<< Previous | Index | Next >>"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" A Man Under Authority (8:5-13) INTRODUCTION 1. In Mt 8:5-13, we read of the healing of the centurion's servant... a. In which Jesus highly commends the centurion's faith b. Calling his faith greater than any He had found in Israel 2. This is not the only time we read of military personnel presented in a favorable light... a. There are several Biblical examples of soldiers b. Who were outstanding in their service to God [In our text, I believe we find why soldiers were often such notable examples of faith and service. Before we consider why, let's first review the examples of...] I. SOME NOTABLE SOLDIERS IN THE BIBLE A. JOSHUA AND CALEB... 1. These two men were soldiers who stand out a. They tried to persuade Israel to trust in God, and were threatened with death - Num 14:6-10 b. In the end, they were the only ones over twenty-one who left Egypt to enter the Promised Land - Num 14:26-32 2. Caleb was highly praised by God a. At the time he stood fast for the Lord - Num 14:24 b. At the time he received the land promised to him - Josh 14:6-14 -- It is repeatedly emphasized that he "wholly followed the Lord God of Israel" 3. Joshua was similarly remarkable a. In his farewell address (at age 110), he takes his stand for the Lord - Josh 24:14-15 b. His influence over his family was great enough that he knew how they would choose B. CORNELIUS, THE FIRST GENTILE CONVERT... 1. His piety was remembered by the Lord - Ac 10:1-6 2. In responding to the vision... a. He immediately sent for Peter - Ac 10:7-8 b. He prepared an audience for Peter by gathering relatives and close friends - Ac 10:24 c. He was ready to hear whatever Peter had to say - Ac 10:33 3. Cornelius and his family were obedient as implied in Ac 10:48 C. THE PHILIPPIAN JAILER, THE FIRST EUROPEAN MALE CONVERT... 1. Like Cornelius, his conversion was immediate - Ac 16:30-34 2. His family likewise obeyed the gospel [These four Biblical examples remind me of military men I have known; men with similar dedication to the Lord, and success in influencing their families to follow them in their service to the Lord. Coincidence? I think not. What I see is a particular attitude toward authority, one found in the centurion of our text (cf. Mt 8:8-9). Consider what is involved with being...] II. A MAN UNDER AUTHORITY A. THE MILITARY TEACHES THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTHORITY... 1. Without a respected line of authority, chaos would develop a. It is impossible for a large group of individuals to function efficiently without a chain of command that is respected b. Instead of united, coordinated forces, it would be every man for himself! 2. Soldiers are taught to submit to authority immediately a. Delay can be disastrous on the battlefield, where speed can mean the difference between life or death, victory or defeat b. Questioning authority, balking at keeping commands, can easily result in one's own death and that of their comrades 3. Thus the military teaches both: a. How to submit to authority b. How to exercise authority over others -- As expressed by the centurion - Mt 8:8-9 B. KNOWING HOW TO "SUBMIT" TO AUTHORITY, MILITARY MEN... 1. Often obey the will of the Lord immediately upon hearing the gospel a. They realize that delay can be disastrous b. They would not hesitate to follow orders if their lives were in danger, why hesitate when their souls are in jeopardy? 2. Often follow the Lord with a "whole heart" a. They understand the need to submit to authority totally b. If it were just a game, one might be justified to be half- hearted, not taking things seriously c. But warfare, whether carnal or spiritual, requires complete devotion and total concentration to the task at hand! - cf. Ep 6:11-13 3. Often influence their entire families for the Lord a. By such careful submission to the will of the Lord, they set a notable example for their children b. Their children see that serving the Lord is serious business for their father; there must be something to it C. KNOWING HOW TO "EXERCISE" AUTHORITY, MILITARY MEN... 1. Often raise their children in subjection a. Obedient to their parents b. Eventually following parental in obedience to the Lord 2. This is not to say they are necessarily strict martinets, but they exercise authority... a. With firmness, making it advisable for a child to obey b. With wisdom, making it natural for a child to obey c. With love, making it with willingness for a child to obey 3. Often become elders to rule over the house of God - cf. 1 Ti 3:4-5 a. Having demonstrated their ability to rule over the house of God b. By first exercising authority over their own household CONCLUSION 1. My purpose is not encourage you to enlist in the military...<< Previous | Index | Next >>
a. But to suggest we would do well to remember the examples of those in the military b. For we are to be a people under authority, the authority of Jesus Christ! 1) An authority over all things in heaven and on earth - Mt 28:18 2) An authority that demands that we do what He has commanded - Mt 28:19-20 2. In an aged marked by permissiveness, it behooves Christians to possess a military attitude regarding authority, for we are engaged in a spiritual warfare with Satan and his influences a. Not submitting to the authority of God with all haste... 1) Could mean the damnation of our own soul 2) And a bad example for our children b. Not exercising our authority as Christian parents... 1) May lead to our children taking the broad way that leads to destruction! 2) May result in delivering our children to Satan on a silver platter! 3. How much better... a. To be like Caleb, and "wholly serve the Lord God" b. To be like Joshua, and declare "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" -- Just as our nation says, "Uncle Sam Needs You!" so the Lord's church says, "The Lord Jesus Christ Needs You!" Is your faith like that of the centurion, who recognized the power of authority when he saw it? If you have not yet obeyed the gospel of Christ, or need to return to the Lord, follow the example of Cornelius and the Philippian jailer and act immediately! You might save not only yourself, but your children and friends as well!