God has an encouraging word for you and me today through the Bible-based teaching of Dr. Don Wilson about A Handful in God's Hands. It's a wonderfully unique message called Only a Handful in God's Hands. As we study the word together, know that we're connecting with you right now on our website at www.tewonline.org and 866-899-WORD.
Let's connect! The Encouraging Word Now today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. Friends, we've got something very, very important to deal with today. I'm going to ask you to open your Bibles to Judges, chapter 7. We're going to be in the Old Testament. We're going to be in the book of Judges and chapter 7. I have a little fear and trepidation in my heart this morning because I believe that God is going to call out quite a number of you. And in just a moment, I'm going to ask you to declare yourself in the presence of the Lord. In just a moment, I'm going to ask you to make a commitment before God.
And for some of you, this is going to be a life-changing moment. In the book of Judges, we find a group of people called the Israelites. And this nation of people found themselves gathered in a place in modern-day Israel, which has become known as the spring of Herod. We also call it Gideon Springs.
I have been there many times. If you were to understand the layout of the land around Gideon Springs, you will understand that there are a number of hills and there are valleys. It's right on the Valley of Armageddon, the Valley of Jezreel. It's an ideal place for armies to camp out, and we know that the final battle of Armageddon is going to be fought right in this area. The Bible says that blood will flow. The blood will flow for 180 square miles.
It will be as high as the mouths of horses. Such will be the nature of the blood that will be shed at the Battle of Armageddon. But back in the time of Gideon, the Israelites as a nation gathered together in this particular area. But they had a serious problem because they were surrounded by the enemy. In fact, they were completely outnumbered. If you were to put the nation of Israel against the enemy, the Midianites that surrounded them, it was no contest.
And God did something that only God can do. It reminds me of America, this great nation in which we live, this beloved country that we love so well. We are facing an unprecedented challenge today, and the enemy has us surrounded. And spiritually, our nation is on a collision course with hell. We are that close to becoming a true pagan nation.
If you analyze what is going on in the fabric of our democratic republic, Satan is having his way with our people and with this nation. Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord. I'm a Christian man. I live this life like all people, but I love this country with a passion.
I have four grandsons. I want my grandsons, my granddaughters, my children and my children's children to live in a country, not just simply a country that is free. But I want them to live in a nation where they can worship the Lord Jesus Christ in the beauty of His holiness.
And if all indicators are true 30 and 40 and 50 years from now, on our current track, even the very legislation that provides the freedom in which we live is going to provide the constraints and restraints against the very truths which we hold sacred and dear. And in the center of all of this is the message of the cross. Israel was surrounded by the enemy and God did something.
I want to read you the story and I want you to know today, my beloved friends, that I believe with all of my heart that you and I have a fundamental part to play in setting people free, passing on to them the wonderful good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God uses people and I want to speak to you today about only a handful in God's hands. In Judges chapter seven, we read this early in the morning, Gideon and his men camped at the spring of Herod, the camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Morah. Now the Lord said to Gideon, you have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands in order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her. Announce now to the people that anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead, so 22,000 men left while only 10,000 remained. But the Lord said to Gideon, there are still too many men, so take them down to the water and I will sift them for you there.
If I say this one shall go with you, he shall go, but if I say this one shall not go with you, he shall not go. So Gideon took the men down to the water, there the Lord told him, separate those who lapped the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink. The Lord said to Gideon, 300 men lapped with their hands to their mouths, all the rest got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon, with only 300 men that lapped, I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place, so Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents, but kept the 300 who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley.
Let's pick up at verse 15, when Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel, called out, get up, the Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands. Dividing the 300 men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them with torches inside. Watch me, he told them, follow my lead.
When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly what I do. When I and all who are with me blow out trumpets, then from all around the camp, blow yours and shout for the Lord and for Gideon. And so Gideon and the 100 men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars, grasping the torches in their left hands and holding their right hands. The trumpets were, they were to blow, they shouted, a sword for the Lord and for Gideon.
And while each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. God gave them a great, great victory. Last week, I preached a message entitled Two Ways to Witness, and I suggested to each one of you that there are two ways in which you and I can make a difference in our world right where we are. Two ways in which we can share the love of Christ. Number one, that we tell someone about Jesus ourselves. And if that is problematic, number two, that we invite people to come to church and we will tell them about the Lord Jesus. Well, yep, it's as simple as two. Is there anyone here today who would be willing to tell someone about Jesus?
And if not, is there anyone who would be willing to invite someone who doesn't know Jesus to come to church with you? And I'll tell them, this is an amazing story. I want to show you what happened with Gideon. And I want to be just as simple and as direct as I can possibly be. I can't tell you, my dear friends, how God has spoken to my heart.
If you will allow me to digress for just a minute. In our church, God spoke to us several years ago and gave to us a four-point strategy. Worship, prepare, serve, engage.
Four things that we believe every person who knows Jesus should do. Worship, you need to be in worship at least once a week. Prepare, you need to be in a life group. If you want to grow as a believer and become strong, be fortified for the journey, you must prepare.
You need to get into that Sunday school life group, that weekday life group, that Bible study, that merge life group. You must do it. Number three, serve. You must serve in at least one capacity. Are you doing that? Are you doing at least just one thing for others?
Just one thing. Are you serving as a deacon? Are you singing in the choir? Are you working in the preschool? Are you teaching a Sunday school class? Are you an usher? Are you part of the welcoming committee? Are you driving that bus? Are you a team leader? Are you doing one thing to serve?
Just one. And the fourth strategy is to engage. That is to go out and to actively connect with the world in which we live. You and I have got something to say. We've got someone who is in our hearts. And to all of us today, right there worshiping right now in the hangar at Genesis.
Those of us here in the sanctuary, those of us worshiping by way of television, you've got something. I've got something to say. I'm a Christian man. I go through life like everybody else. I suffer pain.
I worry. I get tired. I love ball games. I love to be around.
I drive a motor car. I've got a family. I love to live. I am experiencing life, but I have someone living in my heart and his name is Jesus. And I want you to know that the Lord Jesus Christ loves you and he will forgive you for your sin. And when he comes into your heart, he'll change you forever and he'll make you a new person and he'll write your name in his book in heaven.
I want you to know that. And if you don't know Jesus, you've got nothing. You'll come to the end of your life and all they will do is tell everybody about all the things that you have done. But you will not have left behind the things that really count in life.
And you cannot go to heaven outside of Jesus Christ. Forgive the interruption. We'll be back with more of Dr. Don Wilton's great teaching in just a moment. But if you've missed part of today's broadcast or maybe even some of the things we aren't able to share, you'll find them on our website with the resources of www.tewonline.org.
You can listen or watch on demand anytime. That's www.tewonline.org. Now let's dive back into today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. What do you suppose God could do with us if only a handful of us would place our lives in the hands of the Lord? What happened to Gideon?
I think this is what happened. I want to just share with you very quickly today five things that happened in the life of this nation of Israel and Gideon. Number one, they all faced a huge challenge. Now folks, I want you to just think about this.
So much I want to say to you today. Here's the children of Israel. Remember when they were back in bondage in Egypt? God delivered them, parted the sea, provided for them, wandered around, brought them under Moses' leadership. Remember how they conquered Jericho, marched around the city walls? This is the children of Israel and here God's people bless so much, are surrounded by the enemy.
They faced a formidable enemy. We are a blessed people. Just think about the history of this nation. We've got something worth fighting for. The time has come in America today that those of us who know and love Jesus Christ are going to be willing to stand up and be counted for the Lord Jesus Christ.
What an illustrious history we have. And yet today we are surrounded. Our enemies abroad are licking their chops.
The reason they're licking their chops is because they know that it's not going to be what happens in Afghanistan and Iraq that is going to destroy these great United States of America. We can send a million troops over there to stop them on their borders. But unless you and I rise up from within, we will never stop the enemy that is rising up from within to destroy this nation. They faced a huge enemy. I didn't read that verse, but one of the verses I didn't read was verse 12, the Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern people had settled in the valley thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.
In America today, folks, in our communities, we are being faced by a rising hurt and a pain and anger and hostility and an open hostility toward the things of God. They all faced a huge challenge, but number two, they all assembled together. Look what happened here in the life of Gideon. They all assembled together.
They came to the spring at Harod. All the army gathered together. That's worship.
I think what we are doing today is exactly what we need to do. We need to gather together in one place. You must worship.
When God's people come together, something happens in the presence of the Lord. There are people out there who say often, well, I don't need to go to church. I can encounter God out there on the golf course.
I know that. I've met him many times on the golf course, and I've also wondered where he was many times on the golf course. Oh, I don't need to go to church.
I can encounter him right sitting there at Lake Hartwell catching fish. God is everywhere. We have a beautiful nation.
We've got a beautiful country in which to live. But folks, the Bible says forsake not the assembling of yourselves together. Worship the Lord. They all assemble together. Number three, they all put their armor on. These soldiers gathered together, and they put their armor on. They came dressed.
Let's commend them. There's no suggestion here that any of these troops who gathered around the spring of Herod with Gideon were somewhat undressed, unprepared. You see, that's what Paul speaks about in Ephesians chapter six and verse 10. He says, in order to be strong in the Lord, put on the full armor of God so that you can take a stand against the devil's schemes. That's what it means to prepare folks.
That's what happens when you get into that life group. You put on the armor of God. You get dressed properly.
Iron will begin to sharpen iron. You become fortified for the journey. I want to beg you parents, get your children into Sunday school groups.
I want to beg parents of teenagers, get your teenagers into our discipleship groups. That's what it means to prepare. They all put on their armor. But number four, they all helped others to get dressed. Have you ever wondered what it took for these men to put on their armor? Now folks, back in their context, their armor was very interesting. It was heavy, cumbersome, awkward, had all kinds of straps all over the place. Just the breastplate alone was a big old chunk of metal. They had to put on that breastplate and tie it behind their back, they couldn't do it. Once they had the breastplate on, they couldn't get down to put those steel shoes on, those ankle bracelets and things that they would wear. They couldn't get behind their head with these steel helmets that they had on. The awkwardness, the size of the armor that they were wearing that they had to wear in order to be able to defy the attack of the enemy.
And so how did they do it? They all helped each other. That's serve. Please change your thinking about serving. When you serve in the name of the Lord, you're helping someone else to get dressed.
From the smallest to the biggest. One of the things I couldn't wait with my two sons was when they had little babies and they had to change that first diaper. I think, in fact, one of them called me and said, Dad, help. I said, no.
You do it. Well, who wants to change a diaper? Nobody wants to change a diaper, so why do we change a diaper? Because we know that that's our role as parents. Because we love the baby.
It's not even an issue. And spiritually speaking, God calls us to serve one another in the Lord. What a pleasure. What an honor to serve one another.
What happened to Gideon? They all faced a huge challenge. They were surrounded. They all assembled together.
They came to worship. They all put on their armor. They prepared themselves for battle.
They all helped one another to get dressed. They were willing to serve someone else so that someone else could be fortified, so that someone else could be strong, so that someone else could be protected, so that someone else could grow up and become productive. But folks, look at number five. The first four points I had, they all, they all, they all, and they all, but number five, only a handful went into battle. Bible tells us that out of the thousands of people who came to worship, to prepare, to serve, only a handful. I'm going to take you to number six.
They all reaped the victory. What a powerful day of teaching and preaching from Dr. Don Wilton in the pulpit. And now, as he steps into the studio, I pray you'd open your heart to what he wants to share next. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner, and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today, I repent of my sin, and by faith, I receive you into my heart. In Jesus' name. My friend, I welcome you today into the family of God.
This is exciting news. If you just prayed along with Dr. Wilton to give your life to Jesus Christ or rededicate your life to Jesus, we are so excited. We want to celebrate with you and put some free resources in your hands that will help you grow in your faith. If you'll give us a call right now at 866-899-9673, we'd love to pray with you and for you, but also put these resources that will help you take the next steps. We'll also connect with you on our website at www.tewonline.org. While you're there, be sure and sign up for the daily Encouraging Word email from Dr. Don. It's our goal to, on a daily basis, bring you closer to Jesus Christ by the power of God's Word, God's Encouraging Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-27 15:06:16 / 2023-05-27 15:14:58 / 9