Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fighting the Good Fight

For the battle is the Lord’s. I Samuel 17:47
The Old Testament is full of truths revealing to us the great plots of God’s plan for redemption for the human race.

God has a plan by which each one of His followers can win in life’s war. In our lesson today of David and the giant God gives some guide lines that can help us as we face our giants. I want us to investigate some spiritual significance’s of warfare from this story.

For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. I Samuel 17:21

The battle had come to a standstill because the Philistines had a giant. They didn’t know what to do until David came along.

David had a magnificent giant to face.

And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. I Samuel 17:4-7

This man was a little over nine feet tall. His armor weighted about 150 pounds, the head of his spear was 20 pounds. His head and shoulders, his chest, and his legs were all clothed in brass. He was a magnificent sight to look upon and very terrifying.

David never underestimated who the giant was, and we better not underestimate who the devil is. Underneath all the armor was a very wicked Man.

Let me take just a minute to give you a description of Satan.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14

Now we don’t know what an angel looks like but we picture them as a beings with wings that fly around doing everyone good deeds, right? Well, the scripture says that Satan has transformed himself into an angel.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: I Peter 5:8

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44

What giant do you have in your life that keeps you defeated and in fear?
  • Is it the giant of bad habits?
  • Is it the giant of Bitterness?
  • Is it the giant of Worldliness?
Whatever keeps you from being blessed by God in your life is your giant.

David saw the Children of Israel in retreat and fearful.

And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. I Samuel 17:24

They were people who were in a covenant relationship with God. But David found them in the bondage of fear before Goliath and all that he stood for.

Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Luke 21:26

What is the significance of all of this?

On the one hand there is Goliath in all his impressiveness. There could not be a more striking picture of Satan and his powers than Goliath. He may not strut around in armor like Goliath, but he is impressive and far more powerful than Goliath. Because Satan is of the spirit world we can’t fight with Him.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

Here is the picture of the present day church. It is set in battle against a strutting, arrogant, proud adversary. We see the enemy all around us gaining ground rapidly, and we find that the church is powerless to do much about it.

"In any city you will find a modern Satan who seems irresistible, arrayed in all kinds of fascinating grabs. He clothes himself in the philosophy of modern education, especially the theory that man is essentially good and needs only to be trained and educated to become perfect, a theory which denies the whole truth of the Bible that man is essentially sinful. You will find Satan in the fascinating garb of the liberty between the two sexes, in the slack standard that exists today among people." --Alan Redpath, 1962.

I wonder what he would say today?

We see our world turned upside down and we are fearful as to what might happen in the days to come. The Israelites had lost sight of the power of their God and they were losing the battle! There they sat helpless and fearful. They sat in defeat and were doing nothing about it.

There may be some here today that profess to know the Lord and yet live in defeat and fear. Your giants have caused you to lose sight of the God you serve. You feel helpless and fearful to do anything about it. It seems that the harder you try to live a victories Christian life the more you fail. Maybe this is what Paul was talking about in Romans chapter 7.

Reading from the Message:
"What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely decide. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s word is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help. I decide to do good , but I don’t really do it. I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one to help me?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus can and does!"

King Saul is a type of the Old Testament law. Saul faced such a giant. Saul was to be the leader and king of the Israelites. Saul was called by God to be King. But Saul had forfeited through disobedience the anointing of the Spirit of God. He had lost contact with his source of his Spiritual victory. So there he sat in fear and defeat. He was not willing to face the giant himself. Because Saul sat in defeat his whole army sat in defeat.

Have you ever thought about the fact that how we live affects other?

A mighty deliverance was given by God that day.

Goliath said "Give me a man." (Be careful, Goliath, what you wish for.) The issue was to be settled by a representative from each side.

This whole issue is not the Devil arrayed against a multitude of Christian people but rather the Devil against God. It is Satan versus Jesus. The whole issue of our giants is settled by our representative. Whatever happens to each representative would happen to those who followed them.

David is a picture of the Lord Jesus, who has overcome Satan at Calvary, and also a picture of every child of God who is being made one with Him through faith and obedience. Christ is the head and we are His body, therefore if He won a victory over Satan so have we.

No wonder David said, "The battle is the Lord’s."

  1. David was anointed by God. I Samuel 16:12. Jesus was anointed at His baptism by the Holy Spirit.
  2. David was sent by his father. I Samuel 16:13. Jesus was also send into Battle. I John 4:14.
  3. David was scorned by his brothers. I Samuel 17:28. Jesus came unto His own and they received Him not. John 1:11 He was rejected of men. Isaiah 53:3.
  4. David was strengthened by his past experiences. I Samuel 17:33. Jesus had a face-to-face conflict with Satan in the wilderness and defeated Him.
  5. David was sustained by the Word of God. I Samuel 17:45, 47. In His wilderness experience Jesus used Scripture to defeat Satan.
  6. David’s victory was brought about by the power of God and not by the sword. I Samuel 17:46. It was the power of God that brought Jesus back from the grave.
  7. David’s victory brought victory to all of the Israelites. I Samuel 17:51-51. Jesus' victory at the cross brought us the victory also.
  8. David won the battle and so did those who followed Him into battle. Jesus won the battle and so can we because of Him.

There is a secret to overcoming the giants.

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house.
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. I Samuel 18:1-4

In our concluding glimpse of this story, you will notice that a spectator became fully dedicated to David.

  • Jonathan knit (gave) himself to David.
  • Jonathan loved David as his own self.
  • Jonathan make a covenant with David. (Because the word said "He loved Him as His own soul.")
  • Jonathan gave David what he had: his robe, his sword and bow, his belt.
  • David became champion to Jonathan.

The battle over our giants in our lives is not won by might or power of our own but by giving ourselves to Jesus, for He has already won.

So many Christians believe in the God of history and the God of the past and the God of prophecy; we believe in the great things He is going to do when He comes again.

But the question is, do we believe in Him today? Can He defeat the giants that are in our lives? Can we have victory?

They who know the Saviour shall in Him be strong, Mighty in the conflict of the right against wrong. This the blessed promise given in God word, Doing wondrous exploits, they who know the Lord. In the midst of battle be thou not dismayed, tho’ the powers of darkness against thee are arrayed. God, thy strength, is with thee, causing thee to stand ; Heaven’s allied armies wait at thy command!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Help of the Holy Spirit

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:16-17

For the past few weeks I have been trying to show us how much we need the help of God in these last days.

Let me review for you. We have talked about:
Now all that I have preached in the past few weeks has been to help us in these last days. We all know that we are facing perilous times.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God ; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7
The word perilous in the Greek means : Reducing in strength, difficult or dangerous times.

The odds are against us making to heaven on our own. We need help. With that in mind I want to talk about the help of the Holy Spirit for the believer.
Let not your heart be troubled. John 14:1
We are living in very troubled (perilous) times.There is no promise that things will get any better until we get out of this world in the rapture.
If you love me keep commandments. John 14:15
For the children of God that keep His word there is a promise of a helper.

Persecution Foretold.
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. John 16:1-7
We get the feeling that Jesus is very aware that He is running out of time. He feels the need to warn them of upcoming persecution, not simply from an evil world, but from a religious people also.

The disciples were going to face things that they had never faced before and Jesus knew that they couldn’t face them alone. They would need a helper.

Promise of the Holy Spirit.

God gave us a promise in the Old Testament.
I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Joel 2:28
Jesus gave a promise to His followers.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name. John 14:26
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father. John 15:26
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. John 16:7
Let's look at work of the Holy Spirit.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:16-17
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. John 16:13-15
  • He is to be an abiding presence.
  • He is the Spirit of truth.
  • He will guide you into all truth.
  • He will show you things.
  • He will glorify Jesus.
The mission of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into the truth of Jesus.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: John 16:7-8
With the awakening of the spiritual side of man there comes to him a threefold consciousness.
  1. A consciousness of Sin.
  2. A consciousness of righteousness.
  3. A consciousness of Judgment.
All of this is brought by the Holy Spirit which leads us to Jesus.

The Holy Spirit's Progression in the Lives of People.
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:17
The work of the Holy Spirit starts before conversion. In verse 6 the word "reprove" means "convict" us. We use the term our "conscience" troubling us. The Holy Spirit brings conviction to our hearts that leads us to salvation.

The Holy Spirit leads us to confession of our sins and our faith for salvation.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13
The Holy Spirit guides and abides within us in our Christian walk.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. Matthew 3:11
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Acts 1:5
The baptizing of the Holy Spirit is a continuing of the work of God in the heart of the believer.
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them. Acts 19:4-6
If we study the scriptures we will find out that the next step in our walk with God after conversion is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

William Greathouse in his book The Spirit Filled Life gives us four steps in this progress:

1. I must be in a state of conscious acceptance with God before I can be filled with the Spirit.

2. Only those who have a spiritual thirst are filled with the Spirit.
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) John 7:37-39
3.We must be fully surrendered to the will of God.

E. Stanley Jones wrote: "Pay the price of a complete surrender. I mean surrender and not dedication. In dedication you still have your hands on the gift-in surrender you let go. The gift doesn’t belong to you any more- it totally and wholly belongs to another. You now lead a Spirit-led life, instead of a self-led life. You substitute one will for two wills. You say to yourself, 'Let go, let God.' You put yourself at the disposal of the Divine. You surrender for better or for worse, for richer or for poverty, in sickness and in health, in life and in death-you will keep yourself only unto Him. He has you."

4. We must appropriate the Holy Spirit by faith.

After conversion there comes a time in our walk with God that we make a choice to accept the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. By faith we say to the Holy Spirit, "Take my life and fill it with thy presence! You take control of my life."

As I study the word of God I find that the work of the Holy Spirit in my life requires a total giving of my whole heart and life to God and when I gave Him my will He gives me his Spirit to live within me.

In my Christian experience God by His grace saved me and when I gave Him my life He filled me with His Spirit. As I walk with Him each day He shows me the next steps I need to take in my way to heaven.

Have I arrived to where I need to be with God yet? No!

But each day He is helping me to walk in the light of His word and the Holy Spirit is teaching me.

This scripture shows the difference between a life in the Spirt and a life in the flesh.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: Romans 8:1-16
He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? Acts 19:2
The greatest help we can find in these days is having the Holy Spirit living within us and walking each day in the word of God.

Our Text again: "For he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."