May 10, 2020

From Fear to Faith

Passage: Judges 7
Service Type:

I'd like to invite your attention to the, once again, to the 7th chapter of Judges and we will read the entire chapter together. I trust that you have benefited from our mini-study here of God's working in the life of Gideon and the lessons that we can learn from it. Judges chapter seven verse one: "Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the spring of Harod. And the camp of Midian was north of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley. That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp. And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance. When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.” As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.” And he divided the 300 men into three companies and put trumpets into the hands of all of them and empty jars, with torches inside the jars. And he said to them, “Look at me, and do likewise. When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. When I blow the trumpet, I and all who are with me, then blow the trumpets also on every side of all the camp and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’” So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they cried out, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. When they blew the 300 trumpets, the Lord set every man's sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah,[a] as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. And the men of Israel were called out from Naphtali and from Asher and from all Manasseh, and they pursued after Midian." Father, please bless the reading and the preaching of your word this morning. Amen.

When you think about the great men and women of the Christian faith, you probably think of names such as Abraham and Jacob and Joseph. You may think of women like Rahab, and Sarah. You probably think of Moses and Esau, but one name that you may be surprised to find in Hebrews chapter 11, which is considered to be the Hall of Faith, is the name of Gideon and Hebrews 11:32 it says, "And what more shall I say for time would fail to tell me of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David, Samuel and all the prophets-".  In other words, he's in some high cotton here. Well, what qualified Gideon to be included in such a distinguished list of these great Old Testament saints? His faith. But what was the demonstration of his faith? It was his obedience, with this qualifier, his obedience in the face of his fears. To look at this from another angle, we could ask, "How do we know that Gideon was a man of faith?" We know he was a man of faith because he believed God. Because he obeyed God. Let's think this through. Was there anything that God asked Gideon to do that he did not do? No. Sure. He repeatedly asked God for signs. He asked some questions of the angel of the Lord. But as I've tried to show from the scriptures the past few weeks, he wasn't doing those things because he was a doubting Thomas, because he was lacking in faith, he was doing those things because he was simply seeking assurance that he was truly dealing with the one true God of Israel. So God asked him to pull down his father's altar to Baal and to cut down the Asherah pole that stood beside the altar. And what did Gideon do? He did exactly what God asked him to do. God told Gideon to go down to the outskirts of the camp, had asked him to go down to, right into the belly of the beast and to eavesdrop, as it were. Well, that had to strike even more fear into what was an already fearful heart. But what did Gideon do? In the face of his fears, he obeyed God and he went down. God told Gideon to attack the forces of Midian. And although he was vastly outnumbered, and although he lacked any kind of significant weapons, he did what God asked him to do. He demonstrated his faith by his obedience in the face of his fears. You know, there are so many times we read about the characters in scripture and we think, you know, they must have been these tremendously confident, fearless people to do what they did. No. They are just like us. Weak, fearful, struggling to believe. And why do we find a man like Gideon in the Hall of Faith? Because he obeyed God in spite of his fears. Listen, God does not fill scripture with human heroes that don't need him, right?

So Gideon was a living illustration of what James would write centuries later. He wrote: "But someone will say, you have faith and I have works", to which James says, "Show me your faith apart from your works", which you cannot do by the way, "and I will show you my faith". How? By my works. So Gideon is an example of at least two universal truths. Here's the first one. Genuine faith obeys. And oh, that is a message that the church needs to hear today. Genuine faith in Christ brings about obedience. Many claim to believe in Jesus. Many claim to have faith in Jesus. Well, I would ask, are you obeying Jesus? Show me your faith by your works. You claim to be a Christian. You say you're a Christian, but what does your life say? Is your life characterized by obedience? Is obedience the normal practice of your life? Not that you're going to be perfect in your obedience. None of us are, but overall, overwhelmingly, the path of your life is one of obedience to Christ. Second truth that Gideon is an example of, is that genuine faith is tested. God will test our faith. Again, James says, "Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds". Why? "For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness". If you have a faith that has never tested, you do not have biblical faith. Okay?

Now Gideon's story is a story of faith in action. And because he is included in the Bible's Hall of Faith, he obviously has something to teach us about faith. There's something that we can learn from Gideon about faith. One pastor said, "Gideon teaches us to be overcomers and not to be overcome", and that's based on scripture. 1 John, chapter five, "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory, that has overcome the world. Our faith." Listen, you are either overcome because of your unbelief or you overcome because of your belief. Gideon is also an illustration of what Paul wrote in Romans. "So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ", or the King James, "through the word of God". So there are three principles that we see in the life of Gideon, (isn't that a beautiful sound?).

There are three principles from the life of Gideon that teaches us how God interacts with us and our faith to help strengthen our faith resulting in our spiritual growth and usefulness. So here we go. Principle number one, as I just said, expect God to test your faith. Expect God to test your faith. An untested faith is an untrustworthy faith. If you want to have a trustworthy faith, be glad for the testing. Your faith needs to be tested, must be tested, in order for you to understand the quality of your faith. Testing reveals whether or not your faith is genuine or counterfeit. Gideon needed to have faith in God. The people of Israel needed to have faith in God. And there was one sure fire away for God to bring Gideon as well as the people of Israel to a point of complete trust in God. You know what that was? It was to strip away the very thing that they might be tempted to rely upon or to trust in. Let's think this through. Next to an army's weapons, what's it's most important or valuable asset? It would have to be the soldiers, it would have to be the troop strength, and that's precisely where God tested the faith of Gideon. You've heard the saying, "Well, there's strength in numbers". That's how we as human beings think, well, there's strength in numbers. There's only one number you as a Christian need to be concerned about and it's one. And one is not the loneliest number for the Christian, it's the greatest number for the Christian. Strength in numbers, that is not God's way. God wanted Gideon. God wanted the people of Israel. He wants you and I to understand that he is your strength. Think back to our Ephesians study, I have taped up here at the top of this, whatever this thing's called, "We are strong in the Lord and in his strength of his might". Where's that come from? That comes from our study of Ephesians. Remember Paul said there that we are to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might, not in our own strength, not in the strength of another, not in the strength of the 32,000 not in the strength of the 22,000, not even in the strength of the 300. We're to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might and in his strength alone. Verse two of chapter seven the Lord said to Gideon, "The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand lest Israel boast over me saying 'my own hand has saved me". So God is teaching his people two valuable lessons. First of all, he is all we need. Has the COVID-19 virus shown us that? He's all we need. Second lesson is, he will not share his glory with another. When we started the series of messages, that was the point. God was out to show the people of Israel, he was out to show Gideon that he and he alone was their salvation, and that he would not share his glory with another.

What God was asking of Gideon required total obedience, total dependence upon God, and God wants us to understand, like Gideon, that the place of safety is the place of complete and total dependence upon God. If God allowed Gideon to go into battle with 32,000, that's a pretty decent number. Gideon might have been tempted to either split his trust between God and the army, or he might've been tempted to trust in the army alone, but if he had done either of those things, he wouldn't have been safe. What if in the heat of battle, Gideon relied upon the 32,000 instead of God, it would have spelled disaster. Why? Because repeatedly the text tells us that the Midianites, the Amalekites and the people of the East, they were like locusts. They were like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like sand of the seashore. In other words, they were vastly outnumbered. It wouldn't have mattered how skillful they were as warriors. If you're out-manned, three to one, four to one, five to one, twenty to one, you have no shot. Then because he was so outnumbered, he would have been slaughtered. Then God would have been would have been mocked. So what does God do? God strips away 90%, over 90% of the men, and he brings Gideon to the place where he had to trust God. That's all he had. But that was all that he needed. All he had was to trust God. God stripped away all those men so that the only thing that he could do was trust God. Now think this through. He didn't have enough men to put a dent into the enemy. He had absolutely no weapons to fight with. What else did he have left but God? Well, that was all that he needed. God wanted them to know beyond any shadow of doubt that he and not the men under his command would be responsible for the victory. So God put Gideon in a situation in which the only choice he had for survival was to trust in God. I think sometimes we read these stories and we kind of read them like they're a fairy tale or something. This was life and death. If God did not help Gideon, Gideon would have died. Do you see that Gideon's life and the lives of these 300 men, they were completely in God's hand, and that's the reality for all mankind. All our lives are in the hands of God almighty, and for the believer, for those who are in Christ, that is the safest place we could ever possibly be. Jesus said in John chapter 10, "I give them eternal life and they will never perish and no one will snatch them out of my hand". Then he goes on to say, "My father has given them to me, is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of the father's hand". Aren't those beautiful, wonderful, glorious words? Despite what's going on all around us, we have been promised by Jesus that we are safe and secure in his hands. Come hell or high water or pandemic, whatever the case may be, we are safe and secure in the hands of Christ. Death and disease no longer have to be feared because nothing can remove us from the loving hands of the father who Jesus said is greater than all.

The flip side of this is to the unconverted, to those who have a knowledge of Christ, but continue to reject Christ. Do they, do you realize that your life is also in the hands of God but not to the same degree as the life of the believer is. The unconverted, the life of the unbeliever, is in God's hand, meaning meaning that he holds over you the power of life and death. Nothing, no one else can save you because as Jesus said, "The father is greater than all". The governor can't save you. Latex gloves can't save you. Your mask can't save you. Some decision you made 45 years ago, and you've never been back to church, will not save you, cannot save you. The sinner's prayer cannot save you. Your baptism cannot save you. Your church membership cannot save you. Only Jesus Christ can save you. Only Jesus Christ. And God..I think this is what is missing folks...God commands the unbeliever. If you're here this morning, if you're listening out there somewhere, God commands the unbeliever to repent. He commands you to repent, and the very fact that you will not repent is evidence of your sinfulness. God commands you to repent, and to flee, and to run as fast as you can to Christ. And we cry out, "why won't you come?" See God did not want Gideon to trust in a number. God doesn't need our numbers. King David's friend, Jonathan said to his armor bearer one time, "For nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or few". God doesn't need our numbers. God doesn't need our help. So God strips everything away and leaves Gideon with what he really needs and that is complete and total trust in God. God brings, Gideon to the place where he had to trust God because he had absolutely no other choice, and by the way, beloved, that is not the worst place to be. That's the best place to be. Principle one, God tests our faith for our good and for his glory. Excuse me. Principle number two, God encourages our faith. Excuse me. Now there's something I like to point out here. As Gideon's faith grows, so too does his assignment. Gideon, his first assignment, which was to pull down the altar of Baal, was not quite on par with the ultimate assignment, which was to what? Deliver Israel out of the hand of the Midianites. So let's do a quick review of Gideon's timeline of faith, if you will. When the angel of the Lord first appeared to Gideon, do you remember how he addressed him? "Oh, mighty man of valor". Then in 6:14 chapter 6:14 the Lord said to Gideon, "Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian". That's the ultimate assignment. That's what he was ultimately going to do. That was a big job, if you will. So let's consider Gideon's timeline of faith as a staircase. And at the top of the stairs, we have Gideon delivering Israel out from the hand of the Midianites, but he has to get to the top of the stairs, right? Where did God start him? At the bottom of the stairs. God started him at the bottom of the stairs by giving him a small, smaller assignment. But granted it wasn't the easiest assignment because he comes to Gideon and he says, Gideon, I want you to go to your father's altar to the false God Baal. And by the way, I want you to take two of his bulls and one of those bulls, after you've pulled the altar of Baal, you're going to rebuild an altar to me. You're going to slaughter your dad's bull and you're going to offer it on that altar, and then you're to cut, you're going to cut down the Asherah pole and use that as wood. Granted, that's not easy, but it's not exactly on par with going up against the Midianite army. So he needed some small steps to get there. So what's the point? If Gideon hadn't learned to trust God in the small assignment, do you think he ever would have had the faith to trust God for the larger assignment?

There's nothing wrong with starting small. Do what you can where you can. I posted a link this week in our Facebook group to an article about Spurgeon. Of course, when we think of Spurgeon, I just read another biography of his this week. When we think of Spurgeon, we think of the 26 year old preaching that 25,000 people in Exeter hall one Sunday. That consistently throughout his life, he preached to 5,000 people every Sunday at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Then we look at that and we think, "Wow, what a guy Spurgeon was". He was, he was tremendous of use to God, but you know there's, he didn't start out with thousands. As a 16 year old, he started out by passing out gospel tracts. He started out by passing out gospel tracts and what, what if he hadn't started so small? We don't know, but the point is the great Spurgeon started small. That article pointed out, many would look at that and say, "Well, that's not much", and maybe it's not much, but you know what? At least it's something. No effort on God's behalf is ever wasted. Jesus said, if you give a cup of water in my name...", right? No effort on God's behalf goes unnoticed or unrewarded by God. Reportedly, a woman once told the 19th century evangelist DL Moody, that she didn't really like the way that he did evangelism to which Moody replied, "Well, ma'am, let me ask you, how do you do it? How do you evangelize?" And she replied, "I don't". And moody said, "Well, I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it". Right. Start small. Do what you can where you can. And this can be a painful lesson for us to learn, particularly young people, young people, young adults are typically impatient. They want to go to the head of the line. You know, they work for two weeks and think they're ready to run the company. Right? I'll never forget working for my grandfather. I was fresh out of high school and the summer after my graduation I went to work for my grandfather and he, he was, he was old school before old school. I mean, he was, yeah. And so I thought I was all that, I was a high school graduate and working for my grand pappy's company. And he knocked me down as low as you could go real quick. And I'll never forget. He came and got me one day. He was always taking me on, uh, uh, dubious events I'd say. And he took me to a strawberry farm. Strawberry farm. And guess what I spent the morning doing? Picking strawberries. I thought, "I'm a high school graduate. I'm the, I'll be heir of this place someday. What do you mean pick strawberries?" And I heard him, I heard him say to the guy who owned the strawberry farm, "You know, you got to knock these guys down a little bit." I thought, "You knocked me pal". You know, what's the point? We want to start at the top, don't we? We're impatient sometimes. And people who are called to Christian ministry we're, they're no different. Too many want to start at the top. They don't want to labor in obscurity. They want, they don't want to start out behind the scenes, but that is not God's usual way. Spurgeon started by sending out tracts. There's another story of Spurgeon where a guy walked into Spurgeon's office one time on a Thursday and said, "The Holy Spirit has told me that I'm to preach for you this Sunday, Mr. Spurgeon". To which Spurgeon replied, "That's funny, the Holy Spirit hasn't shared that with me". Start by serving in the church God has placed you. I seriously doubt that God calls a man or a woman to full time Christian ministry who is not actively engaged in serving in their local church. You would have a hard time convincing me of that. And sometimes, many times say, "Well, it's a smaller church, it's not a lot of opportunity". Be creative, be creative. You can serve if you want to serve. Listen, listen, listen. You don't gain any sympathy with me, if your only service is always outside of the church with parachurch ministries and this and that, you don't gain any sympathy with me. I just got to be honest with you. Jesus died for the church. He gifted you to serve the church.  If you won't serve the church here, I would ask, "What makes you think you'll serve the church there?", wherever there is. I've just not seen it work that way. Gideon, his faith was first tested with a small assignment and again, that's a biblical principle. Jesus said that the one who's faithful in little will be faithful in much. Conversely, if you're not faithful in little, you're not going to be faithful in much. Got it all backwards. Well, once Gideon passed the initial test, God, he was ready for the next assignment. He was ready for the big assignment that landed him in the Hall of Faith, but what did God do before the big assignment? Well, God's gracious to him and he encourages him and he gives a booster shot to his faith, if you will, and God encouraged his faith in two ways. First of all, he gave God gave Gideon another promise. In verse nine of chapter seven God promised victory over the Midianites for the fourth time. Now either Gideon was thick headed and slow or God was doing something special. God was encouraging him. God kept reinforcing to him the reality that the victory was going to be won and God was going to give the Midianites into his hand. And if you go back and you read through chapter six and seven you see that Gideon constantly reminds God of his promise. Now, why does Gideon do that? Is he, is he worried that God's going to forget? No. Gideon is encouraged by the repeating of God's promise. He's resting on the promise of God's word. He's relying upon the promise of God's word. And through this repeated promise of God, Gideon is encouraged, Gideon is assured that he's not acting presumptuously. He's acting, that he's not acting arrogantly. He's doing this because of God's word. He's doing this because of God's promise. The second way that God encouraged faith was that God gave him another sign. We looked at this last week, and this time Gideon, didn't have to ask, and what was the sign? The sign was Gideon going down to the outskirts of the camp and God let him hear what one man dreamed, and he let him hear what the other man's interpretation was of that dream. Now, here's what I want you to notice. Notice the words that the man uses in his interpretation, "God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp". Now those words should sound familiar to you. You know why? Those are the exact words that have been said repeatedly to Gideon. That's exactly what God has been telling Gideon all along. And why did God let Gideon hear those exact words? Simply to encourage him. See, the enemy knew what God knew, they were going to be defeated. Now Gideon knows what the enemy knows, and what God knew, which was he was going to be victorious. Remember, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So God was aware of the magnitude of the task that he set before Gideon. He knows Gideon is fearful and God is sympathetic to him, and he encourages him. So the first principle is, God test our faith. Second principle, God encourages our faith.

Principle number three, God honors our faith. Hebrews chapter eleven verse six says, "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him". Beloved faith is more than trusting God. True faith in God acts. True faith in God means seeking him and having a desire to please him. And what do we see in the life of Gideon all along the way? Getting has a desire to please God by obeying God. And how did God reward Gideon for his faith? How did God reward Gideon for his obedience? Well, he honored his faith. Say, how does he honor his faith? Well, he gives Gideon the wisdom that he needs to prepare the army for battle. And let's just pause for a moment here and see how getting has grown. See how Gideon has changed. He is a new man, when he returned from the Midianite camp. I wonder if the 300 men around him were saying, "Who is this guy?" What's happened to Gideon? He's gone from fearful to faithful. He's gone from fearful to fearless when he gets back to camp. Notice what he says to the 300 he says, Hey guys, gather around. He says, Hey, let's get going lads, for the Lord has given the Midianites into your hand. He doesn't seem to be doubting anymore, does he? He's confident in God. He's bold in God. He has faith that God will save Israel by his hand. Notice the growth in Gideon. When the angel of the Lord first appeared to Gideon, what do we find Gideon doing? He's hiding. He's down in a wine press, threshing his wheat. And then the angel of the Lord addresses him as oh mighty man of Valor. And Gideon is like, if that's true, why is this happening? Where is God? Where are all his wonderful works? But now when he returns to camp, he immediately draws up his battle plan, and to say the least, it's an unconventional plan. I don't think you'd find it in any book of military strategy. Now listen, here's what you do. You send 90% of the army home, you give the other 300 you give them a ram's horn to blow in. You give them an empty pot and you give them a torch. Good luck. No, no. What is his plan? It's unconventional, but that's okay because he knows that God has promised him victory. Listen, whatever plan Gideon came up with, he was going to win. And what could be more stranger than this? Blow your horn, break your vase and shout. Hold your torch up. What's he doing? He divides his men into three groups. They each have their trumpet. They have the empty jar. They have a torch and a voice. Notice what he says in verse 17 and he, that's Gideon said to them, "Look at me." Whew. Look at me? Dude, you were just hiding in a wine press not long ago. "Look at me and do likewise when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do". And I just have to, and I don't mean this to be irreverent in any way, shape or form, but I just wonder, did God smile when he heard that? Did God smile like a proud parent? Gideon started with weak faith. He started with, he began with small faith, he began with questioning faith. Now he's saying, "Look at me and do likewise". "When I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do". He's saying, "follow my lead boys, we are the champions". And did God indeed win the battle? Absolutely he did. Let's read verses 19 through 22 again. "So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him come to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch," In other words, it's the changing of the guard to catch them at a vulnerable time, "when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets, and smashed the jars that were in their hands, then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held in their left hands the torches and in the right hands the trumpets to blow and they cried out," Now notice this is different. I hope you see this, "A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!". You see, words added there? Sword, the sword for the Lord and for Gideon. "Every man stood in his place around the camp, and all the army ran. They cried out and fled. When they blew the 300 trumpets, the Lord set every man's sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath." Again, go back to verse 21 notice what it says. "Every man stood in his place". That's the men of Israel, the men of Gideon. They stood in their place. They're outnumbered three or four to one. We've got them right where we want them. They stand in their place. There's no fear. There's no deserters. There's just faith. God said it. They acted upon it. They stood in their place around the camp. They did what Gideon told them to do. They followed his lead. They followed his example and God took care of all the rest. Gideon's faith, Gideon's trust in God was so complete. He never made a part of his plan in which they were to physically attack the Midianites. Do as I do. Blow your horn, break your pot, hold up your torch, shout and stand. Stand.

Do you see how your faith, your obedience will encourage others? Do you see how your obedience and your faith will motivate others? We should never underestimate the importance of our actions and the influence they have on others, nor should we underestimate our inactivity and the influence that has on others. Now I've said a couple of times in the past few weeks that Gideon and the men didn't have any weapons. Well, that's not strictly true. Notice what the men said, "A sword for the Lord". They did have a weapon. You know what it was? Their obedience. God used their obedience as a sword and God used their obedience as a mighty weapon. God used their obedience as a means of victory and an instrument for his glory. Do not underestimate the power of obedience. How was this great victory won? They obeyed God from start to finish. And I hope I've sufficiently motivated you, inspired you, to even just begin to think about asking yourself, "How could I be included in God's Hall of Faith?" Just be obedient. Just be obedient. See, small beginnings can lead to historic endings. All historic endings begin with a small act of faith. Start small. Do what you can where you can. Just do what you can do. Just do what God asks you to do and leave the results up to him. An obedient Christian is a mighty weapon in the hands of God Almighty.

Well, let's pray. Father, I think there are probably four, four kinds of people, perhaps four kinds of people in the room or listening this morning. First, there would be those who have no faith. My prayer for them is that you would give them faith to believe in Christ. Second, Father, there are those whose faith is weak. I pray that you would strengthen their faith. Father, there are those whose faith is faltering. I pray that you would encourage them in their faith. And there are those who are living obediently by faith, I thank you for honoring their faith. Father, I have come to greatly admire Gideon over the past three or four weeks. I can relate to Gideon. Fearful, yet, trusting. Fearful, yet believing. Fearful, but taking action. Fearful but obedient. Lord, bring us all to the place of obedience. Lord, what could you do with us as a church if we would understand that our obedience is a mighty weapon in the hands of an almighty God? Father. I think in terms of evangelism with our Tell the Truth, just be obedient. Let you do the rest. That's all you call us to do, Father, you don't call us to save anyone. We can't. We can't even convince anyone. We can't argue anyone into the kingdom. There's not enough apologetic arguments in the world to get them into the kingdom. Only the Holy spirit brings them into the kingdom. Charles Spurgeon would say as he mounted the steps to the pulpit each week, "I believe in the Holy ghost. I believe in the Holy ghost." Each step he went, he said, "I believe in the Holy ghost." May we as believers say those same words repeatedly throughout the day. "I believe in the Holy ghost" and trust you, rely upon you. We ask these things in our Lord and savior, his precious name. Amen.