Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
Aug 8, 2010                              "The Battlefield of Prayer!"

Sun Am Worship                              

Text: Ex 17:8-17  (King James Version)

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                            The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
2. C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;

INTRO.- ILL. - A prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman, to the stand. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?" She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a rising big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?" She again replied, "Why, yes I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He's lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."

At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you'll be jailed for contempt!"
If you ever thought it would be hard to stand before a judge, just think how you would feel standing before a Holy God knowing you are guilty!
Hebrews 10:31 "It is a Fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Exodus 17:8-16 KJV Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. [9] And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. [10] So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. [11] And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. [12] But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. [13] And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. [14] And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. [15] And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: [16] For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.

I INTRODUCTION--GREAT REVIVALS

If you are willing to spend the time and energy to look at the great revivals of the past, it will cause a great hunger and passion to see God move again in our own lives and our times.

One of those great revivals of the American past took place in the late spring and early summer of 1801 at Cane Ridge in central Kentucky. A pastor named Barton Stone, who had been called to serve this little Methodist church by Daniel Boone, decided to call a four day meeting for personal renewal and revival.

The members of the Cane Ridge church and most of the people around them were farmers and since the crops had been planted and they were waiting on the harvest at the end of the summer willingly laid down their plows for this meeting. At that May meeting there were many in that local church that begin to experience what was called "the fullness of the Spirit" or as later Methodist and holiness preachers would call it "perfect love." We can read accounts of what took place and understand it as they were receiving the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking with tongues.
Since the May meeting had gone so well, Barton Stone and his small church decided that they would host another meeting in August that would be just before the harvesting of their crops.

The only difference this time was that this little church had now spent about 2 months in revival and the word begin to leak out about what was taking place. As the word spread in the surrounding communities, people came from everywhere. So many came that the United States Army had to come in to help with managing the crowds. The U.S. Army did their own count and said there were 20,000 who came to this Cane Ridge revival meeting.

The little church could seat at its maximum capacity only about 250 people and so the overflow spilled out into several pastures and pulpits were put up so that people could hear the Word and then respond in the old-fashioned altars.

-All revivals have a price tag on them. They are not cheap nor do they come easy. They require great devotion and personal sacrifice.

 Revivals bring the Church back to prayer.

Someone once asked Dr. Cho (pastor of largest church in the world - over 1 million.) What is the key to your great success? His reply was very simple "I pray and I obey"

 

Luke 18:1   And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
It's the Battlefield of Prayer that puts you into the Presence!

 

 Revivals return the Church to a hunger for the Word of God.

Matthew 4:1   Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Matthew 4:2   And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was  afterward an hungered.

Matthew 4:3   And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Matthew 4:4   But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

"A faith that hasn't reached your wallet, probably hasn't reached your heart."

 

"If you give, you will receive. Your gift will be returned to you in full measure,  pressed down, packed together and overflowing. Whatever measure you use in giving will be the measure used to give back to you.

" Invest the kind of seed-faith offering in God's work that you need back from him. If you need money, honor God with his tithe even when you don't think you can afford it. He promises, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all other things will be added unto you."

Burt Reynolds starred in an old film entitled The End. In the film he decides to commit suicide by swimming out as far as he can until he is exhausted and then just go under. But after going under he is looking at the surface from the underside and decides not to go through with it. As he breaks the surface of the water he screams: "I want to live! I want to live!" He then begins to try to swim to shore, but it is a very long way off. As he begins to swim he talks to God. He promises to obey all of the Ten Commandments, and then realizes he doesn't know what all of them are so he promises to learn them. Then, in his panic, he says, "Lord, if you get me out of this, I will give you 80% of everything I have." But time passes and he is still going strong, and besides he can just begin to see the shoreline. But as he continues to swim he feels his strength holding out and says, "Lord, if you help me to get to shore alive I will give you 10% of all my earnings." And, finally, he struggles to the place where he sees that he is just going to be able to make it to land and says, "Well, Lord, let's just forget about what I said before. I think I can make it from here on my own."

Reynold's attitude is reflective of the attitude of many people today. Giving to God or living for God are sometimes thought of as "paying our dues," or fulfilling an obligation. What should our attitude toward giving be? What is the proper way to give and think about giving? The first point we need to understand is: Giving is an act of worship. It is an expression of gratitude to a faithful God for all his goodness to me. Giving is not just a response to a need in the church, it is a response of gratitude. It is giving as though we were placing it in God's hands. Worship is a word that comes from the word "worthy." We give to God because he is Lord of the universe and he is worthy of our praise. We worship him with our lips, with our gifts and with our lives.

 

Do you know how farmers decide how much seed to plant? They first decide the harvest they want to reap; then, they plant accordingly. They don't just plant haphazardly. They have a plan. That plan begins, not with the amount of
seed they buy; but, before that, they decide what size crop they want to produce. If they need a large amount of oats to feed the livestock, they get a lot of seed and plant a large field of oats.

Here, I can give you some practical suggestions about giving: (1) Give generously. If you want to produce a lot, you invest a lot. (2) Give cheerfully. Farmers don't begrudge the amount of seed they have to buy. They do it cheerfully because they anticipate a bountiful harvest. That's why verse 7 says God loves a cheerful
giver. That word actually means a hilarious giver. You should be hilariously happy that you're able to invest in God's work. Thank him for the ability to give because you know God is going to repay you many times more than what you gave. (3) Give prayerfully. Ask God how much his work needs and what your responsible share is. And, (4) give logically. Determine that it is your best choice to honor God first.

 Revivals jolt the Church from spiritual stagnation and deadness of heart.

  You don't have to look very hard to see peoples heart pertaining to the things of God.

2 Thessalonians 2:1   Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 Thessalonians 2:2   That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

2 Thessalonians 2:3   Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

 

2 Timothy 4:10   For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

 

Galatians 3:1   O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?


Galatians 5:7   Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

 Revivals stimulate the Church to heart-felt, sincere worship.
 Revivals bring the Church to place of intercessory agony that is marked by tears and travail.
 Revivals cause commitment to holiness and separation from the world.
 Revivals fill the Church with passion and godly desire.
 Revivals fill the Church with a reformation of mind and heart.

-The looming question of our times. . . Are there any churches that are still hungry for revival?

-If there is one Scripture that prevails when you begin to look into the birth of revivals it is always this one. . .

2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
-This verse is contingent on God's people doing something. . .
 If the people will humble themselves.
 If the people will pray.
 If the people will seek God's face.
 If they people will turn from their wicked ways.
-If these requirements are fulfilled then God will begin to shift things in the spiritual world. . .

 He will hear from heaven.
 He will forgive their sin.
 He will heal their land.

-Just knowing what God will do if we will do our part, ought to make every one of us seek to pray and deepen our spiritual life!
-Revival and spiritual awakening has always found its roots when the Church found places of prayer.

But if we are willing to be honest with ourselves, most of our deepest praying comes out of our own pain and challenges of life.

-If we are willing to prevail and overcome the delays, the obstacles, and unfavorable circumstances, God will help us as never before to experience True revival and harvest.

II. THE BATTLEFIELD OF PRAYER
-It all starts with prayer. The kind of prayer that not only is interested in personal renewal but is motivated toward praying for others to the end that they are saved. It is going to a place of prayer with a fight already in your spirit.
The secret prayer chamber is a bloody battleground. Here violent and decisive battles are fought out. Here the fate for souls for time and eternity is determined, in the solitude of prayer.

-If the Church can get on its knees and wrestle and agonize in prayer with the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and pray always with all forms and levels of prayer under the leading of the Holy Ghost--it becomes the most militant army of God in the earth.

-The text we read has some lessons that can help us to attain what God longs to fill us with.

A. The Enemy
-The first thing that we note in the text is the enemy attempting to defeat Israel. They were the Amalekites and they were some of the nastiest, most devious enemies that Israel would face. They were predators who worked every possible angle to take advantage of the weaknesses of their foes.

-They weren't an enemy who would face them head to head. They would sneak around and attack from a distance or they would catch them in a precarious spot, crossing a river, navigating a pass in the mountains, or during times of rest and then attack.

-They would attack the women and children. They would attack the elderly. They never would face up to the warriors because they were afraid of them. This is what happened to David in 1 Samuel 30. While he was out battling, the Amalekites attacked Ziklag and took the wives and children of David and his men as hostages before burning down the city.

-This technique was nothing new for them, they had been doing it like this for years.

Deuteronomy 25:17-18 KJV Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; [18] How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.
-That is what the Amalekites did best. They would indirectly attack at the weak points. Make no Mistake This is the way the devil operates in our times.

 He will attack our kids.
 He will attack our greatest weakness.
 He will attack unfairly.
 He will attack unexpectedly.
C.P. Kilgore, the father of James Kilgore, had to deal with some of these kinds of enemies when he was establishing churches in Oklahoma and Texas in the early days of Pentecost. When he would set up a brush arbor or a tent at the edges of the town, some of the toughs of the town would come and throw rotten fruit and vegetables at him while he was preaching. Sometimes the platform would be so slick with rotten produce that he would have to stay behind the pulpit the whole time he was preaching.

He had terrific financial hardships to endure. There were times that all they had to eat for all of their meals was biscuits, flour gravy, and water.

One night when he was preaching, there were three men who came to kill him. They were standing outside of the tent and had brought a shotgun and were going to kill him when he got up to preach. When he did get up that night, one of the men took the shotgun, aimed it and pulled the trigger but nothing happened. The other two men were arguing with the one who failed to get the shot off and so he handed them the gun to let them attempt the shot. Both of those men could not get the gun to go off,  so all three of them very sheepishly got out of the back of their rattle-trap pickup truck and walked the aisle even while he was preaching and flung themselves into an altar. They were convinced that God had stopped them in their foolishness. On that night, all three of them received the Holy Ghost. It was later they told Brother Kilgore they had come to kill him.

-It can be so discouraging when you are fighting enemies like that. Just as soon as you put your arms down, you will find them attacking you.

B. The three Trials of Prayer

-There are three trials that stand in our way when we are endeavoring to bring revival on spiritual battlefields.

 Our Wants
 Our Enemies
 Our Sins
-But when you stay with it, in the end you are going to discover that you will thank God for every one of those obstacles because they brought you into a deeper relationship of faith. They served as a vehicle for victory.

Our Wants are just like those that Israel had to worry with. They did not pack up any staples from Goshen to help them in the wilderness. No food. No water. No extra clothes. But God's blessings brought them manna from heaven. His provisions put a Rock to follow them around that would provide water. His promises made sure that their clothes and shoes never wore out during their wilderness journey.

Our Enemies are just like those that Israel had to face. They were not a trained army when they were fleeing from Pharoah and his army but God used a cloud and the sea to destroy them. The Amalekites were delivered by Moses' praying on the mountain. Joshua had a long day to help him accomplish his task. Every battle you face will wind up in praise somewhere down the line you just have to keep fighting.

Our Sins are just like those that Israel had to face. They could look in the direction of a brazen serpent and find healing and relief. Their sins had gotten them into their predicament but there was salvation despite their sin. We can look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith

The way of redemption through the sacrifices brought them a pattern of worship!

-The trials of prayer have to deal with those same three things. You will have wants in this life, you will have enemies in this life, and you will have sins and failures that will wilt you down in this life but you have to continue on in earnest prayer.


C. Prayer's Greatest Trial--Our Weariness

-This has always been  the great trial in prayer. What do you do with the weariness of continued prayer?

-If there are three that hinder us in our praying, there is one that is the most difficult of all--our weariness. That is what Moses experienced in the heat of the battle on that day, he got tired. The devil does his best to take advantage of us in those times of spiritual weariness.

-The devil will let a spiritual lethargy overtake us that causes us to seek after sleep.

Charles Spurgeon--A slumbering spirit is the best friend that prayerlessness can find.

-Joshua never got weary in fighting but Moses got weary in praying. The more spiritual an exercise is the more difficult it is for the flesh and blood to maintain it.

 That is why it is easy to work for Sheaves for Christ but hard to pray.
 That is why it is easy to work for the Church but hard to pray.
 That is why it is easy to organize an event at Church but hard to pray.
 That is why it is easy to be "busy" for God but hard to pray with God.
 That is why it is easy to encourage people with our words but hard to spend time for them in prayer.

-That is why the devil, the world, and our flesh want to keep us distracted from the hard work of prayer.

 The devil will throw worldliness at us to make us forget God.
 The devil will attack with entertainment to hinder our praying.
 The devil will use impatience to cause us to resort to taking care of the matter in our own strength.
 The devil will use ignorance of Scripture to cause us to fall to great anxiety and fear.
 The devil will use unbelief to rob us of the spiritual benefits that are ours.

-The remedy for his attacks is found in Scripture:

Colossians 4:2 KJV Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Psalms 55:16-17 KJV As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. [17] Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.


Romans 8:26 KJV Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

I believe that "faith" and "faithfulness" go hand-in-hand. If we are not faithful to the Lord in worship and serving  and Giving it's highly possible that our faith is lacking and our prayers may not get answered.

-What could happen to this church if such a spirit of prayer, sacrifice, godly hunger, and holiness got into us? Much of the challenging problems of our lives would suddenly be solved by a miraculous move of God.

III. CONCLUSION--THE REMEDY FOR WEARINESS

-The remedy for weariness is perseverance. We have to persist in our praying. That means we will have to make a conscious effort to keep praying no matter what dilemmas or weariness that faces us in life.
-The vast difference in those who get answers from God and those who do not is the willingness to prevail in prayer despite weariness of the battle.

 How long were the disciples to tarry in prayer in Jerusalem? Until they were endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49).
 How long did Moses keep his hands raised to God in prayer? Until Amalek was totally defeated (Exodus 17:13).
 How long did Joshua hold out the javelin toward Ai while the army attacked? Until Jericho was destroyed (Joshua 8:26).
 How long did Elijah stay on his knees in prevailing prayer after the three year drought? Until the rain clouds formed in the sky (1 Kings 18:44).
 How long did Jesus pray in Gethsemane? Until Satan was defeated.
 How long did the disciples continue in prayer in the Upper Room? Until the Holy Ghost fell (Acts 2:1-4).
-The devil is a wily enemy. He is full of deceptive tricks and has a pattern that he works with in every battle. We may think he is defeated but when we ease up, he returns and we have the battle all over again to deal with.
-With Moses, Aaron, and Hur on the mountainside lifting their hands in prayer, Joshua prevails. When Joshua starts the rout of Amalek, Moses eases his weary arms down and immediately the picture changes. Amalek rallies their forces and attacks again.
-So again Moses lifts his hands in prayer and again Joshua gains the upper ground and starts the rout all over again but as soon as he relaxes, Amalek recovers and returns with a vengeance. The lessons in this are obvious:

 Visible victories depend on the spiritual battle.
 The victories that we do gain must be followed with continual, relentless attacks until the devil is totally defeated.

-We have to keep praying even when we are weary, discouraged, and tired in the battle.

S. D. Gordon--Prayer must be persisted in after we have full assurance of the result, and even after some immediate results have come, or, after the general results have started again.