Sun. a.m. AGCC May 3, 1998



TEXT: I Sam. 17:36-37

INTRO: The second quality of an overcomer follows on the heals of the first, "faithful to duty", it is "fervor in defending". David who had already proven himself faithful in his duties before God and man now steps forward with a fervor to defend God and His people.

Overcomers are people of faith, men and women who have conquered their fears and have a clear focus on God. They have come to understand that to be an overcomer they will have to face the enemy from time to time. Many Christians like to pray for strength, but they fail to realize where it comes from:

ILLUS: To become long-suffering one has to be long-bothered. -- Manford George Gutzke, Leadership, Vol. 6, no. 3.

Too many of us have a hard time overcoming because our focus is always what happens TO US....this is not the focus of an overcomer.

ILLUS: What really matters is what happens in us, not to us. -- James W. Kennedy, Leadership, Vol. 1, no. 2.

PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that an overcomer has a fervor to defend his faith in God and to stand against an enemy to honor God's name.


A. Conflicts 17:36a

1. While only a simple shepherd boy, David's life was not without conflicts, and serious ones at that!

a. It is too easy to look at other people and assume that they have an easier life because on the surface everything looks calm or simple.

b. Or we often assume that people who live a less complicated lifestyle don't have nearly the hard conflicts to deal with as we do.

2. David knew great dangers as a shepherd.

3. Life as a shepherd was actually quite hazardous.

a. There were hidden dangers all over the ground.

b. There was exposure to the elements, many shepherds stayed out even at night with their flocks.

c. Because of frequent outdoors exposure, they could be prone to illnesses through insect bites or poor water, dangers of temperature extremes, etc.

d. They were in danger from rustlers.

e. And they often had to fight off wild animals that saw lamb chops for dinner but would also settle for a little shepherd meat too!

4. The wild beasts alone were tough back then, lions and bears roamed the Middle East.

a. It was no picnic being a shepherd! (true for spiritual shepherds too!)

b. Even the sheep could be quite uncooperative!

5. All of this led to a life filled with conflicts.

a. And they could not be ignored or both shepherd and sheep could die!

b. Being a shepherd was no life for a coward!

6. How many times as Christians do we run from conflicts instead of face them head on?

ILLUS: Some years ago Premier Khrushchev was speaking before the Supreme Soviet and was severely critical of the late Premier Stalin. While he was speaking someone from the audience sent up a note: "What were you doing when Stalin committed all these atrocities?"

Khrushchev shouted, "Who sent up that note?" Not a person stirred.

"I'll give him one minute to stand up!" The seconds ticked off. Still no one moved.

"All right, I'll tell you what I was doing. I was doing exactly what the writer of this note was doing--exactly nothing! I was afraid to be counted!" --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 128.

7. This was the problem with King Saul and his Israeli troops...they were paralyzed with fear and were not dealing with the conflict.

a. This is so ironic too since Saul had won many other great victories before!

b. They were trapped by fear, and it took a young shepherd boy to ignite their faith again!

B. Confidence 17:36b

1. While Israel and Saul stayed locked in fear, for 40 days they do nothing, David is ready to do battle with this giant!

a. David had confidence based on previous experience, something Saul could have drawn on too.

b. The difference was that Saul's recent experiences were based on disobedience and a desire to preserve his own reputation...he had drifted from God.

c. David's experience was based on performance, but also on God's character and will.

2. Saul was afraid to make an attempt, his fears had him paralyzed...what if they lost?

3. David could only think in terms of victory however, for God would fight for them and with them....he understood that to do something for God sometimes required confidence to move forward!

ILLUS: The story is told of Will Rogers who came to his friend Eddie Cantor for advice. Will wanted to make some important changes in his act--but was worried about the danger of such changes. He wasn't sure whether they would work. Eddie Cantor's response was, "Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is!" --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 130.

4. To destroy the enemy you must face him!

5. David had not run away before...remember his "fidelity to duty" (the first quality of an overcomer).

6. David had a fervor to defend God's people against the enemy.

a. He was confident because God was on his side and he already had experience in fighting other enemies and winning.

b. The smaller battles we fight today will equip us to fight the larger battles tomorrow!

II. FOCUS 17:37

A. Credit 17:37a

1. Note here how David carefully states that it is the LORD who delivered him from the lion and the bear....David's life had a clear focus on the fact that GOD was the driving force of his life.

a. If he had been a brash young man he would have taken credit himself for beating the lion and the bear, but he understands here that it was God who helped him with the earlier battles.

b. This focus is what will enable him to have confidence in this larger and newer battle.

c. David is not arrogant here with king Saul, if he had been he wouldn't have given credit to God but would have bragged about how he was the strongest shepherd in all Israel!

2. David had learned very early on to give God credit for the victories that come in life...this is a quality of an overcomer.

3. No matter what came against him, he turned it into a victory from God!

a. If only we could learn to do this today too!

b. We would be so much healthier spiritually if we would look for how to give God credit every time the enemy throws something against us, and how we can use it for His glory!

ILLUS: Years ago a small group of Japanese believers were heckled and abused whenever they assembled to worship the Savior. But the persecutors could not shake the faith of the new converts. Each time the Christians gathered, the mob would throw stones at them, but they still faithfully continued to have their weekly meetings.

Eventually the opposition became so great that the outdoor services had to be temporarily abandoned. Later, when a time of relative peace and tolerance had come to the community, many were won to Christ. Returning to the spot where the believers had frequently been attacked, they began to pick up some of the rocks. Using them as part of the building materials, they constructed a small house of worship, rejoicing that God had worked all things together for good.

Jesus says that His followers will meet with suffering and heartache, but He admonishes them not to be discouraged. Earth's sorrows are meant to be stepping stones in the process of sanctification. Indeed, we "must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). Glorying in affliction will turn our troubles into spiritual triumphs!

4. David demonstrated this quality throughout his life, every time things went bad he looked for a way to make it work for God's glory, not his own! This was so very different from Saul who had compromised God's Word many times to make himself look good.

a. No wonder Saul had no confidence for this battle, everything rested on his credit instead of God's and he wasn't sure he could beat Goliath!

b. No wonder David had so much confidence for this battle, everything rest on God's character and will instead of David's reputation so he was sure he couldn't lose!

c. Saul saw a giant so big he couldn't win, David saw a giant so big he couldn't miss with his stone! WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

5. For David, Goliath's taunts were against the "armies of the LIVING GOD", for Saul it was his own reputation at stake.

B. Conviction 17:37b

1. The only good thing Saul had to say to David was, "GO and the LORD be with you". (it was certain that Saul wouldn't go with him!)

a. Actually this was the best thing he could say to David!

b. This was David's own conviction!

2. David was convinced that God would help him beat this giant Goliath because he was opposing not just Saul and David, he was opposing the "armies of the LIVING GOD."

a. David was so upset that they had sat through 40 days of this tyrant without acting.

b. There comes a time to stand up and fight the enemy.

c. The longer we stay silent, the worse the enemy gets and the less victory we have!

ILLUS: My cousin described an incident that happened to her son Buck in New York. A couple of weeks ago he was walking from the bus depot to his dad's apartment in upper Manhattan when he realized he was flanked by two young men.

"Give me your wallet." "No."

"This is a gun. Give me your wallet or I'll shoot you." "No."

"Hey, man. You don't understand. We're robbing you. Give me your wallet." "No."

"Give me your wallet or I'll knife you." "No."

"Give me your wallet or we'll beat you up.

By now the robber was whining. "No." Buck had continued walking and after a while he noticed he was no longer accompanied. When he told me about it, I asked him, "Weren't you scared?"

"Of course. What else would I be?"

"Why didn't you give them your wallet?"

"My learner's permit's in it."

Dave Mote --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 127-128.

3. David's conviction was enough to let him defend God's honor with a great passion.

a. What about us, are we willing to stand up for what is right because it honors God's name...

b. Or do we give in for fear of how we might look?

4. People of conviction are strong people...but only when they act on them!

5. Overcomers by nature are people of strong conviction that also act on them.

CONCLUSION: Overcomers realize two important things: (1. There will be many battles and conflicts in life; (2. That it is God who enables us to conquer those conflicts! Fear can keep us from being an overcomer because fear is a lack of faith in God who always makes us MORE than conquerors! So, if you want to be an overcomer get a FERVOR IN DEFENDING God's honor!