Summary: It’s easy for us to focus on ourselves and our alleged abilities. It’s far better to realize that we are constantly in need of the sustaining presence of God’s grace.

Passage: Judges 6:25-32

Intro: There is an old spiritual that we all know. Very simple.

1. “It’s me, it’s me oh Lord, standin’ in the need of prayer”

2. this is not a song celebrating selfishness, but the recognition of need

3. its amazing how easily pride worms into our hearts, how we begin to think of ourselves as needing nothing, as finished products of our own effort and skill.

PP Revelation 3:17

4. if there two thing the Bible is clear on, it is first the absolute constant neediness of men and women.

5. and second, the complete sufficiency of the undeserved favor of God to meet those needs.

6. our look at the story of Gideon has revealed the neediness of Gideon and his fellow Israelites beyond any doubt.

7. but their story is our story; their deliverance our deliverance.

8. two constants in the story: the need of man and the grace of God.

9. let’s look at the facets of God’s grace.

I. Initiating Grace

1. what makes the forgiveness of God truly amazing is that He is the initiator.

2. the only thing even remotely like repentance is found in 6:6

PP Judges 6:6 “cried out to the Lord for help.”

3. God will help, but always begins by dealing with the sin problem.

4. and throughout these verses, God is initiating the forgiveness process.

5. He approaches Gideon, he commands, he calls, he instructs in v25.

6. God is initiating the satisfying of His own holiness, according to the Law He has given. All those sins!! Forgiven!!

7. Of course we know this is true in the NT as well.

PP Romans 5:12

PP I John 4:10

7. God defines sin, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, Jesus paid the price for sin

8. the grace of God is an initiating grace, working to make us aware of sin so that we might know the joy of forgiveness

9. the important thing to recognize from a human perspective is that Gideon responded to this call to repent, and was obedient to the process through which forgiveness was granted.

10. this is why it is so serious to ignore or reject the initiated offer of forgiveness through the blood of Christ.

PP Hebrews 2:3

11. this is God’s nature, to stoop to our need. Our sin is so great we would never initiate the forgiveness process. God does by grace.

II. Forgiving Grace

1. the first thing that God initiates is forgiveness.

2. sin has blocked even the desire for relationship, takes grace to overcome.

3. Gideon now knows that God is at work, and in fact, the sacrifice for his sins has been made!

4. turn back to Leviticus 4:22-26

5. whether he knew it or not is unclear, but Gideon offered the sacrifice for the unintentional sin of a leader, and it was accepted! (fire)

6. keep your finger in Leviticus 4!

7. God tells Gideon in v25 to take a very specific bull from his father’s herd.

PP Judges 6:25 “2nd bull, 7 years old”

9. Leviticus 4:3-12. “first bull” used to forgive the unintentional sins of the priest

10. but there were no priests! The word “priest” or “priests” very rare in Judges, and then only a “priest for hire”.

11. the rare sacrifice mentioned in Judges was done by a non-priest like Gideon,

12. however, in Leviticus 4:13ff, a second bull was used to forgive the unintentional sins of the community.

13. I believe in this act, God acted as the priest, so that He could forgive the sins of these people so ignorant of the law of God

-no 1st bull needed

14. God has initiated the forgiveness of Gideons sin, as well as that of the people of Israel; people living in terrible ignorance and the sin that comes with it.

15. He greatest act of grace? Forgiveness through Jesus Christ, not earned by us.

III. Fatherly Grace

1. what God called Gideon to do was tough.

2. not as tough as taking on the Midianites, but tough nevertheless

3. commanded to incur the certain wrath of his family and friends.

4. told to tear down “your fathers altar to Baal”, and the Asherah pole or grove that went with it.

Il) Baal was the lover of Asherah, and so their worship highly sexual. They “lived” together. VW Rabbits together in the parking lot may produce little "rabbits"!

5. Gideon told to trash both, build a new altar to the Most High God, and burn the symbol of Baal worship, (the bull) on this new altar. God is multi-tasking!

6. now frankly, Gideon did what he was told, but clearly a little hesitant about the outcome.

7. v27, “afraid of his family and the townspeople.:, and for good reason!

Il) imagine how we would feel if we came on Sunday and found our church in ruins, another religious group meeting on the rubble.

8. have you noticed how God is gently leading Gideon along in this whole adventure? No condemnation!

9. and he will continue to do so.

10. this is what God is like! He is gentle and kind, and remembers our frailty.

PP Psalm 103:13-14

11. think of yourself as a parent, how you beam with pride at the first faltering steps, enthusiastically encourage the first words, as imperfect as they are!

Il) Our sons first phrase, “big red ball” Wow! family thrilled!

11. God’s treatment of Gideon here should resonate in each of our hearts!

Il) Tozer quote, from "God is Easy to Live With", p121 of “The Best of A.W. Tozer”

12. this patient, gracious God is not standing over us with a stick!

13. the grace of God is transforming us, but the process is often painfully slow.

14. don’t give in the Satan’s plan to focus on yourself. God’s grace is your rock, and that grace is changing you and I into the image of Christ.

15. and that visible change has a gracious purpose as well.

IV. Revealing Grace

1. Gideon’s action caused a lot of trouble

2. town in an uproar, quick investigation

Il) like Democratic senators rushing to see whose fault Katrina was!

3. huge breach of civilized behavior, had endangered potential for rain, food, children. Lynch mob!

4. Dad to the rescue, because he wanted to play out the test.

5. last part of v31, “If Baal is really a god…”

6. the stage is now set for the test to play out, over the rest of Gideon’s potentially brief life!

7. every person in that town, and every person who heard the story, could watch Gideon to see if Baal would kill him.

8. the test was so universally known that they gave Gideon a nickname so they all could remember the ongoing test.

9. and as time went on, the absolute impotence of this allegedly very potent god was revealed for all to see.

10. Gideon not only continued to live, but to prosper!

11. here is the principle:

PP Every person that God transforms is an example of the life-changing power of God.

12. and the longer that person lives, the greater the potential for revelation.

Il) no example more powerful than an older married couple, filled with joy and satisfaction. Contrast the numerous marriages of the “stars”.

13. we are a huge part of the revelation of God to a dying world.

14. we saw this very powerfully in Revelation; that God uses His children to reveal His awesome ability to transform former enemies into trusting servants.

15. don’t think for a minute that you are insignificant. You are a trophy of His grace. We are what the world needs!

Conc. The grace of God is overwhelmingly sufficient for you at your point of need.

1. don’t let the enemy tell you that it is not available to you. It is, and you can take it right now. And we all need it.

2. receive the grace of God with thanks.

3. it is available right now, so take it.