01 May The Kingdom of Heaven: The Pre-Fight (Are You Ready To Rumble?)
PASTOR WIL: 1 Timothy 6:10, 2 Timothy 4:1. It says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” Check this out. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
Now, in his second letter, if you’d go there, 2 Timothy and the fourth chapter, 2 Timothy 4:1, it again speaks here, and he says, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” First letter, he said fight the good fight, and this one, he ends by saying I have fought a good fight – I have finished my course – I have kept the faith.
I’m not going to finish this message today, so I’m going to encourage everyone to join me for the first [indiscernible] teaching of the year this Wednesday as we finish and conclude this message. But the theme for 2017 is found in Matthew 11:12. It says, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, but the violent take it by force.” The New Living translation says that the kingdom of heaven is forcefully advancing, but violent people are attacking it. That is to say that this year, 17, the seventeenth year of this new millennium, seventeenth year, the number 17 is the number for victory. God says this is the season of reward; this is the season of victory. And I need everybody in here to have a mindset in 2017 that I’ve got the victory, that I’m going to reap victory, I’m going to walk in victory.
And so, as we go into this year, I want you to understand that “victory” means that you’re in a fight, “victory” means that there’s something that’s trying to withstand you. God says your reward, your victory is there, but the devil is not going to give up without a fight. And so you’re gonna have to go in and take what God has for you.
So last night, we gave you a message: winning the fight of your life. Winning the fight of your life; the fight for your soul, the fight for your body, the fight for your spirit; that you’re gonna have to trade your fear for faith, trade your suffering for glory, and trade your giving up for endurance.
Now, as we move here today, I want to digress just a bit, because I need you to think about preparation. Preparation. Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, says, “Fight the good fight of faith. Fight the good fight.” But in order to fight a good fight, you’ve got to prepare for a good fight. You’ve got to prepare for a good fight.
I was tuning in, looking at the ESPN to see how Ronda Rousey did, ‘cause I just knew she had prepared to fight a good fight. Then they told me she got knocked out in 42 seconds. I said, “Oh! Oh, no, no, no! No, no, no, no, no, no, you can’t take me out in 42 seconds, devil.”
Okay, y’all ain’t workin’ with a brother.
Somebody say, “A good fight.”
If I go down, and if you see me down, trust me: there’s a guy… Okay, I’m gonna try it over here. If you see me down, please know that there’s a guy missin’ some teeth. (Laughter.) He got some bite marks – y’all ain’t workin’ with me – he done been kicked in the shin, he been scratched… Y’all ain’t workin’ with a brother. Oh, I’m goin’ in, oh, I ain’t goin’ out like that. Some of y’all gotta tell the devil, “I ain’t goin’ out. Now, I may go down, but I ain’t goin’ out like that.”
Somebody say, “Hallelujah.”
The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating back to the fifth century. It is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. It is commonly thought of as a definitive work on military strategy and tactics. Some of its, one of its most famous quotes is, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy before or even without the fight; to appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
Paul said, “In my weakness, I am strong.” God’s grace is sufficient. If you know your enemy, and you know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles, ‘cause you know.
It’s all about preparing for the fight. Preparing for the fight. Getting ready for the fight. Knowing that you’re going in, but you’re ready for that fight.
And so, for the few weeks here, I put up my stage, and I wanted to take you into the ring, into the fight, in preparation. A lot of this equipment here is for preparation. These here (lifting gloves from corner of stage) are your, your workout gloves, and so, they are not your actual fighting gloves, they’re for working out. And while you’re working out, you’ve got all of this equipment here. It is to prepare you for your workout, get you ready for the fight that’s coming. (Kneeling, opening backpack.) And so I told you, I wanted to digress today to take you into the fight. And so, you got your headgear – I’m not gonna put it on, ‘cause I might look stupid, praise Jesus (laughter) – but you got your headgear, and that is, so while you’re boxing, you know, you’re getting a little protection while you’re growing. And so, you get your gloves here, and you got your speed bag – oh, praise Jesus – and I learned how to hit this the other day, Sister [indiscernible] goes to boxing and she showed me how to wrap my hands – ‘cause you gotta protect your hands – and she showed me how to do all of this stuff, showed me how to do the speed bag, and so, I got it a little bit.
(Hitting speed bag.)
Come on. Come on, Pastor Wil.
I told y’all I wasn’t going out like that.
You got your heavy bag, so when you go to that body, you gotta get used to hitting a body that don’t wanna go down, you gotta keep hittin’ it and hittin’ it and hittin’ it and hittin’ it and hittin’ it and hittin’ it. And so, you’re getting prepared.
But, but see, sometimes the enemy wears you out, and wears you down, and so, you also have to get your wind up, and so, you’ve got your jump-rope… I ain’t gonna even try to jump-rope, praise Jesus. (Laughter.) Y’all ain’t gonna see a pastor flat on his back that’s tripped over the rope, praise Jesus. (Twirling jump-rope.) Just imagine if I was jumpin’ rope, just imagine if I was jumpin’ rope, praise Jesus, praise Jesus. Hallelujah. Shoutin’, jumpin’ rope, praise the Holy Ghost.
The point is – before I go into the fight, I gotta get prepared for it. I gotta know how to hit, I gotta know how to take a hit. Y’all workin’ with a brother right now? Gotta get my wind up, I gotta be ready.
Look at your neighbor and say, “Neighbor, this fight, you’re gonna have to get ready for.” Say, “Today’s message is the pre-fight. Are you ready to rumble?”
Are you ready?
The rumble ain’t started yet – but are you ready?
Give Praise to God with Pastor Wil Nichols in Durham, NC
Founded by Pastor Wil Nichols and his wife Dr. Grace Nichols, Victorious Praise is a vibrant Christian church in Durham, NC devoted to exalting our Lord through music, the arts, and exuberant praise. We welcome worshippers young and old into our loving, dynamic community of men, women, and children who want to grow closer with Christ and discover their divine purpose in this life. To learn more about our holy mission, contact Victorious Praise at (919) 957-7500.