Sermons

Summary: Often time, the difference between serving the Lord significantly and just using up the time period we call our lifespan is just a little bit of faith and courage; not a lot of it, just a little faith exercised in fear and trembling!

1. There is not that much difference between us; human race--we are similar to one another....

2. Differences are in the realm of fine shades...

3. Gifts, talents...matter of degree...(we can all sing, but a dog can only howl....we can read, but some are quicker....we can draw a picture, but some a lot better....)

4. Those fine shades make a big difference.

5. All of us are afraid of life, afraid to take risks, afraid to serve the

Lord...the difference is in the realm of HOW afraid, or how much faith or courage we have...

6. We begin to think that we have nothing to offer the Lord when we can be so close to becoming someone God uses in meaningful ways...e.g., some of you have never witnessed....

Question: Is serving the Lord really way out of reach for all of us, or do we all have the potential to reach serving the Lord if we will be stretch a bit?

TS---------------> Gideon is a man who just squeaked by to serve the Lord in a great way; he is an example of how just a little faith will get us by.

I. The Background

1. Midianites & others swept over No. Israel, 7 yrs. stealing harvested crops & livestock, burning and destroying whatever they could find...

2. Enter Gideon: threshing wheat in a wine press (out of the way)...had apparently done a lot of thinking; had some legit. ?’s AFRAID

3. The Angel appears in the form of a man; says, "The Lord is with you, mighty Warrior!" (a title of status) Gideon’s nature to be AFRAID...

4. Gideon asks, "Then why has the Lord forsaken us?" Angel does not defend God, but says, "You go save Israel from Midian!"

5. Gideon: weakest clan in Manasseh, least in the family.

---Paul, "When I am weak, then I am strong..."

---"Who is adequate for these things?"

---Service that pleases God comes from God confidence, not self!

Gideon, Not only afraid, but sense of INADEQUACY/INFERIORITY

6. The LORD says, "I will be with you."

WITH GOD, WE ARE ADEQUATE; WITH GOD, WE ARE SOMEBODY

7. Gideon realizes this angel is not just a man; he wants to make an

offering before God...placed goat meat & bread on a rock....angel touches with staff, consumes food with fire, & disappears....

8. Gideon, AFRAID that he will die because he saw a vision of God...now commanded to tear down the Altar of Baal/Asherah pole built by his FATHER and used by the ENTIRE COMMUNITY....

9. Will Gideon obey? Afraid either way--of God or the people; He obeys, but does it AT NIGHT....he obeys, but not boldly...

--Gideon obeys, but fearfully and just barely....It is NOT HIS NATURE TO HAVE FAITH OR BE BOLD; BUT, WITH GOD’S HELP, HE GOES AGAINST HIS NATURE... although it is easier to work with your nature, sometimes God calls you to be uncomfortably stretched!

10. Not written in the text, but between then and now he must have

organized ties with other local leaders and made plans for defense....

11. Time came for the Midianites & others to swarm down; Gideon blew the trumpet and a 34,000 man militia gathered under his command...

12. But Gideon is again FEARFUL. He asks God for a sign...fleece

wet....fleece dry.... {do you see a pattern here?}

----This incident is not an illustration about how to find the will of God (God had TOLD him His will), but about TAKING OUR FEARS TO GOD!

13. The Israelite army camped along a spring. 3and 1/2 miles away

were the Midianites---135,000 compared to 34,000 Iraelites (4 to 1).

14. God gets exteme with Gideon: Ask all the hesitant to leave; 24,000 leave. Still too many (now 13.5 to 1);

15. God tells those who brought their water to their mouths to stay;

perhaps the more nervous would remain! Only 300 left (450 to 1)!

----Like Gideon, a little courage (willing to stay) but still fearful!

16. Now Gideon is PANICY and more FEARFUL than ever....so God tells Gideon and Purah to spy on the enemy....READ 7:12-15

17. 300 men get torches, put pitchers over them....READ7:20-25

Main Idea: Often time, the difference between serving the Lord significantly and just using up the time period we call our lifespan is just a little bit of faith and courage; not a lot of it, just a little faith exercised in fear and trembling!

Question: Is serving the Lord really way out of reach for all of us, or do we all have the potential to reach serving the Lord if we will be stretch a bit?

II.Serving the Lord Significantly Is Within Our Reach If We Will But Stretch Our Faith a Little Bit...

1. Some Christians must put their lives at risk to serve the Lord...Sudan..

2. Others risk their lives to serve as missionaries in dangerous

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