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Summary: A good sermon for New Year’s, Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day or any day to challenge God’s people to move forward.

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Cowards or Conquerors?

Numbers 13:26-14:2

Introduction:

This is the weekend that we Americans remember those who laid down their lives for their country. Technically, this is not Veteran’s Day, but it has come to be a time when we remember those who gave their lives in battle as well as those who were willing to die for their country. We as a nation are forever indebted to those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy today.

It is our corporate feeling that the United States of America is a conqueror. What we set out to accomplish, we normally achieve. Granted, there have been some disappointments in battle, but we usually come out on top. If the USA were a coward nation, we would not be the great nation that we are today.

God has a grand and glorious possession that he has prepared for each of us. Memorial Day reminds us that it takes a certain mentality and attitude to achieve that which God has prepared for us.

Israel’s actions at Kadesh-Barnea illustrate to us that there are basically two groups of people when it some to taking possession of that which God has promised to His children: Cowards and Conquerors. Let’s take a closer look at these two groups.

Introduction for end of the year sermon: New Year’s introduction (of course you will want to change the year reference):

With Christmas being over, the typical greeting has changed from Merry Christmas to Happy New Year. The decorations are being packed away and parties and watch-night services are being planned. Resolutions are being formulated and tax forms are on the way. Memories of the past year are sorted; some filed under painful, yet learning experiences, and then others are discarded on the heap of the ordinary and mundane. Still in [1990], we look across tomorrow to [1991] where our new adventures await us.

Israel once stood where we stand today, but whereas we are in a place called (name of town), they are in a place called Kadesh-Barnea. And whereas Israel had a choice as to whether to enter the Promised Land or not, we have no option but to enter the fast-approaching New Year. It will be here Tuesday morning at 12 a.m., like it or not. So our choice is not whether we will enter [1991] or not, but how we will enter it.

I. They both see the same thing

A. The Good

1. The bounty of the land

2. The grapes so big that a cluster had to be carried between two men on a pole.

3. When we look across into the future (specify next year for end of the year message) we can all see some good things that are waiting for us.

a. material

b. social

c. spiritual

4. The majority of cowards and conquerors will agree that God has made great promises for us to be realized both now and in the future.

B. The Obstacles.

1. Both the coward spies and the two, conqueror spies saw the hindrances to obtaining what God had promised.

2. The great, walled cities.

3. The children of Anak - giants.

4. The Amalekites, Jebusites and all the other "ites".

5. And we, as a church, often see the obstacles ahead of us as we seek to achieve new territory for Christ.

a. Need for finances to carry out effective ministries

b. Need for staff to lead certain ministries

c. Need for greater unity.

d. And the list could go on and on.

6. But perhaps the greatest hindrance to the conqueror possessing that which God has promised, are the cowards.

--The greatest hindrances to church growth are not the problems of money, staff, or even direct opposition from sinners; the greatest hindrances has always been the cowards with their lack of faith, complaining, murmuring, sowing of discord and dragging their feet.

Transition: So the difference in the cowards and conquerors is not in what they see with the physical eye, but in how they react and respond to what they see. Here are some real differences in the cowards and conquerors.

II. Cowards follow the path of least resistance. Conquerors see resistance as an opportunity for God to manifest His power.

A. Ahab was a coward that could have been better than he was, but he took the path of least resistance against his wife Jezebel.

B. The evil Jezebel did not intimidate Elijah; he just let God prove that He was greater than her.

1. Sure it wasn’t always easy; he had to fight for what was right.

2. But Elijah’s strength paid off as God took care of Jezebel.

III. Cowards listen to the voice of the majority. Conquerors listen to the voice of God.

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