When all odds are against you

2 timothy 3:10-12 // 1 Samuel 17

Who has not heard of an old Chinese proverb which says,”woe to those who live in interesting times, Which tells the to recipient of this message that it is better to live in a time and be at a place where there is no hardship and no difficulties and certainly no interesting stories to tell.

You and I know, that we cannot escape the times where are living in write know, and the most of us have not got the financial ability to buy tickets for ourselves and our families to just leave any place that does not suit our our comfortable lifestyles.

If we listen to the words of Paul, in second timothy, we get the impression that the odds are against those who are willing to bring the message of love, peace, faith, mercy and trust in God alone to this dying world indeed. Let read Second timothy and the fourth chapter. I start to read from verse 1

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables

All of us in this room, want to live up to the words of Paul…. Jesus, as we know from the bible, like Daniel and Revelation, know, for sure that Jesus Christ will return soon to make an and to sin and dead. And we know.. that we should preach the gospel of Christ in all situations.. Like it says in verse 2

To preach the world, if good times - and also in times when the odds seem to be against us. Why would God give us a mission that seems impossible to fulfil. Paul even writes that people would rather follow after there own lust and sinful desires. Read with me in the same bible book of second timothy but this time chapter 3, and I will start reading from verse 1, where Pauls penned, “Know this also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, false...: or, one who foments strife 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”

How could we ever bring this message of Christ to people who just are to stubborn to be enlighten and entrusted with Gods word. A lot of Christians and even a lot of Adventists just give up at the thought of proclaiming Gods message to a dying world.

I talk with a lot of Christians who want to give up. They say to me… “Why preach to gospel message, why talk about the health message, the people of this world, they love their own ways so much, they tend to dwell in their own wrongful understanding of things,, why preach, why go out and evangelise?”

I know of Christians who stay home and won’t go to bible study meetings or midweek prayer meetings because they think that God has giving us an mission impossible and the only way for them to reach the glorious city of the new Jerusalem is to stay at home, read the bible for themselves and feel contend with it.

But brothers and sisters, should this be our attitude, should we stay in de comfort of our houses and have only family worship and once a week come to church. Our should we stand, even, even if all the odds seem to be against us? Are we seven days a week Advent-Christians, or just when we gaiter here for worship.

When to prophet Isaiah saw in a vision, the throne of God.. (we can read that in Isaiah Chapter 6), God challenged Isaiah… just as the Lord invites us to fulfil the gospel commission as written in Matthew chapter 28.

Listen what Gods staid to Isaiah in chapter 6 verse 7 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” When we got baptized, from the moment we heard the saving words of mercy of grace of Our Saviour and realized what Jesus did for us on Passover, over 2000 years ago. How would we answer to the Lords call? Of course we would answer the same as Isaiah did, namely; “Then said I, Here am I; send me”

We are willing to go wherever the Lords tells us ago, but when we hear the task the Lords gives us, are we just as enthusiastic, and as bold, just like Isaiah. Lets think about the task God gives Isaiah, lets read on in verse 9 “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Indeed, but understand: or, without ceasing, etc: Heb. in hearing, etc 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”

The words of the Lord, the task that Isaiah was giving, was one of… the odds are all against you.. and still I want you to preach. They are of the same stature, the same understanding as that what Paul said in 2 timothy chapter 4. That there will be people that will not to listen to sound doctrine, and to the loving, secure and comforting words of Jesus. People of this world rather listen to the deceiving words of Satan’s against than the sure word of prophecy given to us by scriptures… the same scriptures that are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

Why would God gives us a message when not every person on this planet will become happy and excited when they here the gospel message of the creator of heaven and Earth? Why would God send us on a mission impossible? When Isaiah inquired with the Lord how long he should continue to preach the message of the Lord has entrusted Him.. The Lord said in Isaiah 6 from verse 11, “Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, 12 And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.”

The Lord wants us to continue to spread the message he has given us, even though nobody would hear, until everybody had a fair chance to make a clear decision for our against our Lord and saviour. That is the same reason why Paul has written timothy because he knew that many people rather listen to fables and falsehoods. Paul knew that you have to work even though it seems that all the odds are against you. He wrote: “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

If all the odds seem to be against us, in a human sense, and the fact that we should trust God in such a unbreakable way, that even if we “walk trough of Death we don’t have to fear no evil.” If we want to reach the world with the messages of the three angels (remember those in revelation 14 verse 6 through 12), we should know that not everybody will be shouting hallelujah and Amen when we proclaim these important truths for this day and age

There will be people mocking the followers of God.. Like Jesus told us on the mount of blessing, in Matthew 5 verse 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Listen carefully want Jesus said how we should react if this seem to go against all odds, 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Listen what Paul said to timothy in his second letter to him in chapter 4 verse 6 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

And what said Paul to timothy who to stand tall against all those who hinder us to live our lives according to the will of God. We can read that in chapter 3 of the same book (second timothy) verse 10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, and then the second part of verse 11 persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them

The Lord will deliver also when our assignment is difficult, if we hold fast to 1) right doctrine, we also know this as orthodoxy, having the right and sound biblical teaching. The Lord will deliver us if we 2) hold fast to the right expression of our faith, doing the things that follows naturally, if we have been baptised and received Gods holy spirit and we reflect the fruit of the spirit in our daily lives, scholars call this Orthopraxy, having the right and sound way of behaving.

Other important aspects are stated by Paul as Purpose..faith, longsuffering charity and patience… If we express these ingredients in our Evangelism strategies and personal outreach, we will not be as those professed Christians who run away from the slightsed signs of trouble. But we remain steadfast, rightly contending our faith.. If we do this, we are able to live out these words by the apostle Peter, in 1 Peter 3 from verse 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Did you read and hear what Peter is telling us this morning… don’t be afraid when trials and tribulations will over come us, Be sanctified by the Lord God in our hearts.. and speak about the reason of the hope that is within us. Not by boasting, but in all simplicity. And if we have to suffer (shortly in this world fallen to sin) don’t give up but like peter says from verse 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Before Jesus told the disciples to go on there first mission trip, as we can read in Matthew 10. He gave them instruction how to prepare themselves for the difficult assignment ahead. Listen to some advise which Jesus gave them, but also us.. to prepare us for the important, yet seemingly impossible mission ahead.

They should simply preach this message as told in veers 7 “The kingdom of heaven is at head” in other worlds boldly proclaim the three angels message and particular the first angel message to loveand revere God and to worship Him. Secondly Jesus told them they should care for the sick, in verse 8, Sharing the biblical message of Healthy living. They should go to all the homes and enter those who are freely receiving the message.

Sometimes we think we can decide who to talk to and who not. But Jesus is clear, if people are willing to hear the words or love and warning from scripture, tell them so they might also be blessed, an important point that Jesus is learning us, is what our behaviour must be if we go out in this world an proclaim the truths that come from the one who created heaven and earth. Listen to what Jesus tells the disciples and us in Mattew 10 starting to read from verse 16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
The mission we have is a difficult one and not everybody; even if they are a live long Adventist or a live long atheist, will accept the message of the Lord of Lords in good report. That’s why Jesus tells us in verse 17 “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.”

But remember if we hold fast to the principles Timothy learned from Paul, having the right and sound doctrine and the right actions, then we can experience the following Jesus said in verse 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Are we the people who will endure to the end, Are we the people who Paul’s says, will wear that crown of righteousness. Are we the people who can be counted to the remnant, are we the people who uphold the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus? If we do, we don’t have to be afraid of the troubles that might pass our ways, because we don’t look at the difficulties of this live, but in the glory that Christ can give to all men who are willing to say, “Here I am… send me, send me, send me.”

In the Biblical history, there way one such man who had to face an impossible mission, you know him very well, let’s go to the Old testament book of 1 samuel chapter 17. In that chapter we can read about a young Hebrew boy called David, son of Jesse, who was anointed king at a time will he was still looking after the flocks of sheep in the fields.

Brothers and Sister… Just like David was anointed as a king, without having is physical kingdom established. So to is it with us. From the moment we have been brought into the family of believers by the immersion in water at baptism and receiving the holy Spirit, we became a royal priesthood of the kingdom of God… 1 peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”

We as royalty of the kingdom of God, which we can not see physical until the day that Christ will return, we are anointed to preach the gospel of good tidings to come to this world. And the Apostle Peter also indicates that those followers would have a difficulties could arise for those people who’s desire is to follow Gods will in every aspect of their lives. With the following purpose, in verse 15, “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”

David, as we know would struggle against the ignorance of a foolish man, As we now from read 1 Samuel we read that the army of King Saul and the army of the philistines are opposing each other from two mountaintops. You could say that the Adventists with the last warning message of this world are standing on one mountaintop while, the agencies of the world, people with a message of “Do what thou wiliest, follow your own desirers are standing on the other side. As Paul says, against the church of the Ephesians chapter 6 verse 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

When you read the story of David and Goliath, you might think about this story between two mighty armies contending for glory and victory, but is was really a war between, being afraid of carrying out Gods Will, while is seems that all the odds are all against you and follow Gods will in all it’s glorious ways, whatever what may lie ahead.

So there the armies of Israel and the philistines stood opposing each other And at a certain moment a member of the army of the philistines opened its mouth, as we read in verse 8 of 1 Samuel 17, “And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. 9 If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. 10 And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together”

When you take into account that Goliath of Goth, and the bible talks about him as a Champion, who was armed to the theet. Well armoured, large, mighty and powerful.. just one look at his face made the armies of Israel tremble in fear…. And after Goliath opened his mouth and said those words as we just read, what was the reaction of King Saul… in verse 12 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

If we want to go out and evangelize and share those eternal truths from the bible and the spirit of prophecy.. how do we react when people… in our family, in the workplace or at school or even in the fellowship of believers cry out en say… “Your message is not of this time”, or when people yell at us and are saying “Where is Christ in this world, I only see disasters and problems.” Are we then afraid to move on… are we reacting the same as Saul and those Israelites.. Who will react with dismay and fear of the seemingly impossible task to perform. Nobody in that army was equipped with the material needed or the strength and courage needed to confront the enemies of God, with all the odds against you.

We know from the bible story that David, 3 oldest songs where with the army of Saul on the mountaintop and the the father of David, Jesse, told David to go to the brave brothers of him to enquire how the battle was going on. Read with me how afraid those armies of Israel was… in verse 23 And as he [David] talked with them [the brothers of David], behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. 25 And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel

Just picture this scene, there is a big giant and when He opened his mouth. Instead of rebuking him.. everybody ran away. Aren’t we doing the same.. If people say to us; Don’t preach the gospelit only scares away people, of if people say to us. The 3 angel’s messages are not of this time… do we run away and say to our fellow brethren and sisters, “I am not going to preach the message needed to be heard for this day and age… I leave it over to somebody else, so they might receive the glory and honour, but me… I wont be put against impossible odds”

Is that our reaction in this crucial time of Earth history, brothers and sisters? I hope not. You already know I am going to say that our reaction should be that of David. But what made David so bold in working in the will of the Lord. Remember what was earlier said to Timothy by Paul in his second letter chapter 3 In verse 10, But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”

David, went forth in sound doctrine, manner of life (how he was with the sheep’s in de fields), with purpose, faith and patience… and Lord eventually delivered him.
Brothers and Sisters, if we go out and evangelise, preach, teach and share the message, I hope we go out with a clear mission, namely that all people may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

David heard what Goliath was boasting… David had a clear purpose… What was his Clear purpose, lets read again 1 samuel 17, the last part of verse 26, “for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

His brother Eliab, he looked at David and said, “why don’t you go back to those sheep in the wilderness.” If we go out and evangelize people might say to you.. even in the church, “You, you aren’t trained at a seminary, you don’t have 5 years of higher education that you can teach the bible to others. You are to young of to old. People might say anything to discourage you and me to go out and proclaim the Words of our Lord and Saviour to this dying world. But David was filled with purpose.. He was eventually brought before king Saul.. And Saul gave David the armour to fight against Goliath.

Sometimes when we go out to evangelise we try to copy they way of the world in our methods of evangelism. We tend to think that by copying the ways of this world.. we can with the world. But the lessons of the battle between David and Goliath is clear. If you take the armour of the world, you cannot move freely and be used by God in a way that He sees fit. David was properly trained.. he fought against bear and lion.. to protect his flock of sheep’s against the dangers of the wilderness.. this was al the preparation he needed to confront Goliath.

If we receive proper training, by studying our bibles, visit the church and its meetings on a regular basis… we will develop the character and purpose needed to boldly go out in this world an preach and unpopular but necessary message of love to this world filled in sin. David could not fight a convincing a conquering battle against Goliath, in the trappings of the armour of King Saul. What David needed for his impossible task, was first and foremost the assurance that God equip him for the task before him, and that God will deliver Goliath into the sword.

We read the following in verse 40, ´And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine”

David took 5 stones and a sling shot to conquer Goliath. And why five stones you may ask? In 2 Samuel 21:15-22 we read that there where other giants in the land of Philistine. David took not 5 stones because he would thought that he needed 5 stones to defeat Goliath. No he was prepared for a future battles, to defeat the giants.

Brothers and Sisters, Young ones… If we would diligently walk with the Lord, of we know that we are more than conquers. Even when all the odds are against us. We will be prepared not only for the battle at head, but also for struggles we have to face in the future. Read and study your bible, study the Spirit of Prophecy and pray every day and know that your are prepared for the task the Lord assigns to you.
Brothers and Sisters, don’t fear what the enemy may throw at you in your live. Trust and Obey and keep standing on the promises of Christ our Saviour to help you trough the difficulties of this live.

So for those who are afraid when the words of Christ in Matthew 24, Lucas 21 and what has been prophesied in Revelation 13, will become a day to day reality. Don’t stop proclaiming the good news, whatever man, woman or child may say…. Even it looks if all the odds are against you. Be as the young David… who rain into the valley to fight the strong and mighty this world has created. We can go out on the streets of Voorburg, Delft and The Hague and beyond to say to this world darkened by sin, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the day of His judgement is near”.

Goliath laughed at the simple nature how David was clothed, without armour, without the weapons of this world. Dear people if we evangelize, we do not have to copy the ways of the world. We have to listen to God and follow His will, His methods, and we will be victorious, not by our own strength but by the indwelling of Gods Holy Spirit in our lives.

We should say the same as David, when he said to Goliath in verse 45, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

And brothers and sisters if we.. just as David did, start proclaiming the message the worlds needs to hear in this day and age… be sure that Christians who have been come lukewarm in the faith life. To those Adventists which eyes need the open will understand what David shouted to Goliath “
47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.”

If the odds are against you, don’t despair, but harken to the voice of the Lord and go out in faith, knowing that to Jesus will be with us, when we fulfil the gospel commission, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Jesus will be with us always, even unto the end of the world. Satan may do everything in his power to derail us, to demotivate us. But remember those words of Paul in his Second letter to Thimoty chapter 3 verse 10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution

Don’t worry everybody who lives according to will of Gods have to deal with battling against impossible odds. But don’t worry because what do we have to do according Paul, 2 Timothy 4, verse 5, But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry

We need to learn from the simple lesson of David, Endure afflictions, do the work God command us to do and make full proof of the task God has give us to do. And be victorious as David was.

When all odds are against you.. just stand, stand on the promises of God, cause he who says all these things is Faithful, Cause Jesus is the one that calleth you, And everything he promises HE will do it.




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