PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH JUNE 7, 2020
INTRODUCTION – WELCOME BACK
I think we know that we cannot do anything apart from God, from Jesus. Even when we think we are in control, we must come to a place of surrender. We must be willing to trust in the strength of God, our Father.
We are going to look at a familiar verse today, just one verse, found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians – Philippians 4:13.
Let me say here, that I am very much a do-it-yourselfer. Now by that, I don’t mean what you are probably thinking right now. I don’t mean I am great at doing projects, creating things, fixing things. Truthfully, I am the poster child for not doing that. What I actually mean when I say I am a do-it-yourselfer, is that I am very good at not asking for help when I need it. Sometimes I need help, but am reluctant to ask for it.
The point here is this…there are some things that we should not attempt to do by ourselves. One very important thing is LIFE!
You have heard it said that no man is an island. And that is true. We are not meant to be alone in this world. I imagine all of us, over the past several weeks have been convinced of that, having been hunkered down with activity curtailed with usual contact at a minimum.
When God created the earth and everything in it, He said of all of it, “it is good.” But when He had created Adam, the only human, God said, “it is NOT good.” Genesis 2:18. So, God created a helper for Adam. He created Eve as a companion for Adam, and then God said, “it is VERY good. Genesis 1:31
So, from the beginning we were never intended to do life alone.
What that says is that we NEED each other. People will often say, “I don’t need to go to church to worship God.” In a sense that is true. After all, we are expected to worship God every day. But if we say it to avoid meeting together it is simply an excuse.
We were created to be together. Hebrews 10:25 is clear about that…”Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…”
So, we NEED each other; we NEED to be in church together. But, even above that, we NEED Jesus in our lives. With Jesus, even when I am all by myself, I am never alone.
Now, let’s go to Philippians 4:13 and look at that verse. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
That verse means a great many things to a great many people. Many will say that is their favorite Bible verse. And well it should. But, let’s back up a little bit and look at the verses preceding verse 13 – verses 10,11,and 12. 10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
In those verses we see exactly what it is that Paul can do through Christ who strengthens him.
Without Christ in our lives we have no concept of what it means to live with that contentment. With Christ we can get through all the “in need times”; we can endure the lean times as well as the “times of plenty” knowing it is God who gets us through those times.
The truth is that we cannot do anything apart from Jesus. The very air we breathe comes from God.
Within ourselves we are helpless even when we may think we are in control. In our relationship with God and His Son Jesus the only way we can be strong is to admit our own weakness - that is to surrender to Him and trust in His strength, not our own.
1. Christ is our Strength.
If we took a poll of everyone here, I believe 100% could truthfully say, "I find strength in God."
But someone who is not a Christian - that is, they do not have the Holy Spirit living within them, they are unable to comprehend what living in the power of God means.
And, sadly sometimes Christians don't call on the strength of God. That is evidenced by the misery, worry, fear, and doubt which are visible in their lives.
True peace comes when we rest in the comforting arms of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
2. The Strength of Christ Gives Us Victory
Satan is the Father of Lies. He whispers lies in our ears. People will stay away from coming to Christ because of his lies. He will tell someone -"You can't become a Christian even though you believe in Him because you have to clean up some things in your life first." And they believe the lie and won't allow Christ into their lives.
But it is impossible to clean up those things without the strength and power of God in our lives. Trying to do it without Him is placing your trust in yourself rather than in Him.
We often make the statement, "I trust the Lord in everything." What does that mean? It means that we can give everything over to Him so that He can work the situation out for His good and His glory. Do we get in His way? Are we afraid the outcome will not be to our liking?
God tells us in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, and I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NKJV)
So, God tells us, time after time, TRUST ME. The phrase "Trust God, Trust in the Lord, and Trust in God" appears a total of 937 times in Scripture. I think He really means it.
In contrast, the phrases, "Fear Not; Have No Fear; and Do Not Be Afraid appear 940 times. God really means what He says. DON'T BE AFRAID; TRUST ME.
3. We Are Not Meant to Carry Burdens
We need the strength of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement of God’s Word. Encouragement like we find in Isaiah 40:29:“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
God allows trials in our lives to show us that at our weakest points, the strength and comfort of Christ will be the strongest. AND, the opposite is true as well…
When we feel strongest in our own strength is when we have or will have our greatest failures, because if God is not in it, then it is not going to prosper.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
We can't do it alone. My strength will always fall short, but God's strength will always win. Lay your burdens at His feet and then rest. His strength will support you. The victory is yours to claim.