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Wanted: Mighty Men of Valor

Ron Kelly
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Ron Kelly

Senior Pastor, Village SDA Church, Berrien Springs, Michigan

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  • May 24, 2020
    2:48 PM
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Well they're our life and our lives are really yours and this morning this afternoon as we open the word we want them to be shaped and molded by your spirit so I'm praying Lord that you would guide this encounter in the word may our hearts be subject to the impress of your spirit especially Lord mine speak to me speak through me set a watch before my lips but I pray Lord for all those that will hear whether in the live moment or whether in a recorded session please set a watch before my legs please give holy boldness as Elijah prayed on the Mount Carmel Lord let it be known that you are gone and I have done these things at your command so thank you that we have you guide us now I pray in Jesus' name amen if there's a bad thing that can happen to God's people is that they quit moving forward one of the worst things that can happen is that we lose a sense of God's imminent presence and stop taking the risk and don't achieve in his name one of the nights when Elder John Bradshaw was sharing during hope awakens he went back to a tragic moment and Australian history when the Tasman Bridge fell in it was a powerful illustration of how even when Frank and Sylvia Manley whose car skidded to the edge of the bridge with the front wheels hanging over looking down the 100 plus feet in the water that was over 100 feet deep as Frank told himself out of the car and hung on to the headrest swung his feet around so that he would be on terra firma on solid ground he went back and tried to wave people down how some even swerved around him and drove off the end of the bridge fortunately was able to stop a bus load of people. You can watch it hear the testimonies on You Tube But there's a part of the illustration that I would like to uncover a little bit more of going all the way back to 1975 the Illawarra is the freighter down on the Tasman river it's approaching the bridge the Tasman Bridge and as it comes up to the bridge the captain is distracted now there are several large spans on the bridge and the central span has the widest channel for the Illawarra to pass through she's loaded with free and this is a river that's emptying into a or so Ocean port so there's tidal currents in the river and the captain makes it least 2 or 3 fatal mistakes number one he's not paying attention Number 2 he slows the speed of the vessel to almost a crawl I believe maybe 3 knots the problem is that the tide coming in has 6 knots of movement on it what it means is is that he loses control of the ship and the currents movie I'm into one of the pillars holding up the deck of the bridge some 100 feet above a large span falls in on the boat the boat capsizes and sinks rather quickly all of it could have been. Whoa that could have been avoided if he would have paid attention and kept up the speed some of you like to go canoeing and of course in Michigan we have some option on some actually swift moving water what people learn the hard way about canoeing in swift water is that if your canoe is not moving faster than the current then the only place you're going to go unless you know some special strokes with a boat the only place you're going to go is where the current takes you now want to start this message acknowledging that inside much of Protestantism the a even Adventism the church has been moving with the current settled in enjoying a measure of ease not really contradicting not really dealing with the cross currents of society that are self destructive and the church finds itself floating down the river of society unfortunately the ills around it have invaded it we're in a moment in time where I must remind us that if we are not going to be sucked into the world pools of destruction if we're actually going to avoid the pile last years that are holding up the structures around us if we're going to make it out into the open ocean and we're going to cross over to the other side we're actually going to have to keep our momentum up we're going to have to know where we're going we're going to have to steam ahead or else I'm going to be swept along by the currents. This morning as I'm reflecting on the experience of God's people the salvation history of of the institution of the church in the Old Testament the nation of Israel in the New Testament one of the most dangerous times for God's Church is when conquest comes to an end and the love of pleasure and relaxation takes over and there is this very subtle amalgamation there is this very subtle transformation to where the unique nature of the church holy living the collective power to affect the conscience of society disappears because the church is becoming like the world yes we see God liberating Israel from Egypt and we see the amazing intervention of God across the Red Sea to provide water of Iraq food every day to see God protected by a cloud of the burning desert sun and a pillar of fire at night from the desert chill we see God turning over leadership not necessarily his spot of course but from Moses the visible human representation to Joshua and the Book of Joshua describes a commitment of leadership and the membership of the nation Israel that actually fulfills God's plan but we come to the death of Joshua and we see that the societal epitaph the words written on the death of the corporate Christian experience of the corporate experience of Israel is that only those that were alive during the days of Joshua faithfully fulfilled and conquest went forward but a generation came on for which ease and enjoyment and pleasure seeking was the rule of the day and there we enter into the phase of the judges I want to stop for a moment and think about the experience of God's church the movement of the Reformation which seems to have almost come to a complete stop. It's gone so far as that those great doctrines important doctrines about how salvation works and whether you go through a man or go straight to God pivotal doctrines about whether or not authorities in the Bible or authorities in the tradition of the church absolutely into instrumental components about the freedom of the soul over which people are willing to die to put the Bible in the common language of man and to proclaim God's truth to the faggot to the stake some in torture chambers some in exile and. We see God's Church marching on mightily transforming societies lifting up whole nations even economically as the Protestant work ethic and the internal engine of moral purpose takes over in a society but now we've come to a place where a Babylonian confusion has settled down as we've abandoned a belief in the Bible and we've enjoyed the luxury and the comforts of a modern age we see America progressing through a 2nd world war ramping up its efficiency in industry and when the war is over one of the unscathed except for the loss of life which of course is the greatest gift that can be given but not not bombarded not burned out and thus all of that economic energy has to turn somewhere else in America enters into an age of consumerism and the church is not far behind. What the worst thing can happen to a church is is that it can lose sight of where it's headed and slow its progress and simply be moved by the currents of society nothing can be worse for God's people when we read the story of David in 2nd Samuel chapter 11 the Bible's very clear that the time came when the kings and their generals went out to war but David stayed home there would be no springtime conquests for him in leading the people of God and the 2nd verse of chapter 11 says he went up on his house in the evening of the day and saw something he should have seen and thus we see the devil conquering a man who had been known for his fidelity to go on when our church stops moving forward when convenience takes the place of sacrifice when comfort takes the place of commitment when we stop prayerfully petitioning God to be with us as we go forward in spiritual conquest taking prisoners of hope you can be certain that what's going to follow is spiritual declension and decay what happened in the judges is happening in American and Western society is happening in my dear church now God is looking for those that will stand up in his name beautified by a character not strident not animated with anger but stand up in the name of God dependent on prayer and lead by the Spirit God is looking for people families parents churches pastors teachers and he's calling them to come back to the commitments that bring his care his protection his provision. After the settlement in Canaan the author of patriarchs and prophets writes the tribes made no vigorous effort to complete the conquest of the land satisfied with the territory already gained their zeal soon flag and the war was discontinued when Israel was strong they put the Canaanites to tribute but they did not utterly drive them out it's is interesting when reading the warning of God through Moses in Exodus $23.00 that there was to be no association with the Canaanites we learned in one of the previous messages in my series confidence and crisis that we are only to associate with those that don't honor God when we know our presence will do them some market spiritual good unfortunately we're sitting at the same shrine where bowing down at the same idols were feasting at the same tables that the world is feasting at and consequently God's Church finds itself in retreat yes it even finds itself in some moments in times nearly defeated as they were in the days of Saul people hiding as it were in the rocks in the caves unwilling to declare their covers their colors afraid to come out and make conquests for God but this morning friends I'm here to tell you God is still looking for mighty men and women or women of valor men and women who have now about the need to bail men and women that are willing to follow him in the reconstruction of faith and the confidence of his people yes in the days of judges they had come to love ease and self indulgence regardless of their high destiny she writes They chose the course of ease and self-indulgence and let slip their opportunities for completing the conquest of the lands take your Bibles and open up to the Book of Psalms some 106 I want to read verses 34 to 43 some 106 reading verses 34 to 43. The Psalmist not David in this case is rehearsed scene the experience of the Nation of Israel taking us all the way through the experience of Moses in verse $32.00 we come up to versus $33.00 and onward I'll begin with verse 34 and we hear the psalm is telling the story of the life of those that followed Moses Joshua the elders and the judges that came behind they did not destroy verse 34 the nations concerning whom the Lord commanded him but were mingled among the heathen and learned their works they served their idols which were a snare to them yea they sacrificed their sons and their daughters into devils and they shed innocent blood even the blood of their sons and of their daughters and they sacrificed under the idols of Canaan and the land was polluted with blood they were defiled with their own works and when warring whoring after other inventions therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against these people in so much his people in so much that he observed abhorred his own inheritance Yes friends we've come through a period time when the sacrifices of those that have come before us almost appeared to be too large for us to carry the burden into the present age years ago when h.m.s. Richards was socializing with some of his friends I'm not sure if it was a camp out or what kind of gathering it was he was sitting around talking about how the gospel ought to be proclaimed on radio a relatively on used technology for many good things and finally one of his friends got tired of hearing he said Harold you don't really believe this he said Oh yes I do know you don't believe it because if you believed it it would happen it wasn't long later that some of the evangelistic meetings that sometimes went on for months God's people were appealed to and they brought in their jewelry and their their gold in their silver and they collected what they could in times of hardship and eventually the flagship media ministry of the 7 they have a church was born it was called. The voice of prophecy elder Richards would go on to say we ought not to be buying time on radio stations we ought to be buying the radio stations themselves and probably in those years following the rebuild of the world after World War 2 American Adventism could have conquered and been the conquering force on the airwaves I'm praising the Lord today for strong tele radio and others that have decided that in face we ought to be talking 247 to as many people as well listen yes friends when God's people quit moving forward life gets easy for a while and then it gets very hard Welcome to the time of the judges they intermingled with the Canaanites and the White says they actually married and idolatry spread like the plague throughout the land page 544 until the generation that are received instruction from Joshua became extinct idolatry made little headway but the parents listened parents the parents had prepared the way for the apostasy of their children I'm not sure more Silverline could be written parents preparing the way for apostasy how do you do it give your children everything they want teach them nothing about work and sacrifice give them no place in the advancement of God's cause which can be hard to do if God's church isn't taking any steps forward isn't putting their arms around any decisions of faith yes we can be in an arena where we actually make our children more the citizens of this age that we do the idea that they are citizens of a better country even a heavenly one. God has called us to actually school our children to embrace the challenges that come in the name of God and they start in the home they start by doing the little duties in the home they start by carrying heavier responsibilities in other places their stuff it starts with religious education and instruction the experience of what goes on in the home the worship in the home the absence of other things in the home she goes on to talk about restrictions this is what she says the disregard of the Lord's restrictions on the part of those who came in possession of Canaan so the seeds of evil that continue to bring forth bitter fruits for many generations I'm so thankful for every time my mother told me no I'm so thankful for every time my father said we're not doing that last night I was sitting in my own little living room visiting with my wife and 2 of my children the younger 2 and after we sang some songs and and read a little bit to inspire us we took some time to praise the lord it's our habit on Friday me we have a devotional thought and then we take some time to praise the Lord What's he done for us this week who is he how worthy is the of us our of our praise and I want to tell you the moment I'm about to describe is one that brings me great joy as a parent but I need you to know all the chapters that preceded and the father of 3 boys and one girl the boys are all emancipated it was nice to have the youngest one with me last night my daughter still in my home it's a wonderful pleasure to have her back from the mission field and last night at the end of our worship we're sitting there praising the Lord and my son says something that brings great joy to my heart and I hope someday his kids will tell him the same thing he's not married yet that when that time comes and he's raising his little boys and girls to become soldiers of Christ men of God He said I'm thankful for how I was raised. Now that's important to me because I'm is dead it's also important to me because so many times raising my children I had to declare to them my allegiance was to God 1st and that the rules of our home and the protections of our little family were for their well being and from the journey of adolescence to full spiritual mature adulthood there are a lot of moments when parents need to be the ones that are proclaiming the restrictions don't dump it on the teacher don't leave it for the church that little church in your home is they have 2 pastors that are leaving it Mom and Dad Dad and Mom and when those kids in their adolescence and their lack of understanding decide this is the way to go besides so and so is letting their my friend go this way and silence those like you their children go this way it doesn't matter what everybody else is doing there are generations and during the days of the judges that pave the way they prepare the way for apostasy in their children and the absence of restriction turned out to be the seeds that were so generation after generation now I know there's a there have been generations in this church that think legalism has been running rife. And be it I'm only 56 years old and I wasn't raised in the church so when I came in as a 14 year old coming out of the darkness of the world into the light of Christ my heart blossom like a flower with the beauty that I found in my little Peoria church there are North Knoxville Avenue but I know for some that went to our institutions as children they felt there was a lack of love and too many restrictions and the mantra of their life I believe for many of them born in rebellion was the same that was echoing throughout society question authority I'm here to tell you today the problem with the roots of rebellion is that there is some question in the mind of l. why whether or not true rebellion can ever be healed praise God I believe it can but it's awfully hard to believe in the arrogance of opinion an attitude that you've got it all figured out because humility is what leads to wisdom for all of those for all of those children who've gotten good at articulating the mistakes of their parents they ought to stop because someday if they're blessed they're going to have the privilege of China shaped a little life that grows into an adolescent life and holy grail hopefully grows in to a beautiful mature adult life it's a hard journey society has not made it easier the cross currents and the undertones of willfulness and license are all around us. Yes indeed I know there must have been a generation in which the structures of the church remained in place while the love of Christ in the proclamation of righteousness by faith was draining away because for many that are the age of my parents and have honorable membership in the 7th Day Adventist Church it would appear that the one thing that they're after is the destruction of church authority the authority of our schools and our institutions to place guidance on the spiritual development or the behavioral actions of our children when that very item is what led to multi-generational seeds of sorrow and dysfunction in the days of the judges. How does it work friends you want to raise a healthy adult young adult Christian you need 2 things you need a lot of love you better be a genuine Christian you better not be walking through like a whitewash sepak or you better pray you better read it you better humble yourself before the Lord you need to be the real thing but then the other thing you need to remember is that the children are not yours they're God's and he has an expectation that he could spend eternity with them but he's depending on you and there are restrictions that come along they're not the primary definer of the home but they are the protector of the home when love is not enough or at least the kind of love that would be on the side of positive emotion yes I'm thankful every day for the restrictions my mother placed in my life that helped me put down the carnal tendencies which society is waiting to fertilize and they want to rob you of your children it is the restrictions that keep us from mingling with Canaanites spiritual modern day 21st century paganism which desires to fertilise the dark side of the human heart which of course the devil being a slick as he is doesn't so that the fruit that he so leaves the reaping of pain farther down the way the immediate little scintillation is pleasure don't tell your kids otherwise Satan's temptations always have an immediate dopamine benefit they always have an immediate pleasure sensory moment on the front side as a matter of fact it lingers around long enough until one is trapped your teeth fall out if you're a meth addict you can't control your spending if you're a gambling addict you can't control your eyes or you're thinking if you're pornography adding. You just keep adding up the list of dysfunction the socially sinking the semblance of freedom is all around us and the seeds are selling when our kids are young love them and teach in the work teach in the service keep their life simple they're not to be bowing down at every silver screen with the same smile on their face and the same engagement that those digital addictions are designed to create so that the Bible has no interest stopping to think is very unpalatable meditation on God's person provision and precepts has absolutely no interest for them yes there are certain restrictions we place in our children's lives and since you weren't there for the 1st 2 decades of raising my children I was the one that had to do it when one of my children will speak up and say I'm thankful for the way I was raised it's a decade or 2 in the waiting but it's worth it and I'm appealing to every mom and dad listen in me right now love them for jesus recognize them as the chief stewardship of your life but they are not your children they belong to God and He wants them for eternity and he's depending upon you she writes the simple habits of the Hebrews had secured them physical health but association with the heathen led them to the indulgence of appetite and passion which gradually lessened physical strength and in feeble the mental and the moral powers there you've got to try partake combination take away their physical strength take away their mental strength and in the end the one score the devil wants the most is take away their power to say no take away their power to control themselves by their sins the Israelites were separated from God his strength was removed from them they could no longer prevail against their enemies thus they were brought into subjects into the very nation that God had directed that they should subdue Now I want to say something. The result of a void in the result of resisting the result of following through on the covenant they had with God led them absolutely to insecurity Oh it was physical but it was more than physical it was familial it was spiritual it was relational it was financial You talk about food insecurity they had it that's why in this story Gideon's down threshing is flee near the wine press you know that's that's a spot that's down low and here we have all kinds of insecurity when we deviate from a simple obedience to God we have insecurity and it would be wonderful if some preacher could come along and put a 21st century bomb on it the problem is is that some security can only insecurity can only be remedied when I humble myself and return to the narrow way there is a call that God is giving to his church in this age spiritual age of the judges and it's a call to recognize that a life of ease and pleasure seeking and there's nothing wrong with comfort in rest but a life that has been focused on ease and pleasure seeking instead of a life of a abiding peace that comes through a lock with Christ that life of ease and pleasure seeking has brought us a type of insecurity because we're not moving forward God's work is not prioritize our families and our homes are not little churches little sanctuaries and consequentially we have this nagging lack of assurance and we'd like somebody to preach some type of message to us that will take it away now I'm a believer that ROV ival and reformation will be a function of the proper preaching of righteousness by face. The problem is is that over the last 50 years righteousness by faith has too often given a false assurance because it's not called us into a higher level of surrender and commitment to Christ and live styles of the world have been hidden underneath the umbrella of a theological teaching that's not just about a record cleanse it's about a heart renewed and God is actually coming along to assure us that it's not our performance that performance that creates the security but he is calling us to a life of surrender and dedication in this one life we have to live time talent ability all of these things influence or to be directed to the forward movement of God's cause and in that cause God's going to give us the faith that only he could give us take your Bibles and turn if you would back to the Book of Judges judges Chapter 6 in the security nobody wants to live with it spiritual insecurity comes when my life is not surrendered and I can't find that peace that comes when I trust and obey it's not trust and obey to find a way to salvation it's trust and obey as a result of a divine invitation where salvation is a free gift Unfortunately God and that kind of relationship is calling his men and women and in this 21st century Cold moment he's calling us back to a new commitment to move the work forward we are to be taking prisoners of hope we are to be proclaiming of God you could love were to be announcing the advent of our dear Savior but this insecurity was in the physical experience of getting and it's in the spiritual experience of his church but I want to tell you if you're afraid your church school is going to close if you're afraid your church is going to close if you're afraid your academy is going to close. If you're afraid your college and your union is going to close I want to tell you these are things that bring a different type of potential insecurity of course for some it's not a big deal to judges 6 for 6 so Israel was brought very low because of Midian that is the oppressing hand of the Midianites armies and the sons of Israel cried to the Lord now came about when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord on account of Midian that the Lord sent a prophet to the sons of Israel and he said to them Now this is not given but this is God Following up to make sure clarity on how they got to this moment how is it that Gideon has to be hiding out simply to thrash out enough grain for a loaf of bread this is how they got here that says the Lord the God of Israel it was I who brought you up from Egypt and brought you out from the house of slavery I delivered you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hands of all your oppressors and dispossessed them before you and gave you their land and I said to you I am the Lord your God You shall not be are the gods of the Amorites and whose land you live but if not obeyed me this very same element of idolatry this very same element of the heart wandering from faithfulness to God is what we're facing in our modern day and the spiritual insecurity amongst even the systems in the institutions of the 7 they haven't as church is a function as we know of the epitaph on the experience of the church written in the last lines of the book of Judges that said every man did what was right in his own nice this perfectly correlates with the arrogance of our age we don't want to be subject to any one especially if convictions come along and inconvenience is the result we want to March forward as they did after the conquest of previous generations in the days of Gideon enjoying the price paid by previous generations but not putting our shoulder in the harness not leaning on the burdens of the day. I don't know where you're at it maybe in the name of family that you're not going to use up any margin to be a part of what's going on at the church that's a form of idolatry in and of itself where we take something good and we actually hijack it to be against something else that's going well my children were little and there was a work be they were with me at the prayer meeting they were with me whether it's my vote whether it's their vocabulary or their academic ability or the benefits of their social person all of that interacting with other generations because they were woefully few children at those prayer meetings to those children came away with a legacy that's benefiting them it can't be did it deconstructed in social terms right now it can be parsed out in where the roots the specific roots of benefit to them are but when we get to heaven Jesus can take as much time as they want to unprotect their childhood and show how these moments added up to this experience in their adult life yes by faith we believe that God's work comes 1st that the education of God for our families comes 1st these were the things that were left behind by the generation of Gideon these are the things that have been left behind in the last generation of or 2 in the American religious experience even inside the 7th Day Adventist Church and God calling us now to recognize that the insecurity of our age is partially attributable to the deviation the lack of fidelity to the advancement of his cause there's nothing like a good battle there's nothing like a spiritual showdown to call you into a posture of prayer to build your faith and Rush o.-u. the evidence there's a living gone but when the church doesn't move when it's just swept along with the currents you can be sure there's destruction in the future. God is calling us today to recommit ourselves to a life that is empowered the the promise that God is if you will return to me our return to you if you'll seek me with all your heart the deliverance of Israel was to be preceded by a solemn protest against the worship of bail take your Bibles and let's look at the story Gideon's visited by the angel he wants a sign so you're afraid you're all right you're in good company Gideon was afraid to he's fearful he's the last of Joe ashes sons all the rest have died fighting anime is like the Midianites An Angel appears Gideon wants some kind of sign that this is more than an imagination or a dream he says Alright I'll give you one getting prepares a sacrifice he brings out a goat that he's prepared he brings out broth the angel says set them on the rock fire comes up out of the rock and consumes them you see God is more than willing to assure us as we take a step away from fear in the direction of faith that he is willing to come down and strengthen us and encounter us but this is not it when this is not the end when Gideon has this divine encounter the Bible says the very same night God brings him a test verse 25 that judges chapter 6. Now on the same night the Lord said to him Take your father's bowl in the 2nd bowl 7 years old and pull down the altar bail which belongs to your father and cut down the ashtray that's beside it and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner and take a 2nd bowl as an offering a burnt offering with the wood of the Ashura which you shall cut down the good took the men 10 men of his servants and did his father it's as the Lord had spoken to him and because he was too afraid of his father's household in the men of the city to do it by day he did it by night. God will take you where you're at Gideon's too afraid to let everybody gather around to watch He is mind logically probably says I'll be resisted I might even be stoned but Gideon recognizes and illustrates for us where the 1st battles begin the 1st battle to move forward starts in your own heart what fears reside there what chapters of doubt are lurking in the recesses of your mind in the past of your spiritual journey was God not able to tell you no in answer to that prayer and thus your faith is doubtful or can God be big enough to say no sometimes I tell you yes and sometimes I tell you no the 1st battle to be fought is between you and God will you surrender to the nail pierced hands once the answer to that is yes God says or right the next place the battle is going to be fought before I send you to the Midianites I'm sending you to your own household. What father mother listen to me knows that there's there are idols set up to the the gods of this age they may be in a pocket they may be on a lap they may be on and entered in an entertainment consul God is actually calling us to recognize like the church the growing the beautifully developing church in f.s.s. and take out all of those magic writings 50000 drachmas worth and burn them is a street as a testimony that the old is going away we're going to put up a few fire walls I was visiting with somebody recently who thought that fire walls were passe they didn't work no they won't work if the human heart is completely set on doing wrong but once the heart is touched and the gift of the Holy Spirit through of the get to repentance or the Holy Spirit is given once God's allowed to put some empty inside of us to where it's it's more than just human effort saying no no no we actually do erect protection's we do it for cities we do it on bridges how many of you would like to drive across. Let's pick a bridge the Golden Gate Bridge with no rail aids Dr Dobson when he was still eating out and focus on the family said for children it can be illustrated like this and it works for adults too as children of God let them go out on 11 story balcony of a skyscraper So let's say the 100 story you've got a nice solid railing tied into the building what will the kids do the wander out there there grab onto the rails and lean over and look down you put the same sheet of concrete hanging 4 feet out of the side of a steel structure a 1000 feet off the ground and you take away the railing and you open the sliding glass door and you shove your child out onto that piece of pavement hanging precariously off the side of that amazing piece of architecture and what do they do they back themselves up against the wall. Yes railings bulwarks protections walls they have a place they create a measure of security in our homes we ought to raise a few firewalls up they ought not to simply be metaphors that are used in regards to Internet connections they ought to be things that are woven into our schedule our priorities our behavior habit patterns in our home in our churches and in our schools God's calling us to stop and say what protects our relationship and what war is against it indeed Gideon's 1st commitment was to tear down an altar of bale that his father had erected it wasn't just his father's worship place it was the worst place of all of this city and when a man or woman of God a mighty man or woman of valor stands up and she realizes that the 1st convictions in the 1st battles God leading to are inside the home they better be a very prayerful and wise person but if they refuse to act out of cowardice will be under them as they have to work their way through the rock strewn path that leads to self destruction they're not on the King's highway they're walking with the doubts of regret wondering what would have happened if they would have done the right thing now Gideon is told your 1st battle is going to go up against the city and up against your dad the amazing thing is is that even though Gideon's afraid he still does it maybe not the way God wanted him to but nonetheless it's done and when they took those 2 oxen under that mighty statue of Bale and they pulled it over and it falls into the dust of Joe ashes front yard there must have been a thrill of exhilaration and giddy and sorry because when you do what's right. Mazing birds fly off your shoulder an amazing confidence comes into your soul it doesn't solve the fear problem forever that creeps back over and over again just as we see in the story of Gideon But the amazing thing is a victory in your home will have wonderful sometimes maybe not in to some pain and consequences in this case Joe Ash who was once faithful to God rises up when all the men of the city come and say Gideon did it get he is going to die Joe as rises up and says look if Bale can't protect himself what kind of god is he and if you're going to deal with my son you're going to deal with me 1st Gideon's 1st spiritual victories are in his own heart Gideon 2nd line of victory is in his own hall and when Joe s. becomes a partner with him in allegiance to Christ imagine what this must have done for him well you might meet resistance you might have a teenager whose habits and desires have been so cultivated by such lax parenting and discipleship that they're not going to be your friend they're not going to rise up and call you bless it so you better be awfully close to your spouse that's why you better be awfully wise about implementation you created the habit you're going to have to go patiently and wisely to undo it and you might not be appreciated for many years it might take a decade or 2 before somebody says you I'm so glad for the way you raised me listen when God starts to move in a person's heart he starts knocking down the obstacles inside and then he says All right we're going to go beyond this we're going to large the circle Joe ash becomes a partner in the deliverance of Israel. But just getting and still has fear verse 36 that Gideon said to God if you will deliver Israel through me as you've spoken the hold up put a fleece of wool out on the threshing floor if there's due on the fleece only and it's dry all around then I'll know that you will deliver Israel through me as you spoke it and it was so when he rose early the next morning he squeezed the fleece he drained the dew from the fleece a bowl full of water now I don't know how big this fleece was but I do know this God made it a point so that Gideon need not doubt and so when he walked out through the dry grass and grabbed onto the piece of fleece it was if he had a sense that I'm going to record what the outcome is because there was a ball nearby by intention or accident and he squeezed the water into the bowl and it was probably a little bit more than he anticipated but he still was doubting that Gideon said Don't let your anger burn with me God verse 39 let me speak once more please let me make a test once more with the fleece let it now be dry only on the fleece and let there be due on the ground God did so that night for it was dry only on the fleece and the dew was on the ground here in America you get a cool summer morning where there's a lot of moisture in the air if you walk out in your tennis shoes it won't be long until your feet are sopping wet I can assure you that whether it was a sandal or a leather shoe whatever it was that Gideon was wearing when he woke up that morning and went out to his test his feet were sopping wet but when he made it up to the fleece it was as dry as the hills and Gilberto. Now I need you to know something very important God does not give the fleece as an indication of what he has to do he gives the least as a confirmation What's the difference. The difference is is that long before you need a sign you need to understand how to hear the voice of God God is going to make his will clear to you there will be a voice behind you saying this is the way walk in it Moses will write in the book of Deuteronomy that the word is not far away the word is near near to your heart God says Be still and know that I am God when God comes to affirming in signs it's not to alleviate the prayer journey of deciding what God is saying is too nervous to do what he knows he's already said don't ask God to take away the journey of calling out to him for inner assurance the inner witness but once you sense you know where he's leading feel free to say God as is what I think you're saying would you mind confirming it God wants us to learn to hear his voice the journey with Abraham is the journey for all of us God was willing to give Gideon multiple signs but they were not to replace the relational dynamic of communion with Him to know what he was sane we're up to 3 signs so far it's the sign of the rock which fire comes out to consume the offering with the angelic encounter now it's 2 fleeces but it's going to be more getting collects 32000 men the trumpet sounds they rally from different parts of the nation verse 3 of Chapter 7 now therefore come proclaim in the hearing of the people saying whoever is afraid and trembling let him return and depart from Mt Gilliard so of his 32000 he gathered 22000 and said that's me I'm afraid. It's interesting in the book of Deuteronomy God not only made provision for those that have planted vineyards and not eaten the fruit in them or got married and not enjoyed that year of time with their wife God actually made a provision that at the beginning of every battle they were to announce if you're afraid you don't have to come with us this is not unique to get Ian's moment getting announces that the Spirit of Prophecy tells us he's afraid to announce it because I'm afraid that what happened would have happened we're like that too aren't we we don't want to talk to God about something because we're afraid he's actually going to do what we don't want him to do and we can we can do our own little sed calculating descents it isn't going to turn out good more than 2 thirds of his army which was going to begin to an army that was described like the sand of the sea melts away into the Aegean countryside and let the ones that are afraid go home verse 4 then the Lord said to them the people are still too many bring them down to the water and I'll test them I'll do it for you Gideon didn't know how to distinguish those who were yet still afraid in those who weren't but God did therefore it shall be that he whom i saidi of this one shall go with you and he shall go with you but every one of whom I send you this one shall not go with you he shall not go so they brought him down to the water and this was the test the ones who don't really break cadence and get their water and keep moving to the battle those are the ones that really aren't afraid and everybody that kneels down and takes a leisurely drink there's things hiding in their heart they're not going with you it's interesting that of those 300 chosen men picturing patriarchs and prophets writes this. They not only possessed courage and self-control they were men of faith they had not defiled themselves with idolatry God could direct them and through them he could work deliverance and in Israel these were like Eliza's 700 that were proclaimed when he was at Mount horrible complaining that God wasn't paying attention to the jazz a bill was going to get him these are the like the $700.00 when Eliza after the the quake and the fire and the wind comes out to the front of the cave and God says look I've got people you don't know anything about these 300 men had not come out to the city wide feast and proclamations of the God The suppose that God Bale these men had been faithful all the way along and God was strengthening their faith and they knew God was leading it was time that somebody rose up and said Give us back our inheritance give us back our faith in God give us back our security these 300 men were all that God needed but you need to understand something this journey was either going to be a suicide mission or a smashing success and if you think those 300 men hadn't thought about that you better think again you don't come down off the hills surrounding a host of tens of thousands with 300 men and not realize if sudden something doesn't happen in the 1st 30 seconds of this encounter we're dead men suicide or success God sets things up like this is a matter of fact it's completely architected by God and if you think in your life he isn't going to bring you up to a place we have to put your feet in the water think again the one thing God wants to give us is a growing faith this a matter of fact in a white will right by them and repeated manifestations of his power in behalf of Israel that you that's me I want repeated manifestations of his power God would lead them to have faith in Him You see faith is not your creation faith is not something you summon up faith is something you acquire as you surrender and obey and every crisis turns into a conquest a victory because God showed up and he said I told you so. All heaven she writes awaits our demand upon its wisdom and strength if you are prayerful and humble and surrendered to God Don't worry about presumption if you really think you are out on a limb find somebody that will tell you the truth but most of us instead are hunkered down hiding out in our little caves man caves maybe enjoying life and then we end up being exceptionally nice knocking when it comes to taking a step of faith not only does it look impossible but we don't even want to I want to be amongst one of those $300.00 men now there's one more moment when God steps in and takes care of Gideon because he's still afraid for time for tonight Chapter 7 verse 10 there now on the hillsides around the camp of Midian all $300.00 of them now the same night verse 9 it came about that the Lord said to him Arise go down against the camp for I've given it into your hands but if you're afraid that's a powerful voice God recognizes our fragility if you're afraid to go down go with Pera your servant down to the camp and you'll hear what they say and afterward your hands will be strengthened that you may go down to the camp and interestingly enough the author of The Book of Judges tells us that Gideon was afraid how do we know because he went down with Persia and this is what happens they come down off the hillside they're walking up toward this amazing massive ocean like encampment of men they get up near one of the tents and they hear a dialogue between 2 Midianite soldiers and one of them says you know I had a dream and in this dream of barley love came tumbling into our camp and it knocked down my tent and the commentary on the dream is this That's Gideon God's given him given us into his hands. Gideon recognized Ellen White says the voice of God speaking to him through those Midianite as strangers and returning to the few men under his command he said arise for the Lord of delivered you into the he delivered them the hand into our hands the Midianites Now I had an experience like this recently that I want to explain to you so they can see how it works in the 21st century about 2 weeks ago the general contractor for the neighbor to neighbor building found out that things were going to have to come to a halt we had a little crisis too much project too little money we had a delay on getting the power in there and it had brought us to an exact moment where God was going to call us out to him bring us out into a moment of prayer and so with not enough money to keep meeting expenses including pain a mortgage paid a loan note construction was going to come to a close the question for all of us was Should construction remain closed and what had to happen was a prayer for processing of different ideas but this is how God started to show us what we needed to do our general contractor without telling I mean I might have known but our general contractor came over to this church went downstairs to talk to another contractor that worked for him that was not a 7 day at Miss without any solicitation for subject discussion about neighbor to neighbor the contractor in the basement painting says So what's going on it neighbor to neighbor and interestingly in the mind of our general contractor maybe he said Well funny you should ask. And he explained to the painting contractor that the program was put on hold the building was not going forward now this is within minutes maybe hours of finding out that the foot is on the brake progress is not going to happen and the painting contractor who is not a 7 Day Adventists I don't know if he proclaims Christianity or not said Well that can't happen I'll paint the building for free now do you hear the overtones of a Midianite soldiers discussion in that uncalculated unstructured and strategized encountered later that day the same general contractor calls up another general contractor and is explaining that we've got to put this on hold the wife can overhear the conversation and she says to her husband who has a very large contract in this she says you'll do it for free give me more wives like that by the way and then our general contractor himself not having revealed this to hardly anyone is thinking to himself Well maybe I'll give up my contractor's fee for this to go now what am I as a Spassky are supposed to take from all of these conversations that have made their way back to me number one we knew that the money that was raised by the village church to get the loan was not to get the loan only not to get the loan. And number 2 what you could begin to see in these conversations that were making their way back to me is the voice of God speaking through these different men who said this work must go for and so are we surprised that in an period of 8 days we raise over $40000.00 specifically most of it to take care of the loan so that nobody needs to be afraid that while the thrift store may not open his rapidly as we want we can pay the note the know can be paid because God moved on the heart of his people but we've got to learn to hear the voice of God in dialogue and circumstance we've got to see through the eyes of faith we have to believe that forward is the direction to go and conquest is the guarantee. We are not on a journey by ourselves may our lives be surrendered to God and may we trust him to do what only he could do and the white will say and patriarchs and prophets the most complete system that men of ever devised apart from the power wisdom of God will prove a failure while the most unpromising methods will succeed when divinely appointed and entered upon with humility and faith trust in God in obedience to His Will are as essential to the Christian in spiritual warfare as to get in and Joshua in their battles with the Canaanites So where are we today friends I'm here to tell you in much of the Western world the idea of conquest is passe the idea that the proclamation of God's Word will do any good is suspect it's been critiqued even academically and socially a logically critique some will go so far to say that it doesn't work but I'll come back to a doctor Panetta said in our Sabbath school mission segment little prayer little power quoting from Elder Pearson a formal general conference President much prayer much power it might be that we find ourselves hiding like Saul did in the caves in the mountains because of the Philistine ones it might be that it's time to come out and venture something in God's name but think about Jonathan as we close do you have one good friend in your life who will stand by your side and say this can be done in this are to be done I think about Jonathan at the base of that cliff he turned to his armor Barry said you know what let's ask God for a sign. But let's have an interesting conquest and we're going to call out to those Philistines at the top of the hill and if they say come on up we'll deal with you then we're going to if you want to turn to that arm or bear and their arm a bear would have had fear in his eyes because there was fear in his heart and that armor bear was that oh I don't know about this or Jonathan nothing would happen but like attracts like and a journey of faith will attract and increase faith in the hearts of those in your social circle and when Jonathan looked at his arm or bear and what do you say let's put God to the test the armor bearer look straight back into his eyes because he had been many a battle before with his fighting partner Jonathan he said you know let's or if they call us up good to go let's go listen somebody is going to have to realize that it's not suicide but it's success when we follow God it's not bankruptcy but it's the provision of heaven it's the gusher it's the opening of the resources of God Heaven is waiting our demand upon its wisdom and its strength and God is exceedingly able polar right to do abundantly above all that we ask for think yes friends the battle before us is going to start own heart it's going to move into our own homes idols are going to have to be torn down people are going to be afraid we're going to need an awful lot of wisdom and an awful lot of patience but I'll tell you one thing we can't have we cannot have fear commanding the field and whether we take little steps or bigger steps based on the providence of God We ought to be moving forward we ought to realize that the trumpet of heaven is going to sound and God's going to call his forces to him we ought to realize there's a shaking coming when the fearful are going to be left behind and we ought to be asking God give us that litany give us that journal full of faithful circumstances where you come down and provide as we follow your lead and grow our faith we're in a position in time in which we need some mighty men and women of valor were not wanted to prepare our. Kids for apostasy and by the way if some of your children aren't walking the way you raise them to walk you keep praying there's a mighty Holy Spirit that's working when you can't work and he's in places you can't be don't take all the credit when they turn out good and to take all the blame when it doesn't turn out the way you wanted to the battle is not over the Holy Spirit is going to be poured out and many who have wandered away are going to come back it's the promise friends God's calling us to make new commitments we're living in the age of the judges everybody's doing what's right in their own eyes but God calling us back to a simple faith in a simple obedience his calling is to abandon a love of ease and pleasure he's calling us to let him speak truth and whatever Nytol is it is doesn't matter whether it's in your heart or your kids. He's calling us to reshape our own hearts as a sanctuary for his presence our own homes our own churches and our own schools yes God's calling us forward to the finish there is going to be a mighty showdown and all God wants is people that have let him lead them one step of the way one step higher on the mountain the faith and courage he's calling you he's calling me he's calling Christians to be committed to the cause that will liberate souls for eternity let's raise our children to be with Jesus forever let's warn our society let's live a sweet preserving experience for our common culture and if we pay a price it's Ok Jesus paid a price before us and walk right by our sign and Lord forgive us when we've failed to do the things you were prompting us to do forgive us when our lives were full of other things that seem more important maybe even things that were Ok or good that were wrongly prioritized. I prayed Lord restore our commitment to you personally and privately and made that commitment shape our relationships in marriage in the home wherever they are for in the Lord Jesus said anyone that loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me the protection of our love for family calibrated rightly is inside that relationship with you I'm training Lord then if you call our families to sacrifice and give in proportion as perhaps we've never given before that we would find a reward an intrinsic reward of reward deep down inside that comes with being used of God May our fulfillment of person come as we fulfill the divine purpose you called us to say we seek that out every day Lord and then I pray Lord restore the fortunes of your church give us strength again conquering and to conquer I'm praying Lord May we take prisoners. Make them prisoners of hope I'm praying that the the gates of hell would not be able to prevail against us because where there's more prayer there's more power. Strengthening grow our prayer meetings may there be private worship and then worship in the home and I pray Lord May we have a litany of faith that shows us how you always lead and you always show up to provide. Yes Lord forgive our sense and help us to make a new commitment in Jesus' name amen. This media was brought to you by audio post a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio version or if you'd like to listen to more sermon leave it to w.w.w. dot audio Verse dot org.

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