AGCC Sun. a.m. 5/17/98



TEXT: I Sam. 17:38-40; Eph. 6:12-18

INTRO: In a world where all our battles are fought with man's wisdom and technologically created marvels it is easy for Christians to forget that spiritual battles are not fought with the wisdom of man or his clever devices!

There comes a time when we need to realize what is really important in life and that the really important battles of life are spiritual.

ILLUS: When I took over as president (of Alaska Airlines), we grossed a hundred million dollars a year. Ten years later we grossed one billion dollars a year. I thought, well, if ten years form now I look back and I've done more of the same, what significance would it have? I felt restlessness to do something for Christ. I had to make the commitment to leave what I was doing, and make myself available for Christian volunteer work. Scripture says, "Abide in the calling wherein you are called."' For most of us the place that you will find your services needed is right where you are... in your home. In your neighborhood. In your church. Where you work. And, there's a great joy to be had in that service. -- Bruce Kennedy, former President of Alaska Airlines, on the Hour of Power.

There comes a time when we must understand the nature of life's battles from a spiritual standpoint and not just an earthly one.

What is our ultimate trust?

What is our confidence placed in?

What do we draw our strength from when confronting an overwhelming enemy or situation?

PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that we need to rely on God's strength to overcome life's difficult challenges and His ways to overcoming this world. It won't be with man's stuff that we defeat the enemy of our soul!


A. Legacy of Self 17:38-39a

1. King Saul is about to let a young boy go and fight the battle that he should have gone and fought!

a. In Saul's own cowardice, he intends to send David out to do battle with all his shining armor and weapons though he himself doesn't have confidence in them!

b. This is all Saul had left to trust in, and even these didn't give him the courage to go and fight Goliath!

c. Yet he is willing to give these few semi-trusted items to David!

2. Saul had abandoned God, and God had abandoned him...all that was left to trust in was the stuff of this world.

3. No doubt Saul could tell David all about battle strategy, he had great knowledge about battles since he had been in many, but all his wisdom on fighting didn't help him, he lacked courage because he lacked faith!

ILLUS: One of the bishops attending Vatican II later shared with a few colleagues a note from his personal journal: "Wisdom everywhere, courage nowhere. Dear Lord, we are dying of prudence." --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 93.

4. It is rather ironic that Saul himself had no confidence with this armor to go and fight, but he tries to make David believe this will give him victory!

a. How many times do people in this world express such confidence in the things of this world only to lack the actions that state they have real confidence?

b. The reason Saul had gone through 40 days of Goliath's taunts to come and fight was because Saul wasn't sure he could win, even with all this great armor and weapons of man!

c. He could showcase his armor and look impressive with it, even talk about how great it all is in battle ... but down deep somewhere there was no confidence in it all to actually go and do battle with the certainty of winning!

5. Besides, Goliath's gear was even more impressive and bigger!

6. David however doesn't count on man's stuff, he counts on God!

a. Saul's legacy was impressive, maybe even inspiring, but not indomitable!

b. On the other hand, God is indomitable!

B. Lousy Stuff! 17:39b

1. All Saul had left was the stuff of man, and this left him without courage.

2. He could bring out his fancy stuff and brag about past victories and battles, but they rang hollow now with no courage to go and fight the enemy!

3. All Saul had left was bragging over the past...for those who must always resort to brag about yesterday, they often have nothing to brag about today!

ILLUS: Whales really do communicate with each other. One whale sounded the following caution to his dear mate: "Better watch it; when you get to the top and start to blow, that's when you get harpooned!" What's true at sea is also true in our world.

4. Besides, for all the bragging Saul might be able to do, Goliath no doubt had him beat!

a. Certainly Goliath was doing his share of bragging each day too!

b. Goliath came each day and taunted Israel about how great he was and how he would destroy whoever came against him.

c. Saul could stay in his tent and convince himself with all his armor and weapons how great he was too...

d. BUT...the battle wasn't being won by anyone until David came forward with faith in God!

5. There can be no end to BRAGGING...but what the world really needs is BELIEF in action!

ILLUS: Millard proudly announced to his wife that he'd been promoted to company vice president. "Big deal!" she responded. "Vice presidents are a dime a dozen. Why the supermarket where we shop has so many vice presidents they have one who's just in charge of grocery bags."

The annoyed husband replied, "I'll call your bluff. Let's phone the store right now." He called and asked to speak to the vice president in charge of bags

A polite voice inquired, "Paper or Plastic?" -- R.J. Landseadel, Jr, In Reader's Digest, June, 1995, p. 84.

6. David didn't like the fit or the feel of this stuff of man's creation, he would rather trust in the God that had already helped him overcome the bear and the lion with his own hands and the simple Shepherd's weapons!

a. David is quite frank here about discarding the earthly King's stuff

b. He is quite confident in going with the heavenly King's stuff however!

(1. He was not used to doing things with man's help.

(2. He was used to doing things with God's help.

II. SHEPHERD'S CONFIDENCE 17:40; Eph. 6:12-18

A. Lord's Stuff 17:40

1. Having discarded Saul's stuff, David is still willing to go with confidence that God will help him as before, using what he already knew and what was the stuff of a simple shepherd.

a. The staff was simply a long stick, but used to steady a shepherd and discipline or rescue a rebellious sheep.

b. The shepherd's pouch was used to carry a meal for the Shepherd. If it was empty and he was hungry he was allowed under Jewish law to eat from a neighbor's vineyard, but he COULD NOT fill his pouch to take some with him. Evidently David's was already empty, and God would fill it for him...not with bread, but with stones! In this case David would win not with bread, but by every stone God supplied!

c. The sling - a formidable weapon, many Jews had become experts with the sling, and it was the weapon of choice of shepherds for its long range advantages!

(1. The sling could sail a stone at almost 90-100 miles an hour

(2. The stones used were not pebbles, but around the size of a baseball!

(3. The accuracy was incredible ... to a hair's width by some experts! (read: Judges 20:16 "...each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.")

(4. Capable of striking from a considerable distance, this tipped the advantage to David over Goliath who was an expert at hand to hand combat, close range fighting...David would not even have to get near the enemy to defeat him!

2. David's value here was greater as a shepherd than as a soldier!

3. Saul, Goliath, and even Israel were all thinking in terms of military prowess and failed to realize that in the hands of God a simple faith is greater than all of man's techniques and equipment! A simple shepherd of faith was greater than a well equipped giant! It is not always the appearance of strength, or the things of this world that provide security.

ILLUS: You may have heard the expression: "He was a brick!" or "Like a brick!" Few of us, however, know the origin and significance of that expression. The term implies all that is brave and loyal. Plutarch, in writing about the king of Sparta, tells how the phrase was coined. An ambassador on a diplomatic mission visited the famous city. Knowing that its strength was acclaimed throughout all of Greece, he had expected to see massive fortresses surrounding the town, but he found nothing of the kind. Surprised, he exclaimed to the ruler, "Sir, you have no fortifications for defense. Why is this?" "Ah, but we are well protected," he replied. "Come with me tomorrow and I will show you the walls of Sparta." The next day he led his guest to the plain where the army was drawn up in full battle array. Pointing proudly to his soldiers who stood fearlessly in place, he said, "Behold the walls of Sparta -- 10,000 men and every man 'a brick'!"

4. David simply believed that God would enable him to overcome this enemy because Goliath was defying God, not him or Israel alone.

a. How many sleepless nights have we had because we worried over things that in God's Word we are clearly told not to worry about?

b. How much greater confidence might we have if we understood that any time the enemy of our soul comes against us, no matter how strong or superior he may seem to be, that we will be victorious if we don't throw away the confidence of our faith?

c. There is not one person in this congregation today that has to shrink away in fear if you will stand in faith and confidence in God.

5. Our problem today is that we have forgotten the supernatural power God has promised to those who will walk in His ways! we depend too much on man's power and stuff!

ILLUS: Several centuries ago one of the popes, an avid patron of the arts, is said to have surveyed the vast artistic riches he had amassed and to have gloated: "No longer can the church of Jesus Christ say, 'Silver and gold have I none."' And a subordinate replied, "But then neither can she now say, 'Rise up and walk."' David Barrett --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 374.

6. Even today, how many Churches are without God's power because they have relied on the "silver and gold" that we now have?

7. How many Christians have failed to see God work in their lives like they read about in the Bible because they have forgotten that the weapons of spiritual warfare are not the carnal weapons of man, but the stuff of the spirit?

8. Has God stopped doing the miraculous because we are more sophisticated and have better technology ... NO!, it is because we have failed to believe God and use the spiritual weapons and armor that He has provided us.

9. David had a clear mind ... and a clean heart ... and a confident faith - and victory was just around the corner!

B. Lord's Soldier Eph. 6:12-18

1. When the Apostle Paul (a former Saul that turned around!) found himself chained everyday to a Roman soldier and watched this soldier dress with all of man's and the mighty Roman empire's finest gear he is reminded of the REAL armor for a man and woman of God....

a. Paul uses the images of man's stuff, but clearly reveals the character of God's armor and weapons for His soldiers, and they are very different from this world.

b. The Roman soldier had no power over Paul, it was Paul that was triumphant over man!

2. Paul admonishes believers to every day put on this armor God has provided, and to pick up the Sword of the Spirit to kill the enemy!

a. Like David, with the right stuff we will destroy Satan and cut off his head (his power over man and creation).

b. We can "sling the Rock of Ages" at Satan and he too will fall destroyed!

3. Though David took 5 stones, it only took 1 to kill Goliath

a. Interesting enough however, Goliath did have 4 giant brothers mentioned in II Sam. 21:22 (all sons of Rapha) ... perhaps David was prepared to take them all out at once!!!

b. Because the Philistines all fled after Goliath fell, David didn't get the opportunity, but later David and his men finished the job by killing Goliath's giant brothers!

4. The armor of God is available, but we do have to put it on!

5. The world is looking for "Davids" to show the way, are we doing this?

6. The great men of the Bible were often simple people with strong faith in God, it won't be the sophisticated stuff of this world that will give us a superiority over the enemy, it will be God's strength and help.

ILLUS: The man most admired by the American public over the last four decades is evangelist Billy Graham. For forty years, The Gallup Organization has polled American adults to determine the ten men they admire most, and Graham has been named to the list an astounding 32 times. Behind Graham on the 4-year list are Dwight Eisenhower and Winston Churchill. -- Reported in Emerging Trends, 2/90. "To Verify," Leadership.

7. It is interesting that Billy Graham should be the most admired man for so long a period of time, he preaches the simple Gospel and trusts in God and not the stuff of this world...this shows the hunger in this world for "Davids" to show the way!

8. The call of God for us today is to not get lost in all the stuff of this world and miss the simple power of God's armor and weapon.

a. What are you trusting in?

b. Where is your confidence?

c. Are you comfortable going against the enemy or afraid to do so?

CONCLUSION: Saul attempted to equip David with the things he had confidence in, weapons of man's creation. David however only needed confidence in God and the things God Himself provided. Had David trusted in man made supplies he would have surely failed, but going with God's power and His supply made him a victor over the strongest enemy! What do you use to fight your battles?