Remembering the Victories

Steve Viars January 28, 2006 Deuteronomy 2:

- when I was growing up, my parents allowed me to play baseball in the local little league down the road from our house...
- that was something it seemed like all the area kids did and looking back on it, it was one of those elements that drew the neighborhoods together...
- the problem was...I wasn’t very good at it...in fact I’m glad they didn’t have video cameras back then because we could show some video of my little league days that would be pretty pitiful...
- I was especially bad at batting....because I was afraid of getting hit by the ball...
- these 8 year old pitchers were forever hitting me with the ball and I never really saw the fun in standing there getting beaned again....

- the year I moved up from the denim league to the minor league, I decided...I have got to get over this fear...I’m going to stand in there and hit the ball...no matter what...
- we had our first practice game in the early spring and I’m walking to the field with two of my friends Chuckie Dahlman and Mickie Sheets...
- and Chuck was always good baseball so he was trying to give me some pointers before we got to the field...
- for some reason the coach had me bat first...which is probably because he wanted me to strike out and get it over with so he could take me out of the game...
- so I’m getting psyched up to stand in there and hit the ball until I look over and see that the pitcher warming up for the other team was Bobby Kodeiker...
- I realize that may not mean anything to you, but Bobby Kodeiker was one of the best pitchers in our area, and he could throw the ball incredibly fast...
- so I made two decisions...one, I am not going to be afraid of the ball...I’m going to stand in there whatever he throws...
- two, I’m swinging at the first pitch...because I’m not sure I can keep this confidence up for long...
- sure enough, the game starts...Bobby Kodeiker sneers at me from the mound...everybody there knows he’s going to start the new season with an easy strikeout...
- he throws the ball...I looked at it, probably closed my eyes...swung the bat, and smacked it into the outfield...
- it was one of those “what do I do next moments”...everybody at the park, including Bobby Kodeiker and me were totally stunned...
- I take off for first base and make it safely...and I am standing there with the biggest grin in Lake county...[I actually wish we had a video of that moment...]
- a couple of innings later, they had changed pitchers...and it was my turn to bat again...and my friend Chuckie Dahlman comes over to the fence and says, hey fuzz [that’s what they called me back in my afro days]...if you can get a hit off Bobby Kodeiker...you can get a hit off of anybody...

- now I don’t know if Chuckie had been studying psychology in third grade or something...but that was the best thing he could have possibly said...
- face this next challenge with the memory of your last victory...

- I would like to suggest to you this morning that that is a very important aspect of preparing the serve the Lord...of Gearing up for Greater Effectiveness...the issue of Remembering the Victories...
- this morning I’d like us to look at a passage of Scripture that does exactly that...it sounds like Chuckie Dahlman whispering through the ballfield fence...
- but God is speaking through His servant Moses to help his children be prepared for the challenge of entering the promised land.

- this year we’ve chosen as our theme Gearing Up for Greater Effectiveness...
- 18 months from now, we hope to have two brand new ministries on line....our community center and our seminary...and all the associated programs and facilities that go along with that...so we’re in a period right now of gearing up, of getting ready...
- we’ve been in second gear and we’re glad for that but we hope to push in the clutch and come out in third...
- we want to be at a different level of outreach, and responsibility, and we hope effectiveness...
- we’ve evaluated the opportunities, we’ve gathered up all our resources and we’re reinvesting them...
- it’s anything but easy, it’s anything but problem free, and it’s anything but safe...
- stewardship never is any of those things...
- and how all of this comes out ultimately is in the hands of our sovereign Lord, but we know this...humanly speaking, we want to be doing everything we can over the next 18 months to gear up...
- it’s likely that we’re going to be bringing between 40 -60 new programs on line at that time...
- so this is no time to be standing in the batter’s box with our knees knocking...
- or leaving the bat on our shoulders while the ball whizzes by...
- but one of the essential lessons is...remember all the past victories God has given us...if you can get a hit off of Bobby Kodeiker, you can get a hit off of anybody...

- now, this morning, we’re going to highlight two chapters of Scripture....we won’t read every verse...but you’ll clearly get the main points...
- here’s what’s going on...
- the children of Israel are completing their 40 years of wilderness wandering...
- they had refused to obey God and enter the promised land 38 years before because of their rebellion and unbelief...
- but now because that generation has passed on, God finally said to His people...
- you’ve circled this mountain long enough...it’s time to begin moving toward the promised land...

- now, if you peek at the end of chapter 3, verse 29...where does it say that the people are when these chapters are over?....[Beth-Peor...]...[show location on map]
- now, please notice this...they are right across the Jordan river from what city...Jericho...
- and if you’ve studied the Bible, you know that was the beginning of the formal entrance to the promised land...
- however, in order to get there...[show 2nd map]...they had to go through the territory east of the Dead Sea, and south of Beth Peor [so they are approaching the promised land from the east...]
- some of this land was friendly territory...some of it was not...that’s what chapters 2 and 3 are about...so these are victories God gives His people right at the end of their 40 years of wandering...as a taste of the victory they are about to experience...
- but in order to have the courage to cross the Jordan River and face cities like Jericho...Moses is saying to them in these two chapters....remember the victories God just gave you...[if you can get a hit off Bobby Kodeiker...]

- now, let’s just get a flavor of this by reading the first few verses of chapter 2...READ 2:1-middle of verse 8...] – [point out Edom on the map]
- now, we won’t take time to read the next verses...but it essentially the same thing with Moab and Ammon....
- but then you get to verse 24...because there are two kings and two nations that have lived in a very wicked fashion...and God is going to use the Israelites as instruments of judgment upon them...
- read 2:24-25...
- we won’t take time to read all the details, but it is a very brutal picture...

- that continues in chapter 3 with the king of Bashan...
- then the chapter ends with these two events...
- the tribes that are going to be given the land on the east side of the Jordan can have it, but they have to go up and fight with their brothers...
- and also right at the end Moses asks God if he could go into the promised land, and God again answers no...

- now, admittedly that’s a lot of material...
- but here’s the point...God is gearing up His people to enter the promised land...
- by the end of this chapter they’re in Beth-Peor and that’s where Moses gives them this speech to help them be geared up...
- and yes, it’s a speech reminding them of the victories they have just achieved...but there is also an undeniable emphasis on God’s justice...

- so here’s the overall question...how was all of this designed to help them gear up for their next adventure and responsibility...and how can it help us gear up for ours?
- with the rest of our time...let’s look at Four elements of the victory God gives.

I. The Foundation of His Victory.


- God’s Justice.
- the principle – Victory without justice is hollow and unsatisfying.
- I realize some of us might say...
- we don’t like the fact that the children of Israel were judged for 38 years because of their former rebellion and unbelief...
- and we don’t like the fact that Moses wasn’t allowed to go into the promised land...
- and we don’t like that these other cultures were judged...
- the victories are fine---we just don’t like the justice...and as we go forward here, we want God to give us personal victories, and our church corporate victories...witho9ut the messiness of things like holiness, and righteousness, and justice...
- friends, if that’s the case...we’re thinking like God, we’re thinking like our culture...
A. Contrast this to our culture.
1. victory by cheating.
- so we have all of these professional athletes guilty of steroid abuse...and the sports world doesn’t even know what to do about who holds what record anymore, or who won what game, because there’s no way to determine who was cheating..
- victory without justice is hollow and unsatisfying...
2. victory by lying.
- you’ve probably followed the flap in the news about this book A Million Little Pieces by James Frey...
- these were his memoirs...his life story about how he kicked drug and alcohol abuse...how he achieved victory...and you could too...
- so Oprah picked it up on her book club and of course it sold hundreds of thousands of copies...
- then a consumer group started checking into his story and found out that he lied about a lot of it...he just made it up...
- [develop – Larry King live, Oprah calling in --- it doesn’t matter James, the message of your book still resonates with a lot of people and will help them change...]
3. victory by looking the other way.
- I don’t pretend to know all the facts about this police discipline situation over on the other side of the river...
- but there is certainly the impression that some of people involved received a rather light punishment given their crimes, and that there appears to be a double standard between what happens to officers and their friends, and what happens to ordinary citizens...
- I’m not saying that’s true, but I am saying...whenever a victory is achieved without justice [whether that was the case here or not]...it’s not much of a victory...

- so here’s the point...yes, God takes two chapters to remind his children of the recent victories He has given them, to strengthen their hearts for the challenges and opportunities to come...but He makes it clear...I didn’t give victory by bending the rules, or looking the other way, or denying the essential elements of my holy character...
- and I’m suggesting...that makes the victory that much better...you could say it this way...
B. The pancakes of God’s victory were sweetened by the syrup of his justice.
1. In the judgment of His nation  - 1:35
Deuteronomy 1:35 – Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to your fathers.
2. In the judgment of His leader – 1:37, 3:23-25
Deuteronomy 1:37 – Not even you shall enter there.
3. In the just treatment of Israel’s “relatives”.
- even people like the descendants of Esau were going to be protected...this wasn’t a mass land grab...it was going to be done justly...
4. In the judgment of other cultures.
- Deuteronomy 9:5 - It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you...

- now, here’s a crucial point...
C. This attribute of God should result in a sense of humility on the part of God’s people as we reflect on the victories He has given.
- when we’re reminded of God’s justice and holiness, the logical conclusion is...who are any of us to receive victory from the Lord?
- we’ll look at these verses in greater detail in coming weeks...but here’s just a peek ahead...
- Deuteronomy 7:7-9 - The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

- now, having dealt with that clear emphasis in the passage, that clears the way to think about...


II. The Reality of God’s Victory.


- sure, you’re about to cross the Jordan river...sure you’re about to face some significant challenges...
- but look at that through the lens of the victories God has already given...
A.  Seir – 2:3-7
B.  Moab – 2:8-15
C.  Ammon – 2:16-23
D.  Heshbon – 2:24-37
E.  Bashon – 3:1-7

- we have to understand—the children of Israel hadn’t seen victory like this for 40 years...
- and all of a sudden this holy God is blessing them, and using them in overwhelming ways...
- and now Moses brings them together at Beth-Peor...and you can point to the promised land, and point to the Jordan River, and point to Jericho...and then say...
- remember Seir, remember Moab, remember Ammon, remember Heshbon, remember Bashon...
- now please tell me...what was...


III. The Implication of God’s Victory.


- see, how was this intended to help them gear up for greater adventures?
A. For them – Choosing to remember God’s victories will fill your hearts with thankfulness, and confidence, and courage.
- the point is...apparently there’s value to remembering the victories...
- Seir, Moab, Ammon, Heshbon, Bashon...if you can get a hit off Bobby Kodeiker, you can get a hit off anybody...

- now, obviously we didn’t come today for an OT history lesson...what is the gearing up lesson for us?...
B.  For us – Choosing to remember God’s victories will fill our hearts with thankfulness, and confidence, and courage.

- [start power point of names of our members and the date they joined]

- see, I understand that some of us could be a bit fearful about the future...
- last week I challenged you to take out a piece out a piece of paper and complete this sentence...Gearing up for me in 2006 looks like _____
- I encouraged you to share your answer with somebody...
- I’ve said a couple of times this year that we’ve basically crossed the river and burned the boats...
- we’ve made some commitments to a kind of ministry, and a level of ministry...that is both exciting and daunting...
- so how can Deuteronomy chapter 2-3 help us in this gearing up process...
- we dare not fail to look at our current challenges through the lens of God’s past victories...

- now, I realize you might have one of several possible responses to that...
1.  PV, I have a terrible memory...
2.  PV, I just recently came to Christ, so I’m a bit short on victories right now...
3. PV, I haven’t been around here very long, I’m unaware of some of the victories...

- OK...let’s talk about some of our Seirs, Moabs, Ammons, Heshbons, Bashons...

1.  There’s the victory of our beginning...
- are you aware of how this church began?...
- 42 years ago next month, Pastor Baden Rowe from Kossuth Street Baptist Church was concerned about the number of new national homes being built on the south side of town and the need for a gospel witness there...
- so they carved off 5 families from their congregation and planted a new church...
- our roots go back to a humble group of people who wanted to see others come to know to Lord...[met at the Farm Credit building at 18th and Teal—now Lafayette Life, had to vacate quickly after the evening service so a square dance could move in...]
- when we think about the challenges and opportunities that lie before us, we need to remember the incredible victories God has already given...

2.  That summer the church purchased land on south 18th street...
- they were going to buy 4 lots, but they stretched themselves and bought 6...
- that became an ideal location for us for many years...
- the congregation built a Bedford Stone building there which now serves the congregation of 2nd Baptist Church...[assistant building superintendent – Jerry Jamison]
- the construction of that first building was a great victory for our church family...[total cost for building and lots – 70,825 – less than 2 Sunday’s offerings today]

3.  At that time the church attempted all sorts of ministries to reach people for the Lord...
- in 1972 we started a bus ministry to bring children to church...
- we ended up with 7 buses and a whole group of bus workers...

- the church also had a TV ministry for a period of time, the Hour of Faith...[tell the story of the guy crawling on his knees on the platform to avoid the camera, and the “problem” he had...]
- but even that was an attempt to get the Word of God out to our community...and God continued to give us victory...[remember the church plant, remember the 6 lots, remember the first building, remember the buses, remember the TV program...]

4. In 1973 a man named Will Johnson came to know the Lord...over the years Will has done practically every job and held practically every office...
- he has a degenerative muscle disease but he’s never let that be an excuse not to faithfully serve the Lord here...
5. In 1974, there was tragedy when one of our deacons and one his sons was killed...Dave and Greg Worrell...that’s Scott Worrell’s dad and brother...
- Pastor Goode came to the church that next year and out of a concern to minister to young boys like Scott and other children in our church, he started the program on Wednesday nights we now call WNKofFaith...
- that was started to teach character qualities, and application of Scripture, and serving to young children...
- and now on Wednesday nights this place is packed wall to wall with children and adults studying the Scriptures...God gave us another victory...

6.  In 1977, Dr. Smith and his family moved to Lafayette and FBCM became a ministry of our church.
- for years, much of the counseling was done on folding tables and chairs in the church basement...there was nothing flashy about it...
- but now, literally thousands of pastors and missionaries and key lay people have been trained to help others find answers in the Word of God to the problems they are facing...
- [could put that in the context of the justice of God---none of us would say that is because of what we were, or what we did...it is just a victory from His loving hand...]

7. In 1981, the congregation decided that it would be impossible to accomplish all they believed the Lord had for us at our South 18th location [landlocked]
- so the Lord allowed us to purchase 12 acres and then build a building here and begin services in 1986
- our congregation had about 400 persons at that time but the Lord continued to bless...
- [needed more land --- tell about going to see Mr. Lux – “Are you men thinking big enough---maybe we should be quiet and have you tell us how big we ought to be thinking...”

8.  In 1989 – The Lafayette Passion Play

10.  In 1990 – The Living Nativity

11. In 1990 – PBF – [35 college students then, last week over 100]

11. In 1996 – FCS

12. Over the years we have had the privilege of commissioning missionaries like Sam and Jamie Hornbrook, Jim and Ruth Hornbrook, David and Kandie Stillwell, Jonathan and Julie Stillwell, Steve and Molly Stillwell Stillwell, Marc and Nancy Blackwell, Seth and Darla Curtis...

IV. How Does this Affect “Gearing Up”?

A.  Cultivate a settled joy because of the day you came to Christ.

Psalm 51:12 - Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
B. Develop a courageous outlook toward the challenges ahead.
1. Personally
Romans 7:24 - What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Romans 8:37 - No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
2. Corporately
- cf. one of the few adults who had experienced all of this who was also allowed into the promised land...Caleb...after the conquest, at age 80 years old...I want that mountain...

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video