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Men For The Hour - Part 7

"Gideon, The Faithul"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2005 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'Now we're turning in our Bibles to the book of Judges chapter 6 for our reading. You remember - maybe you don't remember! - it was about three weeks ago when we last looked at Gideon, but the last title we had was 'Gideon, the Fearful'. We looked at verses 1 to 24, and how God encountered Gideon and called him to be the Judge and deliverer of God's people against the Midianites. This morning we're going to look at Gideon, this time under the title 'Gideon the Faithful', and our reading will comprise of verses 25 through to verse 35.

Commitment to Christ, we find, whatever age it may be in, often sets us at odds with the world and even with our family

So let's begin at verse 25: "And it came to pass the same night", that was the night in which Gideon encountered the angel of the Lord, and we'll recap a little bit over that previous experience, but that same night "the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it. And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar. Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar. Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over, and pitched in the valley of Jezreel. But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them".

Now we began reading at verse 25 about this night, and you remember what happened during this night, comprised and recorded for us in verses 1 to 24. We're confronted in verses 1 and 2 with the condition that was recurrent in the nation again, the nation had fallen into sin - and as it is put so graphically for us in verse 1 and right throughout the book, the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. That is really a phrase that encompasses Baal worship, they started to worship the false god Baal and turned their back on their covenant God Jehovah. So this was a recurring problem, again and again and again, after each Judge who was raised to deliver them died, the people went back to their old sin of Baal worship. But we see specifically here in verses 3 to 6 that the harvest was condemned as a judgment upon the people for their backsliding on this occasion, and we saw, taking spiritual lessons, how our spiritual harvest can be also condemned and affected when we dabble in sin.

Then we saw in verses 12 to 13 and verse 15 that Gideon personally experienced a crisis, because as far as he was concerned it seemed that God's word, what it was saying, and God's ways, how God was leading His people in providence, were clashing, they were contradicting one another. Now the obvious reason for that was because of their sin, and God wanted them to see their sin. But God also wanted to bring them to the knowledge of who He is in His promises, and what He had done for the people in the past. Then we see that in verse 14 and verse 16 God again commissions Gideon with the promises that He is still the same God as He has always been, and as He was with Gideon's fathers, He would be with him and the people if they followed Him once again.

Then we saw a sign in verses 17 to 24, God confirmed that He was still with the people in a miraculous way, and the fire came out of the rock whilst the Angel, or the Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel of Jehovah was with Gideon. We saw also the crux of Gideon's problem in verse 11, verse 13, verse 15, verse 17, verse 22, verse 24 - his problem was fear. The Lord Jesus Christ, as the Angel of Jehovah, was confronting Gideon with his problem, and trying to get him to the place where he could overcome it and be the Judge of God's people.

Can I ask you this morning: have you ever had a crisis experience in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ the way that Gideon had? Have you? I'm not talking about salvation, although it may happen at the same time as conversion, but I believe all of us need to get to a place, even after conversion, where we have a crisis experience where God's call comes to us - because we're continually like the Israelites, in a condition of recurrent falling into sin. OK, I know you repent when you're converted at first, but the Lord Jesus Christ has taught us that we need to continually repent, and there comes a time in our lives when we have ceased to repent for so long, and sin has built such a wall between the fellowship that we ought to have in our souls with God our Father that there needs to come a crisis, where God needs to call us again to consecration, to commitment to Himself.

As this happened in Gideon's life he was given at this crisis time not only a call to consecration and commitment, but a command. God's command was that he had to comply with God's Word. In other words, at this crisis experience that Gideon had in the presence of Christ, where God called upon him to commit himself again, to consecrate him to His service, He commanded him to obey. Please do not miss that, because the theme of all that we will study this morning is the ramification and the results of obedience to God in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Christian's duty to obey God's word.

So we're looking at how Gideon was faithful in this particular regard. Let me leave four points with you this morning. The first is: obedience to Christ for Gideon, and indeed to us, meant entire consecration. Obedience meant entire consecration. We find this in verses 25 to 27. In verse 25 we read: 'The same night', Gideon was called to destroy his own father's altar that his father had erected in their homestead to Baal. It was an ordinary altar, but in a sense it was very elaborate - much more elaborate than altars of Jehovah, the altars of Jehovah were very simple, yet the altars of Baal were quite elaborate, sometimes studded in stones and jewels. Beside the altar was a wooden image, and it was the Asherah pole. Now verse 26, where it mentions a grove, is speaking of this altar to Baal. Some translations translate the actual image beside it as 'Asherah pole', so these were places of worship that represented Baal and his wife god 'Asherah'. The practice of the worship of these two gods we've looked at and touched in a very superficial way because it's vile, and we wouldn't like to go into the details of it in a family service, but the fact of the matter is: the worship of these gods was such an extent of sexual immorality that this was the reason why God was disciplining and judging His people.

When you're converted, and you turn your attention to the things of God, often your experience has been that family and friends, and neighbours and work colleagues, don't understand. They may even oppose your new life

They did evil, as verse 1 of chapter 6 says, in the sight of the Lord. Indeed, archaeological excavations have discovered in Meggido, not far from Ophrah where Gideon lived, a 26 foot square, 4.5 foot high altar and monument unto Baal and Asherah made of stones and cemented by mud. So this was not some little grove that was above his fireplace that he bowed down to in his living room, this was something that was quite substantial and was probably outside in his garden or his yard, for want of a better phrase. God commanded Gideon - now I want you to gauge the ramifications of this - to go to his father's house and his father's grove, his father's altar unto the god Baal and Asherah, and destroy it! Now how would you feel if God commanded you to do a similar thing? Keeping in mind again that Gideon's besetting sin was, what? Fear! If Gideon was fearful at the best of times, how afraid must he have been to carry this out towards his own father's house? Proverbs 29 tells us that the fear of man brings a snare, but the fear of man - isn't it multiplied and amplified when it is the fear of men and women in our own family? You know and I know that it's hardest to be righteous, and take a godly stand, and even witness to those in our own family. To his credit, Gideon was faithful, he obeyed God.

Now let me say that when we come to the New Testament Scriptures, the child of God, the Christian, is called by God in a similar way. What am I talking about? Well, when you're converted, and you turn your attention to the things of God, often your experience has been that family and friends, and neighbours and work colleagues, don't understand. They may even oppose your new life, they may make it hard for you as a Christian. It would be no different than the Lord Jesus Christ, if that were the case, for we read in John chapter 7 verse 5: 'Neither did his own brothers believe in him'. Indeed, when we come to Luke's gospel, and we read in chapter 8 of Luke's gospel and verses 20 and 21: 'And it was told him', the Lord Jesus, 'by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it'. Then in Matthew's gospel chapter 19 and verse 29, we read there also that the Lord Jesus said: 'And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life'.

You see, commitment to Christ, we find, whatever age it may be in, often sets us at odds with the world and even with our family. We have to, at times, go against our family's wishes and break our family principles, or absent ourselves from certain family practices. Indeed, the Lord Jesus teaches further in Matthew's gospel chapter 10 on this regard, verse 34 He says: 'Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it'.

You see, the Christian is called, like Gideon was called, to entire consecration even if it means going against those who are in our families, even the nearest and dearest to us in human terms. I wonder have you entirely consecrated yourself to God as a Christian? Or is there an area of your life, it may not be particularly this area of family and friends, but it may be another that I don't know of but God knows and you know - and you're holding it back from God. One writer has put it well regarding the story of the rich young ruler: 'Jesus did not hand the rich man a decision card and tell him to check the box beside 'Follow me', instead He exposed the moral man's transgression of the first commandment, and called on him to smash his idol, then he could follow Christ'.

God and Christ requires all men in every age to smash their idols. What is your idol? Now don't say: 'I don't have one', we've all got one! The question is not whether we have one, or maybe more than one, but what we have done with them - whether we have smashed them:

'The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be,
Help me to take it from Thy throne.
And worship only Thee'.

Have you done this? Elijah said there can be no limping between two opinions, between God and Baal. This night, the same night, this altar in the heart of Gideon and his family was broken down - and how many rival altars to the altar of God in our hearts have been broken down in the dead of night when a saint of God has encountered the Saviour? Have you ever had a night in your life like this, whether it's on your own or it's with a group of God's people, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, just as Gideon experienced, touches the very thing that you don't want to let go of but is causing your lack of blessing. You see Gideon had to learn, and his family, and the nation, that the Lord's altar and Baal's altar could not stand side-by-side, for it was a direct contradiction of the first commandment: 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me', or, as some translations put it, 'beside me'.

Our nation needs to realise this. We have to say that we must welcome all peoples of all races and all creeds and cultures, and I believe we must defend the freedom for them to worship their god in their way, but we as a nation must maintain the heritage that we have and the church. We must realise that in a pluralistic society that God will not share His glory with another. Whilst our society may be a tolerant society, our God Jehovah is a jealous God. Israel had to realise that before any Judge could declare war on Midian, they had to declare war on Baal.

To Gideon's credit he was faithful, and in verse 27 we read that 'Gideon did as Yahweh', Jehovah, 'had commanded him'. Now some blame Gideon for demolishing Baal's altar by night, because he feared his relatives and the city fathers, but at least he obeyed God. He may have been fearful - but do you know what he did? There's a significance of it: Joash, his father, was obviously the local shrine keeper for Baal and Asherah worship, and he probably intended sacrificing this young bull. So you see the significance, even the irony and the humour of this in God's mind, that he is taking the young bull that would be sacrificed to Baal, and he is using that very bull to pull down the altar and the Asherah pole. This second bull was seven years old, the Bible tells us, and that is exactly the time that Midian reigned over Israel. So what God was communicating was 'This sacrifice of obedience to me is what will break the iron grip of oppression upon the people of God', and from that moment on the oppression of the Midianites went up in smoke just like the sacrifice.

My friend, I can't be more plain to you this morning: whatever that altar is upon the heart, whatever is taking the place of Christ in your life, whatever is going before God or beside God, whatever is preventing you from being entirely consecrated to the cause of Christ, it needs to be put on the altar, it needs to go up in smoke - and until you do that, you will not know victory in your life! It's as simple as that! Obedience meant entire consecration.

But obedience also meant secondly, we see from verses 28 to 30, enduring opposition. What a furore there was in the town! Alexander Whyte very perceptively remarks: 'The worshippers of Baal never neglected their morning devotions. 'Early will I seek thee', they could say to their god with truth and good conscience'. When they went for their early morning quiet time to the Baal shrine that particular morning, god was gone! Imagine in the market the traders of Ophrah, discussing with one another, the women at the well, the council elders: 'Did you hear what happened last night? Our monument, our sacred divine monument, desecrated! Lord Baal's altar! Asherah, our lady's icon has been wrecked, wait till we get our hands on the one who has done this! We must eradicate this religious fundamentalism from our midst!'. Isn't it mighty to see that, when even one man in a godless community starts to live for God with all that he has, it can shake that whole community for God?

You see it in the apostle Paul, in Acts chapter 19 people were getting converted, and they were leaving the worship of the goddess Diana, Diana of the Ephesians. There was a great riot that transpired in the city of Ephesus, because those tradesmen who were making the little icons and idols were losing out on money because people were turning to Christ, turning their back on their idols. What a lesson there is here, whether it's the Old or the New Testament, that when you touch people's idols they go mad! You can preach about a nice miracle man called Jesus and people will tolerate you for a while, but if you preach against sin, just like He did, they'll do what they did to Him. I'm telling you: you preach about alcohol, preach about porn, preach about adultery, preach about apostasy in the church, preach about idolatry and Roman Catholicism and other religions and other cults, and people will lynch you - and they'll queue up to do it, even in the church!

When someone starts to get serious about God, even in the church other people become uncomfortable - because what you're doing is you're disturbing their slumber and their sleep

When someone starts to get serious about God, even in the church other people become uncomfortable - because what you're doing is you're disturbing their slumber and their sleep. Do you know what the problem is in the church today? Maybe it's not so much in this church, but in the church at large, particularly in the West, no one is against anything. Everyone is for everything, it seems, and because of that no man's hand is against us. But Paul told Timothy, a young pastor: 'Those that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution'. Inevitable was the fact that if Gideon was obedient, it would mean enduring opposition not only among his family, but among his friends and the people of the city. It was John Wesley that said: 'If you're on fire in the pulpit, men will come to see you burn'. He started to get worried when he wasn't getting bricked when he was preaching! Gone are those days.

Obedience also effected conversion. It meant entire consecration, it would lead to enduring opposition, but it also effected conversions - verses 31 to 33. In the morning, when the people got up and saw that their idol and altar was desecrated, the men of the city were ready to kill Gideon. Just like the wee fellow that breaks the window, you go round to the father's door - and all the people went round to Joash's door, and said: 'Where's your son?'. This wasn't going to be a reprimand, this was going to be a slaying, they were going to kill him! I want you to notice: whose altar was it that was desecrated? Joash's. Who was most likely in charge of that altar, as a representative of the religion in that town? Joash. When they come to Joash's door, Gideon's father, what does he say? 'If Baal is truly god, he should be able to defend himself'. Joash is basically saying that if he is divine and supernatural and all-powerful, let him sort my son out himself. He even went as far as to say that if anyone espouses Baal worship, he should be executed and not my son. From that day forth Gideon was nicknamed 'Jerubbaal', which means 'let Baal plead for himself'.

Now let me show you, before we look at Joash, Gideon's father's conversion, let me show you Gideon's conversion. You remember that his besetting sin was fear. Now listen: if your besetting sin is fear, anxiety and worry, you need to learn what Gideon learned. What was that? The effect of his obedience to God did not have the ramifications that he feared with the people of the town or with his own father. Tearing down the altar, he would have feared that his father would have turned against him. Tearing down the altar, he would have feared that the people would have turned against him - and although initially that may have been the case, we find that both father and people were converted.

What the lesson here? First of all, if you're worrying, half the things that you worry about - more than half, in fact nearly them all - never ever happen. Gideon learned that, but he also learned that the tables are turned when one man believes God, even when it's with imperfect faith. Do you remember the man whose daughter was ill, and he came to the Lord Jesus and said: 'I believe, help thou my unbelief'? Here's Gideon, wracked with fear, it's his besetting sin, and God comes and tells him to pull down the altar and the Asherah pole of his father, and he goes and does it by night. You might say: 'That's terrible Gideon, you're full of unbelief, going and doing that by night' - but don't miss this: he obeyed God! With the little faith he had, he obeyed God. What's the lesson here? It's simply the lesson that's right throughout the Bible: God honours even little faith, mustard seed faith. If you have faith like the grain of a mustard seed, you'll be able to move mountains, Jesus said. I think of that little woman who had that issue of blood for 12 years, and she hadn't even the guts to come to Jesus personally face-to-face and ask Him for help. So, what did she do in the crowd? She goes and touches the hem of His garment - did Jesus say, 'No, I'm not going to heal you'? It says in that very moment she was made whole. He did call her out, He did get her to confront her fear, but fear was not a grounds for Him refusing to heal her - was it? She had a lot to learn, and she had only little faith, but God honoured that faith. Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, but praise God: he came to Jesus!

Gideon was beginning to learn the power of faith in his walk, and from that small act of simple mustard seed faith, he was converted into a mighty man of faith that we read of in Hebrews chapter 11. He was converted, just like Jesus said to Peter: 'Peter, Satan has desire to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith fail not, and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren'. Gideon's act of timid obedience turned him into a mighty man of valour, one who is known as one of the greatest warriors that ever was. Now I'm saying to you this morning: you go to God with whatever you've got, whatever little faith or belief you have or conviction, take it to God, use it for God, and God will strengthen you. Paul could say to Timothy: 'Even when we believe not, he is faithful, for he cannot deny himself'. Gideon comes out of this whole escapade a hero, and in a fact what has happened is: he has been reborn, he's even given a new name - 'If Baal is god, let him defend himself!'. You'd hardly recognise Gideon.

Then we turn to the conversion of his father. His father, when they come to his door, says - if I can paraphrase it - 'He doesn't need any help from Ophrah's town council to maintain his honour. If Baal is a god, he should be perfectly able to zap my son himself'. It sounds a bit like Elijah when he was on the mount. Remember the prophets of Baal were there, and he challenges them, and when they come and make their sacrifice they begin to cry and wail, rip their clothes and cut their flesh. Do you remember what Elijah says? Can I paraphrase it for you, because the meaning isn't all clear in our English translation: 'About noontime Elijah began mocking them. He said: 'You'll have to shout louder', he scoffed, 'for surely he is a god''. The Hebrew rendering literally means this: 'Perhaps he is in deep thought, or he is relieving himself, or maybe he is away on a trip, or he is asleep and needs to be wakened' - do you see the scorn that the great prophet Elijah speaks to these prophets of Baal with? Then we read in 1 Kings chapter 18 that he lifts his eyes to God, and he says: 'LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, Jehovah, he is the God; Jehovah, he is the God'.

'If Baal is god', Joash said, 'Let him be god'. I'll tell you, do you know what God's looking for in these days? He's not looking for wet blanket Christians. He's looking for men and women of faith, who will be willing to challenge the status quo of our pluralistic ecumenical age, and prove that God is the God who answereth by fire - not with a mouthful of verbose claims and evangelical cliches that mean nothing, but with a life that proves, that effects conversions.

What stand do you take in your family? What kind of husband are you, or wife are you, or father, or mother, or child? What example do you give to the rest?

Gideon's obedience effected conversions in his family in a way that he could never have imagined. Was it Gideon's personal stand that awakened a spiritual awareness in his father? Perhaps. Or maybe Joash was just longing for someone in his family to take the first step, he didn't have the courage to do it himself. But yet, when Gideon took that stand, God converted his father. Maybe there's someone here this morning and you're a wife of an unbeliever, or you're a husband of an unbeliever, can I encourage you from the words of 1 Corinthians 7 and verse 14 and 16? 'The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy', verse 16, 'For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?'. Save them by what? Your godly example.

What stand do you take in your family? What kind of husband are you, or wife are you, or father, or mother, or child? What example do you give to the rest? Do you know what the lesson was God was teaching Gideon here? He had to take his stand in the home before he could take his stand in the battlefield. Because he was obedient, he was converted, his father was converted, and thirdly we see that the people were converted - because we read in verse 33, if you look back at Judges chapter 6, that the people rallied round. The tribes round about came to the cause. Do you know how your stand can affect other people? It's hard to make that stand at times, especially when it's against your family, when it's against even perhaps the church system or trend that is happening, when it's against the spirit of the age - but don't underestimate the effect it can have!

Joash's words to the city men reminded me of something that happened in the life of John Knox, the great reformer in Scotland. In the year 1548 he was a prisoner on a French slave ship, he was chained to a rowing bench and lashed constantly by the guards. He was there because he preached the word of God, the gospel, and he opposed the Roman Catholic system which of course was the majority church of that particular day. One day a Lieutenant on the ship brought aboard a wooden image of the Virgin Mary and demanded that all the slaves kiss it. Of course, Knox refused to kiss it, and then it was pushed violently into his face. Do you know what Knox did? He grabbed it, he threw it overboard, shouting: 'Let Our Lady now save herself, she's light enough, let her learn to swim'. You might think that's ungracious, but the fact of the matter is: when Knox was not struck down by divine anger, two things happened. Never again from that event were believers required to engage in Roman Catholic exercises against their wishes, and the second thing that happened was: men started to look to John Knox as their leader, and eventually the Scottish Reformation was the result. Do not underestimate how your obedience can affect not only your own life, but your family and even a whole nation!

Fourthly and finally - we have seen that obedience to Christ meant entire consecration, enduring opposition, effecting conversion, and finally: experiencing unction - verses 32 to 35. 'Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead for himself', and when we go down to verse 34, and after all the tribes came round, 'the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet'. When God calls us to do a specific job for Him, and when we move out in obedience to that call, you can be sure that God will equip you. God never calls us and then fails to equip us. Now 'Midian' means 'strife', and there was strife in the land, and Gideon has had this meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of the night, he's had this struggle with his own fears, God has called him and commissioned him and asked him to consecrate himself to the cause. He has now commanded him, but you might say: 'What has changed the situation in the nation? What has turned the strife and sin into almost a reformation for God? The situation hasn't changed yet, what was it that changed it?'. What was the instrumental fact that made the great difference? Verse 34 is it: 'The Spirit of Jehovah, Yahweh, was put upon Gideon'.

Now the Authorised Version doesn't render this in its full extent, in fact very few translations do. Do you know what this literally says, verse 34 that's translated 'the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon'? It literally means, now please catch this: 'The Spirit of Yahweh put on Gideon' - the Spirit of God put on Gideon, or 'the Spirit of God clothed Himself with Gideon'. What was the secret? It's not by might, it's not by power, it's by my Spirit saith the Lord. The Spirit of God clothed Himself with Gideon, the word is used elsewhere in the Old Testament to describe a man putting on his clothes, or a warrior putting on a suit of armour. It's like putting on a glove! Could I translate it like this in a sort of paraphrase: 'The Spirit of the LORD put Gideon on like a glove'.

One of the professors at Dallas Theological Seminary, Howard Hendricks, years ago used to say to his students - I quote him: 'Men, every morning I pray, 'Lord, here am I. I want to be your suit of clothes today. I want You to take me and use me. Lord, just walk around in me today''. Obedience meant experiencing unction for Gideon, to the extent that the Spirit of God took him as a suit of clothing and lived in him.

There's one thing about a suit of clothes: it doesn't fight the wearer, sure it doesn't? You put it on and it should stay there. It submits to the human body, doesn't it? Wherever you go, whatever you do, your clothes move with you. That's the way we ought to be as believers, we ought to get to a place of consecration, no matter what the opposition may be. We need to get to a place of surrender, submission, that we're on our face before Christ the risen Lord, and we're willing to be His clothes in our world. The trouble is, we're not often a passive suit of clothes, we grieve the Spirit by our sinfulness, we quench the Spirit by our selfishness, and we're told that we need to continually be refilled by the Holy Spirit. Isn't that why Paul said in Ephesians chapter 5, speaking as it was almost of the days of the Judges you would think, but it was his day and it's our day: 'See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be continually filled with the Spirit'.

Are you filled with the Spirit? Maybe you don't even know how to answer that question, maybe you think that's a pentecostal or charismatic question - it's not. That's what makes the difference. When a group of British ministers were discussing the advisability of inviting D. L. Moody for a crusade in the mainland, one man asked: 'Why must it be Moody? Does D. L. Moody have a monopoly of the Holy Spirit?'. Quietly one of the other ministers replied: 'No, but it is evident that the Holy Spirit has a monopoly of D. L. Moody'. Does the Holy Spirit have a monopoly of you? Are you His glove? Do you realise that Baal must go before Midian can? If we're ever to have victory in our lives, in our church, in the nation: the personal altars in our hearts and our homes must fall. God's altar must be rebuilt, and God's altar cannot be built until Baal's altar is destroyed - because God will not share His glory with another, and the place we must begin is our own backyard. Entire consecration, obedience even if it means enduring opposition, but praise God: it will mean effecting conversions in our own lives, in our family, in our church and in our nation; and we will experience the unction of God in our lives in a way that we have never done - if, like Gideon, we are faithful.

'Trust and obey,
For there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey'.

Let's all bow our heads. Now let me say this: most Christians, especially those who have been converted at an early age, find the need at some stage in their life to make a second, or a third, or fourth or more decision to re-consecrate their lives to the Lord. You're not superman or superwoman, and you need to repent of something in your life, don't you? You know what that idol is, and this morning I'm calling upon you, and God is calling upon you through this word, to cast down that altar, cast down every idol, and raise a monument in your life to the true and the living God.

Father, hear our prayer, glorify Your name. Oh, for the day when You'll be exalted again among all our people, for Christ's sake we pray, Amen.

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins
Preach The Word.
October 2005
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the seventh recording in his 'Men For The Hour' series, entitled "Gideon, The Faithful" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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