Today as we begin our new series, “The Warrior,” we come to the scene anticipated by Isaiah as well as by the apostle John in the book of Revelation. We’re going to look at Revelation chapter 19, at verse 11, where the return of Jesus Christ is described for us. This presentation of The Warrior, is just prior to the time when the Lamb gathers his bride and they enter into the glory of his kingdom, but before that wonderful time of celebration the Warrior King must win the final battle.
Now many people, when they think of Jesus, think of this blonde haired, blue-eyed Jesus giving candy to kids. You know, we’ve all seen the pictures of this meek and gentle Jesus carrying a little lamb on his shoulders and he was that. He had more love and grace than you could ever imagine, yet he was also the greatest warrior who ever lived. In the Old Testament, where given many descriptions of God which are so powerful. You know, He is our fortress, our shelter, our shield, our redeemer, our rock, our Savior, our salvation, and even a consuming fire. But there’s one description that is rarely mentioned and that’s found in Exodus 15:3. The Lord is also described as a what? “The Lord is a warrior”. Jesus is God in the flesh, and one of His characteristics is, although He is love, although He is full of grace and truth, He is also a fierce warrior. Jesus said this of Himself in Matthew 10:34, He said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace… but a sword.”
The prophets had anticipated this day. They saw a day coming when God would send a great Warrior King to establish his eternal kingdom. They spoke of one who would come from heaven, the Anointed, the Son of David, the promised King who would dethrone the kings of the world and establish a kingdom of righteousness in which the people of God would be exalted. The Gospels announce his coming, that Jesus Christ, the greatest warrior who ever lived, shed his blood on the cross, and for three days he fought a battle that we may never understand, a battle against every force of wickedness, the devil, and every demon in hell. Our Warrior took on death, hell, sin, and the grave, and Jesus won the most important battle in the history of the world. The stone was rolled away and had walked out as the risen, King of Kings, Lord of lords, the fiercest warrior who ever lived. And I assure you, that when he returns, he won’t be riding on a little donkey like when he came into Jerusalem that fateful last week of his murder. When he comes, our Warrior will be riding on a great white stallion.
Look at what John wrote of the return of Jesus in Revelation 19:11-16. He said, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Today I want you to know that Jesus Christ is the ultimate warrior. He is the risen Lord and he has created man with the heart of a warrior. This new series is called Warrior because I want us together to explore the heart of the warrior in each of us. My focus is primarily on the men, but before you ladies begin to complain saying, “We want to be warriors too.” You can… You can be warrior princesses, but this series is dedicated to the men; so all of you warrior princesses just hold on, because I am praying that God would build up each man in this place, showing you what he wants you to become in him.
This is important, because if God were to go throughout the earth looking for godly men there just aren’t enough. And this is nothing new, in fact in Ezekiel 22:30 God said, "I looked for a man… who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” God said, “I looked for a man who would stand before me, but I found… zero. None!”
God was looking for some men of integrity, some men who would be willing to stand up and work, some men of courage who would fight, but He looked and found none. I wonder this morning, if God looked for some warriors in our church, men who would stand in the gap, I wonder how many He would find? And let me suggest to you probably not enough. You see, it’s heartbreaking, but statistically in the churches across this nation, there are far more women involved in the local church than men. Far more and it has been suggested that the problem is that churches have tried to turn the men into women. But you know what? …men do not make good women. They just don’t.
But here’s what has happened in our culture. God created man with the heart of the warrior, but men are demeaned, they’re beat up day in and day out. They’re told you need to do better, you need to be better, and so my goal in this series is to build up some men of God, not to tell you who you aren’t, but instead to tell you who you are. You’re a warrior and you were created with a cause to fight for.
You see, God has put this little spark within the heart of a man, where there’s this recognition that theres a greater cause for which he is willing to give his life. And it is something inside of every man, the desire to fight and stand for that which is right and true. And I love the way Nehemiah exemplified this in the Old Testament. He had a cause to fight for. The walls of Jerusalem were broken down. The people of God were exposed, they were vulnerable to attack, and he was like, “Somebody has got to do something about this.” So he stood up and said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Nehemiah 4:14). He said, “Don’t be afraid... Remember the Lord and fight!”
You see, Nehemiah presented a cause and the men came together, because there’s something about a man that loves to fight for a cause greater than himself. You know, I’ll fight against injustice… I’ll fight for the broken hearted… I’ll fight for families and children... And so Nehemiah inspired the men saying, “Don’t be afraid… let’s fight… this is your chance. They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”
You know, you look at that, and you think to yourself, “If I was there I’d fight.” And you would, because you were created with the heart of a warrior and there’s this desire deep inside of each us to fight for a cause that’s bigger than ourselves. You guys know this, because it’s internal, it’s who you are, and until you find the cause for which you’re willing to die, you’ll never truly live. You see, inside you’re craving for something more than just living for the things of this world. You’re bored, you’re craving for more, and until you find that cause for which you’re willing to die, you’ll never truly feel alive. Every warrior has a cause to fight for and yet its right there… right there that many of us find ourselves derailed.
You see, without the right cause to fight for, we get bored and we fight against the wrong things. You’ll see guys all the time fighting against the very authority that God has put in place… you find men hurting the very people that they love the most… you see guys throwing away their marriage in a moment of boredom. You see guys like Saul of Tarsus in the New Testament, he didn’t understand the cause of Christ, he hurt the most important cause, because he was a warrior with the wrong cause. Acts 8:3 says this, “But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.” Saul killed innocent believers, because he was a warrior with the wrong cause.
Guys, you need to know that God gave you the heart of a warrior and he gave you a cause the fight for; because without that divine mandate, without God’s cause, you’ll find yourself fighting the wrong battle over and over again. Let me ask you to consider your cause this morning and I’m going to help you, because honestly your cause will change over time. 10, 20, or 30 years from now you will have a different cause then you have today.
For some of you… your marriage is not what God intended it to be, the enemy is attacking, and its time for you to lead. Some of you men, your cause is your children, because they’ve strayed away from the truth of God, and you may be a great warrior in business, a great warrior in sports, but you’re a passive warrior at home, where you should be the fiercest warrior of all. Some of you warriors, your cause will be financial freedom, because too many of us have bought into the lie that more stuff brings happiness. And so right now you’re strapped financially, you can’t hardly do anything financially for the kingdom of God, because you don’t have anything to work with. And then some of you are still living in a line of generational curses. Your father, his father, and your great-grandfather were all addicted to lust. There have been broken vows and betrayals for generations and right now you’re continuing to pass on this generational curse, but you’re a warrior and you’re going to say “enough is enough!”
Men, I encourage you to name your cause and maybe start by saying, “Sweetheart will you forgive me for not being the man of God that he’s called me to be?” Maybe start by standing in the gap for your children, praying for them, loving them, and coaching them. Name your cause, take a stand, and say, “Enough is enough!” I’m drawing a line in the sand, I’m bringing this under the blood of Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit I’m going to conquer this as a warrior of Jesus Christ.”
This morning, I encourage you warriors to name your cause, because without one, you’ll be fighting the wrong battles, you’ll destroy yourself, and you’ll hurt those around you that you love the most. It’s time to fight, as the Bible says in Ecclesiastes: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die… a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 8). There’s a time to fight and I know because I’ve got six kids. Sometimes we fight for fun, sometimes we fight because were hurt, and sometimes we fight to protect our rights, but there is a time to fight!
Now I’m not saying that you should leave here and start throwing punches in the parking lot because you got blocked in. What I’m saying is that there are times to fight the right spiritual battle, because you’re a spiritual warrior, the battle is life or death, the devil hates your guts and he’s coming after you and everyone you love. It’s time to fight and our preparedness begins on the ground, on our knees, as a man of God in prayer. This is where we begin, this is where strategy is formed, and this is where you’re going to begin to fight. And so you’re going to need to stand in the gap, some of you may need to step in between your children and the wrong crowd, some of you may need to come to the realization that is time to leave that job or group of friends, and some of you may need to prayerfully confront someone. And some of you… you just need to know that you’ve got permission to fight like a man of God.
Another way we can fight is to turn the other cheek. We see this in the life of Jesus. You know, sometimes he acted with violence like the day he went into the temple courts and discovered that his Father’s house have been turned into a marketplace. John’s Gospel tells us, “He made a whip out of chords and drove all from the temple area… scattered the coins… and overturned their tables” (John 2:15). I assure you the warrior’s eyes were blazing like fire when he rolled through that place, but there were other times when he turned his cheek.
On that last day in the Garden, the night of his mock trial, he was prepared to give his life when the soldiers came to arrest him, and Peter did what many of you warriors would’ve done. He took out his sword and started swinging, but he missed the guards head and cut off his ear. To which Jesus responded, “Put your sword back in its place” (Matthew 26:52). And basically what he was saying was, “Now is not the time, your weapon today is not the sword.” And so here’s what he did, he turned his cheek while they beat him, blindfolded him, and then beat him again. He turned his cheek as they whipped him, 39 times they whipped him until he was a bleeding pulverized mass of flesh. He turned his cheek and hung on a cross in anguish, yet at any time with one word he could have called for legions of angels to come to his rescue. But he fought with love and said, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34). And sometimes that’s the way that you have to fight… you forgive those who hurt you, and you take the pain like a man. Other times you’re going to have to humble yourself and love others, you’re going to repent of your sins, your lack of leadership… lack of godliness… of integrity, and you’ll ask those around you, “Will you please forgive me for not being the warrior that God has called me to be?” Sometimes you have to fight like that.
After the resurrection, the 11 remaining disciples were in awe, they couldn’t believe it, but they got to touch Jesus Christ, to be with Jesus Christ, to hang out with him, and spend time with him. Forty days later, they watched as he ascended into heaven and each of these 11 warriors suffered and died for the cause of Christ. These men became some of the greatest warriors who ever lived up until now, and I say up until now, because I believe that there are other warriors here today who will surrender their lives to the very same cause. There are warriors here today who will say, “Because he’s risen, this is the only worthy cause for me to give my life, this is the greatest cause on planet Earth, because the tomb is empty and it’s not a game, it’s a battleground. It’s not just something you do on the weekends, it’s your life, because Jesus doesn’t just become your Savior he becomes your Lord in every single way.
And so as we close this morning, I want to encourage you not to sell yourself short, because Jesus Christ gave his all for you. You were created by him for his purposes and for his glory. You have the heart of a warrior. Give your life for the cause of Christ. Don’t let anyone discourage you and don’t let anybody tell you anything less, because it’s time to fight and the battle is the Lord’s. Victory is sure, because the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives inside of you and will bring you to victory.
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
303 West Lincoln Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
August 23, 2015