Sunday, February 19, 2012

Onward Christian Soldiers

Onward Christian SoldiersOnward Christian Soldiers (Photo credit: Spatial Mongrel)

 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, 
   who trains my hands for war, 
   my fingers for battle.

Psalm 144:1

New International Version (NIV)

       Recently I saw an amazing thing.  I had accompanied some visitors to Los Angeles to Hollywood so they could experience Hollywood Boulevard.  As we were exploring those sidewalk stars that memorialize celebrities of the entertainment industry, I heard an approaching clamor of voices.  Looking up I saw a procession of perhaps fifty or more Koreans advancing towards us.  They carried crosses and signs and in loud chants they proclaimed the salvation of Jesus Christ and the victory of almighty God.  Some among them boldly handed religious tracts to whomever would accept them.

       I was simultaneously thrilled and a bit shamed at the audacity of these Christians to invade the sin-ridden streets of Hollywood and thrust Jesus in the faces of all of us--thrilled that they were doing it and shamed that I was not.  They had a fervency and joy in their faces.  They would parade up one side of the busiest part of the boulevard then cross the street to parade back on the other side.  They continued this parade route for as long as we were there and probably continued after we left.  They were like soldiers marching to wage a war to save all sinners from the enemy Satan.  They were Christian soldiers.

       When I was a child we used to sing the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" in church.  This rousing song was always one of my favorites.  Then in the late 60s the song seemed to fall out of favor with the advent of the peace movement.  Christians began to accept the mantra of love, peace, and tolerance.  Now, these are beautiful ideals, but the fact remains that we are at war with sin and evil.  Rather than conforming to the inclinations of sinners and accepting all into the fold, we should be standing adamantly against sin.

        For those unfamiliar with the traditional hymn, I'm providing you with the song lyrics so you can decide if the message is acceptable for today's Christians.

Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war.
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before!
Christ, the royal Master,
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See His banner go!

At the sign of triumph
Satan's host dost flee;
On, then, Christian soldiers,
On to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver
At the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices,
Loud your anthems raise!

Like a mighty army
Moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading
Where the saints have trod;
We are not divided;
All one body we,
One in hope and doctrine,
One in charity.

Onward, then ye people,
Join our happyy throng,
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song;
Glory, laud, and honor,
Unto Christ the King:
This thro' countless ages
Men and angels sing.

Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war.
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before!

Let me also leave you with a couple of related passages from the Bible.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:3

New International Version (NIV)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:10-17

New International Version (NIV)

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1 comment:

  1. This is a sticky topic in our day. If you are a follower of Jesus, don't be afraid to admit it.


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