Rising Higher – by Pastor Jay

(Summary of the sermon: 31 Jan 2016)

RISING HIGHER

Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”

 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

– 1 Samuel 17:32-37

BACKGROUND

Goliath had been mocking and challenging the Israeli army for almost 40 days! The Israelites were cowering in fear. Into this scene walks David – a young teenage shepherd boy. Angered by the Philistine’s insults, he approached King Saul and volunteers to fight Goliath. The king tries to dissuade him saying that he was only a young boy and would be of no match for the giant Philistine.

David responded to the king beautifully and that is what we are going to study about today.

  1. JAWS OF DEATH

David tells Saul of his experiences with wild beasts like lions and bears that attacked his flock of sheep. One day, a lion snatched one of his sheep from the flock.

Let’s pause for a second and think about this question. If we were the shepherd, what would we have done?

When we have a big flock and one sheep is caught by an enemy, most of us would either run away from the enemy or rush to take care of the rest of the flock.

But David responded differently. He ran after the lion, fought with it and took his precious sheep back from the jaws of the lion.

God is looking for us to face our enemy, destroy him and to move ahead. He wants us to fight, not run away, because the one who is in us is much stronger than the one who is in the world.

Today, the enemy prowls around to trap people in bondages of addictions, perversion and slavery. He has stolen peace and life, and replaced them with fear and death. Instead of crumbling under his tactics in pain, God wants us to chase after him and retrieve that which he has stolen. God wants us to rise out of our comfort zones and live victoriously. We won’t be alone; we will have the Spirit of God empowering us.

  1. RESTORED LIVES

The bad news might be that the lion has already taken away the lamb. But the good news is that the lamb is still breathing. The dreams and promises that God has given us might be in the jaws of death. But they haven’t died yet. They are still breathing.

Often, the world might write us and our situations off. We ourselves might feel hopeless. But God is able to bring hope to our dark situations. He is able to breathe life into our bleak futures.

I remember that in my younger days, I was very mischievous. I’d get into trouble often. Once I cut off my Sardar friend’s hair because he was irritating me. Another time I polished off a classmate’s food from her tiffin box only to realize that she was the principal’s daughter. My teachers and my family were very disappointed by my unruly behavior! Everybody thought that I was beyond any hope for change! But mercifully, God met me and changed my life around.

Even though our dreams, promises and future might be in the jaws of death, God is able to restore them. But He demands a different spirit from us.

  1. RISING UP

The Bible is full of real life incidents of ordinary people who rose above difficult situations and were used by God for His glory. Consider Joseph. For almost 15 years, Jacob believed that his son Joseph was dead. But God lifted Joseph up to be a blessing for many, including the nation of Israel. Or look at Esther. She had to rise above her fears and brave the king in order to save the Jews.

As Haggai says, ‘how is it possible for us to live comfortably in our paneled houses when the house of God is in ruins?’ We need to rise out of our comfort zones and restore God’s house, that is His Church, comprising of precious lives.

Statistics say that 89% of young children in Chennai are addicted to pornography! How can we stand by and see this terrible evil taking root in the lives of our children, marriages and ministries? We need to rise up.

  1. RECONCILE OUR PRIVATE AND PUBLIC LIVES

David’s private life was honoring to God. He fought valiantly against the wild beasts when they threatened his flock. Therefore he was able to demonstrate the same valor and courage in his public life too! What do our private lives look like? Are we envious, hateful, gossipy, slanderous, lustful and proud? Are we able to multiply the skills and talents that God has given us? As we allow the Holy Spirit to build up our character and our private lives, God will bless us in our public lives. Jude 20 says, ‘But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit’.

Let us chase the enemy, rout him and retrieve God’s precious ones from the enemy’s clutches. Let us rise above our problems and comfort zones. Let us together build the church of God around us.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this message in the comments section below.

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