Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, March 1, 2015

Fear is paralyzing when we focus too much on the opposition. I have watched countless hours of my basketball teams who come into a game against a formidable opponent and from the tip-off they look terrified to be on the court. They fear that the other team is going to crush them. I have heard announcers say that the team ‘lost the game before it ever started.’ The coach at halftime will attempt to change his team’s mentality, but it is hopeless because they are too focused on the opposition and they can not mentally break out of the fear. This leads to defeat. When we are dealing with our spiritual enemy, the devil, our fear and defeat is even greater than that which is experienced in a basketball game. We are dealing with an enemy that we can not conquer on our own. It is plausible that any outmatched basketball team can win a game. That is one reason we love march madness and the Cinderellas of the tournament. However, when we face the devil we have no chance on our own to defeat him. 

Our fear and anxiety can grow as we think of this defeat that will come at the hands of our enemy. His aim is to humiliate us and bring us down in sin and judgement. The fear can grow so large that our enemy is the only thing that we can think of. It is at this time that it is so crucial to remember our king. When we have put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He reigns over us as our heavenly king. It may seem as though our enemy is winning the battle for our soul, but the reality is that king Jesus will have ultimate victory. Just as our enemy will surely conquer us outside of Christ so will Christ surely conquer the devil. He is no match for the Lord. 

If we allow for the devil to fill us with fear we will become paralyzed and helpless. We must remember to turn to Christ for help and for victory. Despite the devil’s strenuous attempts to thwart the plan of God, God ultimately accomplished His good purposes and is sovereignly in control at all times. No where is this more clearly displayed than with the cross. Jesus’ disciples felt utterly defeated after their Lord had been beaten and hung on a cross. Their grief began to turn to fear as they thought to themselves about how their deliverer had been defeated. Surely, they thought, our enemy has defeated us. Then miraculously Christ was gloriously resurrected and salvation secured for His people. Even in the midst of the attempts to frustrate the plan of God He saved His people. We can rest and put our trust in Christ because not only has he saved us from our sin and its consequences, but He will one day return and fully deliver us from our enemy. 

THE WORD

Scripture: 1 Samuel 11:1-15
Sermon: The Prince Of Darkness Grim, We Tremble Not For Him

SONGS

How Firm a Foundation
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Who is On the Lord’s Side? (arr. Shane Martin)
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Lift High the Cross
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Mighty to Save (arr. Hillsong)
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Song of Preparation: O Church Arise  (arr. Keith Getty)
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Song of Response: A Mighty Fortress is Our God (arr. Traditional)
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