Summary: Taking new spiritual ground
I DARE YOU TO TELL ME I CAN’T
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Pastor Brian Matherlee
The 65th Anniversary of D-Day was observed June 6th. It was the largest single day amphibious invasion of all time. With nearly 200,000 troops involved; 160,000 would land on the 50 mile stretch of beaches known as Normandy.
There were many obstacles that day: the weather, the rough seas, German fortifications, and the expectation of an imminent invasion. But there were some things on their side as well: the weather, the rough seas, the overconfidence of the German leadership, and the determination of the Allied forces.
While the Allies were looking at the clearing weather over the channel (yet still rough) the Germans were looking at the terrible weather over France. The officers, many soldiers and commanding General Rommel were away from the Norman coast. They were sure nothing would happen yet.
Of course, history tells the story of the sacrificial victory won on the invasion. It tells us how General Eisenhower sought the Lord and knew, only by God’s help, would there be victory.
This military battle has many similarities to the story of David conquering Jerusalem.
1. Don’t let your past talk you out of your future
a. David had come to a city that was heavily fortified. It had been a stronghold and for nearly 4 centuries the Israelites had been unable to take hold of Jerusalem.
b. The Canaanite people were extremely confident that the past would dictate the future. They told David “You will not get in here.” But David did.
c. What about your past tries to derail your future?
i. Guilt over past sins? Nehemiah 9:17 says, “You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.” Overwhelming conflict:
1. Addictions (food, drugs, alcohol, behaviors, attitudes, etc.)
2. Relationship struggles
3. Perceived inadequacy—Jesus told the Parable of the talents. In this parable the man with one talent was unable to overcome fear of failure, feelings of inferiority (I have one talent) or comparison, fear of taking a risk.
ii. It’s a cliché but wonderful truth—when the devil reminds you of your past; remind him of his future!
iii. As a church we can fall into a mindset of “we’re too small”, “we tried that before and it didn’t work”, “we’ve never done it that way before”, and the list of past excuses never seems lacking.
iv. The past may have had many failures but with God the future is always bright.
v. Hear what God told His people who had strayed from Him many times: Isaiah 42:16, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
vi. God will not leave His children hanging!
2. Be diligent in establishing and cultivating your new life
a. Have you ever noticed how much time and attention people give to the new? It’s easier to notice in someone else than ourselves.
ii. First time home buyers
iii. New gadgets
iv. New skills
b. In verses 7 and 8 we see David building the city of Jerusalem and restoring every part of it.
c. Paul told the church in Philippians 2:12 “Work out your salvation”.
d. “Paul’s specific exhortation is to "work out your salvation." The biblical concept of salvation needs to be understood in order to comprehend Paul’s intent here. Salvation has many aspects. Regeneration initiates believers into a life with obligations, one of which is to obey Jesus our Lord. Hence, working out salvation does not mean "working for" salvation, but making salvation operational. Justification must be followed by sanctification, by which the new life in Christ is consciously appropriated and demonstrated.” (Zondervan NIV Reference notes)
e. Living for Christ is not burdensome but it is work.
f. A friend and I were talking the other day about this very thing. He was told by his pastor right after his conversion that living right was going to be tough because his wife and child were not Christians yet. He told him to keep doing the right things, living as Christ in front of them and they would see the difference in him. It took three years until his wife accepted Jesus and soon after so did his daughter.
g. If my friend had not kept on doing the right things he would have fallen away and his family would not have come to know Christ through his example.
h. Be diligent for your benefit but also for others.
i. The culture of service and influence is something we are committed to as a church. Our community isn’t going to change overnight. But it can be won a person and a family at a time.