Today, I had the amazing privilege to preach the Convention Message of the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. Upon being invited nearly a year ago to preach this message, God began to speak to me in prayer. “You won’t preach an ordinary message. You’ll preach what you live.” And what a year it’s been.
Message Title: “The Impossible Quest”
Message Text: 1 Chronicles 11:3, 9, 10-14.
It centers on three of the mighty men of David who defended a field against the Philistines. Remember, the Old Testament examples are given for us who live in this present day. The subject is the battle to defend God’s field against an incredible number of enemies – but the present day application is defending the Gospel – and sharing it by standing in the fields that need to be sown.
First, that these mighty men RECOGNIZED THEIR RESPONSIBILITY. “…the people fled…they took their stand…” v. 13b, 14a
It’s amazing how many people run away when a war is brewing. This story is really a picture of God’s work through the ages. It’s the story of all the heroes of faith. Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Joseph, Daniel – and David – they all had to stand alone at times. And they all had to believe God enough to stand in the field in wartime when others had fled.
Our New Testament fields are places where God’s seed (the Gospel) is sown and harvested. Eternity is at stake. And there are few in the fields. You’d think the fields would be full of workers. They are not. It is estimated that 95% of Christians do not share their faith at all.Most simply don’t want to.
What will change this? Courageous men standing in the field – that’s who. ..Pastors who lead their congregations into the field.
Paul said to Timothy, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5
In brief, if pastors don’t get a plan to share the Gospel, and get in the field where it needs to be sown in their communities, we keep failing to reach our world. GET A PLAN and GET IN THE FIELD, Pastor.
Second, the mighty men RECOGNIZED THE ENCROACHMENT OF EVIL. “They took their stand in the midst of the field, and defended it…” v. 14
When will we become aware of the encroachment of evil in our culture – and when will we decide that the Gospel is powerful enough to change it? These men knew it was time to take a stand. When will we do that?
Third, they RECOGNIZED THAT GOD WAS ON THEIR SIDE. “…and the Lord saved them by a great victory.” V. 14b
Here’s the picture of every conflict we have ever faced as God-followers. The Lord provided great victory. These men weren’t really fighting FOR victory, they were fighting FROM the victory promised in David…then Christ.
But it was their courage and boldness that let them to stand toe-to-toe in the field with the enemy and win.
Pastors and leaders, our day of battle is at hand. We go to the fields NOW or we give them up forever. We’re at a crossroads, and we now need pastors who will lead their people to be trained with the Gospel, lead them into the field to plant those seeds, and to see God transform the community.
The story God unfolded in my life this year was a story of how He convicted me to get a plan where I could teach my people to share their faith to draw a line in the field and say “we’re taking the Gospel to every person in our community.”
We know it will take all of us. God has blessed us with training over 300 people in 24 weeks, and we’ll have another 300 trained soon. We’ve shared the Gospel with thousands, and have seen hundreds saved. It’s the story God is writing in our hearts.
But it’s also the story God desires to write in every church.
It’s time to get in the field, lead our people and share Christ with every person. There is nothing God will bless more than His Gospel.
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.