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A Faith Worth Fighting For - Part One

August 7, 2022 Speaker: Allen Snapp Series: Summer in the Psalms

Topic: Faith Passage: Psalm 3

Summer in the Psalms ‘22

Allen Snapp

Grace Community Church

August 7, 2022

 

A Faith Worth Fighting For - Part One

Let’s turn in our Bibles to Psalm 3.

O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah

Lord, bless and empower Your word to us this morning. Amen.

The Lord has put a word on my heart for this morning. Literally a word. That word is “fight”. Fight. It’s a word for this church and I believe for all the church. The church needs to rise up and fight!

I know there’s a lot of fighting going on today – and I don’t mean that kind of fighting or that kind of spirit. There’s so much anger and contention out there. We see it on social media, we see it on cable news, we see it on the streets. I’ve seen people burn relational bridges simply because someone disagrees with them. Christians aren’t meant to fight that way and it’s sad when Christians add gasoline to that fire. As someone once said, when you fight fire with fire all you end up with are ashes.

But there is a fight that every Christian man, woman, and child is in. Paul says our fight isn’t against flesh and blood, it’s against evil forces in the heavenly realms. Peter tells us our enemy is like a lion who roams to and fro looking for someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan is all about devouring people’s eternal souls by devouring their faith in Jesus Christ.

We see that going on all around us. Christians are walking away from their faith, their faith devoured by Satan’s lies. We see once strong, loving marriages being attacked and in too many cases, devoured. One daughter said to her Christian parents when they told her they were getting a divorce, “if your marriage can’t make it, what hope do I have for when I get married?” Their marriage devoured, her faith devoured.

It's time for the church to rise up in the power of God and fight. Someone says, “no, we need to love.” Yes, but love fights for what it loves. Someone says, “we just need to have faith.” Yes, but faith fights.

David was a man of great faith and he was a fighter. His life calling was launched by a fight! He was a warrior, a fighter. But this fight that we find in Psalm 3 is the hardest fight he will ever fight. His charismatic son Absalom has risen up against him and stolen the hearts of the people as well as the loyalty of many leaders and warrior who were once loyal to David.


Absalom is riding into Jerusalem where the throne is, David is running from Jerusalem, literally running

for his life.

I feel like David in this moment is a picture of the church. The odds are stacked against him. All the smart money is that Absalom will be king and David will be killed. The odds are overwhelmingly against David.

O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.”

Many are my foes! Many are those rising up to kill me. Many are those saying of my soul, there is no salvation for David in God. Do you hear the overwhelming odds against David? The overwhelming volume of voices saying, “it’s over. You’ve lost. You’re going down.”?

Absalom is riding in, David is in retreat.

That’s where the church is right now. That’s where a lot of believers are right now. The world is advancing, the church is in retreat. The church isn’t thriving. That’s true of small, struggling churches and it’s true of growing, thriving churches. For the most part, growing churches are growing by doing a better job of attracting Christians to attend. Very few churches are winning souls to Christ. According to Barna there has been a 40% decline in church attendance since 2009. The culture is impacting the church but the church isn’t having much if any impact on the culture. In Acts the church turned the world upside down, today the world is turning the church upside down.

David hears all these voices saying about his soul there’s no hope, so salvation, no rescue for you from God. God’s not going to rescue you, God is the One who is going after you! And David knows there’s truth in what they say. All this calamity going on with Absalom is the consequence of his sin with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah. He brought this on himself. This is his fault!

We see young people leaving the church in large numbers. Many are disillusioned by what they’ve seen in the church. They’ve seen hypocrisy. They’ve smelled inauthenticity in the church. Many have left the church because they didn’t like what they saw in the church. They want real, they want authenticity, and they haven’t seen it in the church. Pastors abusing their flocks, church members gossiping against each other, people acting one way in church, another way at home. And they’ve seen all this and they don’t want anything to do with it. At least some of the churches decline is our fault just like what was happening with David was a consequence of his sin.

There might be some here or online who want to believe God in some area, but what paralyzes you is that you know the problem is to some degree your fault. You want to believe God will restore your relationship with your son or daughter. You pray their hearts will be softened and come to Jesus (or return to Jesus) but you know your example hasn’t always been the best. You made mistakes. They’ve seen hypocrisy in you. They’re where they’re at partly because of you.

That’s what these “many” voices are saying about David – about his soul! – but those voices don’t stop David. He knows he messed up big time, but he also knows he confessed his sin to God and repented, and God washed and cleansed and forgave him of it. They say of his soul, God isn’t with you, but he knows in the very depth of his soul that God is with him. Yeah, we’ve all messed up. We’ve all sinned and that has contributed to some degree with some of the decline and brokenness we see around us, but when we confess our sin and repent of it, it’s not an albatross hanging on our neck. God has washed us. God has cleansed us.

Don’t look back, move forward! Pray with boldness! Believe with boldness! And if you haven’t confessed your sin and repented to God, get honest with God and do it today!

David is running for his life. He is fleeing. I see the church at this point in time in a similar way. The odds feel overwhelmingly against us. It feels like the devil’s winning most, if not all, the battles. Our voice seems so weak. The Bible seems…so powerless. The church, failing to win souls to Christ, finds itself trying to win a beauty contest between other churches, being the most beautiful church, with categories like the hippest church, the friendliest church, the relevant church, the seeker-driven church, the doctrinal church. And I got no problem with any of those categories per se, but by themselves they don’t combat the flood of evil we see the enemy bringing in.

People don’t think of the church as a place to go when their lives are breaking against the rocks and falling apart. People don’t think of the Bible as the source of wisdom and truth. In fact, just the opposite. The Bible isn’t just outdated, it’s bigoted, racist, misogynistic, and intolerant.


And too many Christians are feeling intimidated by this attack. Overwhelming odds. I confess as a pastor there are some subjects I’ve been afraid to tackle head on because they are so controversial and divisive. I’m not talking about politics – we will never preach politics from this pulpit while I’m here – but I am talking about the issues where people are living today, that people are thinking about today, and that the Bible has something to say about.

David is running for his life. Fleeing, in a sense, with his tail between his legs. Not just David, he has his army with him – those who have remained loyal to him. This psalm isn’t about David alone, it’s about David’s people, his community, his family and their families, and what’s been stolen from them. David and his men are running and the smart money is against them.


Except…

David and his men are running in order to regroup. They won’t run forever, they are putting some space between them so they can turn and fight from strength. The smart money is against them unless you believe in God and the power of God. Then you might want to bet on David and his smaller army.

Four things I see David do that are just as relevant for us today. It’s time to stop running and fight. David fought with faith and over the next few weeks we’re going to look at four ways his faith fought against the onslaught of the enemy.

  1. Declare with boldness the truth of God’s word before you can see the truth of God’s word (vs. 3)
  2. Cry aloud to God! (vs. 4)
  3. Fight against evil by doing good in the power of God
  4. Remember our salvation belongs to God and He loves His people.

Here’s why I feel this word is so timely. I’m watching the world move further and further away from Christ. Even more disturbing, I’m seeing people I love move away from Christ. People who once professed a strong faith in Christ. Some are outright walking away from their faith, others are moving away from biblical truth in important areas, and others just getting complacent and half-hearted.

No condemnation, I’ve also grown complacent. But it’s time to fight before it’s too late. We won’t win this fight by being silent – that’s becoming really clear. We won’t win this fight by being so nice we never step on toes or say anything that offends. Lies get stronger when truth is silenced. We won’t win this fight by being silent.

I want to close by sharing an appeal. And I may step on toes. In my private prayers I’ve stepped on my toes, so this isn’t coming from a self-righteous place. But I have come to the conclusion that I’m not loving you if I am not honest.

If you have grown half-hearted and complacent, please don’t stay there. It’s not healthy for your soul. Half-hearted isn’t better than no heart at all. In fact, Jesus warned the church in Laodicia that he would prefer they be hot or cold, but lukewarm made him want to vomit. Strong words, but they’re Jesus’ words not mine.

Parents, God has called you to fight for your kids. Not just their education or material provision, but more importantly for their souls. Don’t assume that if you are half-hearted about Christ and the church they will be too. It’s more likely your half-heartedness will become their no-heartedness. The enemy isn’t half-hearted about his commitment to devour their souls. He’s all in. And Jesus isn’t half-hearted about his love and commitment to save their souls. He’s all in, he died for them.

If we love our children we will fight for them. That’s what love does when there’s danger. If we love our spouse, our sister, our brother, our neighbor, our co-worker we will fight for them.

Brothers and sisters, there are fights going on in your mind and emotions and soul. God wants to meet you there and give you victory and freedom. Jesus gives us a salvation that doesn’t just get us to heaven, but saves our whole lives, transforms our lives. Freeing us from all the affects of our brokenness. But that fight is fought in community. God doesn’t just want to free you, He wants to use you to help others.

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Heb. 10:23-25

If Grace Community Church is your church, we need you to fight with us. God’s called us to fight for souls. Including one another’s souls. If we love them, they’re worth fighting for. If we love each other,

we’re worth fighting for.

If GCC isn’t your church, maybe you’re visiting, maybe you’re watching online, I encourage you to fight with the church God has called you to. Community isn’t optional.

We’ll learn from David – a man whose faith fought and fought well – four ways we can fight for God’s purposes in the power of God. Let’s pray.

More in Summer in the Psalms

August 28, 2022

A Faith Worth Fighting For – Part Four

August 21, 2022

A Faith Worth Fighting For – Part Three

August 14, 2022

A Faith Worth Fighting For - Part Two