- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2002

Excerpts from a sermon given yesterday by the Rev. C. Phillip Johnson at New Prospect Family Praise and Worship Center in the District.
When the Philistine warrior Goliath met David, he was a giant of a man. [I Samuel 17]. His armor and weapons were frightening. But while David carried only a sling and bag of stones, he had a secret weapon. He met Goliath with, "I come to you in the name of the Lord."
When we go into battle, we also have the secret weapon of faith. There is no competition when you do things "in the name of the Lord." This weapon can't be seen or handled, but it defeats giants of your lives. With faith, we can fight with courage. The alternative is fear, and you will flee in the face of battle. If faith fails, you are in serious trouble.
Listen to Peter. Jesus prayed for him that he not lose his faith in the battle with Satan. Peter might lose his coat or shoes or his sword, but Jesus prayed that Peter's "faith faileth not." Why did Jesus not pray the we outfight or out-think the enemy? Because we all have that secret strength. And when you find that faith, help others find it, too.
So many people give up this secret weapon. The faith of David was so great that it is remembered centuries later in the book of Hebrews [11:32]. David, the judges and prophets, "out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle." In the midst of David's battle, God gave him a secret weapon of faith.
Goliath was not just big. He was a mean-spirited warrior. Like Mike Tyson, if he can't beat you, he will bite you. He is there to win. You are here to win, too, but not by any means. Win by taking advantage of faith. Goliath wore a 200-pound bronze helmet. He appeared invincible. But David's stone found his temple. Even the greatest giant has a weakness.
Twice a day, for 40 days, Goliath came out to King Saul's army and said, "OK, let's settle this issue once and for all." The devil will intimidate you the same way. "Let's settle this right now." He will challenge you to meet him. This time will come in your life, and this is your battle. Goliath said, "Let us settle this thing." Give me your best shot. Winner take all.
Remember the secret weapon. Those who forget they have it so easily go AWOL. Maybe you have never used that weapon. Maybe you don't believe it is greater than what is in the world. When the faithful walk the street, they have a concealed weapon. They walk by faith, not by sight. You can't see or touch it. But the weapon works. Say to the giants in your life, "I got a concealed weapon. Don't mess with me." God gives everyone a measure of faith.
Well, King Saul is looking for someone to take on Goliath. First he offers marriage to his daughter, and then wealth and power. He even offers tax-exemption I'll give you the gold and not charge you income tax. For many of Saul's warriors, this had to look good. But none took the offer. They were intimidated by the enemy. They didn't have the secret weapon.
Doesn't that sound like many of our churches today? Fear kicks in, when faith should be activated by the challenges before them. Yes, we all have giants in our lives. Debts, bad relationships at work, a fear or addiction. They seem impossible to overcome. We all meet that giant. A giant that intimidates us on a daily basis. Old age creeping up in our life. A giant of misunderstanding, as when Jesus' followers did not understand what He truly said. Some of them were offended, and walked away.
So here we have a young shepherd boy. When the lion and the bear stole David's sheep, he used his sling to defeat them and take the sheep from their jaws. When he decided to face Goliath, people discouraged him. But David's motive was right. Goliath had cursed God. And as the story tells us, David's weapon was sure.
Next week: a sermon by the Rev. Norman E. Steen at the Christian Reformed Church in the District.

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