NOT fade away.

Z - but we're running the race for the crown of God's glory!
Athie - We are training to gain a crown of Life. Praise God

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (KJV)

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

What is the most important part of our training according to 2 Timothy 2:15? Push-ups? Knee bends?

Alma - a workman would mean he accomplishes things in accordance to the word of God

Right alma. Studying the Word of God is the most important part of our training. So how much time a day you spend in training as a soldier in the Word? Don't answer here, just think about it.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Notice that Paul says that physical training IS of some value ... for those of us who are former couch potatoes ... we need to keep our bodies in good shape as temples of the Holy Spirit. However, spiritual training is more important. What does it mean to train yourself to be godly?

Alma - To be spiritual trained would be to have read, studied and put god's word into practice
Athie - put God first , then others, then self.

Right, to acquire godly characteristics, such as holiness, righteousness, peace, love, etc, and to put off the deeds of the flesh.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Malinda - maybe to train ourselves to get ready and spreading gods words. And for us to get in the habit of doing things the Lord's way.

Also notice that this verse says to have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales... what does this mean?

Alma - To know the truth and follow it alone. Not to believe in false things like astrology, tea leaves, etc
Z - to stay away from, not listen to things that are not biblical truths

The Romans had all kinds of tales about gods and goddesses, and also there was a lot of what we'd call "folk wisdom" going around. Paul said part of our training is to know what NOT to study or spend time on. There are a lot of godless myths and wives tales going around today, and we have to be VERY careful not to get sucked into it, especially in TV and movies.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Here Paul is talking to Timothy who learned the Word from his mom and grandmother. Notice that the Scriptures are able to make us WISE - what is wisdom?

Alma - knowing how to use the things you understand
prodigal son - The proper application of knowledge
Savior's Servant - wisdom-knowing how to use your knowledge

Knowledge is the collection of facts and figures we get through learning, but wisdom is knowing what to do with what you know!

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

This verse tells us that all scripture is inspired by God (literally "God breathed), and what is it used for?

Alma - For teaching and training in righteousness
Z - for teaching, rebuking, correcting...living in the righteousness of God
Savior's Servant - wisdom-knowing how to use your knowledge

Teaching involves doctrine, explaining what the Bible means and says and how to put into practice. What is rebuking?

Rebuking is bringing to light a fault and showing the remedy for it. What is correction?

Z - showing the right way
hub - to show someone the Truth in a loving and Christlike manner
prodigal son - Correction would be showing the proper way

Correction is restoration to an upright or right state, improvement of life or character. How well do we take rebuking and correcting? Don't answer that out loud! LOL

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So our training as Christian soldiers includes receiving teaching rebuking correcting and training in righteousness. So it involves positive and negative aspects, what to do and what not to do.

Z - so OT, when we say that we rebuke satan...we are bringig to light that he is not the truth?? that he is a liar?

Right z, but he doesn't take correction! Never learns... Notice also that it says when we do receive this training we will be "Thoroughly equipped for every good work". We don't have to get any training elsewhere. God provides all we need to be a good soldier for Him.

Z - Thank You Lord!! Equip us to be mighty soldiers in Your army!!

Now the next time you read the Psalms, notice how many have to do with war, I call them Warrior Psalms! If you need encouragement in your battles, read what David went through.

Psalm 144:1-2 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

Now what do you think this verse means - trains my hands for war - and how does it apply to us? In other words, how do you use your hands in battle for the Lord?

prodigal son - How to handle the word of God properly
Alma - Yes- how to use our sword (the word of god)
prodigal son - I use my hands to open my bible and read it *S*
hub - to wage spiritual battle against Satan the world and the sinful nature.
Athie - By putting on your armor and taking up your sword(WORD)
hub - Warriors who depend on God's strength and training will be victorious

How about lifting up holy hands in praise to Him? How about the "laying on of hands" for healing? How about the gentle touch of concern that drives away grief and pain? There's a lot of ways we can use our hands for the Lord. And there are things we should not handle or touch as well.

Athie - Yes our hands are His hands extended.

So our training involves studying the Word and learning how to "rightly divide" or understand it, training in godliness, receiving teaching, rebuking, correction, and training our hands for war.

Another characteristic of a good soldier is

6. Understanding and following instructions.

The general makes the battle plans, but if the soldier cannot or will not follow orders, will the battle be won? It doesn't do a lot of good to receive training if you don't put it into practice either.

I Timothy 1:18-19 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

Paul looked to Timothy as his son "in the faith", and the books of I and II Timothy are his instructions to him. Following Paul's instructions allowed Timothy to "fight the good fight", holding on the faith.

Alma - How do you know you have the correct understanding/instruction?

As always, TEST ALL THINGS BY THE WORD.

Some others rejected instruction and shipwrecked their faith. What does shipwrecked mean here?

Alma - shipwrecked means to have run aground to no longer be able to complete your journey.

Being shipwrecked means to make a mess of things by not following instructions.

1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

Here is a sample of what a first century service was like. Along with singing, and spiritual gifts, there were words of instruction.

I Thessalonians 4:7-8 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Paul here tells how serious rejecting godly instruction is - not only can you be shipwrecked, but rejecting it means you are rejecting God and His Word. So a Christian soldier has to know how to receive and follow instructions.

Once a soldier is trained and knows how to follow orders, then he must be ready to move at a moment's notice. So the next characteristic of a Christian soldier is:

7. Being alert, watchful and prepared

I Corinthians 16:13 13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

Z - be built up in the word, armed and ready!

Armed and dangerous, when we are clad in God's armor, with the shield of faith up, and the Sword in our hand, we are dangerous to the enemy! What are we on guard against?

Alma - satan
Faith - OT, we are to stand fast in faith.
Savior's Servant - satan and his followers
Z - the attacks of the enemy.....slippery little devil...disguises himself.....but we CAN see him coming if we're ready!

1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

How about being on guard against temptation and sin? How about guarding our thought life and what we put into our minds?

Z - be on guard against our own flesh and it's desires...
OlePappy - That nasty "lion" will break his teeth on the armor of God...Praise God

1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

And how about being watchful for our Lord's Coming?

Mark 13:32-33 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

Why do we need to be on guard and be alert for the Second Coming?

Z - yes! for no one knows the day or the hour!

We need to be ready!!! We need to be watching, waiting, and praying! I want to be ready, don't you?

Athie - No one knows the hour of His coming so we MUST be ready
Faith - It's not only important to be ready for 'His coming'. We must be ready, just in case we leave this world before He comes.

And being ready leads us to the next point:

8. Keeping armor and weapons in ready-condition

Z - so if we slip, we better get right back up...and not stay down and defenseless

Ephesians 6:15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

We need to be READY at all times to spread the Gospel of peace.

Titus 1:1-2 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to BE READY TO DO WHATEVER IS GOOD, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

Here it is again, be ready to do good.

Romans 6:13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

We are totally at God's disposal, like good soldiers are always ready - ready to go where the Lord leads, ready to do right, ready to be used as God wills. "Set your house in order", examine your life for sin, ask forgiveness, get as close to God as you possibly can, for the time grows near, and our time to be witnesses is running out.

And likewise a good soldier has

9. An undivided heart to the cause

2 Timothy 2:4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer.

Athie - The harvest is ripe and the labors are few
OlePappy - a soldier has to believe in what he is fighting for

Now this doesn't mean you can't have a life, but that you do not let the concerns of this life keep you from serving God. Your heart is first and foremost devoted to the Lord.

Psalms 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Z - Yes Lord Yes! Teach me Your way!! yes! no doublemindedness!

Now a soldier can't be fighting for two armies, his heart must be undivided. The only way we can have an undivided heart is to receive teaching from the Lord, fear His Name and walk in His truth.

Someone with a divided heart is called "double-minded" and James says that such a person is unstable in all of his ways and will receive NOTHING from the Lord. We also call it "fence-sitting" - and all you'll ever get from that is splinters you-know-where!

Ezekiel 11:19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

God will give you an undivided heart, a heart of flesh that can hear God and serve Him whole-heartedly. So be it Lord, AMEN

Faith - Praise your Holy name, Father.
Savior's Servant - AMEN!
Z - Amen!!!

Now we have one more characteristic of a good Christian soldier, but not time to cover it! But be thinking for next time how to STAND for Christ. And we'll also talk about our spiritual weapons and battlegrounds.

Father God, help us to be good soldiers in your army, obedient to you and the leaders you've given us. Help us to be self-controlled and alert.

Help us to be loyal and loving to one another, and serve you with an undivided heart. Train us for war, help us learn to follow instruction. May we be ever self-controlled and alert, on guard for our prowling enemy and ready to meet you in the air when you come to get us. Help us to endure hardship as good soldiers, neither grumbling nor complaining, but accepting discipline as your children.And above all Lord, teach us how to stand our ground in Jesus Name. AMEN!

OlePappy - Thank You Father for the blessing of Your Holy Word. Be with all those who have gathered here tonight. Father give them You peace , love and grace . Father Your Word is most holy, I ask that you give us the wisdom to use it in our walk this week. This I pray in the precious name of Jesus. AMEN

Thank you Father for your Word. Make it real to us and help us apply it to our lives. In Jesus Name AMEN

Remember, whenever God gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate on what you've learned!
And put it into practice.

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Original lesson 8/20/98
Revised: May 03, 2001.