Taking MountainsPastor Jerry Gillis - September 13, 2015
The mountains of life are the things that are daunting, intimidating, and may cause us to respond in fear. But Jesus shows us that God’s promises are bigger and stronger than any mountain we may face, therefore we don’t need to fear.
Community Group Study Notes
- Out of the fears mentioned in Sunday’s message, which one resonates the most with you? Why do you think that is?
- Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the mountains that you face, how can you remind yourself of the promises of God? Where do these come from and how can you fill your heart and mind with them? Why do you think this is necessary?
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:25-26)
Ever since I was a little kid, I always believed that there were giants living in the mountains. I don't know how you come to believe certain things like this, but that's just how it is, right? Maybe it was being influenced by watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer growing up. You know, that little animation - it's kind of half wood people, half clay people, half animation or whatever, you know. And that abominable snowman that's kind of in the real icy mountains, or whatever, and they call him the bumble, you know, and Yukon T. Cornelius is on..bumbles...bumbles bounce [unintelligible]. You know, that? Some of you remember that.
So, maybe it was that or maybe it was reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and thinking about the stone giants that were in the mountains and those kinds of things. Maybe it was that, I don't really know. You always see Big Foot, you know, the kind of murky pictures of Big Foot. They're always in the mountains. You don't ever see shots of Big Foot like, in a parking lot in Kansas. Right? It's always in the mountains. And if you're looking for Yedis, you need to go to the Himalayas. The Himalayas are where you need to be to find the Yedis, because they live in the mountains - these giant whatever they are, that's where they live. I would recommend if you go climbing in the Himalayas not to bring beef jerky. That could probably be a problem. Because Big Foot show up where there's beef jerky. I didn't know if you knew that.
Glad you guys are involved in pop culture. Yeah, I figured this would be a smarter group. You're decent looking, I just, you know there's not a lot going on up here. But I'm going to work with you - I'm going to do my best, it's what I do. Because I have compassion and I love the Lord and love people.
I heard stories about, there's these local legends that there are actual giants living in the Solomon Islands. You guys may have read about this before, whatever. They're kind of local legends, but the locals will swear by it that they live in the mountains of the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal area, which is like I think northeast of Australia in the Solomon Islands. So you've got all of these things, and so for me in my mind I always kind of thought giants live in the mountains.
Well, I was trying to think about doing something with Trace before he went to college, I took some time off - a little vacation time - a few weeks back and I thought, do you know what? What could we do that would be cool? And so naturally I thought, let's go climb a mountain! Right? He's about to take on a mountain, you know called university and college and all that stuff, and so let's go take a mountain before he has to take a mountain. You know, let's go tackle some giants before he tackles some giants. That was kind of my idea.
And so I was like, o.k. So we ended up scheduling a trip up into the Adirondacks and Trace and I were - actually our whole family went but only Trace and I were going to do a climb, and I decided, you know, hey we're going to go climb Mt. Marcy. For those of you that have been in the Adirondacks, Mt. Marcy is the highest peak in the state of New York. And that's what I chose. I am not an experienced climber. I'm an idiot, is what I am. I'm a stupid idiot. So, I just chose it and I told him, I said we're just going to go tackle the biggest peak in New York state, dude. We're just going to go climb it. O.k., all right, whatever.
And so he's not that worried about it. And I'm actually not that worried about it. Until I started looking up, about it. And started getting educated on what this bad boy was like. And I was thinking - 'cause you know my mind, I'm just thinking, you know I've walked around Glen Falls before. I'm mean this is not...right? This is not that big a deal. I mean, I didn't have any gear. I didn't have squat. I've got a school back pack, got some sandwiches in there, a little trail mix, some waters. I've got a flash light, it's about this big. I have an old pocket knife but it doesn't even have a knife on it. More like a file and it's got one of those little things, about that long, it's a spoon. It's about this big and I'm thinking this is going to save my life. I'm going to bring it. I'm bringing it. And then had a little bit of bug spray. That's what we had. That's what we had.
So, I'm just trying to get ready for this thing, and then I started going, oh, man. Trace is going how far is this? And I looked it up and I went, "15 miles". He said what? I said, "It's 15 miles", and he went "Are you out of your mind?" And I was like, maybe, maybe.
So we decided to tackle it, you know, and that day we took off. Edie and Tanner dropped Trace and I off, and we started at the trail head, and they have an ominous sign in station. You have to put your name down in case you don't come back. Oh, yeah. He didn't come back. Yeah, that's a problem. Somebody's going to have to get that guy. Yeah, he left back in April. Yeah, he's not back yet. He didn't check back in. So you're supposed to, you know, when you finish, come back and sign the register like, I'm back.
So anyway, we started walking on the trail. Of course in my mind I'm thinking, I hope there's no monsters. Because we're about to go into the mountains and I've had this giants and mountains thing in the back of my head forever. So we start walking down the trail and I'm thinking, this is nothing. This is like nothing. I'm walking on a flat trail. Everything's cool, me and Trace. I got my back pack, I'm like, let's get it. Let's get it, Trace. I'm thinking this is going to be no problem. I don't really know how long it's supposed to take you, although I'm thinking I want to get off of this mountain before it gets dark, because I don't really have the tools available nor do I have any climbing skills whatsoever or hiking. I don't do any of that. I try and stay in a little bit of shape, but we're just going in blind, man. Let's just do this thing.
So, as we're walking down the trail a ways, we are met with the first giant, which is a sign that strikes fear into my heart that says "Stay On The Trail. There Are Black Bears Everywhere And They Want To Eat You." It didn't say that at the end, but I know what it was trying to say. Now the first thing that went off in my head was, why in the world will the black bears not come on the trail? Is there some kind of force field around the trail where if a black bear's running out, I go wait a second - I'm on the trail. And he's like, NOT AGAIN! I thought I had lunch, and he's just walking along with me. I thought I had lunch, but no, you're on the trail, and I can't get on the trail. That wasn't encouraging in any way when I read that - Stay On The Trail So The Black Bears Don't Eat You. And I'm thinking, the black bear - like he's going to come walking up and go, oh, the trail - I'm not getting on the trail. I was going to eat you, but not on the trail... Get off the trail. I dare you! No, he wasn't going to do any of that, right?
So, we started walking and I'm thinking, great! There are giants called black bears here in the mountains and I hope we don't get eaten. So we're walking fast. We decided we wanted to get up there very quickly. What am I going to do anyway if a black bear comes? Like I'm going to give him a sandwich? Here you go, have that! I don't want your sandwich. Well, you don't know but I'm carrying a small spoon in my pocket. Spoon you up, black bear! Some of that! You can tell all your black bear friends. Spoon man is on the mountain!
I don't know what I'm doing up there. So me and Trace keep walking and we are hauling. Supposedly it takes around - I talked to some people in fact who've done Marcy and supposedly it takes around 12 hours in a day to do. You're making a 7 1/2 mile ascent up a mountain, and it's the highest peak in the Adirondacks so then you have to get down, and we wanted to do that - that day. Most people camp. They go up a ways, and then they camp at a camp site, and then they go up the rest of the way. Not us. We're doing it in the same day. Why? Because we're stupid idiots. That's why. I'll say I'm a stupid idiot, because I'm the one who is leading this expedition, and Trace is just coming along, so I won't lump him in. But he, too, is a stupid idiot for doing this with me. But he didn't have a choice, like, Dad's got to do his thing before I go to college, right?
So, as we're - I feel like at this point now we are huffing. We're climbing rocks and we're doing all kind of stuff and it's...two miles in, you gotta walk two miles before you even get started. It's ridiculous. So you walk two miles and it's nothing. I'm thinking this is going to be absolutely nothing. And then after you get past the Marcy dam, it's on after that. It's like, it gets real. And so that's what I said to him, I said, man that first two miles is no big deal and now it got real. So now everything feels like it's taking you a calendar month to just get by it, right? And I feel like we've been walking for roughly, I don't know, a hundred years at this point. I'm thinking when I get down from this mountain, I'm going to be able to cash social security checks, we've been gone so long.
And we're making our way up. I feel like we've been gone forever and now the trees are starting to get a little bit thin, and I'm thinking we got to be getting close to the top. And then there's a clearing out there and it's the first time we've seen a clearing, because we've been under a canopy of trees and all that stuff and we've never seen the summit and we've never seen anything. So we're thinking o.k., man, there's a clearing up here. It's about to get good.
And we go up and in the clearing there's two dudes that are about 21 probably, 22, and they're sitting on this rock right over here to my left. And so as I come out, the clearing, you know, I'm like, what's up, guys? And they're like, hey, what's up? And then we started talking for just a second, right? And they said, what time did you guys leave this morning? We said we left at 7:00 and they're like, or we left at whatever time it was - 8:00. We left at 8:00 and they're like, we left at 7:00. You guys have made up an hour on us. What are you, did you steal something? Are you running from somebody? What's happening? I'm like, we're just trying to get to the top, man. Have you ever been to the top? He's like, no, no, we're headed there. I said o.k., cool. I said, well, we've got to be close I'm guessing because, you know, trees are starting to thin out or whatever and the guy just went - he's pointing right like that. And I looked over and there's the summit except for I can't see it 'cause it's in the clouds! And I looked over and I went, no, man, I said, no. We're going up Mt. Marcy. It looked like a completely separate mountain in a far, far galaxy and I just went, no, we're going - we're actually going up Mt. Marcy. I don't know if there's another trail that takes you to whatever that mountain is, but we're going up Mt. Marcy and he just looked at me and went. I looked at him.
Inside of me, I was sucking my thumb and then I took my thumb out and put a pacie in. and I was going, Mommy! Mommy! Somebody give me some warm milk. I was scared. At that moment, I was so deflated because I thought, I want to see a black bear at this point. I need him to just take me out, because there's no way I'm getting to the top of this. So it was this emotional giant that I was feeling and I was just like, you've got to be kidding me. Now I didn't say anything to Trace because I just had to be, you know, whatever. I had to be the man, right? It's my stupid idiot idea to do this, right?
So we keep going and he even looked at it, and he was like, man. Because you felt like you've been walking for 20 years already, and now we've got to go up into the clouds! So sure enough, we finally get there and we have to scramble up the summit. About the last 1/4 mile is just rock face. And you just have to scramble up. Scramble is an actual official term I learned, you know, and it's kind of a combination of rock climbing and hiking, but it's kind of in the middle. And so I was doing that and I was having to use my hands and my feet, you know, kind of at the pitch, you know.
We finally got to the summit. It was awesome. We took some pictures. We hung out for a little bit. We sat behind a rock because the wind was going crazy. Ate our lunch and then we came down. We did the whole thing actually in 8 hours. We went really, really fast.
Going down was horrifying, because I used all of the molecules in my quads going up. And so by the time we turned around and started coming down, I got nothing left in here, which means no support for your ankles. So I mean, every step of the way I looked like scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. I was going like this. Trace, let's go! Let's get down this thing! We've got to get down there! We're going to die! I've got the spoon! All I've got's the spoon, man! There's bears and stuff. Trace is always turned around looking at me like - you look like a walking milkshake. Ridiculous.
But we finally made it down. We left at 8:00 in the morning. We were down by 4:00 in the afternoon because we had taken some time at the summit. Went three hours and forty minutes to get up. Three hours and thirty-five minutes to get down, and we took the mountain. We took the mountain.
Now, here's what I learned. There are no half-hearted mountains. So there can't be any half-hearted climbers. I realize that even though we eventually made it and made it down, that we had to invest fully.
See, one of the things that I want you to understand is that the people of God are mountain takers. That's kind of who we are by design. We are actually mountain takers. We are a mountain taking people. But, you need to rest assured that there are giants that live in every mountain that we are called to take. Every single one.
Now, I want to take you, for just a moment, to a story, and kind of the big story of redemption, and it's an event that transpired that you'll see eventually, when we get to the book of Joshua chapter fourteen in just a moment. But it began where the people of God are actually in captivity in Egypt. And while they are there God raises up, after they had been in captivity for a long period of time, God raises up Moses and Moses eventually leads the people out of Egypt, crosses the Red Sea, and God had made a promise that he was going to lead His people into a land of promise. He had promised that long before Moses, but he was going to make good on his promise and so, Moses takes the people out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and is making his way to the land of promise.
Now before getting to the land of promise, Canaan, Moses said, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to appoint twelve spies - one from every tribe in Israel - and they are going to go into the land and they are going to do recon work. They're going to see what's in there and is it a fruitful place? What do the people look like, that inhabit it right now? And how are we going to arrange to be able to do.
So, he sent them - he got all twelve of the, one from every one of the tribes and he sent them on their way and he said forty days - forty days I want you to go search out the land and then I want you to come back and give us a report. So for forty days they went out and they searched the land. When they got back, they started reporting back as to how the land was. They said, this land is unbelievable. It is a land, in their terms, that flows with milk and honey, and in fact we brought some of the produce back and it was a vine of grapes that was so large that it took two of them to be able to carry it. It was so fruitful. And they brought it back and they said, this is the land that God promised us. It is an extraordinarily plentiful land.
But, 10 of those 12 spies said, "But here's the problem. Man, the people that are there - they're like giants. We look like grasshoppers in their sight." This is exactly what they said. "We look like grasshoppers in their sight. I don't know that we're - these cities are fortified. We've never going to be able to take these cities. This is ridiculous."
Now, Joshua and Caleb are the two spies that are like, hey, hey, hey! Hang on, hang on. God said we can do this so we can trust him. God has promised this land to us and he said that he would be able to do this for us so we can trust him. But the voices of the 10 won all the hearts of the people, and the people of Israel hearts just started to melt inside of them and they're like, we're not doing it. We are not believing God. We are not doing this. If they say that those people are too big for us, and the cities are too fortified, we're out. We're not doing it.
So, God says to Moses, oh, o.k. So I've got a rebellious group on my hands. A group that doesn't believe me. Well then here's what's going to happen. None of those 10 are actually going to make it into the land of promise. Those 10 spies. And this whole generation of adults that's in the wilderness right now? They're not going to make it in either. In fact, what's going to happen with the people of God, is that for every day that the spies were in the land, they're going to spend a year wandering around in the wilderness. Forty of them. Forty years. All of them. And he said all of them are going to die eventually in the wilderness because they did not believe me, but their kids are going to be able to enter in and Joshua and Caleb.
Now Caleb was made a promise, and that promise was the very land that he had set his foot on, he would be able to inherit at some point. And eventually, even though Moses died, at the end of the wilderness wanderings God raised up Joshua and Joshua led them in to the land of promise and over the course of time, remember they didn't just go in and go, oh, we're here. There were people that inhabited the land. Right? All of the Canaanites, the various ites that were in there - the Jebusites and the Hittites, and the mosquito bites, and the electric lights, and all those people, right? They were all in there. O.k.? All the "ites". All of them were in there.And so through the course of of a period of time, they were having to go in and drive them out from the land, and then take possession of what God had promised them.
Well in that time, something happened that we should see here in the book of Joshua chapter 14 beginning in verse number 6. It says now the people of Judah approached Joshus at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.' "now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as sting today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this mountain or give me the this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said." Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.
Now, we learn some things here about Caleb, which are interesting and there are some other places in scripture that teach us more about him, but here's what we know. We know Caleb at this point was 85 years old, alright? And at 85 he said, I'm just as ready to take on whatever I need to take on as I was 45 years ago when Moses, by the command of God, sent us as spies into the land. I'm just as ready to go at 85. Now some of you are going, I'm 85 and I'm not just as ready to go. Some of you are 40 and you think you're 85 in the way that you feel. Caleb was ready to go. He was a man of vigor, and you know that he was also full of faith because he believed God from the very beginning and said we can do this with God's help. I know that we can.
But you also know he was incredibly patient because he had to hang out in the wilderness with everybody else for 40 years. He still did not get to see the promise for himself because he was hanging out with all of these folks for 40 years and then he finally gets in, so you know he was a man who was incredibly patient.
But we also know about Caleb something else from the book of Numbers. Listen to what it says in Numbers chapter 14. "God said, not one of the children of Israel is going to ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it."
So what we know about Caleb is that he was 85, but he was just as full of vigor as he ever was, that he was full of faith, that he was patient, that he had a different or unique spirit from all those who chose disbelief in God, he chose belief. And we also know that he was wholehearted because that's what the text says. That he was given this land because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord his God.
But here's the thing. When he went in, and he was going to get to have his land, Hebron, it wasn't going to be easy. In fact, look again at verse number 12 in your text there in chapter 14. He says, "Now give me this mountain, or give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."
Now here's the thing. The Anakites were there. You're going, o.k., whatever. The Anakites were there. What does that mean to me? Well, the Anakites are descendants of Anak. You're like, thanks for the clarification, Jerry. That was really helpful. Anak is descended from the Nephilim. The Nephilim are giants. So here's the thing. Caleb is given a promise - Hebron. But there are giants standing on his promise. We'll come back to that in just a second. That there are giants standing on his promise.
But you see, Hebron has a history. And we should know this. Because even if you don't know about Hebron, you should, because years and years and years before, when God had made a covenant with a man named Abraham, he said to Abraham, who at the time did not have any children, he said I'm going to make you a great nation. Through you, I'm going to make you a great nation. It would be ultimately called Israel. And I'm going to bless you, and I'm going to make you a blessing to the world, and I'm going to give to you a land. And then what God does is he sends Abram out, and Abram goes into this land of Canaan. And guess where one of the places, one of the primary places where he ended up settling? Hebron.
Listen to what it says in Genesis chapter 13. "Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord." Do you know that he lived there long enough, by by way, that his wife Sarah, who was already old when she gave birth to Isaac, but lived you know another 20+ years, when she died Abraham bought that area from the Hittites and he buried his wife there. It records this in the book of Genesis as well. Listen to what it says. "Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her. Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site."
So, here's what we know about Hebron. Hebron is a place where Abraham lived, and Abraham was one who was holding the promise of God. The promise of God was not only that there was going to be a great nation, but that that nation would be blessed, and would be a blessing, and that that nation would have a promised land. So, Abraham goes into that promised land, and even though he doesn't own anything, when his wife dies, he actually buys a portion of that land and he buries his wife Sarah at Hebron. Well, guess what? Eventually Abraham died. You know what happened to Abraham? He was buried next to his wife Sarah at Hebron.
Abraham had a kid. Abraham and Sarah did named Isaac, the child of promise, right? To continue the line. Isaac had a wife named Rebekah. Both of them died. Do you know where they were buried? At Hebron, with Abraham and Sarah. Do you know that Isaac's son Jacob also had a wife named Leah? He had another one named Rachel who died giving birth, if you remember that which was near Bethlehem, but Jacob and Leah were also buried with Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebekah and now Jacob and Leah. So at Hebron, listen to this, at Hebron what you have is buried in the ground. You have a 500 or so, half millennium old promise that says I'm going to make you a nation. I'm going to bless you. You're going to be a blessing, and I am going to give you the land that I brought you into.
So finally, maybe 500 years after this, Caleb stands at Hebron and literally under the feet of the giants are the promise of God. Right under their feet is the literal promise of God. And so, there are giants standing on Caleb's promise. More specifically God's promise for Caleb. And what Caleb chooses to do is he chooses to believe God. Just like he did when he went as a spy, he believed God and was able then to drive all of these giants from the land.
Now, here's what's beautiful. We're gong to connect some dots. This event that happens here is not only real historically, but it's also a picture. It's a typology. So Joshua, that gets raised up to lead the people, is kind of a type in the Old Testament, of Jesus. The one who would lead his people into the land of promise. In fact, as you know the word Joshua and the word Jesus come not only from the same root but are the same word. Joshua and Jesus really are the same name, "Our God Saves". So, Joshua is kind of a picture of Jesus in the Old Testament. The land of promise is not a picture of heaven. It's a picture of the abundant life that we have in Jesus. The inheritance that he has given us that is beautiful.
And Caleb is a picture of what believers should embody. In other words, that we are full of faith. That we don't check out on God at any age. That we are full of faith, that we are patient - listen to this - that we are of a unique spirit, and that we are wholehearted. You see, there are no halfhearted mountains, and there are not halfhearted giants. So you need wholehearted believers. This was the picture that we are seeing here.
So why does that matter to us? It matters to us ladies and gentlemen because we, right now in this day and age, we as the people of God, we are mountain takers. This is how we are wired. This is what he has called us to be. We are people who take mountains. But, there are giants in the mountains. With the mountains that, with the inheritance that we've been blessed with in knowing Jesus personally, in knowing the great salvation that he has given to us, in knowing the power to fulfill his mission in the world, we have been given a great inheritance, and by the way we have been given great and incredible promises just like Caleb was, we have been given promises that even in the world that we live in, and when the giants show their head, there are promises that we can hold on to. We've been given the same.
But here's the thing - Caleb had giants standing on his promise, and so do we. The giants that Caleb had to face were Anak, a tribe of giants. The giants that we have to face are the giants of fear. You see that's what giants do. They scare you. They cause you to tremble. They cause you to be fearful. And we don't face the giants of the tribe of Anak, descended from the Nephilim, we face the giants of fear. With every mountain that God wants us to take by faith, we face fear, and this is a tribe of giants.
Let me illustrate. The fear of death. That's one that I could tell you about. I've had conversation after conversation in more than two decades of ministry, I've had many conversations with people who are so paralyzed by their fear of death, that they can't live. They're scared. And so every decision that they make is made with their own personal security in mind. If I take this step do I know for sure that I'm going to be secure.
I get that question asked all the time when I take trips to Israel. I have people asking me all the time. If I go on this trip, am I going to be secure? I don't know. You going to be secure if you go downtown? You going to be secure if you go to the bus stop? You going to be secure if you go from your living room to your bedroom? I don't know. I can't make any promises. I'm not playing God here. Yeah, but you know what I mean.
Actually, you're as safe as you're going to be, but here's the bottom line. When God's done with you, I don't care where you are - padded room, under your covers, doesn't matter. Right? When it's time. Now I'm not saying do anything unduly stupid. Right? But, at the end of the day we just kind of have to trust him because we're all going to walk this road of death more than likely. Jesus may come again during this time, but if he doesn't we're all walking the same road.
The statistics at this point are one out of every one dies. A little study I did recently, a little research. Thank you Dr. Gillis. Brilliant. Right?
But sometimes we're so paralyzed with it. I've talked to people who cannot sleep. They struggle to sleep at night because they're afraid they're not going to wake up. Now, I'm not saying, by the way, that I'm like really gung-ho about death. Being dead is not a problem in my heart. Getting dead, I don't look forward to that. Right? Nobody's going, you know what? I want to really think about, for a long time, how I'm going to die. That's just weird. Stop doing it. All right?
But, we can't let this fear paralyze us in terms of what we want to do because that's what happens to us. These giants begin to look down on us and they say, you could die. Yeah, I know. But Jesus has made me some promises.
You remember when Jesus had a friend that died named Lazarus, and he went to try and console Mary and Martha and when he got there he said, hey, it's o.k. And she said, I know it's o.k. It'll be o.k. at the resurrection, and here's what Jesus said in John 11. "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die." And then he says this: "Do you believe this?" You see ladies and gentlemen this is a promise from the mouth of God's own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, God with skin on. And he says yes, you might die, but I am the resurrection and the life and whoever believes in me, even if they die, they will live. Do you believe this? Because if you believe this, those giants will have to run.
In fact, Paul picks up on that same theme in 1 Corinthians 15 when he expounds on this, and eventually says "When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'"
Ladies and gentlemen, the giant of death may look at you and try to strike fear in you. You might die. I might but I'm not staying dead because Jesus has gotten up from the grave and he's made me a promise. And I'm not going to be paralyzed by that fear anymore. You can take that mountain.
There's other fears. Man, I could start naming tons of them if we had the time. How about the fear of being alone? I hear it all the time. I was asked at a Promise Keeper's event that I did in Toronto, and it was on like courage and fear and all these kinds of things, and they had us at a little bit of a round table deal and asked the presenters to be on stage together, and they just wanted to ask some questions at the conference, and one of them asked me a question, you know. What's your greatest fear? Some of the other guys had answered, you know, some of them being funny, spiders, and I was like dude, it's a men's conference. That's what you're going with? You're afraid of spiders? Step on it. Come on. Give me something, right, for real. Golly, man.
So I said, I'll be honest with you. The greatest fear probably is my wife dying before me. Probably my greatest fear. Because I realize how much she means to all that we are in our world in terms of what we do and how we do it and all those kinds of things, and I just, you know, I would be exposed for the knuckle head that I am, were she not around. So it's one of my great fears. It doesn't paralyze me, though, because I've got promises.
But you fear that - being alone, right? Some of you, your greatest fear is if your spouse wasn't there, and what we have to be careful about is that we don't make our spouse an idol or a god, because our spouses are terrible gods. God is a good God. Our spouses are terrible gods.
Some of us fear it if we're single, and we've never been married, and our great fear is that we're going to be alone for the rest of our life. I'll never get married and so I'm going to be alone, and I'm scared. And so we're so scared, listen to this, we're so scared and we don't trust the promises of God that we make a really bad decision. Why? Because I'm scared of being alone so I'm going to grab on to whatever I can grab on to, so that I won't be alone.
Or, maybe you're a student in high school or in college, and you think to yourself, "It's a tidal wave of people who aren't walking with God, and they're not doing anything that pleases God, and so either I'm going to have to be alone over here following God, or I'm just going to have to do what everybody else is doing." You're not alone. There's a promise.
Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 28, he says "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." And in John chapter 14. he says. "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
You will never in this life, ever be alone if you are a follower of Christ. Ever. So you can see that giant, and you can speak to that giant and say, "I'm taking this mountain by faith and I'm not going to paralyzed by the fear of death, and I'm not going to be paralyzed by the fear of being alone, or the fear of being unloved."
See, some of us have this giant emerge in our lives that tells us how bad we've failed, how many mistakes we've made, how we are are worthless, how we are not worthy of the love of God. Listen carefully - let me go ahead and solve that for you. Romans 5:8 says this - it says, "But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
So here it is: You were a mess. You didn't love Him. You weren't following after Him. You were either actively or passively saying whatever, I'm going to be my own god. I'm doing my own thing. I'm not giving God the time of day. And He loved you in it. So, all this stuff about you've got to somehow do enough to be able to earn God's love - listen - He showed His love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ still died for us. That puts us all in the same place.
And in fact, the promise gets even better for those of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Listen to this promise in the latter part of Romans 8. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" Or our body type? Or how much people like us? Or how popular we are? Or how many likes on Facebook? "As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons nor the present nor the further nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
That pretty much covers it, doesn't it? So get over the giant that want to say, "You're not lovable. You've made too many mistakes." If you're a child of the King there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God in Christ. Nothing. That's a promise.
Fear of death, the fear of being alone, the fear of being unloved, the fear of what it's going to cost. That's another one. Man, sometimes we get into this thing we call the life of God - the Christian life. Sometimes we get into it ignorantly. And you know what? For many of us ignorance is bliss. We're like yes. Right? We just come in. Oh Jesus! Cool. Jesus! I'm in.
Kind of like how me and Trace went into climbing Mt. Marcy. Ignorantly. We didn't know anything. We had no idea. And so we climb that bad boy and we got down and afterwards, you know, very tired, high fives. It's like dude, man, we did it. And then a little bit later on, you know Edie's saying, wow, that was awesome. Would you guys do it again? NO! No we would not. No we would not. Now, we were talking as tired people but here's why. Here's why. The reason we did it in the first place is because we didn't know what it would cost. Now that we do know what it costs, we're a little more skittish to want to try and take it on. Yeah, 'cause we know how long that is and how much it hurt and my ankles are still begging me for mercy right now, right?
That's what happens to us sometimes when we come into faith. We're like, oh, man, this is great. I love faith in Jesus, man, my sins are forgiven. This is fantastic. And then, all of a sudden there's a cost associated with it. And we're going, wow, man, I don't know. So this giant raises it's head and says, "this might cost you something". Following Jesus - you know not everybody likes Jesus. Some places in the world, they want to kill people who are following Jesus. Some places in America they want to throw fire bombs into places who acknowledge Jesus. And that giant rears it's head, and you've got to determine whether you're going to say yes to the promises of God, or you're going to say yes to the giants who are trying to take you away from your destiny and from your inheritance.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, God's promises are bigger than any giant. God's promises are bigger than any giant. Let me land the plane and let you get out of here. Listen. The reason I know God's promises are bigger than any giant, is because the God of the promise is bigger than any giant. Do you realize that a giant is only a giant when it is looking down at you? A giant's not a giant if it has to look up at something. A giant's only a giant when it's looking down on you.
So here's what I recommend. You talk to the giant that is trying to steal your inheritance, that's trying to steal your destiny, that's trying to call you away from walking by faith and taking the mountain, you talk to that giant and you say "You are not telling me the truth. You need to look up at the God of promise. Because the God of promise says this." And giants cease to be giants when they have to look up.
Now, you're a mountain taker. You're a giant slayer. But you're only that because of the power of the Son of God who took on Mt. Moriah and laid his life down on a cross, conquering all the forces of hell and fear. The fear of being alone. The fear of feeling maybe unloved. The fear of death. The fear of the cost and he went through with it and conquered hell and conquered fear on our behalf, rising from the dead and now confirms the promise of God all along in our own lives that if we will trust the God of promise, we will then be able to take the mountain.
See, there are no half-hearted mountains. There are not half-hearted giants. So there cannot be half-hearted followers of Christ. We, like Caleb, need to be full of faith, patient and trusting the promises of God, having a unique and different spirit, and wholeheartedly doing what God asks us to do. So, take your inheritance. Be all that God has asked you to be. Look at every giant that stands on your Hebron, and let them know that they are standing on your promise and point their attention above them to the God of promise. And take the mountain.
Let's bow our heads together. Before we're dismissed, if you're here and you've never trusted your life to Jesus Christ, I hope you won't leave listening to the giants that want to tell you that there are things that are more important than relationship with God through his Son Jesus. God loves you with an everlasting love. But we've got to turn from our sin and put our faith and trust in Christ, and if you need to understand what that looks like today, when we dismiss I want to encourage you to come by the Fireside Room, speak to one of us pastors and we would love to talk to you about what it means to receive Christ and to have your life transformed.
Father, as we make our way out of this place, we're reminded that you've called us to be mountain takers and giant slayers. And that every place you call us to, every mountain you call us to take, that we know there are giants there that we need to point up to You the God of promise so that they cease to be giants in our lives. I pray You'd increase our faith and give us a trust in you to walk in the destiny that you've called us to be and to live in. Make us who you desire for us to be like, Christ, and we'll do that as we walk by faith. So we trust You to do that, God and we pray that whatever giant is standing on whatever promise, that God we would be reminded to trust You as Caleb did, as Abraham did, as Jesus did, that we would trust You, because You are the God of the fulfilled promise. The world needs to see us living that out. And so God I pray they would see wholehearted followers in this world that we live in. Help us to take mountains, we pray in Jesus name. Amen.
God bless you, folks. Have a great day.