"LOST TESTIMONY......LOST VICTORY"
(A Series on Evangelism)
C.R.10/11/87a.m. Judges 2:1-5
PROPOSITION:The Children of Israel were chosen, by God,
to be a witness to the glory and power of God in their possession of the Promised Land, but they went from Gilgal....the place of victory....to Bokim....the place of weeping because they had lost their testimony and become allied with the enemy in the land.
- I AM firmly convinced that the signs of the times point to the return of Jesus...to rapture His church away and usher in first the tribulation.....and then the millenial reign of Christ.
- I WAS listening to a tape of Dr. James Dobson this week, who is an astronomer in his spare time.
- HE says that most of the top astronomers in the world are, today, abandoning their previously held athiestic positions because of what they see in the heavens.
- NOT only are they finding an expanse of the universe that they never dreamed existed...but they are seeing signs of such density of matter, where one teaspoon of matter weighs as much as our earth, that they are coming to believe that there will come a day when the universe, as we know it, will implode. (That is the opposite of explode.)
- MANY astronomers believe, because of movements that they see right now in the universe, that a time is coming when the universe will be pulled in and planets and stars pulled down off their orbits.
- JESUS said, Himself, in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away."
- GOD, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, concerning His final judgment against the nations of the earth in 34:4, said;
"All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree."
- AND, as if it is man, and not God, who has all wisdom, astronomers have recently discovered that this great pulling down of the universe is exactly how they believe it will end.
- THEN, of course, we turn to the middle east and watch wars and rumors of wars.
- WE read of earthquakes almost weekly in the papers.....of great famine and starvation.
- OUR nation continues to allow the murder of over 1.5 million babies a year.....and when there is a Supreme Court judge who appears to be inclined to overturn that hellish Roe vs. Wade decision......all the demons from the very pit of darkness set their devious little minds to stop his nomination.
- JUST the names of the organizations set against Judge Bork's nomination tell the story;
* Homosexual Rights groups.
* National Organization for Women.
* Planned Parenthood.
* Norman Lear and "People for the American Way." Since when has the "American Way" been violence, rape, incest, adultery, crime, abortion, casual sex, broken familes and homosexuality....because that is what the TV industry is promoting every day...and in our family rooms on our TV sets.
- THE return of Christ for His bride is coming soon......just the feverish work of darkness in our day.....tells me that it cannot be much longer now before the great pulling down of the universe...when God will finally establish a new heaven and new earth where righteousness will reign forever and sin will be no more.
- I TELL you, I want to be on the right side of that show down.
- BUT, right now, we are on this side of that great finale.
- AND we have work to do.
- WHEN Jesus comes, I want Him to find me principally preoccupied with His priorities...not mine.
- HE is not coming to build gorgeous houses....or drive fancy cars....or wear designer clothes.......or watch ABC.......or hunt for wild turkeys......or help you climb the corporate ladder......or make another killing on Wall Street.....
* HE is coming to tear all that down.
- NOW, it isn't that we are not to live in and enjoy the things He has given us down here.....but when He comes I don't want Him to find me giving most of my energies to those things that He is coming to tear down.
- WHEN HE comes, I want Him to find me working on those things that will last forever.
- AND, quite frankly the only thing that qualifies in that category is souls...eternal souls. PEOPLE!
- WE have a job to do church.
- YOU think that God moved you here from Texas or Wisconsin or South Dakota or California to work at Collins......or the Gazette......or Quaker Oats.
- GOD has put you in Cedar Rapids to win souls...and we have 120,000 of them right out there this morning.
- THAT is where His energy is going.
- HE said in Matthew 16:18;
"I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it."
- WELL, if that is where He is pouring His energy and power and glory......in the building of His church.....then it is where I want Him to find me when He comes.
- ON Monday morning....in prayer at my study office....the Lord gave me a passage of scripture and a message for you this morning....that is on this same line.
- IT is found in Judges 2:1-5. READ.
- STRANGE passage to preach on winning the lost...but I believe you will see the application.
- I WANT to tell you, this morning, about the place that God pours out His victory.......Where is His energy going to be allocated in these last days?
- IF you want to be a recipient...you had better find out where the glory is going to be and get there.
- GOD showed me 5 interesting principles in these verses in Judges 2.
II.GOD'S PLACE FOR VICTORY
- FIRST I want you to see that God has a place.....a specific place where He pours out His presence, His power and His glory.
- THE setting for Judges is that the people of Israel have been brought out of wandering in the wilderness to take captive the land of Canaan.....the Promised Land.
- GOD said that He would go before them and subdue the enemy....and the land would be theirs....they could take it......HE was giving it to them to take.
- IT was where He was putting His energy and power and glory.
- AND Gilgal was the place where they first set foot on the promise.
- IT was the place they started being victorious.
- IT was their first stronghold.
- IT was the place from which their victory first flowed.
- GILGAL was the place where the entire nation got right with God....they became a covenant people again through repentance and the right of circumcision.
- IT was the place where God rolled their shame away.
- IT was the place where the passover was first celebrated....where they revelled in worship and the glory of His presence. (True worship usually follows repentance.)
- GILGAL was the place they first tasted of the fruit of the land....and it was good.
- IT was the place where Joshua was out walking one night, before the first real battle in the land, and was startled by the appearance of a man standing in his way with a drawn sword.
- WHY a man with a sword? This was the place of repentance....the place of worship....the place of feasting......why the sword?
- JOSHUA asked the man, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"
- AND the man said, "Neither, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come." (Joshua 5)
- WHY the sword and the commander of the army of the Lord?
- BECAUSE until the Commander in Chief comes to establish His kingdom forever......we cannot stay in perpetual repentance and worship and feasting......there is a battle to be fought....there are souls to be liberated from the hold and control of hell.
- AND GILGAL is the place from which to stage all the battles....and draw supplies.
- IT is the place where the glory and power of God is.....and He is there to lead us out in victory.
- BUT notice our story in Judges 2 does not take place at Gilgal......the angel of the Lord has to go up "from" Gilgal to Bokim to find the people of God to tell them what God is saying.
- WHAT is Bokim? It means the place of weeping.
- WHAT a drastic change!
- FROM Gilgal...the place of worship, of feasting, of the glory of the Lord, of preparation for battle......to Bokim, the place of weeping.
- WHY the change in locations for Israel?
- THEY had fallen from their call.
- WHAT was the call?
- IT is in Judges 2:1&2.
- IT is a call to victory.
III.GOD'S CALL TO VICTORY
- LOOK at the sequence of God's call to victory for the people of Israel...starting in verse 1...it the call to victory for every born-again believer;
"I brought you up out of Egypt....."
* I set you free from the bondage of sin and the whips of the slave driver.
"I....led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers...."
* I gave you safe passage through the wilderness.
* I provided everything you needed for the trip....water, protection, manna, guidance, direction.
"I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you......"
* Even when you have faltered and sinned, I have stayed faithful to you.
* When the enemy tried to get Me to curse you...I just blessed you instead.
* I will never turn away from you or leave you or let you down.
- NOW, watch, in this call to victory........how God shifts from His side of the equation for victory, to ours.
".....and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land..." (Verse 2)
* They were not to strike any alliance with the ungodly people of the land of Canaan. In other words, they were not to make peace with the enemy...but take their territory for their own.
* That is the call to victory for the believer. We cannot make peace with the enemy of the soul...satan....and strike an alliance with him that we won't bother him if he won't bother us.
* But God goes further in this verse;
"......you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars...."
* Israel was to tear down the opposition to God at the very place where it vaunted itself the most profanely....at their altars.
* We have been given weapons of the Spirit....and we have been told that they are "mighty to the tearing down of strongholds..."
* Not for the sensation of it...not for the thrill of battle.....but to build the church in the very doorway of hell...snatching lost souls from the fire.
- THAT is God's call to victory. It is where He is putting His energy and power....It is where I want to be this morning.
IV.MAN'S PATHWAY TO DEFEAT
- BUT Israel was not there....they were not at Gilgal...and they were not walking in the call of God's victory.
- THEY were in the place of weeping.
- IT is where many of you are this morning.
- IT is man's pathway to defeat......Bokim.
- HOW did Israeal get from Gilgal to Bokim?
" Yet you have disobeyed me......"
* You decided to follow your own wisdom and desires.
* You have joined the enemy....making peace with him to live at ease in his world.....so as not to make things too uncomofortable for you.
"Why have you done this?"
* God cannot believe that after all He had done for them...His deliverence....His provisions....His guidance....His victory....that they would make an alliance with the enemy and not drive him out of the land.
"Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you...." (Verse 3)
* God's helping hand is withdrawn from His people.
* It is not surprising, is it, when we have stopped doing what He is so passionately committed to?
* The loss of victory we have brought on ourselves...because we have stopped doing what He has commanded re: the enemy.
".....they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you...."
* The enemy will be a constant source of discomfort, pain and misery...to you.
* You thought you were making things easier for yourself....it will get tougher because you are not engaged in the battle set out for the people of God.
- GOD'S helping hand is withdrawn...His voice silenced...His glory departed....His victory gone.....and the only possible result is Bokim....the place of weeping.
VI.THE SPIRIT'S CALL TO REPENTANCE
- BUT BOKIM became a place of repentance.
- NOT only did they weep...but they offered a sacrifices to the Lord in repentance and consecration of their lives.
- AND, throughout the book of Judges, whenever Israel repented.....God gave new victory and power.
- WHEN they started doing His work....He sent the victory.
- IT is not different for us today.
- GOD'S place of victory is still His presence.
- GOD'S call to victory is still that we be going against the enemy to rescue lost and dying souls.
- DISOBEDIENCE still results in a loss of victory in our lives and a place of weeping...maybe not at first but always.
- AND repentance and the consecration of our lives to His priorities is still the only way back to victory.
- IT is where His presence and his glory and power are manifest...in taking enemy territory for His name's sake.
- HOW about it this morning?
- WHERE are your priorities...your time...your energies relative to taking enemy territory for the Lord?
- IF you are in a place of weeping this morning...it could just be that you have made an alliance with the enemy not to bother him and you are hoping he will not bother you....and it has not worked.
- MAKE your days count.
- MAKE a new consecration to do His work in His power...and go out today...tomorrow to win the lost.
JESUS BE THE LORD OF ALL