Regardless of your opinion on this war or that, there is one near-universally held belief in our modern times: Americans have an unwavering devotion to the men and women who serve them. One thing America holds out with pride to the other nations is her willingness to serve in a time of war. No other country has an army like America. How even more special is it, when one considers the fact that our army is composed of patriotic volunteers.
On September 11, 2001, when America was attacked, people from all 50 states began signing up for the military. They were hoping for a chance to serve and fight against the evil enemy that had attacked them. They heard the “call to arms” made by our President, and they responded.
As great and inspiring as it was to see America’s response to that call, one should not forget another “call to arms” that has been issued: A call that, unlike the call to the war on Terror, has been largely ignored. This call to arms concerns not a national warfare, but a spiritual one. Sadly, though the response to America’s attack has sparked patriotism across the board, the constant attacks to Christ and His church seem to fall largely unanswered.
Like America, the church has been attacked. Since its inception 2,000 years ago, forces from without and within have sought its destruction. And like America, her leader has issued a call to arms: a plea for faithful Christians everywhere to defend the church. Many great soldiers have fought for it, but lately it seems that its getting harder and harder to convince Christians to take a stand and defend the bride of Christ.
Young people, especially, seem almost apathetic to the attacks on the church. While it is true that there are many faithful preachers today, it is also true that there is a shortage of faithful young people who are seeking to preach. If these young Christian men could see the value (not only for themselves, but for others) of preaching, then they may be encouraged to join the fight against Satan, to bring souls to Christ.
What can be said to a young person that would encourage him to go into preaching and fight on the “front lines” against Satan? Three things to consider:
WHEN YOU PREACH YOU ARE DOING THE LORD’S WORK
How wonderful it is, to know that you can have the same profession as the Master. What was Christ’s work? Some would say “carpenter” but that would be inaccurate. Though He did do his earthly father’s work at a young age, when Jesus reached the age of 30, His profession changed. He began doing his Heavenly Father’s work. What was Christ’s work? He was a preacher.
Remember that Satan is also a preacher, and he has people doing his work as well. There should be a sense of urgency that exists with Gospel preachers. Satan’s preachers are trying to convert people just like Christ’s preachers are.
How intent was Christ in doing His work? He died for His work didn’t He? His aim was to “seek and save the lost.” So too should be the aim of everyone doing the Lord’s work: Seek out the lost, and teach them the Gospel which saves them. And if he Lord was willing to die so that His work be accomplished, the same mindset should be found in those doing the Lord’s work.
Paul encouraged the Philippians to have the “mind” of Christ (Phil. 2:5). He told them to have the same mindset that Jesus had when he was on the cross (Phil. 2:8). We are told just what Christ’s mindset was in Hebrews 12:
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God
Paul says that Jesus, while on the cross, was able to endure, because he knew the “joy” that was in front of Him; the joy, being heaven.
Those who preach are doing the Lord’s work. And even though there is sometimes great risk involved, they, like the Lord, are able to endure, because of the joy that is set before them.
What can be said to a young person who is considering a life devoted to evangelism? Perhaps, it could be said, that there is no greater honor than to know that when you preach, you are doing the Lord’s work.
WHEN YOU PREACH YOU ARE ENCOURAGING THE LORD’S PEOPLE
There is more to preaching than the honor of doing the Lord’s work. What about the satisfaction of encouraging the Lord’s people? The common Hollywood typecast that exists concerning Christians and preachers portrays Christians as depressed, bogged-down, even bored with life. Preachers, subsequently, are portrayed as the pick-me-up guy; the ever-perky, shot-in-the arm that gets the common folk through their day.
In reality, preachers can get depressed. Preachers can feel overwhelmed. Preachers can even feel disenchanted. In short, preachers are just like everyone else: they’re human.
What preachers can do, is use their knowledge of God’s work and their duty as an orator of the word, to encourage others; others who may be feeling just as blue as you. And when you return home, perhaps feeling just as depressed as you were the night before, and you receive a call from a member in tears, who thanks you for your encouraging words, you will hang up the phone and feel a little better. You’ll remember the satisfaction of encouraging the Lord’s people.
I imagine that John was a very encouraging preacher. Being known as the “apostle of love” will no doubt garner that kind of reputation. Recall what he said in his first epistle:
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one
(1 Jn. 2:12-14)
Notice the phrases that John uses, and how they are of great encouragement. He reminds them their sins are forgiven, he reminds them of how they have overcome Satan, and he reminds them that the word of God abides with them. What encouraging words, from the preacher, John.
What can be said to a young person who is considering a life devoted to evangelism? Perhaps, it could be said, that there is no greater satisfaction than to know that when you preach, you are encouraging the Lord’s people.
WHEN YOU PREACH YOU ARE DEFEATING THE LORD’S ENEMY
Yes, there is a great honor in doing the Lord’s work. Yes, there is great satisfaction in encouraging the Lord’s people. But in preaching, there is also great victory in defeating the Lord’s enemy.
Satan is the chief enemy of God. And, as already mentioned, Satan is quite an accomplished soul-winner himself. The prince of evil would love nothing more than to take as many souls to eternal hell as he could. Rest assured, he is working hard at that objective. Only one thing stands in his way: The soldier of Christ.
The old preacher-saying still rings true: God has won the war, but the battles still rage. From the moment Christ raised himself from the grave, and the angels said “He is not here, for He is risen” (Matt. 28:6), God has had the war with Satan won. Still, though, the battle for the individual souls of men still continues. As the soldier of Christ, the preacher has the task of trying to convert as many people as he can to the army of God.
Every soul that falls into sin is another soldier in Satan’s army. And every soul that is added to the Lord’s body, is another battle that Satan loses. The admonition of Paul still applies:
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
Christians are in a battle with Satan. Not a battle of flesh and blood, but a battle for soul’s final domain. How wonderful then, to know that every person, that you as a preacher convert, is one more crushing defeat to Satan, and another victory for the Lord.
Should you preach? While you have to be a Christian, and while you have to be a soul-winner, being a full-time preacher is not for everybody. However, after doing this for over 3 years now, this writer can honestly say that there is no greater honor than doing the Lord’s work; no greater satisfaction than encouraging the Lord’s people; and no greater victory that the victory over the Lord’s enemy.
We are in a battle with Satan, and we need all the front-line soldiers we can get.
Why not enlist today?