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Sunday: The Church ~ A Unified Army — 12 Comments

  1. In close combat, the Roman army was very disciplined. One of their most successful fighting units was called the tortoise, The soldiers would form up with the outer men holding their shields (scutum) vertical while the inner ones held their scutum over their heads. They held their short swords (gladius) in their right hand and thrust it through narrow gaps between the scutum – a bit like a human tank. They used a checkerboard arrangement of fighting units so that as the units in front became tired or wounded, they could be retired and taken over by fresh units from behind. The emphasis was very much on survival rather than attacking without considering the cost. Discipline was important with each member of the unit looking after one another.

    This measured approach to battle proved very successful for the Romans because they conserved their manpower.

    While our individual relationship with God is very important, the consequence of that relationship is that we are to look after one another in the battle against evil. This is stated in the Old Testament:

    Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deut 6:4-5 NKJV)

    You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Lev 19:18 KJV)

    It is no coincidence that there are 18 references to loving one another in the New Testament. It is an all-pervading theme for a very important reason. If we love one another in Christ, we can work together and be united in our defense against the attacks of evil.

    • even more is required of Adventist Christians. We are called by Apostle Paul and by The lord to love all humanity. Love all Christians. Love all Muslims. Love all Atheists. Love all Humanists....love All. All of humanity is involved in the spiritual war between satan and THE LORD.

    • Maurice - I want to offer some 'food for thought' by asking to allow me to take the liberty to re-state you last comment. Re-stated it would read:
      'When/as we love one another in Christ, His Spirit unites us as in His work of defending us against the attacks of evil.'
      I understand that it is only when man moves himself 'out of the way' that God's Spirit will take man's 'position/presence' in the fight against evil.

  2. One of most important ways to work together as a corporate body in the great controversy is by developing relationships with one another in the church so that we can pray for each other, encourage each other, and hold each other accountable in our individual struggles. Maurice’s description of the ‘tortoise’ strategy used in Roman warfare captures the idea of small groups within the church protecting one another while strengthening the entire congregation-army.

  3. Every Christian is called to be a soldier in the army of God. Each day we need to put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, our feet with the gospel of peace and the sword of the Spirit. This is our only sure way of defense because we fight a spiritual warfare.
    The church is a unified army and the only way to fulfill the mission of Christ is to stand firm, be alert, stay vigilant, be watchful, persevere, keep focused on Christ. Pray, and rescue souls. So let us march along singing “Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war.”

  4. Lesson Question. "What is Paul saying about the kind of warfare the church is engaged in?"
    Paul is depicting the corporate church body marching out to battle the enemy of Christ, the devil. Each member of the body is cloth in armor. They have the truth of the word, the faith to believe God’s power is stronger than the enemy, hope that there is a better day coming, and love, the strongest motivation possible to live a Godly, Obedient life. God sends his church out into the world to be a witness and to win people to Christ with faith, hope, and love.

    Lesson Question: “Is Paul primarily depicting just an individual believer’s spiritual battle against evil, or the church’s corporate war against evil?”
    Paul is writing to the corporate body, the church. But each soldier must be trained individually to fight for themselves and contribute his/her experience to the church in their effort to fight as a unified body of different parts working as one.

    This army is led by Christ who has already defeated the devil and his army. Revelation 13:7 tells us that the devil is now waging war against God’s church. Eph. 3:10, ESV. says that through us, the Church, Jesus is seeking to demonstrate to the universe what fallen human beings can become when they join together as a unified body. Christ will replicate his victory with his church to enable the universe to observe God’s wisdom where sin exists.

  5. When studying this lesson, thoughts came to mind regarding the differences between the spiritual and the worldly, physical warfare as it regards the ‘unity’ of the fighting force. Since ours is a spiritual battle, the Christian army needs to be entirely united through the Holy Spirit as His heavenly forces actually are fighting this war. By comparison, the leaders of the armies of this world can only use their 5-dimensional model - fighting on land, sea, air, space and now the dimension of cyber technology to control communication.

    Fallen man's strategy uses cunning deceptions to gain an advantage in this spiritual battle as their support comes from the same invisible forces which we are called to be prepared to stand against. Both armies fortify their spiritual position. The army of God fights by employing its all-powerful, spiritual weapons of love for God and ones fellow man, and faith and confidence in that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has won the war already.

    I believe the battle commences within our ourselves first. We need to learn to rely on the strength of the Light of God’s Truth as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our actions to defeat the enemy of our faith within.
    I really cannot see any other way for the church to be able to stand in Christ other than for the Ekklesia – the individual members of the church - to be united in the ‘strategy’ to allow the Holy Spirit and His leadership to ‘cleans their own house first’ as it will so clean the 'house' of the organized church at the same time. Evil is cunning as it does not want to let go of its influence on man's heart and mind.

    Therefore, considering the Ekklesia to be the body of Christ - His Army, we certainly ought to seek to be united in following the Spirit of God. In order for the church to be successful in its greater battle, I see it needful for all believers to desire to learn to hear Him speak to them in their personal life first and also give themselves to the advancement of the Gospel throught the work of the church.

  6. To work as a team, a primary goal must be born in every teammate. What is the Christian primary goal? Answer the question, and we'll have a team, an army, and efficiency in collectiveness!

  7. Hi Beloved Believers in Jesus Christ,

    I'm not teaching Sabbath School this week, but I usually write down some Notes on the important parts of the Sabbath School lesson; my thoughts on the Sabbath School lesson. Here's my thought about today's lesson (I know I'm behind on my study of the lesson, pray for me.):

    This War is both an Individual and a Corporate War. Just as with a regular war, the Individual Soldier and His Unit are involved in warfare. The soldier that cannot line up his thinking with His Unit’s goals and strategies, usually will attempt to go “Awal” (run away). However, civil soldiers cannot quit their service (as Christian soldiers can); they cannot leave until they enlistment period is over. But unfortunately, we all have seen in the last twenty or so years, that our Christian soldiers have left the church, or goes to another church, for various reasons; they did not stay to fight the war.

    Many times, I wanted to leave my church. And the Holy Spirit would tell me each time, “No, it's not time”. One time, He told me, “So, you want to leave and go to another church? You are going to have the same problems at that new church; so, you might as well stay here.”; so, I stayed. This is true, we are going to have the same problem wherever we go. Why? As the famous quote, which has many authors, Confucius being one of them, says, “wherever you go, there you are”. I like to say, “wherever I go, there I am”, which means I’m taking me and my problems wherever I go; so, why would I expect my problems to not follow me to the new church, or new job, or new house, because I'm the same person everywhere I go. So, basically, the Holy Spirit was telling me to stay, and “work on Toni”, work on improving myself, and Jesus will deal with all the other things. If we "work on ourselves", then the church will flourish too.

    God's blessing to you All


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