The Dirty Dozens
Synopsis of the movie: During World War II, a rebellious U.S. Army Major (Lee Marvin) is assigned a dozen convicted murderers, rapists and criminals on death row to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers. In spite of their history, the 12 men prove a spirited and courageous unit.
Lee Marvin had his dozen, but God has His dozens.
Reminds me of those in the Bible who did great things for God-
Abraham lied. Sarah laughed at God’s promises.
Moses stuttered. David’s armor didn’t fit.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute. Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar. David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich. Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old. David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death. Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous. Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a murderer. So was Moses.
Jonah ran from God. Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted. Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burned out and depressed. John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart. Mary may have been lazy.
Samson was a louse. Noah got drunk.
Did I mention Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul and lots of folks.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
God can and will use you! What does it take to be one of the Lord’s dirty dozen?
1. God does not look at who you are, but rather who you can become in Christ.
Let’s take a look at Paul
Paul was a murderer. WAS
But AFTER he was born again-
He made three long missionary journeys throughout the Roman Empire, planting churches, preaching the gospel, and giving strength and encouragement to early Christians.
Of the 27 books in the New Testament, Paul is credited as the author of 13 of them. While he was proud of his Jewish heritage, Paul saw that the gospel was for the Gentiles as well. Paul was martyred for his faith in Christ by the Romans, about 64 or 65 A.D.
Paul had a brilliant mind, a commanding knowledge of philosophy and religion, and could debate with the most educated scholars of his day. At the same time, his clear, understandable explanation of the gospel made his letters to early churches the foundation of Christian theology. Tradition portrays Paul as a physically small man, but he endured enormous physical hardships on his missionary journeys. His perseverance in the face of danger and persecution has inspired countless missionaries since.
he did many signs and wonders through the power of the Holy Spirit
You must repent and be born again IF you want to be used by God to do mighty things.
John 3:1-8 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
See, God does not care who you were, or what you have done–
But rather what will you do after He has washed you and cleansed you?
What will you do with the new life given to you?
YOU MUST forget your past if you are going to do great things- you cannot live in the shame of your past, it will wear you down!
Philippians 3:13-15 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
Read John 3: 8- if you are born again, it is like the wind YOU CAN SEE ITS EFFECTS
God uses foolish things to bring Him glory. How will your new life glorify the Lord?
2. God looks inside your heart to see if you will do His will.
1 Samuel 16:1-13
David would become Israel’s greatest king, not because he was a man of great stature or status, but because he loved the Lord.
Even though David was an adulterer and murderer, God said this about him:
Acts 13:22And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’
When Jesus called the 12, He simply said two words, “Follow Me”
These men had the choice to stay where they were, or to leave their current position and FOLLOW.
Is this your heart’s cry? to do the Lord’s will?
Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
Yet, Isaiah had a problem, in full view of God’s holiness, Isaiah instantly realizes his own sinfulness and uncleanness, especially with respect to his speech
Isaiah 6:5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
The Bible doesn’t record what he had spoken, or what sin was within him, yet the Lord looked at his willingness to be sent.
Every man and woman of God that did great things for the Lord were willing to GO where the Lord sent them, even in the face of intense opposition.
Ex: I was talking to Matt the other day about how hard the things that the Lord has asked of me have been. And he asked, “tell me WHO it has been easy for?”
Paul? Peter? Elijah? Jeremiah? Ezekiel?
Like Joshua, God gives us the land, but there are still giants to fight!
Moses had to go before Pharaoh 10 times before he let the Israelites go, and then he pursued them and they were stuck between his chariots and the Red Sea
This idea that because there is opposition I need to quit, will never see you accomplish anything for the Lord. Great endeavors will come against great opposition.
Satan does not want to see God’s plan go forth.
1 Thessalonians 2:18New King James Version (NKJV)
18 Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.
Are you WILLING TO GO? WHEREVER God sends you?? You are not promised that you will stay in the same place your whole life-
It’s funny, people will move anywhere for a job- but the Lord calls them somewhere and they refuse.
3. God looks at your potential IN HIM, and with Him your potential is limitless.
Judges 6:1-16 GOD CAN DO GREAT THINGS THROUGH US
For 7 years a cruel enemy, the Midianites, oppressed the Israelites, causing many to flee to the mountains where they made hiding places for themselves in caves and dens.
The Midianites come like swarms of locusts (v.5) and when they attack, they destroy the crops and took away the flocks. Israelites were left with nothing to eat. In their suffering, they cried out to God for help.
He is going to send Gideon to rescue the people. An angel was sent to this man. He was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites (v.11).
6:12 Angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon: “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
Amazing how the Lord calls him. Everyone living in fear and yet God calls him – mighty warrior.
God saw Gideon’s potential with the Lord on his side.
– Gideon himself felt he is very small – v. 15 “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
Why did the Lord call him mighty warrior? What strength does he have?
Is Gideon really strong and courageous? No. In fact, he has a hard time believing what God has said. He kept asking God for a sign to prove that is it true.
Then why was he considered mighty? God knew Gideon will be successful – and will accomplish His plan – not because Gideon is strong by himself – but He will help him succeed.
– The first words the angel said were, “The Lord is with you.”
– 6:16 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together (as one man).”
– 6:34 “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon…”
We read in Chapter 7 that Gideon went to fight the Midianites. At first, he has 32,000 men with him. Judg 7:2 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for Me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against Me that her own strength has saved her…”
God asked him to reduce the numbers, all the way to only 300 men. And how big is their enemy?
Judg 7:12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.
300 against a swarm of locusts… And they won, because God fought for them.
We learn something here – how God sees and how we see -they are very different.
God sees a mighty warrior. Gideon sees himself the smallest one, in the weakest clan.
God says “You will defeat them as one man.”(v.16). Gideon says, “How can I save Israel?”
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF – DO EVERYTHING THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES US STRENGTH
Do you know how God sees you today? How do you see yourself? Are we like Gideon – living in defeat, with fears, without the courage to face the problems?
Do we see ourselves very small and very weak?
Gideon felt that way, because his eyes were on himself and not on God. The Lord’s answer to Gideon was – it’s not about you, it’s about Me. “I will be with you…” The question is not ’How strong you are?’ but ’How strong I am?”
4. Are you willing to see the mission through to the end?
There are two themes that continuously occur in my sermons and writings-
1. You are a new creation in Christ
2. Never quit
You will NEVER do great things for the Lord of you have a quitter mentality-
EX: the other day I said how people always say to me, “must be nice to be thin”
Yet, I am diligent to eat good and exercise for over 22 years now and I have no plans of quitting
Within 5 years, 80% of church plants fail-
Some estimates even say that 4 out of 5 new churches fail.
There are a few reasons for this-
but the bottom line is IT IS JUST PLAIN HARD
Proverbs 21:31New King James Version (NKJV)
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.
God will bring whatever victory may result from our efforts, but the horse is ours to prepare
Paul said this:
2 Corinthians 11:23-29 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
Paul never let anything interfere with his mission and he finished his race
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.