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Fighting the Good Fight

Power Point / Jack Graham
The Truth Network Radio
January 5, 2022 7:00 am

Fighting the Good Fight

Power Point / Jack Graham

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January 5, 2022 7:00 am

Throughout Scripture we see God using unlikely people, flawed people, people who failed, people just like us. In today’s PowerPoint message, Pastor Jack Graham makes clear what distinguished these great champions of our faith and assures us that we, too, will find strength for the battles we face when we call on the name of the Lord.

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Welcome to this edition of PowerPoint with Jack Graham. A little later in the program we'll tell you how you can get a copy of Dr. Graham's devotional, Moments in the Word. But first here's the message, Fighting the Good Fighter. Judges chapter 6 and 7. Let's begin reading at verse 11 and we're going to read verses 11 through 15. Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terement, that is a tree, at Orphra, which belonged to Joaz the Abizrite. While the son, or his son, Gideon, was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor. And Gideon said to him, Please sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?

And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian. And the Lord turned to him and said, Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian.

Do not I send you? And he said to him, Please Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.

Our story begins with this man Gideon beating out wheat in the floor of a winepress in the middle of Israel. These were terrible days in the lives of God's people. The Midianites were oppressing Israel. The Midianites were a cruel and torturous people.

They would raid the country and rob them of their crops and of their food and their provision. And this dark time was a result of the people rejecting God and rebelling against God. As a matter of fact as you read the book of Judges it is a sad story, one sad story after another in most cases because there is a cycle of defeat that is repeated again and again and again. God's people rebel, break God's commandments and begin living in idolatry and as a result of their rebellion came retribution and God would send judgment upon His people typically in the hands of oppressors who would come and control the land and the nation. And as a result the people would cry out to God and God who is always there in mercy and love and grace when His people sincerely cry out to Him would respond to their repentance and then there would be restoration and then rest would be given to the land. And you would think that once this happened a time or two that the people would learn the lesson but it just happened again and again and again.

And this is one of those down periods. This is one of those cycles when because of idolatry, because of rebellion against God, because of sin in the lives of the people they are now living under oppression and depression. They are hiding in caves and this is why Gideon rather than working in the open which you would typically do if you were beating wheat and separating the wheat from the shaft, he's down at the bottom of a wine press hiding from these Midianites. Living in fear and living in failure and living without faith. But the people according to verse 6 of this same chapter cried out to the Lord and the Lord responded. So God calls a champion. God chooses an unlikely hero, a reluctant warrior, this man whose name is Gideon. And he is called to fight the good fight of faith. But before that happens in his life, before that happens in your life and my life if we are going to fight this good fight of faith and win these battles in our lives, whatever your battle may be, it begins number one by renewing our faith. Renew your faith. This man is without faith. He's living in fear and frustration.

Hope is gone. He wonders if God even can do what He used to do. He said if God loves us, if God really cares about us, why doesn't He deliver us? God says, okay, I will deliver you and you are my man, Gideon. God sent a word to Gideon. He gave him a word because this angel of the Lord, a mysterious visitor shows up while he is down there beating wheat.

And the angel of the Lord said, Hail, O mighty man of valor. He's thinking he couldn't be with me. I was born into the wrong family. I am of the tribe of Manasseh which is the weakest, most suspect tribe in all of Israel and besides that in the tribe of Manasseh my family is the weakest of the weak.

We are not a good family. There were idols in the back yard of his father and not only that but of all my siblings I am the, I am the runt of the litter. I am the last, I am the least, I am the most unlikely person you could ever choose. And yet God chose him.

God said, I am with you. He is as low as you can go. You know the enemy always wants to keep you down. Plant those fears in your mind. You're not good enough. You're not smart enough. You're not strong enough to overcome this. You are a worthless loser. It's never going to get any better in your life.

You don't matter. Your life is never going to change and over and over it goes and therefore so many have given up. But God is calling you to something so much better. And the Lord is with you. And what the Lord is saying to you this day is you are an overcomer in Christ.

We have been given victory in Christ. Don't let the devil tell you this is as good as it gets. That your marriage is never going to get better. That your kids are never going to wake up to spiritual reality.

That your health is never going to improve. Don't believe those lies because the Lord our God is still a God of might and miracles. God can and chooses to do the impossible and God who is able will use you if you will be available to Him.

No problem for God anything you are facing. Now the angel of the Lord is in fact the Lord Himself. This is what we know as a theophany which is an appearance of God in the Old Testament. God from time to time in various places typically when He is calling someone to do something great for Him shows up on earth before Christ.

This is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Himself. And this man now is face to face with God and he begins to realize. Gideon goes on to say, how can I save Israel?

I am the least. And yet God now promises Him power. And He says, go in the power that I will give you. What is the point of this whole amazing scene in which God calls this unlikely, very unusable person to do this great deed for Him? The fact is that God chooses people not because of their sufficiency but because of their inadequacies. God chooses us not because we've got it all together. God calls us to do something not because we are the best and the greatest but He calls us even in our weakness, even in our brokenness. He speaks to us in times in which we are down and says I am going to use you not because you are strong but because I am strong. I will use you because you recognize your own inadequacies and trust in the sufficiency of God. So here's a spiritual principle.

It is not who you are but whose you are that matters. You are a child of God. You have been called of God. And not to live in defeat and despair but to live in victory. And what is the victory? Faith is the victory.

To believe and trust in God. The Apostle Paul spoke in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and said, not many mighty are called, not many noble, but God has chosen the weak things of this world to confound the strong. God has chosen the base things of this world, the ignoble things of this world to confound the wise. What I want you to hear in this message today most of all is that God uses us when we recognize the spiritual principle that without Him we can do nothing. We are weak and without strength but our sufficiency in the battles of life, whether we're contending for the faith and proclaiming the Gospel or whether we're struggling with personal issues in our life, our strength is not in ourselves but our strength is in the Lord. I love what verse 34 of chapter 6 says. Look at verse 34 of chapter 6. Then Gideon said to God, pardon me verse 34, but the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon and he sound to the trumpet and the Abi's rights were called out to follow him. Now look at that little phrase, the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon.

In other words, God is now in the man and Gideon is wearing, allowing the Lord to wear him like a suit. It's this great spiritual principle that when we fight the good fight and face the conflict each day in life that His strength is our strength. That the Christian life and living life victoriously is not a matter of what we do, it is what He does in us.

Again, not who we are but whose we are. His strength becomes our strength and His sufficiency becomes our sufficiency and we are strong in Him and in the power of His might. The greatest spiritual lesson that I have learned since I became a follower of Jesus Christ is this truth. We are saved by His life. Therefore, we can live the Christian life if we will restore our faith and trust in the God who is living in us.

You're listening to PowerPoint with Jack Graham and the message Fighting the Good Fight. When you set aside daily time to connect with God, He'll give you the ability to live a godly life and fulfill His plans for you in the coming year. And we'd like to help you walk even more closely with the Lord in the year ahead by sending you Pastor Graham's 180-day devotional, Moments in the Word. It's our way to thank you for your gift today to help proclaim the gospel to more people around the world through PowerPoint. So call now to get your copy of Moments in the Word when you give. Call 1-800-795-4627. That's 1-800-795-4627. You can also text the word PowerPoint to 313131.

Text PowerPoint to 313131. And don't forget to visit where you can shop our e-store, give a gift online or sign up for Dr. Graham's free daily e-mail devotional. Our website again is Now let's get back to today's message, Fighting the Good Fight. If you want to fight the good fight of faith, restore your faith in the God who says who you are in Him.

And then secondly, remove your fears. We move to chapter 7 and Gideon has organized an army of volunteers to go fight these Midianites. Verse 1 of chapter 7, look at it.

Then Jerab-baal, I love that, he's given a nickname, Jerab-baal and that nickname means contender with Baal. And all the people who were with him rose early and camped beside the spring of Herod and the camp of Midian was north of them by the hill of Moriah in the valley. But in verse 2, the Lord said to Gideon, the people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands lest Israel boast over me saying my own hand has saved me. Now therefore proclaim to the ears of the people saying whoever is fearful and trembling let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead. So Gideon has gathered this army. He's got 32,000 volunteers and God says before you go to battle, I want you to tell any of the volunteers and any of these recruits if they are afraid to go home.

22,000 of his men go home. Two-thirds of his army leaves because you know fear is contagious and you cannot win battles in life if you are afraid. Where there is fear, faith is diminished. If you have faith in God and trust in God there is no reason in life to be afraid. Now let me hasten to say that bravery is not necessarily the total absence of fear. I'll tell you what bravery is. You want to know what courage is? Courage is controlling your fears or asking God to control them. Courage is overcoming your fears. There's not a brave man or woman alive who doesn't face difficult circumstances, who is not tempted to be afraid. But brave people, courageous people are overcomers. They deal with that and particularly they deal with their faith in God against all the fears of the enemy.

Satan specializes in promoting fear in our minds. And so God says tell all the fearful people to go home. But then God said, you've got too many with you still, verse 4.

The people are still too many. Take them down to the water and I will test them there for you. So another test is coming. And here's where it gets a little sticky as to exactly what is happening because what is happening is very unusual and is somewhat mysterious as to what kind of test God is giving them.

He said, well I know what this test is about. God chose those 300 who were looking and alert and ready and disciplined and He told all those undisciplined ones, those who were laughing like dogs to go home. The problem is when you read the text that's not what it says. We're not even sure why God sent one group home and kept 300 except this, that God was privately, personally testing the hearts. God knows what is in our hearts.

And there are a series of tests in life when we are being tested when we don't even know it. So it's not a matter here. I don't think we can make the point that well here are the lappers and here are the kneelers and God took the kneelers and said to the lappers, go home.

That's not what this is about. What this is about is God is reducing this army down to a size of fit and fighting men whose hearts are loyal and faithful to Him who are tested and tried and are ready for the battle but who are so small, so weak, so insignificant that when the victory is won they will know we didn't do this, God did this. God is constantly testing us and looking at the hearts of men and women and discovering who is ready and who isn't ready for battle. So let me just say that if you want to be ready, fit for the fight and ready for battle, reset your focus. Let your heart be pure towards Him. Look to Him in the small things of life and the insignificant lives. Know that God is looking, God is testing, God is working and He knows who is His and who will serve Him faithfully.

So reset your focus. So now they're down to 300 and Gideon's thinking, how am I going to go against 135,000 Midianites with an army of 300? And so naturally Gideon is a little concerned. The army is prepared but the odds are 450 to 1.

I mean no chance. So what does God do? God told Gideon to go on a surveillance mission. God said, Gideon take your servant, Purah, and go down at night in the middle of the night to the camp of these Midianites and be prepared for what I'm going to do. And so that's what Gideon did. They snuck down there spying out the camp.

Now get this picture. Here are these two men in the middle of the night, these two Jews in the middle of the night. They're down there in the camp of these fierce Midianites and they overhear a conversation. A Midianite in his tent is saying, you're not going to believe the nightmare I just had. He said, let me tell you about this dream. There was a barley loaf, a huge barley loaf that came rolling down the hill, down into the valley into the camp of the Midianites, into our camp and that huge barley loaf struck the tent of a Midianite and that tent just collapsed.

And Terah now is in the eyes of his buddy because he says, I know what that means. That means the barley loaf represents Gideon and his army, the Jew and his army. You see a barley loaf was food for animals and it therefore represented this ragtag gnarly group of 300 men, Gideon's army. A barley loaf smashing the tent of the Midianites. And that man said, God has given our camp into the hand of Gideon.

Now think about this for a moment. God's not only working in the camp of Israel, working in the believer's lives, but He's working in the camp of the enemy. Don't think God's not in control of the enemy.

He's always in control of the enemy. And when Gideon learned this lesson, the first thing that he did, we're told, is that he worshiped, verse 15, as soon as Gideon heard the telling of this dream and its interpretation, he worshiped, worshiping in the camp of the enemy because there he remembers God's faithfulness. That's what I want you to do. Reset your focus. Remove your fears. Renew your faith. And recall, remember God's faithfulness in your life.

The victory is sure. And God is fighting behind the scenes in your behalf. God is doing some things in your life right now that you can't see but you see faith sees it and faith believes it.

If God be for us, who can be against us? Our victory is in Christ alone. And when you recount and remember the blessings of God upon your life, the faithfulness of God in your life, this is why every day when I get up the first thing I do is open the Word of God, worship God and receive from Him those promises and that provisions because life can be scary and life can be hard and the battles can be rough but when we remember God's faithfulness, when we read these stories and when we feed upon the Word of God, we are strengthened for the battle.

Remember God's faithfulness. So when you're in a fight, a fight for your family, a fight for your kids, a struggle with temptation, a battle for your faith, remember that the Lord is in charge and that He is the Commander in Chief. And so Gideon worships in the camp of his enemy.

So now God has given him a strategic strategy. In worship he finds out what he's to do and God says to Gideon, alright, tell the army this, tell your gnarly 300 this, touch me and when I blow the trumpet, you blow a trumpet and when I shout, you break a jar that I've given you and you hold up a torch that is inside that jar. You see, God gave them three weapons, not swords, not shields, not spears but He gave them trumpets, He gave them a clay pot or a jar and He gave them a torch and God said, tell them all to get in companies of 100, three groups of 100 and surround the camp and then at the right moment, blow your trumpet and He did that and everyone blew their trumpets.

And then He said, break the jar and they shattered those jars and He said, hold up those torches, hold up those lights and then shout for the sword of the Lord and of Gideon and they did that exactly as they were assigned and when they did that, God put fear into the hearts of those Midianites, they began to run and flee and the victory was won with those guys just standing there blowing a trumpet, burning a torch and breaking a jar, that's all they did. But there's a spiritual lesson in that for us. You see, God has told us to clearly blow the trumpet of faith, to sound the clarion call in our generation, in our praise and in our proclamation, we're to shout our victory. Did you know that your faith and the words of your faith releases the power of God to work in your life and through your life? We are to speak faith and not doubt, faith and not fear. We speak the word of God.

They overcame Him by the word of their testimony and the blood of the Lamb and they loved not their lives unto death. And so we are to shout the victory shout. We are to simply blow the trumpet of faith. We are to break the vase. We had this treasure in earthen vessels. That vase is a symbol of our brokenness before God and God uses us when we are broken and open to Him because that's when the light shines forth. So Christian, blow your trumpet, burn your torch, break the vase to the glory of God.

You're listening to PowerPoint with Jack Graham and the message fighting the good fight. Looking ahead to a new year can fill you with expectation, but it can also fill you with desperation. What if things get worse?

What if the world gets crazier? What if you don't have the strength to face what comes your way? It's through spending daily time in God's word that we find the strength, peace and hope we need. And we want to help you do that by sending you Pastor Graham's 180 day devotional moments in the word.

Moments in the word is our special thanks for your gift this month. So call to request your copy today. Call 1-800-795-4627. That's 1-800-795-4627. You can also text the word PowerPoint to 313131. Text PowerPoint to 313131. And don't forget to visit where you can shop our e-store, give a gift online or sign up for Dr. Graham's free daily email devotional.

Our website again is Pastor, what is your PowerPoint for today? Well, Scott, I really do love the story of Gideon. It's one of my favorite biblical stories. What a hero of faith this man was, but there was nothing about him on the outside that appeared that he was a hero and yet God used him in a powerful way. The amazing thing about Gideon was that he was anything but a champion when God first called him. So that's a real encouragement to all of us who don't feel like champions and yet we know if God calls us, He will provide everything we need to do His work in a powerful way. I've said this before, God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called.

Now that's worth repeating. God doesn't call you because you are equipped. He equips you because you are called. Now think about Gideon again for just a moment. He was probably the most likely not to succeed if you were comparing him to what the world's standards were. He was beaten down. He was hopeless.

He had lost his faith. Can you imagine God using someone in this condition? Nevertheless, God spoke to Gideon through the angel and said, The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor. As we said in the message today, Satan tries to keep us down. He does his best to convince you that your life is never going to change, that you're never going to change, that your marriage is never going to improve, that your kids are never going to come back to the Lord, that you're always going to be sick and that you're never going to conquer your fears.

And you know what? Far too many of us believe the lies that Satan is telling us. But you know what's so wonderful about our Lord, so great about our God? He doesn't see us like we see ourselves. As believers, he sees us in Christ. The Lord Jesus sees your potential, just like God saw Gideon's potential. And in addition to that, the scriptures tell us in Romans 837, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. If you are a follower of Christ, you need to stop believing the defeating lies of Satan and start believing again who you are in Christ and what he has promised and how he has provided for you, and start trusting in him to do the impossible in your life. Yes, your enemy is powerful, but God is all-powerful. Your enemy is mighty, but God is almighty.

That means there's no problem, there's no difficulty, danger, darkness, fight or struggle that you face in life that God can't handle if you will just respond to His call. And that is today's Power Point. Remember, when you give a gift to Power Point, we'll send you Dr. Graham's 180-day devotional, Moments in the Word, as our thanks. Call 1-800-795-4627. That's 1-800-795-4627. You can also text the word Power Point to 313131. Text Power Point to 313131. Join us again next time. Dr. Graham brings a message about the unfathomable, unending love God has for you. That's next time on Power Point with Jack Graham.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-25 13:12:44 / 2023-06-25 13:22:44 / 10

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