God Plus One Is The Majority

Judges 7:18: "And say, The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."
Judges 7:20: "And they cried, The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."

This is the message of the sermon of God plus one.
God plus Gideon – what an army that was.
This is to say, "If God be for us who can be against us?"

Consider the value of one.

There were dark days during World War I.
Heard was the harsh rumble of "dead wagons," their rims muddied with blood,
carrying boys away to be buried.
Bombs were dropping on the earth, and men were huddled in German-infested dugouts
as they tried to remember the name of their sweetheart and the names of their children back home.

There were man who smothered in gas masks, their throats hot like an oven.
There lungs cooked like bacon in a skillet as they mumbled through dry lips the prayers
their mother taught them to pray.
There were Red Cross nurses waiting to the night for those who needed their care.
There were rivers that ran red with human blood.
There were whole hillsides that seem to be made up of ghastly red and horribly broken fragments
of man and mules and mud.
There were faces that were blank like a house without windows and ears that went deaf
from the bombs blasting all around them.
There were bodies blown to bits and scattered over the earth around them.

There were valleys turned into graveyards that looked like a forest of white crosses.
During those awful days of war and suffering and agony that swept all over the world,
a newspaper had a brief paragraph of the news that read:
"Quick advance made in surprise attack by American troops.
Great battle won – and only one man lost
!"

Just one man killed, and that was all – only one.
But that one man meant so very much to a little woman who lived in a small cottage
with her three children looking up into her face as she read a cablegram in which no answer was expected.
As she read that of that great battle that was won, and only one man lost his life.
But that "only one man" would not be returning to his wife who now would hear his voice
only in her dreams, and to his children who would never experience the love of their father.

Think of the things of lesser value than a man, and we still can emphasize the value of one – just one.
One link in the chain is vital, determing whether it is short or long, small or great.
One brick in a wall is of great value, whether the wall will be high or low.
One shingle in a roof is greatly needed, even though not one shingle but many shingles make a roof.
One wheel is of an measurable value on an automobile even though there are other wheels on the car.
One soldier is important in an army, even though he may just be a private.

One letter is essential to a complete alphabet and no alphabets can function adequately without all the letters.
If the letter A or S were missing from the alphabet then writers would be handicapped.
One figure is necessary in the multiplication tables for that table would not work
without the calculation of mathematicians

If one digit were missing forever – what would we do?
One note counts on a sheet of music – just ask a musician.
One key on an organ is indispensable.
Ask the organists of what confusion they would have if just one key or missing.

Dr. Robert G. Lee tells us of the value of one regarding a Bible school teacher.
The teacher was a young woman in his church where he was pastor.
She came to Dr. Lee one Sunday morning, during the Bible school hours, and said to him,
"I am through.
Get someone else for my class!
I am not teaching this morning
!"

Dr. Lee notice the discouragement in the tone of her voice and showing on her face as she said,
"I am through."
Dr. Lee asked, "Why?"

She answered, "I have only one boy today – just one, after all the visitations and postcards I have written.
So, I am through."


Dr. Lee immediately told her to go back to the classroom, and teach that one boy.
That young man may be another Beethoven or a D.L Moody or the president of this country
or a missionary who would give his life in a foreign land.

Reluctantly, she went back to that one boy – that, just one boy.
And the tears still falling, agony still in her voice, she went back to the class even though
she wasn't happy about it.
Dr. Lee remembered that someone had said that history is filled with instances where
one vote, just one, had decided elections of most tremendous importance.

By just one vote, Aaron Burr missed being President of the United States.
By just one vote, President Andrew Johnson missed impeachment.
By just one vote, Texas was given to the United States causing a war with Mexico.
By just one vote, California was made a part of the Union, because of the tide of immigration to go westward.
By just one vote, Oliver Cromwell was elected to the famous "Long Parliament,"
and sent Charles I to the scaffold and revolutionized England, and made great Britain free.

By just one vote Governor Morton of Massachusetts was elected to that office in 1839
defeating Edward Everett the famous orator, statesman, and scholar.
By just one vote in the electoral college in 1876 that decided who should be president of the United States.

By just one vote in a self-governing, independent, democratic Baptist Church conference
that the great, Jonathan Edwards was sent from his pastorate into "a backwoods ministry."
One man -- Christopher Columbus, discovered America.
Just one man saved England's liberties – his name was John Pym.
Just one man, rescued Scotland from her ecclesiastical and political enemies.
Just one man changed the dark dungeons of our prisons.
Just one interested woman, named Florence Nightingale, exposed the need of proper nursing.

And, on November 11, 1793, and on the very day when the French Revolutionists tore the cross from Notre Dame,
smashed it in the streets and renouinced Christianity, a gospel light was lit in a foreign land,
and a new continent was claimed for Christ.
This was not done by a group of people.
This was done by one man who had burning in his heart for those who need Jesus.
His name was William Carey.

There are many who would say I only have one boy.
It may be only one, and he is one – not everybody.
But he is somebody.
And he is nonetheless important because he is the only one.
He matters, though he is only one among many.
This has been demonstrated thousands of times throughout history.

Andrew brought Simon Peter to Jesus.
Simon Peter was just one.
But there came a day when Simon Peter was also many.
He preached the sermon under which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, three thousand souls
passed from death unto life, and added that day great numbers to a young church.

Henry Kimball, a Sunday school teacher, led Dwight L. Moody to Jesus.
Moody was just one man.
But days and years came when he was many.
This bookstore clerk took one continent in one hand and the other continent in the other hand,
and rocked them both for the glory of God.

An unknown city missionary led Jerry McAuley to Christ.
Jerry was just one.
He was a river thief or what they would call a "wharf rat."
But the years came when Jerry was many.
Many in the streets of New York could tell of the influence he had in bringing them to Jesus.
God knows how that one became many.

Then there was a man about whom we know very little, but that man led Charles Haddon Spurgeon to Christ,
and the world knows so very much about him.
Spurgeon was only one.
But the years revealed that he was many because of the many whom he led from their loss condition
to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Even today Charles Haddon Spurgeon influences the lives of preachers and Christians.

So let us not forget that it was God plus Columbus that this nation was a thought in the mind of God
from all eternity.
Remember it was God plus John Knox.
It was God plus Florence Nightingale.
It was God plus William Carey.
It was God plus Dwight L. Moody.
It was God plus Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
It was God plus Simon Peter.

And it was "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."

In the lives of these and many others show that Jesus knew the power of one plus God, when He said:
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit;
for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Then let us remember the power of God plus one as found in the Bible.

There was Noah who refused to "accept the position of the world as final."
He was one who saw with a sorrowful heart dread scenes of moral corruption, and had a heavy heart
with "the burden of the degenerate race."

He lived in the day when "all the imaginations of the thoughts of man's heart were only evil everyday"
– and when God himself was "grieved at his heart." (Genesis 6:5-6)
Eager for righteousness in the midst of the people field with wickedness and living in the midst
of a crooked and perverse generation, Noah proclaimed the word of God, and did the will of God.
His life was a stream of pure water in an ocean of iniquity – but it was God plus Noah.

Then remember Abraham.
In Abraham the genius of the Hebrew race is summarized.
Abraham one in advance of his age, a man of great sacrifice, and a man unappreciated by many,
the father of a vast multitude – Abraham "planning the blessings of civilization in countries
in kindreds and houses untouched by lot."

Then remember Joseph.
Joseph had lived a blameless life from boyhood, to and through the governorship of Egypt.
And his stewardship wiped frowns from a tyrant's brow for it was his spiritual insight and foresight
that took away the fear from the heart of a famine-scoured world.
But it was God plus Joseph.
As we read:

"Joseph is a fruitful bough,
A fruitful bough by a wall,
Whose branches run over the wall.
The archers sorely grieved him,
They shot at him and hated him;
But his bow abode in strength,
And the arms of his hands were made strong,
By the hands of the mighty God of Jacob."

Then think of Moses.
Dr. Lee describes his life "as a mighty man who moves among the mediocre as an elephant walks
among a parade of mice, and walks among the great as a giant
."
Moses instituted a ceremonial system which expresses faith in God, sacrifice for sin,
atonement and prayer for reconciliation, setting forth the moral element that forms the background of the Cross.

As Moses lifted up his rod seas were divided while a nation – a nation born in a night was brought out
that they might be brought in.
It was God plus Moses.

It is another case of "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon."

We must remember David.
If we measure him by a Christian standard, he was no saint.
If we weigh him on heathen scales, he is no sinner.

George Mathieson had this to say of David: "The David of Israel is not simply the greatest of her kings;
he is the man great in everything.
He monopolizes all her institutions.
He is her shepherd boy – the representatives of her working classes.
He is her musician – the successor of Jubal and Miriam and Deborah.
He is her soldier – the conqueror of all the Goliaths that would steal her peace.
He is her knight – bringing mercy into war.
He is her king – numbering her armies and regulating her policy.
He is her priest – substituting a broken and a contrite spirit for the blood of bulls and rams.
He is her profit – presaging with his latest breath the everlastings of his kingdom.
He is her poet – all her Psalms are called by his name
."

It was God plus David.

And don't forget Elijah, "the whirlwind whipped up by the desert," standing out like a granite pillar,
unmovable and unbreakable, amid a flood of ungodly men.
It was God plus Elijah.

And there was Jonah under whose preaching the hundreds of thousands of souls repented as a entire city
believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the last of them,
crying mightily to God, turning from their evil ways and from the violence that was in their hands.
It was God plus Jonah.

One man named Amos at a time when the scepter was frozen with the tyranny of impeached civilizations
call the nations to judgment, and tore ";a capital of thrones from the parchment of nations."
Then you can think of Samson, Elijah, Elisha, Ezekiel. and of Jeremiah and many others.
It was God plus these individuals.
In all cases, it was God plus one man.
It was the divine plus the human.
It was God plus men and women.
"The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."

The power for achievement of God plus one is recorded throughout history.

Remember Gutenberg and his printing press.
The printing press came in a moment when the world had something worth printing.
Tearing down the curtain that intervened between the common people and the kingdom of heaven,
it made the poor and the intellectual the equal with the priest.
In the days of King Alfred not one poor man in a thousand could read or write.

But Gutenberg profoundly aroused civilization when he invented the movable type printing press
which enabled the human race to educate itself.
He made the newspaper the university of the common people.
He gave the Bible to the people in their own language, and they rose to freedom and enlightenment
from slavery and the darkness of the ages.

Because of that marvelous invention, mankind leaped over the antique walls of civilization,
destroyed prejudices deeply rooted in the immemorial past, and widened the blind alley of ignorance
into endless highways and wisdom.
With his printing press, Gutenberg opened a definite horizon to the most simple mind.
People who had lived in one age became citizens of all ages.

Mysteries that had for centuries baffled the minds of the wise became the gossip of every street corner.
Therefore Gutenberg helped reason overcome force, and the pen to supersede the sword.
But it was God plus Gutenberg – "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon."

And we must remember Martin Luther.
His life is so vivid and his influence so present, and yet, he was born 450 years ago.
Somebody said that Columbus discovered the new world, Copernicus discovered new heavens,
and Luther discovered a new God – a gracious God for the sake of the work of Christ.

However judged, however most despised, a colossal figure of the human race is Martin Luther.
Martin Luther had a superlative mind in a superlative spirit.
A great Roman Catholic man, Lord Acton once said:
"Luther broke the chain of authority and tradition at the strongest link.
It was an awakening of new life.
The world revolved into new orbit, determined by influences unknown before
."

Someone else has said that he had congregations singing his chorals and hymns through four hundred years.
As the recognized father of modern education, he stands among the greatest educators of the world.
None would deny this.
Luther, the first of his day to challenge Aristotle in the universities, he lifted Christ to the reasoned throne
so long occupied by that mighty pagan.
But it was God plus Luther – not Luther himself.
Again it was "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon."

We should add to this list John Bunyan, Oliver Cromwell, John Wesley, David Livingstone, William Carey,
and many others who God used in mighty ways.
It was God plus one in each case.

God is calling you to be that one?
Do you hear?
Will you hear?
Will you answer?
Will you give Him the best of your life?

Where is our gratitude if we live as though there had been no cross of Calvary?
Living in a land that owes everything to God, what response will we make to His call?
Shall we respond honorably and sacrificially to the marching orders of our great God?

With us shall it be just our sweet sayings about Him?
Or shall it be that of moving mountains?

Shall the Cross be an ornament or a reality in our lives?
Shall God just have our leftovers – or our all – our everything?
Will it be cowardice or courageous conquest?

Shall it be chasing short-lived butterflies of pleasure. or going into a wilderness to recover lost sheep?
Shall it be just following a world that cheats us or the Christ who enriches us?

Shall we be guilty of obscuring life's larger values by a stupid concentration on relatively unimportant matters?
Shall we pigmytize ourselves by groping after the petty and picky, and miss the main things?

After we have heard of, and have been singing of the cross of Christ, shall we be guilty of indulging
our vital powers in trivialities?
Shall we fail to acknowledge the power of "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon?"
Shall we fail to acknowledge that it is truly God plus one man?

Sermon was adapted from a sermon by R. G. Lee, from his book, "The Top Ten of Robert G. Lee."