Two Types of Churches: Which Do You Want To Be.
1 Samuel 13 & 14
We are not going to read these two chapters, I will rather tell you the story.
It is once again the start of a new year, and it seems that every passing year the intensity of the prospect of a new year grows more and more. It seems like the desire for something new, something better each year is getting more and more. But I would like to ask the question: What good is a new year if you still have an old you? I believe that before we can really have a new year, there first must come a change within each and every one of us. And that change has nothing to do with the politics but everything with our desire for and relationship with God.
This part of Scripture takes place also at the start or beginning of something new. It happened just before David slain Goliath. In fact because of the events in these two chapters, Goliath mocked the people of God. If we look at the Bible we will find that from the time that God’s people entered into the Promised Land, the Philistines were there to provoke the people of God. They were always out looking for a fight with Israel. Goliath was the same. He was very big and strong with a very big sword in his hand and he knew that. That is why he had the audacity to mock the people of God.
In order to start this new year correctly, we must realise that the Philistines today is also out looking to pick a fight with you. They will try to find the smallest reason just to irritate you and to provoke you. Why? The reason is clear. If they can get you involved in a fight with them, they have managed to take your focus of from God and on them.
The moment that we are involved in a battle with the enemy, all our efforts, all our energy, all our focus is on the enemy. Paul comes and says that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and rulers and powers in heavenly places. But then he tells us how we must conduct this battle and his answer is quite stunning. He says that we must not concentrate on the enemy but rather we must pray in the Spirit. In other words, he is saying that the way to fight this battle is not to concentrate on the enemy, but to concentrate on God.
The Bible tells us that our enemy is like a roaring lion, looking to destroy people’s lives. Let me tell you, the way that he is doing it, is by roaring and that makes people so scared that they concentrate only on him and then, because we are not focusing on God anymore, our lives are destroyed.
Just like the Philistines our enemy is always trying to pick a fight.
And this is the background of this scripture.
1 Samuel 13:1 & 2
It is important to remember that there were 3000 men with Saul. For this message I want you to understand that Saul is representing the church. That means that there are 3000 people in the church. The church is full because they have a new leader.
1 Samuel 13:3 & 4
Jonathan, Saul son, defeated a garrison of the Philistines. Within a few moments the trumpets were sending the message, the church is victorious because of the victory of one part of the church. Suddenly more and more people come to join the church. Remember Saul is the church. All that Saul is doing, he is building on the victory of someone else. He is proclaiming that victory to be his. This is one of the biggest problems in the church of our Jesus Christ today. As long as someone else is victorious, people will come to church and will build on that person’s victory. The only testimony that they have is the victory of someone else.
1 Samuel 13:5 & 6
Listen what is happening to the church now. The moment things do not go as well as planned, the people ran and hid in caves, holes, rocks, tombs and pits. Suddenly, when the church comes in a tight situation, the same people that were boosting and boasting about the church, ran away. The same is happening in the church today. As long as people can be comfortable, they will come to church, but the moment there is a tight situation, they stay home.
1 Samuel 13:7
Now the church is trembling. Some even went over to the camp of the enemy. Trembling personifies a defeated church. Most of the members ran away. They are not prepared to fight for the church.
1 Samuel 13:15 – 22
We must realise that the moment we submit to the enemy he will strip us from all our authority. The moment we give in he will make us a slave for him and a slave of our circumstances. Listen the Bible says that there was no sword or spear was found in the hand of any of the men. We all know that the sword is the Word of God. Suddenly from a victorious church they were reduced to a church without a Word of God. In fact the Bible tells us in vers 15 that of the 3000 only 600 men were left.
But praise God, even in the worst of circumstances, there will always be a Word of God and the Bible says that only Saul and Jonathan had swords with them. We must understand, the enemy can strip us from our anointing, and from our authority, but not from all. There will always be a Word; there will always be a sword. God will never allow his church to be totally without His Word.
1 Samuel 14:2
Saul and his men are sitting under a tree and all that they do is making decisions. Let’s do it this way. No, no we have already tried that and it does not work.
1 Samuel 14:1
Suddenly a new church arises. A church that is prepared to say we have made enough decisions. We have camped long enough under this tree. It is time to be an active church.
We must understand that a church without a vision, without a purpose is a church under a tree on their way to nowhere. A church under a tree is a church with a lot of plans but with no one to fulfil that plans. I believe God want His church to come out of under the tree. We have so many programs and entertainment in the church that we are so busy making plans that we do not realise we are still under a tree.
Jonathan has decided that he does not want to be a church like that. I believe that God is calling His church to be an active church in this New Year.
1 Samuel 14:8
Let the church become visible again. Listen, Jonathan never said let us be as quiet as possible, and let us camouflage ourselves in such manner that they cannot see us. No, he said let us walk right up to them, it is time that they see the church.
I believe that this tear is the year that the church must become visible again in our areas. I want to encourage every pastor and minister and preacher to make the church of God visible in his area. God is looking for men and women that will be prepared to show themselves to the world. Paul said boldly that we must be his follower as he is a follower of Christ. In other words he is saying if you want to see love, look at me.
We have a very holy outlook. We say, please do not look at mee rather look at Jesus. My question is but where is Jesus? Of course He is in me. So for the world to see Jesus they have to look at me.
I’m telling you God is tired of a church under a tree. He is longing for a Jonathan type of church that will show themselves to the world.
1 Samuel 14:6 & 7
I want us today to se this armour bearer as the Holy Spirit. You must hear me out, the Holy Spirit will not stay with a church under a tree, but will move with a church on the move. It is the Holy Spirit that gives power to the Word of God; it is the Holy Spirit that will be with us and who will never leave or forsake us. All that He is looking for is for a church on the move.
1 Samuel 14:8 – 12
According to vers 14 there were 20 Philistines against the 2. They were totally outnumbered, but they knew who was on their side. If God is for us who can be against us.
1 Samuel 14:13
Listen, the Word says the he climb up on his hands and feet. You must realise that this decision to be an active church is not an easy decision because it will bring you to your knees.
The biggest problem in the church today is the fact that importance has taken the priority spot in place of essential. Let me explain. It is essential to pray but the moment something important comes up we will rather do the important thing than the essential thing.
I want to cry out today, church it is better to do the essential things because they have live in them than the important things that have honour in them. Jonathan decided that it is time to restore the essential in front of the important because he knew it was important to listen to his father, but it was essential for the church to come out under the tree.
I believe because of this decision the enemy fell before him. Remember he is on his hands and feet. I believe there was such an anointing on him that he only have to climb up and the anointing fell the enemy down and the Holy Spirit, the armour bearer, kills them off.
1 Samuel 14:15
Two people making the right choice make the enemy tremble.
But listen – 1 Samuel 14:17
While one church is having a breakthrough the other one is counting the sheep.
1 Samuel 14:20
Now the enemy is fighting with themselves.
1 Samuel 14:21 & 22
I once heard a story of a church that caught on fire one night. A lot of people gathered in the streets looking at this spectacle. The fire brigade tried their best to contain the fire. The preacher also arrived there and was walking between all the people standing in the street. Suddenly he saw one of his congregation members that he hasn’t seen in a long time in church. So he went up to this man and said: “Brother, it is the first time in a very long period that I have seen you at church”. This brother looked at the preacher and said: “It is the first time in a very long period that the church is on fire”.
The world is tired of a church under a tree. The world is looking for a church on the move.
In closing two more Scriptures.
Psalms 137:1 – 4
At the rivers of Babylon they sat and cry. They hang up their harps on the branches of the tree. They cannot sing a song to the Lord. A church under a tree.
But listen – Ezekiel 1:1 & 3
Listen – this man is also part of Psalms 137. He was also a captive and sit also at the same river, but listen to the difference – the heavens were opened over him and the hand of the Lord was upon him.
It is your decision if this New Year is going to be a year of tears or a year of heavens being opened and the hand of the Lord upon you. Become an active church.