AGCC Sun. a.m. 4/26/98



TEXT: I Sam. 17:32-37

INTRO: There are certain qualities of life that make some people greater overcomers than others. Nearly everyone wants to be an overcomer in this life, so it is important for us to know those qualities.

David demonstrates early in his life these 5 qualities of an overcomer. Over the next 5 messages in this series we will examine each of these qualities so that we might learn to live the overcoming life.

The first quality so evident in David's life as an overcomer is FIDELITY IN DUTY! It is quite clear that what set David apart was his constant faithfulness to God, no matter what was before him. He views all of life from the angle of being obedient and faithful to God. Even when David in his life made mistakes, he returned to faithfulness after repentance and God was able to restore him.

PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that the overcomer is not only faithful to God in a crisis, but in everyday life. The way we handle a crisis is directly related to how well we live for God daily. Overcomers are faithful in their duty to God every day.


A. Enemy 17:32a,33

1. For 40 days the enemy of Israel had been locked in a stalemate with them.

a. Saul as king should have trusted God to beat back this enemy, but Saul was a broken leader who had lost his way with God.

b. Saul had been unfaithful to God through several events, and his unfaithfulness in prior incidents had made him ill equip to handle this crisis.

c. Saul and Israel were paralyzed with fear!

2. When we go through life inconsistent in our walk with God we will discover that we are afraid and incapacitated when a crisis hits.

3. David is sent by his father to bring food to his brothers and a report back. The faithful shepherd boy had a consistent relationship with God prior to arriving on the scene of this crisis with the enemy.

a. David says to the King, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will fight him." 17:32

b. David was young and some might see this as youthful arrogance...

ILLUS: Why can't life's big problems come when we are twenty and know everything? -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 497.

c. But it is far more than just youthful confidence here, it is the voice of a young man who knew God and lived faithfully for him even as a teenager.

d. There is a note of confidence in the faith of overcomers!

4. Saul had lost his overcoming confidence because he had failed to be faithful in his duties before God.

B. Example 17:32b

1. David's fidelity in duty however made him a champion already! David was not afraid to face an enemy of God's because his confidence was based on two things:

a. God's faithfulness (absolute!)

b. David's faithfulness (our responsibility!)

2. The combination of these two creates an example that the world and our enemies will sit up and take notice!

3. This is the kind of leadership the world is looking for today...and so is God!

ILLUS: One pagan said after receiving a gospel tract from a zealous missionary, "Thank you for this tract, now I will watch your tracks and decide about becoming a Christian."

4. Notice how David refers to himself, "your SERVANT will go and fight him."

a. It is noteworthy that David does not take pot shots at Saul's unfaithfulness or unwillingness to go against Goliath.

b. David does not let himself get sidetracked by other people and their lack of faithfulness, he stays focus on his be a faithful servant to God and country.

5. David recognizes that the only one he can answer for is himself.

a. While he may have wondered why Saul didn't fight the enemy, after all, Saul was "head and shoulders" in height above all the other men in Israel. (1 Sam 9:2 He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites--a head taller than any of the others.) He was the tallest among them to fight a giant, and he was the king...David stays focused however on his own faithfulness and willing servanthood.

b. We would all do well to follow this pattern. Lack of faithfulness in others is no excuse for our own!

6. David's example overshadows King Saul's!


A. Experience 17:34-35

1. David's faithful experience at watching over his earthly father's sheep would be enough combined with faith to watch over the heavenly Father's sheep.

a. David was already experienced in fighting off big enemies!

b. His faithfulness in shepherding animals would be used by God to destroy an even bigger prey here!

c. It is often the smaller faithful things we do for God that sets the stage for the larger things He entrusts us with later!

2. It is important to note that it was David's faithfulness in smaller duties that trained him here to bring victory in a bigger situation.

3. So often Christians want leadership or to do big things for God without first being faithful in smaller ways.

4. It is not our education, our status, our titles, or the people's popular vote that qualifies us as overcomers, it is our faithful duty day in and day out!

a. Church leaders shouldn't be elected to office because they are popular, but because they are faithful!

b. Church leadership roles should be held by those who have demonstrated fidelity in duty!

ILLUS: God will look you over, not for medals or degrees, but for scars. Edward Sheldon -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 20.

5. For David it would be doing just more of the same thing...faithfully serving the sheep and destroying the enemy.

a. It is tragic that Saul had lost his ability to perform in this way!

b. There was a time when it was Saul that confronted the enemies of God and destroyed them, but his recent unfaithfulness had destroyed his overcoming power and spirit, all he knew now was fear!

6. So many Christians would find life's struggles so much easier to get through if they lived faithfully for God day by day.

B. Evaluation 17:36

1. David's evaluation of his possibilities for victory were based on his prior experiences of being faithful in duty and his confidence in God's character.

a. David didn't view this "giant" problem as being just against Israelites, this Goliath had defied "the armies of the LIVING GOD!"

b. David had a clear view of what was really going on.

2. The leadership skills of David and Saul could not be more different!

ILLUS: A real leader knows the difference between being the boss and being a leader, as illustrated by the following:

The boss drives his workers; the leader coaches them.

The boss depends upon authority; the leader on goodwill.

The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.

The boss says "I"; the leader, "we."

The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.

The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.

The boss says "go"' the leader says "let's go!" -- John Maxwell, Developing The Leader Within You, (Thomas Nelson, 1993), p. 5.

3. David's performance would be based on faith in God, and his own daily faithful walk with God.

a. With these two elements the first quality of an overcomer comes into focus...and sets the stage for a great victory in God's name!

b. David had a good handle on what God would do!

III. POWER 17:37

A. Expectation 17:37a

1. David's experience with God and His knowledge about God was enough for him to expect victory!

a. God after all had helped him overcome other enemies!

b. If God helped him with dumb sheep, how much more He would help him with His own sheep!

2. David's confidence was strong because his own faithfulness to serve God in lesser responsibilities had been strong.

3. It is ironic that the young shepherd boy is the one expressing great expectations instead of Saul the king!

4. Saul no doubt had all kinds of fears, hence the 40 day standoff. Fear is a terrible thing, and it usually has at its base unfaithfulness on our part.

a. Our unfaithfulness leaves us in doubt about what might happen.

b. Those feelings of guilt, failure, shame, etc. generated by our unfaithfulness has an impact on us.

ILLUS: Most of the fears we face every day are not based on facts. They are generated by our feelings. For example, a study conducted by the University of Michigan showed the following:

60 percent of our fears are totally unwarranted; they never come to pass.

20 percent of our fears are focused on our past, which is completely out of our control.

10 percent of our fears are based on things so petty that they make no difference in our lives.

Of the remaining 10 percent, only 4 to 5 percent could be considered justifiable. -- Dennis Wattley, Seeds of Greatness, (Revell, 1983).

5. God's faithfulness and our faithfulness make an unbeatable combination against the enemy of our soul! We can expect to defeat the enemy all the time if we keep these two things in the forefront of our lives.

B. Encouragement 17:37b

1. Saul now flip-flops from his earlier statement: "you are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy..." (17:33) to saying, "Go, and the LORD be with you." (17:37b)

2. If only Saul had believed this for himself!!

3. This was the most encouraging thing however Saul could say to David...and thank God for those who say encouraging things when we need them!

ILLUS: On May 24, 1965, a thirteen-and-a-half-foot boat quietly slipped out of the marina at Falmouth, Massachusetts. Its destination? England. It would be the smallest craft ever to make the voyage. Its name? Tinkerbelle. Its pilot? Robert Manry, a copy editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who felt ten years at the desk was enough boredom for a while, so he took a leave of absence to fulfill his secret dream.

Manry was afraid, not of the ocean, but of all those people who would try to talk him out of the trip. So he didn't share it with many, just some relatives and especially his wife, Virginia. She was his greatest source of support.

The trip? Anything but pleasant. He spent sleepless nights trying to cross shipping lanes without getting run down and sunk. Weeks at sea caused his food to become tasteless. Loneliness, that age-old monster of the deep, led to terrifying hallucinations. His rudder broke three times. Storms swept him overboard, and had it not been for the rope he had knotted around his waist, he would never have been able to pull himself back on board. Finally, after seventy-eight days alone at sea, he sailed into Falmouth, England.

During those nights at the tiller, he had fantasized about what he would do once he arrived. He expected simply to check into a hotel, eat dinner alone, then the next morning see if, perhaps, the Associated Press might be interested in his story. Was he in for a surprise!

Word of his approach had spread far and wide. To his amazement, three hundred vessels, with horns blasting, escorted Tinkerbelle into port. Forty thousand people stood screaming and cheering him to shore. Robert Manry, copy editor turned dreamer, became an overnight hero.

His story has been told around the world. But Robert couldn't have done it alone. Standing on the dock was an even greater hero: Virginia. Refusing to be rigid when Robert's dream was taking shape, she allowed him freedom to pursue his dream. -- Charles R. Swindoll in Leadership, Vol. 8, no. 4.

4. Saul could not go with him, his own fears and unfaithfulness prevented that, but thankfully, God would go with David. God's presence combined with his fidelity in duty would be enough to be an overcomer!

5. What about us?

a. Do you find it hard to be an overcomer? - Are you living faithfully every day?

b. Is your life gripped by fear all the time? - Is this because you are feeling guilty about failures in serving the Lord?

c. Do you find yourself excusing your own unfaithfulness by the lack of faithfulness on other people's part?

d. Look at some Christian you know that you admire for their overcoming life, what is it that makes them such an overcomer? Can you model what they are doing?

6. It is possible to live the life of an overcomer, the 5 qualities displayed by David can also be ours. Start with the first one - FIDELITY IN DUTY!

CONCLUSION: In this well known story David demonstrates the 5 qualities of an overcomer. The first characteristic of an overcomer is faithfulness in everyday duties. Those who are faithful day by day in living for God will not falter when the "giant" trials come in life. Being an overcomer starts now, not just in the time of trials!