A Voluntary Soldier

28/06/2020 10:13

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Date: 22 June, 2020
Text: Deuteronomy 20:1-9
Title: Battle Ready
 
Introduction:
 
As a believer - have you ever felt like your spiritual life is a battle? You may say something like, 
"I just feel like I'm wrestling some unseen adversary."
"There is an oppression that just won't go away."
"It should have been an easy week, but it certainly has not been."
 
If you are newly saved, you may think 
- I got saved and thought this would be an easy life.
- After all - shouldn't it be easy to do what is right? 
 
Ill. REMEMBER WHEN YOU GOT SAVED YOU ENLISTED IN THE ARMY OF GOD.
- Your new identification with Christ makes you a target for the enemy.
 
IT WILL BE TOUGH.
2Ti 2:3  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
 
IT WILL BE A FIGHT.
Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but (WE ARE WRESTLING) against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
 
THE ENEMY IS SATAN.
1Pe 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
 
ill. During the world wars - many a brave young man - didn't run from the battle - they enlisted in the military to get an opportunity to engage the enemy for King and Country.
 
exp. Spiritually - there ought to be something in us that RUNS TO THE BATTLE TO FIGHT FOR OUR HEAVENLY KING AND COUNTRY.
 
ill. Isaac Watts and Ira Sankey's hymn - Am I a soldier of the cross.
1 Am I a soldier of the cross,
a foll'wer of the Lamb,
and shall I fear to own his cause,
or blush to speak his name?
 
2 Must I be carried to the skies
on flow'ry beds of ease,
while others fought to win the prize,
and sailed thro' bloody seas?
 
3 Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
to help me on to God?
 
4 Since I must fight if I would reign:
increase my courage, Lord;
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
supported by thy Word.
 
app. WE ARE ALL SOLDIERS IN THE BATTLE. 
AS A SOLDIER - Are you looking for an opportunity to engage the enemy?
- It could be engaging the enemy in evangelism.
- It could be in ministry - serving God in your local church..
- It could be full time as a preacher. "Here am I Lord send me."
 
Don't let anything stop you from engaging God's enemy! 
ARE YOU MAKING EXCUSE OR ARE YOU VOLUNTEERING TO FIGHT?
 
Prayer
 
Don't let anything stop you from engaging God's enemy!
quote: Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. - The test of your character is what it takes to stop you.
 
1  When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies....
 exp. Here is the instructions God gave to the Nation of Israel as they got ready to go into battle. Their battle was physical - our battle is spiritual.
 
I. Don't let inferiority stop you.
 def. inferiority - the condition of being lower in status or quality than another or others.
 ill. At BJU - I was appointed the spiritual leader in my room as a sophomore - even though I had a senior roommate. I had inferior status.
 ill. On our volleyball team - I was the setter - as I was vertically challenged - I had inferior height.
 note: In both cases, I could have not taken opportunity to serve my school and team because I HAD LESSER STATUS OR QUALITY.
 app. Don't refuse to fight for God just because you think you have less status or quality than someone else. 
A. They ARE greater than you.
1  When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: 
 exp. Israel WAS inferior to her enemies. This wasn't a feeling. This was a fact. She had to go into battle not FEELING like an underdog, but as the underdog.
 question: Do you feel inferior today? It would be rare for a true servant of God to feel otherwise.
1 Corinthians 1:26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
 exp. We are inferior. However, we ought not let inferiority stop us from engaging God's enemy.
 ill. Parents know what it's like to have a child who because of a feeling of inferiority refuses to do what they need to do. You know they can do it - BUT THEY BALK BECAUSE OF INFERIORITY.
ill. Did David really think he was bigger and better than Goliath?  David had ability and experience - BUT NOT FIGHTING GIANTS - experience trusting God. 
He was inferior to Goliath- but he wasn't looking at himself letting inferiority stop him.
1Sa 17:37  David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
 app. The problem with inferiority is THAT IT IS A FOCUS UPON SELF. It's not bad to realize we can't - BUT IT'S GOOD TO BELIEVE THAT GOD CAN!
B. They ARE greater than you, BUT they are NOT greater than God.
for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
 exp. This statement is given to encourage faith in the heart of God's people. 
Jehovah (the I AM) is with you.
God Almighty - which brought thee up out of Egypt is with you.
 ill. If we had a bunch of young children who wanted to play football, I could chose the most inferior of the children (sounds horible to say) and put them on my team. But, we will still win, because the best kids (in my illustration) are not greater than me. I'll carry the team.
 exp. When it comes to battling for the Lord, God carries the team.
Rom 8:31  If God be for us, who can be against us?
 ill. Israel was inferior BUT GOD WOULD BRING THEM INTO THE LAND.
Deu 7:1  When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
 app. Have you refused to engage the enemy or drawn back in unbelief because of you feel inferior? It's not just a feeling. It's a reality. But, don't let it stop you. God is with you.
 
II. Don't let proximity stop you. (See the enemy and move foward.)
2  And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, 
 exp. God knows that battle is fearful.
ill. Exodus 13: 17  And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
18  But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
ill. Our church enjoys watching, Bob Jones Unusual Films production, "Sheffey" Sheffey wanted to serve God and was willing to try to give a sermon. He runs out of the church and is tackled and dragged back inside. (He was afraid of the awesome responsability.) *He almost drew back when he came night the battle.
 ill. Documentary - 6 Day War - Avigdor Kahalani - 29 at the time - led a last ditch effort to stop the Syrian army from gaining control of the Golan Heights. He commanded his group of 6 tanks to go forward - but because of fear of battle - his men refused - his tank got to the plataeu just in time to stop the first 3 tanks of the syrian army. His tank destroyed 2 - guns jambed - rescued as his men had finally moved forward. (Modern day David and Goliah - hundreds of tanks destroyed below.)
 app. Are you hesitating to take ground for God - now that you are close to engaging the enemy?
You may want to attend Bible college - until you see the battle - academically, financially.... 
You may want to teach SS - until you face the kids, unruly, unbelieving, absent 
You may want to knock on doors - until you stand at the door or see the "enemy."
You may want to faithfully attend church - until you face family pressure, financial pressure
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
 
III. Don't let anxiety stop you. 
exp. When you get close to the battle (proximity) and you see the size of the enemy (inferiority) - you will need victory over anxiety.
 ill. When I went to Bible college - I faced anxiety. Our university started on a Thursday. By Friday evening you had been to all of your classes at least once. My last class - 1st semester of my freshman year - Spanish 101. The class was very large - she began saying some of us would need to change - She then spoke in Spanish the entire class - asking questions of each of us....
 exp. God had another battle for me to face - it was German. God helped me stay in the battle and achieve a bachelor's and master's degree.
 app. God's rally cry as we face the battle is two-fold.
A. First - fear not.
....that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,
3  And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;
 exp. You may wonder was the priest speaking to real children of Israel (13 years old and younger).
 note: Even seasoned soldiers need to be reminded to keep a cool head and not to respond in fear.
 question: You may think you don't have fear? Then why aren't you fighting for God?
Why aren't you knocking on doors?
teaching SS or leading in church? (according to how God has gifted you.)
leading in family devotions?
entering the battle for the Lord Jesus?
living a victorious Christian life?
 app. Fear is no excuse for not serving God? 
ill. Paul told Timothy - 2Ti 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE BATTLE.)
B. Second - have faith.
4  For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
 exp. They were the enemies of God and they were the enemies of Israel. 
 question: Ought Israel to have been afraid of them? NO - GOD WOULD DESTROY THEM.
 note: If you aren't succesfully engaging the enemy - is it because of unbelief?
- God can't use me as a soul winner.
- God can't use me as a Sunday School teacher.
- God can't use me as a spiritual leader in my home.
- God can't use me to be an example of victorious Christian living.
question: Are these statments offensive to ALMIGHT GOD? Yes, they all say, "God can't."
If you think God can't - you are in unbelief.
Mat 19:26  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
 app. God will go with you. But, you must go and engage the enemy. He will fight for you and save you!
 
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
 
IV. Don't let wrong priorities stop you.
 note: This part of our text reminds me of Luke 14 and a story which Jesus told.
16  Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17  And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18  And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21  So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant,....
 exp. God had a banquet for them - but they didn't care to come. God wasn't pleased.
 question: There is a battle that needs to be fought for God today! Does God understand today why you aren't responsible to fight for Him? 
Do you think it is more your pastor, or the evangelist, or the pastor's wife, or the deacon's responsibility TO FIGHT FOR GOD? Why them? Why should they be all out for God and not you?
A. Is your house so important that you can't fight for God.
5  And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.
 exp. It's not a bad thing to build a house and dedicate it. It's a good thing. The priest said, "It's ok for you to go back." They had an out.... the perfect  excuse.
 note: I wonder if any men didn't take it - because they would rather fight God's enemy than enjoy their house.
 ill. The early church sacrificed houses to finance God's battle and provide for His troops. 
Acts 4:33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35  And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
36  And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
37  Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
 app. Other generations have sacrificed things so that they could serve Jesus. Are you letting wrong priorities (things) keep you from getting into the battle.
- How many Christian young people refuse God's call - because it doesn't pay well?
- How many can't serve God because they are working so hard to accumulate things?
B. Is your work so important that you can't fight for God.
6  And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it.
 exp. It sounds like a good excuse and it is offered to him by the priest. After all, work is important. God made man to work. We are to provide for our families. 
question: But, is work more important than fighting the battle for the Lord?
ill. Friend in Ireland - Stephen McKinley - He was in business, but God called him into the ministry.
ill. D. L. Moody was called, "God's layman." He wasn't an ordained preacher. But, he was a God called preacher who helped start MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE to train layman to serve God. He gave up a high salary to take a low salary doing God's work full time.
app. Is your work keeping you from engaging God's enemy?
C. Is your family so important that you can't fight for God.
7  And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.
 exp. Marriage is important. 
- It's the building block of society. 
- We are to care for our wife 
- Certainly a newly married man should enjoy the blessings of marriage. 
question: But, is marriage more important than fighting God's battle when the battle is needing to be fought?
 ill. Pastor Bob Shelton - Dr. Bob Sr. - looking for some young men to go to Taiwan - chinese military trying to overthrow communism had fled to Taiwan - 500,000 men - opportunity to preach to these men - But, Bob Shelton and his fiance' Nan were supposed to be marriage that year.
"Of course, I will miss you, Honey, but for some reason I know that God will bring us back together next fall, and we will find that our love for one another and the Lord is even stronger than it is now - This is what the LORD meant when he told us to seek Him first. As Dr. Bob says, 'You never find happiness looking for it - you stumble over it on the road of duty' I've seen many young people who spend all their time looking for happiness - how foolish. God will give us that if we continue to put Him first. And we will by His grace."
 exp. Bob Shelton could have excused himself from the battle that God had for him to fight. 
 app. What about you - is your family more important that fighting God's battle? Is it an excuse for not serving God? Does God accept HIS BATTLE NOT BEING YOUR TOP PRIORITY?
 
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
4) not wrong priorities. (Is anything so important you can't fight for God?)
 
V. Don't let delinquency stop you.
8  And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house,...
 exp. For any or all of the reasons above, this person is fearful and faint hearted. Now, given the opportunity to depart and they start with shame back to their homes.
note: God had commanded them NOT to be afraid as they faced the enemy. They turned away from their duty because of refusal to trust God. (They were delinquent.) 
def. delinquency - neglect of one's duty.
 question: I wonder today - are you winning the battle or have you let NEGLECT OF YOUR DUTY stop you?
 note: God can carry the team on his own - but I wonder if the match is forfeited if God shows up and no one else does?
 ill. If Israel didn't fight GOD DIDN'T GO OUT BEFORE THEM AND FIGHT FOR THEM.
 question: WE HAVE A LOT OF HOLES IN OUR RANKS TODAY! MANY HAVE GONE TO THEIR HOUSES. (THERE IS GREAT DELINQUENCY.)
Luk 10:2  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
 app. He will send them BUT THEY MUST GO! Why not you? Have you neglected your duty and turned back FOR ANY REASON FROM FIGHTING FOR GOD.
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
4) not wrong priorities. (Is anything so important you can't fight for God?)
5) not delinquency. (Do not neglect your duty!)
 
VI. Don't let apostasy stop you.
....let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart.
 exp. God didn't want cowards in his battle. If they turned back, they could cause the heart of the whole army to turn back.
def. apostacy - "the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief or principle."
 exp. It is hard as we get together to fight the battle for the Lord TO HAVE MEN TURN AWAY.
 ill. Apostacy is hard - so hard Paul (a seasoned soldier) acknowledged the pain of apostacy.
2 Timothy 4:10  For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11  Only Luke is with me....
16  At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
 ill. Jesus faced it on the most difficult battle day of his earthly ministry, Mark 14:50  "And they all forsook him, and fled."
 app. Have you quit because other's quit? It will take resolve to stand when others do not. Don't let apostacy cause you to faint!
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
4) not wrong priorities. (Is anything so important you can't fight for God?)
5) not delinquency. (Do not neglect your duty!)
6.) not apostacy. (Don't faint because others have fainted.)
 
VII. Don't let self-identity (pride) stop you.
9  And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.
exp. Now that everyone has left who is going to leave, one thing remained. That was to organize the army into rank. Your self-identity is left behind or it will hinder your service.
 ill. One of the first things that happens in the military is 
- you receive the same clothing and same haircut as everyone else. 
- You are given the same lowly rank.
- You meet your commanding officer who is your authority.
 note: If you want to go into battle for the LORD,
- Expect to lose your identity in Christ.
- Expect a lowly position.
- Expect to submit to authority.
ill. David fought Goliath - as a shepherd boy. I believe he was content to fight as a lowly soldier - he didn't have to be King to do great things for God.
 - Psa 84:10  For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
 exp. Fighting as a soldier in God's army isn't about greatness. It's about humble obedience. If your self-identity is more important to you than submission - you won't last in God's army. 
 app. Maybe today you aren't serving God, because no good commissions are available. God has a lowly place for you in his army. Will you take it - or will you let self-identity (pride) stop you?
 
conclusion:
 
Have you found out that Christianity is a battle? Do you want some foes to fight for Jesus?
 
Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
4) not wrong priorities. (Is anything so important you can't fight for God?)
5) not delinquency. (Do not neglect your duty!)
6.) not apostacy. (Don't faint because others have fainted.)
7.) not self-identity. (Take whatever position God gives you.)
Date: 22 June, 2020
Text: Deuteronomy 20:1-9
Title: Battle Ready
 
Introduction:
 
As a believer - have you ever felt like your spiritual life is a battle? You may say something like, 
"I just feel like I'm wrestling some unseen adversary."
"There is an oppression that just won't go away."
"It should have been an easy week, but it certainly has not been."
 
If you are newly saved, you may think 
- I got saved and thought this would be an easy life.
- After all - shouldn't it be easy to do what is right? 
 
Ill. REMEMBER WHEN YOU GOT SAVED YOU ENLISTED IN THE ARMY OF GOD.
- Your new identification with Christ makes you a target for the enemy.
 
IT WILL BE TOUGH.
2Ti 2:3  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
 
IT WILL BE A FIGHT.
Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but (WE ARE WRESTLING) against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
 
THE ENEMY IS SATAN.
1Pe 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
 
ill. During the world wars - many a brave young man - didn't run from the battle - they enlisted in the military to get an opportunity to engage the enemy for King and Country.
 
exp. Spiritually - there ought to be something in us that RUNS TO THE BATTLE TO FIGHT FOR OUR HEAVENLY KING AND COUNTRY.
 
ill. Isaac Watts and Ira Sankey's hymn - Am I a soldier of the cross.
1 Am I a soldier of the cross,
a foll'wer of the Lamb,
and shall I fear to own his cause,
or blush to speak his name?
 
2 Must I be carried to the skies
on flow'ry beds of ease,
while others fought to win the prize,
and sailed thro' bloody seas?
 
3 Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
to help me on to God?
 
4 Since I must fight if I would reign:
increase my courage, Lord;
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
supported by thy Word.
 
app. WE ARE ALL SOLDIERS IN THE BATTLE. 
AS A SOLDIER - Are you looking for an opportunity to engage the enemy?
- It could be engaging the enemy in evangelism.
- It could be in ministry - serving God in your local church..
- It could be full time as a preacher. "Here am I Lord send me."
 
Don't let anything stop you from engaging God's enemy! 
ARE YOU MAKING EXCUSE OR ARE YOU VOLUNTEERING TO FIGHT?
 
Prayer
 
Don't let anything stop you from engaging God's enemy!
quote: Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. - The test of your character is what it takes to stop you.
 
1  When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies....
 exp. Here is the instructions God gave to the Nation of Israel as they got ready to go into battle. Their battle was physical - our battle is spiritual.
 
I. Don't let inferiority stop you.
 def. inferiority - the condition of being lower in status or quality than another or others.
 ill. At BJU - I was appointed the spiritual leader in my room as a sophomore - even though I had a senior roommate. I had inferior status.
 ill. On our volleyball team - I was the setter - as I was vertically challenged - I had inferior height.
 note: In both cases, I could have not taken opportunity to serve my school and team because I HAD LESSER STATUS OR QUALITY.
 app. Don't refuse to fight for God just because you think you have less status or quality than someone else. 
A. They ARE greater than you.
1  When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: 
 exp. Israel WAS inferior to her enemies. This wasn't a feeling. This was a fact. She had to go into battle not FEELING like an underdog, but as the underdog.
 question: Do you feel inferior today? It would be rare for a true servant of God to feel otherwise.
1 Corinthians 1:26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
 exp. We are inferior. However, we ought not let inferiority stop us from engaging God's enemy.
 ill. Parents know what it's like to have a child who because of a feeling of inferiority refuses to do what they need to do. You know they can do it - BUT THEY BALK BECAUSE OF INFERIORITY.
ill. Did David really think he was bigger and better than Goliath?  David had ability and experience - BUT NOT FIGHTING GIANTS - experience trusting God. 
He was inferior to Goliath- but he wasn't looking at himself letting inferiority stop him.
1Sa 17:37  David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
 app. The problem with inferiority is THAT IT IS A FOCUS UPON SELF. It's not bad to realize we can't - BUT IT'S GOOD TO BELIEVE THAT GOD CAN!
B. They ARE greater than you, BUT they are NOT greater than God.
for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
 exp. This statement is given to encourage faith in the heart of God's people. 
Jehovah (the I AM) is with you.
God Almighty - which brought thee up out of Egypt is with you.
 ill. If we had a bunch of young children who wanted to play football, I could chose the most inferior of the children (sounds horible to say) and put them on my team. But, we will still win, because the best kids (in my illustration) are not greater than me. I'll carry the team.
 exp. When it comes to battling for the Lord, God carries the team.
Rom 8:31  If God be for us, who can be against us?
 ill. Israel was inferior BUT GOD WOULD BRING THEM INTO THE LAND.
Deu 7:1  When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
 app. Have you refused to engage the enemy or drawn back in unbelief because of you feel inferior? It's not just a feeling. It's a reality. But, don't let it stop you. God is with you.
 
II. Don't let proximity stop you. (See the enemy and move foward.)
2  And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, 
 exp. God knows that battle is fearful.
ill. Exodus 13: 17  And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
18  But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
ill. Our church enjoys watching, Bob Jones Unusual Films production, "Sheffey" Sheffey wanted to serve God and was willing to try to give a sermon. He runs out of the church and is tackled and dragged back inside. (He was afraid of the awesome responsability.) *He almost drew back when he came night the battle.
 ill. Documentary - 6 Day War - Avigdor Kahalani - 29 at the time - led a last ditch effort to stop the Syrian army from gaining control of the Golan Heights. He commanded his group of 6 tanks to go forward - but because of fear of battle - his men refused - his tank got to the plataeu just in time to stop the first 3 tanks of the syrian army. His tank destroyed 2 - guns jambed - rescued as his men had finally moved forward. (Modern day David and Goliah - hundreds of tanks destroyed below.)
 app. Are you hesitating to take ground for God - now that you are close to engaging the enemy?
You may want to attend Bible college - until you see the battle - academically, financially.... 
You may want to teach SS - until you face the kids, unruly, unbelieving, absent 
You may want to knock on doors - until you stand at the door or see the "enemy."
You may want to faithfully attend church - until you face family pressure, financial pressure
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
 
III. Don't let anxiety stop you. 
exp. When you get close to the battle (proximity) and you see the size of the enemy (inferiority) - you will need victory over anxiety.
 ill. When I went to Bible college - I faced anxiety. Our university started on a Thursday. By Friday evening you had been to all of your classes at least once. My last class - 1st semester of my freshman year - Spanish 101. The class was very large - she began saying some of us would need to change - She then spoke in Spanish the entire class - asking questions of each of us....
 exp. God had another battle for me to face - it was German. God helped me stay in the battle and achieve a bachelor's and master's degree.
 app. God's rally cry as we face the battle is two-fold.
A. First - fear not.
....that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,
3  And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;
 exp. You may wonder was the priest speaking to real children of Israel (13 years old and younger).
 note: Even seasoned soldiers need to be reminded to keep a cool head and not to respond in fear.
 question: You may think you don't have fear? Then why aren't you fighting for God?
Why aren't you knocking on doors?
teaching SS or leading in church? (according to how God has gifted you.)
leading in family devotions?
entering the battle for the Lord Jesus?
living a victorious Christian life?
 app. Fear is no excuse for not serving God? 
ill. Paul told Timothy - 2Ti 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE BATTLE.)
B. Second - have faith.
4  For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
 exp. They were the enemies of God and they were the enemies of Israel. 
 question: Ought Israel to have been afraid of them? NO - GOD WOULD DESTROY THEM.
 note: If you aren't succesfully engaging the enemy - is it because of unbelief?
- God can't use me as a soul winner.
- God can't use me as a Sunday School teacher.
- God can't use me as a spiritual leader in my home.
- God can't use me to be an example of victorious Christian living.
question: Are these statments offensive to ALMIGHT GOD? Yes, they all say, "God can't."
If you think God can't - you are in unbelief.
Mat 19:26  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
 app. God will go with you. But, you must go and engage the enemy. He will fight for you and save you!
 
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
 
IV. Don't let wrong priorities stop you.
 note: This part of our text reminds me of Luke 14 and a story which Jesus told.
16  Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17  And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18  And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19  And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21  So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant,....
 exp. God had a banquet for them - but they didn't care to come. God wasn't pleased.
 question: There is a battle that needs to be fought for God today! Does God understand today why you aren't responsible to fight for Him? 
Do you think it is more your pastor, or the evangelist, or the pastor's wife, or the deacon's responsibility TO FIGHT FOR GOD? Why them? Why should they be all out for God and not you?
A. Is your house so important that you can't fight for God.
5  And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.
 exp. It's not a bad thing to build a house and dedicate it. It's a good thing. The priest said, "It's ok for you to go back." They had an out.... the perfect  excuse.
 note: I wonder if any men didn't take it - because they would rather fight God's enemy than enjoy their house.
 ill. The early church sacrificed houses to finance God's battle and provide for His troops. 
Acts 4:33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
34  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
35  And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
36  And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
37  Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
 app. Other generations have sacrificed things so that they could serve Jesus. Are you letting wrong priorities (things) keep you from getting into the battle.
- How many Christian young people refuse God's call - because it doesn't pay well?
- How many can't serve God because they are working so hard to accumulate things?
B. Is your work so important that you can't fight for God.
6  And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it.
 exp. It sounds like a good excuse and it is offered to him by the priest. After all, work is important. God made man to work. We are to provide for our families. 
question: But, is work more important than fighting the battle for the Lord?
ill. Friend in Ireland - Stephen McKinley - He was in business, but God called him into the ministry.
ill. D. L. Moody was called, "God's layman." He wasn't an ordained preacher. But, he was a God called preacher who helped start MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE to train layman to serve God. He gave up a high salary to take a low salary doing God's work full time.
app. Is your work keeping you from engaging God's enemy?
C. Is your family so important that you can't fight for God.
7  And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.
 exp. Marriage is important. 
- It's the building block of society. 
- We are to care for our wife 
- Certainly a newly married man should enjoy the blessings of marriage. 
question: But, is marriage more important than fighting God's battle when the battle is needing to be fought?
 ill. Pastor Bob Shelton - Dr. Bob Sr. - looking for some young men to go to Taiwan - chinese military trying to overthrow communism had fled to Taiwan - 500,000 men - opportunity to preach to these men - But, Bob Shelton and his fiance' Nan were supposed to be marriage that year.
"Of course, I will miss you, Honey, but for some reason I know that God will bring us back together next fall, and we will find that our love for one another and the Lord is even stronger than it is now - This is what the LORD meant when he told us to seek Him first. As Dr. Bob says, 'You never find happiness looking for it - you stumble over it on the road of duty' I've seen many young people who spend all their time looking for happiness - how foolish. God will give us that if we continue to put Him first. And we will by His grace."
 exp. Bob Shelton could have excused himself from the battle that God had for him to fight. 
 app. What about you - is your family more important that fighting God's battle? Is it an excuse for not serving God? Does God accept HIS BATTLE NOT BEING YOUR TOP PRIORITY?
 
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
4) not wrong priorities. (Is anything so important you can't fight for God?)
 
V. Don't let delinquency stop you.
8  And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house,...
 exp. For any or all of the reasons above, this person is fearful and faint hearted. Now, given the opportunity to depart and they start with shame back to their homes.
note: God had commanded them NOT to be afraid as they faced the enemy. They turned away from their duty because of refusal to trust God. (They were delinquent.) 
def. delinquency - neglect of one's duty.
 question: I wonder today - are you winning the battle or have you let NEGLECT OF YOUR DUTY stop you?
 note: God can carry the team on his own - but I wonder if the match is forfeited if God shows up and no one else does?
 ill. If Israel didn't fight GOD DIDN'T GO OUT BEFORE THEM AND FIGHT FOR THEM.
 question: WE HAVE A LOT OF HOLES IN OUR RANKS TODAY! MANY HAVE GONE TO THEIR HOUSES. (THERE IS GREAT DELINQUENCY.)
Luk 10:2  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
 app. He will send them BUT THEY MUST GO! Why not you? Have you neglected your duty and turned back FOR ANY REASON FROM FIGHTING FOR GOD.
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
4) not wrong priorities. (Is anything so important you can't fight for God?)
5) not delinquency. (Do not neglect your duty!)
 
VI. Don't let apostasy stop you.
....let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart.
 exp. God didn't want cowards in his battle. If they turned back, they could cause the heart of the whole army to turn back.
def. apostacy - "the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief or principle."
 exp. It is hard as we get together to fight the battle for the Lord TO HAVE MEN TURN AWAY.
 ill. Apostacy is hard - so hard Paul (a seasoned soldier) acknowledged the pain of apostacy.
2 Timothy 4:10  For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11  Only Luke is with me....
16  At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
 ill. Jesus faced it on the most difficult battle day of his earthly ministry, Mark 14:50  "And they all forsook him, and fled."
 app. Have you quit because other's quit? It will take resolve to stand when others do not. Don't let apostacy cause you to faint!
transition: Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
4) not wrong priorities. (Is anything so important you can't fight for God?)
5) not delinquency. (Do not neglect your duty!)
6.) not apostacy. (Don't faint because others have fainted.)
 
VII. Don't let self-identity (pride) stop you.
9  And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.
exp. Now that everyone has left who is going to leave, one thing remained. That was to organize the army into rank. Your self-identity is left behind or it will hinder your service.
 ill. One of the first things that happens in the military is 
- you receive the same clothing and same haircut as everyone else. 
- You are given the same lowly rank.
- You meet your commanding officer who is your authority.
 note: If you want to go into battle for the LORD,
- Expect to lose your identity in Christ.
- Expect a lowly position.
- Expect to submit to authority.
ill. David fought Goliath - as a shepherd boy. I believe he was content to fight as a lowly soldier - he didn't have to be King to do great things for God.
 - Psa 84:10  For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
 exp. Fighting as a soldier in God's army isn't about greatness. It's about humble obedience. If your self-identity is more important to you than submission - you won't last in God's army. 
 app. Maybe today you aren't serving God, because no good commissions are available. God has a lowly place for you in his army. Will you take it - or will you let self-identity (pride) stop you?
 
conclusion:
 
Have you found out that Christianity is a battle? Do you want some foes to fight for Jesus?
 
Don't let anything stop you from engaging the enemy.
1) not inferiority. (I can't do this - BUT GOD CAN.)
2) not proximity. (See the enemy and move forward.)
3) not anxiety. (Don't fear - believe!)
4) not wrong priorities. (Is anything so important you can't fight for God?)
5) not delinquency. (Do not neglect your duty!)
6.) not apostacy. (Don't faint because others have fainted.)
7.) not self-identity. (Take whatever position God gives you.)