Sunday, April 29, 2018

Holding The High Ground

Temple Baptist Church - 4-29-2018
1 Samuel 17:1-11

A.  We all know well the story of David and Goliath.  I want to make a practical application from these few verses this morning as I continue to preach on the subject of “The Local Church.”

B.  We know the story of David killing the Goliath after exclaiming, “Is there not a cause.”  Many sermons have been preached on that subject, but I want to give an application to an important strategy of war. 

C.  The armies of both the Philistines and Israel were afraid of coming down into the Valley of Elah and, for 40 days, had maintained the high ground that was found on either side.

1 Samuel 17:3  And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.

1 Samuel 17:16  And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.

D.  Let me give you some quick typology before I get into the message too deeply.

1.  The army of the Philistines is a type of the world.  They hold their ground but challenge us to come down to the valley and fight their giant.

2.  The army of Israel a type of the people of God.  As long as they hold the high ground, the enemy cannot defeat them.

3.  The valley is a type of Compromise.  Notice that they are not challenged to come down for they will never give up their high ground.

4.  The giant a type of Satan.  He is not of the children of God, he is the giant of this world!

5.  The 40 days is a type of testing.  The giant of the valley of compromise never gives up!

6.  The challenging is a type of war.  Give me a man to fight!  If one of us goes down to fight the giant and loses the battle (and he will), then we all become servants of the world.

E.  Now for an example of what I am preaching about.  July 1-3, 1863 was the Battle of Gettysburg. 

1.  The battle took place in Pennsylvania as the Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, let the Army of Northern Virginia against the Union Army of the Potomac, led by General George G. Meade.  This battle was the turning point of the Civil War as both sides had fought to a virtual stalemate. 

2.  General Robert E. Lee led his army into the heart of the Union north in an attempt to break the Union’s back and bring the Civil War to an end.  The result of the battle was app. 46,000-51,000 dead and the Civil War lost. 

3.  The key to the battle was that the Union army held the high ground and General Lee chose to fight there instead of retreat until another day.  Though the Civil War would go on for another 2 years, the war was lost at Gettysburg.

4.  General Robert E. Lee was a brilliant general and well versed in the art of war but, for what ever reason, chose to violate an imperative strategy of war:  always hold the high ground.

F.  In our story, we find both opposing armies holding their “high ground,” while a giant walked in the valley that lay between.  In verse 10, the giant cried, “Give me a man!” Goliath was prepared to both fight and die in the valley. 

G.  We, as independent Bible believing Baptists, have been often maligned as being legalistic and cultic because we have tried to maintain the “high ground” through the years.  This is rapidly changing as many independent Baptist churches have given in to the pressure of compromise.  They have chosen numbers and worldliness over worship in the beauty of holiness.

H.  I have been referred to by some as being to “straight laced,”  too “old fashioned!” One man, as he was leaving our church for the last time said that he was “tired of the Independent Baptist mentality.”  I am not mad at these people.  I feel sorry for them because they have missed the point and do not understand why your pastor holds the church and pulpit to such high standards.

I.  Last week, we established that Christ is the Head of the Church and the Church belongs to Him.  2 Timothy 3:15 refers to the local church as the “House of God, which is the church of the living God.”

J.  The greatest danger of the church is not that we will suddenly leave our “high ground” for the “high ground” of the world.  The greatest danger is that our church will slowly descend into the valley of compromise where we will find a “giant” who is willing to fight and die.  That our church will take that first step towards compromise.

K.  When a local church begins down the road of compromise, it enters the valley where there is a “worldly giant” who is willing to fight and die for what he believes.  The question must be asked, “Are we?”  How do we maintain the “high ground?”

L.  Though there are many, I want to look at four “giants” that we will face if we begin our descent into the “valley of compromise.”

1.  There is a “giant of confusion” that awaits us in the “valley of compromise.”  We MUST continue to honor the Word of God as the Final Authority for both faith and practice. The high ground” of the Biblical Singularity.  We are all together on this subject but to slip is to eventually face a giant that we cannot defeat!  Look at all the churches and schools who “gave an inch” to the new satanic versions.  Once in the valley, there is no turning back.  Biblical incorrectness is virtually uncorrectable.

2.  There is a “giant of ecumenism” that awaits us in the valley of compromise.  We MUST continue to walk in the “good way” of the Old Paths of purity and surety. We must “hold the high ground” of doctrinal purity.  We are who we are, Biblicists!  We are independent Baptist in name, but the Bible is our standard.  Just this week I was invited to a revival in town at another “Baptist” church.  The person who invited me said that they missed the old days when Baptist, Methodists, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Catholic and other denominations came together for worship.  Ecumenism is virtually uncorrectable.

3.  There is a “giant of liberalism” that awaits us in the “valley of compromise.”  We MUST suffer the Word of Exhortation.  Allowing the preaching to have free course. I try to come to this pulpit with something that will help you and me.  I do my best to protect this pulpit by preemptively question each preacher that stands here.  Men who stand here must be men of God and God never called a man to preach doctrinal error!  Men who help me to live a more consistent life for Christ.  As goes the pulpit, so goes the church.

2 Timothy 4:1-2  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  (2)  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

2 Thessalonians 3:1  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

4.  There is a “giant of worldliness” that awaits us in the valley of compromise.”  We MUST give God the benefit of every doubt.  Abstaining from all appearance of evil in every aspect of our worship.  Maintaining holiness in our worship; maintaining integrity in our music; maintaining purity in our membership; maintaining love and forgiveness in our fellowship.  Twice in the Book of Judges the Scripture says, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”  Everyone’s standards of music and dress are a little different so there must be a common standard that protects the convictions of everyone. 

1 Thessalonians 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.  (All and always!)

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