Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
While on vacation on Onslow Beach; a Camp Lejeune Marine Corps visitor’s housing and recreation area, I was impressed by the continued training I witnessed. During the day the Osprey and CHE 53 Super Stallion helicopters were busy transporting Marines in and out of simulated combat situations. Mortars thumped the earth way into the night hours. In the early morning before day break you could hear the distant sound of 50 caliber machine guns and other rapid fire instruments of war being used in training exercises.
Though we are at peace in our nation we know war is going on in other parts of the world. The enemies of freedom and democracy are always in motion.
No one in these training facilities sits idly by wringing their hands waiting for the enemy to strike. They train day after day, night after night. Their hands are being prepared for war and their fingers are being taught to fight.
To put this real life scenario into the Christian realm we find a remarkable parallelism. The believer in Christ is under his pastor’s teaching authority in the local church, ever learning the skills of combating the enemies of the cross. Never think the enemies of the cross of Christ are not your enemies; they are. If you think they are letting up you had better think again.
The believer must learn how to fight the good fight of faith without becoming discouraged or weary of his training or his trainer. Our military isn’t discouraged by the constant assaults of the enemy, they expect it, and so they train under authority. If there was no authority in place in the military do you think these men and women would stay when the going got tough?
As a believer our warfare is not a physical one, it is a spiritual one. We wrestle against powers and principalities and against the rulers of the darkness of this present world. We wrestle against those things that agitate and distract our minds from our spiritual combat training in the word of God. Regardless of your church congregations size and ministry, every biblical minister and every biblical congregation faces spiritual warfare.
The little group may think, “We need to be bigger and do more,” and the larger group may think, “I wish we were closer and we didn’t stay so busy.” But neither group can survive spiritual warfare without being combat ready. Our Bibles are our combat manuals, but they are useless to help us until they are drilled into our souls. This is the primary calling and labor of the pastor-teacher, I Tim.5:17; Heb.13:7, 17. For every biblical congregation divine truth is its greatest need. Biblical truth is our greatest ally for combating the forces of sin and evil, and for combating spiritual fatigue. If you are easily fatigued with Bible study and maintaining a spiritual readiness to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience to Jesus Christ then you need to get motivated to learn more. And God knows just how to help you along. He can use the motivation of undeserved suffering to instill in you the desire to draw near unto him. Testing will put you in the fire and your faith will be purified as was the three Hebrew young men in the book of Daniel. Testing will teach you to be steady and trusting of God as it taught Daniel in the lion’s den. And testing will lead you to keep hammering away in the Word just as it taught Noah to keep hammering away when building the Ark. I must peach when no one seems to be listening, and you must listen even when the subject matter is of little interest to you. God knows why he leads his faithful pastors to preach what they preach when they preach it to their people.
You may very well have a test coming your way in which you will be glad you listened to that message; the message that seemed of little importance at the time. You will be glad you didn’t sleep in, but went to church with your Bible and notebook in hand.
You will not be sleeping in when that trial hits you between the eyes, and you certainly will not be sleeping in when you stand and give an account of your faithfulness at the Bema Seat of Jesus Christ, I Cor.3:11-15.
When the flood of adversity comes, and it will, you and I will be glad we had our training. When you do not feel like getting up and coming to church, discipline yourself to come anyway. If your children complain when it is time to come to church bring them anyway. The world is pulling at your children all of the time and they need a greater force to guide them than you or I. They need the word of God for their trials, too. They need the word of God to prepare them for their personal battles and their stress and temptations. Do not fail your children in this area, Deut.6:5-7. We make our children do everything else we want them to do such as brush their teeth, straighten up their room, do their homework, come to the table to eat, go to school, go to bed; why not go to Church?
They are under your training authority. Hold your ground with them. When their trials and burdens are heavy and the enemy comes looking for them they will be glad you instructed them in God’s word, and you will be glad, too.