John Bradshaw - Kia Kaha
We're about to open the Bible together. Let's pray as we do so and trust that God would bless us today. Let's pray now.
Our Father in heaven, we come to You in the name of Jesus asking that as we consult Your Word, You would speak. We thank You for the blessing of Scripture, that Your Spirit inspired the holy men of old to write. And what they have written I pray would be a blessing to us now. And I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
World War II, unfortunately, provides us with a wealth of lessons. It's inevitable that it should. That kind of conflict on that sort of scale when humanity was, was putting behind itself the really rather primitive methods of warfare utilized in World War I and was embracing the far more advanced and far more deadly means of destruction. Tanks had been used in World War I, but by World War II they were far more advanced, much faster, and they were more deadly. Aircraft by World War II were far more sophisticated than they had ever been. Radar was used in war for the first time in World War II. Aircraft carriers were now being used, and in World War II they were the most important ships in the navy. And, of course, the weapons themselves were unlike anything used on a battlefield heretofore. Exhibit A, the atomic bomb, which killed somewhere approaching a quarter of a million people in just two Japanese cities.
Now, war can bring out the best in people, and it can also bring out the worst in people. After a war has been fought, we celebrate the gallant; we lionize the courageous; we honor the intrepid. And some warriors take a special place in the annals of human history. The 28th Battalion, known as the Maori Battalion, was part of the 2nd New Zealand Division, the fighting arm of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, during the Second World War. It was a frontline infantry unit made up entirely of volunteers. The battalion usually contained 750 men. It was divided into five companies, and it happened to be, or to become, the most decorated New Zealand battalion of the Second World War.
Like other infantry battalions, the Maori Battalion was divided into five companies, four rifle companies of about 125 men each, and a headquarters company of around 200 men. Each company was commanded by a major or a captain. The battalion's four rifle companies, creatively named A, B, C, and D, were organized along tribal lines. The Maori are the native people of New Zealand, a tribal people, and so those four companies, tribally or more tribally oriented, while the headquarters company drew its personnel from all over Maori-dom, and they were quite a battalion. In the words of Lieutenant General Bernard Freyberg, who commanded the 2nd New Zealand Division, "No infantry battalion had a more distinguished record, or saw more fighting, or, alas, had such heavy casualties as the Maori Battalion".
The Maori Battalion fought in Greece, on Crete, in North Africa, and in Italy. Rommel considered New Zealanders to be the finest troops on the Allied side. They believed they were fighting for God, for king, and for country. The chief of staff of Germany's General Rommel, the Desert Fox, his chief of staff said, "Give me the Maori Battalion and I will conquer the world". The Maori Battalion had a battle cry, urging them on in their fight, and it was, "Ake ake kia kaha e". "Upward, upward, be strong". For those who've studied World War II, it is said that the name Takrouna evokes memories of some of the bloodiest hand-to-hand fighting of the desert war. Takrouna was a 650-feet-high rock fortress in the Sahel region of Tunisia in North Africa. It was held in 1943 by Italian and German troops, which blocked the 8th Army's drive towards Tunis, which was about 45 miles away in a straight line.
On the night of April 19, the handful of B Company men, led by Sergeant Haane Manahi, scaled a sheer cliff face to reach the summit. I don't need to remind you just how dangerous that was. A sheer cliff. And Sergeant Manahi went up, Manahi, followed by others, and after three days of desperate fighting, Takrouna was taken. Manahi then left to find reinforcements. He came back with a section of C Company and another platoon and successfully pushed back the Axis counterattack. Manahi and his men took 300 prisoners. A British lieutenant general described what, what Manahi did as "the most gallant feat of arms I witnessed in the course of the war". "Kia kaha. Kia kaha". This was a rallying cry: "Kia kaha". Be strong. Always be strong. That motto has become part of the fabric of New Zealand culture today.
After a tragedy, people are encouraged, "Kia kaha". Be strong. In a sporting contest, someone might encourage another person on the field by saying, "Kia kaha, be strong. Give it all you've got. Give it power. Give it everything". There are high schools that have taken "Kia kaha" as their school motto. Ever be strong. Now, this concept of strength, this concept of being strong, this is a biblical concept. Here we are on virtually the eve of what the Bible describes as "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation". And God is looking for those who will embrace this idea, "kia kaha". God is looking for those who will be strong. Jesus Himself said in the Bible in Matthew chapter 24 and verse 13, Jesus said in Matthew 24:13, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved".
Now, in the Greek, the word used there is "hupomeno". You find a word in Revelation 14:12 that's from that same word, Greek, "hupomone". Revelation 14:12, "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus". The patience, the steadfastness, the constancy, the endurance of the saints. "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus". They have heard God's call to them: "Kia kaha". In Romans 4 and verse 20, you read about Abraham, and I want to turn there in my Bible and read it along with you. If you have your Bible or your device handy, then turn with me to Romans chapter 4, here it is, and we'll read in verse 20. In fact, I'm going to back up and begin in verse 19. We are reading about Abraham, and the Bible says: "And not being weak in faith".
Now, let's pause. If you're not weak, by inference you are what? Of course, you are strong. "And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened" or, but was strong, "in faith, giving glory to God". The word there is "endynamoo". Now, we get this word, you remember Romans 1, verse 16, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: [because] it is the power of God unto salvation". And you have heard it said that that word "power" comes from the word, the Greek word "dunamis," and that's where we get "dynamite" from.
This is the kind of faith Abraham is described as having. Abraham had dynamite faith, powerful faith. And that's fascinating actually, isn't it? Because this man who was so strong in faith... this man was so strong in faith that he slept with his wife's servant, and he told a character named Abimelech that his wife was actually his sister. But here we are told the truth. He was strong in faith. God is looking for strength. Again, I share with you what the scripture says: "Being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither...the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God". Amen.
And now let me read verse 21: "And being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore, it was imputed to him for righteousness". Abraham's faith was strong when he believed that God was able to do what God promised to do. You can see where we're going here. Consider this with me for just a moment. If we were considering Abraham to have strong faith because he was good, he didn't relent, he didn't stumble, he didn't make mistakes, then we would never be able to say that about Abraham, because there were moments when he was an abject failure of faith. When was he strong in faith? When he believed that God was able to do what God said He could do. Abraham was strong in faith when he took God at His word. Paul encouraged Timothy to be strong. Timothy, be strong! But what did he say? "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus".
First Chronicles 16, verse 11: "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually". Then I look with you at a very, very well-known passage of Scripture. Over in Ephesians chapter 6, where we are told directly to be strong. We pick it up in Ephesians 6 and verse 10: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might". Notice this: "Finally, my brethren, be strong". Imagine if God said, "Be strong, but I want to see your strength". How would that work out? But Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus and he said, "Be strong", but what? "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might".
My brother, my sister, what we are promised is that God is the secret of our strength. The Holy Spirit is promised to come to you and bring to you the presence of God, the powerful, strong presence of God, to bring to you the righteousness of Christ, that powerful, mighty righteousness, and to bring into your life the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want you to think with me about the strong people of the Bible. Samson. Samson was strong because of his...? No, he wasn't strong because of his hair. He was strong because of his God, and that hair that grew luxuriously was simply a symbol of his faith and trust in the God of heaven.
Think of David's mighty men. They were strong. Kia kaha. You read about what they did, their exploits, how they took down enemies, how they defeated the, the mighty and the powerful. Where was their strength? Their strength came from God. David took down Goliath. A boy, David going into battle. Kia kaha, David, kia kaha. Be strong. And he was strong. Why? Because he relied not on armor. "Oh, no, King Saul, I don't want your armor. You can keep that. I'm okay. I will rely on God". Goliath insulted David, and David spoke back to him and said, "Oh, no, no. I come to you in the name of the God of heaven". He took down Goliath, marched into battle with a sling and five stones. And, by the way, you've heard it said that the other four stones were for Goliath's brothers.
Allow me to say, with respect, the Bible does not say he took four other stones for Goliath's brothers. The Bible doesn't actually come out and say Goliath had any brothers at all. We infer, some people infer that. Let me tell you why he took four extra stones. Because he knew that when he took down Goliath, the armor-bearer was standing right there. And behind them was a whole army of soldiers. David was saying, "I will take down Goliath, and if I have to, I'll take down the first four men who come running towards me". How can you be that strong when you're a shepherd boy? You are able to be strong when you are strong in the Lord. "Kia kaha, Rawiri". "Be strong, David". What are we building our faith on? The wise man, according to the Bible, "built his house upon a rock".
You might say that is the house built upon Jesus. I'm okay with that. Jesus Himself referred to His sayings, and so the wise person builds his or her house upon the rock of the Word of God. We believe that what God says, He is able to do. We trust that God is faithful. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, 1 Corinthians chapter 16 and verse 13. He said, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong". Another translation would say: "Act like men". As a matter of fact, let me pause and share this with you. Uh, a high school about 40 minutes from where I grew up has as its motto "Kia kaha".
Now, in explaining the motto "Kia kaha," they said, "Well, the longest sentence is 'Act like men, be strong.' And, of course, this is a co-ed school, so we wouldn't wanna be telling the boys and the girls to act like men". They may not have realized, but the longer phrase came from the Bible, where the Bible says, "Kia kaha". There's that, that catch cry, the rallying cry for the believer. Strength, we need it. God says, "Be strong". But where is your strength? That's my question for you today. We are not far away from the time when the world will unite against the principles of the Bible. Look, there are times when you feel discouraged in your church because you hear things and you see things and you wonder where some people got their theological degree.
Let me tell you, this is no time to buckle at the knees. Kia kaha! Let me share this with you. You come to church and you don't like the music. All right. You come to church and you don't appreciate the the bent of the pastor's sermon. All right. You come to church and you don't like, I don't know, you'd, you'd rather have seats than pews, or pews than seats. You'd rather have someone else leading the music or someone else greeting. You know how people can be. Now, and, and don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that all of these things are inconsequential; some of them are not. Some of them are very consequential. There might be time, there might be times, there might be times when you'll be far better off just deciding that you're gonna go to the church across town.
In an extreme case. But do you know what the devil wants you to do? He, he wants you to leave and take people with you and get your nose bent out of shape, and be upset. That's what he wants you to do. This is no time for that. God would say to you, "Kia kaha". Remember the church isn't yours; it isn't mine. It is God's. And by the way, the devil is at the top of his game. And what he will do...is bring people along to the church and endeavor to drag you out. "I know the church teaches this. But have you considered" thus and so, huh? "I know we believe that old-hat thing, but, but what about this"? And you know, if you really had a strong, "Did you, do you know, do you know who's really at work? Do you know that you can't trust anyone around here"?
Have you ever heard people say that? If you haven't, then either open your ears, or God bless you, you're so fortunate. The devil is at work. Don't make his job any easier than it is. He's already dealing with people who have been weakened by 6,000 years of sin. He's already dealing with people who have inherited and cultivated tendencies towards evil. He's already dealing with that. Don't make it easy by following the critics and listening to those who carp and bark and bellyache about the church. It is the apple of God's eye. No one said it was perfect. I'm in it. And by the way, you're in it, so it can't be perfect. But don't get dragged away.
Sometimes you have... I grew up on a river, essentially, about this far from a, a large river. Learned to swim in that river. And I learned that swimming against the current took effort. You can do nothing, though, and get dragged downstream. The world is a current that is dragging you in the wrong direction. There are times you've got to swim against it. It'll take energy. It'll take stick-to-itiveness. It'll take determination. It'll take strength. And so, kia kaha. Think back in church history. Martyrs went to the stake. And you know, I've read about this. There were times that men would be burning at the stake, and their wives and their children would be standing nearby singing hymns as the flames rose. That's strength! Where do you get that from? You want to see that strength? You turn with me in your Bible to Daniel chapter 6. I shall show you that strength.
Where's your strength? We're going to go to Daniel 6, and we'll read from Daniel 6, and right after that I want to go back to what Paul wrote to the Ephesians. So first, Daniel chapter 6, and we shall begin at the beginning. Daniel 6, verse 1: "It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps", oh, kind of like princes, "to be over the whole kingdom; and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss". Interesting. Daniel was honored. "Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm". Verse 4: "So the governors and satraps", jealous they were, "sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him".
Would you like someone to be able to write that about you one day? "We tried to find fault in her, we tried to find fault in him, but we couldn't find any because she, he, was faithful to God. against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.'" Verse 6: "So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and [they] said thus to him: 'King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.' Therefore King Darius signed the written decree".
What a disastrous law. What was he thinking? Well, he wasn't, was he? He didn't think about Daniel, faithful Daniel, a man that he valued immensely. He didn't think about that. He should have, but he didn't. So where did that leave Daniel? Walk through this with me. A law has been passed, by the way, this story is a prophetic story; it points towards the future. Read Revelation chapter 13 and you find this same scenario reenacted. That's why it's important to look at it. Because one day we'll find ourselves faced with this very situation, a law concerning worship, you must worship in this specified way, and if you don't, you will die. So what did Daniel do? What should you and I do? Let's look at the example of Daniel.
Verse 10: "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed", when he knew, "he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he kneeled down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God". Think this through. Here was Daniel knowing that his life was on the line. One false move, you're dead. And, in fact, the false move wouldn't have even been a false move. If you're faithful to God, you are gone, Daniel. You are absolutely gone. So, verse 10, what did it say? He knew the writing was signed. He went home. He didn't walk to the forest; he didn't climb a high mountain; he didn't go to a, to a hotel and lock himself in a room. He went home. In other words, you will know where to find me. And then the Bible says, "In his upper room, with his windows open".
Look through the windows; you're gonna see me. You know where I am, and if you want to, you can see me. Now, if he prayed, they might have thought, Oh, he's praying in the direction of Babylon, and so he's praying to the king. Daniel is obeying the law. But, no, his windows were open in the direction of Jerusalem. Daniel was praying and he was saying to them, yes, I am praying to God. He kneeled upon his knees. If he'd been sitting down in a reclining chair, they might have said, "Hey, he's just relaxing". But he was in the posture for prayer. There was no doubt what he was doing. "He kneeled upon his knees three times that day... and gave thanks before his God". If it had happened once, the king might have said, "Oh, he forgot". If it happened twice, he might have said, "Maybe he forgot". But three times? No way. No way. Daniel was being faithful.
Now, what was it that gave Daniel this faithfulness? If you've noticed, I didn't read all of verse 10. The Bible says Daniel, knowing the writing was signed, went home, went to his upper room, opened the windows, faced towards Jerusalem, kneeled on his knees, prayed three times a day, and what does the Bible say? "As was his custom since [the] early days". Another version says, "As he did aforetime". You and I might say, "Just like he always did". Why was Daniel able to be a man of great faith? Because Daniel was a man of faith. From his earliest days he had cultivated the habit of faithfulness, so that when push came to shove, it was as natural for Daniel to turn to God in faith as it would be for a flower to face the midday sun. You see, Daniel was faithful then because he'd always been faithful. And I wonder, I wonder if you are cultivating an attitude of faith in your life. I'm wondering that. I'm wondering if faithfulness represents what you're doing day to day, moment to moment.
You see, if we say, "I'll be faithful. Now tomorrow, nah, not so much". "I'll read my Bible today, tomorrow maybe, maybe not". "Today I will not let the crowd sway me, but tomorrow I'm just going to get swept along by the crowd". That's not an attitude of faith. It may be that you're growing; that's understood. But that's not what faith looks like. Faith leans upon the Word of God always and relies on God always to do what God has said that He will do. Faith is an unrelenting reliance upon God. Again, you might say, "Well, you know, I don't always get it right". Okay. All right. That's because you're growing in grace, and you're praying to God and you're saying, "Lord, make me a faithful woman. Make me a faithful man. Lord, let my life be characterized by faithfulness to You". You're praying about that. You're saying, "God, give me grace today. I'm tired of the failing. Pour Your Spirit into me. Live Your life in me. Do Your work in me".
One day God is going to be looking for a... a people of Daniels, a people of Daniels. When the Daniel story in Daniel chapter 6 is played out, as you see it played out in Revelation and chapter 13, where will you be then? And you may say, as people say, "Oh, I'm not strong enough". As the woman who came to the great preacher and said, "Great preacher, I don't think I have the faith to be a martyr," and the great preacher said, "My good woman, I can promise you I don't have the faith to be a martyr". She said, "If you don't have the faith to be a martyr, then what hope is there for me"? And he responded by saying, "If God wants me to have the faith of a martyr, or if God wants me to be a martyr, then He will give me the faith that I need in order to be a martyr".
Where's your strength? Don't be saying, "I'm not strong enough," because the Bible says that God's "strength is made perfect in weakness". Don't be saying, "I have failed too many times," because you haven't. God is able to turn your failures into victories and successes. Don't be saying, "I think I'm too weak". Take it from me. I know you are too weak. But it's never been about our strength. Ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit, our strength was good for nothing. Since then, it has been about the strength of God working in our lives. And this is why we read in Ephesians and chapter 6, and now we're going to pick it up in verse 11, where the Bible says, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places".
Okay, this is a battle that we're in. This is a major battle. We are fighting an enemy much greater than us, and yet God says, "Be strong". God says, "Kia kaha, be strong always, ever be strong". Kia kaha. Fight the good fight of faith with strength and with power and in the direction of success. And so the Bible says, you need that? Verse 13: "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace". Let me ask you this: Where do we get these things from? From God. Do you go to the, the spiritual gym and work out, pumping spiritual iron until you can say, "I can. I'm able. I have what it takes"? No! This is the armor of God.
This is like David actually saying to Saul, "Yes, I can't do this, so give me your armor". Uh, if you'll understand what I mean. He didn't do that, but if he had, he would have been fighting in the armor of Saul. God says, "Fight! Be strong"! But how? In the armor of God. Let me, let me, let me address something with you. You're fighting. You're facing temptation. You're victorious sometimes; you're failing other times. What approach are you taking? Are you coming to temptation leaning on the Word of God? Are you coming to temptation praying a prayer? God, do in my life what I cannot do in my life. Are you coming to temptation saying, "Lord, I'm weak, but I don't have to be without hope because there is hope in You"? Are you coming to temptation and, what I'm saying is, when temptation comes to you, are you entering that moment in your life and saying, "This is going to work out okay because I'm relying on God, and I'm asking God to work His power out in my life"?
Too many of us, we just get blown away like a leaf in the wind, because when temptation comes, we don't know to do like Jesus did and call on the Word of God. We're not reminding ourselves to claim the promises of God. We are not saying, "Oh, God, this is temptation, and it's too strong for me, so strengthen me in this moment, and I can succeed because Jesus is living His life in me". We take the whole armor of God. Verse 16 says, "Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you'll be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints". You see, we pray; we take the Word of God; we have faith. We want to be strong, and that strength is in the Lord. And there aren't any shortcuts.
Some years ago, this was the 1990s, there was a terrible earthquake across the Sea of Marmara from Istanbul in Turkey. Recovery experts walking through the ruins of collapsed apartment buildings discovered that the cement used in the construction of these buildings had been, had been, there was so much sand in it, in the cement, it would crumble in your hands. Too much sand, not enough stone. Too much sand, it was too weak. When the earthquake came, what could it do? All it could do was fall down, you see. Wasn't built out of the right stuff. What's your faith built out of? If you build it from the Word of God, you will be okay. You don't want to be building your faith from the wrong material.
We are turning in our Bibles to 2 Corinthians now, chapter 12, 2 Corinthians now, chapter 12, and we're starting in verse 7. Listen to what Paul said: "And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure". We believe that Paul was referencing his vision problem. "Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me", three times, "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong".
How can you say that? This is a contradiction in terms. When I'm weak, I'm strong. No, that's easily understood, because when I'm weak, I am trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm relying on God for my strength. Amen. That's right. Had a mother write to me recently. She said, "I heard your sermon. You said that God provided a job for your father-in-law when he lost his job, owing to his faith". That's right. I said that because it's true. She went on to say, "My son lost his job for his faith, and he's been without work ever since".
Oh man. You can feel her pain, can't you? Well, here is my advice: Kia kaha. Hold fast. Be strong in the Lord. Madam, are you imagining that God is finished with your son? Hold on for another moment, and the phone will ring. Hold on for another day, and there'll be a job vacancy advertised. Hold on for another day, and then God will move this young man's heart so he says, "Oh, I've been missing God's will for my life all of this time". Hold on! Because God is faithful. And it's when we start to waver, when we start to weaken that we manifest no faith. You can go to God and say, "I have trusted in You, and therefore I am in a fix".
I remember when I wore a younger man's clothes I made the decision to be a Christian. It meant that I could no longer carry on in a certain job where I was employed. Lost my job. I'll never forget the man on the other end of the phone. "Well, thank you. It's been great. You've been a good employee. Have a nice life". And I realized, I am unemployed. I was 12,000 miles from home. And I was unemployed. And the money I had in my pocket was dwindling rapidly. I had a talk to God, and I said to God, "God, You got me into this mess. You get me out of it". And did He? Did He? Yes, He did. Did He get me out of that mess instantly? Was there someone at the door? Bing-bing. "Oh, I just feel impressed. To knock on the door here or ring the doorbell and offer the first first person I see a job". Did God do that? No. It wasn't the next day, nor was it the next day, nor was it the next day. But it happened, because God is faithful. It's all He can be. Because God is faithful. Madam, tell your son, "Kia kaha. Be strong".
Oh, but he's wavering; he's weakening. Unh-unh, that's because he's being strong on his own strength. Be strong in the Lord and trust in Him. Hebrews chapter 4, this is a passage we want to see. Starting in verse 14, look at what the Bible says: "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest [who has] passed [through] the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession". Would you like to consider that with me for a moment? Hold fast. "Oh, but I'm weak". Hold fast. "How do I do that"? Wait! The writer to the Hebrews said, "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest". Do you know what that means? We've got a great High Priest in the heavens, Jesus who intercedes for us, because He is there for us, the same book says. You can hold fast. Just hang on. Just hang on. It says in verse 15: "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need".
I love what he says: Because of this, let's come boldly. Because in heaven Jesus is there as our great High Priest, let's come boldly. Because in heaven we have a Savior and a Friend, let's come boldly. God does not say, "Rely on yourself". He says there is a great big God in heaven, so great "the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him". What does God say because of that? Kia kaha. Be strong. Of course, the Maori Battalion would go into war really relying on their training, relying on their wits and smarts, and their...their own talent as soldiers. I don't mean to say none of them were men of faith, but you get my point. The difference here is when God says to you, "Kia kaha," He's saying, "Be strong, but be strong in the Lord". Be strong, but be strong in Christ and in His power.
You know, friend, if you, if you have a beating heart, then you have discovered that to live in a world where there is much sin... is a challenge. God has called us to develop a character like His. Who could believe that that is any kind of easy matter? It's not. A noble, well-rounded character... we weren't born like that. You've got to fight against your DNA. You've got to fight against your selfish self. But we're to be reborn and to take hold of a power far greater than our own. When I was a kid in primary school, Robert McSweeney said, "Why don't you come and spend the weekend on my farm"? I said, "Yeah, that'll be great". They lived on a dairy farm, cows everywhere. We're walking around the farm one day. He said, "Hey, why don't you grab that electric fence"?
I said, "Hey, why don't you stop being crazy"? He said, "No, no, no. It's easy". He reached over, and he grabbed the electric fence. He was fine. He said, "Go on. You give it a try". "No, no, I couldn't do that". "No, it was fine. It was no problem. Grab the fence". "Where should I grab"? "Right here". Well, I grabbed that electric fence. Of course I didn't know, and he didn't tell me, that the wire he grabbed was not powered. There was no electricity going through that wire. But the wire that I grabbed? Oh, my friend Robert made sure there was tons of power in that. It felt like I'd been kicked by a giraffe. Boom!
You know what Christianity is? It's grabbing hold of the power. Whose power? The power of Christ. Where do we get it? Holy Spirit. The Bible says, "Be strong". Kia kaha. But if you're honest, you know you have no power; you have no strength. We're sinners. We've fallen short of the, of the glory of God. We've fallen short of the glory of God. What do we do? Grab the fence. Of course, it's not an electric fence; it's a powerful Savior. You grab hold of Jesus, and just like that electricity flowed through my body, the power of Jesus will flow through you. Your life becomes the outworking of the will of God. It'll never be the same again.
Simple prayer: Jesus, live Your life in me. A simple act: Lord, I choose to take hold of Your hand. A simple belief: Lord, I believe You love me, You forgive me, and You accept me, and now You live in me as Your own. Simple. And that power starts running through you. Can we pray about that? And we pray, remembering the words of Jesus: Kia kaha, be strong. Let's pray.
Father in heaven, we confess our weakness and our inability to be strong, but we know and we believe in Your ability to be strong in us. Lord, might we remember those words: Kia kaha, be strong. We choose today to be strong in the Lord, in You, in the power of His might, Your might. Live in us now. Make our lives Your dwelling place. Make our hearts a fortress, an abiding place for Your presence. Let it be, we pray. We thank You. In Jesus' name. Please say with me, amen, and amen.