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The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Romans 5:05 - Hope Beyond the Pale

Rom 5:5
And hope maketh not ashamed - That is, this hope will not disappoint, or deceive. When we hope for an object which we do not obtain, we are conscious of disappointment; perhaps sometimes of a feeling of shame.  But the apostle says that the Christian hope is such that it will be fulfilled; it will not disappoint; what we hope for we shall certainly obtain; see Phi_1:20.  The expression used here is probably taken from Psa 22:4-5;
Our fathers trusted in thee;
They trusted; and thou didst deliver them.
They cried unto thee,
And were delivered;
They trusted in thee,
And were not confounded (ashamed). (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Rom 5:5
And hope maketh not ashamed - A hope that is not rationally founded will have its expectation cut off; and then shame and confusion will be the portion of its possessor. But our hope is of a different kind; it is founded on the goodness and truth of God; and our religious experience shows us that we have not misapplied it; nor exercised it on wrong or improper objects. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
Rom 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed,.... As a vain hope does, things not answering to expectation, it deceives, and is lost; but the grace of hope is of such a nature, as that it never fails deceives, or disappoints: it neither makes ashamed, nor have persons that have any reason to be ashamed of it; neither of the grace itself, which is a good one; nor of the ground and foundation of it, the person and righteousness of Christ; nor of the object of it, eternal glory (Dr. John Gill)

This hope will not disappoint us, because it is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of love.  It is the gracious work of the blessed Spirit to shed abroad the love of God in the hearts of all the saints.  The love of God, that is, the sense of God's love to us, drawing out love in us to him again.  Or, The great effects of his love: (1.) Special grace; and, (2.) The pleasant gust or sense of it.  It is shed abroad, as sweet ointment, perfuming the soul, as rain watering it and making it fruitful.  The ground of all our comfort and holiness, and perseverance in both, is laid in the shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts; it is this which constrains us, 2Co 5:14.  Thus are we drawn and held by the bonds of love. Sense of God's love to us will make us not ashamed, either of our hope in him or our sufferings for him. (Matthew Henry)
"and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. " (NASB)
 
"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (KJV)
 
"And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love." (NLT)
 
"And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (NET)

There are a great many disappointments that we may face in life. But Jesus Christ is not and cannot be one of them. For those who have trusted in His saving Grace there is an eternal hope that endures the trials of this life (though it transcends beyond the pale of mere human understanding) and leads us to our eternal home. Our earnest lives within us (the comforter Who is God Himself). How then could we ever be disappointed. We have received an undeserved gift that defies description while it overflows into every molecule of our lives!

so that we who have found refuge in him may find strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us through two unchangeable things, since it is impossible for God to lie. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast, which reaches inside behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner entered on our behalf, since he became a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 6:18-20)
 
who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment. (2Co 1:22)
 
And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2Co 3:18)
 
For God, who said "Let light shine out of darkness," is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ. (2Co 4:6)
 
And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls "Abba! Father!"
(Gal 4:6)
 
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Gal 5:22)
 
And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) — when you believed in Christ — you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit,  (Eph 1:13)
 
I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  (Eph 3:16-19)
 
he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit,  (Tit 3:5)
 
Nevertheless there is more.  First, practical experience. We pass in fact through tribulations; but we rejoice in this, because it exercises the heart, detaches us from the world, subdues the will, the natural working of the heart, purifies it from those things which dim our hope by filling it with present things, in order that we may refer more to God in all things, which, after all, are entirely directed by Him whose faithful grace ministered all this to us.  We learn better that the scene in which we move passes away and changes, and is but a place of exercise, and not the proper sphere of life.  Thus hope, founded on the work of Christ, becomes more clear, more disentangled from the mixture of that which is of man here below; we discern more clearly that which is unseen and eternal, and the links of the soul are more complete and entire with that which is on before us.  Experience, which might have discouraged nature, works hope, because, come what may, we have the key to all, because the love of God who has given us this hope, made clearer by these exercises, is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us, who is the God of love dwelling in us. (Dr. John Darby)

Romans 5:04 - Patient Endurance

Rom 5:4
And patience, experience - Patient endurance of trial produces experience.  The word rendered “experience” (δοκιμη?ν dokime?n) means trial, testing, or that thorough examination by which we ascertain the quality or nature of a thing, as when we test a metal by fire, or in any other way, to ascertain that it is genuine.  It also means approbations, or the result of such a trial; the being approved, and accepted as the effect of a trying process.  The meaning is, that long afflictions borne patiently show a Christian what he is; they test his religion, and prove that it is genuine.  Afflictions are often sent for this purpose, and patience in the midst of them shows that the religion which can sustain them is from God.

And experience, hope - The result of such long trial is to produce hope. They show that religion is genuine; that it is from God; and not only so, but they direct the mind onward to another world; and sustain the soul by the prospect of a glorious immortality there.  The various steps and stages of the benefits of afflictions are thus beautifully delineated by the apostle in a manner which accords with the experience of all the children of God. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
And patience, experience - Δο?κιμεν, Full proof, by trial, of the truth of our religion, the solidity of our Christian state, and the faithfulness of our God.  In such cases we have the opportunity of putting our religion to the test; and, by every such test, it receives the deeper sterling stamp.  The apostle uses here also a metaphor taken from the purifying, refining, and testing of silver and gold.

Experience, hope - For we thus calculate, that he who has supported us in the past will support us in those which may yet come; and as we have received so much spiritual profiting by means of the sufferings through which we have already passed, we may profit equally by those which are yet to come: and this hope prevents us from dreading coming trials; we receive them as means of grace, and find that all things work together for good to them that love God. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
 
"and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;" (NASB)
 
"And patience, experience; and experience, hope:" (KJV)
 
"And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." (NLT)
 
"and endurance, character, and character, hope." (NET)

If we look upon the adversities of life as an opportunity for us to grow closer in our relationship with the Lord, we will begin to see ourselves in a true light.  In the midst of the pains of life we call out to Jesus! What would we be doing if life was pure bliss? Perhaps all manner of stuff. But in the midst of trials we are talking with Jesus.

For our present troubles are small and won't last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2Co 4:17-18)
 
For even Christ didn't live to please Himself. As the Scriptures say, "The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me."  Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us.  And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled.  May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. (Rom 15:3-5)
 
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ.  Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation!  For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you.  Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. (2Co 1:4-6)
 
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.  Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, "God is tempting me."  God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else.  Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.  These desires give birth to sinful actions.  And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (Jas 1:12-15)
 
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.  These trials will show that your faith is genuine.  It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.  So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1Pe 1:6-7)
 
And patience experience,.... As tribulations tend to exercise and increase patience, so patience being exercised and increased, enlarges the saints' stock and fund of experience; of the love and grace of God communicated to them at such seasons; of his faithfulness in fulfilling his promises; of his power in supporting them; and of their own frailty and weakness; and so are taught humility, thankfulness, and resignation to the will of God:

and experience, hope; hope is a gift of God's grace, and is implanted in regeneration, but abounds, increases, and becomes more strong and lively by experience of the love, grace, mercy, power, and faithfulness of God. (Dr. John Gill)

Romans 5:03 - Rejoice

"And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;" (NASB)
 
"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;" (KJV)
 
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." (NLT)
 
"Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance," (NET)
 
καυχω?μεθα kaucho?metha. The meaning is, that we rejoice not only in hope; not only in the direct results of justification, in the immediate effect which religion itself produces; but we carry our joy and triumph even into the midst of trials.  In accordance with this, our Savior directed his followers to rejoice in persecutions, Matthew 5:11-12.  Compare James 1:2, James 1:12. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
 
But we glory in tribulations also - All the sufferings we endure for the testimony of our Lord are so sanctified to us by his grace, that they become powerful instruments of increasing our happiness.
Tribulation worketh patience - Υ?πομονην, Endurance under trials, without sustaining loss or deterioration. It is a metaphor taken from refining metals. We do not speak thus from any sudden raptures, or extraordinary sensations we may have of spiritual joy: for we find that the tribulations through which we pass are the means of exercising and increasing our patience, our meek forbearance of injuries received, or persecutions experienced, on account of the Gospel. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
 
Tribulation itself gives us different and various occasions to rejoice, and more than this it does not make us miserable. Afflictions make us use to being patient, and patience assures us of the goodness of God, and this experience confirms and fosters our hope, which never deceives us. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

We have a trust in Him who died for us that allows us to know that whatever comes our way will become an opportunity for our betterment as God works in us to make us in the likeness of His Son.  It is not that we enjoy crisis.  Rather, it is that we recognize the preeminence of God's sovereignty in all things.

 

Romans 5:02 - Undeserved Privilege

"through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God." (NASB)
 
"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (KJV)
 
"Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. " (NLT)
 
"through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God's glory." (NET)
 
Remark here also the difference of Abraham's faith and ours.  He believed God could perform what He promised.  We are called to believe He has performed.  Faith in God's word, believing God, and this faith laying hold on His power in resurrection, is faith that this has lifted us out of the whole effect of our sins...The work is done; the believer has part in it, and is justified. Having been justified, we have peace with God, we stand in divine favor, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  We believe in a God who has intervened in power to raise Him from the dead who had borne our offences, and who, being raised, is the eternal witness that our sins are put away, and that the only true God is He who has done it in love. I have then peace with Him; all my sins are blotted out — annulled — by the work of Christ; my unburdened heart knows the Savior God. I stand as a present thing in that grace or favor, God's blessed present favor resting on me, which is better than life.  Through Christ, entered into His presence, I am even now in the enjoyment of His favor, in present grace.  All the fruits of the old man are cancelled before God by the death of Christ.  There cannot be a question as to my sins between me and God. He has nothing to impute to me — that has been all settled in Christ's death and resurrection.  As to the present time, I am brought into His presence in the enjoyment of His favor. Grace characterizes my present relationship with God. Further, all my sins having been put away according to the requirements of God's glory, and Christ being risen from the dead, having met all that glory, I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God It is a full well-grounded hope of being in it, not a coming short of it.  All is connected with God Himself, with, and according to, His perfections, the favor of God, and His glory for our hope.  All is connected with His power in resurrection — peace with God already settled, the present favor of God, and the hope of glory. (Dr. John Darby)
 

Romans 5:01 - Faith Plus Nothing

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (NASB)
 
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (KJV)
 
"Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us." (NLT)
 
"Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (NET)
 
The apostle takes it for granted that he has proved that justification is by faith, and that the Gentiles have an equal title with the Jews to salvation by faith.  And now he proceeds to show the effects produced in the hearts of the believing Gentiles by this doctrine.  We are justified - have all our sins pardoned by faith, as the instrumental cause; for, being sinners, we have no works of righteousness that we can plead.  (Dr. Adam Clarke)
 
THROUGH false emphasis by many religious leaders, Christianity has become in the estimation of a large part of the public no more than an ethical system.  The revealed fact, however, is that the supreme feature of the Christian faith is that supernatural, saving, transforming work of God, which is made possible through the infinite sacrifice of Christ and which, in sovereign grace, is freely bestowed on all who believe.  Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Grace

Faith plus nothing!  This is the Amazing Grace we receive when we first believe.  Though there be many in Christendom who would add to this requirement, they do so in error.  The salvation provided by the Omnipotent is not dependent upon the created!  To the contrary, if it were not for the Lord "succoring" us in the day of salvation we would be lost forever.

Romans 4:25 - Jesus Our Sacrifice

"He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification." (NASB)
 
"Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (KJV)
 
"He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God." (NLT)
 
"He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification." (NET)
 
"Because of our sins he was given over to die, and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God." (GNB)
 
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, (Romans 3:25 NLT)
 
But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the sins of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6 NLT)
 
Who was delivered up to death as a sacrifice for our sins; for in what other way, or for what other purpose could He, who is innocence itself, be delivered for our offenses?
 
He was raised that we might have the fullest assurance that the death of Christ had accomplished the end for which it took place; viz. our reconciliation to God, and giving us a title to that eternal life, into which he has entered, and taken with him our human nature, as the first-fruits of the resurrection of mankind. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
 

Romans 4:24 - Written for Us

"but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead," (NASB)
 
"But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;" (KJV)
 
"for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." (NLT)
 
"but also for our sake, to whom it will be credited, those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." (NET)
 
"They were written also for us who are to be accepted as righteous, who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from death." (GNB)

The written encouragement from the Throne Room of Grace that transcends time and space so that we may rejoice in Him who is our guarantor of our salvation. Not a superstition or a fable, but a covenant written by the very hand of God.

...that we might have an example of the way in which people may be accepted of God.  It is recorded for our encouragement and imitation, to show that we may in a similar manner be accepted and saved. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
 
The mention of this circumstance has a much more extensive design than merely to honor Abraham.  It is recorded as the model, according to which God will save both Jews and Gentiles: indeed there can be no other way of salvation; as all have sinned, all must either be saved by faith through Christ Jesus, or finally perish. If God, therefore, will our salvation, it must be by faith; and faith contemplates his promise, and his promise comprehends the Son of his love. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
 
For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope. (Romans 15:4 NET.)

 

News From The Front

News From The Front

News from the Front—by Dan Cartwright, Chairman, Board of Directors

Sebaste, Cappadocia (now Sivas in Turkey) - March, 320 A.D.

Roman Emperor Valerius Licinius had already ordered that all Christians in Cappadocia abandon their faith and worship pagan gods, including every member of the famous “Thundering” 12th Legion, whose record in combat was unparalleled in the annals of the Imperial Army! Forty soldiers of the Legion however, refused to recant their faith, declaring before a military tribunal (court-martial) that they would devote their love to God and only God!

Agricolas, Captain of the Legion and the local pagan governor, would not humor this obstinacy. When imprisonment of the whole stubborn company could not break them, he decided on a novel sort of pressure.  It was a bitterly cold March and the pond outside the city was frozen over. The governor, therefore, ordered that the 40 be herded out to the center of the lake stark naked and allowed to rethink their decision. Meanwhile, he set up on the shore statues of the gods to be worshipped, a nice fire, and a pleasant warm bath. He hoped that the offer of warmth might change the minds of the freezing men and induce them to apostatize. But the prisoners retained their solidarity. Together they prayed, “Lord, we are 40 who are engaged in this conflict; grant that we may not fall short of that sacred number.”

During the three days of their lethal exposure, only one of the group gave up, stumbled towards the shore and sought the comfort of one of the hot baths provided for any who would recant their faith. The same hot bath that rewarded his apostasy also brought about his death. Ironically, the sudden heat was too much after the long chill, and he died of shock.

Although the soldier-victims were saddened by this defection, their prayer was heard. Aglaios, a jailer watching the horrifying spectacle of the freezing soldiers had heard their shouts of “40 soldiers for Christ!” when they first headed out across the frozen lake, and now heard a fainter shout, ‘Thirty-nine soldiers for Christ!”

What happened in the heart of the jailer Aglaios at that moment, only he and God will ever know. He wrenched off his own armor and girdle, and dashed to the edge of the lake. There, after lifting his right hand and crying, “Forty good soldiers for Christ!” he disappeared over the ice and into the darkness.

Colorado Springs, CO - 1 March 2007

A small group of soldiers from the 10th Special Forces Group gathered at Red Rock Canyon in Colorado Springs for a ‘spiritual fitness’ run and induction of Christian warriors into ‘The Order of the Cappadocian Martyrs,’ led by 10th Group Chaplains Darren Chester and Terry McBride.

It was a cold, windy, and icy morning after a late snowfall from the previous afternoon and evening left a few inches of new snow on the ground and a lot of dangerous ice on streets and roadways. While such conditions sometimes cause outdoor physical fitness training to be cancelled, there would be no change of plans on this morning! The announcement of, and invitation to the event had stated, in part: “Note: Weather will not affect this run. If you can get there, we will run. Yes, it will be cold. That is the point. The martyrs for whom this order is named froze to death naked on a pond in the course of 3 days. If they can do that for Jesus, surely we can stand an hour or so in the cold.”

The event was scheduled to begin at 0630 sharp. The rendezvous point was a snow-covered public parking lot just off of highway 24, heading west out of the city proper. As soldiers arrived, they remained in their vehicles rather than stand in the biting wind any earlier than necessary. At the appointed time, they gathered around the map of the canyon at the edge of the parking lot for the route briefing given by Chaplain Chester. After the briefing, they headed into the small canyon, along a trail that gradually climbed in altitude for nearly a mile. After winding their way through the canyon for 2-1/2 miles, they gathered at the end of the run at another spot in the canyon, a flat open area near a small frozen pond.

Chaplain Chester spoke to the group, relating the story of the 40 martyrs from Sebaste who died on a frozen lake so long ago, not only refusing to recant their faith, but proclaiming their faith to the cold bitter end! The men were encouraged to stand firm no matter what they faced in this life, especially the persecution that all believers face at times when they live righteously before God and in an unbelieving world.

Each member of the group was given a patch symbolizing the martyrs of the “Thundering” XII Legion, Special Forces warriors of today, and emblazoned with a golden Cross of Christ against the canopy of a deployed parachute, a Green Beret, and the crossed arrows. Each man also received a small card on which was printed the following oath of allegiance:


SGM Dan Cartwright, USA (Ret),
Local Representative, Chairman,
CMF Board of Directors

“I am a Soldier for the Lord Jesus Christ. I am prepared to speak any word, do any deed, and go anywhere As He leads Me. His will is my mission. When the enemy attacks I will Stand firm. When tempted I will persevere. When persecuted I will not forsake my Lord. I will do good to those who hate me, I will bless those who curse me, I will pray for those who mistreat me. Though pressured I am not crushed. Though perplexed I am not in despair. Though persecuted I am not abandoned. Though struck down I am not destroyed. I will always carry the death of Jesus in my body, that the life of Jesus may be revealed in my body."

One can only imagine what the response of the mighty host of heaven was when the sound of earthly warriors' voices joined as one in allegiance to the Lord of Hosts and filled the air of a small canyon on a cold windy morning!

The short ceremony concluded with the men in a circle, arms around each other's shoulders and heads bowed as Chaplain McBride closed in prayer. Certainly this was an event to be followed by more similar occasions, as more warriors of the 10th Special Forces Group step forward in faith and join this 'Band of Brothers!’

Romans 4:23 - To Our Benefit

"Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him," (NASB)
 
"Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;" (KJV)
 
"And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded" (NLT)
 
"But the statement it was credited to him was not written only for Abraham's sake," (NET)

We see that Abraham became the forerunner of our faith. He is the example of God's method of saving us all! By faith we are joined with Christ in His death and raised with Him into a new life. Because of our faith in His sacrifice, His righteousness is credited to our account.

The record of this extraordinary faith was not made on his account only; but it was made to show the way in which men may be regarded and treated as righteous by God. If Abraham was so regarded and treated, then, on the same principle, all others may be. God has but one mode of justifying people. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
 
The record of this extraordinary faith was not made on his account only; but it was made to show the way in which men may be regarded and treated as righteous by God. If Abraham was so regarded and treated, then, on the same principle, all others may be. God has but one mode of justifying people. (Matthew Henry)
 
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled. (Romans 15:4 NLT)
 
Wasn't He actually speaking to us? Yes, it was written for us, so that the one who plows and the one who threshes the grain might both expect a share of the harvest. (1 Corinthians 9:10 NLT)
 

Enemy Lines - Harvest

Enemy Lines - Harvest

Living Behind Enemy Lines—Lord of the Harvest

In the two previous articles in this series, Behind Enemy Lines: Situational Awareness and Understanding the Mission, we said that, as believers in Christ, we are living “behind enemy lines” and that as followers of Christ, it is our mission to share the Gospel and make disciples for the Kingdom of our Lord. Now we'll see how God provides all we need to accomplish our mission by:

  • Equipping the messenger,
  • Preparing hearts for the message, and
  • Connecting the heart to the message.
Equipping the Messenger.

“When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).


SGM Dan Cartwright, USA (Ret),
Chairman, Board of Directors

Jesus was moved with a deep compassion for people, comparing the multitudes without a savior to helpless sheep without a shepherd (infantry squad without a squad leader).  The Holy Spirit of God, living inside the believer, will give us the same gut-wrenching compassion for our loved ones, friends, co-workers, comrades in battle, and even those who mistreat us.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

“When they (Jewish religious leaders and the Roman ‘feds’) saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

The Holy Spirit, who lives inside the believer, providing assurance, comfort and guidance, also provides power to be an effective witness to the gospel.  Peter and John were common fishermen who hung out with Jesus for a few years, listening to His teaching. When the Holy Spirit came in power on Pentecost, the head knowledge became heart knowledge.  They couldn't help but talk about what they had seen and heard!

Preparing hearts for the message.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

At the same time God is preparing messengers, He is busy preparing hearts to receive the most important message they will ever receive!  It might be a family member, friend or co-worker, or the soldier by your side in a firefight.  Sometimes opportunities to share God's message come knocking loudly at your door, but more often they just “happen.”

I remember a lot of those ─ the medic on the SF “A” team who “happened” to be dating a Christian girl, who “happened” to be talking to him about spiritual stuff, resulting in his “happening” to ask me about the things she was saying!

Connecting the heart to the message.

There's a great story in the New Testament where we see the process at work.  Acts 8:26-40 tells of Phillip, whom God had prepared as the messenger, an Ethiopian man who “happened” to be reading one of the prophets, and, a “divine” appointment.  Phillip ended up sharing the good news about Jesus, and the Ethiopian received the message in his heart, was baptized in a convenient pool of water and went on his way rejoicing.

So What?

Although the story of Philip and the Ethiopian was a bit more spectacular than we see in our normal everyday life as Christians, the process is the same.  There is an equipped messenger, a prepared heart, and a connecting that impacts eternity.  The architect of the process is the Holy Spirit of God.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of the harvest! He told his disciples:

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37, 38).

God has a plan and doesn’t need “Super-Christians” to make it work.  All God wants is workers. Look in the mirror and see one of God’s harvest workers.  Now that you are available, the Lord of the Harvest will do the rest.  Remember, harvest workers are always behind enemy lines.


Christian Military Fellowship

An Indigenous Ministry • Discipleship • Prayer • Community • Support
Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

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  • Phone: (800) 798-7875

  • Email: admin@cmfhq.org

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