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Courageous Faith in Adversity

08.30.20 Nathaniel Wall

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  3. Courageous Faith in Adversity
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Courageous Faith in Adversity

08.30.20 Nathaniel Wall Pursuing God's Heart Series

This Sunday, we are going to be talking about the story of David and Goliath. I’m sure you guys are familiar with that, but to catch us up, I get the privilege of reading 1 Samuel 17:41-50 with you guys to refresh our minds and to look at this story of David and Goliath again. So if you have your Bibles, please turn there to 1 Samuel 17:41-50 through 50, and I will be reading out of the NASB.

Then the Philistine came on and approached David with the shield bear in front of him. When the Philistines looked and saw David, he disdained him for he was but a youth and ruddy with a handsome appearance. The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his Gods. The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.”

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and a spear and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands and I will strike you down and remove your head from you, and I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by sphere for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.”

Then it happened when this Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand into his bag and took from the stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead and the stone sank into his forehead so that he fell on his face to the ground. Thus, David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in David’s hand.

Thank you, Lincoln. Give Lincoln a round of applause. How about our band? We appreciate all they do, the hard work they put in and really everyone that volunteers to make sure we can have church in the park. Thank you guys so much. I’m excited for today because of the demonstration of what it represents for those that want to follow after Christ and publicly profess that to others, that they are aware of their desire for what Jesus has done in their lives and wanting others to know of their commitment to pursue after him.

And so today, now we’re going to talk about an important story, David and Goliath. And we’re going to talk about a courageous faith in adversity. And no doubt you guys are probably, if you’re familiar with any story in the Bible, this probably one of those areas that you’re like, “Yeah, I can generally tell you the idea of what happens with David and Goliath.” And typically when we talk about this story where David defeats his giant, we say things like this, “David defeated his giant and so you can defeat your giant too. You can slay your giants if you just have the right positive attitude.” Right? So you can say things like, “Well, David picked up five stones because he thought, some theorize that he might have to defeat a five giants because Goliath had additional brothers. And so David picked up a stone to take out every brother if he had to.” And that’s kind of speculative, but we say, “David got five stones to defeat his five giants, so you can have five stones to the beat, your five giants.” Right?

But It’s kind of like the Christian version of the cat with nine lives. A cat gets nine lives and as a believer in Jesus, you get five stones. And if you need more than five, I’m sorry, that’s kind of the way that we approach this text. And I want us to know, when we read David and Goliath it is more than just a text about, let’s say casting out your fears. I think there’s certainly a component to this text about slaying your giants and destroying your fears. But Goliath is more than a picture of simply the personification of your fears. If you come to that text and that’s your interpretation of the text and that’s, as far as you go with the text, that’s a very elementary way of viewing this text. And I think God intends for us to see more in this story than just this idea of defeating giants. In fact, I could say it might be something entirely different. I’m going to dive into that and share a little bit more with you.

Because honestly, when you think about it, do you defeat every giant you face? Well, you you can come to a text like this and you say, “David defeated his giants, therefore you can defeat your giants.” And then you think about certain stories in the scripture, like what about John the Baptist? Does that work with him? His head was cut off. Or what about the prophet Isaiah faithfully following after the Lord’s, but his life ends by being sawn in two? Or what about Paul who meets a similar fate as John the Baptist? Or what about Peter and his wife that are crucified upside down? Do you defeat every giant you face? Does that look like defeat?

I think sometimes in Christianity, we even lean into this in a very dangerous way. I remember talking to a believer not long ago that people look up to and they were given some advice on God just applying not just what you need, I think that’s biblical, but also what you want. Like if you’re at church and you lack a little bit of resources and you think that if God supplied this you could do more. If you just pray for it, God will give it to you. Does he? I mean, what about the lady born in the streets of India who grows up as a believer in Christ who lives her entire life in the streets and dies on the streets, where were her five stones? Where was God to deliver what she wanted? Or what about the believer that starves to death in Ethiopia? Why didn’t their giant fall? Is that what this text says?

I certainly think as a believer, there is a way to overcome our fears, but there’s also a way to approach the challenges in our life that are unhealthy. And I think more than the story being the personification of our fears and Goliath representing that, I think rather that this story is more of a position of understanding, where does courage come from in your faith in Christ? Because what you find in the life of Goliath, is he certainly finds the courage to do what he’s doing, but his courage is rooted in something that will ultimately fail him. Goliath isn’t the personification of fears, he’s an example of trusting in the wrong things.

So I don’t have time to read all of this, all of Chapter 17 is the story of David and Goliath. I’m just going to go through and show us some highlights of what’s happening here. But if you remember the basis for this story, you have Philistines on one side of this battlefield, and then you have Israel on the other side. And Goliath who was represented as the champion of the Philistines comes forth every day for 40 days and he cries out for Israel to present their champion and they’re going to fight a battle. And he taunts Israel every day requesting this champion to come fight him, and rather than army first army, they’re just going to have one person versus another person and whoever wins, the other group becomes the slave enslaved by the people that are the defeating.

And so Goliath stands out and he taunts, and this is a very inexpensive way to have war and there’s definitely certainly lower casualties with this type of war, but that’s the picture of what happens. And when you get to Verse 11, you find out Israel’s response is to react in fear. It starts off in Verse 11, it tells us that Saul is in fear and all of Israel with him. And we know the reason Saul’s been afraid because we read that over the last couple of weeks as a church family. And in 1 Samuel 15 Saul disobeys the Lord, and in Verse 28, he tries to cling to Samuel who’s delivering this message as a prophet.

And Samuel says to him, “Look, God’s going to rip away the kingdom from you, just like I’m ripping you away from my road that you’re clinging to.” And so by the time we get to Chapter 17, no doubt Saul is afraid because he’s just had declared to him by a prophet that it’s going to be ripped away and he’s thinking ” [inaudible 00:08:53] going to be ripped away, I’m going to be ripped in two when I face this Goliath.” And so he’s afraid, and now that that Israel’s leaders are afraid, all of Israel’s afraid.

And then you start to see within the context of the story where Goliath finds his trust as he beats his chest and is declared the champion on behalf of the Philistines. And he represents a worldly way of facing battles and finding courage, and you see this in Verse four, Goliath puts his trust in the best of the world’s protection. Well, I’m going to read this to you in just a minute, but here’s what we’re going to find, in Verse four it’s going to go through this description of Goliath’s attire. All right, and let me just say, the Bible’s written by guys, right? And the one thing guys typically don’t like to talk a whole lot about is what in the world you’re wearing today. When I go out of the house if my wife says I’m matched, then I’m good. I don’t care, I don’t care what it is. As long as I got my self covered and it looks all right to where I’m not going to stand out or whatever, let’s get through the day I got stuff to do, right?

And it’s the same with Hebrew texts that when you read passages of scripture it’s the tendency not to take a whole lot of time to describe about what people are wearing. But then when you get to this text, you see the scriptures taking an extra amount of time describing what Goliath is wearing, right, if you look in Verse four. Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines, named Goliath from Gath, whose weight was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and he was clothed with scale armor, which weighed 5,000 shekels of bronze. He also had a bronze aggrieves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a Weaver’s beam, and the head of a spear weighed 600 shekels of iron. His shield carrier also walked before him.

Here’s what they’re saying, according to modern day, combat Goliath had everything a soldier would want. He had the most precious of metals that you could wear in attire in going into battle, it was intimidating. His armor, according to this passage it would have weighed somewhere around 125 pounds. The tip of the spear of which was a part of his weapon would have weighed 15 pounds, so when you consider the pole in which the spear rested, it was easily at least a 20 pound weapon. And Goliath himself, some say exceeded over 10 feet tall. He was the image of intimidation. I mean, he would have dwarfed Shaquille O’Neal. And what you find in this passage of scripture is this beginning to help us understand, okay, when it comes to casting out your fears, there is a way that we do it that can be healthy and there’s a way that puts on a facade that in the end will leave us empty.

And you know how this goes for Goliath, right? I mean, if you’re familiar with the story, you know that we just read how this turns out. But Goliath, in these moments, it’s sharing with us everything that he’s trusting and the best of what the world has to offer for his protection, and then Goliath goes on and he begins to belittle his opponent. Based on the idea of where he finds value in what will help him achieve his success, he then puts Israel in their place in not carrying that same kind of stature, right? It’s kind of like this for you. There is a way in which the world will tell you, you find your worth and there is a way in which Jesus tells you, you find your worth. And if you put on the system of the world what you’ll find is yeah, maybe for a little while you might measure up. But eventually there’s always going to come someone beside of you, that’s bigger, stronger, faster, and maybe looks a little better at doing it.

And so what does that tell you about who you are, if that’s the value system that you wear? And so under that precedent Goliath gives his judgment against the Israelites, but just look very meager in comparison to who he is. And so Verse eight, that’s where it goes on and says, and he stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and your servants of Saul, choose a man from yourselves and let him come down to me. If he’s able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” Verse 10. Again, the Philistine said, “If I defy the ranks of Israel this day, give me a man that we may fight together.”

So you see what Goliath is trusting in this system, he then uses that as a way to take away the image that we all possess in God by arguing against others, right? Intimidating, and we see that very often in our culture. If you can’t win the argument, if you have nothing to stand on then you go after the character of the other individual and you diminish the image of God in them as if to elevate yourself.

And then finally all the way down in Verse 43, I want you to see this, Goliath invokes the Gods, right? The Philistine said to David, once David gets on the battlefield, “Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his Gods, right? Now, I think oftentimes when people get into any sort of engagement, any type of battle, even a physical battle or a war like this, the tendency is for everyone to justify their position by always arguing, “God’s on my side, I’m allowed to be as rude and mean as I want because of what you did and therefore God is on my side. It doesn’t matter what I do at this point I’m justified in my behavior.” And this was really Goliath’s argumentation and invoking the Gods around him, the Gods that he believed in against David.

It kind of makes you wonder what exactly did Goliath do here to provoke the gods? I mean, he could have treated Gods like a puppet, which sometimes we can get in that tendency as people where we feel like if we do enough good things for God that he owes us, right? And so I’m sure in Goliath’s day they had certain rituals that they would perform in order to make God happy so that they got what they wanted too. Sort of like you please God and then God becomes your genie in a bottle that you rub.

But I think biblically as Christians we have enough understanding to just simply say, “That’s not how God works, guys.” If you think coming to church does God’s favors, like God needed you here today, we have a poor understanding of what it means to pursue Jesus with our lives. And there isn’t a person in this field today, or person listening that God is in need of, God lacks nothing. But we’re able to be here today because of his grace. We’re able to pursue him because of his grace towards us, we don’t merit God’s favor ever. It’s only by the grace of God that we’re able to be anything that we are, we’re going to see that in just a moment in the life of David.

I mean, it makes you think, what would Goliath do? Like every athlete before they stand on the battlefield of their game, before they have the game, do they bow and pray for God to help them win? Do they pray for the hedge of protection as Christians? We have the tendency to do that sometimes, we’re like, “God, we’re going to step out on the field of uncertainty, put around me this hedge of protection.” Have you ever stopped and asked, where in the Bible does it even talk about a hedge of protection? John the Baptist must not have prayed for it that day, right? There is a place in scripture that talks about it, in Job 1:10 if you ever want to look that up.

I think today we’ve gotten a little bit more advanced than hedges of protections, so maybe you can pray for titanium fortified shelters to dwell in, but whatever Goliath is doing, he’s trying to manipulate what his understanding of God is in order to simply achieve what he wants. Because ultimately what we’re seeing in Goliath is Goliath truly sees himself as God. That’s why he stands on this field with such arrogance, calling out to Israel. And what we see in this type of courage is that it’s delusional. Goliath is finding his value, and his strength, and his assets, and his power, and his Gods, and his ability to kill others as he has done before and it’s all a facade.

That’s why I say when you approach a text like this, to simply think that that Goliath represents all your fears and if you just act strong enough and you just pick up your stones that you’re going to be able to defeat your enemies and get what you want. Well, there is a type of way that we can approach things that make us fearful, that’s just a facade, and we become delusional in the things that we say to ourselves and the may not even be God’s intentions at all. The ability to overcome your faith has nothing to do with diminishing the fears it’s really strengthening our faith. We’re not after believers to eliminate the idea of fear in our lives. Now I think there’s a way to put it in alignment in perspective of God, but there’s some rationality to recognizing in our lives that sometimes things are just dangerous, right?

I don’t want to puff ourselves up and become imaginary about that, but what we want to do is find our faith strengthened beyond it, in a way that’s healthy, in a way that’s truthful and honest. And then you see within this story not only how Goliath acts, but you see how Israel acts. You find it in a few passages that Israel is described as cowardly and discouraged. We talked about Verse 11 with King Saul and the Israelites. Well Verse 24, when all the men of Israel saw the man Goliath, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. And in Verse 33, then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against the Philistines to fight with him for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.”

So Israel acknowledges, “Look, there’s no way, for 40 days we’ve been sitting here, we’re afraid of this guy. We don’t want to mess with this situation.” Then David comes forward and he thinks that he has the ability to defeat the giant, they’re even opposed to David because he’s still a kid. But then you find an in Verse 38, they finally decide to do something with David and the way they choose to respond, and get this guy’s Israel is supposed to be a community of faith, the way they choose to respond is by matching the world by putting on armor. Verse 38, then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head and he clothed him with armor. I got a bug up here. You guys see that? You don’t think I’m just paranoid, right? There’s a bug flying around me.

So when you look at this story, let’s just be honest, and what they’re communicating for us to begin to recognize, when it comes to not being fearful and standing for the Lord, we don’t beat the things of the world with the systems of the world. That’s not how God makes us. God doesn’t make us to match the world systems through the things that the world creates. And that’s exactly what Israel’s trying to do in this passage. Goliath looks this way, in order to defeat Goliath, you’ve got to look this way. And this really becomes the pinnacle moment, I think of 1st and 2nd Samuel, because this is where we start to see chapter 16 and 17, where this transition comes from Israel going from King Saul to King David who unites the people of Israel under this kingship.

And this is where in this tension of this moment you can just sort of let this climax to this problem build as we reflect on it. Because Israel, in these moments, they’re asking the same thing that we would be asking, how the world, how can we defeat this obstacle in front of us? How God are we going to be victorious? What hope do we have? And they’re trying to find the courage that seems lost. And they looked for this courage by dressing up a boy, to fight a giant.

When you think about courage, courage that we admire as people really isn’t about the individual. I think courage that we admire is when we look to an individual who finds a purpose in a moment that’s greater than themselves. And this week I read the story of Richard Wurmbrand, if you aren’t familiar with him he’s the one that started the organization Voice of the Martyrs. I don’t know, some of you might get that magazine in your home that shares about Christian martyrdom that happens around the world. Hundreds of thousands of Christians are slaughtered every year, and Richard Wurmbrand started an organization to try to give them a voice and help them out in their circumstances.

But when you read about his story he was a minister from Romania and communist Russia had captured them and they were trying to unite the communist party with religious people. And they brought together this large group of religious people at this gathering, and they had these religious people stand up and announce their unity to the communist party and saying that they could honor God in this. And Richard Wurmbrand was one of the people they invited and they broadcast this on air so people could hear it. And his wife, I believe her name was Sabina, was with him and as they were listening, one by one, as someone without faith stands up and just acknowledges their loyalty to the communist party, his wife looked at Richard and said, “You’ve got to say something.”

And so they’re in this auditorium with all these individuals broadcast all over Romania, “You’ve got to say something.” And Richard looks back at her and says, “But if I say something, you won’t have a husband.” And she looks back and says, “But I don’t need a coward for a husband.” And Richard Wurmbrand gets up and he declares his loyalty to Jesus above the communist party and eventually is taken into solitary confinement and he’s tortured for his faith for several years. That kind of faith, it’s courage, not only within that individual, but the courage that through his life is brought into the lives of others by seeing his faithfulness in the midst of fear. It’s not to say Richard Wurmbrand wasn’t afraid, but he found a greater cause for which to stand.

And that’s where we are and that’s where Israel is in the story, we need something to help us do what’s right in spite of our fears, even if we perish. So how do you find that courage? Well, the story of David gives us the alternative to that, right? David and Goliath, Goliath finding his courage in the things of this world and David then responds with where he finds his courage, and Verse 39 this is where we start to see it. And what you find in Verse 39, I’ll just tell you is David exposes his weaknesses. Remember in Verse 38 he just put on the armor and rather than go out in the armor, he decides to walk in vulnerability. And we’re going to see why, but look in Verse 39, David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk for he had not tested them so David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.

What David’s doing in this story is David’s going with what he knows got him to this point. And if you remember in Chapter 16, we saw this together. David in Chapter 16, Verse 11, remember who David was? David was the one that when his entire family went to this party and one of them is going to be anointed by Samuel, David was the one that wasn’t invited to attend. And finally, when Samuel went to the whole family and said, “Hey, the one that God called me to anoint isn’t here, is your whole family here?” Their response, David’s father’s response was to say, “Yeah, we’ve got one more, but he’s the runt.” As if to say, there’s no way God can work through this. He’s a tiny little red headed runt, I mean, that’s how his dad described him.

And David in recognizing look, “The reason I’m to this point has nothing to do with the strength that I’ve carried. I’m not going into battle now abandoning what I have known has gotten me to this place, but rather I’m going to take away the unfamiliarity and I’m going to walk into what I know is certain.” And what you find is that David then, he puts on the promises of God. Verse 45 and 46, remember what David’s promised was that God gave to him? I mean, it tells us in 1 Samuel 16:13, that he had been anointed by Samuel in order to become King of Israel, and he’s not in that position yet. And if God has anointed him for that position, there’s not even the giant that’s going to stop him.

And so David puts on the promises of God and you see it in Verse 45, then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and a spear and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day, the Lord will deliver you up into my hands and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give you the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beast of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”

He puts on the promises of God because we will never find peace without this. You can put on the facade of the peace, you can try to pump yourself up with a bunch of positive statements, right? You’re awesome because you’re awesome, based on what? Based on what? And David knows where that comes from, the identity that God has put on me, he’s anointed in the Lord. Because you think about how special that is, that while I’m a sinner, God pursues me, gives his life for me and dies for me. I didn’t do anything for that, I could never expect to do anything for that. And to suggest that I could earn that is an insult to the very grace of God that it was delivered to me. That’s why when Jesus hung on the cross and he said, “It is finished, paid in full.” Because what could you ever add to a payment that was paid in full on your behalf?

When the Bible talks about new Testament believers, it says just like David, you’ve been anointed. You’ve been anointed, which means the label that you put on yourself isn’t the things of the world but the promises of God. It’s the promise of his salvation and the hope that we have through him. And this is why David says that he’s coming in the name of the Lord and so this is what he does here in Verse 47, he trusts in a substitute. David trusts in a substitute in Verse 47, and that all of this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear. Do you see that? God is not going to deliver by a facade of false hope. He does not deliver by sword or by spear for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hands. What’s David saying? Who is the warrior that’s going to fight? How am I going to find strength in this moment? Where am I going to be able to conquer my fears? And he’s saying, “Look, it’s not in me. It’s not in me. I’m trusting in a substitute.”

And when you think about this story, this story becomes a archetype of ultimately who Jesus is for us, right? How you think about what this moment is. The story goes, Philistines are warring, they select a champion. If the champion wins, all of the Philistines win and the Philistines are the representation of sin. And on Israel’s side, Israel’s walking in fear. They recognize they don’t have the strength to conquer this. It’s not going to happen on their ability. They can’t even match the world’s system with the world’s system. What do they need to stand on their behalf? They need a champion. They need someone to come in on their behalf and conquer the victory for them.

It’s a foreshadowing, of who? Jesus. If you’ve got your Bible open turn to Hebrews Chapter 11 with me for just a moment. I’m going to look at the end of Hebrews 11 and to Hebrews 12 to help us make some application to this story and what it means to live for the Lord and finding courage in him. When you go through Hebrews Chapter 11, one of the beautiful things about Hebrews 11 is considered the hall of faith, right? And you read about individuals that take their stands in the Lord, people like Noah and Abraham and Sarah. And what you find as you read this story is these individuals that are highlighted as people of faith, individuals that follow God in faith, despite the circumstance. These are individuals that did so even when, at certain points, they looked like they were the only one, they were the only one. You think what it would be like to be Noah in his day, building a boat for over a hundred years and all the persecution or the maligning that may face you. And that’s what Hebrews 11 is, is individuals.

And when you pick up in Verse 32, it says this, and what more shall I say, for time will fail me if I tell of Gideon or Barak or Samson or Jephthah and look at this, or of David and Samuel and the prophets. So he’s saying in this hall of faith, there are all these champions, including David, who you’re looking at today. Even David was this champion who, look Verse 33, who by faith, as that champion, conquered kingdoms and performed acts of righteousness, and obtained promises, and shut the mouths of lions, and quenched the power of fire and escaped the edge of the sword. And look at this, from weakness we’re made strong. It wasn’t about them.

Verse 36, and look at this, on the other end of that while you think about those champions who conquered things, Verse 36, there were other conquerers that maybe didn’t accomplish certain earthly things that we look for but they’re described this way, and others experienced mocking and scourings and yes, also chains and imprisonment. And they were stoned and they were sawn in two and they were tempted and they were put to death with the sword, destitute, afflicted, and ill treated. The question is then, well, where were their stones? Right? Did they get victory? The answer is yes, yes, because they never lost the hope that they had in ultimate victory and maybe with them, we should even ask the question, well, where did they find such strength in the midst of that circumstance to stand?

Well in Hebrews Chapter 12, look at this guys, Verse one, here’s where you find the answer. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and we have this cloud of faithful followers of the Lord that are testifying to us, so the faithfulness of God. Since we have that surrounding us, he says, “Let us lay aside every encumbrance. Take off the armor, don’t wear the facade. That’s not how you want as a believer.” Right? And the sin which so easily entangles us, and even the sin in your own life, you’ve got to lay it down. And he says this, “And let us run with endurance the race that is set before you.” You can do this, you can. You can do what God calls you to in this world.

And so the question is then how can we be victorious? Well, Verse two, he says it right? Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. You know what this word author represents? This word author is connected to the word champion. What he’s saying is, look in Chapter 11, you see a bunch of little champions and in their weakness they’re made strong. Do you know how they’re made strong? It’s because they had an ultimate champion who was victorious over everything. You’re not going to impress anyone on that battlefield in what God has called you to because God never intended you to, but rather he wants you to fix your eyes ultimately on the one who is the champion, who fights on your behalf.

And so he talks about remembering Jesus in these moments, the perfecter of your faith, and how did Jesus find victory? How did Jesus do it? Well, the second half of Verse two, who for the joy set before him endured the cross despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who has endured such hostility by sinners against himself so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. But the joy that set before him, those are the words of power. It’s bigger than the circumstance. It’s a promise that sustains and endures. It’s one, even in life’s most difficult trials, that if you stand in, you will walk away in victory because you have the ultimate champion who fought that battle and received that victory on your behalf.

I hope you hear me say, if you want courage, what you don’t need is a stronger you, what you need is a greater champion. And in our lives, in our weakness, the more you look to his heroism, the more heroic you become because you recognize the victory of the champion that waits before you, Jesus, as he’s fought that battle on your behalf to recognize you don’t have to walk out on that battlefield. You don’t have to put on the facade, Jesus has won that battle for you. And therefore in the promises that we have that sustain in him as God’s people we find peace. It’s to say it to us maybe the opposite way, you will never have peace with God in your battles until you surrender yourself to the battle he fought in your place. When you’re left without that, you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to justify yourself and everyone that comes against you you’ll feel the need to defend yourself and become really vicious for yourself because you see no other rescue.

But when you know what Jesus has done on your behalf in faithfulness, you can pursue the one who holds your victory in his hands, not because of us, but because of him. This morning, as we think about baptism, and that’s the representation for us as people, that Jesus is our champion. That Jesus achieved the victory. That Jesus has already fought our Goliath, and he has been victorious and we by faith trust in that King to be our deliverer, that rather than stand in that place, he stands for us. And as we look to him, our faith grows strong in the anticipation that all is to come in Jesus.

I’m going to close this in a word of prayer, and here’s what we’re going to do guys, we’re going to sing one final song together. It’s very fitting, I think, to today’s service and ending in baptism and what it means to follow Jesus courageously in faith. This song is called, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, and if I remember the history, right this song was written by a Christian in India that became a martyr. In the middle of those circumstances he decided with his life that no matter what he going to follow Jesus, because in Jesus he knew that he was victorious.