Lessons from the Life of Gideon Part 4: The Source of Your Courage

MESSAGE – Lessons from the Life of Gideon: The Source of Your Courage.

TEXT Judges 7:1-8

I.                    Introduction: The Midianite army along with the Amalekites and another unnamed Eastern nation had encamped against Israel and are preparing to pillage and ruin.  Many have answered the call to help Gideon fight the enemy off.  However, may of them are afraid and 2/3 of them (22,000) go home.  Gideon is left with 10,000 men.  Then God tells Gideon that there are still too many men and he separates the men into two groups (those who lap water like a dog, and those who kneel down to drink)[1].  God told Gideon to go to war with the 300 men who lapped like dogs and 21,700 were sent home. 

II.                 The Enemy is Big

a.       It is easy to assume that in order to go about transforming the world for Jesus Christ, that we will need a large army of disciples.  But if 2/3 of that army is fearful, it will actually have them defeated before they even reach the battlefield.  One naysayer will always ruin the whole atmosphere.  The party-pooper, the negative person, the whiner.  Jesus had people who did not believe, leave the room before he prayed for the dead girl (Matt. 9:24).  When going after the enemy, there is no room for fear.

b.      Narrowing the field down to 300 was next on God’s to-do list.  Perhaps it was the undignified manner in which these men drank that demonstrated a lack of pride.  Perhaps it was their unhindered thirst that caught God’s eye.  I really like this second notion.  Thomas Edison liked to say, “There are no rules here, we are trying to accomplish something.”  We can easily let the way we think is “proper” get in the way of actually getting something done.  Either way, God chose to deliver Israel with a few who had integral character than a multitude who lacked integrity.

III.               Conclusion: If you answer to call of God to respond to the enemy and you go out to meet him in battle, there are prerequisites for victory. 

a.       With God – There is no victory apart from God.  Strength to overcome the odds is not found in numbers, but in God.

b.      Courage – There is no victory in fear.  Courage and metal are not found in the multitude, but in God.

c.       Reckless Abandon – There is no victory in mediocrity. Devotion and commitment are not found in the crowd, but in God.


[1] There is a slight translation issue with how exactly the two groups of men drank and which group used their hands.  Logic dictates that the kneelers did.  However, most manuscripts state that the lappers used their hands.  It is confusing and different versions say different things.  However, in the end, it is clear that God chose the smaller number.  As the first test weeded out the fearful and kept the fewer who were courageous, it also makes sense that this second test was bringing out a certain quality that God wanted in warriors and not a weakness as some commentaries suggest.

Lessons from the Life of Gideon Part 3: Expect Retaliation

MESSAGE – Lessons from the Life of Gideon: Expect Retaliation.

TEXT Judges 6:28-34

I.                    Introduction: As soon as Gideon accomplishes his task, there is immediate backlash.  The town folk are not just bothered, they demand his life.  His father, Joash, comes to his defense.  Baal is unable to strike back at Gideon without the help of his worshippers because he is powerless on his own.  A large army of three nations came together against Israel. The Abiezrites are called to assist Gideon in the fight.

II.                 Backlash and Habit

a.       When you take out a stronghold that the enemy has had for a long time, the enemy will always try and take it back.  Jesus explains that the enemy will come back with seven of his friends to make sure that it never falls again. (Matt 12:43-45).  Backlash will err on the side of noise though (FEAR).  If the enemy can get you afraid, he will be able to take back his ground without a fight.

b.      The other element to be aware of is habit.  Sometimes., we do the enemies work for him as we fall back into our old patterns of living and then he just cozies on up to us in our ruts.

III.              The Outside World Crashes In: Once we are able to take down the strongholds in our own hearts, the bigger picture will always focus its intensity on us.  Just as Gideon jumped out of the pot and into the fire, our battles with strongholds are likely to grow from bad to horrible rather quickly.  This can be very disheartening. 

IV.              But God…

a.       Remember how Gideon put God first.  We must follow suit.

b.      Joash means “God Supports Man” – God comes to the aid of weak people who are tearing down their strongholds.

c.       Abiezrites.  Abiezer means, “My Father is My Help” – When the world crashes in on you, your heavenly Father will come to your aide.

Conclusion: If you answer to call of God to tear down the enemy strongholds in your life, the enemy will fight back.This is to be expected, but not feared.We do not need to fear because God always offers the strength needed to overcome the enemy.God is our helper.He sends the Holy Spirit to empower us to obey and to protect us from the enemy.It is important to note that when we are called to fight the enemy, it is not by hiding in our holes.We are meant to be on offense, not defense.

Lessons from the Life of Gideon Part 2: Strongholds and how to take them down

Text: Judges 6:25-27

Sermon Outline:

I.                Introduction: Gideon is given a specific task by God to take down the altar to Baal and the Asherah Pole in his home town.  There are specific ways he is to go about this and we can learn how we are to tackle the strongholds in our own life by gleaning from Gideon’s approach to the matter

II.             Your Father’s Bull:

a.      The bull was a servant. Used to take down the altar.

                                                    i.     Humble hearts take down strongholds

1.     Combats Pride (I have done this without you)

2.     Combats Fame (I have done this better than you)

                                                  ii.     Quiet obedience takes down strongholds

1.     Combats Control (doing things my way)

2.     Combats Consumerism (doing other things that I prefer)

b.     Strongholds have been in place a long time.  They don’t show up overnight

                                                    i.     The sin went back generations for Gideon, not just something Gideon had to wrestle with.  (My experience with Paul Shepherd)

                                                  ii.     Ruts/Patterns of Thought

III.            Build and altar on top (in proper order):

a.      Put God First – “No other God’s Before Me”

IV.           Sacrifice the Bull:

a.      Wood from Asherah Pole for the Fire

b.     We see an image of Jesus, the suffering servant being sacrificed on the wood of the tree of bitterness

V.              Ten Servants – Don’t do it alone.  This is why the church is here.

VI.            Conclusion:  Pride is the strongest hold in our hearts.  Control, Fame, and Consumerism are other big strongholds in our hearts.  Most of our strongholds have been in place for a lot longer than we realize.  We inherit many of them.  We don’t even see them as strongholds most of the time.  Racism, Sexism, etc.  Wrong thinking is not something that we just change in an instant.  We can expect to be confronted for a long time when we begin to allow God to move in our hearts and minds and reveal the strongholds.  The answer is to put things in their proper order.  Put God first.  Subject our strongholds to the sacrifice that was paid on our behalf.  Take them to Jesus.  He can bring the mercy and grace we need to see them go away.  Finally, don’t do it alone.  Find some trusted brothers and sisters in Christ to help you take your strongholds down.

Lessons from the Life of Gideon Part 1: What has captured your heart?

Text: Judges 6:7-10

Sermon Outline:

I.                Introduction: The context that sets up the story of Gideon is that Israel had strayed from their devotion to God and had followed after the lesser gods of their neighbors.  Because of this, God allowed their enemies to take advantage of them, abuse them, and impoverish them.  1. We will look at who these gods were and why Israel would have followed after them.  2. We will look at how the enemies of Israel were able to oppress them. 3. We will look at some possible parallels for our own spiritual lives and why we might be struggling in our faithfulness to God.

II.              Paying Reverence to Other Gods

a.      Asherah – Fertilely (brought good harvest, children, bounty)

b.     Baal – Storm (brought rain, brought wrath and destruction too)

III.            Thick as Locusts

a.      “Midianite” was Synonymous with Strife.

b.     Countless Numbers

c.      Robbed and Ruined the Resources

d.     Drove Israel Into the Hills

e.      Israel was Impoverished

IV.            What has Encamped Against our Hearts?

a.      Oversaturation with Media because we are medicating our stress.

b.     Overbearing Cultural Identification because we favor the opinions of man instead of God.

c.      Overdependence upon Money because we don’t fully trust God to take care of us and meet our needs.

Conclusion: We may be driven to create strongholds in our own lives so we can maintain status quos and feel better about life.  Contending with the culture around us will always be more difficult than compromising with it.  If we continue to turn to lesser gods, then God Almighty will allow those things to encamp against us and humble us.  The purpose behind this is that we might taste our need for God and turn in repentance from those things that contend for God’s place in our hearts

Sunday, June 17

Message: Sharing Your Story

Text:1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV)

Pastor David teaches about sharing our stories with those who do not yet know the hope of Jesus Christ.

Synopsis:

The simplicity of evangelism and our dependence upon the Holy Spirit to lead us as we share our stories of hope with the world.

Three points:

1.      Our story began in weakness

2.      We never depart from dependence upon God.  

3.      Our message to the lost is OUR story of Weakness to Strength in God