Sermon Transcript: In the Glorious Battle 10/3/2021 Jeff Schwarzentraub 49 min read Father in heaven, we give you all the glory honor and praise for who you are. Lord, today, as we gather as your church, we gather because our desire is to hear you. Lord, throughout this week, we've heard from a lot of different sources, we've heard a lot of different friends, we've heard from family members. Lord, we want to hear you. Lord, we believe that every time your word is open, that you have a word for us. Speak Lord for your servants are willing to hear. Now, for all those who are gathered, who desire to hear the word of the Lord, who will believe what the Lord says and will by faith put into practice the specific things that he shows you, will you agree with me very loudly this morning by saying the word amen? Amen. Amen. On Friday, I was a little bit Northwest of Las Vegas at Creech Air Force Base, watching a friend of mine retire from the military. As every military type service, it was really, really special. It was extremely organized. But I got to hear a little bit about his specific training for the years, 27 plus years, that he was in service and what he did and how he trained and how he prepared. I was thinking, "This is just one person out of the entire military." I'm so grateful if you serve. Men and women that serve in our service, so grateful for you, love you. But you know the type of service that you need to have, and for each type, there's a specific kind of training because once you're on the battlefield it's not the time to start asking questions about how to operate. Once you're on the battlefield, it's not like, "How does this helicopter fly again? How does this F/A-18 move? How does this gun work?" That's not the time to ask the question. The time to ask the question is when you're in training, because you know that the battle is inevitable. By the time you get in the battle, you want to be able to react and do what you have been trained to do. The same thing is true for us spiritually. You may not realize this, but from the moment that a person repents of their sin and trusts Christ and comes into the family of God and is born again, they've entered a battle they didn't realize existed before. For many people, they think coming to Christ is just stepping onto the love boat and cruising off into eternity on this nice, smooth sailing road. When in fact, when you trust Christ, you've been placed on a battleship or in the infantry for God to use you to advance His kingdom on planet earth while you're here. If you don't realize that, you can get into deep trouble. Nobody told me that. I thought I was a pretty good kid, came to Christ and started facing temptations I had never faced before after becoming a believer. I didn't realize how the enemy worked. Early on in ministry, when I was 24 and 25, when I was in a church, I started experiencing spiritual attack. I'd call it that. Now at the time, I was just frustrated. I didn't know why things weren't working out. I didn't know why certain people were coming against me. I didn't understand why everything that I was planning wasn't working out. I learned how to pray because things weren't working. Over time I've seen spiritual attack in so many different ways that it's just part of my life now. I think that building Christ's church, Jesus is the one that builds it, but advancing the church is like building sandcastles on the beach. I mean, you're just constantly in repair mode as Jesus is doing something and advancing it now in need. We are of him to advance this, but the enemy hates when God's people are living for him and he opposes it at every level. It's important to know that we're in a battle. When I first moved out here and Kent Shaw was in Chicago and he was my liaison as the church was being planted. His first question to me after he called me and said, hello, he would ask this question, "How goes the battles, Jeff? How goes the battles?" Then I would tell him, "Well, this is going pretty good. This isn't so good." There was never a time where he called where I was like, "Hey, everything's great." I used to say to myself early on in the history of our church, "Hey, as soon as we get through this season, I think it's going to be smooth sailing." Now, if you have spiritual attacks like waves in the ocean, they come, you don't know how big they're going to be, but you can be assured if you ride one end, there's another one coming right behind it. For those of you that have been serving the Lord for a number of years, you know that I'm telling the truth. We're in a glorious battle. Matter of fact, Kent used to sign all of his emails to all of us who were pastors, in the glorious battle. I thought that's fantastic. That's exactly how I feel. I feel like a soldier of the Lord. Only to find out later that was Pastor John Gauss's words that he had taught Kent and Kent borrowed them from him. But they're great words because all of us are in this glorious battle of the Lord, Jesus Christ. How is it that we fight when we're in this battle? Because we need to be trained for our mission as well so that when spiritual attack arises, we know what to do. If you ever want to know what to do when spiritual attack happens, that's why Paul writes these three verses to Timothy that we're going to take a look at today. If you open your Bible up to 1 Timothy 1, we're going to be in verses 18, 19 and 20. In these three short verses, normally three verses that you'd read very quickly, we're going to take some time to unpack them because there are four strategies that he gives to a soldier of the Lord, Jesus Christ, for what to do in the glorious battles so that you can be prepared when spiritual attack arises. Here's how he writes to his protege, Timothy. This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you. That by them, you fight the good fight. Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan so they will be taught not to blaspheme. In these three short verses, we see a military strategy for us as believers in Christ and as soldiers of the Lord for how we can engage in this glorious battle. I want to highlight four that God wants us to be aware of and what we can do so that we're aware of when spiritual attack happens how to conquer it. The first is this. In the glorious battle, desire and deploy spiritual gifts. In the glorious battle, desire and deploy spiritual gifts. Notice what he says. This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son. Paul is speaking from a place of authority. This command is a military term. He's telling him with all authority. He's already started in verse three telling him not to let people teach falsely. He's already encouraged him and told him, this is the command, I'm giving you this. Why? Because the church of Jesus Christ is kingdom soil on this planet. That what happens here is supposed to be representative of what's going on in heaven. When we pray, let your kingdom come, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, if there's any place, it should be done on earth as it is in heaven, it's in the church. He's giving him a authority with specific instructions, but he's also telling him this. I know you by name Timothy, and you're my son. There's a relational quality to the disciple making that takes place between Paul and Timothy. He's not just telling him what to do. He's not just commanding him. He's not just telling him he's a soldier of Jesus. He's already told us in other books he has no one like Timothy. Many others serve out of selfish ambition and other motives, but Timothy's motives are pure and he loves the Lord and he loves the Lord's people. He refers to Timothy as his son. We don't know who Timothy's father was. Presumably he wasn't a believer. We know about his mother and his grandmother who were instrumental in him coming to the faith. Paul is assuming the role as Timothy's spiritual father. He's like, "I'm giving you this command." This is of the utmost importance. Now why? Because the church of Jesus Christ in any generation is of the utmost importance for what is going to take place in that culture. Amen. He's giving him this command and what is this command? He gives him this command and he says, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you. Now prophecy can be boldly and fearlessly proclaiming God's word, but here it's also used to talk about a prophetic word. A prophetic word is one that is given to someone that brings encouragement, comfort, and consolation. It's when the Holy Spirit works through a person where they're speaking something over your life that goes deeper than what you even knew about your self. Timothy, when he had been called into the ministry, he needed to have that word. I believe that everybody that's called into the ministry needs to have some sort of word from the Lord. Maybe it's even a prophetic word that's confirmed by somebody else. Because when you get into the ministry, it is so hard to stay resolved in what God's called you to do that you've got to know it deep down for yourself that you've been called to do this. Now, I didn't grow up in a church that desired and deployed spiritual gifts. As a matter of fact, it felt a little bit weird to me when I was in environments where people were practicing spiritual gifts. When I talk about spiritual gifts, there's all sorts of spiritual gifts. You can read about them and you can write these verses down. This is not going to be an exhaustive study on spiritual gifts today. But in Romans 12:6-8, certain gifts are highlighted. In 1 Peter 4, 10 and 11, certain gifts are highlighted. In 1 Corinthians 12, four through 11, certain gifts are highlighted. You need to understand that at the moment that a person believes in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of them. If you've turned to Christ by faith in Him, you've turned from your sin, you've turned to Jesus, the Holy Spirit indwells you. He's there. He's a person. He's as much God as the son is. He's as much God as the father is, and he's in you. So often in church, we forget about the Holy Spirit. Oftentimes we refer to him as it. We talk about the father, we talk about the son and then we ask the Holy Spirit to come, let it fill us. Let it. Let it. He's not an it, he's a he. He's a person with personality. He comes in and indwells us. He's a spirit and he's in our lives, and he's there from the moment of conversion. Don't take my word for it, take the word of the Lord's word for it. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, we read about what happens at the moment of conversion. For by one spirit, that's the Holy Spirit, we were all baptized into one body. That's the body of Christ. Whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves are free, we were all made to drink of one spirit. When you are born again, when you trust Christ, you are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. That's the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That's what it means. Everybody is placed into the family of God. Jesus is your father. Everybody in the church is now your brother and sister. When I say church, I'm using church globally. Everybody that knows Christ is now your brother and sister, because we all have the same father because you've been baptized into the family of Christ. In case you say, "I don't know that that's happened for me." It has if you're born again. In Romans 8:9, here's another verse, it says, however, you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit if indeed the spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. If you don't have the Holy Spirit in you, you're not a Christian. If you haven't been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, you're not a Christian. Now, why do I share the gospel in almost every message or I try to every message that I preach? Because you need to understand that the gospel is this. The gospel is that you were dead in your sins, that there was nothing you could do to get to God, but God in His mercy and grace sent His son to be the savior of the world. He died on the cross in your place after fulfilling the law, was buried in the grave and rose from the dead. The only way anybody anywhere at any time can have a relationship with God is by repenting of their sin and trusting in Christ. It's through the relationship of Jesus Christ that you can have life in his name. Now, some people that come to church have experienced God. They've felt conviction for sin. They've felt a nearness to God. They may have wept during a worship song. They may have felt something in their heart move while the preaching was going on. There may have been a time of prayer or a word of encouragement for somebody where you said, "I think God's in this place." Just because God's has been working from the outside in, it does not mean you're a Christian. A Christian is one who has repented and turned to Christ by faith and then God comes to dwell on the inside. You have a new identity through a new birth and you've been given a new name, which is saint or holy person or one who is adopted and loved and chosen and all the things that are true of you through your new identity in Christ. It's important that we understand this. But here's what I think happens too often in evangelical churches. Too often in evangelical churches, because we believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit is at the moment of conversion and we believe that all of him is in you, here's the question I want to ask of our church and most churches that are Bible believing churches. You can't just have part of the Holy Spirit in your life, because he's a person. I mean, it'd be pretty tragic if you invited me over to your house for dinner and you answered the door and somebody in your family says, "Is Pastor Jeff there?" You say, "Well, part of him is here. Part of him is coming tomorrow, a little more of him will get here the next day." That'd be a bad deal because I'm a person. You want all of me. The Holy Spirit is a person. When he comes into your life, the whole person comes into your life. If you're a Christian, you have all the Holy Spirit. Here's the question. Does the Holy Spirit have all of you? Absolutely, yeah. See that's the question. Because sometimes we sit back and say, "Well, I have all the Holy Spirit. I was baptized." Then we argue with certain people that believe in a baptism of the Holy Spirit that's subsequent to conversion. Some people call the baptism of the Holy Spirit a second experience. I don't call that the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I call that the filling of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5 says, do not be drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery or wastefulness, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. Be being filled with the Holy Spirit. Do I believe there's experiences beyond conversion that the Holy Spirit wants to do in our life? Yes. Amen, yes. More and more and more amen, yes. Because the Holy Spirit, just because he's in you, as I say, often, he doesn't come in just to be a resident and sit there. He came in to be president and take over. In the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 14:1 it says this, pursue love. We would all say, "That's great. We're supposed to love God and love others. We get that." yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. Did you know you're called to desire spiritual gifts? A spiritual gift does not make you more Christian. A spiritual gift will not grow your maturity. but God says, it's not only normal for you to ask for gifts, but you should desire them. The purpose of gifts is to deploy them. They're an arsenal against the devil. In the military, when you do different things or you rise in rank, they give you badges. They have different insignia that gets put on different uniforms so that people can see them. We're not talking about insignia. We're not talking about, "Hey, I can speak in tongues. Hey, I can prophesy. Hey ..." That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about weapons of warfare that we're going to use. For instance, some of you have the gift of encouragement. Do you know why God gave you the gift of encouragement? To encourage people. Having the gift of encouragement doesn't do any good just to tell people, "Hey, I wanted you to know something. I have the gift of encouragement." That doesn't help. God gave you the gift of encouragement to encourage. God didn't give you the gift of service to sit on the sidelines and tell people, "Hey, I have the gift of service." God gave you the gift of service to serve. Some of you have been given more speaking gifts. Some of you've been given more serving gifts. I mean, we can talk about evangelism or teaching or exhorting or shepherding or giving or administration. We could talk about the different types of ministries God gives from apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. But I want to talk about some of the lists in 1 Corinthians 14, because oftentimes in Bible churches, people say, "Well, those gifts don't exist anymore." I want to tell you, I've read through the Bible, I don't know how many times, I can't find anywhere in the Bible where God is different today than He was yesterday. But I can find a lot of things in the Bible that says, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. I've been reading afresh through the Book of Acts and through the ministry of Jesus Christ. What I see is, when He went around, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, as often as He did that was as often as He healed and was as often as He cast out demons. When I read through the Book of Acts, as much as they went out proclaiming the gospel, I don't read one person say, "Hey, you need to come forward and ask Jesus into your heart." I see them proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. I see them casting out demons. I see them healing people. God still works the same way that He's always worked. I for one, and what's called the continuation, is I believe that all the gifts have continued and all the gifts are there. But if the church doesn't desire them and if the church doesn't use them, it will seem as if there are no gifts for the church. But God has given us these gifts as an arsenal to use against our enemy because our enemy is wicked. Why is there an enemy? When God created the entire universe, we saw there was no enemy. Satan didn't exist. Satan was created in Genesis 1:31. God saw all that he had made, and behold it was very good. Satan means adversary. There was no adversary. Sometime after creation week and before the temptation in the garden and before the fall of man, Satan rebelled against God. What is this desire in our life? John 10:10 tells us, he comes to do three things, steal, kill, and destroy. What do you know about his personality? He's a liar and he's been a murderer from the beginning. He hates you. He wants to destroy you, the relationships that you're in. He wants to discourage you. He wants to make you feel distraught. He wants you to live in fear, guilt, doubt, shame, all those things. That's of the enemy. That's not of the Lord. Amen. Amen. I want to talk about some of these gifts because they're so important. Three gifts. There's nine gifts in 1 Corinthians 14, but I'll talk about them in groups of three. One is a word of wisdom. One is a word of knowledge, and one is discernment of spirits. These expose the enemy's strategy. A word of knowledge, some of you have that gift. You just don't realize it's a gift. Is when you know things about other people you wouldn't otherwise know about other people. Nobody told you about it. You don't know why you know that about them, but you know that about them. You just know. You may be praying for them and you know that they're pregnant and they haven't even told anybody that they're pregnant yet. You may know that that person is struggling because they just got off a conversation with their mother and they're really upset about it. You know that they're really upset about the conversation they got off the phone with, with their mother, but you don't know why you know that. But you know that, and it's true. That's a word of knowledge. God uses that in conversation to let other people know that God sees them. God uses that to spur on prayer for other people when you have that. Some of you have what's called a gift that's a word of wisdom. A word of wisdom is this. When somebody is talking to you, it can seem like a real complex, complicated thing, but when you're listening to them, it's like, "Well, shouldn't you just do this? Wouldn't that make sense?" The person's like, "I didn't think of that. I mean, it's so easy. That's the way to go." That's a word of wisdom. You don't even need to know the situation, the circumstance, you may not even know the person, but you're listening to them and God's like, "Yeah, just tell him to go there." Some people have a gift called discernment of spirits. You know things about another person's character and intention that's never been revealed to you by anybody other than the Lord. You just know it. They have an intent to hurt somebody. They're an abuser. In that marriage, here's what's really going on behind the scenes. Now they're not telling you this, nobody else is telling you, you know this. These gifts here expose the strategy of the enemy. That's why God gives us those gifts. That's why God uses those gifts. If you have those gifts, don't suppress those gifts, use those gifts. Now let me just be careful in how I teach you this. It doesn't mean you walk up to somebody and say, "God told me to tell you ..." Then tell them. God didn't tell you to tell anybody anything. A great way to approach it can be. "Hey, as I was praying for you, I had this sense. Does this make any sense to you?" Let them be the one that gets to discern it. Let them be the one that gets to own it. You're not in authority over anybody's life. Only God is. Amen. But God gives gifts like that in the church so that we can be aware. It's good to have people in the church that have different gifts, where they know things and they have wisdom on things and they can discern things. They're like, "Hey, I'd be careful over there. That's something that's just troubling my spirit when I pray about that." When we expose the enemy's strategy, it gives us great opportunity to pray for those things. Let me talk about three others, faith, miracle, and healings. Faith, miracles, and healings. Faith, miracle, and healings defeat the enemy's power. When you have faith exhibited in such a way where you see God come through or miracles or healings, you see God's power, it's great for evangelism. You think about Jesus' ministry when he healed people, why did he heal people? I mean, every time he healed somebody or did a miracle like that, it wasn't so that people looked to Him and that He jumped around and said, "See, I'm God. Look at me." Now, He did it ... Remember when he healed the man who had been paralyzed from birth and the Pharisees started chirping and saying ... I'm sorry. When he said, "I forgive this man sins." Like, "Who does he think he is? He's blaspheming because only God can forgive sins." He's like, "Okay. Well, so you know that I'm God, get up and walk. What's harder? I'm God." The guy gets up and walks. When you see a healing or you see a miracle, you don't need anybody else to tell you it was a healing or a miracle. Did you know that? [crosstalk 00:22:10]- Nobody needs to persuade you of it. A miracle means that God has stopped the natural order of things to do something supernatural. If and when that happens, you don't need somebody to explain that that just happened. You saw it. If the sun stands still in one place and doesn't move for 24 hours, you don't need a pastor to tell you that's a miracle. You'll know it's a miracle. If you see somebody that's dead and they're now raised from the dead and you see it with your own two eyes, you don't need somebody to tell you that's a miracle. You saw the miracle. God sometimes uses miracles, sometimes uses healings to advance the kingdom cause through the gospel. How does God use faith? We've been talking about it all along. We're going to talk about it more today. Without faith, it's impossible to please God. God loves it when people step out in faith believing that He is. God loves it when people live in such a way that, "God you've got to come through in this." God uses all those things. Some of you have gifts of faith. If you have a gift of faith, taking a step of courage to move in a direction where nobody else is going, won't seem hard for you. As a matter of fact, you'll probably be frustrated like, "Why isn't everybody coming along? This is easy." Remember when Joshua and Caleb were told to go into the promised land. They had gifts of faith. Everybody else saw the giants, everybody else saw all the hardship. Joshua and Caleb are like, "What is your problem? God told us to do this. Let's go." David, when he's facing Goliath, the whole army is scared of Israel. What's David say, "What is this uncircumcised Philistine doing in our land? I mean, I'm just a little kid, but give me five stones and a slingshot. I'll take care of this guy." That's faith. Faith is when you move that direction and God uses gifts of faith to turn people's hearts back towards Him. Some of you have gifts of faith. It's easy for you to take those steps. Some of you, God may use to use miracles. Some of you, God may use to heal people. That's okay. God can choose to move any way at any time He chooses, but God is not dependent upon us. Meaning, I can't say to a mountain move. God has to show me, Jeff, that's the mountain I want you to move. I can't demand that God heals everybody on demand, but I can pray for it, and God gets to choose who's going to get healed. I can pray for God to do something miraculous, but only God can choose what He wants to do when He wants to do it. Amen. Then these final three gifts in that list are prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. I'll come back to prophecy lessons. We're going to talk about it. But tongues and interpretation of tongues, lots of churches split over tongues and interpretation of tongues. Tongues just means language. That's what it is. Tongues is a language that's unknown to the speaker. That's what it is. Sometimes tongues are used in an audience with an interpreter so that they're speaking a language that they themselves don't even know what they're saying, but somebody else there clearly understands and tells everybody in their language, what was being said. I've only seen that done twice in 30 years of ministry well. When it was done well, it was powerful, powerful. Somebody stood up over here, chirping something I didn't understand, and somebody walked through the front and said, "Here's what the Lord says." It was exactly what we were singing about and exactly what was going on in my heart. Now, I've seen abuses of all these gifts too, by the way. One of the reasons we have a hard time talking about this ... Let's just be honest with each other. How many have seen abuses of any spiritual gifts before in your life? Which is why ... If you haven't, just keep living and you'll see them. We kind of shy away from this stuff like tongues. I believe God gives prayer language of tongues to certain people in the body of Christ and doesn't other people. Not all have the gift of tongues. But if you have it ... Paul had it. He said, "My mind is unfruitful. I don't know what I'm saying, but my spirit is full." If you have a gift of tongues and prayer, then you'll know exactly how that works, and that's totally true. That you can be praying in a tongue that you yourself don't know and your heart is full with Jesus Christ, but you have no idea what you're saying. Now for some of you, just so you know, I want to desire that gift. I want to pray for the gift of tongues. Here's a great way. Start praying in English first until you run out of things to say in English and your praise is so good, and then see if God will give you another tongue to worship Him. Okay? Because again, tongues are not to show people, "Hey, look what I can do." But they are gifts in the body of Christ. Many of you speak in tongues and others of you don't, and it's okay. It's not a sign of spiritual maturity. But then let's talk about this gift of prophecy. Yes, prophecy can be bold and faithful preaching, but prophecy can also be a word of encouragement, a word of consolation and a word of comfort that is spoken to you, perhaps even by somebody that doesn't know you or doesn't know your situation. The word comes to you and it blesses your heart. I learned about this gift in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia. I was at a clergy conference for promise keepers. I was a young youth director, 26 years old, was praying about, "Lord, are you going to keep me in ministry for the rest of my life? Or am I going to go back and coach football? Or what do you have me doing? I'm willing to do whatever you want." John Maxwell, some of you know who he is, he was on the platform speaking. He talked about a prayer partner that he had that came into his office as a young Methodist pastor who prayed for him, who was super encouraging to him. He asked us, "Why don't you turn to somebody right around you, and for 30 days, just covenant to pray with them?" I turned around and started looking. All of a sudden, I see this guy that had hair, just white hair all the way back, kind of looked like an angelic figure. I remember I turned around, I was looking at him and he looked at me and he goes, "I want you." I said, "Okay." I went to sit down to pray and he said, "No, the intercessor always stands." He laid hands on me and started praying for me things that I had never told anybody, that nobody knew about. I began to weep and he prayed and prophesied over me. He goes, "God has you as a pastor, and one day you're going to pastor pastors and send them all over the world." Guess what I'm doing now. That was a prophetic word in my life. We finished our prayer time and John Maxwell came back up, he's like, "Hey, I just want to introduce my prayer partner." It's Bill Kloss and he's sitting right there and I'm like, "That was my guy." Those are prophetic words. They're timely. They mean something. When I was in seminary, I got to a place where ... I'm not an academic by nature. I don't like going to the library. I'd rather go down to 16th street and share the gospel than go to the library. I remember being in the library and just, "Do I really want to do seminary as a degree even worth it?" I remember I was at this conference and I was one of about 20 to 25 high school leaders. The guy that was there for the weekend said, "Hey, I just want to minister to you guys before you guys go out this weekend and do stuff." I thought he was going to preach a little bit, and he started praying over people. The night before I was asking the question like, "Lord, why don't I have these spiritual gifts? Should I really stay in seminary?" Those, I was writing down in my journal. He came up and laid his hands on my shoulders, and when he did, I felt the power of God. He said, "Stop looking for signs and wonders." Went on to tell me things I would see which I've seen. Then he said, "Continue to study the word of God because in the ministry for which God has called you, you will need to rightly divide the word of truth." I stayed in seminary because of that prophetic word. That's what a prophetic word is. Do you think we want more of those or less of those in the body of Christ? More. I want more. When Kim and I were engaged, we had a prophetic word over us when we were there. We were in Kansas city. We had a prophetic word prayed over us that we were going to move to a desert and that we were going to be an oasis that people were going to come from all over the place to be fed by the Lord. We were living in Illinois. It's not a desert. Even after we moved here, it was like a year after we were here, my wife called me the phone and she said, "Remember that word that somebody had for us? Isn't Denver a desert?" I'm like, "Yeah, it kind of is." She reminded me of the word and I'm like, "Yeah, that's what God's building here. That's what he's doing." That's what a prophetic word does. Friends here at BRAVE Church, I want to see more of God's spirit alive in the church, not less. What tends to happen when there's craziness with spiritual gifts, pastors, because of protecting the flock, tend to shut it down and say, "We're never doing that again." I, for one would just rather shepherd it. I'd rather shepherd it. I've seen people who have the gift of teaching that teach really well in the church. I've seen people teach in the church and they're just not good. They shouldn't be teaching. But that doesn't mean that we should say, "Just remove all the teachers from the church. We had a bad experience once." I've seen people with the gifts of prophecy, I've seen people with the gifts of tongues. But I've seen every abuse of that stuff too. "God told me to tell you this." I've had plenty of those bad experiences. I remember one time we were in London and there was this group that thought they had this gift. There were prophesied over my kids. One guy got prophesied over he's going to play in the NFL. I was thinking while he was prophesying, I'm like, "Do you think he might be more than third string for us now as a sophomore in high school?" I mean, it was just weird stuff. Prophesying and things that the Lord is not even saying. You know if it's yours. The Bible says, do not forbid the speaking of tongues and pray that you might prophesy. That's my foundation for what I want to do as a church. I would love us to be more encouraged by one another. I would love us to have words for one another. If God ever had a tongue for us and He wanted us to have ... If there's an interpreter and we did it in order and in decency, I'd love to see that. That'd be fine. I'm open to those things, but I'm also open to shepherding those things too. Because the Bible says, do not despise prophecies. But it also says, weigh them. Just because somebody prophesies something over you, it doesn't mean it's true. If it leads to discouragement, shame, fear, doubt, it's not of the Lord. It's just not of the Lord and you can reject that. Okay? It's important for us to desire and deploy spiritual gifts. The reason Timothy is still in the ministry is because of that prophetic word that was on his life. If the only reason that you continue to serve is because, "Yeah, I think I'll give this a try." You won't make it very long. I mean, for those of you who feel like, "I think I'm going to serve with high school students. I'm going to serve in kids." Go do it for three weeks and then I'll ask you, "Do you feel like doing it anymore?" You'll be like, "No. Not anymore. I don't think it's for me." You've got to have something internal that comes out of you. Certainly it's the Lord, but sometimes the Lord accompanies that with a word from somebody else that's, "I see that in you and God's doing this in your life and here's what He's doing that's encouraging." That continues on throughout ministry. God still does those things. BRAVE Church, I just want us to be open to how the spirit would continue to guide us to greener pastures so we can experience that in all truth. Amen. In the glorious battle, desire and deploy spiritual gifts, because our enemy is real. Number two is this. In the glorious battle, determined to keep fighting. Determine to keep fighting. In other words, I'll say it real simple, don't quit. Notice what Paul says to Timothy. He says that by them, you fight the good fight. Friends, Christianity is warfare. Being a believer in our world is warfare. Because if you're really going to live for God, the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3, that anyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ, Jesus will be persecuted. I mean, if you don't believe me, here's my encouragement, just start living by great faith and go after God with everything and start living for him to the full and see if I'm not telling you the truth. The more you live for God, the more you will be opposed. It's just true. That's why, don't quit. That's why when Paul writes to the Philippian church, he says this, forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. He says, I'm not going to live in my past, but I'm going to continue to go after my future. I need a focus of where I'm going. This is what he tells him. He tells him, fight the good fight. Why? Because our enemy is relentless. There was never a time where the enemy left Jesus alone for a period of time. I mean, there was times where maybe he left for a little bit and looked for a more opportune time. Even when we see him in the wilderness, when he's tempting Jesus and gets defeated, where do we see them show up again, in living color? Right in the garden of Gethsemane right before Jesus is to go do the greatest act He will ever do and take on the sin of all humanity and die for us so that we can have life with Him, that's where Satan shows up again. If Jesus at that time was like, "You know what? This is going to be really hard. I don't know that I want to do this anymore." None of us could ever have a relationship with God. Friends, it is when it gets hard that God's asking you to stay in the fight. Anybody can get started. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. God wants you to finish. It means you keep going. It means you keep walking. You stay in the fight. Now why? Because the enemy is a liar and here's how he works in your life. He works through fear, he works through guilt and he works through shame. A couple of weeks ago as a church, I stood up here and I shared the vision of where I believe God's taking us. Which simply means this. We're raising our sail and allowing the Holy Spirit to breathe wind into it and he can take us wherever he wants us to go. But these are some of the things that are on our heart. What might happen? I can tell you this, going into that weekend, as I'm getting ready to preach, I'm feeling attacked on every single side. The second I got done preaching at 12:00 on that day, I was thoroughly discouraged and it just continued on all Sunday, even Monday. My wife and I were on a plane. We flew down to Louisiana for some training that we were doing with a group of pastors. By Monday night ... Kim and I always get along. It's rare we're not getting along. We didn't even talk at dinner. We were sitting by each other and we were both mad at each other. I'm like, "What in the world?" We both knew it was spiritual. We knew where it was coming from, but we're mad and we were frustrated and all these things going on. As the week progressed, I got a couple of different emails, which kind of gave me that spirit of fear and I started thinking about it. Have you ever done that before? Pastor John was in our staff meeting the other day. I got to share this because it was so cool. He goes, "Has anybody here ever woken up at 3:00 in the morning with a spirit of fear and helped the devil co-author a book called worst case scenario?" You ever have that? I mean, I was having that for about three days while I was down in Louisiana. I was thinking all these things that were happening. Here's what the devil does in my life. I don't know if he works this way in your life, but he tries to remind me of my past. He tries to take me back to my past and shame me about my past. Even though I know intellectually I'm forgiven and even though I've repented of everything that I think I could repent of, and I know Jesus Christ took care of it on the cross, and I know when I'm walking with Him and His identity ... God didn't call me because I'm a good guy. God called me because of His grace. I know all those things. But when we're moving forward in faith, he always reminds me of my past and shames me about my past and makes me feel like a fraud about my past. Tells me things like, "Someone's going to find you out." To which I'm like, "I got nothing to hide. I'm not hiding anything." But that's how I felt. And I felt that way all week during training. On Thursday, we went into training and this pastor that's been training us, started talking about the very thing that I've been wrestling with and some of the fears that I had. He prophesied over about seven of us and I was one of the ones he prophesied over. Now, keep in mind, we didn't talk to him about what we were dealing with, but I was telling Kim on the way in, I'm like, "I'm just so fearful. I feel like I'm consumed in fear, but I know it's of the enemy and I just need to know how to stand firm. But I don't know where it's coming from." He came and laid his hands on me and he said, "Jeff, stop worrying about your past and the mistakes that you've made. Everybody's made mistakes. They're all forgiven." Then went on to give me this encouraging word. Within about 10 seconds, I was like, "I'm fine again." Amen. That's what we're talking about. Because I don't know how many people come here. You love the Lord. I mean, if you don't, you probably don't come back. But I mean, if you love the Lord and you're coming, it doesn't mean that every single week you leave and are like, "Yeah!" Sometimes you leave and there's things that are going on in your life that need prayed over and need to be encouraged and need to be served so that you can have that lifted out of your life and go on with joy and hope. So that you don't do what? Don't quit. Hebrews 12:2 says to fix our eyes upon Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before us endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Then it says this, consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Think about all Jesus did. He wanted to quit too, but he didn't. Here's what I've learned. When the devil starts reminding you of your past, here's all you need to do. Remind him of his future. Because I know my future. My future, like your future who are believers, is to be presented faultless before my father's thrown and hear the words, well done, good and faithful servant. His future is in the lake of fire, suffering torment forever and ever. Amen. Don't let him lie to you. Don't you dare quit. Friends, too often, we think that we're not doing the work. Too often we think, "Is what I'm doing really making a difference?" If you're doing it for the Lord, it's making a difference. Husbands, when you love your wives, it's making a difference. Dads, when you love your kids, it's making a difference. Wives, when you respect your husbands, it's making a difference. Wives, when you love your kids, it's making a difference. Kids, when you respect your parents, it makes the difference. When you serve in school well, it makes the difference. When you honor your employer, it makes a difference. Every little thing you do that you say, "I don't think it's making a difference." It's making a difference for the kingdom of God. Don't quit. Stay in the fight. I mean, the only way Satan can somewhat seemingly win is to get Christians to stop moving forward. Let me just tell you this. When Christians feel as though they can't move forward, when we're living in shame and guilt and doubt and fear, and I'm no good, you can listen to a pastor expound the word and say, "Let's take on the world. Let's go out there and do it." You're like, "Yeah, good for you guys. Go." Because when we don't feel filled with the spirit of God in our life, it's very difficult to do it. But when we know that we're loved and we're chosen and we're adopted, and God couldn't be more pleased with us and you know your sins are forgiven, and no matter what you've done, you've felt the mercy and grace of God wash over you and overwhelm you, and you know when you go out to advance the kingdom, it's not for the good person you are, it's for the good God that you serve that's doing something in and through you, there's great joy and hope in that. Amen. Amen. That's why we gather as a church to remind each other, don't quit. Don't quit. Because on any given Sunday, there's a group of people that come in here ready to worship, and on any given Sunday, there's people that are saying, it's my last straw. If this doesn't go well today, I don't know that I can take it anymore. God says to you, "Don't quit. I see you. I love you. I'm with you. Let's continue to do this." Amen. Amen. God is doing a great work. In his glorious battle, continue to desire and to deploy the spiritual gifts, determined to keep fighting. Let me give you a third. Develop faith and good character. Develop faith and good character. Did you know you can develop your faith? Faith is a muscle. You can grow it. What may have been great faith early on, won't be hard for you to do as you continue to journey with the Lord. Keep developing that faith muscle. Notice what Paul says. Paul said that by them, you may fight the good fight. He finished his life saying that he had fought the good fight, he had finished the race. He had kept the faith. Notice what he says in verse 19, keeping faith and a good conscience. Faith and a good conscience. That's faith and good character. You all know your conscience. From the time you're young, your conscience begins to tell you, "Don't do that. You're going to feel bad if you do that." Don't do that. Stay in line. Go this way. Not that ..." That's your conscience. Develop that. Have good character because he said this, he goes, "Some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith because they didn't develop good character." Our enemy is strategic. He's sly. He's got game footage on you. He knows where to get you to trip up. I'm 50 years old now. I've watched many people in my position not finish well. Some I don't know and some I know. It breaks my heart every single time. As a younger believer, maybe in my 20s or 30s, I'd be like, "Man, what was wrong with that guy?" Now that I'm 50 and I watched these guys that genuinely loved the Lord and shipwreck their faith and don't finish well, I think one of two things happen. Either a, they lost their first love. Or b, they lacked Godly character. Usually it's a combination of both. When I pray now, I always pray, "God do not let my capacity outstretch my character. Grow my ... I don't want to be one of those guys." If at the end of my life, I can say I faithfully served the church you called me to, faithfully proclaimed the word, I faithfully loved my wife, I faithfully loved my kids, they love me. I love them. It's a good life. But to see God do great things through you only to shipwreck your faith is probably the one of the worst things that could happen to you on this side of heaven. Don't search for greatness here. If you want to be great, be a servant. You want to be the greatest, be the slave of everybody. That's how you become great. Don't let your capacity outstretch your character. There's two things God wants us to develop. One is our faith. One is our faith. Here's my question. What are you trusting God for right now that if he doesn't show up in your life, you're in trouble. Now for some of you, you can name it. For others of you, you would say, "I don't know. I mean, I'm pretty good. I mean, I'll make it through the day. I'm going to be all right." See, if that's really true of you, then trust Him. "Pastor Jeff, I don't know what to do. I mean, I have a lot of money. I trust God." Then give more of it away so that you have to trust Him for more. "But God, I have a lot of friends." Then give them away. Have other friends and go build some more. I mean, anytime you start trusting God and taking new steps it's uncomfortable. What happens in the church so often is that we stop exercising our faith muscle. Many well-meaning Christians will help you do it. I moved here to reach the city with the gospel and be a hub for the nations of the world. That's why I came here. There's well-meaning people that will say stuff like this, "Pastor Jeff, couldn't we just go to another service?" Yeah. That won't help us reach the world, but we can do that. When you begin to unpack the question, really what it boils down to is, "I just don't want to give any more of my money to the church." I don't want to be part of that. Good vision for you, but I don't want to be part of that. But see, I do. I'm willing to go with what God is saying and take steps of faith to see if he might be in this and then bring people along. Because I believe that there's hundreds of thousands of people in our city that need to know the Lord Jesus Christ. If they were to die today, we're talking about eternal separation from the king. That's a big deal. God's given us the opportunity to do something about that. Amen. By the way, just because I believe God's sovereign, which I do, because the Bible makes clear God's in control of everything, I'm not a determinist. I don't believe God flipped a switch at creation and just said, "Here you go. I'm gone. Whatever's going to happen is going to happen." I don't believe that at all, from biblical revelation or what I've seen in the world. I think in the seasons, in the history of the church, where the churches band together and said by faith, "We are going to believe God to do great things. To do everything that he wants to do to keep people from going to hell in our city, to reach them with the gospel, to grow them up and to send them around the world." We've seen great revival at those times. Now here's what I know to be true. Are we going to live in a world that's going to cycle into what we read about in the book of Revelation here in the next couple of years? God knows. Are we living in an area where we're going to see the greatest revival we have in the history of the world in our generation? God knows. But I believe that God would love to see the greatest revival in the history of the world and I believe he'd loved to use BRAVE Church to be a part of that. By faith, we should be making steps all the time to say, "God, whatever you want to do, we just want to serve you and lay down our lives so that you can use us for the propagation of the gospel." That's what God uses. We got to develop our faith muscle. Wherever you are with your faith muscle, however big you think it is and however strong you think it is, let me tell you, God can make it bigger and stronger. There's ways that you can take steps of faith. Ways that you can lean on God even more. Ways that you can trust him. But let me give you a second thing. Not only do you need to develop your faith, develop your character. Develop your character. Every time I see someone in politics, ministry, school, wherever, some public figure fall, it is always a result of a lack of character. Always. Grow your character. Character is grown when nobody else is watching. It's the little things that you do that nobody else sees. Have you ever written down your values, your standards, your beliefs? I mean, I'll give you a couple that you could write down. How about this one? Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Just do what you say and say what you do. If you tell somebody you're going to do something, do it. If you'd tell them, no, you told them no. Saying no is not a bad thing, by the way. Did you know that? Because when you say no to something, you're really able to say yes to something else. If I said yes to everybody, and I love you, but if I said yes to every single person that has invited me over to their house for dinner, I would never be at my house for dinner. That would not be good for my family. I often say no, because I'm saying yes to the people that I'm closest to that need me the most. Does this mean I've been perfect in this? No. I can think of examples even while I'm preaching. That's why as I prepared this message, I'm like, "No, I got to grow in this too." Let our yes be yes, let our no be no. That's one. How about this? Sexual purity. If you're single or if you're married, how about sexual purity? What do you have in place for you to do so that you can ensure that you're going to be sexually pure? Because if you wait until the battle starts, it's way too late to fight it. Singles, listen to me, listen, singles, don't decide how far you're going to go on a date when you're on the date and it's dark and you're all by yourself. You've already lost that battle. You set standards now so that you don't ever put yourself into that situation. I dated my wife when I was in my young 30s. Every date I had, I think almost, I was either with her parents, my parents, or my younger brother. Why? Because I thought she was hot, and she is still. Amen. I didn't want to put myself in a situation where I fractured our relationship because of Godly desires met in an ungodly way. Does that make sense? Now I'm married. I'm satisfied my wife. I love my wife. but I still have standards and practices that I put in. I don't spend time alone with other women if they're not part of my family. My mother-in-law, my mom, my sisters, my daughters, my wife, I'll spend time alone with them. But nobody else. We're not going to spend time together. We're not going to be Facebook buddies. I'm not going to share my heart with you. We're not going to get to know each other like that. Why? Because I'm really scared? No. Because I preference my wife and I love her. I never want to be put in that situation. I want to be putting this ... If somebody ever accused me, I would want to say, "Hey, the burden of proof with you. I've never been with anybody else. Good luck." Why not do that? You say, "Pastor Jeff, why do you walk your wife out on the stage at the end of every service?" Well, because I love my wife, number one. Number two, she's my soulmate and she is my best friend and does ministry with me all the time. Three, it's a nonverbal to anybody here that, "Hey, I'm taking and I'm satisfied." That's right. All right. Amen. [crosstalk 00:49:59]- What do you have in your life that demonstrates to people what you will and what you won't do. I'll give you a third one. I think this is super important. Who do you have in your life that can speak into your life that you'll actually listen to? I know men that have fallen and they had people in their lives that were telling them things, but they didn't listen. Who is in your life that really loves you enough to tell you hard truth that you don't want to hear, but you'll still listen to them? I have three guys in this church and I have three pastors outside this church, and my wife. That makes seven. They can say whatever they want whenever they want it. Now, I've tried to get better at this over time. Even if I'm listening to somebody, I don't agree with, usually there's a grain of truth in there that I need to listen to, wrestle with, pray through. That's good. But who are the people in your life that if they said, "Hey, I'm seeing this in you and it's wrong and you need to stop." That you would say, "Okay, search me and try me. You're my friend. I know you love me. Thanks for telling me that." Do you have that in your life? If you don't, you're setting yourself up because none of us see the world perfectly. None of us see perfectly clear. None of us have it all figured out and we need those people. I mean, even think about Peter. I mean the night that Jesus was betrayed, he said, "Hey, Satan has desired to sift you like wheat." Satan hates you. He'll even use your strengths to take you down. Develop faith, develop good character. I've done enough funerals. Nobody cares what you accomplished at your funeral. Did you know that? Because you're dead. Even if they do care, you won't hear any of the accolades anyways. But I find that people that had good character, when I hear a wife get up and talk about her husband or a husband get up and talk about his wife, or kids get up and talk about their parents, when they had good character, you should go to a funeral sometime where it's like that, it's pretty special. Because what people remember is how much you love God and specifically how much you loved them. Amen. In this fight, develop faith and good character. Those are the weapons that we fight with. We're not fighting with our fists. We're not yelling at people. We're trusting God to do a work in and through us and we're letting Him develop our character. Then finally, let me give you this one. This one, you're probably not going to get anywhere else, even though it's in the Bible. We read over these. But in the glorious battle, discipline factious people. The church is called to discipline factious people. Notice what he says, some have shipwrecked their faith. He's going to name these two. He's going to publicly name them. This one is a letter that would have been read out loud. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan so they will be taught not to blaspheme. He's going to publicly call them out by name in a church. Have you ever seen that done? I mean, why would he do that? Because he's protecting his flock. Now I want to be clear when I say factious. Factious does not mean sinners. If we took all the sinners out of the church, this would be an empty building, including the platform. This also doesn't mean necessarily unrepentant sinners either because there's some of you that have come here today and you're wrestling with stuff and you're wanting things to change, but they haven't changed, but you want them to, or you kind of have a little bit of a hard heart, but you're asking God to do ... That's not what we're talking about. I'm talking about factious people. We're talking about hard-hearted, I'm a Christian, but I'm against you. I'm against the church. I'm going to take people out of this church. I'm going to do what I want to do and I'll do it in my way. People like that can't be here. A good pastor will remove them. You say, "Well, where are you getting that?" From the word of God. This is just one scripture. Titus 3:10, 11, reject a factious man after a first and second warning. That means you tell that brother, "I love you, but I'm warning you don't mess with Christ and don't mess with our flock." After the first and the second warning, reject them, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning being self-condemned. Now, what did Paul say? He goes, "I turned them over to Satan." If you were to get ex-communicated from BRAVE Church, all you have to do is go across the street or down the street and you can find another church and be like, "That's fine. I just didn't like BRAVE Church." Can you imagine what it was like in the first century? You get kicked out of the church in Ephesus, there is no other church. Everybody in the church knows you by name and knows that you're out. God uses that to stir in somebody's heart. Even as a church, even if we do that graciously and kindly, the Holy Spirit still uses that. Because even if you try to outrun God, He's right where you are. Did you know that? Now when I grew up, I'm just telling you my heart because you got to hear this, when I grew up, I didn't have a lot of respect for church. This was my view, false view, but this was my view. If you couldn't make it anywhere else in life, if you weren't a good athlete, if you weren't a good student, if you tried out for the glee club and they kicked you out, if you, I mean, you couldn't get anything else right, go to church. They take everybody there. That was my view. It's a wrong view, but it was my view. The reason was, is because I believe there's authority in the church that is not exercised in the church very often. There's three areas where the church needs to exercise authority. One is in the word of God. You need to go to a church where the word of God is opened and the pastor will herald the authority of God's word without apology. He can be introverted. He can be extroverted. He can be animated. He can be unanimated. He can dress in a suit. He can wear jeans. It doesn't matter. Can he bring the word of God to a group of people and say, "Thus, sayeth the Lord." Is there authority in the preaching and the teaching? I never saw that growing up. Number two, I didn't see was authority in the world. Friends, when Jesus said I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it, how did Jesus view the church? Jesus viewed the church as the most important institution on planet earth. It is kingdom soil for God's will to be done. Which means this, it trumps any other authority in the universe. "Yeah, but Pastor Jeff, have you not read in the paper? Pastor Jeff, have you not heard what this person said?" Have you not read what Jesus said? Jesus is the authority. We're called to take the gospel to the world. We don't need to be quiet about that. We don't need to hunker down in a bunker and hope that nobody hurts us. We're on the offensive. There needs to be authority in our church that we're not afraid of the world and we will advance the kingdom of God in the world with a love for God and a love for the people that we're advancing it towards. Amen. But then three, there also needs to be authority in the church so that when there's somebody who's not living for Christ, who is hard-hearted trying to hurt the church and the people in it, that we will lovingly tell the church, don't hang out with that person anymore. Don't be with them anymore. Don't go that way. If you want to go with them, go with them, but they're not coming back here. Because we love you enough to protect the flock. Now let me be clear on what I'm saying in case some of you are unclear. Because I know we're running a little late, but you got to hear this. I'm not talking about shaming people that sin. I've seen people try to do this in a very dishonoring way to God. Where a young girl in the church gets pregnant out of wedlock and they drag her up on the platform and they shame her and say, "Look at this and this bad stuff she did." That's abuse. That's spiritual abuse. We've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That's why we're here. I'm talking about ones who are hard-hearted, hard charging, "I don't like the pastor. I don't like the church. I'm going to take as many people out of that place as I can. I'm going to speak bad of them." We would publicly address that and say, "You should be aware of this person. You should be aware of this man. You should be aware of this woman. You shouldn't associate with them because bad company corrupts good morals." That's part of the battle. When you have authority in the word and you have authority in the world and you have authority in the church, it makes the church powerful. Now I read Old Testament passages like Moses and Korah. Korah rose up against Moses and like, "How come you think you're the only one that gets to be the leader of the nation?" Moses is like, "Because God called me. Come on, man. I didn't choose this. God chose me. I wouldn't want to do this." I mean, God said, "Okay, let's have a party. Anybody wants to go with Korah, go over there. Anybody with Moses go over here." The earth opened up and swallowed Korah and all the rebellious people into hell. There's days I mean, in the last 11 years where I've thought that'd be cool, but God doesn't work just like that. However, in the first century church, when we get into the Book of Acts, you have a guy named Annanias. Annanias has sold a piece of property. It wasn't that he kept some for himself, but he was bragging to the church about all the money he was bringing in while he was pocketing in it for himself just to look good. Peter said, "Why did you lie to the Holy Spirit?" He went, thud and went to heaven. Disciples were like, "Great. We got to dig a hole." They went out and dug a hole. By the time they get back, there's his wife standing there and he's like, "Did you sell it for such and such a price?" She said, "Yep." She fell dead. The disciples were probably like, "Great. Now we got to dig another hole." But can you imagine what happened in that church? You don't want to lie in that church. God takes his church pretty seriously. That's what authority looks like. Authority should be exercised in incredible humility. It should be a rare thing, but it's kind of like authority in your home. Sometimes there's discipline that needs to take place in the home. It should be done with the ultimate humility, but it should be done because if you don't do it, it wrecks the whole family. This is what God's calling us to do. I mean, these three short verses, He's telling us to stay engaged in this battle. He's telling us to desire spiritual gifts and deploy them. He's telling us to determine that we're going to keep fighting and not quit and develop faith and good character, and finally be willing to discipline factious people when necessary. For the sake of the whole body being able to grow and rise. Friends, we're in a glorious battle and God says, "I want you to finish well." We all want to hear the words, well done, good and faithful servant. Know this, the battle is not yours. The battle is the Lord's. Amen. Amen. He wants to use you for great things. Friends, I'm here to tell you on the authority of God's word, that He loves you with an unconditional love, that He is willing to forgive all of your sins, that He is willing to indwell you with His spirit, that He is willing to use your life as a soldier for the Lord, Jesus Christ in His army for His glory and He will walk with you. His presence will go with you all the days of your life. Amen. Amen. Amen. Would you stand with me? Lord, we give you all the glory honor and praise for who you are. If you're here today and you've never trusted Jesus as your personal Lord and savior, here's how you can pray. Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. I know I don't have a relationship with you. I've sent you before, but you're not in me. Lord, I want to turn from my sin right now. I want to repent and I want to give my heart and life over to you. By faith come into my life Lord Jesus. Give me the free gift of salvation. Fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit and do a great work. Lord, for those of us that know you, you give us a resolve to walk with you all the days of our life and to honor you in all things. For we give you glory, we give you honor, and we give you praise as we sing to you in Jesus name. Amen and amen. [inaudible 01:01:40].