Are You Expecting Victory?

If You Want To Experience Victory In Life, You Need To Trust In God

Dan Franklin
Feb 27, 2022    37m
Are you feeling doubt or discouragement as you work on rebuilding your life? This message taught from the Book of Haggai, reminds us that if you want to experience victory in life, then you need to place your trust in God. We know that He promises victory to all who believe and that God will defeat any enemy. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:18] So back in 2013, the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers, which if you don't know, are a professional basketball team, chose a phrase that was going to mark a certain season of time in the history of their organization. And the phrase that they chose for the season of time was, trust the process. This became a little bit of a rallying cry for the team, but it also became a little bit of a joke that they were mocked for, which you'll understand in a moment. The reason that they were telling their fans, and their players, and everybody who would listen, trust the process, is because they knew they were about to do something kind of unorthodox and enter into a series of years where they were going to be really bad. They were going to trade off some of their most talented players, they were going to accumulate a bunch of draft picks and get a bunch of young, inexperienced players, with the expectation that eventually it would pay off and they would be a good team, but they knew for a while they were going to be bad. And guess what, they were, from 2013 to 2017, their record over those years was seventy-five wins against two hundred and fifty-three losses. Culminating in 2015 and 2016, when they won a total of ten games and lost seventy-two. Almost the worst record of any basketball team has ever had. They kept telling their fans over and over again, I know it looks grim, I know it looks bad, I know it doesn't look like we're ever going to get out of this, but they kept saying, trust the process. It got to such the point that their best player, Joel Embiid, became nicknamed The Process. This was their rallying cry. Now, if you follow the NBA, you know that the Seventy Sixers still haven't won a title, but for the past three years, they have been a force in the NBA going deep into the playoffs, they're situated again to go deep into the playoffs this year. They trusted the process, and then they finally got to the point that it started to pay off.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:24] And some of us, when we feel like we're sort of in the trenches of life, when we're dealing with something and we're trying to look down the line and we just feel like nothing's happening from the good work that we're doing, we might look at this phrase and say, yeah, that's pretty good. Trust the process, don't give up, keep doing what you're doing with the expectation that eventually it's going to pay off. When you're in the trenches of life, you can feel like it's good advice just to say, trust the process.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:54] Well, in many ways you could say that the Israelites, in the time of Haggai, were in the trenches. It was not an extremely happy time for the people of Israel, in fact, it was a time of rebuilding, which is what we've called this five-week series through this book. They had been in exile in Babylon, and then Persia took over from Babylon, and then Persia had sent them back and allowed them to come back to a broken, tattered land. And as soon as they got back, one of the first things that they started to do was to rebuild. They said we need to rebuild Jerusalem, we need to rebuild our lives, we need to rebuild what it means to be the people of God. And one of the first things that they started to rebuild was the temple, because the temple was the house of God. And even though God can't be contained by a physical structure, it was the way of them saying God is at the center of our lives. We have a temple that houses, or symbolically is the house, of the God that we worship.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:57] But shortly into the building of the temple, as they laid the foundation, they experienced some opposition. Some of the local people didn't want Israel to thrive, and so they opposed them, they bribed people who are given them permits, they eventually wrote a letter to the King of Persia saying, tell them not to do this. And the king of Persia went along with it and said, stop building. So do you know what they did? They stopped building. And for 16 years, the temple lay in ruins, just a foundation, and the Israelites went about their lives. They went about building their own houses, they went about reestablishing their routines, and trying to find a way to thrive for 16 years with no temple. Things didn't go great for them, and to some degree, it seems like they couldn't quite figure out why. They said, it seems like we're doing all the things that you normally do to thrive, we're planning all the crops, but we're not quite getting the harvest that we want. We're experiencing the rain, but we're not quite getting enough water. We're working hard, but we're not getting ahead.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:58] And eventually, Haggai the Prophet shows up on the scene and says, I'll tell you why everything's not going well. It's because of that, it's because of that temple that's laying in ruins. You have built up your own lives, and you have deprioritized the house of God, the center of worship, it's time to rebuild. And that's where we've been for these weeks in the book of Haggai, and were today finishing up this short book, just this two-chapter book, by going through the last four verses, and talking about the fifth phase of rebuilding, which is, expect victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:36] Now, hopefully on the way in you, or somebody in your family, got one of these, one of these magnets that we had made. And the reason why we did this is because we realize sometimes in the United States, you know, we do something and then we just move on and we forget that we ever did something. And so we're here, and we're finishing up this study through Haggai, and we could be like, hey, remember when we went through Haggai, that was good, that was interesting, what's next? And we wanted to say, this is a unique time in our history as a church, just as this was a unique time for the people of Israel. They were rebuilding, we're rebuilding, as we maybe are at the end of a pandemic, nobody's quite sure, but we're sort of coming out and trying to figure out what's next and what does it look to rebuild in our own lives? And what does it look like to rebuild as a church, as we continue the process of always striving to be a church that spreads the light of Jesus near and far and everywhere we go? And so we've got to look through these five weeks in Haggai. And see five phases that the people went through in rebuilding. And all of that is on this magnet that you can put up on your refrigerator, or put up somewhere in your house, just to remind you of this unique season that we're in.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:47] And we talked through the phases, they started by taking stock. The phrase that God used for them was, give careful thought to your ways. Look in the mirror, think about your actions, where are you and how did you get there? Is it fun to take stock of your life? It's not always fun, sometimes we avoid this because we're afraid of what we're going to find when we take a deep look. But God tells them, take stock. And we're wise if we take stock and are honest about where we're at.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:19] After take stock, the second phase was, step out. Because it's not enough just to look within and say, all right, what's going on in my life and what is God calling me to do? We have to step out in obedience, and obedience to God by faith is always risky, and it was risky for the Israelites because they had been ordered 16 years earlier by the King of Persia, do not rebuild, and they just started rebuilding. This was civil disobedience, and Israel was a ragtag group of Jews just trying to get by, and Persia was a monster, it was a risky step of faith. And we're all called to step out in obedience to God, in whatever he calls us to do, and every step of obedience is always risky.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:07] The third phase that we saw was, look forward. Because we can't do anything for very long without hope, and so the Israelites were looking at this temple that they were rebuilding, and they said it's not very impressive, it doesn't look like much, it's not going to be as good as Solomon's temple from years ago, why are we even doing this? And God promised them that the glory that was going to take place in this temple was going to be greater than any glory in any temple in the past, which was a preview of the fact that the Son of God one day was going to inhabit this temple with his physical body. They're told to look forward.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:42] And then last week, Kevin brought us through the fourth phase, which was keep going. And one of the things that Kevin talked about was the fact that sometimes there's a lag between us experiencing God's blessings from the time that we start to obey. So the Israelites had been obedient, they were rebuilding the temple, but they weren't really yet experiencing the benefits of this, and they're told, keep going, don't give up in the middle of it. Keep going with the expectation that God will bring the blessings in time.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:11] And finally, we get to this fifth week, and we get the message, expect victory. Don't just cross your fingers and hope that things will work out, expect victory, expect for all of this to pay off, expect for victory to come. And it could be easy for us to look at that and say, that's kind of like the 76ers, that's kind of like trust the process, that's what he's saying, he's saying trust the process. Now here's what I want you to hear, and please hear what I'm about to tell you, what we are called to do when we're called to expect victory is not simply to trust a process. We're invited to trust something so much greater than some karmic idea in the universe, or some arc of history, or some system of belief and behavior. We are called to expect victory, and to expect victory is not to trust a process, but to trust a person, to trust a personal God who has made promises. And where you're going to see in these last verses, is that God doesn't come to the Israelites and say, keep doing what you're doing because eventually, the universe will provide a result for you. He says, keep doing what you're doing, because I will do this, I will bring you victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:32] And friends, don't fall into the pattern of thinking that the Christian life is just trusting a bunch of rules and that they're going to pay off. Trusting delayed gratification, trusting your willpower, trusting some karmic idea, we are trusting in the personal God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, that every promise he's made will end in victory. Expect victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:56] Now, here's how this unfolds, again, just four verses. God makes two promises to the Israelites in these verses, and what we're going to do is we're going to look at what those promises meant for them, right then on the ground, and then we're going to talk about what those promises mean for us today in 2022 in Southern California.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:16] So let's look at these promises, and the first one is going to come to us in verses 20-22. So we'll get our bearings, it says, "The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month." And so if you were here last week, this is the same day that the previous prophecy took place, the prophecy that was telling them to keep going, even though right now you haven't experienced the blessings that God promised, they're coming. In fact, he ended that prophecy by saying, "From this day on, I will bless you."

Dan Franklin: [00:11:45] So same day God brings the prophecy, this is 15 weeks after this book began, on the first day of the sixth month. Which, just as a side note, 15 weeks is all that takes place in this book. Now, I know it's only two chapters, so that might not seem terribly impressive. But Haggai has a book of the Bible named after him, and as far as we know, his ministry was 15 weeks long. Don't despise when God calls you to do something that seems small because it can have a lasting impact far beyond your life.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:22] So this message comes, and it comes specifically to Zerubbabel. Although any time God is addressing the message to the Zerubbabel who's the governor, or to Joshua who's the high priest, the people are all there listening. This is not a private message, the people are all listening because as the leaders respond, that's how the people are going to be affected.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:41] So here's how he goes into the prophecy, verse 21, “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth." Now, God already promised to do this back in chapter 2 verses 6 and 7, it's an image of the earth trembling because God is up to something, God is on the move, God is coming and he's going to shake things up. And again, what he's going to do is addressed specifically to Zerubbabel, as the leader of the people.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:11] God's going to shake things up, and let's look in verse 22 to see specifically what he's going to do. He says, "I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother." Let me try to bottom-line it for us, promise number one that God gives to the people of Israel during this time is that God will defeat all enemies. And the language here, if you look especially at verse 22, the language is meant to conjure up for the Israelites times that God has led them in victory in the past.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:56] Some of you, if you're familiar with the Old Testament, what do you think of chariots and their drivers, does anything come to mind? The Red Sea, you got it. God, through Moses, is leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. They cross through the Red Sea, but Pharaoh has a last-minute change of heart, grabs all of his soldiers, all of his chariots, and he says, let's get after them. They start charging through the gap that God has brought in the Red Sea, and God collapses the Red Sea on them, and the chariots and their drivers are wiped out because God defeats all his enemies, and no one can stand up against God.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:34] If you look at the last words of the passage when it talks about riders falling each by the sort of his brother, this could conjure up several stories for the Israelites, but one of them that it might have made them think of is the story of Gideon in Judges 6 and 7, when Gideon has a ragtag group of three hundred and eighteen men going up against a multitude of Midianite armies. And through a very creative and strange military approach that God brings them through, they end up throwing the Midianite army into chaos, and they all turn on one another and kill one another, while the Israelites watch the victory being won without them doing anything. God's making clear, I've done this before, I've done this in the past. Think back in your history, you faced insurmountable odds, you faced enemies far too strong for you and I didn't have any problem defeating them, and he says, I'm going to do that again. It doesn't matter how strong the king is, it doesn't matter how strong the country is, it doesn't matter if it's a small nation, it doesn't matter if it's the largest nation on the Earth, God defeats all his enemies. God is the final judge, and he gives them hope.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:50] And this is hope, because Israel is that ragtag group of people without a great organized militia, and Persia is looming. And even though Persia sent them back and said, yeah, go back to your little country of Israel and do what you're going to do, at this point, the Israelites are carving out their own independence, and Persia is looming as a threat. In fact, the letter that they sent to the King of Persia, saying, actually, we are allowed to do what we're doing right here might still be in transit. They still might not have got word yet of what Persia is going to do. If they're going to send an army and stop them, if they're going to throw all the leaders in prison, if they're going to come and wipe everybody out, or they're going to come and say back to Persia with all of you. They're living in the courage and uncertainty of knowing somehow God is stronger with us than whatever's going on in our enemies. God will defeat every enemy, that's the first promise,

Dan Franklin: [00:16:53] And the second promise is even more personal to Zerubbabel in verse 23, he gets very personal with this. He says, “On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” All right, if promise number one that God's given the people of Israel is, God will defeat all of your enemies. Promise number two that he gives to the people of Israel is, God will raise up a deliverer. He points the finger at Zerubbabel, and he says, you're going to be my guy.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:33] And just for our bearings, just so that we understand the significance of this, the Israelites knew they needed a leader, that they needed a champion, that they needed somebody who was going to lead them in God's ways. And this goes back all the way to Moses leading them, and then Joshua, and then David and the different kings, and now Zerubbabel is going to be that one. And here's the deal, and I know we're living in the United States and we're very individualistic, and we're like, we don't need any leader, we don't need anybody telling us what to do, we all kind of carve out our own identity and our own destiny. The fact is, even in the hyper-individualistic United States of America, we still betray all the time that we know we need this. Every presidential election suddenly we're like, oh, if only we had the right person in charge of the country, if only we have the right president, if only we had the right governor. Some of you in your work right now are like, if only we have the right manager. Some of you in school right now are like, if only we had the right principle. Some of you might even be like, if only I had the right parents, but we'll talk about that later. We do this all the time. If you're a sports fan, you're like, If only we have the right coach. We're always looking for this, we're always looking for this, even though in the United States, we pride ourselves on our independence, we recognize we need a champion, we need a deliverer. And Israel was always on the lookout for it.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:58] And here they are, back in the land, and they don't even have a king, they have a governor, and the reason they have a governor is because that's all Persia is letting them have. They grab Zerubbabel, who was a descendant of former kings, but they don't say he's your king, they say we're setting him up as your governor. And just imagine, if you're Zerubbabel, and Persia has said you get to be the governor, you don't necessarily have the people's trust. They might be looking at Zerubbabel and being like, are you the puppet governor? Were you just not a threat, so they chose you and put you in charge? And also, if you're Zerubbabel, you might be thinking the same thing, you might be thinking, well, I didn't end up here because of the normal way that a king ends up here, it wasn't this line of succession that I was just chosen, I wasn't elected to this position. You could end up in a way of wondering, does Israel have a champion here on Earth? Do they have a deliverer here on Earth? And God says, yes, they do. You all may think that Persia chose you, Zerubbabel, but I'm telling you that I chose you.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:02] By the way, when he calls him his servant, we might just pass over that and shrug our shoulders, that's what God frequently called King David. He's saying to Zerubbabel right now, he's saying, just like David was my servant, you are my servant. Just as I chose David from tending the flock to be the king over all of Israel, I have chosen you. And then he says this weird thing, he says, "You are going to be my signet ring." Now, some of you might know what this is, but some of you might not. The idea here is that the king would wear a ring that would have a sign on it, and he would plant that sign on things that he would send out, on wax that would be on seals, scrolls that he would send out with announcements. And the reason he did that, is so that when the announcement was read, people could look at the seal on there and say, that's from the signet ring of the king. So whoever is proclaiming these words on this scroll, it's as good as if the king were here speaking to us.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:01] And what God is saying to Zerubbabel is, you're going to be my representative there on Earth. As you lead the people, it's going to be like I'm leading the people. As you speak to the people, it's going to be as if I'm speaking to the people. He's telling the people, you are not left alone, you have a deliverer, you have a champion, you have a leader. Persia might call him a governor, I'm thinking of him as a king, Zerubbabel is going to be the man for you here on Earth. Which again, we might look at it and say, would they even want this? Yes, they wanted this, they knew they needed this. They had a leader, they had to deliver, they had, for all intents and purposes, a king, who was going to lead them during a tumultuous time in their history. God says I know things may seem disorganized, I know things may seem chaotic, I know you feel weak right now, but let me tell you, I am going to defeat every enemy and I'm going to raise up a deliverer for all of you.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:01] And here's the deal, the natural question that we might ask when we take all this in is, did he do this? I mean, this is a prophecy, so did these prophecies come true? And the answer is, yes, there's a very specific way that God played this out in their immediate context. And here's how it worked out, sort of in the near. The way that it worked out in the near is that Israel, despite the fact that they had no business being able to rebuild this temple with all of the opposition from stronger nations, saw God thwart every attempt to get in their way, and they successfully rebuilt that temple. God silenced every enemy, and shut them down, so that the Israelites were able to be successful where they never should have been successful. And God also fulfilled these prophecies by establishing Zerubbabel as their leader during this time, so that they could successfully navigate one of the strangest and most difficult times in their history. God said, I'm going to defeat your enemies and I'm going to raise up and deliver, and he did both of them right then.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:13] But here's something also that you need to understand about Hebrew prophecy. What would often happen when the prophets would give a prophecy to the people of Israel, is that it would have what scholars have called a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment. And what that means is this, often these prophecies would have some way that they were fulfilled right then in the lifetime of the people who heard the prophecies, but that they also were a preview of a much greater fulfillment later on. The way that I heard one scholar talk about this, is that a prophecy might be fulfilled, but it wasn't yet filled full, it wasn't yet completed. And some of you are like, is he making this up? I promise I'm not making this up, if you read any book on this subject, you'll know I'm not making this up.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:02] And in fact, I'll give you a quick example of a famous passage that this happened with. If you like Christmas, you probably know Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14, that the virgin will get pregnant, she'll have a child, and that child will be called Immanuel because he will be God with us. You are like, of course, we know that passage, it's about Jesus, it's in the Gospel of Matthew, that's talking about Jesus. Well, before it was talking about Jesus, he was talking about Isaiah's son, who was born in the very next chapter. And if you read Isaiah Chapter 8, you see that it's the clear fulfillment of what he's talking about in Isaiah 7, because he said this child is going to be born. And before he knows right from wrong, I am going to judge these two nations that are troubling you, and then Isaiah's wife bears a child. And before that child is grown, God brings judgment on Samaria and Damascus, there is a near fulfillment right there. There is a fulfillment in the time that it was given, but was it filled full? Not until Jesus showed up. And Matthew says, by the way, do you see what's happening here? You got a mini fulfillment in Isaiah's time, and now you have it filled full in a greater way through what God was ultimately doing through this. That's what we've got in both of these prophecies.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:15] You might look at verse 22 and say, all right, in a metaphorical way, yeah, God did defeat the enemies, but he wasn't displacing kings, he wasn't bringing down kingdoms, he wasn't bringing down armies, none of that happened during this time. That's because while this prophecy was fulfilled, eventually it would be filled full. This is a way for the Israelites to know, it's not just your enemies and your time that are going to be defeated, but that a day is coming when God will eventually defeat every enemy. There's a day coming for final judgment, and one day every high person will be brought low. It doesn't matter how powerful they are, it doesn't matter if they're the president of Russia, no one stands in any way to avoid the final judgment of God. We all face the final judgment of God, and when Jesus comes back, there will be the final sorting out of things.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:16] Do you ever get frustrated that people seem to get away with stuff? I mean, not when you do, but when other people do, it's infuriating. It's like, God, why don't you do anything? And then when God does something to you, you're like, not me, them. But we do, and sometimes it's really powerful people that we look at and we say, why do they get away with it? They do this, and nothing happens. I promise you; no one is getting away with anything, God is the final judge, nobody gets away with anything. And that gave the people of Israel hope because, just think about this for a second, now this didn't happen, but for all intents and purposes, this is what Israel did when they decided to keep building, even though they'd been told not to.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:02] In essence, what they were doing was they were going to Persia and they were saying, here's the deal, we know you're way stronger than us. We're a high school football team from a high school of like one hundred people, you guys are the greatest football team in the nation, we understand the disparity here. So here's a deal Persia, we can't make you do anything, we can't make you respect us, we can't make you leave us alone, we can't make you go away, we can't make you allow us to rebuild this temple, we can't do any of this. You could throw us in prison, you could defeat us, you could kill us, but here's what we're going to stand and tell you, Judgment is coming. And no matter how strong you are, Persia, you can't get away from that.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:42] Now, here's the thing, we don't often think about it this way, but as believers in Jesus, one of the reasons we exist in the world is to stand before a world that might ignore us, that might mock us, and might disregard us, and to say, judgment is coming. Now, we don't say judgment is coming because we're licking our chops and we can't wait till people get wiped out, we're saying judgment is coming because we're saying repent and put your faith in Jesus because judgment is coming. We're all like Jonah after he gives a prophecy, going up and sitting on a hill and being like wipe them out God. Jonah, the guy who had everybody listen to him, and was more bummed out than any other prophet. Anyway, different prophet, different story, different time, still, we serve as a warning.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:27] And just think about this, you've probably experience this at different times. For instance, if you're a high schooler or a junior higher, all you have to do is not use foul language and people around you are like, what's your deal? And then have you noticed that they try to get you to do it? Like, hey, we're uncomfortable with the fact that you're not doing, can you do it too, so that we don't feel weird? Because you, simply by living a little bit differently, simply by living as if there's something greater than yourself, you are a sign of judgment to the people around you, you are telling them that one day, we will all give an account before God. Judgment is coming, no one's getting away with anything. And part of what we do as believers in Jesus, it's a call to mercy, it's a call to repentance, but we stand before the world as a sign that judgment is coming. And we say, you know what, you can despise us, you can mock us, you can stop listening to us, you can make fun of us, even if things keep getting more intense, you can throw us in prison or you could take away our lives, but nothing changes the fact that judgment is coming, and anybody who's strong now is not going to escape that judgment.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:35] We look for the final fulfillment of God defeating all of his enemies, but we also look forward to the fact that there is a final fulfillment of God raising up a deliverer. If you want something fun, go later on and look up in Matthew 1 and in Luke 3, some of the best passages in the Bible, the genealogies of Jesus. I know you guys love the genealogies. Do you know who shows up in both genealogies? Zerubbabel shows up and both genealogies. God said Israel needs a leader, and Zerubbabel, you're the guy. But Zerubbabel was just a preview of the true deliverer who would one day be raised up, the greater Moses, the greater David, the greater Zerubbabel, who would come and wouldn't just lead the Israelites through a tumultuous time when they needed to rebuild the temple but would come and he himself would be the temple because he's the presence of God with us. And he wouldn't just lead the Israelites through the danger of Persia, but he would deliver anybody who placed his faith in him from the dangers of hell and death and eternal separation from God.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:44] We get the greater Zerubbabel; we get the greater Savior, we get in on something that came much later, and then we anticipate him returning. By the way, do you know what this means if we have a greater Savior? Maybe, you throughout this series have been thinking about areas of your life that need rebuilding, on just a very personal level. And you've just said, you know what, our marriage is really in trouble. If we just keep going on this way, we're going to be distanced from each other, and even if we don't get divorced, we're just going to be at odds. We need to rebuild within our marriage. And some of you are looking at personal habits, and you're like this is out of control. There are things that I thought I could just kind of dabble in, and now they've taken over my life. And I have these sinful habits that aren't just minor league, they are major league sinful habits, I need to do something about this, I need to work on this. And you might have areas of your life that you're like, it's not even the negative stuff, but just I want to be a person of prayer and I'm not a person of prayer. And I want to read God's word, and my life right now is more shaped by what's going on in the world than God's word, I need something significant to change.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:45] And maybe, even for the last four weeks in this series, you're like, I've been leaning in, I've been leaning in and I've tried to persevere, and it's frustrating because a month later, I just feel like giving up. I just feel like we're never going to be in a better relationship. I'm never going to be past these sins that I'm dealing with. I'm never going to be a person of prayer. Why should I even do this? Here's what I want you to know, as you are persevering in those areas, expect victory. And expect victory, not because you've got the willpower, but expect victory, because, in Philippians chapter 1 verse 6, we are told, "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in Christ Jesus." Don't trust the process, don't trust your willpower, trust the God who made the promise. Trust the God who promised, in Romans chapter 8 verse 29, "That he will, one day, conform all believers to the image of Jesus." Right now, do you kind of feel like you're not going to get there? You're going to get there, because God will defeat every enemy, and the strongest enemy that we face is the devil and the one who is in you, the Holy Spirit is greater than the one who is in the world.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:03] Expect victory. Don't cross your fingers and say, maybe it will come, expect victory. And expect victory, not because you're trusting a process, but because you're trusting a personal God. Remember the God that you are trusting, and remember that this is the God who split the Red Sea in half so that people could walk through and then closed it back up when he was done? Remember that this is a God who spoke, and the stars came into existence. Remember that this is the God that slew a giant through a shepherd boy. And also remember not only His power, remember that this is the God of profound and deep and compassionate love.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:44] Now, there's a story in the Gospels, in fact, just kind of one short story in John Chapter 18 that really moves me. It's something that's easy to skip over because it's heading towards Jesus going to the cross, and we just kind of move past this, but it happens in John 18 when Jesus is about to be arrested. The soldiers come to get him, and Jesus is with all of his disciples in the garden, and the soldiers come out and they say, we're looking for Jesus. And here's what happens in John 18:8, it says, "Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” Now, it's easy to miss, and maybe even as I read it, you guys are like, what's the big deal? Here's the big deal, all of his disciples are there with them, and instead of running and hiding, Jesus comes forward and says, if you want me, take me, leave them alone. That's heroic, that is sacrificial. Leave all of them alone, don't do anything to them, you want me, take me, leave them alone. It is a preview of what he was about to do in a much greater way, that judgment was careening down on all of us, and Jesus stepped forward and said, take me, leave them alone. Take me, I'll take it all, but don't hurt them. This is the God we're trusting. Do you think you can trust him? Do you think you can trust the Jesus that steps forward and says, take me, leave them alone?

Dan Franklin: [00:35:13] By the way, I said a few minutes ago, judgment is coming. Judgment is coming, and God is the final judge. The way that we escape final judgment is not by keeping our hands as clear as possible, the way that we escape final judgment is that Jesus already took it for us. Our faith is in the one that stepped forward and said, take me, leave them alone. As we think about rebuilding, we don't want to just think about patterns, we just don't want to think about best practices, we want to think about the God who we're trusting and to know that he's trustworthy.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:48] And so what we want to do, is we want to respond in worship. In fact, we saved one song for the end because we said, you know what, the best way that we can respond to this Jesus is to lift our voices, and to lift our hearts, to sing to him. As he said, to the Jewish people, I've done this before, I'm going to do it again. That we look back with gratitude, and that we look ahead with hope and confidence, expecting the final victory that God will bring in us and through us and for us.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:17] So I'm going to ask you to stand and let me pray for us as we get ready to respond in worship. Father, thank you so much that we cannot just cross our fingers and hope for victory, but that we can expect it. Thank you that the victory in Jesus is already won through his sacrifice and through his resurrection. Father, we pray that you lead us all to persevere in this rebuilding time, that we persevere with our eyes set on you, that we persevere through the setbacks and the frustrations, that we persevere through any mockery or opposition that we face. I pray that you lead us to persevere and to be part of what you are building, trusting all the while that you have already worked victory and that we will be part of the great victory that you work. Receive and accept our praise to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who is our great and final deliverer. Amen.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848