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Schedule Of Services:

Sunday Morning:
Bible Study   9:00
Worship      10:00

Sunday Evening:
Worship       5:00

Wednesday Evening:
Bible Study   7:00



Jackson Drive's Address:

1110 Jackson Drive Athens, Alabama 35611



Scott Richardson



Owen Griggs

Tim Hamilton

Jackson Drive


                                                                                                        April 10, 2016

The Army of Israel

The journey of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage to the promised land is a symbol of the church's march from earth to heaven. The muster at Sinai is a chapter in the long parable of God’s people. The numbering at Sinai was not an ordinary census but a census of fighting men. They were counted “by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war” (Numbers 1:20,21). This was important—Israel had to take the land of promise by fighting (Numbers 13:25-33; Joshua 6-11). Even the men who had no confidence in God fighting for them realized they would have to fight. In response to Caleb they replied, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us” (Numbers 13:31).

It too often happens that we forget that God’s people are still an army. God is still our leader. There is fighting that must go on against His enemies.

The church is a militant organization.


Our commander—Christ—is a man of the trenches of war. “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:9-10). His war is against Satan (Genesis 3:15). He defeated Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-10). He thwarted Satan's designs upon Peter (Luke 22:31,32). He defeated Satan throughout his life (1Peter 2:22). He defeated Satan in the Hadean world (John 11:25; Matthew 16:21; 17:9; 20:17-19; 28:6). He fought against hypocrisy (Matthew 23), selfishness (Luke 12:13-15), and inhumanity (Mark 3:1-6 Luke 10:30-36).


The Christian is a soldier.


There are battles to be fought. “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1Timothy 6:12). A good soldier focuses on the war at hand. “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier” (2Timothy 2:3,4). A good soldier understands the type and importance of the warfare. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh …” (2Corinthians 10:3-5). A good soldier uses the supplied armor and weapons. “Put on the full armor of God …” (Ephesians 6:10-18).


The church is an army on the march.


The wilderness was no place to plant vineyards and build cities—the land of promise was for that. They were passing through the wilderness—this was not a permanent home. Neither is the world the Christian's permanent home. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul” (1Peter 2:11). We may be here, but our citizenship is elsewhere. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Our earthly life is only temporary (2Corinthians 5:1; 2Peter 1:14). The Christian makes a tragic mistake when he wants to pitch a permanent camp in this world.


The church is an army characterized by order and unity.


The camp of Israel was characterized by order and unity. God provided a very specific plan and organization for His people to follow. “Now the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, ‘The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ households; they shall camp around the tent of meeting at a distance’” (Numbers 2:1-2). All that the church does should likewise be done with the plan, purpose, and order of God. “God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints … But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” (1Corinthians 14:33,40). Too often we do the Lord's work so haphazardly, hardly remembering our brothers in arms. The men of Israel were required to fight together for the common good of all. Even the tribes who had been granted land possessions on the east side of the Jordan River joined in the fight on the west with their brothers. Only then did they received their inheritance (Joshua 22:1-4). Christians fight together for the common good of all against a common enemy—Satan (John 13:34; Galatians 6:1,2).


The church is an army with God as its all-wise, all-powerful, ever-present Leader.


He was visible to the people and always provided guidance: “… at the command of the LORD the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped …” (Numbers 9:15-23). He was always there, providing even for their physical necessities (Deuteronomy 29:2-8). He is still issuing commands and giving guidance to His people. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20). He is still always there providing for His army. “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU’” (Hebrews 13:5). “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).


The church is an army of which God keeps a complete and thorough roll.


God knew exactly the number of fighting men in Israel. “These are the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers’ households; the total of the numbered men of the camps by their armies, 603,550” (Numbers 2:32). When a soul enters the army of the Lord today, God registers that fact. It has been promised that God will always recognize His people: “But of Zion it shall be said, ‘This one and that one were born in her’; And the Most High Himself will establish her. The LORD will count when He registers the peoples, ‘This one was born there.’” (Psalm 87:5-6). Those who are born again have citizenship in His kingdom (John 3:1-7). Just as with physical Israel, God will remove those who sin against Him from His roll (Exodus 32:33; Revelation 20:15). God also retains the names of the faithful (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5). It is a complete roll of His people from all time (Hebrews 12:23). Is your name in the roll of those serving in His army?

—S. Scott Richardson Sr.


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