Today is a monumental day for our church. It’s the final service in this building. It’s the last time we will meet under the name Amelia Church of Christ. Starting next Sunday, we’ll be meeting at the Holiday Inn in Eastgate under the new name Connect Christian Church.
I’ve gone through a myriad of emotions this week. I’ve had moments of solemn reflection. I’ve had moments of nervousness and anxiety. And I’ve had moments where I’ve been more excited than a 12 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. I’m more excited than Taylor Swift with a new breakup song.
It’s just that kind of season. It’s a season that is uncertain and it’s a season that is incredibly exciting. And it’s also the Easter season. And as I thought about that this week, I remembered that both uncertainty and excitement were all over the place when Jesus was crucified and when He rose from the grave.
But ultimately, what we see in the Easter story is that God will prevail. Nothing can stop Him. Not even death. He is going to be victorious.
In the Old Testament book of Job, Job said to God, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2, NIV)
God will win His victory. Not even death could keep Him down. Jesus died to pay the price for our sin, but death did not have the last word. Jesus had the last word when He walked out of that tomb. Nothing can thwart the plans and purposes of God.
And that’s the truth that we’re hanging onto in this crazy season that our church is in. In the middle of the uncertainty and in the middle of the excitement, one truth never changes. God’s purposes will prevail. His victory will be won.
In this series called For The Win, we’ve been talking about the victories that God has in store for us.
We kicked off the series by asking for the win. Praying boldly and specifically for the victories that we need. We don’t tiptoe. We don’t ask timidly. We pray audacious prayers. Big, bold, specific prayers.
And after that, we trust for the win. After you ask for the win, then you move on to trust. You trust that God has heard you. You trust that He can deliver. You trust that He will deliver.
Today, as we wrap up this series, as we wrap up our time in this building, and as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, we’re going to listen as God tells us to rise for the win.
We’re in Psalm 20 for this series. Let’s ask God to speak to us in a huge way today.
Let’s get back into our text for this series. In Psalm 20, David wrote, “Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
Lord, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!” (Psalm 20:6-9, NIV)
We learned earlier in this series that David probably wrote these words before some big battle. He was very bold and specific in what he prayed for. He prayed for victory. Complete, total victory. He asked God for the win and he trusted that God could bring about the win.
But let’s go back and look at what he said in verses 7-8 again. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” (Psalm 20:7-8, NIV)
The people who trust in their chariots and their horses…the people who trust in their own power and strength…the people who trust in themselves…will be brought to their knees. They will fall.
But David declared that we are different. We trust in the name of the Lord our God, and we rise up and stand firm.
We ask for the win. We pray big, bold, specific, audacious prayers. And we trust that God hears us. We trust that God will come through.
But then, the focus shifts back to us. We ask. We trust. And then we rise up.
We ask. We trust. And then we get up and get to work.
We ask. We trust. And then we get moving.
The reason so many of us don’t experience the victories that God has for us is because all we do is pray about it. But we’re not willing to rise up and get moving.
It’s the person who prays for their marriage to heal, but they don’t do anything to facilitate the healing. They refuse to seek counseling. They don’t accept responsibility. They don’t reach out for the help that they need. They just pray about it.
It’s the person who prays for God to give them strength to overcome a sin that has a grip on their life, but they don’t tell anyone who can actually help them and hold them accountable.
It’s the person who prays for God help them get out of debt, but they don’t cut up their credit cards. They make no changes to their spending habits.
It’s the church who prays for God to help them reach more people for Christ, but they don’t want to do anything to actually make it happen. They don’t want to change. They don’t want to take any risks. They don’t want to do anything that might make it easier for a person to meet Jesus. They just pray about it.
A lot of times, when a person says, “I’m praying about it,” it’s actually a spiritual sounding excuse.
“I’m praying about it” can mean, “I don’t actually have to do anything about it.”
“I’m praying about it” can be a very spiritual sounding cover for laziness.
Now, just so we don’t misunderstand, sometimes there is absolutely nothing we can do about a situation except pray about it and then wait on God. There are times when that’s all we’ve got. God has to come through because there isn’t a single thing I can do about it.
I’ve had those seasons. So have you. We pray, and then we wait, trusting that God will come through.
But can I tell you something? Those seasons are the exception, not the rule. Most of the time, after we pray about something, God wants us to get down to business. He wants us to rise up and get to work.
It doesn’t mean that we trust in ourselves. We talked about that last week. It doesn’t mean that we trust in the chariots and horses of us. But trusting God also doesn’t mean just sitting on your butt. That’s not trust. That’s laziness. And in some cases, it’s the exact opposite of trust.
Last week, we talked about a story from the life of Joshua. Remember the awkward circumcision story? If you weren’t here, then let’s just say that it was weird.
But today, I want to go to a less weird part of the story. Joshua was the leader of God’s people. And he was leading them to the land that God had promised to give them. But there was a problem. The city of Jericho. Jericho was a powerful city and it stood between the Israelites and the Promised Land.
As Joshua was surveying the situation, here’s what happened in Joshua 6.
“Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.
Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.
When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 6:1-5, NIV)
Can we all admit that this is a pretty crazy set of instructions that God gave to Joshua? I don’t think any modern-day army would draw up a battle plan that would look like this. This is pretty out there.
But Joshua did it. He did it all. He obeyed God to the letter. The Israelites marched around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day, they marched around it seven times. They blew the trumpets. They yelled. And the walls came down.
But none of it would have happened if Joshua had refused to get up and get moving. He had prayed for God to give them the city of Jericho. But in order for that prayer to be answered, he had to move in faith. He had to spend a week just walking around a city instead of attacking it. Every day was a test of his faith. Every step he took around that city tested whether he trusted God. But every day, he got up and got moving, trusting that God would deliver on His promise.
In fact, look at what God said to Joshua when He gave him all these instructions.
“Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.” (Joshua 6:1-2, NIV)
Joshua was standing there, looking at Jericho. The gates were shut. The city was fortified against their attack. But God looked at that same city and said, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands.”
Not, “I WILL deliver Jericho into your hands.”
God said, “I HAVE delivered Jericho into your hands.”
God speaks as if it has already happened. He talks like Jericho had already been defeated…because it had. Victory over Jericho was guaranteed to Joshua. The victory was his. The battle was just a mere formality, because the victory was already decided by God.
Joshua didn’t just pray about it. He prayed. He trusted. And then he responded. And his response was obedience.
And that’s where we find ourselves today. When we walk out of this building today, we’ll be walking out of the last worship service we’ll have here. But we walk out like the victory has already been won…because it has. And we are walking out in obedience.
Beginning next week, our church will become a portable church. A church that moves in and out of a rented facility each week. We will be meeting at the Eastgate Holiday Inn and we’ll be meeting under the new name Connect Christian Church.
And when we walk out of here and we walk into the Holiday Inn, we will do it victoriously. And we will do it obediently.
It didn’t make a lot of sense for the Israelites to walk around Jericho for a week. But it is what God told them to do. It didn’t have to make sense to them. They just had to obey.
In some ways, it doesn’t make logical sense for our church to make this move. Some people just cannot understand the reasons why this move is happening. But we know that this is what God has called us to do, and we are going to follow Him obediently.
When we follow obediently, God gives us victory.
Only God knows how many prayers go unanswered because the only thing we do is pray. When we pray, we’d better be willing to obey.
Our church has prayed, “God, help us connect more people to Jesus.”
God is answering that prayer, but that answer came with a test of faith. God answered, “I will help you connect more people to Jesus, but you’ve got to be willing to get way out of your comfort zone. I’m going to call you to do something crazy. Are you willing to obey me?”
This is where the battle is won or lost. It’s won or lost in obedience. Not in understanding. In obedience. When we follow obediently, God gives us victory.
Ultimately, our victory was won when Jesus walked out of that tomb. That’s why we are walking into this next chapter with faith and trust and confidence. Because we’re just like Joshua. God told Joshua that the victory had already been won. And He’s telling us the same thing. Our ultimate victory was won when Jesus died on the cross and then rose from the dead three days later.
That’s why we can obey, even when it seems a little crazy. That’s why we can rise for the win. That’s why we can make a move of faith. Because the victory has already been won.
But this isn’t just true for our church. It’s true for our individual lives as well.
If you have a God that defeated death, then what exactly are you afraid of in your life? If Jesus rose from the dead, what is stopping you from rising for the win? If Jesus walked out of that tomb, what is keeping you from walking in victory?
Jesus didn’t rise from the dead so you can be afraid of the future. He didn’t walk out of that tomb so you can stay mired in worry and anxiety. The resurrection didn’t happen so you can muddle through life, weighed down by fear and disappointment and despair.
Look again at what David said in Psalm 20. David wrote, “Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.” (Psalm 20:6, NIV)
“Now this I know.” Not, “Now this I think.” Not even, “Now this I believe.”
David said, “Now this I KNOW. The Lord will give me victory. I KNOW it.”
Remember when you were a kid and you were choosing up teams for a game of kickball? There was usually that one kid that would make or break your team’s chances. This kid was so good that whoever was on their team just knew that they would win the game.
When I was in 5th grade, that kid was in my class. His name was Eric. Eric was a beast on the kickball field. He did whatever it took to win. He would knock you down when he slid. If the catcher was blocking the plate, Eric would go all Pete Rose/Ray Fosse…he would take that catcher out.
When it was his turn to kick, everyone in the field would back up because they knew Eric was going to kick the ball into the next county.
I remember one time during recess that we didn’t have even teams, so our teacher, Mr. Barlow, played with us. On one play, Eric was running for home and Mr. Barlow came running with the ball. He threw the ball at Eric to tag him out. Eric did a full front flip. The ball missed him and he landed safely on home plate. In fifth grade. I’m not kidding. The dude was an absolute beast.
Needless to say, when you were playing kickball, you wanted Eric on your team. If you were on Eric’s team, you immediately started talking trash to the other team. You walked with a swagger. You played with a swagger. All because you were on Eric’s team, and you knew that Eric was just going to go out there and kill it. You knew you were going to win.
When you read David’s prayer, you see that he knew he was on the winning team. There is a confidence…a swagger…an arrogance in his prayer. And it’s something that we need to recapture. In fact, we have an even greater reason than David to have this confidence. David lived BC. We live AD.
David lived on the before side of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We live on the after side. We live on the side where we have seen just how far God will go for us.
If the Son of God will give His life on a cross for you, what makes you think He would ever give up on you? And if He was powerful enough to walk out of that tomb three days later, what is happening in your life that He can’t handle?
We should walk with a defiant swagger. The resurrection leads to an insurrection! If the resurrection is true, then it’s time to lead an insurrection against fear and doubt and disillusionment. If Jesus really is alive, then it’s time to start a rebellion against worry and anxiety. It’s time to go to war with a stagnant life, a boring life, a mundane life, a life with no purpose and no mission. If Jesus is alive, then defeat is not an option because the victory has already been won.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8. This is a little long, but it’s so worth it. Paul wrote, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:28, 31-35, 37-38, NIV 1984)
Because of the victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are more than conquerors. Nothing can separate us from God’s love for us. Nothing can keep God’s power from working in our lives. The victory has already been won.
So what insurrection needs to happen in your life? Where do you need to rise up in defiance? Where do you need to rebel?
God said that He works all things together for good in your life, so that means that this painful chapter isn’t the end of your story.
God said that you are more than a conqueror, so it doesn’t matter what other people have said.
God said that nothing can separate you from His love, so it doesn’t matter what sin has weighed you down in the past.
Your past doesn’t define you. Your weakness doesn’t define you. Your inadequacy doesn’t define you. Your doubt doesn’t define you. Your sin doesn’t define you. It’s time to start a resurrection insurrection against these things.
Jesus defines you. The cross and the empty tomb define you. God has already won your victory for you.
The only question that’s left is, are you going to follow Him? Are you going to rise up and follow Him obediently so He can give you the victory?
What is stopping you from doing what He is calling you to do? Fear? Pride? Sin?
All of that pales in comparison to the victory that He has in store for you. All you have to do is march around Jericho and He’ll bring the walls down. He has already won the victory for you. The only question left is, are you going to follow Him to receive that victory?
Maybe you believe that Jesus died and rose for you, but you’ve never done anything about it. Today’s the day for you to rise up and get moving. It’s time for you to give your life to Christ. It’s time for you to submit to Him in baptism. You know it’s true, but you’ve never said, “It’s time to rise up and get moving.” I’m praying that today is the day.
Maybe you’ve been with our church for a while, but you’ve never declared that you’re all in. You’ve never said, “It’s time for me to be a member. I love this church. I believe in the mission and vision of this church. And I’m all in!” Today is the day to rise up and get moving.
Or maybe you’re not there yet. You’re intrigued, but you still have questions. You’re still struggling with some things, but you’ve never shared that with anyone. You’ve never let anyone come alongside you and pray for you. Today is the day for you to rise up and get moving.