Sermon Series - JOURNEY OF COURAGE: FROM FEAR TO FAITH
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29-Apr-18: Listening to God’s Call
LISTENING TO GOD’S CALL
Today, we start a new sermon series called Journey of Courage: From Fear to Faith, based on the life & ministry of Gideon in the Book of Judges (chapters 6-8). Our 1st message in our series begins with learning to listen to God. God desires that we listen to Him & what He is saying, & that we pay attention to Him & what He is doing in our lives. What can we learn from God’s call to Gideon?
I. BE FAITHFUL TO DO GOD’S ASSIGNMENT NOW (6:11)
When the Lord showed up (6:11a, 12a), Gideon was doing his assigned job faithfully (6:11b) – threshing wheat (i.e., separating grains from the stalks) in a winepress (which shows fear of the Midianites [cf. 6:2-4] & smallness of the harvest [cf. 1 Chron. 21:20-23]). One of the best ways to prepare for God’s call (whatever it might be) is to be faithful in what God wants us to do for now. Let’s be faithful to God, as we listen to Him!
II. BE FILLED WITH ASSURANCE OF GOD’S PRESENCE (6:12-16)
God gave the assurance that He was with Gideon, whom He calls “mighty warrior” (i.e. mighty man of valor). Even though Gideon lacked discernment about what is happening (6:13; cf. Heb. 12:3-11), God still commissioned him to serve God (6:14). Even though Gideon felt inadequate (6:15), God assured him again of His presence & power (6:16). Due of God’s presence, we can participate in God’s will. Let’s claim God’s presence always!
III. BE FIRM IN ASCERTAINING GOD’S CALL (6:17-24)
God continued to be patient with Gideon (6:18b), when Gideon requested for a sign to ascertain that God was the one calling & sending him (6:17). God consumed the meat & bread that Gideon offered (6:21); thus, providing the sign Gideon asked for (cf. Lev. 9:24; 1 Kings 18:38). When God kept him alive (6:22-23; cf. Exo. 33:20), he felt great peace; thus, calling that place “The Lord is Peace” (6:24). Let’s ascertain God’s call & have His peace!
06-May-18: Learning our Lessons Well
LEARNING THE LESSONS WELL
As we continue to look at the story of Gideon and examine the circumstances before His call, we will discover that the pattern of downward spiral caused by sin was again evident in the nation Israel. And God has to deal with it reminding the nation of His power and sovereignty. In the opening verses of Gideon chapter 6, we will learn three important lessons that could help us in our Christian walk amidst challenging situations.
I. The CONDITIONof the Nation (vv. 1-5): “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord…”
Lesson 1. The Faithful SUFFERS along with the Faithless.
II. The CRYof the Helpless (vv. 6-7): “The Israelites cried to the Lord…”
Lesson 2. Our Voice is SUPPRESSED because of the Wrong Choice We Make.
III. The CAUSE of the Lord’s Judgment (vv. 8-10): “But you have not listened to me.”
Lesson 3. The Lord SECURES those who Love Him Foremost.
13-May-18: Mother’s Day Message
CELEBRATING THE MINISTRY OF MOTHERS
(1 Thessalonians 2:6b-9)
As we celebrate Mothers’ Day today, it’s important to remember mothers & their ministry to us! Celebrating moms & their ministry is a “double” blessing & doubly meaningful, because both mothers & ministry have similar characteristics, & have twin lessons to teach us in our personal life, family life, & church life. In fact, motherhood is a ministry, & ministry must be like motherhood. Using 1 Thessalonians 2:6b-9, what 2 lessons can we learn from both mothers & ministry?
I. MINISTRY & MOTHERS SHARE LOVE & GENTLENESS (2:6-8)
Paul sees his ministry (with Silas & Timothy) of being a blessing (not a burden [2:6]) to people as similar to the ministry of a “mother caring for her little children” (2:7b). This care of a nursing mother (cf. Num. 11:12) involves showing gentleness (2:7a) and unselfish love (2:8a). Such love does not only relate to the opening of the gospel (2:8a), but also to the opening of their life (2:8b) to them. The motivation of love is this: “you have become so dear to us” (2:8c). Since mothers & ministry share love & gentleness, let’s commit to show love in gentle ways to one another (& to those around us)!
II. MINISTRY & MOTHERS SERVE AMID LABOUR & HARDSHIP (2:9)
Paul also shows his ministry (with Silas & Timothy) of being a blessing (not a burden [2:9]) to people (whom he addresses as “brothers” [2:9a; cf. 1:4; 2:1, 14, 17; 3:7; 4:1, 13; 5:1, 4, 12, 25]) through their “toil and hardship” (2:9a). Their willingness to sacrifice & suffer leads them to work day and night (2:9b; cf. 2 Thes. 3:8; Acts 18:3), as they also preach the “gospel of God” (2:9c). Ministry & mothers both seek to meet the holistic (both physical & spiritual) needs of those under their care. Since ministry & mothers serve amid labour & hardship, let’s commit to serve one another (& those around us) to the point of suffering & sacrifice!
20-May-18: GOD IS ALWAYS BEING GOD
GOD IS ALWAYS BEING GOD
Context – How we Got to Gideon
God uses circumstance to make us listen
God knows what is next
God lets us know who He is
God uses your private battles to empower you publicly
God will always be patient
God wants us to join in His success
Conclusion and challenge
27-May-18: Living by Faith, Despite our Fear
LIVING BY FAITH, DESPITE OUR FEAR
We have learned 2 key lessons from Gideon through our “Journey of Courage” series: (1) learn our lessons well; & (2) listen to God’s call. Today, we will learn to live by faith, despite our fear. What principles can we learn from Gideon’s struggling faith, when we ourselves are afraid?
I. BY FAITH, OBEY GOD FULLY RIGHT AWAY (6:25-27)
God showed up again to Gideon (6:25a) & gave him a daunting five-part assignment (6:25b-26): take his father’s bull; tear down his father’s altar to Baal; cut down the Asherah (i.e., Syrian goddess of the sea) pole; build God’s altar; offer the bull as burnt offering. Though “afraid,” Gideon obeyed immediately. When God reveals to us His will, let’s obey Him right away!
II. BY FAITH, SEE GOD OVERCOME IN EVERY WAY (6:28-32)
Gideon saw the impending consequences of his action: the people investigated what happened (6:28-29a); they discovered that Gideon did it (6:29b); they demanded for his death as punishment (6:30). But God overturned & overcame the situation through Joash (Gideon’s father) & overwhelmingly protected Gideon (6:31-32). Let’s trust that God’s ways always prevail, in order to protect us!
III. BY FAITH, OFFER TRUST TO GOD ALL THE WAY (6:33-40)
When the enemies of God showed up (6:33), the Spirit of the Lord also showed up (6:34a) to prepare Gideon for battle. In response, Gideon again stepped out in faith (6:34b-35). Yet, in his struggling faith, he needed the assurance & confirmation of God’s victory (6:36-37, 39) over his overwhelming enemies (cf. 6:3, 5; 7:12). In turn, God patiently assured him (6:38, 40). When God asks us to trust Him for bigger things, let’s again trust Him!
03-Jun-18: Looking Beyond the Troubles
LOOKING BEYOND OUR TROUBLES
So far, we have seen 4 ways to move from fear to faith, based on the life & leadership of Gideon: (1) listening to God’s call; (2) learning our lessons well; (3) letting God be God; & (4) living by faith, despite fear. Today we will see how to look beyond our troubles. Based on Judges 7:23-8:21, how can we look beyond our own troubles?
I. REMAIN HUMBLE WHEN REPROACHED(7:23-8:3)
Gideon did not simply react or overreact, when the Ephraimites criticized him harshly (8:1). Instead, he gently & humbly responded to them (8:2-3a). Thus, resentment subsided (8:3b) & war was averted (cf. 12:1-6). To learn gentleness & humility, let’s follow Jesus’ model (cf. Matt. 11:29) and be gentle & humble when we’re attacked!
II. REMAIN HOLY WHEN REJECTED (8:4-12)
Gideon did not stop doing his call, though tired & hungry (8:4-5). Though ridiculed & rejected twice by fellow Israelites (8:6, 8), he still persevered & saw God’s victory (8:10-12). He bravely took a stand for God & against hostility toward God (8:7, 9). To learn holiness, let’s follow Jesus’ model (cf. Matt. 4:1-4) and act with holiness amidst hostility.
III. REMAIN HONOURABLE WHEN REQUIRED (8:13-21)
Gideon did not forget to keep his word (8:13-17), after God brought him success. He also behaved honourably, when called upon to do it: (1) to restore the honour of his murdered brothers (8:18-19; cf. Deut. 19:6, 12); & (2) to act with honour in relation to the death of the 2 Midianite kings (8:20-21). To learn honour, let’s follow Jesus’s model (cf. Mk. 14:36) and walk honourably, especially in seasons of stress & suffering.
10-Jun-18: 7th Anniversary Message
CELEBRATING GOD’S CARE & CHOOSING COURAGE
Today, we mark GCF York’s 7th anniversary by celebrating God’s care & choosing courage for the next 7 years. Just as God affirmed Joshua with words of encouragement & exhortation (1:5-9; cf. Deut. 31:7-8 [from Moses to Joshua]; 31:23 [from God to Joshua]; 31:6 [from Moses & God to the people]), we can claim these same words for GCF York as well. What words from God can keep us courageous throughout our lives & for our church?
I. “I AM WITH YOU; I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU” (1:5)
Moses’ death could have brought loneliness to Joshua (1:1). So God assured Joshua of His presence & non-abandonment – that His plan & purpose are to continue, as He promised (1:3, 6b; 21:45; 23:10; cf. 21:43-44). His reassuring promise is this: “I am with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (1:5b, 9b, 17b). It is the secret of Moses’ success, as it is for Joshua. God’s presence enables us to move on & act on (1:2b) what He promised (1:4-5; cf. Deut. 11:24). In turn, we affirm: “God is with us; He will never leave us; we will be loyal to Him.”
II. “BE STRONG & COURAGEOUS; DO NOT BE TERRIFIED” (1:9)
Because of God’s presence, Joshua was commanded to “be strong & courageous” (1:6, 7a, 9a; cf. 1:18b [from the people to Joshua]; 23:6 [from Joshua to the people]). He was probably intimidated by the greatness of his predecessor & the big tasks ahead of him. He must have felt weak, inadequate, & frightened. But God assured Joshua of success, if he did 3 things: (1) talk about the Word (1:8a; cf. Deut. 6:7); (2) think about the Word (1:8b); & (3) walk according to the Word (1:7b, 8c). As Joshua obeys God, he is assured of the people’s obedience too (1:16-18). Like Joshua, we are called to affirm: “We will be strong & courageous; we will not be terrified; we will talk about the Word; we will think about the Word; & we will walk according to the Word.”
17-Jun-18: Father’s Day Message
A FATHER IS LIKE…
(2 Timothy 2:21-26)
1. Really holding to that ONE thing
2. Strong and…
1 Tim 3:2-3
2 Tim 2:24-26
3. Keeping things together
1 Tim 3:4-5
4. Don’t expose to wrong things
1 Tim 4:12
2 Tim 2:22
5. We are all temporary
24-Jun-18: Leaning on God’s Leading
LEANING ON GOD’S LEADING
As we continue our series on the “Journey of Courage,” we will look into the part of Gideon’s story when God shows His mighty act of
deliverance. God shows here that leaning on His leading is best, because it’s when we see Him work the best. Using Judges 7:8b-22, what can we learn from Gideon’s leaning on God’s leading?
I. GOD ASSURES US SO WE CAN DO HIS ASSIGNMENT (7:8b-12)
God commanded Gideon to do his assignment in God’s time (7:9a), but God also gave 2 assurances to encourage Gideon: (1) restatement of God’s giving the enemy into his hands (7:9b); & (2) encouragement to Gideon through some incoming news (7:10-11a). Again, Gideon obeyed God (7:11b), despite the daunting task ahead. Let’s receive God’s encouragement & then do His will!
II. GOD AFFIRMS US SO WE CAN ADORE HIM (7:13-15)
God sovereignly timed Gideon’s arrival at the enemy camp with the narration of a Midianite’s dream & its interpretation (7:12-14), which is: God will give the Midianites into Gideon’s hands. As a result, Gideon worshiped God (7:15a) & affirmed to the Israelites the urgency to do God’s assignment, using the same encouragement God gave him: “The Lord has given the Midianites into your hands” (7:15b; cf. vv. 7, 9). Let’s worship God & affirm others!
III. GOD ACTS FOR US SO WE CAN ADVANCE HIS WORK (7:16-22)
God acted on behalf of Gideon & his 300 men by confusing the Midianite army (7:22a) at an apt time for attack (7:19). God used the strategic but strange set of weapons: “trumpets” (i.e., made of animal horns producing sharp, shrill sounds), jars probably made of clay, & torches inside the jars. The shock & awe effect of the shrill noise & sudden lights (7:19-21) took the sleeping enemies off-guard. Let’s do God’s work & see how He works!
01-Jul-18: Leaving an Inspiring Legacy
MISTAKEN: WHAT’S YOUR LEGACY
(Leaving an Inspiring Legacy- Judges 8:22-35)
As we conclude our series on the “Journey of Courage” we will look at the last part of Gideon’s life. Let’s leave a legacy not for people to idolize but for God to be recognized
I. Don’t Mistake God’s Victory as our own…
…Instead Give God the Glory
Verses: Judges 8:22-23
II. Don’t Mistake His Blessings as a prize…
…Instead Honour Him with Humility
Verses: Judges 8: 24, 28
III. Don’t Mistake our Legacy as our purpose…
…Instead Live for the Lord
Verses: Judges 8: 35