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January 3, 2017 10:44 am
When I was 11 years old, I attended school called in the present primary skill and the timing of our growth on the east side of Scotland and in those days. My greatest passion was football soccer is the legacy greatest borders. That was my passion and my greatest joy was playing for our school team. I love putting on the other dark blue school colors the same color as Scotland's national team I we were very good team with a winning record.
However, one of my most vivid memories of playing for in the broth at primary school and is 11 years old was playing against his head primary school. It was our most humiliating and decisive defeat.
I can still feel the pain today. Our team played well with great determination with insurance reasonably well organized for 11-year-old boys. The problem the harder we played to the more goals Hayes had primary school scored the final result was devastating. 10 goals to his head primary school.
One goal to invert broth at primary school. Yes, we had the one being Scottish with enough cheerleaders. The weather is too cold for that, but we did have a handful of supporters and they stood on the sideline, trying to encourage us to 468 who do we appreciate and then there's fellow in the prosthetic Primus collected a longtime enough time for the other team to score another few goals. See all of the cheering.
All of the provider.
All of our effort didn't help one bit. Really why the position was simply too strong at that time his head primary school was by far the best school for elementary schools in the whole region of Scotland.
They were so well organized.
Some of them were going to play professionally and later life. So we tried hard. We played our little hindsight. But the opposition we face was simply to skillful to powerful, totally overwhelming in life. We've all experienced the situation. Simply we face opposition we face a situation a difficult crisis. It is so hard so confusing that it seems the defeat and humiliation are inevitable we have is what an inseparable follow-up. An obstacle in front of us would seems impossible. An unrelenting situation of formidable opposition and there seems no possible way out of the situation. No way to succeed and defeats sometimes seems inevitable that since such situations are very difficult. Very frustrating. They can be very humiliating on the athletic field but they're profoundly only more difficult, and our personal lives and our family lives in a work situation. Even in the church of Jesus Christ. How are we to handle such situations. None of us know what 2017 holes. But this I guarantee that there will be difficulties. The 2017 for some of us could be the most difficult year of our lives.
We don't know. But even if it's a relatively good year who would say would never going to have any difficulties. Any problem when the odds seem against us when nothing seems to work when were hitting a brick wall when our plans or strategies are agenda seemed totally an adequate and when our best efforts seem futile. What are we to do this morning were going to read of the people of God who face a seemingly insuperable flow there facing the fiercest and the stiffest opposition imaginable more than a learn from them so that in these seemingly impossible situations of life, whether it's personally with evidence of family with its work with the church for that. It's a nation we will learn what we are to do and that is not to look on it's in a spirit of hopelessness, certainly not with arrogant self-confidence, but to face it with integrity with humility and in God's grace and with his help victory and passages found in the Old Testament. I invite you to open your Bible to second Chronicles sits in the Old Testament. Second Chronicles 20 there are some historical books 1st and second Samuel, first and second Kings first and second Chronicles and were going to read.
First of all, the first 12 verses of second Chronicles of the segment I'm praying this was written many years ago so some of the wording might seem strange to us but I think we can follow it.
Second Chronicles 20 verse one after this the Moabites and ammonites, and with them the son of the Midianites came against Jehoshaphat. He's the king of Judah came against Jehoshaphat for battle spoiling for war. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat a great multitude. Notice that a great multitude is coming against you from Edom from beyond the sea. On the whole day in passes on to mark that is engaging and Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast road all Judah and Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord from all the cities of Judah, they came to seek the Lord and Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, and the house of the Lord before the new court and said all Lord God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven. You will over the kingdoms of the nations in your hand are powder and mite so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not of God drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendents of Abraham, your friend, and they believed in it and the built for you and it is sanctuary for your name, saying if disaster comes upon us. The sought judgment, or pestilence, and famine.
We will stand before this house and before you for your name is in this house and cry out to you in our affliction and you will hear and save and I behold the men of Ammon and Marvin Msgr. You would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy the hold they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession which you've given us to inherit or regards, would you not execute judgment on them, for we are powerless… We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you that magnificent passage of Scripture.
First of all, as we think of these situations, we must understand first of all, we must know the opposition if you played sports competitions for you know that when were young, would sometimes only by the opposition we think work was so good. Who cares what team is against us. But as we get older and wiser. We know the importance of knowing the opposition that strewn sport insanely true noir and eschewing life. We must always assess the opposition in a realistic way. Here, the people of God are overwhelmed by the opposition. Now they have a good King.
King Jehoshaphat is a very good King, and he faces as we saw in verse two. A great multitude is called a great horde in verse 12, and then in verse 15. Again, it is referred to as this great horde. This mass of people is out there, numerically speaking the people of God are outnumbered by the vast army of pagans against them and Jehoshaphat is not a rookie military leader. He's had success in the past, but he knows that the vast army. This great multitude against him are so overwhelming are so strong are so fierce that they will defeat them. But with realism is a good leader should do. He faces the overwhelming opposition as I say we will face opposition in 2017. This, I guarantee if you take a stand for Jesus Christ with others in your family or your work and in society.
When you say or as a student at UNC Charlotte. If you say I'm going to live for Jesus Christ.
During 2017. You will experience opposition.
The church of Jesus Christ will face opposition you as a couple.
As a family taking a stand as a parents of young children and saying we're going to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
This, I guarantee there will be problems. There will be opposition against you is true as we think about contemporary culture we live in a sleazy, violent and perverse culture, sinful behavior today is not only permitted this legalize not only the legalize it is applauded and from a Christian perspective, the challenge and opposition about contemporary culture seems a time overwhelming, doesn't it on some issues. As followers of Jesus were told repeatedly, or you're on the wrong side of history is not more important to be on the right side of the Bible than on the right side of history.
So-called it said of Jehoshaphat in verse 32 that he did what was writes in the sides of the Lord, not in the sight of the culture. Certainly not based on the values and opinions of the pagan nations. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord.
But when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord. There is a position we live in a society where biblical truth is criticized where we've been told there's no such thing as binding objective truth that the meaning of the Bible, even by people who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ say that the meaning of the Bible is determined by the reader is what I think the Bible is saying truth for me is the issue of you have people saying that overlies your truth. This is my truth as if each one of us in a subjective way determine what is true. What a foolish way to look at things. Followers of Jesus believe the truth is not determined by the individual truth is not based on our feelings, but rather truth is revealed by God. God is a God who is who speaks and has spoken and has revealed his truth and he is the God of truth.
He knows everything about everything. He cannot lie what God says on something, irrespective of what you think. What I feel are the culture says that is absolute truth, but so many people are on a quest today. Not for truth but for self-fulfillment for happiness.
Happiness becomes my goal. How can I feel good about myself becomes the goal you must make me feel good about myself and the challenge which is very very prevalent in comes into the church of Jesus Christ can be overwhelming at time the opposition is there.
Not only is the opposition are there. The opposition is in here because we all have what the Bible calls the flash sinful desires. We are tempted to do wrong things that bad attitudes and we are all capable of making very very bad decisions which cause havoc in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. So I just can say well the problem is out there know the problems also in here in my heart. And then we have a supernatural enemy is called the devil. Yes, we believe in the devil so the Christian's face as it were, with a threefold enemy the world the culture right there on sinful desires and Satan himself. Opposition is huge and in addition to that some of you are battling very difficult situations in your personal life or in your family or a work-related struggle that seem to be overwhelming at times.
I'm saying to you face. The opposition on the ostrich -like, and bury your head in the sands assess the opposition and then secondly do what Jehoshaphat does and that is admits you're in adequacy or that's hard for us and it's hard for us to admits that by ourselves we can handle something, but isn't this what Jehoshaphat says in verse 12, or God, will you not execute judgment on them, for we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us.
We do not know what to do.
How would you like that as a leader you like that is your general there but to go into battle and the general essay was in the great multitude again and I just know what to do you think of the book on the wrong man. This is not the kind of leaders we once Jehoshaphat was a wise leader. He was right to say that that was truthful. That takes humility isn't is not part of the problem. Sometimes in our lives in our marriages in the church, wherever it is that we don't like to admit. We can hardly admit to ourselves far less someone else far less.
I took those around her throat through to her fellow leaders are other people that we respect that we are in adequate that we cannot do this in prayer this godly king Josh of that confesses that the people of God are powerless.
He has faced.
The opposition is overwhelming and he doesn't know what to do as little boys were Moore plaintiff has had primary skill when looking to her coach to come on we were working hard here.
The coach didn't say to us, but I'm sure he's thinking I don't know what to do as another goal is put into the night is good, isn't humility. The Bible says that God is opposed to the private but gives grace to mission and to brotherly admits you're powerless you admit your own inadequacy.
Here is a man of authenticity as a man of humility that the reality is that the people of God are totally inadequate for the situation they have to acknowledge that they have no positive no strategy left to themselves. That is zero chance of victory going to be defeated. Looking at the world in 2017. We must acknowledge in adequacy of powerlessness. You know this is pastor Paladino was praying he was praying that we do not put our faith in the political process. I think sometimes as followers of Jesus.
We think that they we put the right person as president. Weather is a Republican order Democrat or an independent out of the right governor of the right mayor of the of the right superintendent of school that everything will be writes spiritual revival spiritual restoration will not come from the government and one come from a political process. Of course we do, how we need godly men and women in government and in places of leadership of the nation. We realize that, but the answer is not in politics the power and the resources are not in our cells and is your pastor at Calvary church is on the coach to look ahead to 2017 is a liquid trend in our culture, as I think of so much of the superficiality of the evangelical church. I confess it is overwhelming but I think I don't know what to do. We don't know what to do other than to do what Jehoshaphat did is to acknowledge that we are powerless, acknowledge our inability to do it ourselves.
Have you ever been there on your knees acknowledging Lord I don't know I can handle this duration maybe some mess you got yourself into.
Maybe something totally under your hands and you look at the problem and you look at it realistically. And now you're saying to the Lord. I don't know what to do with a surprise year and spiritual leaders at Calvary church.
We sometimes feel like that I sometimes like that. I don't know what to do but it is at this very point is in our inadequacy in our hopelessness of powerlessness or helplessness that God generalize that God works through those who are humble, not the private but God's strength is demonstrated not through your power, but through your weaknesses. Some euro sleep this morning.
Can you stand up and read these verses with me and send up. Please, I don't know whether it's what you drunk or it last night but we read these verses and think of them become with me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore I will rather boast about my weakness that the power of Christ may dwell in me for when I'm weak, then I am strong and again who is adequate for these things. Our sufficiency is from God some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Thank you.
Please be seated. God opposes the proud but gives grace to them overlearning to very simple things first know the opposition. Secondly, admits you're inadequacy. Yes, your personal inadequacy. Nine.
Overestimate and that's part it's absolutely essential. The Paul and his weakness God is saying, my grace is sufficient. God's power is perfected, not in the brilliance of Saul of Paul, brilliant man.
Although he was in his very weakness. What are we to do third place your trust in God we the people of Judah here humbly look to the Lord for his help.
Again, verses three and four of second Chronicles 20 as God's people are called for a time of prayer and fasting. Then Jehoshaphat was afraid because he's a wimp, but because he has assess the opposition and he said his face to seek the Lord sees determined is not just some emotional height.
He sent his face to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throat all Judah and Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord from all the cities of Judah, they came to seek the Lord. Now you're going to have their eyes on the Lord not on their enemies, and judge of others calling all of the people demand the woman the children to come together for this time of prayer verse 13. Meanwhile, all Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, their lines and the children. These little boys and little girls would never forget this. And then when the king had called them to come to prayer, enter fast because of the overwhelming situation against them and they were there is not wonderful. We sometimes think our children can't understand these things. What a godly example to children to families as leaders came and all of the men and the woman that the children to seek the face of the Lord Jehoshaphat understands that although we are power lies. God is all-powerful and he calls for prayer and the people come Alaska during 2017 visor pastor 12 for prayer. Prayer meeting hall there any food there no is a some Christian band going to be there may be a Christian comedian to cheer us up. No no no no food, no bond, nothing spectacular, just the Holy Spirit in prayer and M-series would you come these people come in the prey member Mahalia Jackson's great song made the mountains made the trees who made the rivers flow to the sea who hung the moon in the starry sky. Someone bigger than you and I when I'm weary, filled with despair who gives me courage to go on from there and who gives me faith that will never die someone bigger than you and I that's isn't it taught our great God and then we see the problem in the sense of will shrink when we realize that we have someone who is much bigger than you, and we have an awesome God we were singing how great is our God we have a huge God who can do all things, yes, the opposition may seem overwhelming. But there is no need to fear God is with us. God is for us and as we were singing of God is with us and for us who can be against us. Notice verse 15 weary that he said listen all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat thus says the Lord, to you, do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed at this great horde for the battle is not yours but God's magnificent. Don't just keep looking at the opposition.
This is not your fights. This is God's.
The battle is not yours but God's. And then verse 17 you will not need to fight in this you know, don't.
Don't be afraid. You don't even need to fight I'm going to take care of this, am your God. Stand firm hold your position and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf. All Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid that again is Don. Fear can I see you brothers and sisters as you go forward in 2017. Whatever the situation it is and I'm not minimizing the problems in your life or in our society that we face, but do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you to the bigger your God.
The smaller your problems. In fact, God's work to sites that Jehoshaphat's and his armies didn't even need to fight a toll in the pagan armies.
You can read it when you go home and second Chronicles 20 the pagan armies are totally decimated as God deals with them and God gave his people victory the battle was not theirs. God's verse 29 and the fear of God came in all the kingdoms of the countries when they had that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was clients for his God gave him rest all around do believe that we are powerless apart from God's help, I believe that Abraham Lincoln said that the presidency of the United States of America was an officer drove him to his knees by court by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. The wonderful that was true of our president president Trump that he would get done on these knees and say I have this overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go than to the Lord. But that's not just true. The presidents that's true of you and me to be wonderful and president Trump was a man who lived in the fear of the Lord would but I'm not president Trump and you're not president Trump. What about you are you on your knees before God about that situation is amazing how we talk about problems and amazing how we complain about how slow we are to get down on their knees asked for God's help member Jesus teaching in John chapter 15 the beautiful metaphor of the vine and the branches and Jesus is saying to his disciples to abide in me. I am the true vine abide in me, and then he says in verse five, for apart from me you can do nothing, absolutely nothing to believe this. Think about all of the answers. I think is about, what are we to do with this John there are three things I want you to do. Yes, it's one of your three things. First of all the ready set this and I'm repeating it study the word of God.
Look back to chapter 17 second Chronicles 17 story of Jehoshaphat again and see what he does this wise king second Chronicles 17 verse seven in the third year of his reign. He sent his officials, Ben Hale, Obadiah Zechariah and Erland Michalak to teach in the cities of Judah, and with them the Levites of gives the names and so on, and the priests. He gives that their names verse nine and they taught in Judah. Having what with them. The book of the law of the Lord with them. They went about you all the cities of Judah and taught among the people and the fear of the Lord fell upon all of the kingdoms of the land that would out on Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat here is this wise man. What does he do.
He takes the law of God and he takes his officials and he takes the Levites and he takes the priests in South America.
I want you to go throughout Judah, and to teach the law of God is what we desperately need this one thing to daily in the word of God. This is why we prepared this kind I needed not just because I'm a preacher I need it more importantly for my own walk with God every day in the word of God and I'm asking you on this first day of 2017. Will you recommit yourself or commit yourself if you've never done it to read to study and to obey the holy Scriptures you doing Hartley will you commit to do that on January 1, 2017 I stand before you as your pastor with a renewed passion to preach and teach this book, the Bible's 114 when a pastor's Twyman are elders. That's why want our Sunday school teachers to do what I want out of life group leaders to the is what I want parents to do that we would often the word of God, and teach the word of God first applying it to ourselves as the Holy Spirit convicts us and challenges with us and then communicating it to others.
Think of the impact in the city of Charlotte of man and woman in boys and girls reading and studying and communicating the word of God.
John Calvin writes the office of teaching is committed to pastors for no other purpose than that God alone that may be heard, there is a well John you you sometimes could tell more stories. That's true. You could tell more jokes. I have a lot of jokes something you don't understand because of her tumor is different, but that's too bad. I don't want to be known as a storyteller known as a jokester.
Yes, there's a place for stories is a place where humor but my calling, my passion is not to tell your story is not to tell you a joke is not to give political commentary it is to open this book and say this is God's voice needed to hear.
It's because I know and you know this as well.you that without this book, and without us keeping close to the Lord and obeying the truth of this book we will never ever deal with the opposition of 2017 to be strong. You need the word of God. Since the first response to study the word of God. Secondly, to experience the power of prayer. I'm asking you brothers and sisters beginning of this year as a church as individuals as families is and is as husbands and wives singles to refresh, commit ourselves to pray that the Lord will bless us that the Lord will guide us that the Lord will empower Calvary church that believing that God's power is unleashed through prayer that you will get down on your knees and the presence of the Lord and cry out to the Lord for his blessing for his help that this is what we will do. Yes, we can talk about it. We can discuss things we can prove the resources of the place for all of that but much more important that you would experience the proto-. How often have I heard during 2016 from many of you as you've gone through unbelievably difficult situations and when I've spoken to you have said to me pastor. I have experienced the power and the presence of God. I know that people are praying for me. I've experienced that you've experienced when you know something supernatural is helping God gives you a piece that God takes an unbelievably difficult situation and reveals his will to you and then you say yes. This is not what I must do this is know I have from God, the strength to deal with the situation the wisdom and it all comes through prayer, Jehoshaphat, the wise man sends his officials throughout Judah to teach the word of God and calls the people to prayer. Others 1/3 response and it is to be filled with the spirit of God. When Jehoshaphat cries out to the Lord that he doesn't know what to do.
The spirit of the Lord comes upon a man mistreated second Chronicles 20 verse 14 and the spirit of the Lord came upon to his Io, the son of Zechariah, son of Minaya, son of JL son of my denied a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly and then he said he gives his prophecy. Thus says the Lord. In a moment of humility in the moment when they're on their knees. The spirit of God comes upon them, and his will and his word is made known. He declares the word of God is filled with the spirit of God.
What does it mean to be filled with the spirit of God. It is to be controlled by the spirit of God. Ephesians 518.
Don't get drunk with wine, for that in his success, but be fair, though with the spirit to be controlled by the spirit living throughout 2017, in the presence and power of God is not wonderful, isn't you need wisdom you need strength to lead the congregation sometimes lack wisdom and strength let you to the spirit of God as we organize things at Calvary during 2017. Let's make sure it is spirit led by just the way we've done things, not just following the culture, not just was convenient but open to the spirit of God as we are praying as we reading the word of God the spirit of God will guide us and help us that we are consciously looking to God to lead us to guide us to help us unless the Lord builds this house we labor in vain, crying out to the Lord. Depending totally and continuously on the spirit of the living, all powerful God. Three responses the word of God part of God in the spirit of God is Jehoshaphat.
We don't know what to do with arise.
But on the Lord.
This is our dependency upon the power of God. The word of God on the spirit of God and God our great God the Creator of the heavens and the art the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and our God and our father will give us the victory. I believe that there is no question opposition during 2017 will be difficult. Some of you right now are battling profound personal struggles. Some of your students at school, middle school, high school, college, university, in the workplace find it very very difficult not to be just like everyone else around you, you find it very very difficult to take a stand for Jesus Christ. I understand that it is difficult, it is not easy and is becoming more and more difficult. What is going to give you that strength and that difference rather than being swallowed up by everyone else around you exactly what I'm saying to assess the problem. I can do this on my own like I can go on as God for his help in the fresh place your trust in God.
Some of you have not yet open your hearts to Christ as Lord Jesus who came and died for you on the cross and rose again all of the power of God is available to you as you cry out to Christ to come in to save you, and to transform you and with his power.
In spite of the opposition we will not put will not grow weary will not give up, but we will keep going. My son just over four Christmas gave me the book God and Churchill knows I'm interested in church. Also, this new book, as I called God, and Churchill and I reread the famous quote by Churchill. This never given, never given, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never given except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force.
Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy was good for World War II as good as we face 2017. Can I say to brothers and sisters.
Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy with God's grace and with his help we will have the victory. Few weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking the funeral of Cliff Burroughs and remembered the time when myself and a couple of the elders interviewed Cliff and then borrows for membership in this Cliff was leaving my office upstairs. He quoted from first Chronicles we been looking at second Chronicles 1st Chronicles 2820 and the that it is and Cliff quoted it to us. Then David said to Solomon his son. Can you read it with me. Then David said to Solomon his son, be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God is with you.
He will not leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished, the magnificent, the Lord was going to be with Solomon until the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. Not to be dismayed, need to be courageous and God will not leave us in 2017. He has given us work to do.
He says go and make disciples of all of the nations, and then he says no I am with you always, even to the end of the age until your work is done on earth until my work is done on earth. God will not leave me.
God will not leave you, therefore there's no need to be afraid, but to take our strength and courage in the Lord to be strong and courageous. This is what our society wants be strong, be courageous, strong, not ourselves. Not in the numbers not in the resources strong in the Lord. Word of God power of God in the spirit of God were going or when is good to stand in the manner than and that sing one of my favorite hymns and the first stanza says this we arrest on the shield and our defender. We go not forth alone against the full strong and I strength safe in not keeping tender we arrest on the and in thy name we go that's isn't it strong in the strength of God. These are shield and our defender. There's nothing I need to fear God is with me. God will help me and God will help you and that problem and that opposition, and that heartache and that struggle you have with the flash and the difficulties against you, that threatens some time to swallow you up, God will give you the victory as you say, I don't know what to do. But my eyes are on you father thank you for your with us. Thank you for your kindness to us because sometimes we during 2016 have gone alone without with known better.
We been hasty with made foolish decisions forgive his father, we as a people we consecrate ourselves to you to your word to prayer to the filling of the spirit may father your blessing be on my brothers and sisters here.
Some of them have real heartache. Some of the modern real struggles of your peace for your love into their hearts and to their families into their homes into their lives that they will stand strong in the grace of the Lord Jesus that he will not fear, but be strong and courageous and we thank you that you were with us and if you are with us who can be against us. Bless us strength in this we ask in Christ name