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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jentezen Franklin » Jentezen Franklin - The Champion

Jentezen Franklin - The Champion

Jentezen Franklin - The Champion
Jentezen Franklin - The Champion

Look with me now in first Samuel chapter 17. I'm beginning a series today, and I'll do part one today, and part two the Lord willing next Sunday. But I want you to look with me, I just want to highlight a couple of verses: verse 4, "And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines". A champion went out. Verse 23, three times in this chapter it emphasizes the champion. Verse 23, "Then as he talked with them, there was the champion of the Philistines", and then in verse 51, "David ran, stood over the Philistine, took his sword, drew it out of his sheath and killed him, and cut off it his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled". Verse 52, "Now the men of Israel and Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines".

And I want to take this old story, this famous story, and I want to dare to come at it a little different today. At first I'm going to retell a little bit of the setup of the story, I know you're all familiar with David and Goliath, but it's kind of hard sometimes to preach on the story that everybody knows. But I'm not going to come at it like you think I am. I feel like that something I'm going to share with you today is going to open your eyes to something that may just change everything for you. That's how powerful God's word is. I'm not, but this book right here has insight that can change your life today. Do you understand that? It really can. And I see something in this story that I've never completely seen it, like I want to try to get it across today.

Let me set it up: Saul was having a lot of personal problems, he was the first king of Israel. He was in a backslidden condition, going to a psychic, going to a witch, dabbling in the occult. He had lost the anointing, he had lost the voice of God in his life, and so now he's turning to any and everything. And as sin always does, it takes you deeper, and deeper, and deeper into despair. Depression was overwhelming him. He was he was insane almost with depression. And while in that vulnerable moment the leadership of Israel is distracted, preoccupied with his own battles, the enemy slipped in to the Promised Land, the Philistines came to the valley of eli, and they set up a war camp. And there was a giant named Goliath, who began to walk out, and taunt the armies of Israel. They had a gigantic champion. The Philistines had a champion named Goliath.

This is not the first time that Israel would face a giant. You remember when they were on the verge of moving into the Promised Land, Moses sent 12 spies and 10 out of the 12 came back. And in numbers chapter 13 this was their report, they said, "We cannot take the Promised Land", and here's why, "The sons of Anak are there, and they're giants, and we are as grasshoppers in our sight, and so we are in their sight, and we cannot do it". And as a result of their unbelief, as a result of their doubt and their fear, it kept them out of the Promised Land, you know the story, very famous, for 40 years. It's amazing that now, fast forward 40 years, Joshua and Caleb lead the children of Israel across the Jordan, they take Jericho, they have now possessed the Promised Land. Israel has elected its first king Saul, he's backslidden, he's in a bad place, he's preoccupied with his own issues, and the enemy moves in, an ancient enemy.

It's so important to understand that the giant Goliath came from Gath, and the reason he came from Gath is when Israel invaded the giants were there, and they ran and hid in five different cities. And one of those cities was a city called Gath. That's why he came from Gath. He was a descendant of the same race of giants that threatened Israel 40 years before and kept them out of the Promised Land. Fear and doubt had paralyzed them again. Now, there are terrified at the giant who's stepping out every morning and every night saying, "Send me a champion. Send me a champion. I'm the champion of the Philistines, I'm their champion, you send me the best fighter you've got, you send your champion, and I will fight. And if I lose, then you win, and we will serve you. If I win, then you will serve us".

The Bible gives very graphic details of the armor, and in great detail that the giant Goliath wore, specifically the coat of nails. One translation said it was a coat of metal scales. All that's interesting that he wore a coat of scales. Goliath is a picture of the serpent. Goliath is a picture of the serpent that defeated Adam and Eve in the garden. That's why the prophecy in the garden was (Genesis 3:15), "The seed of woman will crush the head of the serpent". David is the descendant of Jesus, let me explain that. The Bible said that Jesus was the... Listen to the detailed power of God's word. Jesus is "The root and offspring", the Book of Revelation says, "The root and offspring of David". What does that mean? How can you be the root and the offspring? "He was the root", meaning he was there before David, and yet, on his mother's side, Mary came as "The offspring", and provided the physical body that God would show up in.

And so, David is the descendant of Jesus, and David goes out and defeats Goliath with a head wound. Jesus would go to the cross, to a place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull, and he would defeat Satan, the scaly one, the serpent, that old serpent, the devil. Every day for 40 days Goliath issues the same challenge, "Whoever the champion of Israel is", and he did two things: he blasphemed God's name, the Bible says this over, and over, and over. He blasphemed the name of the Lord. And then he would issue the challenge, "Send me a champion if you want to do something about it". "And whoever wins this", this is not army against army, listen carefully, this is not the Israeli army against the the Philistine army. It is one-on-one combat. Champion against champion.

Now, the giant, Goliath is taunting them. And once again, Israel 40 years after missing it, and not going into the Promised Land because of giants, now 40 years later there are under the attack of that ancient spirit that has come back to destroy them. And they are caving into the fear, failing the test. Saul should have been the champion. The Bible said it was a head and shoulders above any man in Israel, there's one obvious person who should have put the armor on and went out there. It should have been Saul. Man looks on the outward appearance, but as usual God has an unlikely champion.

And it just so happens on the 40th day that David is sent by his father from the fields of shepherding, to go take bread and cheese to his brothers on the 40th day. And when David hears this uncircumcised, meaning out of covenant, has no covenant with God, because that was a sign of the blood covenant, that God made with Abraham and all the Israeli people. And when he hears this giant cursing and blaspheming God's name, something comes all over him. He was passionate about the name of the Lord. And he turns, and he's astounded, and he said, "Why doesn't anybody go shut him up? He's cursing and blaspheming our God's name". And he says these powerful words, "Is they're not a cause? Is there not a cause"?

When David heard those words immediately, Eliab his older brother started attacking him saying, "You need to go back to those little sheep that you take care of. This is a man's war right here. You don't belong here, you're not important, you're not strong, you're not qualified. You just go back, write your little songs, and play your little harp. And you sit out there in the wilderness, and watch your little sheep, like you've been doing". The first giant that David had to conquer was not the giant that was standing in the field. He had to conquer the giant of criticism from his own flesh and blood. All kinds of things they were saying about him. And he says, it's almost comical, he says, "I'll fight. I'll fight him. Nobody in the army would do it".

Saul was in his tent hiding, and he goes to the tent of the king. It's ridiculous. And he goes inside, and he says, "I'll do it". And the king says, "You're too young", he says, "No, I'm not. I'll tell you what: I know I can do it. You know why I know I can do it? Cause I was watching my sheep, and a lion came, and I slew him with my slingshot. And a bear came and I slew him with that same rock and sling". In other words when he tried to discourage him, David said, "I've got a track record. And if God could give me little victories, he can give me big victories. God can give me little victories, and little miracles, he can give me big miracles".

Somebody needs to hear that today. Sometimes you need to remember the little victories, and he's the same God, and really every lion that came against David, and every bear that he fought in the private desert world where he was, every time God... I want to say it like, I want to say: God allowed that lion to come. God allowed that bear to come to build his confidence, to cause him to hone in with that rocket, that sling, and use what he had to show him who he was, and what he could do for his glory with his anointing in hand on his life.

Saul thinks that victory comes through the weapons, so he says, "Okay, I'm gonna let you go, but I know you're going to need my sword and my spear, and all my armor, you take it". And David says, "I can't use that, but I'm deadly with this rock and this sling. I know it doesn't look like much, but I'm telling you, I've watched this work". You may feel like sometimes you don't have much, but I've watched prayer work, I've watched the blood of Jesus work, I've watched God take the toughest, roughest, baddest situations, and turn them around. And so there's something about the person who's seen it happen before. You've watched God raise you, you've watched God bless you, you've watched God preserve you, you've watched God defend you, you've watched God do so many things.

And the brilliance of God is... The Israelites were trained in warfare just like the Philistines to do hand-to-hand combat. And that would have been sure enough suicide, because nobody can defeat Goliath in size, nobody can defeat Goliath in strength, nobody can defeat Goliath in skill with sword, and with spear, and with shield. It would be suicide to do it, but the brilliance of God is, "I'm going to take an unlikely champion, an unlikely person, and it doesn't look like they've got much of a weapon, but they've been with me, they've been out in the wilderness, they've been strumming the harp", and you know what he had been doing out there? Writing songs, like Psalms 23, "The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me".

I think, when he started going out with nothing but a slingshot and a rock, he started reminding, maybe singing this song, "He leads me. He's leading me. He's leading me into this battle. He's for me. He's with me. He leadeth me beside the still waters. Yea, though I walk through the", what? "Through the valley", where's he at? "The valley of the shadow of death". "I see Goliath's shadow hit me", but the brilliance of God is if you're gonna fight a giant, don't fight a giant on the giants terms, fight it on God's terms. And God said: you run toward him, but stop about 30 paces. If you get hand to hand with him, he's going to mess you up. We wrestle not with flesh and blood. Don't get into that. Use your little stuff that they make fun of you about, that Bible, that blood of Jesus, that name. Use your little weak stuff. To the world it looks weak, but it's powerful to the pulling down of strongholds. And just keep a distance, don't get in there, and get down and ugly with people. Just back up, and use your stuff.

And he throws it from a distance. And I want to say that day, that you aren't wasting time when you were worshiping, you weren't wasting time when you were writing songs, and play in your heart, and reading your Bible, and loving the Lord, and getting in his presence. You were not, you're not wasting time this morning ladies and gentlemen. You have no idea what God is doing. He leads you when you honor him. He prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies when you obey him.

Watch this, he slays the giant. I like the rest of Psalms 23, he was, when the giant finished talking trash, he said, "Now, it's my turn to talk some trash". And the reason he was so confident is because he said, "I have two bodyguards. You can't see them", he said, "The name of my bodyguards is God's goodness and God's mercy, they follow me all the days of my life", Psalms 23, "They, goodness and mercy, follow me". I want you to know, that's a powerful thing no matter what you're going through this morning. When you understand, "I'm surrounded. You can't see them, but I've got two bodyguards: God's goodness, he's still a good God. No matter what has happened, no matter how bad things have gone, he's good. And his mercy: oh, that's good. His mercy endures forever".

It's not a battle between a giant and a little boy. It's a battle between a mighty God, and a tiny giant. Only David had the proper perspective on his enemy, listen, and on who his God was. And that's why he won the victory. If you don't get the proper perspective of who your enemy is, how tiny your enemy is, and how big your God is, you will not win. Several times it says that David was so upset at the blasphemy of God's name. He had a passion for the name of the Lord.

And it's interesting that blasphemy was a capital offense in the Old Testament, that demanded death by stoning. So when he went out, he said, "I know I've got the Word of God backing me up, and it says if you blaspheme the holy sacred name of God, under the old covenant, you will be stoned to death. And I got five stones, and I'm gonna stone you to death". And three times it says, "There went out a champion. There went down a champion". The word champion, and then the third time, "Their champion was dead, and they ran and fled". The word champion has translated, "The man in between". Isn't that amazing? The word champion this found three times in first Samuel 17 is translated, "The man who stands in between". He stands in between you, and your enemy. What an insight.

And so far you've heard this story, so far it's what you expected: great story, great thing, defeat the giant. And always in Bible stories we put ourself in the position of the winner that's going against the odds. That's just common nature. When I read it, I put myself, "I'm David. I'm David against my Goliath. I'm Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I'm this, I'm that", and we all do that. And the way we end it is like, you know, "I'm David, and Goliath represents great problems", and you know, the story always ends with a happy ending. The story always ends with, "I won, and the problem lost, and happily ever after. I'm always victorious, just like David".

Yay, you just read the titles of books on this story: "How to slay your giant", "How to raise giant killers". "10 ways to slay your giants", "Seven seven things to do if you want to kill your Goliath", and on, and on, and on. And I get it, I preached it, I understand it, but I think we missed the whole point of this story sometimes - you are not David. The truth is, we always preach it, "You're David. You always win, Goliath is the problem, it always loses", but if we are honest, this is the point I was trying to get to, it's not always quite so simple. Giants tend to be fierce. And we tend not to be David, we tend to be fickle soldiers down in the trenches, shaking or hiding in the tent like Saul. We don't put ourselves over there, we put ourselves like, "Yeah, I'm gonna be a David".

The Bible said in first Corinthians 10, it lists all these failure, failure, failure, story after story, after story of failures, and then it says, "All of these things were written for our example", and then he says this in verse 12, "Therefore", here's why I said, I just listed all that, he said, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands", who thinks that they're a conqueror, they're a champion, they're a winner, "Let him", he said, "I let all these people, I put all these people who failed and messed up in some area, did something terrible, I put them all there, it was for your example to read it", and then he says, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall".

Boy, I'm just telling you, I'm always the winner when I think about it. When I read the Bible, I have a tendency to think of myself, and you do too, so don't look crazy at me, I'm always innocent Abel, I'm never hateful Cain. I'm always loyal Abraham, I'm never greedy Lot. I'm always good Joseph, I'm never the conniving brother. I'm always holy Moses up on the mountain with God, I'm never the rebellious backing it up on the golden calf, dancing, and partying, and smoking weed. I'm always the three Hebrew children not bowing to the pressures of culture, and political correctness. I'm never in my mind with that group that bows down as soon as the trumpet sounds, and a little pressure comes. I'm always one of the disciples that follows Jesus. I'm always that Simon Peter who says, "Thou art the Christ. None of these get it, but I know it, and I'll fight for you, and I'll die for you". I'm never, "I'm denial, I'm denial, I'm denial", that's never me.

But the truth is, "Uh-oh". Can we be honest? In my mind I'm always fearless David running toward Goliath, never the king shaking in cowardness, afraid for his life, panicked, scared. But here's what I came to preach: you're not the hero, you are not the champion, you are the rebel. Sometimes you're the coward, sometimes I'm the pharisee, sometimes I'm the bad guy, sometimes I'm the victim, sometimes I'm the loser, sometimes I'm the sinner, sometimes I'm the failure( I'm a preach it). Sometimes I'm believable, sometimes I'm the loser. And if you can't accept that, if you can't admit that, you're missing half of the gospel. The Bible is not a book about how you are the champion. I want to say it again: man is not the champion.

That's the lie the serpent told Adam and Eve in the garden, "If you eat the fruit, you'll be like God, you'll be a champion". No, I am not the champion. The message is, "I have a champion. I'm sitting up on the mountain of fear, I'm sitting in the mountain of failure, shaking in my own timidity afraid, and scared, and weak, and tired of dealing with the problem". You say, "Well, what about Romans chapter 8"? "In all of these things we are more than conquerors", quote the rest of the verse, "Through him". Through him! Through him! On your own you're not a hero, on your own you're not great, on your own you're not a champion. You don't need to awaken the champion in you, you need to awaken yourself to the champion who is for you, and his name is Jesus! He is your champion! You don't always have to be right, you don't always have to do perfect, you don't always have to be everything that you're trying to be, because I have a champion. And the battle is not won or loss according to the soldier sitting in both camps, it's won by the champion. And whichever champion wins, that means the army takes the victory.

Turn to somebody and say, "Jesus is my champion". Through him we're more than conquerors. I mean, at some point, you know, you got to work up your courage, you gotta get a can-do attitude. Still struggle. My giants got the spirit of Jason, they keep getting up. I kill him, and it keeps getting up, and he keeps getting up. I stab it, I burn it, I kill it, I blow torch it, and it keeps getting up. I cannot do it. The message of the Bible is: you cannot live it, you cannot do it, you can't defeat the addiction, but you have a champion who has gone before you. And if you will just be remember what he did for you, and take it...

Still struggling, still have sickness, still have issues in the family, still have fear. The giant is still roaring. My strength is still failing. My joy is still fading. But I had the Lord just stir up in me, "And you're not David, I never wanted you to be David. I never intended for you to be the champion. I'm the champion. I'm the winner. I'm the one. Through me, and if you understand that your job is just to cheer me on, to worship me, to praise me, just like Israel. All they had to do was get up out of the trenches, and start shouting and praising the champion who had won the victory".

We have a David. Do you believe that? I see the army of Israel shaking, watching that pitiful, week, little David, and that massive giant, scales all over him, weapons like you can't believe. And he doesn't even have a weapon except a rock, and a sling. And then I think of my heavenly David. I see him, I'm up in the mountain of failure, I'm up in the mountain of fear, and I'm watching my heavenly David, a tall Galilean, who's so weak, he's fighting the whole Roman army with all of their spears, he's fighting the mob, they're spitting on him, they're beating him, they're slapping him, he's carrying a cross, and the Bible said, by the way, that when David went into the valley, that the dog, that the Goliath saw him coming and said, "What an insult. You're sending me a dog", look at this, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?". Uh-oh, sticks?

And this wasn't my revelation, my daughter Courtney told me this. She said, "Dad, the sticks are Jesus with the cross". And when Jesus was going to the cross, Satan and all the demons laughed, and they said, "Look at him, he's so weak. Look at him, he's dying. Look at him, he doesn't even have any weapons. His only weapon is his blood, and his name, and he's carrying sticks".

I want you to see now our champion, the man of the in-between, who stood between us and judgment, who stood between us and death. He's fighting. And here's the message of the story that we've overlooked, the message is not "It's you against Goliath", the message is, "You have a champion, who is fighting for you", and fought for you, carrying sticks to the cross, and bled, and died. It wasn't just his life that was on the line, our life, our eternal life was on the line. And it's not won by us, it's won by our champion. Our families and generational curses was on the line. And it wasn't up to us to win it, to be the perfect whatever. It's when we put our faith in the champion, he can break the curses, his blood is more powerful than the curses, he's powerful. Do you understand that?

Actually it says this, in first... This is how, look at verse 47, "Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear", or your strength, or your perfection. Are you being blameless? "For the battle is the Lord's", he will give it to you into your hands. David's victory is their victory. Jesus victory is our victory. Jesus, what he conquered: sin, he conquered the devil, he conquered evil, he conquered temptation, he conquered the grave, he conquered hell, he conquered sickness, lust, addiction, fear, he conquered depression.

Listen to what Romans 5 and verse 6 says, it's so powerful, "And when we were still without strength". Yes, you're not the champion. "When we were still without strength", I'm preaching to people who are so weary from the battles that they've been fighting, that could be where you are right now. And I'm telling you: the Lord wants me to make sure you leave knowing this, that you are not the champion. And no matter how weak you feel, "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly".

Romans 16:20 said, "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly". You know what? David went out and cut Goliath's head off. Jesus on the cross cut the serpent's head off. Now still wiggling, I mean, even though you can cut a serpent's head off, but it still wiggles. And that's all the enemy is doing, he wiggles. But he can't touch you, because you are the champion. And in this life we go through things, we have tribulation, but he has secured eternal life, he has secured ultimate victory, he has secured deliverance, and victory in the name of Jesus. And all you have to do is what the army did. After the champion won the victory, this is why nobody should ever have to beg you to raise your hands and worship God, because the Bible said they started shouting, and running, and praising God for the victory, that their champion...

That's your position, "I'm not perfect. I'm not good. I don't always make it. I don't always win. I don't always do right". I'm telling you, this is the gospel. But I have a champion who says, I'm on his team, and he fights for me, and his grace, and his goodness, and his mercy, the bodyguards, won't let me go. Does anybody feel a praise bubbling just kind of... Does anybody feel a real, can you shout for a minute? Is that all you got? Is that all you got? When you understand, he stood between you and death, but now you have eternal life? He stood between you, getting what you deserve, and he took it, absorbed it, and conquered it, and said, "Now move in"!
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