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Southern Heights Baptist Church
Seven Characteristics of a Good Soldier

A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ
This message is given for the glory of God and for the building up of God’s kingdoms.

“A Good Soldier of Jesus Christ”

Please turn in your Bible to 2 Timothy 2:1-7. In this passage we find seven (7) specific things that God says characterizes a person who is a good Christian Soldier of Jesus Christ.

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2) And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (3) You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. ((4) No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. (5) And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” NKJ.

1. Strengthened in God’s Grace (2 Tim. 2:1)
2. Selectively Listening to God’s Directions (2 Tim. 2:2; Acts 9:4, 9)
3. Sharing in the Suffering of Others (See footnote # 4)
4. Safely Delivering the Gospel to others (I Tim. 1:18)
5. Separated from the Worldly affairs of this life
6. Serving as a Teacher to others
7. Striving for Excellence as an Athlete.

The Characteristics
The first characteristic of a good soldier of Jesus Christ is a strong strength in God’s Word, or Grace. This means that he or she is a spiritual person in the word of God and he is morally strong. He is to be strong in God’s grace, “strong” or better than the strength of super glue (I Timothy 1:12). That means he is becoming stronger and stronger and becoming more bold in his Christian witness (Acts 9:22), Romans 4:20 in the case of Abraham, he was “strong in faith” even when he had a physical reason to doubt (2 Timothy 3:6), “women living in the grip of sin, “loaded down with sin.”

Paul wrote, “I thank Christ Jesus my Lord who enabled me, and for putting me into the ministry” (I Timothy 1:12). A good soldier of Jesus Christ must be strengthened by God’s Grace (2 Tim. 2:1).

The Second characteristic of a good soldier of Jesus Christ is the “ability to hear , “to listen carefully to something.” One of our problems today is that we do not listen! How many heartaches we experience because we don't listen or hear correctly! True hearing helps in our understanding of what is being said. There is also a legal term “to give a hearing” as in a court trial (John 7:51).

“Hear” 2 means to become “informed about something, learning, or to hear” (Matthew 14:13). “When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.”
Hear also means “to report something” (I Cor. 5:1) “in the sense of perceiving and hearing” (Acts 9:7). “The men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.” We use it today to indicate “understanding of what was said” (Acts 9:4), Saul heard a voice and fell to the earth, He heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” As a legal technical term, it means “to give a hearing,” as Nicodemus asked if their law sentenced a man before he is allowed a jury trial (John 7:51)? Being informed of something, learn or hear of, of discipleship, this means, “to pay close attention to, to obey” (Luke 9:35), “And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” It means “In comprehension to understand, to be aware of, to listen to something.” Paul asked the question, “… Do You Not Hear” the Law (Gal. 4: 21)? The Law condemns us! Do you wish to be condemned under the law? The Christian looks for God’s grace and mercy! Dr. James Dobson tells the story of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen who while traveling stopped at a restaurant for breakfast. The waitress asks him how she could help him. He told her he wanted ham, eggs and grits and for her to bring him some good news. Fifteen minutes later she returned with the ham, eggs and grits. The bishop asked her, “and tells me what is the good news?” To which the waitress replied, “I advise you not to eat the ham, eggs and grits.” This was good news. It was poisoned! He listened and his life was spared. Selectively Listening to God’s Directions is important for a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
“Commit Thou ” means to place beside, place before. It was said of food placed on the table. When this word is used in this way (middle voice), it means to give something to someone for safekeeping. Safekeeping is the basic idea of this word. Christians are to put the food of the gospel on the table for others to receive when they come to eat. That Word is used Luke 23:46 where Christ said, “Into thy hands, I commend my spirit,” and in I Timothy 1:18, “I Charge thee, that thou mightiest wage a good warfare.” When it is used this way it stresses a habitual practice in doing something. It means to present evidence of something as being in safe care (Acts 17:3).

The third characteristic of a good soldier of Jesus Christ is to “endure hardship. ” That means “to suffer long
with somebody,” “to suffer affliction” or “hardship along with someone,” “to suffer together with, or sharing in suffering.”
I think about D-Day on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944 as the Allied forces stormed and captured the beaches at Normandy. Many soldiers went up against automatic weapons and many lost their lives to the German Army.
What kind of Christian are you when it comes to suffering along with other believers? When there is the need for help to teach our boys and girls in the Awana club? Do we help in ministering to those who are sick and afflicted? Do we go to the jails and suffer along with those in the prison cells when they are going through very difficult trials? Are we a part of the visitation team? Do we actually come to the front and say, “I am a part of the team and I am willing to suffer with others in this work of the Lord Jesus Christ”? To be a good soldier means we must be willing to suffer with others in their times of need. Do we experience what they experience in the suffering of the body of believers in Christ Jesus? We must be willing to sharing in the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The fourth characteristic of a Good Christian Soldier of Jesus Christ is to teach others what we know about Christ. Are you delivering your deposits for safe keeping to others? God expects his soldiers to teach. Teach! Teach! Whatever “deposits” we have received; we must give them to others (I Tim. 1:18).
Think about a cake that your mother has baked for you and she has all of the ingredients but she forgot the sugar. How do you think it will taste without the sugar? The cake is not going to be a well-rounded cake without this key ingredient of sugar.
If we worship but do not give sacrificially, we lack a key ingredient! If we give but do not pray, we lack a key ingredient in the Christian warfare! All the ingredients are important in the Christian life! If I can preach but abuse my wife, then I am disqualified from being a Godly pastor. So it is with believers in Christ; we must do what is necessary to encourage one another to be all that we can possibly be. So please do not feel offended if a brother or sister calls and says “I missed you last week!” “How are you?” Are you doing well?” “Are you experiencing trouble?” Our church covenant says it is our duty “to watch over one another in brotherly love.” When we ask about how are you growing in your relationship with the Lord? Are you having your daily devotions? Are you maintaining your regular worship time? Are you obeying the Lord in your worship and service to Him? God says, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Ex. 20:11). Do not feel threatened when people try to encourage you to become the best possible soldier for the Lord Jesus Christ that you could ever possibly become? Christians are charged with the safe delivery of the Gospel to others.

The fifth characteristic of a good soldier is he must have a “single commitment to the task” if he is going to be good Christian Soldiers in this Christian warfare. He must stay on course and have a single-minded vision in his mission. To “be entangled,” means to be twisted or to be interwoven in a mass or cord. This is like being “entangled” with a cord around oneself as with a ball of twine with a rope when one does not know exactly how to unwrap himself. Christianity means that we are involved in one another's lives! We seek to help and encourage one another! We extend our love! We seek to encourage and to be the best examples of what Jesus Christ wants us to be as his representatives (disciples). We are not like Samson (Judges 14:1-2) or Lot (Genesis 13:9-13 or Demas (2 Timothy 4:10) who allowed the world to squeeze them into its mold. As Christians, we must not be entangled with the Worldly affairs of this life. Yes we are concerned about all of life; but we have to keep our focus upon the goal that God has for believers! Yes, we participate in our government; we contribute to our community and we help those who are in need. We minister to those who are homeless and to the sick and abused; but we must not become entangled with worldly affairs until we lose our focus. We must remember why Christ saved us and left us in this world.

The sixth characteristic that a good soldier of Jesus Christ must have is a single purpose of “pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ.” General Douglas MacArthur disagreed with President Harry Truman and experienced conflicts in the II World War. President Truman fired him. We must be loyal to our captain, Jesus Christ! General MacArthur and The President may have disagreed on some things; but they had one thing in common, both wanted to win the war. We should not lose our vision by failing to follow the commands of our captain, Jesus Christ. If we are to win the war, we must follow Christ’s directions. General Douglas MacArthur was willing to submit to The President who was the Commander-and- Chief of all the Armed Forces and therefore Harry Truman had the final say in the matter of how the war should be fought.
Are we willing to submit to our Commander-and-Chief of the Armies of the LORD, Jesus Christ?
We must always be open and willing to follow the LORD Jesus Christ who is the Commander-and-Chief of the Armies of God. He is called, “The LORD OF HOST” in the following verses in Malachi (Malachi 1:4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14; 2:2, 4, 7.8, 12, 16; 3:710, 12, 17; 4:1, 3). The Christian must love his wife and be willing to give himself for her, even as Christ gave himself as a ransom for his church. All who put their trust in him will be saved. We must be willing to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to please him. We do not need eye-service in the Lord’s work! We must simply try to please not men but Christ! We must serve as a teacher to others.

The seventh characteristic of a good soldier of Jesus Christ is that he must strive to please Christ in everything that he does. He must be willing to train diligently to become a good athlete and to win in this Christian warfare. Christians must strive diligently to follow the commands of Jesus Christ. The word “strive” as an athlete means “to successfully compete in the contest," Timothy Friberg defined it as, “I participate in a contest.”-- Friberg, ALCGNT p. 36. In the midst of this striving, one must play, according to the rules of Christ. One can not deviate from the demands of the divine mandate which God has given to his church (Matt. 28:19-20)! What kind of game player are you? We must play by God’s rules! We must strive for excellence in everything that we do as an athlete. A good athlete must be loyal to the captain and to the team.

In order to be a good soldier, one must be born again. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him to them he gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Dear friend, do you know that you are going to heaven when you die? Do you know that you have been born again? (See John 3:3-16).

Summary and Conclusion:

1. Strengthened in God’s Grace
2. Selectively Listening to God’s Directions (2 Tim. 2:2; Acts 9:4, 9)
3. Sharing in the Suffering of Others (See footnote # 4)
4. Safe Keeping of the Gospel (I Tim. 1:18)
5. Separated from the World affairs of this life
6. Serving as a Teacher to others
7. Striving for Excellence as an Athlete.
8. Go to your pastor or elder or deacon and volunteer your service to serve as a soldier in the army of Christ.
Pastor Otha Aden, BA and M. Div., D.D. established the ministry of Southern Heights Baptist Church 4001 S. Anthony Boulevard, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46806, September 10, 1968.

1. Kurt Aland, etal, The Greek New Testament: Fourth Revised Edition with A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, by Barclay M. Newman, Jr., 1993.

2. James R. Kohlenderburger III, Edward W. Goodrick, James A. Swanson, The Exhaustive Concordance to the Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1995

3. Timothy Friberg, etal. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 2000. Baker Books. Permission requested for the use of this material! Julie!

4. Walter Bauer, Arndt F. and F. F. Gingrich, Greek English Lexicon to the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 1957.

5. John R. Alsop, Editor, An Index to the Revised Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon: Second Edition by F. Wilbur Gingrich & Frederick W. Danker,

6. John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2005, Nashville, Tenn.

7. Frank Gaeblein Ed. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol. XI (Ephesians – Philemon) Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1978

8. George V. Wigram and Ralph D. Winter, The word Study Concordance in 2 Volumes, Tyndale House Publishers, In Wheaton, Illinois, USA.

9 Richard J. Goodrich and Albert L. Lukaszewski, A Reader’s Greek New Testament 2 nd. edition,, 2007.

It is my prayer that every preacher of the gospel will strive for “The glory of God,“ “soli Deo Gloria, in his preaching of the scriptures, “to the glory of God.”

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