Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church

2022 Sermon for Lent 1

Fight and Win

1 Samuel 17:40-51

March 6, 2022 anno Domini

God doesn’t like wimps. Not only does God want you to fight He wants you to win, but there are rules of engagement, and above all you need to know your enemy.  Your enemy is God’s enemy. 

On the first Sunday of Lent we always hear of Jesus’ temptation.  Immediately, after He was baptized the Spirit led Him into the wilderness to test Him. This was the first public battle in a war Jesus would dominate. Learn this – if you believe and are baptized you’re in for a fight. In your baptism you are marked as God’s child but that same cross makes the Devil’s crosshairs. The Devil wants to destroy you by destroying Christ in you.

Since Christ came into you by water and the Word that’s what the Devil will go after. He’ll go after your baptism. He’ll go after your identity in Christ. He’ll try to separate you from the death and resurrection of Jesus which proclaims you righteous, delivers you from death, and will raise you on the last day.  Since the water that saved you is included in God’s command and combined with God’s Word the Devil always goes after the Word.

If you’re near the Word, if you are in church and Bible study every Sunday, if you have devotions, if you read and pray and believe, the Devil attack head on. Did God really say there’s only one way to heaven? That’s not very diverse. That’s not equitable or inclusive.  Did you know there are more mistakes in the New Testament than there are Words? How do you know the miracles are true? Have you ever seen one?  How about resurrections? Do you know anyone personally who walked out of the cemetery?

If you’re not near the Word, the Devil is already winning the territory of your heart. He won’t attack from the front. He’ll just keep dangling lovely and lively bait before your open soul. He’ll dangle the money you can make on Sunday morning. The peace and calm of the lake or woods. He’ll jig something exciting and fun that your kids like way better than church – hockey or volleyball or late Saturday nights with friends. You may have already bitten his bait. Don’t swallow it and if you did – fight for your life, spit it out, repent, be forgiven, and win.

The story of David helps us to know the rules of engagement and the real enemy.

The first rule of engagement is this battle isn’t about you. David wasn’t some mercenary looking for reward. He was fighting for the honor of the Lord’s name. Goliath was blaspheming – that’s a big word for telling lies about God. Evening and morning he would shout against the Lord’s army. Evening and morning was the appointed time of sacrifice so Goliath would have been mocking God right during the Divine Service. What did the Lord’s army do? Nothing. They were all afraid. Goliath was a giant – he stood over 9 feet tall. I’d look like a hobbit next to him.

David fought for the Lord. All it takes for evil men to succeed is for good men to do nothing.  David wasn’t a good man. He was God’s man. How could an army of God’s followers be silent while God’s enemy poisoned God’s name with his words? Do not miss this fact – one man, a little shepherd boy was all it took to bring down a giant, because he was fighting in God’s Name, for God’s Word, to God’s Honor.  The Lord was on his side.

Samuel tells us something else about Goliath that is important for understanding the real enemy. Goliath had armor of scales. You know what else has scales – snakes. Our enemy is Satan – that serpent in the garden who tempted Adam and Eve. This also reveals the Devil’s tactic. The most dangerous part of a snake is his mouth and that is what that Serpent Satan used to tempt Eve. His mouth poisoned God’s Word. He used the same battle plan in the wilderness against Jesus. He poisoned God’ Word.

I was born in Montana but only lived there till I was six, so I don’t have too many memories. One memory I have is of snakes, especially rattle snakes. Our back yard was the badlands and as little kids we were told to look out for snakes and if we saw one to tell our dads. When a snake was found, out came the shovel and the snakes head was separated from its body because that removes all the danger. The first promise of a Savior in the Bible is the promise of a Son who would stomp the serpent’s head. Since Goliath had blasphemed the Lord, David picked up five stones – because the punishment for blasphemy was being stoned to death.  Once Goliath was down David did what you do to snakes – He cut off his head and the whole body of the Philistines fell, running for home, defeated by one little shepherd boy with a stone.

That’s another good rule for the fight. Take a head shot every chance you get. The enemies of God’s Word pervert the Word, poison the Word, pollute the Word with their mouths. You need to know the Word so well that you can silence them. This isn’t hard or difficult. Hear the Word. Study the Scriptures. Go to Bible Study. Ask questions of your pastor. Read a couple of good books on defending the faith. Not only can God’s Word silence an enemy, but it also the power to make that enemy a friend. The Word can change Saul to Paul. It changed you from rebel to child, from sinful mercenary to a fighting saint.

The story of David and Goliath is not really about David and Goliath and it’s not primarily how to fight. Like all of God’s Word it points to Jesus, the shepherd boy of Bethlehem. The Son of God did not become man for His glory. He came for His Father’s glory and honor. Jesus is the One Good Man who stood up to evil. He took on the Devil in the wilderness, our sin at the cross, and death in the tomb.  One single man and when that single stone was rolled away from His tomb to reveal an empty grave, the old serpent lost his head. The Devil still tries to poison you with his lies, but what can he say?  You’re worthless. You’re evil. You’re beyond love. Those are empty words that should bounce off of you like marshmallow bullets. Christ is the antivenom to that venom. How can those words affect you when Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again? The Devil cannot accuse you. Death cannot threaten you. Hell cannot terrorize you. The whole body of evil is writhing in its death throes because of the one man Jesus and that one stone that cut off Satan’s head – the one revealing His empty tomb. So, fight not for yourself, but for the Lord. Wage war against the Devil’s lies. Use the Word. It will destroy evil, but it can also make God’s enemies into friends. And know this – you’ve already won – in the name of Jesus. Amen.