Summary: The Second of the 2008 Summer Sermon Series God is.
(Slide 1) (The sermon began with the Reader’s Theater piece ‘The Boy King’ published by Carson-Dellosa Christian Publishing.)
(Slide 2) Have you slain any giants lately? I am not talking about the New York Giants (especially if you are New England Patriots fan) or the San Francisco Giants. I am talking about situations and even, yes even, people that seem impossible to deal with and resolve.
Then there are the inner giants – attitudes and dispositions that we are constantly doing battle with which challenge us and mock us like Goliath mocked David and ancient Israel. Fear, anxiety, anger, control, and the like can cause us to freeze up just like the Israelites did with Goliath. Listen this morning to the main text from which part of our reader’s theater story was taken. It is 1 Samuel 17:38-50:
“Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested. “I’m not used to them.” So he took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them in his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across to fight Goliath.
Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled.
David shouted in reply, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone will know that the Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours. The Lord will give you to us!”
As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it from his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face downward to the ground.
So David triumphed over the Philistine giant with only a stone and sling. And since he had no sword, he ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill the giant and cut off his head.’
As we go through this story here are some things for us to remember, believe, and apply as it relates to slaying our giants:
(Slide 3) First, we will always have them around until we die or Christ returns.
(Slide 4) I shared this slide with you a few weeks ago and it is from Anderson University School of Theology professor Guy Brewer. Notice the names given by Dr Brewer to our spiritual formation: decisions, disciplines, dispositions, and doxology. We face inner and outer giants at each place on this rhythm or journey of our lives (and as a congregation as well.)
The ‘Inner Giants’ of fear, anger, hate, anxiety, and the like are a part of our lives at every turn and point. The ‘Outer Giants’ of ridicule, conflict, opposition, disagreement, and the like are likewise at every turn as we move through life. Why? It is because of the fallen and broken world that we live in.
Jesus said to the disciples in the hours before His death and crucifixion In John 15:21, ‘The people of the world will hate you because you belong to me…’ As we follow the Lord we face the giants of ridicule, mockery, and out right hostility because we have chosen to follow the Lord and live a certain way. It convicts some who decide to try and tear us down. It creates hostility in others who will attack us, sometimes physically, because they are either under conviction or under a strong influence by Satan.
The Inner Giants come from our fallen and warped character. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about some specific sins which are inner giants, what we could call character defects: anger, lust, revenge, and resentment. And as He continues His ministry, He reminds His audience that rules and rituals are not the source of our fallenness but that our very broken and flawed hearts are as we read in Matthew 15:15-20: ‘Then Peter asked Jesus, “Explain what you meant when you said people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”