June 24, 2023

The Legacy Letdown

Welcome, everybody, to Grace. My name is Chris Pedro, and I'm one of the campus pastors here at our church. I appreciate that. Thank you. Before we dive into Scripture this weekend, here's what I want to do: I want to take us back to a magical place in a magical time. Some of you, you may actually remember this. Some of you, maybe you don't remember this, and that's okay. But I want you to just go back there with me. That is a place none other than Blockbuster Video. Who here remembers Blockbuster? Right? Okay. Some blockbuster lovers. For those of you who are 25 years old or younger, you've probably never been to a Blockbuster. I’ve just got to say that I'm so sorry because, man, it was a magical place. You may not know this, but the film industry, in and of itself, for a time, actually strategized everything that they did around Blockbuster, so this was actually really important in film history.

But it was a magical place. Though they don't have them anymore, I actually have an authentic Blockbuster VHS tape with me, this weekend. If I open it up, you can hear that sound. Doesn't that take you back? You can still smell the magic. Now, what was the magic in? It wasn't in the movie itself, because you can still watch those movies anywhere. It certainly wasn't in the smell. But the magic was in that anticipation of what you were going to get. You’ve got to go back in time a little bit. It wasn't as easy as what we have now with Netflix and other streaming platforms. Now what you do is you turn on the TV and you can watch something. You may not know what you want to watch, but you can watch the trailer right there, and then you can watch it. If you want to change to another movie, you can. No harm, no foul, no big deal. But it wasn't that way back then. Back then, if you remember, you had to get in your car, you had to drive to the store, and then when you get there, you didn't always know what you wanted to watch. You couldn't watch a preview. You couldn't watch a trailer. All you had was like the cover artwork, and you can read the back of the case here. It’s a very small paragraph that barely tells me anything. But that’s all you had. So, you'd pick a movie — maybe one movie, maybe two — and then you'd get in line, you'd go through the checkout, you'd drive home, you'd put it in your VCR or your DVD player, and then you'd watch the movie. If it was a good movie, man, it was great because you just went through all of that — all those steps, all the time — and it came together and it was good. If you decided you wanted to keep the movie, you could buy it.

But every once in a while, you would get a real dud of a movie. Right? It wasn't really that great, but it was terrible because you just went through all of that. You wasted your time. You might have said, “I waited for this? I'm returning this thing tomorrow because I don't want to get a late fee for this bomb.”

Right? So, in many ways, I think the Blockbuster experience might have made watching movies better, but I think that in some of those moments where expectations weren't met and the anticipation just didn't line up, it actually made the whole experience a lot worse. Why? Because it was a letdown. Right? You wasted all that time, you wasted all the energy and the resources to kind of just end up with a letdown.

What I want to do this weekend is talk about this idea of a letdown. I'm not just talking about Blockbuster, I'm not just talking about movies, and I'm certainly not talking about the day-to-day things where we kind of run into disappointments and letdowns as part of life, but I'm talking about those big letdowns. The letdowns that typically have to do with a legacy, trying to inspire other people, or influence those around you. Those are the big letdowns that some of you walk with. Maybe for you it was an idea. Maybe it was an idea that you had that you knew was going to be positive for you or for the people around you, but the idea tanked, and it became a letdown. Maybe for some of you it was a dream. Maybe it was a God dream that you really believed God was going to do something, He was going to show up, and, somehow, this dream was going to come to fruition, but it never did. Now that dream, as you're waiting for it, feels more like a letdown. Maybe for some of you it was a relationship. Maybe it was a marriage. You prayed for that marriage, you prayed for that relationship, and you believed that God brought the two of you together for such a time as this, yet the marriage didn't work out.

Ultimately, it failed and became a letdown. Maybe for some of you, you had a son, you had a daughter, or maybe someone that you influenced who you had high hopes for, you saw a great future for them, but for whatever reason, it didn't amount to what you thought it would be. Maybe, even worse, they walked away from the faith.

I get to talk with a lot of you in the lobby, and I get to hear some of your letdowns and these things that you're carrying. So, I want to talk about that this weekend, but before we get into it, I want to pause and bring us all back up to speed. As many of you know, we're in a sermon series, right now, called “Failure Figures.” In case you're new, or maybe you missed a few weeks, I just want to bring us all back up to speed and remind us of what it is that we're talking about. The big idea of the series is this: The failure of every Bible hero makes us realize that we are not enough on our own and we need someone greater. We're tackling some of these questions from why are these people, particularly these Old Testament figures, here in Scripture? Why do you and I, as we read through the Bible, just want to skip ahead to the New Testament? Why do these stories that God has given to us in His Word not have that happy ending that you and I would naturally want or expect?

So, we've looked at figures such as Adam. We’ve looked at Noah. We’ve looked at Aaron. So, what I want to do this weekend is I want to skip ahead a little bit in the narrative, and I want to talk about a man named Samuel. Now, if you know your Bible, or if you know your Scripture well, it should surprise you that we would talk about Samuel. The reason for that is because Samuel is recognized as one of the greatest leaders in Israel's history. There's not really an account of some moral failure or some grave sin that he committed, unlike many of the other failure figures that we've looked at so far. So, surely, he couldn't be a failure. Right? Well, let's find out. Let's look at his story. We need to talk a little bit about who this guy named Samuel was. So, we can learn all about Samuel, his life and his legacy, in the books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, which was originally written as one book. If you haven't read through these books, I really encourage you to go back after this weekend because there are so many powerful and profound moments in the books of 1-2 Samuel.

But who is Samuel? He was the last judge of Israel. We’ll talk about what a judge is in just a moment. But he was a prophet, and he was a priest. We’re told that Samuel was born in the days of the judges. If you go back into the book of Judges, we keep seeing this recurring line that it's in those days when every person was doing what was right in his or her own eyes. It’s a dark time for Israel. It was not exactly what God had wanted for them. Now, as you're reading this story, you may have never picked up on some of the parallels here because we're going to see some real interesting parallels between Samuel Jesus. Scripture actually uses Samuel as an archetype to point towards Jesus. So, this is a what we see: They both had this miraculous birth. Hannah, Samuel's mother, couldn't conceive in her old age. Most of us know the Christmas story. Mary was young, still in her betrothal period, yet they both have this miraculous birth where God shows up on the scene. It's from these miraculous births that Hannah has this beautiful prayer, and so does Mary. You can go back and read those in 1 Samuel 2 and Luke 1.

In fact, Mary's song resembles Hannah's prayer so closely that many scholars believe it likely had to have been influenced by it. Then when Jesus and Samuel are young, we find them ministering in the temple. It’s really interesting because if you go back and read 1 Samuel 2:26 and Luke 2:52, you'll find the exact same wording that says, “They continued to grow in wisdom and stature, and they gained favor among men and with the Lord.”

It's the exact same wording. Then we get to the beginning of their time of ministry, but God is silent.

1 Samuel 3:1 says, “And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.”

When Jesus shows up on the scene, there had been about 400 years of silence from God as they're waiting for this awaited Messiah to show up on the scene. So, we're going to go focus in on Samuel here, and we're going to look at 1 Samuel 8. I wish we had time to look at what came before 1 Samuel 8 because what we get to see are beautiful stories of how Samuel was young, and he goes into ministry. Then we get this summary of his years doing ministry as prophet and judge, as he preaches obedience and repentance, he prays for the people, and he faithfully gives them moral, ethical, and spiritual direction. But it's here in 1 Samuel 8 that the story is about to take a drastic and dramatic change for the people of Israel. So, here we go. Let's jump into 1 Samuel 8:1.

“When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel.”

Now, you may be asking, “What is a judge?”

Well, we're not talking about an official of the court. We're not talking about a referee or a judge who judges a competition or a game. These were leaders in Israel who were given authority to govern, dispense judgment, and give correction. They were directly supposed to represent God. This goes back into the time of Joshua. We had Moses, who was a great leader, we had Joshua, who was a great leader, and then of Israel depended on these judges, whom Yahweh would raise up, to save them from themselves and from the hand of their enemies. So, Samuel, in his old age, has appointed his two sons to follow in his footsteps and to lead as judges.

“The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba.”

Now, you and I would probably read that and be like, “Okay, cool. Those are their names.”

But back in Bible times, given names like that are not like how you and I name things. We just give random names to our cars, to our dogs, and that’s just that's kind of what we do. Back then, in the Ancient Near East, when somebody was given a name, that name was more than just their identity. It was, oftentimes, their destiny. So, the name Joel means that the Lord is God. Isn't that awesome? The name Abijah means my father is Lord. So, we've got these awesome names that talk about how great God is, and they're here in Beersheba, which, back in the book of Genesis, we know that Abraham and Isaac dug wells here. We’ve seen God move. So, you should be expecting that something great is going to come from this setup.

But yet, in 1 Samuel 8:3, it says, “Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but they turned aside after gain. They took bribes and they perverted justice.”

They were corrupt. On one hand, this should be extremely surprising. I mean, we're talking about Samuel here. Samuel's the guy. He was one of the greatest leaders of Israel's history, the guy who could hear the voice of the Lord when virtually no one else could. He served all these years, faithfully and honorably, with wisdom and discernment, yet his sons turned out to be corrupt. What? On the other hand, this isn't so surprising because, remember, this is the time of judges. We read about, in the book of Judges, about these cycles that they were in. It would pretty much go like this: The Israelites would start off, they'd be great, but then they would sin. Oftentimes, it was the leaders, or the judges themselves, who would sin. Then, because of that, they'd be oppressed by their enemies. Because they were oppressed by the enemies, finally, they would repent and ask God to save them. Then God would deliver them. Then, after God would deliver them, they would finally have this time of peace. But after not too long, they would do the same thing again. These cycles would allow them to get further and further away, and it would get worse and worse as they moved in this downward spiral away from the character of God, even forgetting who God was.

This wasn't an “uh-oh” moment when these sons did this. Some of you know I’ve got a little one-year-old daughter at home. Here name is Eden. She's extremely, extremely cute. What she likes to do is she'll take something, drop it, and go, “Uh-oh.”

It's funny, we're laughing, and then she'll do it eight more times. Then daddy's remote breaks and it's not funny anymore. What we're trying to teach her is that “uh-oh” is an accident, but what you're doing is not an accident. But this is not an “uh-oh” moment here. This is direct disobedience because God was very clear.

In Deuteronomy 16:19, he says, “You shall not pervert justice. […] and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe, blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.”

This was blatant disobedience. In fact, this should feel really familiar as you're reading through the story because, in 1 Samuel 2, the last high priest, the last judge, whose name was Eli, his sons were also corrupt. In fact, Scripture goes as far as to call Eli's son's wicked, scoundrels, or worthless. We don't know why Samuel's sons went wrong, but we do know that Eli was held responsible for his own son's corruption. So, surely, Samuel must have instructed them. He had to prepare them for this high position that they were in. He hoped that the example he had set before them would've caused them to be diligent and faithful, but for whatever reason, this vicious cycle continues. Maybe even more disappointing than the failure of their position is that Samuel was unable to lead them into a close relationship with God. Have you been there? Have you felt like you've done everything right, yet the people around you, the people who you're responsible for, still decide to go their own way? In fact, that's really the theme of 1-2 Samuel. So many of these stories is God asking, “Are you going to do things your way or are you going to do them my way?”

Let's continue on. It says “then,” or some of your translations may say “so” or “finally,” which is this idea of a continuation of thought here, as if the writer is saying, “After saying all this.”

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, ‘Behold,’”

Now, if you've been going to Grace for some time, you've probably heard us say this before: When you come across the word “behold,” pause and listen because what's about to be said next is important. In fact, you could add a little music to the “behold.” You could say, “Dun, dun, dun,” because what's about to be said next is important.

They say, “‘Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways.’”

Imagine that you're Samuel. You’ve just served faithfully all these years, and now, at the end of your time, you're apparently a has-been, and you have no successor because your sons are corrupt.

They say, “‘Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.’”

They're saying, “We don't want to do this thing anymore, where God is our king and speaks to us through judges. That's not working for us. Instead, we want to look like the rest of the nations. We want to have a human king rule over us.”

As you're reading this, this should come as a complete shock after what we just saw God do through Samuel's leadership in 1 Samuel 7. The Israelites just saw that the Philistines and their god didn't have any power, but the real power lay in Yahweh's hands. So, what this shows us is that the real problem that needed to be addressed all this time wasn't Israel's political structure and wasn't Israel's military might or weakness. No. The real problem that needed to be addressed was the Israelites lack of faith, and their continued lack of faith. Here again, in this moment, their continued lack of faith.

Now, it's worth saying that in Deuteronomy 17, the law did give them permission to appoint a king, but it wasn't the requirement. So, what's really happening here is that they would rather exchange their unique position as God's holy and chosen people to instead be like all the nations. What a letdown. Now, before you go and judge the Israelite leaders, don't you think that, sometimes, you and I can be like that? We've been given access to be in right relationship with the God of the universe, to follow His ways, yet we'd rather look like the rest of the world. So, because of Samuel's old age, and the fact that his sons don't follow in his ways, Israel has now chosen to be like all the other nations and have a human king rule over them. How does Samuel respond?

“But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’”

Because Samuel's wise. This isn't his first rodeo. He knows what's going on. There's more happening than what's being seen on the surface. This is evidence of spiritual decay among the leaders.

“And Samuel prayed to the Lord.”

Almost every time Samuel is grieved or displeased because of the situation that he's surrounded in, prayer is almost always his first response. If you remember a few weeks ago, Pastor Chip challenged you and I that when we're reading these stories in Scripture, it should oftentimes be more about them reading us than us reading them. So, as you're reading the story, you ought to pause and ask, “Is prayer my first response?”

So, he prays, and the Lord said to Samuel, “‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.’”

How would you receive that? Again, put yourself in Samuel's shoes. I'm sure there had to be something in him where he personalized their rejection as an attack on his own leadership. But the Lord points out to him that their offense is far graver than that.

“They're not rejecting you, Samuel. They're rejecting me.”

He says, “‘According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.’”

This isn't new. There is nothing new about the Israelites rejecting Yahweh for other gods, and now they're doing the same thing here under Samuel's leadership.

“‘Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall rule over them.’”

And that’s exactly what Samuel does. He basically goes and says, “He’s going to look like all the other earthly kings. He's going to rely on taxation and conscription to maintain his rule, but he's going to want more and more because that's what earthly kings do.”

In the next passage of Scripture, from 1 Samuel8:10-18, we get imagery of what this king is going to look like. In fact, I've got a summary, here, of what it looks like. This is what this earthly king is going to be.

“He's going to take your sons to run before his chariots,” which is another way of saying they’re going to be weapons of war for this king. “He'll take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers to serve him. He'll take the best of your livestock, your fields, and your vineyards for himself, and he'll take the best of your servants and the best of your cattle to put to his work. You will be his slaves.”

As you're reading through that, the key words — I highlighted them here — are “take.” This king's going to take the best because that's what kings do. They're parasitic rather than giving because they're never satisfied with anything but the best. And perhaps the most alarming, the most ominous, as you're reading this, is when you get to that word “slaves.” Some of your translations may say “servant.” This resembles Pharaoh. The Israelites are not moving forward, but they're moving backwards. We're going back to square one. If these attributes that we have here attained full authority, the average Israelite would soon be nothing more than a possession, a mere product, to their king. But despite these warnings, the Israelites insist on having their way. Samuel grants them their wish, and they transition into a kingship. For the rest of 1-2 Samuel, we get a look at the first two kings. The first being Saul, who you and I remember as this evil, vicious, wicked king, but he didn't start that way. He actually started off like a normal guy, like you and I. He had great promise, but his story is one of tragedy. Pastor Chip just preached, earlier in this series, about Saul. He looked great on the outside, but on the inside had some character flaws and weaknesses that never got addressed. He ends up becoming that mad king that you and I remember, and has the kingship taken away from him. And the second king is King David, who is known as the greatest king of all time. We remember how he's a man after the Lord's own heart, how he slayed Goliath, and did all these awesome things, but even David didn't measure up.

In fact, as a small, little promotion for next week, we're going to talk more about David. I'm telling you, be here because next week's message is going to be so, so powerful. Please do be here. But even David fell short, and the line of kings that come after David also don't measure up, and they ultimately run Israel into the ground until the nation is forced into exile. So, while Samuel was a man who served God faithfully and honestly for all those years, and did everything right when others around him didn't, his leadership still was not good enough. This legacy, this kingdom that came out of Samuel's leadership, ultimately leads to the fall of the nation of Israel. What a letdown. We’ll compare him to Jesus in a second, but what I want to do is I want to camp out here for just a moment. I want to get personal because some of you, you're going through it right now. You're going through that letdown. You’re going through that failure. You feel like you've done everything right, you like you've been a good person, you feel like you want to see some good stuff come out of your life or around you. You maybe feel like you've been faithful, you've prayed, and yet you're in your disappointment. You're in that letdown. You’re in that space. Maybe you feel like you've walked into Blockbuster with high hopes, but instead of that magical, hopeful feeling, you're stuck in the letdown, you're stuck in your disappointment, and you're feeling stuck in defeat. Maybe you feel like you've been watching that same bad movie over and over again.

So, what I want to do is instead of going to our normal take-homes like we do here at Grace, I want to give us some questions for us to ponder as we look at this story. What can we take away from the life, the ministry, and the legacy of Samuel? What do we do when we experience the legacy letdown? Well, the first question we ought to ask ourselves is this: What legacy are you leaving behind?

Now, this question presumes that you want to live a life of legacy. So, I guess I should first ask, do you want to live a life of legacy? Do you want to see the things that God has put in you and the things around you live outside of just yourself? Because let me tell you, here at Grace — and Pastor Chip would be the first to tell you this — we want to be a church that's leaving a legacy. So, I assume that most of us in here want to leave some sort of legacy. Have you ever paused and asked yourself this question? Have you ever stopped to look at your habits, look at the way that you spend your time, look at the way that you invest into the things around you, or look into the relationships around you? You may be surprised at what legacy you're really leaving behind. Is it alright if I get a little personal and vulnerable with you today? Is that okay? As you know, I mentioned that I have a one-year-old. I love my daughter, Eden. I love my wife, Madi. One thing I've always said, my whole life, is that I'm going to be a man who puts his family first. But one thing, just being honest, that is a challenge sometimes is that I feel called to ministry, I feel called to Grace, I feel called to you all, but I'll look at the way I've spent my day, or maybe I'll look at the way I've spent my week, or I'll look at the way that I've spent my last month, and I go, “Man, I said I wanted to be a person that leaves a legacy of putting family first, but I've just spent all my time here.”

It’s not like that was a bad thing. That's what God's called me to, but I'm also learning that my ministry is just as much my family as it is as my role or my place in church. So, I haven't figured out all the answers, and it's something that I'm still growing in — yeah, that’s something to clap for. I appreciate it. It’s something that I'm still trying to figure out. But the point is that I have to ask myself this question. Maybe you're at a different place in your life. Maybe you're further along in parenthood. Maybe you're not called to church ministry. We're all in different places. But the question still stands before us. What's your legacy? What do you give value to? What do you give worth to? You might be surprised at what kind of legacy you're leaving behind because, for Samuel, his sons didn't follow God. They didn't follow God's ways. Eli's sons, in 1 Samuel 2, didn't follow God's ways. We don't know why they went that way. Scripture doesn't tell us. But the same cycle that existed in the book of Judges was continuing here in 1 Samuel. Because of that, we know that the people of Israel decided to reject God's best for them for their lives. After all the good that Samuel had done, the way that he led, and the ministry that he did, the people still chose to reject God and the best that He had for their lives.

I just have to say this. You can parent, you can lead as best as you can, but at the end of the day, every generation has to have its own personal relationship with God. That’s why, here at Grace, we want to be a church that's leaving a legacy. That's why we're so passionate about reaching the next generation. That's why we're so persistent in asking you all to get involved, to serve in our children's ministry, to serve in our Bridge ministry, and to get involved in our next generation teams because it takes a congregation. So, the question is, what legacy are you leaving behind? Is it a legacy of success, a legacy of wealth, of popularity, of strength, a legacy of happiness in this life, or is it a legacy of building deep, authentic relationships, a legacy of giving generously, a legacy of treating people with kindness, a legacy of seeing souls enter into eternity?

Can you imagine what would happen if you went into heaven right now, and when you got there, somebody came up to you and said, “Hey, I just want you to know that the way you gave generously, the way you showed me kindness, spoke to me. I walked into church, and I accepted Jesus into my heart. I made Him the Lord of my life. I’m in heaven now because God worked through you and through the way that you reflected Christ.”

Can you imagine that? What legacy are you leaving behind? The second is this: Whose kingdom are you building? We're called to be kingdom builders. We're told to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”

We're told to seek first the kingdom, but whose kingdom are we really building? We say that Jesus is our king. In fact, we just sang a beautiful song about how Jesus Christ is the king above all kings. But do our lives really look like we believe that? I'm not trying to be legalistic, and I'm not trying to say all the things that you can and can't do, but I think this is the question we need to ask ourselves. Whose kingdom am I building? Because the Israelites chose to reject God as king over their lives. So, God says, “Show them the ways of this king.”

To put it back up on the screen, this kingdom, this earthly king, is going to be a king who takes. He’s going to keep the best, and he's going to use people as slaves for production like Pharaoh in Egypt. Why? Because that's the way of the other nations. That's the way of this earthly kingdom. Now, here's how Jesus is the greater Samuel. When Jesus shows up on the scene, He keeps talking about the Gospel of the Kingdom. He’s teaching, preaching, and proclaiming in the synagogues the Gospel of the Kingdom. This kingdom is going to look very different than the earthly kingdom. In fact, if you go through and read through the Gospels, the Gospel writers, Matthew in particular, keep presenting Jesus as King even when He’s going to be crucified. This is what Matthew says in Matthew 27. He tells the story this way: “While they're mocking Him, they gave Him a scarlet robe, they gave Him a crown, they put a scepter in His right hand, and they kneeled before Him, calling Him King.”

This is a king. So, while both Samuel and Jesus usher in a new kingdom, these two kingdoms are going to look radically different. Here’s how: Instead of a kingdom where people are being used as weapons of war, Christ’s Kingdom says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Instead of a kingdom where daughters are being made to work and serve this earthly king, Christ as King, in His Kingdom, says, “In order to become great, you serve others, that whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Instead of an earthly king taking the very best for himself, Christ’s Kingdom says, “Be generous and give.”

Instead of becoming slaves for this earthly king, Christ as King has exemplified this. We know love by the fact that He laid His life down for us, and we in turn can lay down our lives for others. This is an upside-down kingdom. So, whose kingdom are you building? Let me ask it another way. Let me make it a little more personal. Whose kingdom are you building? Maybe it's not somebody else's kingdom. Maybe it's not that you're becoming someone else's slave. Maybe it's your own kingdom. Maybe you're trying to play king. Maybe these things look more like you. Do you take what's best for yourself? Do you use others for your own personal gain? One of our culture points here is “Kingdom Come.” We want to be people who create those heaven-meets-earth moments everywhere we go. But if we're building Christ's kingdom, our lives ought to look like Jesus is King.

Which brings me to my last question for us to ponder, this weekend. Do you really believe that the battle belongs to the Lord? Do you really believe it? This question is for anyone who's really wrestling with the letdown, especially the letdown of legacy, or any other places in your lives where you feel like God has forsaken you, or where you feel like you've failed. This is not meant to be a message of despair. This series is not meant to be some sort of downer series, but this is supposed to give you hope because we're called to be people of hope. If Christ is our king, if we want to live that life of legacy and fulfillment, then we ought to realize that the battle doesn't belong to us. It doesn't belong to you. Even though we could look at Samuel's legacy and the kingship that came out of his leadership as a failure, look at how God works. This is what God says to David, the greatest king of all time. He says this to him in 2 Samuel 7.

He says, “…I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

It's in this moment that an even greater King is going to come out of David's line. This messianic promise should be hopeful to you and I because what could have been viewed as a failure, God redeems and uses for His glory. So, it's through the line of David that we get Jesus. When Jesus shows up on the scene, He doesn't just preach about this Gospel of the Kingdom, but He becomes the embodiment of the Gospel of the Kingdom through His death, through His burial, and through His resurrection. Then, after He’s resurrected, He comes to the disciples, and He gives them this final thing. This is the last thing that He says. He says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

He holds all the authority. The battle's already been won. That should radically affect how you and I live our lives, especially in light of the letdowns, no matter how big, because He reigns. He’s won. That's why we can sing what we sang when we say, “Every burden, every letdown will be lifted in His presence. Every trophy will be laid down at His feet because there's a name above all others. There’s a King above all kings.”

Pastor Chip put it this way, in the past: If Jesus is truly King, then we should be in victory mode rather than retreat mode. I say this in love, but don't live as though you're in retreat mode. Don't live as though we are people of fear. Don't live as though you're defeated. Don't live as though you've lost, but walk in victory. That's what the word “Gospel” means. It's the Greek word “euangelion,” which is an announcement or declaration of the good news of a military victory. Walk in that victory.

Some of you need to hear that because that thing that you're holding onto, that letdown that's so big, might be a letdown because you feel like the battle belongs to you, but realize that it belongs to Him. While it may look or feel like a failure, know that He holds the victory. Amen?

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