Summary: What God wants to do in His church today is different than anything you have seen before.
June 17, 2012
Text: Judges 6:25-32
Subject: Gideon’s Call
Title: Tear Down Your Father’s Altar
I am excited about what the Lord spoke to us last week and what He has planned for the church. I am excited about the direction that we are headed and the new people that He is bringing in to do His work in His church. I have been praying for clear direction in ministry. Two weeks ago the Lord gave me a list of ten things that we need to be moving into and in the upcoming weeks I will begin to unfold those things to you and ask you to get on board because it is not my ideas that are coming to light but God’s plan for us that He is revealing to me.
Now I know that some of you are uncomfortable with the direction the church is taking. I want to assure you that what is happening in the church is not something new, but it is the plan that God has had for the church from day one. Now having said that, do you remember last week when I said before I gave the prophecy for the church that is said that I am normally a people pleaser. I don’t want anyone to be able to point accusing fingers at me and say bad things. But in the case of the prophetic word that we have received, I am more concerned with pleasing God than I am with pleasing people. Paul experienced this same thing and wrote in Galatians 1:10, Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Now, the prophetic word we have received has a contingency clause inserted. If we do not do what the Lord is telling us we will be left to die in the wilderness. That is the reason that I have made up my mind to listen and move upon God’s word concerning this church. I want to please my Father because I know that if I listen and become a doer of His word I will please Him and will have His support behind me. Acts 17:28, For in him we live and move and have our being.
Do you remember a few months ago when I told you that the Lord had spoken to me about my time here? The first five years He was teaching me how to preach. The second five years He taught me how to pastor. And finally, the next five years He will show me how to grow a church. We are in the beginning phases of that five-year plan and God has decided to start it out with a year of harvest.
Today, I want to show you how obedience to the word of God can and should bring approval while at the same time stir up dissension among people. We can have the support of the Father.
Read Judges 6:25-32
I believe this is God’s word…
I believe it is for me…
I accept it as mine…
I appropriate it to my life today…
I. DOING WHAT GOD SAYS… 25 That same night the LORD said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. In order to understand what the LORD is asking Gideon to do we need to have a sense of the times. Judges 6:1-2, 1Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. What was Israel’s sin? That answer could entail many responses, but the real sin of Israel has always been unbelief. They would believe God’s commands. They didn’t believe God’s promises. All they wanted to believe was God’s blessings and they thought because they were called of God they could do whatever they wanted. God had so removed His hand of protection from Israel that it says that the power of Midian was oppressive. We also see that Gideon threshed wheat in the wine press to avoid being detected by the enemy. Here we see their unbelief in action. Rather than turn to God for their deliverance they gave in to the worship of false gods. That is what makes God’s command to Gideon more radical. You see, as long as there was an altar to Baal and an Asherah pole beside it, the enemy would be less likely to inflict any kind of harm upon them. Those in the town and surrounding areas had grown comfortable with what the enemy had intended for them instead of standing on the One True God who would deliver them from that enemy. 26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering. In other words, get back to a right relationship with God… And the only way to stay in that kind of relationship is through the power of God that was poured out on the Day of Pentecost. I want you to look at the Hebrew word that is translated as “Asherah pole” in the NIV. In the KJV it is translated as “grove”. Here is an indication that it wasn’t just one pole but that everyone in town had set up their own. Now you can see what Gideon was dealing with. It seemed that everyone would be against him… Let’s shift gears a bit… Did you know that nearly every mainline denomination had Pentecostal roots. The Methodists, for instance, experienced Holy Ghost manifestations in their meetings through the preaching of the Wesley brothers. But like most others, within five generations the Pentecostal manifestation had ceased. The Assemblies of God, I fear, is headed in that same direction. Since its inception in 1914 the A/G was looked down upon by mainline denominations as a bunch of lunatics or fanatics who were only responding to emotional fervor. Three generations later, in the 60’s and 70’s the Assemblies began to attain a level of acceptance among denominational churches. Now we are at a place where there are basically three different directions the A/G is moving in. 1) the mega church model… this model seeks to draw people by programs and entertaining worship styles and a message that doesn’t offend. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is no longer seen as important. 2) the traditional model… This is the church that gets together to worship. Occasionally there would be a message in tongues and interpretation or prophecy. Sometimes people get healed, or blessed or excited, and then everybody goes home and talks about how good church was that day. 3) the radical model. This is the church that is focused only on seeking God’s face and obeying His word. It is the church that is not concerned with what others think, what tradition says, or what trends are popular. All they want is to seek God, hear from God and then act on his word. That is the place where God has brought Gideon. 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime. Did you ever wonder about that? Why did Gideon play the chicken and wait till nightfall in order to do God’s work? It was because he knew that if he didn’t, what God had asked him to do would not have happened. But while God’s enemies slumbered, His servants acted. That is where God has called the church today. We have to get past the place of comfort and back to what God expects from us – even if it doesn’t make sense to us.