In 1862, the Union army needed a victory and at Fort Donelson , General Grant delivered. As this blog article is being written, I am sitting on the banks of the Cumberland River, where the soliders bled and died almost 150 years ago. They died for a cause that they believed in.
In last Sunday’s lesson , God gave me one of those “aha” moments. It was found in Philippians 1:27-28:
Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith that comes from the gospel, not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance—and this is from God.
Paul used two metaphors in verse 27: standing firm in reference to soldiers and side by side in reference to an athletic team. The Greek term rendered standing firm has the sense of persevering or enduring. The Confederate soldiers of Fort Donelson and those in Grant’s Union Army had to be unified in their loyalty and purpose. As Soldiers of the Cross, we must preserve the worthiness of the Gospel by how we live and how we conduct our lives. As a young teenager, I remember hearing a preacher proclaim at the Youth Evangelism Conference in Nashville, TN: Don’t talk the talk if you don’t walk the walk. Are you willing to die for the cause of the gospel of Christ? Stand Firm Sunday School Teacher Stand Firm.
The Greek word translated working side by side was an athletic term that conveyed the sense of strenuous teamwork toward a common goal. Victory requires teamwork. Here on the banks of Fort Donelson, the soldiers worked together side by side to defeat a common enemy. We have a common enemy; he is trying to defeat the church of the Living God. Sunday School Teachers, unite in the common cause of seeing Men and Women, Boys and Girls come to know Jesus and become fully devoted, multiplying disciples of Christ.
Now for the “aha” moment: in verse 28, Paul’s exhorted them not to be frightened by their opponents. The word frightened literally described a horse’s being startled and bolting in terror. Eventually, the confederate General, Simon Buckner, surrendered to General Grant. General Grant demanded an unconditional surrender. If soldiers of Christ, become frightened and bolt in the midst of a world that tells us to be tolerant and to water down the message of Christ, it will be for their ultimate destruction. Unless they accept Christ, they will spend eternity in Hell. Instead we must be steadfast and united in proclaiming the gospel in order that all who call on Him may be saved.
So stand firm, don’t give in to the demands of the enemy and to the cries for tolerance. We are Soldiers with a cause!