Jentezen Franklin - High Value Target
Luke 22. And very quickly, I'll begin reading with verse 31. "And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail. And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren'". I want to talk to you for just a few moments about something that happened in our nation that goes right along with what we've been talking about. It was 9-11. 9-11-2001, a date that we will all remember. When 2.996 Americans lost their lives in the twin towers from a terrorist attack. 6.000 were injured.
And then the wars that followed in Afghanistan and Iraq, another 6.800. All could be traced back to one man and his diabolical plan. He was in his 50's. He was the son of a billionaire. And he hated the Western world, and he hated Christianity. And the FBI and the CIA put on him a certain label. It's called, in their world, HVT. That is high value target. Osama bin Laden became an HVT — a high value target. He made the FBI and CIA most wanted list.
For 13 years, they diligently sought him. He went into hiding. He was isolated and secluded. He refused to use a cell phone. He would never go on the Internet. He was there and would not even, in his hiding place, allow his garbage to be collected. But he had a certain way of doing away with it. He wanted no traces of his existence. After some time, the U.S. government put out a $25 million reward on Osama bin Laden. And then the airline association offered another $2 million. That's a total of $27 million reward for anyone who could give information leading to this terrorist leader.
You may think you have friends, but if they put a $27 million reward out on you, your friendship circle is going to get very, very small, very, very quick. They knew that Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization, operated and communicated through carriers. And there in the area of Pakistan, there was one common denominator person who kept coming up. For 13 years the FBI, the CIA, thousands of agents, and I got this from an article and informants, they were searching and researching, trying to find this one man. This high value target. And I'm preaching on "You Are a High Value Target".
Now listen carefully. They had secret agents and CIA people who disguised themselves as part of Al-Qaeda. Twenty-four hours a day, thousands of men and women worked 24 hours a day for 13 years to find one man. One name kept cropping up. One name kept coming. He was a carrier in Pakistan, and hundreds of agents were deployed secretly to watch this man. To follow this man. To check everything that he did. Every movement that he made was tracked.
Finally, by 2010, they found and located him. And after 24-hour surveillance a day, he made a vital mistake. He used his cell phone, which he was not supposed to do. And when he did, he called, and they were able to trace that one phone call to a place in Pakistan. He had been carrying that cell phone along, and he had gotten relaxed in the place that he was in. He thought that he could get by with it. He let his guard down. And one time on his iPhone was the only reason that we were able to get Osama bin Laden.
You better watch out about that little iPhone and what you're doing with it. I'll keep moving, but give me a big amen. They began to study this carrier's patterns. The mistakes that he made. And they traced him to a compound in Pakistan. And there, with heat-seeking cameras, they began to notice a slim, tall man at the compound at night. Would come out only at night to walk around and stretch his legs. And they thought it strange. Why does he just come out, never in the daylight. Only at night.
And then they pinpointed his bedroom on the third floor of that compound. They knew which bed he was in. They knew that he had some security officers that were, through the heat-seeking cameras, that had weapons, so they knew this was someone that was unusual. They watched and studied when the security was most lax. Watching him.
Do you know that you have an enemy, according to the story that I read, when Jesus turned to Simon Peter, and he said, Satan has desired to have you? You are a high value target. You are someone the enemy is after. Every day, he wants you. He's looking for your weak point. He wants to destroy your family. He wants to destroy your marriage. He wants to destroy your purpose. He wants to destroy your call.
And when they located this man, and they were convinced that he was the terrorist that they knew he was, they sent four helicopters. Navy SEAL Team 6. Elite warriors. The best, the smartest, the most dangerous. They sent them in after this high value target.
Simon, Satan has desired to have you. You are a high value target. You're not just any disciple, but you have been given the keys to the kingdom. And I'm preaching today to some high value targets. You need to be careful, Simon, what you allow into your life because Satan has labeled you a high value target. Peter, you've got a revelation of who Jesus is.
And there are people in this room today, and people listening to me by television and on the Internet, you need to understand that the more you know about God, and the longer you walk with God, and the more Bible and revelation you understand, the more you become an HVT: a high value target of hell. You make hell's most wanted list. The enemy loves HVT's: high value targets. He loves pastors' kids, and second and third and fourth generation Christian families. He loves to get in those families, by about the third or fourth generation, and take out a high value target, and begin to change the blessing on that family into a curse. Into something that brings pain and hurt.
I want you to understand, if you know the Word, you can't relax. If you've been in church a long time, you can't relax. That actually makes you a HVT: a high value target. Young people, teenagers, college students, I warn you today with all that I can tell you that you are a high value target to the enemy. You know how to pray. You know how to fast. You know the truth. You know the name of Jesus and the power of salvation. And you are wanted by hell. Hell is sending his best forces after you. His elite Navy SEAL Team is coming after you.
I don't normally like to talk negative like this, but the truth is, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. And the enemy is sending in his best after high value targets. Hell is sending them to sift you, Jesus said. The word sift means to separate. When you sift wheat, you shake it until the sifting is done and there's a separation. And the sifting the enemy wants to do to high value targets is to separate you from special, spiritual friends. From worshipping friends. From a mom and dad that love God and love you. From pastors and spiritual voices. To pull you away from the right people and get you connected to the wrong people. To separate you from those who make you strong.
Hell is trying to sift you. To pull you away. He doesn't care how much it costs. They didn't care that it would cost $27 million to find one terrorist. And the enemy doesn't care what it costs him to get you out of your purpose, out of your calling, out of your destiny. He'll do whatever he has to do. You are a high value target. And Jesus warned Peter. He said there's all kinds of bait that the enemy may use against you because you're wanted by hell. You are a HVT. You are the one hell has that is most wanted.
The devil wants you so bad if you're an usher. If you are a soul winner. If you are a singer. If you're a prayer intercessor. If you're a young person living for Christ, and you've got character and integrity, you are a high value target. If you're standing strong in morality, and standing strong in keeping yourself pure, the enemy says that's a high value target. If we can take them down, and their name down, and their character down, it will have a domino effect on many others that they have influence with. A high value target. Hell is reaching for you. Heaven is reaching for you. And if he can stop you, he'll do everything he can to take you out.
I saw a documentary not too long ago on professional snake handlers that milk snakes. Now I don't know how you make it if you're not a professional snake handler. But this guy's label was a professional snake handler. And apparently there are amateur snake handlers that he trains, and this is what this show was on National Geographic about.
Can you imagine being an amateur snake handler and having to milk a rattlesnake? I don't know that I would ever want to go in that field. But this was what was interesting out of everything that he said. He said most of the, he teaches the young trainee snake handlers that most of the snake bites happen when you go to put the snake down, not when you pick it up. And I set there and thought Lord, I will preach that. That you better be careful what you pick up. Because it's easy to pick up drugs, and it's easy to pick up immorality, and pick up pornography, and pick up adultery. It's easy to pick it up, but it's not as easy to put it down. Because when you put it down, it can strike you.
And we need to be careful because we're high value targets. He's studying you. Your enemy is studying your habits. He wants to pull you out of the safety zone. The safety zone of God's house. The safety zone of the Word of God. The safety zone of good counsel from moms, and dads, and spiritual people who love you. The devil is studying every preacher. Every dad. Every mom. Every preacher's kid. Every one of us. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows your life. He studies your movement. He studies your instincts, your associations, your friendships. The music that you listen to. The movies that you watch. The websites. The things on your iPhone. He watches this.
I marvel at the patience of hell. How the enemy will wait, and bait you, and bait you, and bait you until he finally lures you out of that safety zone. He watches your desires and your patterns. The Bible said in Acts 19 that Paul was a chosen vessel. And the reason the enemy has declared that you are his high value target is you too, are a chosen vessel. I really believe that. I believe that preachers are an HVT. I believe that preachers, according to Matthew 26:31, smite the shepherd, and the sheep will scatter, and the wolf can devour them.
We ought to hold up our pastors, and their wives, and our church teams at every campus, and pray for them. Pray for their marriages. Pray for their children. Pray for their families. Why? Because they are wanted in hell. They are high value targets. And the enemy would love to mess me up, and love to mess these pastors up, and love to destroy their marriages and their children, and somehow it have a domino effect of devastating families in the church. But he will not, by the grace of God. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Come on and give the Lord a praise if you believe it.
Samson is a prime example of an HVT. He was a special man. He was not like any other man in Israel, the Bible said. He had the power of God. But Samson, you're being stalked. You're being studied. You're being watched. They're plotting and planning. He had no idea, every time he laid his head down in Delilah's lap that they were studying. Standing off in the shadows. A Philistine was taking notes on every weakness. Every tendency. Everything that he was doing. Finally, she gave him the most expensive haircut in human history, and he lost his power. His mother and father tried to warn him. God tried to warn him. The enemy should have warned him. He should have woke up and understood what was taking place.
How did the enemy get him? He started dating a Philistine. And any time you get in an unequally yoked situation with friendships, or people, or dating relationships, it's a sign that the enemy has declared you are a high value target. Judas was a high value target. He was one of the original 12. He was in the inner circle. And how would the enemy get him? Through greed. The love of money. 30 pieces of silver.
I'm preaching to you today, and I've been pastoring a long time. And I've watched people. And it seemed like the more that God blessed them, the less that they took their spiritual walk. And they could see their business explode sometimes, but if you don't keep that connection with God, the enemy will slip in. You're a high value target. He'll mess the marriage up. He'll mess the children up. Let's not let it happen.
I believe today that the power of God and the Word of God is our greatest defense. Peter had all kinds of problems. He was cussing, and cutting people's ears off, and messing up, and denying the Lord. And he said, but still, you are a high value target. And then he makes this powerful, profound statement. Satan has desired to sift you, but I have prayed for you that your faith fail not. You know, it's possible that you can fail, and fall, and mess up, but your faith doesn't have to mess up, and fall, and fail. And it's not that we'll ever measure up to be perfect, but keep your faith intact. That says a righteous man falls seven times a day, but rises again. Get back up. Get back up.
The enemy is never satisfied until he takes a high value target out. But I've come today to declare that no weapon formed against you shall prosper. Every tongue that rises up, he will condemn. I've come today to declare that the attempts, and plots, and strategies of your enemy: when the enemy comes in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him. And where sin abounds, grace doth much more abound.
And here's what I want you to get. If you feel like you're under attack, if you feel like you're dealing with things you've never had to deal with before, and you feel like you've made hell's most wanted list, you are a high value target, here's God's word to you. Jesus, our intercessor, our high priest, is praying for you this very day. When I feel like giving up, when I feel like I can't go on, to know that He ever lives to make intercession for you and I.
You're going to make it. But sometimes you need to come to church to get your thinking right, and get your head on straight, and to understand that you need to be awake and fully alert. Because this is an hour when, if you go to sleep spiritually, the enemy will take you out, or take someone out in your family. But I believe today that there's power in the blood of Jesus Christ, and that power can absolutely cause us to overcome all the power of the enemy. No scheme of hell will work. If we're connected, He that dwells in the secret place under the shadow of the Almighty will say I, Lord, am trusting in you. You're my refuge and my strength. And you don't have to fall. You don't have to fail.
And I really feel this for teenagers. I really feel this for college students. I really feel this for dads and moms. You're a high value target. Preachers' kids, pastors' kids, you're a high value target. Business man who is successful, making money, being blessed, be careful. You're a high value target. The enemy would love to take you out because then it affects everybody that you have great influence with. But we won't fail, and we won't fall if we're connected to the vine. Without me, you can do nothing, Jesus said. But through Him, we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us. Do you believe that?
Stand to your feet all over this room, every head bowed at every campus. Every head bowed, every eye closed. No one moving please in reverence to the Holy Spirit. If you're under the sound of my voice right now and you would say, "Pastor Jentezen, I don't want it to take some terrible episode of failure in my life for me to wake up. I sense that I'm in weak place. I sense that I'm in a distant place".
I'm going to go even further. I want to be very plain. Maybe you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you fail to realize in God's eyes you are a high valued target. Heaven is reaching for you in this service and so is hell, and it's your hand that will go to one of those hands. And if you'll reach out to Him He'll take you, and He'll cleanse, and He'll forgive, and He'll wash you like you've never had before in your life. Are you ready? Let's pray this prayer. Everyone pray it out loud at every campus.
Lord Jesus, I surrender my life completely to you. I know You died on the cross. You paid the price for my freedom. The price of freedom is blood and You shed Your precious blood for me. And today I receive You as my freedom, as my liberator. Jesus You're my Savior and You're my Lord; and I confess You before men. I receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. I will never die and go to hell. And the enemy's plots are defeated. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
Now lift up your hands and give God a great shout of praise. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Praise the lord. Those of you who prayed that prayer, on the authority of God's word, you have been cleansed; you don't have a past anymore, all you have is a future. The slate has been wiped cleaned. "I even I am He that blots out your transgressions to remember your past no more". God said, "Quit talking about your past. I have forgotten it, and it annoys me when you keep bringing it up. Let it go. That's who you used to be; that's not who you are now. You're mine". Isn't that beautiful; a brand new life, a brand new creation.